At the dawn of India’s independence in 1947, many worried about the threat India’s army might pose to democracy thanks to recruitment based explicitly on caste and religion. Yet, unlike in neighboring Pakistan, India’s army has not intervened in politics and the country has successfully preserved its democracy.

Steven Wilkinson discussed how and why India has succeeded in keeping its army out of politics, drawing on research for his new book, Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence (Harvard University Press, 2015). He explained the structures India has devised to balance army and nation, and consider their prospects for continued success in light of India’s rapidly changing society and external environment.

Carnegie’s Ashley Tellis, author of the recent report Unity in Difference: Overcoming the U.S.-India Divide, served as discussant. Milan Vaishnav moderated.

Steven I. Wilkinson

Steven I. Wilkinson is Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale University.

Ashley J. Tellis

Ashley J. Tellis is a senior associate in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is an associate in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.