File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Contribution Of Chanakya In Indian Foreign Policy

Following the subcontinent's decolonization, India's behavior in the international community has been quite different, and it is worth scholarly investigation in terms of foreign policy analysis. During the Cold War, India joined the Non-Aligned Movement, considered itself a great power, and demanded a permanent seat in the United Nations.

These policies entice scholars to conduct in-depth analyses of India's post-1947 discourse, which appears to be heavily influenced by Kautilya's philosophy. This paper will look at the impact of Chanakya Kautailya's philosophy on India's current foreign policy. Content analysis of six foreign policy techniques from Kautilya's book Arthashastra was used as a research methodology.

The realism theoretical paradigm is a good fit for understanding this research phenomenon. Previous research indicates that Kautilya's philosophy has always had an impact on Indian foreign policy. This paper investigates Kautilya's various foreign policy philosophies and their application in India's current foreign policy.

Foreign policy is the government's strategy for dealing with other countries. In other words, exchanges with other nations should follow the government's correct procedure and guidelines. The government plays an important role in policymaking because it must be done with extreme caution; a minor error can result in a massive loss to the nation. Keeping this in mind, I've chosen six aspects of Chanakya's foreign policy to demonstrate how effectively we can apply them in various situations.

The teachings of Chanakya comprised a broad range of subjects such as political science, economics, and foreign policy whereby he specifies various aspects of the qualities of rulers, the administration of the state, social pearls of wisdom, and religion, which, therefore, rendered him as Pandit Kautilya (Goswami, 2013).

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya and Vishnugupta, was a famous Indian philosopher and strategic thinker who was responsible for the fall of the last ruler of the Nanda Dynasty and the enthronement of Chandragupta Maurya, the first Indian Emperor known as the Mauryan Empire (Subramanian, 1980).

He belonged to the Brahmin caste and lived between 350 and 275 B.C. Because there is less information available on Chanakya's biographical history, one must rely primarily on tradition and Buddhist and Jain texts from later periods. Similarly, Chanakya's birthplace is debatable. Tika Mahavasma, a Buddhist worker, mentioned Tashasila (Taxila) as his birthplace, whereas Hemachandra, a Jain writer, mentioned "Abhidhanachintamani" in his book. Chanakya, Chanaka's son, was a Dramila, a local.

There is another version where the name is derived from the name of Chanakya his native land (a place called Chanakya in Punjab). In brief, several places are mentioned as his birthplace, but a solid show of respect is shown regarding his birthplace, which other historians agreed on since "the campaigns of Alexander were predominantly in Punjab and Plutarch records that Alexander had met Chandragupta in his youth during their campaigns, it would be safer to accept the Takshsila (Taxila) in Punjab as the hometown of Chanakya, where he and Chandragupta spent several years together".

So obviously Taxila is more accepted as his birthplace, and also the answer to the question that many people argued Chanakya is fact or myth? Another answer to this question is that Chanakya and Kautilya are the same person, as has been universally accepted by historians. As mentioned above in the Mauryan Empire, also called the Indian Empire, Chandragupta was the king of this dynasty, and son of Chanaka was a Dramila, a resident of South India (Subramanian, 1980).

There is another version where the name derived from the name Chanakya his native land (a place called Chanakya in Punjab). In brief several places mentioned as his birthplace, but a solid show with respect regarding his birthplace which other historian agreed on that "since the campaigns of Alexander were predominantly in Punjab and Plutarch records that Alexander had met Chandragupta in his youth during their campaigns, it would be safer to accept the Takshsila (Taxila) in Punjab was the hometown of Chanakya, where he and Chandragupta spent several years together".

So obviously Taxila is more accepted as his birthplace, and also the answer to the question that many people argued Chanakya is fact or myth? Another answer to this question is that Chanakya and Kautilya are the ones and the same person has been universally accepted by historians. As mentioned above the Mauryan Empire also called Indian Empire, Chandragupta was the king of this Dynasty and a Chanakya was his advisor, he also played an imported role in the establishment of this empire.

