16JOINT DOCTRINE OF INDIAN ARMED FORCES ANDITS HINDUTVA INTERLACE(An Analysis of Hindutva-inspired Notions and Strategies of theJDIAF and Repercussions for Regional Security)Shakaib Rafique*AbstractJoint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces, unveiled in 2017, is the all-encompassingstrategic design that outlines the core philosophy, concepts, principles, andideals that are being pursued by the Indian Armed Forces for the attainment ofIndia’s strategic objectives. This paper employs a constructivist theoreticalapproach to assess the Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces’ connection withHindutva beliefs and ideals as well as its reflection of India’s incumbentgovernment’s strategic objectives of Hindu revivalism and expansionistambitions, while formally shedding off its decades-old garb of so-calledsecularism. Through the analysis of Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces’ coreideas and concepts, this paper examines the Indian Armed Forces’ institutionalchoice of this doctrine to pursue Hindutva ideals coupled with its likelyimplications in terms of regional instability and insecurity.Keywords: Communalism, Credible Deterrence, Hindutva, False Flag Operations,Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces.IntroductionUnder the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has undergonean unprecedented transformation. While India’s decades-old façade of secularismhas been demolished, the country is set on becoming a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in its trueessence.1 Hindu communalism has been a legacy of both the Indian National Congress(INC)2 and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) for long. The manner in which it has beenactively pursued by the latter through venomous intrusion into every state organ ofIndia including inter alia, judiciary3 and armed forces4, is unprecedented in character.5The influence of Hindutva6 and communal tendencies in the Indian Armed Forces is nota new phenomenon.7 However, recently, these aspects have taken a more institutionalshape. The most recent attempt, in this regard, has been the Joint Doctrine of theIndian Armed Forces (JDIAF) – 2017.*ShakaibRafique is a Pakistani Diplomat and a PhD Scholar at the National School of Political andAdministrative Studies, Bucharest, Romania.Margalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces and Its Hindutva Interlace17This paper, therefore, assesses various elements of JDIAF by tracing theirlinkages with different Hindutva ideational inspirations. Through a constructivistapproach, the paper evaluates how the Hindutva-inspired ideals, perceptions, andbeliefs guide JDIAF and the manner in which this doctrine epitomizes India’s aggressiveposturing towards the region and beyond, based on the social construction of itsadversaries as well as Hindutva-inspired parameters of exclusion, self-victimization, andexternal scapegoating.Constructivist Approach towards the Understanding of ArmyDoctrineBefore delving deeper into JDIAF, it would be useful to assess ‘Army Doctrine’per se. In the words of John Spencer, an Army Doctrine is intended to connote the“fundamental principles by which military forces or elements, thereof, guide theiractions in support of national objectives.”8 He adds that an Army Doctrine represents “abody of thought on how Armed Forces intend to operate as part of a joint force and astatement of how the Army intends to fight.”9Normally, for the Armed Forces being hidebound bureaucratic organizations,changing a Military or Army Doctrine is not a commonplace phenomenon.10 It becomes,especially, uncharacteristic when an Army Doctrine gets changed during peacetime.11 AnArmy Doctrine acts as a response to national strategy. Accordingly, when the strategicobjectives of a country change, the Army Doctrine also changes.12 It is normally arguedthat a doctrinal change occurs when it is determined that military power as a means fora specific strategy must reorient itself to achieve the new objectives. 13 An ArmyDoctrine, therefore, represents “an institutional choice between competitive ideas.”14The important motivating factors for an Army Doctrine are the ideals, beliefs,and perceptions shaping a country’s strategic objectives. Therefore, for comprehendingthe logic behind the development or change of an Army Doctrine, it is pivotal tocomprehend the ideas and beliefs at the political level that lead to such change ordevelopment. As an Army Doctrine aims to create peculiar character traits in themembers of a military organization,15 understanding its constitutive political ideals andbeliefs becomes crucial. In essence, every army doctrine constructs and conceptualizesits adversaries (others) or allies (a manifestation of self) based on its embedded politicalviews, beliefs, and ideals.It is owing to the above aspects that the constructivist theoretical approachappears most suitable for deciphering an Army Doctrine. This approach concerns itselfwith the meanings given to actions by the actors as well as the pattern and frameworkof their mutual interaction.16 As per constructivists, ideational factors influence theperceptions of policymakers.17 By interpreting these ideals and belief-system, one cancomprehend the logic under which an Army Doctrine operates and the strategicobjectives it strives to achieve. In the following lines, the same approach is applied todecode the ideological orientation of JDIAF. While doing so, the main question, thisMargalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

