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KS Subrahmanyam Garu RIP

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KS Subrahmanyam Garu RIP
From TOI quoting PTI, Feb 2, 2011, 07.29pm IST

Strategic expert Subrahmanyam dead

Quote:NEW DELHI: Renowned strategic expert K Subrahmanyam, whose recommendations in the aftermath of Kargil conflict led to a revamp of the country's intelligence network, died here today following a heart attack.

Subrahmanyam, 82, is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. He was suffering from cancer and diabetes but his end came after a heart attack, family sources said.

. . .

A very personal loss for me. I guess will meet him in next life.

Arun was so lucky to meet him often. One time he skipped lunch to keep talking to our people!
A very personal loss for me.

One of his questions to a visitor was "When does Ramana plan to visit me?"

I guess will meet him in next life.

Arun was so lucky to meet him often. One time he skipped lunch to keep talking!

I have so many memories of him.

As college student I wrote book review and my views on post 1971 India. Had he replied I would have given up Engineering and sought a masters in Intl studies. However it was not to be. Years later I reminded him of that old review. He recalled and said India lost an opportunity when he didn't reply.

Having said that he liked the BRM review of KRC as the most objective and balanced review in and out of GOI.

He appreciated BRF for bringing together a platform for people to discuss Indian security issues without high brow pundits. Its was refreshing window for him to see non experts think about India like he did.

Of all his followers we on BRF were the most dear to him as we didn't have personal fame to gain and undertood him the closest.

Arun and I got him Dragon software for his laptop to reduce the burden of having his thoughts typed up. He appreciated it.

He was a true Bharat Ratna!

His clarity of vision as to where he wanted to see India was superb and way beyond our imagination. He wanted India to be in the foremost of all powers and this was in 1968!

Most of his columns are archived by his pratham chela Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar at the National Maritime Foundation.
A great loss.
Hindu article:

Strategic Thinker Par Excellence

Quote:Strategic thinker par excellence

Siddharth Varadarajan

Much more than a mere advocate of Indian nuclearisation, K. Subrahmanyam was instrumental in shaping the country's foreign and security policies in the post-Cold War world.


K. Subrahmanyam

Intellectual progenitor of the Indian nuclear weapons programme and by far the most influential strategic thinker of his own and subsequent generations, K. Subrahmanyam's enduring contribution was the coherent intellectual framework he helped provide for the country's foreign and security policies in a world buffeted by uncertainty and changing power equations.

He died in New Delhi on Wednesday after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 82.

In a long and distinguished career that began with his entry into the Indian Administrative Service in 1951, Subrahmanyam straddled the fields of administration, defence policy, academic research and journalism with an unparalleled felicity. His prolific writings — contained in thousands of newspaper articles (including in The Hindu), book chapters and speeches over four decades — touched upon a broad range of global and regional strategic issues and invariably generated fierce debate in India and abroad. But it was his early — and even controversial — advocacy of India exercising the option to produce nuclear weapons that made governments and scholars around the world sit up and take notice of his views.

Subrahmanyam's first formal involvement with the Indian nuclear establishment began in 1966 when, as a relatively junior bureaucrat in the Defence Ministry, he was asked to join an informal committee tasked by the Prime Minister's Office with studying the strategic, technical and financial implications of a nuclear weapons programme. Soon thereafter, he was made director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a post he held from 1968 to 1975. He was one of the first analysts to sense a strategic opportunity for India in the emerging crisis in East Pakistan and his public articulation of this well before the 1971 war led Pakistani officials to see him eventually as a Chanakya-like figure who managed to contrive their country's dismemberment.

Born in Tiruchi on January 19, 1929, Subrahmanyam returned to his home state of Tamil Nadu to serve as Home Secretary during the period of the Emergency. An honest and upright administrator, he considered the Constitution and the liberties it embodied to be of higher value than the political directives of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Congress party. At a time when his counterparts elsewhere in the country became willing accomplices to the suspension of civil liberties, Subrahmanyam used his powers to shield those being targeted. Many years later, during the Gujarat carnage of 2002, he was one of the few members of the strategic community to write about how the country would pay a heavy price if it failed to uphold the rule of law and the right to life of all its citizens.

He returned to Delhi in the late 1970s and ended up working as Secretary, Defence Production during Indira Gandhi's second tenure as Prime Minister. Differing again with the government on an issue of principle, Subrahmanyam was eased out of the Ministry of Defence and returned to the IDSA as director. Though intended as a punishment posting, he took to his new assignment as a duck to water. Through his efforts, the institute emerged as India's premier think-tank with a large number of scholars, many on secondment from the armed forces, conducting research on defence and foreign policy issues.