Because of his ideas and strategies, this empire was able to succeed against the forces of Great Alexander (Singh, 2016). There is an interesting story about the first meeting of Chanakya with Chanadargupta Maurya mentioned in the book 'Maxims of Kautilya by V. K. Subramanian, this meeting was the cause of their collaboration and the chapter of power in the Indian history (Subramanian, 1980).

One day when Chadargupta was fired from the Nanda army walking through the woods there was a Brahmin pour sugar syrup into the roots of kusa grass rendered curious, Chandragupta asked to him the basis of his action, he (Chanakya) replied "this kusa grass hit my leg, I, therefore, intend to destroy pouring sugar syrup, I am doing the root of sweet grass. As a result, thousands of ants will be attracted to him.

These ants chew and destroy the root and grass. As he spoke, ants began to collecting and an army of ants around the root of the kusa grass which hit the chanakya leg, grass-finished within few minutes. This the behavior against the enemies adopted by Kautilya. Chandragupta bowed before him and requested him for help against Nanda.

He agreed, and because of him, the Maurain Empire raised and became more powerful. Kautilya was a king advisor, professor, strategic thinker, and writer. He wrote Arthashastra and this text divided into fifteen books on different topics like administration, law, and order, taxation, revenue, expenditure, foreign policy, defense, and war. This paper emphasizes on the foreign policy mostly founded on books seven, eleven, and twelve.

This research paper focuses on economic aggression by India against Pakistan using an arms race, impediments to trade, and efforts to restrict infrastructure development and resource mobilization, which damages Pakistan's economy. This paper explores the various philosophies of Chanakya regarding foreign policy and studies their implementation in the current foreign policy of India.

Significance of Chanakya Philosophy:

Chanakya was also called Indian Machiavelli particularly in the 20th century when India got independence. Jawaharlal Nehru writes in his "Discovery of India" Chanakya has been called the Indian Machiavelli and to some extent, the comparison is justified. And it is true because a lot of chanakya's thought resemblance with the philosophy of realism.

He says "One should save his money against hard times, and save his wife at the sacrifice of his riches but invariably one should save his soul even at the sacrifice of his wife and riches" (Davis, 2014). The state is like a soul for saving her put everything on behinds and just secure it means the state is the main actor as realism says. And another place he says "There is some self-interest behind every friendship.

There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth' it is also the same with the key assumption of realism that self-interest when states interact with each other there is always self-interest behind this action. Machiavelli, he wrote "Prince " which he described the qualities of ruler and way of governing, in contrast, Chanakya wrote "Arthashastra" and called by people kingmaker like Machiavelli (Pillalamarri, 2015).

He says "If the ruler is righteous, people are righteous, if they are sinners, people are also sinners, as a ruler, like people". Like this his text full of wisdom and other intellectual quotes. Another thing regarding his strategies Henry Kissinger refers to the ancient Indian treatise, the Arthashastra, a work that details the power requirements, which is the dominant reality in politics. For Kissinger, the Arthashastra contained a realistic view of politics long before the Prince which Kissinger deems "a combination of Machiavelli and Clausewitz".

The purpose of the referencing is that work on Chanakya,s philosophy not done by just Indians but also adopted by western writers. As mentioned above this paper will focus on the philosophy of Chanakya regarding foreign policy and its implementation on current Indian policy. In the era of Chanakya Kautilya when the Mauryan Empire was on the peak of power, there was created a situation resemblance of Westphalia like many states situated here and there around the Mauryan Empire.

"Chanakya introduced by seeing the situation a term "rajamandala" its mean circle of states, according to this term hostile states those that border the ruler's state, forming a circle around it. In turn, the states surrounding this set of hostile states form another circle around the circle of hostile states (Jindal, 2019). This second circle of states can be regarded as natural allies of the ruler's state against the hostile states that lie between them" (Jindal, 2019). In easy words as Chanakya says "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Elements of this logic are found in India's foreign policy today, which sees states such as Japan and Afghanistan as natural allies against China and PakistanTheoretical Framework Realism is the most dominant theory in the discipline of global politics. The main assumption of this theory is that the system of the states is anarchical with the absence of higher authority to check and balance, in this case, security and survival of the state is only responsibility on the state itself (Falode, 2009).

