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Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Vasantha R. Raghavan is one of India’s leading military strategic thinkers. He served in the Indian Army for thirty seven years and retired as the Director General of Military Operations in 1994. After retirement from the Army he has written several books and is currently the Director of the Delhi Policy Group and President of the Centre for Security Analysis, Chennai.

Military career[]

General Raghavan was commissioned in the Punjab Regiment in 1957. He graduated in 1968 from the Royal Military College of Science and the Army Staff College in the UK. He was the Commanding General in the Siachen and Kargil sectors during some of the intense combat actions in the area. He was closely involved in the formulation of the Sino-Indian accord on maintaining peace on the borders and in the series of negotiations with Pakistan on the Siachen dispute. As Director General of Military Operations, he made a significant contribution to strategic planning and field force management of the army. He was awarded the PVSM, UYSM, and AVSM honours by the Government of India.

Strategic Thinker[]

Gen. Raghavan has written four books which have become essential reading in military colleges:

  • By the Land and Sea: A History of the Punjab Regiment;
  • India’s Need for Strategic Balance;
  • Infantry in India;
  • Siachen: Conflict Without End.

Other than this he has also edited many books :

  • Internal Conflicts in Myanmar
  • Nuclear Disarmament - India-EU Perspective
  • Internal Conflicts in Nepal- Transnational Consequences
  • The Naxal Threat: Causes, State Responses and Consequence
  • Conflict in Sri Lanka: Internal and External Consequences
  • Conflicts in the Northeast: Internal and External Effects, jointly edited with Sanjoy Hazarika
  • Jammu and Kashmir - Impact on Polity, Society and Economy
  • Post Conflict Sri Lanka - Rebuilding of Society

In his book on the Siachen conflict, which is regarded as the definitive work on the subject, he notes that neither India nor Pakistan gains a strategic advantage from the occupation of the Saltoro range and offers a road map for conflict resolution.[1] He has also edited more than a dozen other books besides writing numerous articles on strategic issues relating to India’s security. His piece on Limited War and Nuclear Escalation in South Asia in The Nonproliferation Review in 2001 concluded that there was a high probability of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan in the event of a direct military conflict between the two countries.[2] Gen. Raghavan was a Commissioner on the independent Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction set up at the initiative of the Government of Sweden and headed by Dr. Hans Blix. The Commission released a report titled Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms in 2006, which was notable for proposing that nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons be outlawed and exploring the options for achieving this within a reasonable timeframe.[3]

He was also a Member of the Government of India Review Committee to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which had been opposed in Manipur and other parts of Northeast India. Although the government has not made the report of the Committee submitted in 2005 public, it has been reported that the panel recommended that the Act be repealed. Gen. Raghavan has consistently argued that security should be viewed in terms of human security in societal, environmental, economic, and political terms instead of the narrow military perspective.

See also[]

External links[]


  1. V.R.Raghavan, Siachen: Conflict Without End, Viking, New Delhi, 2002
  2. V.R.Raghavan, "Limited War and Nuclear Escalation in South Asia," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001
  3. Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, final report, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms, Stockholm, Sweden, 1 June 2006

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