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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

India’s national security strategy in a nuclear environment

Does India have a comprehensive, clearly enunciated national security strategy? Does India need such a strategy in its nuclear weapons-dominated, unstable external security environment, and an internal security scenario vitiated by foreign sponsored insurgencies? the answer to the first question is...

Strategic Analysis | Dec 5, 2000
Herbie on a UN Mission

On our UN mission in Namibia, military observers had precious little to do after the first three months as the implementation of UN Resolution 435 proceeded with clockwork precision and without the usual hassles which […]

Hindustan Times | Jul 2, 1998
Strategic competition in southern Asia: Emerging trend lines

While the region is riven by radical extremism, political instability, socio-economic challenges and ethnic tensions, exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms and narcotics trafficking, the China-India Strategic competition and China's collusion with Pakistan are key factors in the vitiated...

Geopolitics | Oct 5, 2017
Defence budget: Some worries

Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence has argued for long that the budgetary allocations made for defence are grossly inadequate. Former finance minister, Jaswant Singh, had created history of sorts by instituting a rolling, non-lapsable defence modernisation fund of Rs 25,000 crore in the...

The Indian Express | Feb 28, 2005
Indian Army at fifty: Guarantor of the nation’s freedom

Throughout the fifty years since independence, the Indian Army has been at the forefront as the guarantor of the nation's freedom against external aggression and as the primary force engaged in keeping the nation together in the face of internal discord, communal disharmony and fissiparous...

Jan 1, 2000
Tactical Nukes-II

Indian advocates of tactical nuclear weapons pre-suppose that when pushed to the wall, Pakistan would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against India's mechanised forces inside Pakistani territory. Many Indian analysts recommend that in response to a Pakistani nuclear strike on Indian forces,...

The Statesman | Jul 23, 2002
United Nations-II

Echoing a similar view, former Soviet - President Mikhail Gorbachov called the KOSOVO war "a disgrace to all of us who tried to build a New World Order based on political methods and a strong role for the United Nations Security CouncilInstead, we see Nato itself as supreme arbiter, using military...

The Statesman | May 16, 2002
Things better, but we’ve got to keep eye open, powder dry

Though the year gone by was relatively peacefull for India, the security environment in India’s regional neighbourhood has been steadily deteriorating. The greatest causes of regional instability are the strident march of , Islamist fundamentalism […]

The Times of India | Jan 1, 2012
Military Service

Compulsory military service for entry into the central services will also result in giving civilian bureaucrats a better understanding of India's defence and security interests and needs and will create a permanent bond of camaraderie and friendship between Civilians and the military. In sum,...

The Statesman | Sep 23, 2000

Condolences

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.