Ali Ahmed (@aliah66), an independent strategic analyst, blogs at www.ali-writings.blogspot.in.
India: A Strategic Alternative
The book is a confluence of the writings of Ali Ahmed and Firdaus Ahmed, Firdaus being Ali Ahmed's pen name. The writings have been consistent in their furthering the liberal political perspective in matters in national security, strategic and peace studies. The book takes this cause ahead under challenging times, when as the book highlights, the chief national security challenge is from within, specifically from the dominant political ideology religious majoritarianism made palatable by the more saleable term cultural nationalism. The book needs reading alongside the eight books by the author published by CinnamonTeal over the past four years. The publications, that number over a thousand commentaries and articles, comprehensively cover the region in its nuclear age.
From within: Reflections on India’s Army
The book comprises unpublished writings of Ali Ahmed from his time in uniform. The author served in the Indian army for two decades. His reflections in the period that did not make it into print have been compiled into this volume. The commentaries here supplement his other book that contains his published writings of the period, On India’s military: Writings from within (CinnamonTeal 2017). The essays are carried unedited to retain the flavor of the times and conditions in which they were written. It has historical value in providing a snapshot of the concerns that animated the army intellectually in the period at the turn of the century. The observations and insights would be useful for both practitioners and scholars in military studies.
On India’s Military: Writings from within
The book comprises the published writings in service journals of Ali Ahmed while serving in the army. They cover the two decades on either side of the turn of the century, thereby providing a window into the army in the period. The author was an infantry officer and the articles reflect the concerns of the infantry and the wider army as the author grew in service from a subaltern to colonelcy.
India’s National Security in the Liberal Lens
Ali Ahmed continues his engagement with the themes of his previous two books, On War in South Asia and On Peace in South Asia (both CinnamonTeal 2014), specifically on issues related to India's strategic, military and nuclear doctrines. He takes his discussion of a Limited Nuclear War, broached in his book India's Doctrine Puzzle: Limiting War in South Asia (Routledge 2014) further.
On Peace in South Asia
After doffing his military uniform, Ali Ahmed joined New Delhi's vibrant strategic community as a researcher in a leading think tank, a doctoral scholar and later on the faculty of a central university. Just as elsewhere in the world, the security debates in India are dominated by the realist perspective. Finding the perspective inadequate for India's circumstance, the commentaries in the book rely on the liberal perspective for insights and prescriptions. In doing so the book fleshes out the liberal perspective and helps fill a gap in strategic literature in India. On this count, the book is a refreshing relook at security issues that will interest students, researchers, practitioners and policy makers. The attentive public will find it interesting for the alternatives if offers.
On War in South Asia
The book comprises Ali Ahmed's writings on strategic affairs and military matters in the period 2008-14. It comprises commentaries on conventional warfare and nuclear deterrence. The work is informed by insights culled during his military service till 2008 and informed by his studies while on sabbatical and later on leaving uniform. From his vantage point as a researcher in a leading think tank and on faculty of a central university in New Delhi, the author observed the strategic debates in India's strategic community. The book reflects on these debates and presents an alternative perspective relying on the relatively less visible liberal perspective in security and peace studies. The book will be of interest to students, researchers, practitioners, policy wonks and the lay public.