British and Indian Perspectives on the Higher Management of Defence
Many governments around the world are restructuring their armed forces and associated headquarters. The drivers for these reforms are many, but they differ from country to country. This paper considers two examples: the United Kingdom and India.
A number of commentaries have been written about the defence reform processes in both countries. This paper, which is based on a comparative analysis of the experience of how defence establishments in the UK and India are functioning, and of previous and current attempts at defence reform, is cognisant of the significant differences between the countries – geopolitically, in terms of the threats faced and type of operations undertaken, and the scale of the armed forces in each country – and of the fact that there is no one model for the management of defence.
Those involved in defence reform have noted themselves that they ‘sought to find the right solution for the particular set of challenges faced by defence today; and also to recognise that those challenges will change, and the model therefore needs to be lean and agile such that it can continually improve and adapt to changing circumstances’.
Nonetheless, during dialogues between the UK and India on defence reform, a number of common enablers for successful reform and the generation of defence outputs were recognised, and a significant number of opportunities for greater UK-India collaboration and sharing of best practice were identified. This paper explores these findings.
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Mark Phillips is an Associate Fellow of RUSI. He was previously research fellow for military and intelligence at RUSI. Prior to joining RUSI, Mark was chief of staff to Baroness Neville-Jones during her time as shadow security minister and national security adviser to the leader of the opposition and, after the 2010 general election.
Anit Mukherjee is a Research Fellow of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.