18Shakaib Rafiquepaper addresses, remains how Hindutva ideology and ideals are embedded in the JDIAFand what possible implications could this have for regional security.Theorizing the Concept of HindutvaAt this stage, it is also important to theorize the concept of Hindutva itself.Hindutva is a political project whose proponents aim at turning India into a Hindunation without any ethical considerations.18 Hindutva is employed as a synonym tocultural nationalism in India19 and heavily influenced by the ideology of primordialism,Nazism, Fascism, and exclusive ethnic nationalism.20 Protagonists of Hindutva employ itas the foundation of Hindu identity21 and base it on the notions of political sociologycoupled with xenophobic racism.22Hindutva is closely associated with the notion of populism and ontologicalinsecurity. Populism, viewed as a binary doctrine,23 constructs a certain segment of alarger community as the people who constitute the only legitimate totality 24 in thatcommunity. As for ontological insecurity, it emerges when the identity of those ‘purepeople’ is under question.25 For removing this insecurity, the tendency is to securitizethese people by creating a stable identity.26 For Hindutva, the Hindu nation forms the‘pure people’, who have the legitimate right to occupy India. For Hindutva-inspiredIndian foreign and security policies under Modi government, Hinduism becomescoextensive with India’s territory27 and for responding to the external threats; uniformHindu identity is accordingly considered to be the panacea.28 As Hindutva considersHindu identity to be the only possible stable identity for addressing India’s ontologicalinsecurity, this feature has penetrated India’s foreign and security policies anddoctrines, such as JDIAF.Conceptualizing the Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces(JDIAF)JDIAF traces its conceptual origin from the US Doctrine of Armed Forces.29 Itserves as the bedrock for synergized functioning of the three services of Indian ArmedForces,30 and is based on a continental view of threats approach,31 addressing a fullspectrum of military conflict situation ranging from nuclear to counterinsurgencydynamics of possible conflictual situations. 32 Under its continental view of threatapproach,33 JDIAF essentially focuses on China and Pakistan.34 JDIAF also graduatesfrom defensive to offensive approach and presumes India’s greater global role.Accordingly, JDIAF envisions an expeditionary overseas operational approach 35 for theIndian Armed Forces. Indian analysts argue that through the above-mentioneddoctrine, the conflicts would be determined through coercive diplomacy as well aspunitive disruption and destruction. 36 This provides further credence to claims ofIndia’s expansionary ambitions.JDIAF relies on different Hindutva-inspired ideological principles foridentifying the national values of India. This contradicts India’s secular sloganeeringand nullifies its claims of maintaining apolitical armed forces.37 JDIAF envisions aMargalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces and Its Hindutva Interlace19conducive external security environment38 and aims at safeguarding India’s existing andemerging strategic, political, economic, and military goals 39 in consonance with thecountry’s national aim, enunciated as one of India’s key national interests. 40 Thiscircuitous formulation implies active intervention abroad by the Indian Armed Forcesin order to fulfill India’s global ambitions. JDIAF has also expanded the threshold ofIndian national security objectives by openly vouching for the militarization of spaceand intensifying the nuclear arms race in the region by graduating from credibleminimum deterrence to credible deterrence.41 It has indicated that in the future, India islikely to fulfill its global ambitions through a coercive military instrument.42Hindutva Roots of JDIAFJDIAF is a poorly worded document, based on certain plagiarized notions andconcepts.43 In order to Indianize JDIAF, its authors have relied heavily on Hindutvaphilosophy and religious interpretations. Its concepts and war strategies are largelybased on Hindutva fanatic ideals, thus, reflecting the standard operating procedures fora Hindutva-inspired Army. An interesting feature of JDIAF is that its various warfarestrategies and doctrinal philosophies are imported from ‘Arthshastra’ by Kautilya,mentor of the founder of Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta Maurya (322–293 BCE).44 Itmay be highlighted that modern-day Hindutva stalwarts eulogize Kautilya and want histenets to be incorporated into the Hindutva model of governance called ‘RamRajya’.45The core theme of JDIAF is founded on self-aggrandizement and essentiallytargets Pakistan and China. These features are typical of the Hindutva mindset, whichproffers animosity with the neighbors. As evidence, one may resort to Kautilya’sArthshastra, where Kutayuddha (devious warfare) is the preferred form of warfare forself-aggrandizement, while neighbors are always assumed to be hostile. 