According to this theory states only act on the bases of their interests (MCGLINCHEY, 2017) and this study shows that Indian foreign policy is based on only selfinterest without any concerned about other countries.

Chanakya's Foreign Policy Methods:

The main analytical part of paper starting now which will be a focus on chanakyas sixfold foreign policy, ways of war and its implementations on current Indian foreign policy (Shamasastry, 1995).

Chanakya offered in the "Arthashastra" six ways of foreign policymaking, which will be discussed in the paper one by one.
  1. Samdhi: peacemaking
  2. Vigraha: waging war
  3. Asana: doing nothing
  4. Yana: preparing for war
  5. Samsraya: seeking protection
  6.  Dvaidhibhave: dual policy

Three ways of war:
  1. Declare war
  2. Secret war
  3. Undeclared war Samdhi; Making peace,
According to Chanakya state should enter an agreement with the specific condition for some time. This method is used when a state is in relative decline as compared to other states. For example, states fought against Napoleon to enter various collations with him due to their defeat but this agreement ended after Waterloo. Kautilya says "the only time a king will make peace is when he found himself in relative decline compared to his enemy".

This method applied by India when she defeated by China in 1962, she realized that we cannot defeat China, so she established peace with China". And by adopting another policy have a good relation with Japan, and Japan is a rival of China. It means peace with China for a limited time but it's another debate that this time going on prolongs. This is a clear indication of Kautilya's six-fold policy.

India is still following chanakyaa's policies to safeguard their interest and defeat their enemies (Khattak, 2011) Vigraha means waging war: This strategy occurs when a state is more strengthen in power capabilities than another state and can easily defeat through military, tactics, or internal conditions in the country of the enemy. Chanakya says "when a king in a superior position as compared to his enemy, he will attack and wage war" (Shamasastry, 1995). King should observe the condition of enemy state internally and externally both and when he realized this state can be easily defeated by my army, he should take action and wage war.

Present Situation:
This kind of behavior seen in India's policy when she tried several times waging war against Pakistan due to large military strength and other powerful capabilities. Since the few past decades, India and Pakistan nearly waged war due to a major crisis of Brass Tacks (Khattak, 2011). India accelerated Brass tacks exercise, the largest military maneuvers in the history of South Asia. A tense situation developed across the borders but at last, great powers got involved and the threat of the nuclear escalation was sidelined.

The terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, a clear prediction that both countries may go to war against each other as India claimed that Pakistan is responsible for this attack and deemed it as a threat to their sovereignty. As a result, India deployed approximately 8, 00,000 troops, two-strike corps and heavy arms on its western border but because of the credible nuclear deterrence, the war did not occur (Bender, 2013) Asana, doing nothing or neutrality, is a strategy used where there is no benefit either war or peacemaking.

When a state faced this kind of situation she should be isolated or made a peace agreement. chanakya says "if a king feels that his enemy and he are equal and neither can harm the other nor ruin the other's undertakings, then he shall choose to do nothing" (Shamasastry, 1995). It can be a long wait for a state that when she able to do something? for example in near past decades, the conflict between Pakistan and India particularly the 1987 Brass tacks and 2001 Mumbai attacks, India realized at this time not possible to win against Pakistan because of the nuclear deterrence, she decides to do nothing Nehru also a result of Kautilya's thought.

He said we are not part of any power, because he realized benefit and harm are equal in this situation he decided to do nothing. Yana, means preparing for war or marching and is a method about the construction of military capabilities of the country, and tried to use any sources which lead towards the defeat of the enemy. If the country not prepared itself for war, the enemy can get the benefit and destroyed this state. chanakya says "when a king increases his power and has a special advantage over his enemy" (Proportion, 1995). Increase the power of state ultimately a fear builds up over the enemies, and enemy state could not able to attack it.

