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Civil-Military Relations: A Comparative Study of India and Pakistan

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Publication Date: January 1997

Publisher(s): Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Kotera Bhimaya

Topic: Military and defense (National security)

Type: Report

Coverage: India Pakistan


Political culture, including but not limited to political leadership, has emerged as an important factor which affects the forms of civilian control over the military in India and Pakistan. Over time, while the Indian military have internalized the concept of civilian supremacy, the Pakistani military have institutionalized its role in political decision-making. This research spoke to a central policy question: how can policy makers best ensure against unwarranted or inappropriate military interventions in domestic politics? Several policy measures suggested themselves. First, the military should be used sparingly to suppress domestic violence. When used, military activities should be strictly supervised by the civilian authorities. Second, there is an urgent need to integrate day-to-day functioning of the military and the multiple civil and police agencies, in order to enhance cooperation and reduce mutual distrust and animosity. Third, a complex polity, such as India, requires a high caliber political leadership which cares less about building "vote banks" than it does about addressing social, political, and economic problems. Safeguarding the interest of minorities is the essence of any political action. Last but not least, politicians and the media should sensitize the lay public to national security issues, so that security planning proceeds with the benefit of input from multiple sources and from informed debate.