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Kautilya (317-293 B.C.

Strategizing Warfare and Diplomacy
Lecture 4 Syed Muhammad Ali NDU 2011

Kautilya: Key advisor to the Indian King Chandragupta Maurya (317-293 B.C.)
Authored Arthashastra, which dealt with science of Politics, intended to teach a wise king how to rule. .

Recognition ad relevance
Academic recognition: Max Weber, recognized as the principal architect of modern social science by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, described Arthashastra as one the greatest political books of the ancient world, calling it as truly radical Machiavellianism.

Diverse Practical Utility

Practitioners in various fields continue to follow Kautilyan ideas in various disciplines ranging from Indian diplomacy, geopolitical grand strategy, business intelligence, Indian Intelligence services strategy and tactics, leadership and management courses etc. In consonance with Kautilyas precepts, RAWs espionage doctrine is based on the principle of waging a continuous series of battles of intrigues and secret wars.

Relevance to Modern Statecraft, Policy and Strategy

Probably the first-ever academic proponent of Geopolitics, Kautilya dealt with various types of wars, diplomacy, alliances, treaties, intelligence, psychological warfare, propaganda and strategic communication, all of which continue to be relevant to modern strategy and particularly the contemporary South Asian geopolitical environment.

A leaders Manual in Realist Statecraft

Warfare Types of warfare World Conquest Diplomacy Alliances and adversaries Who and why? Treaties and international Agreements Role of Intelligence and Secret services Propaganda, Strategic Communications and Psychological warfare

Comparison with other Classical Realist thoughts


to it, Machiavellis The Prince is harmless.

Source: Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation, Cambridge, 1978, P.220

Realism without a parallel..

..his wish to have his king become a world conqueror, his evaluation of which kingdoms are natural allies and which are inevitable enemies, his willingness to make treaties that he knew he would break, his doctrine of silent war or a war of assassination and contrived revolt against an unsuspecting king, his approval of secret agents who killed enemy leaders and sowed discord among them, his view of women as weapons of war, his use of religion and superstition to bolster his troops and demoralize enemy soldiers, his employment of disinformation, and his humane treatment of conquered soldiers and subjects. Source: Roger Boesche, Kautilyas Arthasastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India, The Journal of Military History, 2003

Historical Background
Kautilya, key advisor to Indian King Chandragupta Maurya (c. 317293 B.C.E.), who defeated the Nanda kings, stopped the advance of Alexanders successors, and the rst to unite most of the Indian subcontinent in an empire. Kautilyasometimes called chancellor or prime minister to Chandragupta, composed his Artha s- astra, or science of politics, to show a wise king how to defeat his enemies and rule on behalf of the general good.

Use of Political assassination to gain power

Just after Alexanders death in 323 B.C.E., Chandragupta and Kautilya
began their conquest of India by stopping the Greek invaders. In this effort they assassinated two Greek governors, Nicanor and Philip.
The assassinations of the Greek governors, wrote Radha Kumud Mookerji, are not to be looked upon as mere accidents. By taking much of western India (the Punjab and the Sindh) from the Greeks and concluding a treaty with Seleucus (Alexander the Greats Greek heir to western India), Chandragupta and Kautilya succeeded in bringing together almost all of the Indian subcontinent and is now considered the rst unier of India and the rst emperor of India.

No substitute to hard Power

Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus to Chandraguptawrote that Chandraguptas army totaled about six hundred thousand infantry, thirty thousand calvalry, eight thousand chariots, and nine thousand elephants.
Source: Wolpert, A New History of India, 59; (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1966), 79.

Secularization of society
Essential instrument for Social-restructuring

Step1:Secularization Step 2: Nationalism Step 3: Ideology Step 4: Religion. Caste system: A political system defining ideology rather than vice versa.

Warfare: Means to creating a New Political Structure

The king, after conquering the world, should enjoy dividing it into varnas [classes/castes] Source: Kautilya, Arthasastra, 13.4.62: 491.

Ends justify the Means

Kautilyas Arthasastra - a book of political realism, a book analyzing how the political world does work and not very often stating how it ought to work, a book that frequently discloses to a king what calculated and sometimes brutal measures he must carry out to preserve the state and the common good

R. P. Kangle translates the word Arthasastra as science of politics, a treatise to help a king in the acquisition and protection of the earth. A. L. Basham says it is a treatise on polity, Kosambi emphasizes the economic importance of the word in calling it a science of material gain, G. P. Singh labels it a science of polity. Kautilya claimed to be putting forth what Heinrich Zimmer rightly calls as the timeless laws of politics, economy, diplomacy, and war. Source: Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophies of India(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967), 36.