46 Amanifestation of this devious warfare can be traced to India’s False Flag Operation inPulwama in February 2019, 47 which was used as justification by India to attemptintrusion into Pakistani territory (Balakot) as part of its grand hegemonic designs, onlyto be foiled by Pakistan’s counter-response in the form of Operation Swift Retort.48The very first element of JDIAF which strikes the reader is the ‘Code of Warrior’drawn from ‘Bhagwad Gita’, a prominent Hindu scripture. Bhagwad Gita is based on adialogue prior to Kruskshetra War that Arjuna, a heroic character in Mahabharata (aSanskrit epic of ancient India), had with his charioteer Krishna. Interestingly, therenowned Hindutva protagonist and granddaddy of Hindutvavadis,49 Bal GangadharTilak had invoked Bhagwad Gita to call Hindus to arms 50 against the British andMuslims.51 Use of Bhagwad Gita under JDIAF, therefore, reflects JDIAF’s Hindutva tilt.The manner in which Bhagwad Gita is taken to infuse the warrior spirit within theIndian Armed Forces is another indication of the Hindutva inspiration that JDIAFintends to instill into its soldiers.In its first section, JDIAF defines several core strategic concepts and theirinterpretations. Under this portion, for instance, JDIAF identifies what constitutesnational values.52 Ironically, despite being a so-called secular country, JDIAF definesnational values as “enduring beliefs reflected in the ideals of (Indian) society”. It furtherMargalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

20Shakaib Rafiqueargues that these national values are based on religious, moral, and ideologicalprinciples of India.53 Under a Hindutva-inspired government and army, incorporation ofreligious and ideological principles clearly carries Hindutva-inspired connotations.Under the section on “National Aim”, JDIAF envisions conducive external andinternal security environments for unhindered and so-called inclusive socio-economicdevelopment of India.54 To begin with, usage of the phrase “creation of conduciveexternal security environment” is a broad concept including the essence of violence andaggression against presumed adversaries for its prevalence. It is, incidentally, considereda higher law by Hindutva stalwart Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Although, certain Indianscholars, such as Abhijnan Rej and Shashank Joshi attempt to suggest that JDIAF isguided by so-called strategic restraint due to its excessive use of the notion ofdeterrence, this argument appears self-defeating as JDIAF identifies conflicts aspolitically determined (implying Hindutva inspired) resulting in the likelihood ofescalation initiated by India for creating a conducive external environment thataddresses India’s ontological security concerns.55JDIAF has brought a paradigm shift in Indian nuclear doctrine by graduating itfrom credible minimum deterrence to credible deterrence.56 The hint at revising India’snuclear policy was given during the Indian General Elections campaign-2014 by BJP.57Thus far, India’s so-called “No First-use Policy” and “Credible Minimum Deterrence”had been the two crucial elements of its nuclear doctrine. While India’s no-first-usepolicy is essentially a hoax,58 the prospects of India doing away with credible minimumdeterrence have also remained under discussion for quite some time now.59 JDIAF hasfinally clarified India’s real intentions on this account and reflected India’s aggressiveposturing in the region. India’s National Security Advisor and well-known Hindutvafundamentalist Ajit Doval60 had once underlined the need for India to turn into a “HardPower”.61 This desire is now well reflected in the change of India’s nuclear doctrinethrough a shift to the notion of credible deterrence. This shift reflects Modi’s pursuit ofa muscular security policy that finds its ideological roots in Hindutva.62Another distinguishing feature of India’s Joint Doctrine is the summarizationof one of the core values of the country’s constitution as “to safeguard India’s existingand emerging strategic, political, economic, and military goals in consonance with thenational aim.”63 This concept implies that for safeguarding India’s emerging strategic,political, economic, and military goals, the Indian Army can be deployed aggressivelyagainst any other country. One can compare this element with Kautilya’s prominenttenet that “a wise ruler should observe that form of policy which enables him to workfor the progress of his state and at the