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Late Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd.) was a celebrated soldier, author, thought leader and noted strategic affairs analyst. Graduating from the National Defence Academy in March 1972, Brigadier Kanwal went on to command an Infantry Brigade along the LOC and an Artillery Regiment in Kashmir (1993-1994). He also served as Deputy Assistant Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff.

After taking voluntary retirement in 2003, Brigadier Kanwal joined the Observer Research Foundation and served at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and Centre for Air Power Studies. He was Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies from 2008 to 2012. He was also the co-founder of two think tanks, Forum for Strategic Initiatives (FSI) and the South Asian Institute for Strategic Affairs (SAISA). In November 2012, he was nominated among 50 Thought Leaders by Mail Today. He was awarded the COAS Commendation Card twice. He had contributed extensively to various journals and leading newspapers, including a column in the Statesman for over two years. He was a regular speaker at well-known international think tanks and military institutions.

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“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
— THOREAU —

Honours

Life & Work

Writings

Chief of Defence Staff a necessity

Well into the first decade of the 21st century and almost six years after nuclear India is still without a Chief of Defence Staff. While the tri-service Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff was formed, it is still headed by a three-star officer who reports to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff...

The Tribune | Feb 20, 2004
CDS and the theatre commands in India: An idea whose time has come

Ideally, the CDS should be an overall commander-in-chief and from him command should flow to individual theatre commanders. Contrary to the belief that only the United States needs a theatre system because of its wider geo-political interests and involvement in security issues all over the globe,...

May 5, 2015
India’s external security environment: A review

India has adopted a policy of "zero tolerance" for terrorism and has clearly stated that there can be no meaningful discussions with Pakistan till that country completely stops the sponsorship of terrorism in India. China's unjustifiable opposition to India's nuclear weapons programme, its...

Strategic Analysis | Dec 5, 1999
Managing security

Though the National Security Advisory Board of the National Security Council has drawn up a draft nuclear doctrine that is fairly comprehensive and a strategic forces command has been established, the remaining contours of the nuclear force structure, including its targeting, surveillance, early...

Jul 2, 2004
Nuclear hazards

Nuclear weapons states must clearly spell out their strategy, inspire confidence in their adversaries that they will abide by their declared stance and should give credible evidence that adequate checks and balances have been built into their nuclear decision-making process and nuclear weapons...

The Statesman | May 30, 2001
Paramilitary Forces-I

The army, the navy, the air force and the coast guard are armed forces of the union. The Border Security Force was raised as a paramilitary force and was initially led by regular army officers.

The Statesman | Feb 25, 2004
Strategic Crossroads

"Pakistan's army has been actively aiding and abetting infiltration along the LoC. Its ISl-controlled jehad factories have been working overtime to produce fedayeen suicide squads. The ruthless Fedayeen mercenaries of the Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and umpteen other such...

The Statesman | Jun 8, 2002
Army modernisation is gradually gaining momentum

Emphasis on 'Make in India': The army's modernisation plans received a major boost when the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accorded Acceptance of Necessity to several weapons systems tor the infantry in February 2018. The modernisation of the army is...

India Strategic | Apr 6, 2018
Post-2014 instability in Afghanistan: Impact and role of regional players

The NATO-ISAF withdrawal is likely to leave a security deficit in Afghanistan, which will further add to regional instability in a region that has become known as the epicentre of fundamentalist terrorism. The willingness of regional actors to play a positive role in stabilising Afghanistan, rather...

CLAWS Scholar Warrior | Aug 4, 2014

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Sharpening the arsenal: India’s evolving nuclear deterrence policy
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The essence of the defence minister's introspection was that ambiguity enhances deterrence. This view has been expressed by several nuclear strategists. Nuclear doctrines are not written in stone and are never absolutely rigid.

Indian Army Vision 2020
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Indian Army: Vision 2020 examines the threats and their changing nature, identifies the key operational commitments, makes a comparative analysis of how other modern armies are coping and offers a considered guide map for a modern fighting force that is light, lethal and wired to meet the operational challenges of the 21st century.

Pakistan’s Proxy War
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Indian Army: Vision 2020 examines the threats and their changing nature, identifies the key operational commitments, makes a comparative analysis of how other modern armies are coping and offers a considered guide map for a modern fighting force that is light, lethal and wired to meet the operational challenges of the 21st century.

Heroes of Kargil

The book “Sharpening the Arsenal: India’s Evolving Nuclear Deterrence Policy” examines the efficacy of India’s declared nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence with a no first use posture and surveys the nuclear arsenals of India, China and Pakistan.