India's Strategic Defense Transformation: Expanding Global Relationships

  • November 01, 2009
  • LTC Brian K Hedrick

India’s transformation to modernize its military, obtain “strategic partnerships” with the United States and other nations, and expand its influence in the Indian Ocean and beyond includes a shift from an emphasis on the former Soviet Union as the primary supplier of defense articles to a western base of supply and an increasing emphasis on bilateral exercises and training with many of the global powers. The author explores the nature of this transformation, offers insights into the history of Indian defense relations, and suggests implications to U.S. foreign and defense policy. Much has been written regarding India’s relations with its neighbors, especially Pakistan and China. The author adds a new perspective by taking a global view of India’s rise as a regional and future global military power through its bilateral defense relations and the potential conflict this creates with India’s legacy as a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.