by KA Muthanna*
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Perspectives, Vol. 5, Iss. 1 (January 2011)
This paper provides conceptual and practical aspects of military diplomacy. It examines India’s recent efforts in enhancing its military diplomacy vis-àvis Chinese military diplomacy conundrum in Asia, especially in South and Southeast Asia. It points out that India’s inability to evince trust and goodwill with its neighbours has led to most of them preferring to employ military diplomacy with China as an India-specific countervailing factor. It argues that India’s military diplomacy is yet to catch up with its rising power status. With the security situation in South Asia as well as the larger neighbourhood constantly fluctuating, India should focus on re-inventing the basket of military diplomacy. It concludes by stating that nations that evolve and adopt a sound approach to military diplomacy can expect to enjoy a benign, if not completely safe, security environment.
[An excerpt from the Article reads]:
As a corollary, there have been numerous instances of peaceful use of military to further a nation’s international relations. This peaceful use of the military as a tool of national diplomacy led to the use of the term ‘military diplomacy’. Thus ‘military diplomacy’ could be defined as use of (peaceful) military in diplomacy, as a tool of national foreign policy. It is axiomatic that military diplomacy has to be dovetailed and integrated with the national diplomatic efforts. UK’s defence diplomacy is defined by Anton du Plessis, in a narrow sense, as the “use of military personnel, including service attaches, in support of conflict prevention and resolution. Among a great variety of activities, it includes providing assistance in the development of democratically accountable armed forces”. Du Plessis goes on to give a broader definition of military diplomacy as “the use of armed forces in operations other than war, building on their trained expertise and discipline to achieve national and foreign objectives abroad”. He also gives Cottey and Foster’s inclusive definition of defence diplomacy (alternatively international defence diplomacy) as “the peacetime use of armed forces and related infrastructure (primarily defence ministries) as a tool of foreign and security policy” and more specifically the use of military cooperation and assistance”.1
The words ‘military’ and ‘defence’ are used loosely and can be freely interchanged. While the term ‘military’ could be used to identify activities undertaken by the uniformed components of the nation’s defence establishment, the term ‘defence’ could be used to imply the entire defence establishment to include the nonuniformed components such as ministry, R&D establishments, national training institutions such as National Defence College and national defence universities. . . .
*Brig KA Muthanna is currently on deputation from Army HQ/Ministry of Defence to Karnataka State Government to assist the State police in enhancing its Counter Terrorism capability. He is with the State Police’s Internal Security Division.