Geo-Strategy

The need for strong armed forces is an historical phenomenon when empires during ancient to medieval and modern times were compelled to maintain strong armed forces to achieve their goal of expanding their empires by capturing territories.

Today, this is achieved through various strategies by increasing economic power and strengthening defence. Countries also enter into treaties and alliances with other countries as part of their strategy to achieve their national goals.

The term geo-strategy is combination of the words geography and strategy. The subject matter of geography deals with describing earth in terms of its physical features, distribution of population, land use, economic resource of the country. Strategy on the other hand is a calculated plan of action to achieve goals of the state. This means that geographical factors are essential determinants of strategy.

There are many sub-fields of geography such as human geography, which deals with people and their community, economic geography dealing with location and distribution of economic activities and others. However, what we are concerned here is the strategic aspect of geography which is called geo-strategy. This sub-field of geography deals with controlling and accessing geographical areas or territories that affect security and well-being of a state. There are several geographical factors that impact strategy such as Land, Demography and Natural Resources.

Land

Land is defined in terms of physical geography or physiography. Possession of vast land or territory determines the power of a country. Every country has different land size, which are not uniformly distributed. Each country may have various land features such as hills, mountains, plains, deserts, rivers and forests. As far as India is concerned its physiography is divided into at least four aspects as follows:

  1. Mountains in the North particularly the Great Himalayan range and other lesser mountains such as Aravalli mountains in Rajasthan, the Vindhya mountains, Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, the Nilgiris or Blue mountains and others.

  2. Plains in the Northern India often called Indo-Gangetic plains.

  3. Plateau region of the South spreading from the Indo-Gangetic plain and covered by the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats on both sides. The Deccan plateau is the largest plateau in the whole country.

  4. The islands of India - the total coastline of India comprises of 7516 km. The coast of Gujarat in the Western part of India is the longest and the second longest is the coast line of Andhra Pradesh in the East. The Indian territorial limits include more than 200 islands including that of Andaman and Nicobar islands in the East of India and Lakshwadeep islands to the West of the country.

Demography & Culture

India is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. With more than 1.2 billion people it is the second largest populated country in the world, the first being China. Its total population is more than that of USA and Russia put together and more than the total population of the entire African continent. What are the advantages of population from a military perspective?

  • Firstly, they provide the manpower requirement of all three services of Indian military - the army, navy and air force along with the paramilitary forces. During emergency situations such manpower potential acts as strong reserves for the country.

  • Secondly, they are also a source of economic activity of country for agricultural, manufacturing and industrial production.

  • Thirdly, India has a large concentration of very young population. This is significant because young population adds to the work force of the country and contributes to the increase in economic development of the country.

The diversity of the country is another advantage for India because no other country in the world exhibits such variety of speech, written language, religious and social customs as India. The major religions of India are: Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Besides Hindus, Muslims and Christians, we have in our population Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. India is also home to large number of languages spoken.

These differences in religions, customs, languages and castes are because our people belong to different racial groups. These variations in land and demographic resources are used by humans in variety of ways to their advantage.