After retiring from the government in 1987, Subrahmanyam continued to write on security matters, eventually joining the Times of India as a consulting editor. Journalism was in many ways his true calling. Affectionately known by his colleagues as “Bomb Mama”, in reality Subrahmanyam was far from being a nuclear hawk. He wrote on a range of issues, including on spiritual and religious matters and loved nothing more than to discuss national and global issues with his younger colleagues.

He was in favour of India acquiring nuclear weapons and argued forcefully during the international negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty against India's accession. At a seminar in Washington at the time, he famously denounced American critics of India's stand as the ‘Ayatollahs of Nonproliferation'.

And yet, he did not believe it was absolutely essential for the country to conduct an actual weapons test. When Pokhran-II came finally in May 1998, Subrahmanyam was taken by surprise but accepted that the government's hand had been forced by the manner in which the United States had tried to foreclose the country's nuclear option. At the same time, he said that India should immediately announce that it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons, a position the Vajpayee government accepted.

After the Kargil war, he headed the Kargil Review Committee which was tasked with recommending an overhaul of the Indian national security and intelligence apparatus whose failings had allowed Pakistani soldiers to occupy high altitude posts in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides a host of systemic reforms, Subrahmanyam argued in favour of India establishing a National Security Council but was disappointed by the structure of the institution that the National Democratic Alliance regime created. He nevertheless agreed to head the first National Security Advisory Board and was also instrumental in the NSAB's formulation of India's Draft Nuclear Doctrine.

A realist in his strategic thinking, Subrahmanyam was one of the first to understand and discuss what the emergence of a multipolar world order – his preferred term was “polycentric” — meant for Indian foreign policy. He argued that India had the capacity to improve its relations with all global power centres. At the same time, he sought to leverage American interest in India's rise by pressing for the removal of restrictions on nuclear and high-tech commerce.

He also believed the emergence of an economically interdependent world meant the era of military conflict between the great powers was a thing of the past and that economic growth and internal strength would be far more important determinants of national power than mere military might.

For one who worked in government for many years, Subrahmanyam prized his independence which he saw as the key to his integrity. I have had three careers, he once said when asked why he had turned down the offer of a Padma Vibhushan — as a civil servant, a strategic analyst and a journalist. “The awards should be given by the concerned groups, not the Government. If there is an award for sports, it should be given by sportspersons, and if it's for an artists, by artists”. The state, he believed, was not qualified to judge different aspects of human endeavour.

Subrahmanyam, of course, excelled in all his endeavours. True to form, his most creative period as an analyst came after he was diagnosed with cancer. In his death, India has lost one of its most perceptive strategic minds. The void will be impossible to fill.

He is survived by his wife, Sulochana, his daughter Sudha and his three sons, Vijay Kumar, Jaishankar and Sanjay.
I am saddened to hear of Shri K Subramaium's passing away for his karma bhoomi to heaven. When I met him few months ago he seemed to maintain his health and I was confident we will see his presence for more years.

I feel privileged to have met him many times and spent may hours talking to him about India and geo-politics.

He was a gem and source of light and encouragement to me and many like me . Last time I met him he encouraged me to write small articles in mainstream news papers to articulate my views on the bigger issues faciing India on civil and strategic nuclear programs.

His towering presence and guidance will be sorely missed, and now the baton passed on his many proteges who have spent substantial time to be with the master when he was on his temporal sojourn to serve Bharat in this lifetime.

My heartfelt condolence to Gaaru's immediate family members and extended 'shishya' fraternity.
You have to take the step to fulfill his wishes about educating the public.


Quote:The 1960s were a tumultous decade for India.

- 1960 China border transgressions

- 1962 Goa Operation Vijay

- 1962 Chinese agression. Limited war below the threshold of all out war & Cuban Missile Crisis. Not anticipated by Indian establishment.

- 1963 US-UK military aid with "ropes" not just strings

- 1963 Death of JLN

- 1964 Chinese Nuke Test

- 1965 Indo-Pak wars Three things:

- Rann of Kutch perfidy. UK pressure to settle dispute in TSP favor

- TSP initiated Operation Gibraltar followed by Operation Grand Slam.

- Failure of Indian policy makers to discern TSP war fighting reserve depletion. Assesment failure

-1966 Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Homi Bhaba in same month

- 1967-69 Succession war in Indian political leadership. Syndicate wars

- 1967 Failure of agriculture crops and devaluation of Indian rupee

- 1968 Repeated quest for nuke umbrella by India and spurned by West despite having the most imminent threat from PRC. PRC already showed how it wasn't reluctant to fight a nuke power(SU) in the Ussuri river clashes. US and SU were in proxy fights and never in direct fight. So PRC was not the same as Cold War adversaries.

- 1968 NPT in effect freezing India's option out of legitimate action

KS formed his world view in these tumultous years and he was clear in his vision of where India was despite all the mess that was happening around him like the protogonist of Rudyard Kipling's poem "IF".

Truly it is said "Vision is seeing beyond what is now to what will be."