Ethics of A Global Agenda

Rejection of Fate & separation of Religion & Politics
Because he was offering his readers a science with which they could master the world, Kautilya believed that having a passive stance toward the worldfor example, trusting in fate or relying on superstitionwas outlandish. One trusting in fate, noted Kautilya, being devoid of human endeavor, perishes. His philosophy called for action, not resignation: The object slips away from the foolish person, who continuously consults the stars; . . . what will the stars do? In urging the king to rely on science and not the precepts of religion, Kautilya separated political thought from religious speculation. Source: Sharma, Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, 265 66.

Psychological Warfare
Like Thomas Hobbes, Kautilya believed the goal of science was power. His statements Power is (possession of) strength and strength changes the mind show that Kautilya sought the power to control not only outward behavior, but also the thoughts of ones subjects and enemies.

Blending Soft Power and Hard Power

An arrow, discharged by an archer, may kill one person or may not kill even one person; but intellect operated by a wise man would kill even children in the womb.
Source: Kautilya, Arthasastra, 10.6.51: 453.

Politics is more important than wealth, armies and conquests

One who knows his science of politics can conquer the world, that one possessed of personal qualities, though ruling over a small territory . . . conversant with (the science of) politics, does conquer the entire earth, never loses.

Source: Kautilya, Artha sastra, 6.1.18: 317.

Peace and Imperialism

For Kautilya world conquest is the true foundation for world peace.

Source: Narasingha Prosad Sil, Political Morality vs. Political Necessity: Kautilya and Machiavelli Revisited, Journal of Asian History, 10142

Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Extensions of warfare

Power and Self-Interest maximizing nature of state. Morality & International obligations are irrelevant to national interests. War and peace only depend upon self-interest or conditions of advantage for the state Alliances depend upon strengths and weaknesses of state, not goodwill or moral obligations. Political, economic and military interests determine allies and enemies, which can change with changing interests. Humanitarian efforts are also based on self-interest

Reliance on neighbours is weakness

A leader not assuming a worst case scenario would be betraying his own people. A nation forced to rely on the kindness of neighboring states is weak and, unless it can change rapidly, doomed to destruction

Geopolitics: Mandala Theory of Foreign Policy

One with immediately proximate territory is the natural enemy. Immediate neighbors should be considered as enemies, but any state on the other side of a neighboring state is regarded as an ally, or, the enemy of my enemy is my friend With respect to the middle king [he himself], the third and the fth constituents are friendly elements. The second, the fourth, and the sixth are unfriendly elements.
Source: Kautilya, Arthasastra, 6.2.19: 318.

Foreign Policy: Conquer or be conquered Diplomacy: War by non-violent means. A non-violent strategy used in the prolonged warfare that was either always occurring or being planned for. Alliance Strategy: All allies are future conquests, when the time is ripe.

Blending both Soft & Hard power to target the will of the adversary
A neighboring prince possessed of the excellences of an enemy is the foe; one in calamity is vulnerable; one without support or with weak support is t to be exterminated; in the reverse case, t to be harassed or weakened. These are the different types of enemies. When Kautilya wrote of exterminating an enemy, he meant killing only the leaders. As we will see in more detail later, he thought the best policy toward ordinary soldiers and subjects was to treat them well.

Preventing Balance of Power

In case the gains of two are equal, there should be peace; if unequal, ght,

Expecting Justice The Ultimate Sign of Weakness

Ineffectiveness of moral considerations in asymmetry of power Speaking of justice to an enemy about to conquer is the last tactic of the weak Accept treaty and use moral arguments Abhorrence of war Psychological tactics, bravery of men etc.

Is Peace possible between India & Pakistan?

Whereas these balance of power theorists suggest that a nation arm itself so that it can ensure peace, Kautilya wanted his king to arm the nation in order to nd or create a weakness in the enemy and conquer, even to conquer the world, or at least the subcontinent of India.