same time, to harass similar aims of his enemy.”64As for the characterization of the Indian Armed Forces, JDIAF has termed themas being coercive in nature.65 This aspect is a pure reflection of Kautilya’s forms of statepolicy.66 If it is compared with Kautilya’s philosophy, some striking similarities can betraced. For instance, as per Kautilya, the policy of Vigraha (war) should be pursued, ifone is stronger than one’s enemy.67 According to Kautilya, the policy of Yana (marching)may be pursued, if one is strong as compared to one’s adversary. This hints at theMargalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces and Its Hindutva Interlace21likelihood that India would pursue aggressive military options against its perceivedweaker neighbors in the coming years.JDIAF expresses concern over the presence and role of external powers in theIndian Ocean Region (IOR).68 This reflects Hindutva’s vision of ‘Akhand Bharat’, wherethe Indian Ocean is envisioned to be a reference point for a greater Indian Union in thefuture. 69 Another manifestation of this vision is the renewed conceptualization ofIndia’s external security paradigm in JDIAF, where the security of Indian diaspora,resources, and establishments abroad has been taken to be of interest to the IndianArmed Forces. Even Indian diaspora, spread across the littoral states of the IOR, is takenas the raison d'être for Indian interference in the IOR. This signifies that India could bepositioning itself to launch aggressive wars against any country in the region in thename of its so-called concerns regarding the security of diaspora.70JDIAF has defined external threats and challenges in a manner that is typical ofthe Hindutva psyche of internalization, repression, and external scapegoating.71 It maybe noted that Hindutva psyche originates the element of a perceived aggressor beinglocated outside the boundaries of India. Against this perceived aggressor, the notion of“use of violence” is employed. As a result, conflict and violence are considered pivotalfor the growth of Hindu civilization.72 One can deduct from the thematic orientation ofJDIAF that for external scapegoating, India has employed it to China and Pakistan.Furthermore, the use of violence emerges as a normal strategy for India against thesetwo countries.JDIAF has enunciated several operations during conventional warfare.Surprisingly, aggression lies at the core of these identified operations. While theoffensive operations, aimed at seizing the initiative from the enemy,73 are one type ofoperation premised on aggression, the ‘offensive defense’ (as enunciated by Ajit Doval74)is indeed camouflaged under the notion of pro-active defense75 despite being anotheraggressive operational tactic. This embedded feature of aggression traces its roots fromKautilya’s treatise, where peace is only considered an option for the weak and offense(or aggression) is the preferred military option.76Another striking feature of the Indian Joint Doctrine is the enunciation of its“Low-intensity Conflict” operations under the category of sub-conventional warfare.77JDIAF has reflected the so-called ‘Counter Proxy War’78 under this category. While theterm ‘counter’ reflects the Hindutva psyche of victimhood played through externalscapegoating, the idea implies the use of raids (including through spies, etc.) forcreating unrest in neighboring countries. The use of terms “intelligence” and “assets” astools for doing so are self-explanatory on this account. This technique is close toKautilya’s categorization of “Sreni” (trained mercenaries), Mitra (troops loaned for acampaign by an ally), and Gudapurusha (secret service), which are to be used in lowintensity conflicts against the enemy.79 Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’sdouble-squeeze doctrine, which involves the “use of terrorism and support for terroristgroups, such as Daesh and TTP, etc.”, 80 are now officially accommodated in theHindutva-inspired JDIAF. His doctrine also gives no value to moral principles, which isin line with Kautilya’s philosophy that keeps national interests above moral values.Margalla Papers-2020 (Issue-II)[16-28]

22Shakaib RafiqueIn its concepts of military power application, JDIAF alludes to the exploitationof space for military purposes. It may be highlighted that the Outer Space Treaty (1967),to which India is a Party, prohibits weaponization of outer space, moon, and othercelestial bodies.81 However, India violates its treaty obligations under Hindutva-inspiredJDIAF. The clue of this aspect can again be taken from Kautilya’s philosophy. As perKautilya, in terms of fulfilling treaty obligations, one should drag one’s feet to delay itwhile waiting for an opportunity to overthrow the enemy. 82 This implies that inpursuing the cause of overpowering the enemy, India would continue to violate or dragits feet in terms of the Outer Space Treaty obligations through the weaponization ofouter space.Implications of JDIAF for the Regional StabilityFomenting Instability in PakistanWith th