Its that vision, which others did not share or understand, that clarified things for him. It helped he wasn't a dogmatic Nimrod pushing his knowldege on lesser beings. But listened and countered the arguments logically. From those who knew him personally what comes out is his encyclopediac knowledge of the subject and the differnt points of view and the fallacies on those views. Recall Kautilya's vast knowldege of politicial organization and the deficiencies.

As you can see the nuke issue was important to restore legitimacy as a first rank power. So long as nukes are there: You need test to show you have it (1974 & 1998). Next you have to be accepted as one by the others who have it (IUCNA). Whether India builds power plants or not it is now a legitimate nuke power and is accepted as such by the existing nuke powers. That is the power of the deal. He was clear on this and thus his support for it.

Next you see one has to have political stability and that is dependent on economic growth for no external power on earth, despite any grand strategy, can take apart India, once it has nukes in the hands of the military. In 1960s there were two major attempts to do this 1962 Chinese and the TSP double ops in 1965.

Afte the IUCNA deal its important to understand the next century is about the resource is information and knowledge. Knowledge after processing becomes information.

For this one needs IQ. By 2030 India will have 230M people with IQ >110. That is a population equal to the current population of US! In order to capitalise this, Indians have to believe in themselves and to do that they have to be well off. Recall AlBeruni's gripe about Indians! Hence his emphasis on economic growth.

The 1960s were a great decade for they shaped the world view of his two great helpers: KS Sunderji and AP Kalam who later rose to great heights.

KSS shaped the armed forces doctrine to think in these terms. APK delivered the wherewithal.

Some people fault KS for not writing books like Kenneth Walsh or other doctrinaires. He was a realist practioner and not a detached scholar. So no books of that genre.

There is a quote from Kautilya which to paraphrase says that "Ministers (Officials) who have to implement policies will be the most accurate in their assessments"*. He was verily true to that aphorism.

*Will get the exact one for nit pickers.
Here are his views on Hindu Dharma:

Hindu tradition is based not on acceptance of particular gods, dogmas, revelations and religious structures but on reverence for Dharma which is the rule of law and the ethics of the age. In the Hindu way of life there are no God- or Prophet-given laws. Dharma is not immutable but is liable to change to be in consonance with changing times - hence, the concept of yuga dharma. Today's ethics, formulated by the Constitution, is secularism - that is the yuga dharma. Violators of it cannot be considered Hindus; they can only be looked upon as enemies of the Hindu way of life.

The true Hindu way of life is in danger today but not from those who follow other religions. It is threatened by those who want to imitate others and abandon its essence, because they have misinterpreted it through the prism of dogmatic faiths. For those who assert "Brahmasmi'' and "Tattvamasi'', it does not matter if the temple at the birthplace of Rama comes up a few years or a few decades later, if it comes up at all. Why is Rama the most popular of all the nine avatars? Because he was a Maryada Purusha, who gave Ram Rajya (good governance) and defended Dharma (rule of law).

Rama cannot be venerated by those who transgress. Dharma by killing innocents. A way of life which highlights the birth and death cycle, allows one the freedom to worship God in any form or not to worship at all, proclaims the cosmic universality with its. Advaita cannot be reconciled with the killing of innocents. Dharma was killed in Gujarat (referring to the 2002 pogrom in that state). The administrators who failed to protect the innocent citizens are guilty of adharma and if Rama had been alive he would have used his 'Gandiva' against the 'asura' rulers of Gujarat.

The Hindu way of life will survive because it is the natural, free, inquiring way. The reverence for life, which is the essence of birth and death cycle, the worship of Ishta devatas and the ability to see God in all things living and non-living has to be restored. The temptation to imitate others by trying to straitjacket the free Hindu way of life into structural frameworks must be resisted. Dharma - the rule of law - must be restored Ram Rajya - good governance - should be established and nourished.

The Hindu way of life is not the same as accepting an organised religion. Therefore, this way of life can be propagated, cherished and practised without having to come into conflict with other religions. Comparing the Hindu way of life with other religions is like comparing apples and oranges. The Hindu way of life is the essence of secularism Its thought processes and philosophical reflections are meant to be observed privately; in public, Dharma, the rule of law, has to be respected Recently, the prime minister referred to two kinds of Hinduism - one of Vivekananda and the other of the self-styled "Hindu'' extremists.

The latter is in the same class as the extremist clergy of religions. There is no difference between those Hindu extremists and the fundamentalist clergy of semitic religions. Part of the problem is that the Hindu way of life has not been explained to our children as a secular way of life and that it is not the practising of a religion as understood elsewhere in the world.

The writer K SUBRAHMANYAM(January 19, 1929-February 2, 2011) was a strategic affairs analyst and consultant editor with the TOI. This article is abridged from `Dharma Was Killed In Gujarat Violence' published on April 4, 2002.

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