Thursday, 22 September 2022 India’s Journey to #NewIndia: Through an Ashokan Lens In memory of Mother, who worried about India’s future Preface India is being hauled through ‘interesting times’ by the regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Its political dominance and its capacity for abuse of power being such, there is little pushback. Therefore, the regime is publicly unfolding its plan for the remaking India into a Hindu Rashtra without facing any discordant notes. Hindutva dominance of political culture has implications for strategic culture. The muscular image of New India is belied by India’s rather timid response to the challenge of China. Strategic culture is not quite what it’s made out to be by regime apologists. The finding on these pages is that India’s war avoidance strategy - amounting to appeasement - springs not from strategic factors – as asymmetry in comprehensive national power as some might have it – but a political need not to rock the ship of State as it transits from New India to Hindu Rashtra. Consolidation of Hindutva is sought, otherwise liable to be truncated by strategic setback. Therefore, the regime’s grand strategy is introspective. It is driven not by national interest conventionally defined but by Hindutva taken as the national interest. Thus, India’s strategy prongs – such as its military’s posturing, nuclear deterrence, approach to Kashmir and towards its largest minority - must be seen accordingly. The implications for the military of this political shift have been dealt with piecemeal in strategic commentary. The Agnipath scheme, the beginnings of a cultural reset and leaving the Services rudderless show how Hindutva is whittling the military. To the regime, the military’s organisational cultural tumult is future insurance against a military pushback provoked by a Constitutional coup ushering in a Second – Hindutva-inspired - Republic. The year has provided a turbulent backdrop in the thrust for a reshaping of the West ordained ‘world order’ by Russia, aligned with China. India has used the distraction of a conventional war in Europe - and the renewed global appreciation of its geo-strategic location - for its ends: limiting attention to its journey towards being an ethnic quasi-democracy. These aspects of the strategic scene are captured in respective parts in this e-book: political, grand strategy, strategy, military sociology, Muslim India and global affairs. Over the past six months (March-September 2022), the 35 commentaries here figured as Substack posts on Ali’s Version. Collectively, they constitute a liberal critique of India’s journey to Hindu Rashtra.