What do you understand by the policy of "strategic restraint"? Do you agree with the view that adoption of such policy has made India a rather soft state? Give arguments.

Conflict resolution is essential for peaceful existence. Two important aspects of conflict resolution are Resolve and Restraint. Resolve refers to the state’s consideration to use force for dispute resolution. On the other hand, Restraint refers to the use of other avenues such as diplomatic, psychological and economic, without considering the use of force. Strategic restraint, therefore, means state’s voluntary self-imposed restrictions on the use of military force for the accomplishment of objectives.
India’s approach towards Pakistan has been a strategic restraint. Therefore according to some analysts India, because of this policy of strategic restraint, India has become a ‘soft state’ as in the dynamics of this self-imposed strategic restraint has not been effective. Pakistan uses non-state actors to fight a proxy war against India and since due to the policy of strategic restraint India has not retaliated, this has encouraged Pakistan to continue.
However, India’s security strategy has both resolve and restraint components. Though there has been a greater focus on restraint than resolve in the past. In fact, because of this very reason, India has built a reputation of a responsible military power not only in the region but also at global level.
For an effective deterrent strategy need to have a balance between resolve and restraint, resolve to retaliate against aggression and restraint as a promise to reciprocate in cooperation. India is trying to balance both and the strategic restraint is not a sign of soft state but it is a sign of mature military power who is trying to resolve issues in a diplomatic manner.

Question for UPSC Mains:
What do you understand by the policy of "strategic restraint"? Do you agree with the view that adoption of such policy has made India a rather soft state? Give arguments. IDSA | Mint Indian Express

Published: September 11, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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