War is the natural phenomenon among states, only difference is in types and dimensions due to differences in capabilities
Weaken the powerful Conquer the weak If weaker yourself, make treaty Once stronger, breach treaty and destroy your enemy If equal in strength, avoid war and instead use diplomacy, psychological warfare, propaganda, agents, women to create disunity and moral weaknesses among the adversary to make it weaker than yourself, then destroy it.

Role of intelligence Agents

Gather information regarding weaknesses, vulnerabilities, personal lives of leaders, their relationships, likes/ dislikes etc Identify societal differences and exploit them to create disunity among enemy state Divide the allies of adversary, to weaken and isolate him Identify unhappy elements against opposing leader Incite enraged, frightened, greedy and proud elements, cultivate them and use them against their own state Influence the greedy through gifts Use of women, cooks, artists, astrologers, assassins, poison givers as agents Influence the non-greedy through dissention and force Use of Rumors

Weaken your neighbours and make his adversary your dependent

Kautilya also sought to take a nation trying to remain neutral or indifferent and secretly provoke war between that nation and a neighboring kingdom, until the neutral nation sought his help. Then Kautilyas king could place him under (his) obligations. Kautilya himself had no moral qualms about breaking obligations or trust: That ally who might do harm or who, though capable, would not help in times of trouble, he should exterminate him, when trustingly, he comes within his reach.

Foreign policy: Extension of Wars

Foreign policy is just an extension of a nations wars, and the goal of foreign policy is not to end wars, but rather to ward off defeats and to make sure one is successful in subsequent warfare. For Kautilya, all ambassadors were potential spies with diplomatic immunity. He wrote an entire section about how to ght with the weapon of diplomacy.

Rural Areas: Source of strength

While urban areas are rich, educated and developed, they are also more vulnerable and less patriotic during War Bravery, Firmness, cleverness and numerical strength all comes from the rural countryside. Proposed Homogeneous Army (e.g; Ethnicity, caste and profession) Heriditary troops better than hired troops

Military Affairs
Leader should keep a close watch on his own military Counter-Intelligence Monitoring loyalty of soldiers and officers to prevent coups Generosity towards the defeated armies Assassination, a better strategy than War Role of religion in Disinformation campaigns

Types of War
Open War Conventional War Concealed War LIC/ Civil War Silent War -Silent war is a kind of warfare with another kingdom in which the king and his ministersand unknowingly, the peopleall act publicly as if they were at peace with the opposing kingdom, but all the while secret agents and spies are assassinating important leaders in the other kingdom, creating divisions among key ministers and classes, and spreading propaganda and disinformation.

Three Modes of fighting

According to Kautilya, Open war is ghting at the place and time indicated; creating fright, sudden assault. Striking when there is error or a calamity or revolt, giving way and striking in one place, are types of concealed warfare; (1971) Secret practices and instigations through secret agents is the mark of silent war. (CBM of cultural, journalists, artists exchanges/Psy Ops/ Public Diplomacy/Strategic Communications through Star Plus, Cartoons etc targeting the vulnerable segments of society, ladies and children)

How can we Defend Pakistan beyond the realm of Conventional Conflict

Whenever an enemy king is in trouble, and his subjects are exploited, oppressed, impoverished and disunited, he should be immediately attacked after one proclamation of war.
Source: Rajendra Prasad, Politico-Geographical Analysis of the Arthashastra (New Delhi: Inter-India Publications, 1989), 5860

The Indian Imperialist agenda

Every adjacent kingdom should be looked upon as an enemy. If a kingdom is strong, Kautilya called it a foe; if a kingdom is suffering calamity, then it is vulnerable; if a kingdom has weak or no popular support, then it is t to be exterminated. Even if one cannot attack a strong neighbor or foe, one can harass it silently and weaken it over time. What Kautilya called an enemy t to be exterminated was an enemy with little or no popular support, an enemy whose subjects quite likely would desert to Kautilyas attacking army. Kautilya argued, that imperial expansion was the correct goal: After conquering the enemys territory, the conqueror should seek to seize the middle king, after succeeding over him, the neutral king. This is the rst method of conquering the world. . . . And after conquering the world he should enjoy it divided into varnas

Intelligence and covert means of statecraft Chemical weapons programme Political Assassinations Psychological Warfare, propaganda, public diplomacy and rumors Diplomacy Coercive and defensive Foreign Assistance Geo-politics Guerrilla Warfare Regime changes, revolts and political instability

Kautilyas Relevance to 21st century statecraft and modern strategy