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Chameleon Wars: An Indian Perspective on The Changing Character of War

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Chameleon Wars: An Indian Perspective on The Changing Character of War

Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd)

Since independence from colonial rule in 1947, India's armed forces have played an important role in preserving the fabric of a secular, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation-state that many predicted would not survive for long. After the US and Israel, no other democracy in the post WW-II era has had to employ force as a tool of statecraft that has spread across multiple genres of warfare that have ranged from conventional conflict in varied terrain under a nuclear overhang, to varied hues of sub-conventional conflict. In such a milieu, it is imperative to investigate and analyse the contemporary 'Indian Way of War Fighting' from a strategic and applied historical perspective.

Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd) is a fighter pilot-scholar-author who recently retired from the Indian Air Force after 36 years in uniform. He is an experienced fighter pilot and pilot instructor who has flown MiG-21s and Mirage-2000s. Among his notable command and staff assignments have been command of a Mig-21 squadron, Chief Operations Officer of a SU-30 base, command of large flying base and a stint as an Assistant Chief of Air Staff looking after Space, Concepts and Doctrine. He has been at the forefront of Professional Military Education in India’s armed forces and served as a faculty member at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) and National Defence College (NDC). He has also served as part of the Indian Military Advisory Team in Zambia.

 A P.h.D in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, India, he is a prolific writer, strategic commentator, and military historian and writes in the public domain for reputed journals, magazines and newspapers. He is the author of three books including the well-received ‘India’s Wars: A Military History 1947-1971’ that has been published in India by Harper Collins and has been recently published in the US by the US Naval Institute Press. His other books are titled ‘Reflections of an Air Warrior’ and ‘Wider Horizons: Perspectives on National Security, Air Power & Leadership.

He was a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Asia Center to research and write the sequel to his book on war and conflict in contemporary India (1972-2015). He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Power Studies in Washington D.C, and a contributing editor at The Print, an online news and opinion platform. On his current sabbatical, he has lectured at Harvard, MIT, Georgetown, Emory, Georgia Tech, Air War College, NDU and the Carnegie Endowment and is slated to speak extensively on his work at war colleges and universities across the US prior to joining the CCW in January 2018 for the Hilary and Trinity Term. 

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