India's current situation shows this kind of behavior, one can easily evaluate India following Kautilya's policy today. "It is expected that defense spending in India to increase as it pursues a modernization process. Currently, it is estimated that India only spends $46 billion on the military from its budget, and have desired to become the fourth largest investor in 2020 (Bender, 2013). It is the largest importer of military products.

India has ballistic missiles with the range capable of reaching all over Pakistan and almost of China". Although in the history a conflict had been between China and India, this strategy adopted for Pakistan due to the dominance of conflicts between the countries. (Khattak, 2011) Samsraya means protection or alliances. In contrast to preparing war, this policy emphasized that if the circle of states has a most powerful state, so ally with it for protection of own security. Chanakya says:
"a king seeking an alliance must ensure that he finds a king more powerful than the neighboring enemy" (Shamasastry, 1995) India workingactively on this strategy and making alliances with the powerful state of the world to ensure its security, due to alliances India save from sides, powerful states and neighboring countries.

India had been made alliances in the past with US, Russia, France, Israel, and Japan, these alliances are not only the bases of signs or pacts she also doing with these countries arms trade, nuclear deals, and space programs.

The purpose behind it to undermines Pakistan's national security interests in the region (Khattak, 2011). Dvaidhibhava meaning the dual policy is a strategy that is used to addresses several states at once, by joining some states together with the state itself to form an alliance to fight enemy states.

It is making peace with one state while waging war with the other. Kautilya says "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" (Davis, 2014), after the bad defeat against China, India stopped the war and make peace with China but also good relation with Japan who is the rival of China. Chanakya says "Separation from the wife, disgrace from one's people, and an enemy saved in battle, serservice to a wicked king, and mismanaged assembly, these all kinds of evil, if afflicting a person burn him even without fire" (Proportion, 1995). The enemy who survived from the battle it is a cause of misery for the Indians; they are burning in a fire of revenge and trying to make possibilities to degrade China.

Another example of this policy India entered in relations with Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is an old rival of Pakistan, so India makes peace with Afghanistan and trying to make the critical situation in Pakistan through it.

Kautilya also described the ways of war and noteworthy India almost following these methods of war. First is "Open War "its mean declared war and attacked openly, India openly attacked Pakistan in 1965 and onward. The second is" secret war "which means sudden attack, terrorize from one side and attack from the other side. India through Afghanistan making the worthless situation for Pakistan in Fata, Baluchistan and other tribal areas and on the other hand, making the critical situation on the eastern border, so Pakistan facing threats from both sides.

The third is "undeclared war" through the agencies, secret services, religious and women. India's involvement in Baluchistan in Pakistan, supporting Hindu Tamils in Srilanka, supporting Maoists Separatists in Nepal and supporting Shanti Bahini in Bangladesh, these are the result of Chanakya,s policies which are adopting by India. This policy also called the aggressive expansionist concept which founded on Chanakya's lessons.

These are some policies from Chanakya's work, he also worked on other matters of the state like administrations, law and order and economy. This paper tried to examine those policies related to the foreign policy of the state. In this era, India still follows the philosophy of Chanakya Kautilya as a role model. The time has been changed, a lot of brilliant philosophers passed away before a few centuries, they gave new rules and lessons for the generations.

Why India still following him, the answer is simple as every nation has its historians and philosopher and they want to follow them but this nation has no power to do that. When India got freedom from the British Empire, she remembered her forefathers and dedicated freedom to them. After decolonization, India immediately behaved differently in comparison with PakistanIndians were greatly inspired by the philosophy and preaching of Kautilya.

With time, India has included Chanakya's philosophy in its domestic and international policies as per the requirements of the circumstances. His policies were not only adopted by Indians rather by westerners as well. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Treasury during Roosevelt's regime, in his book "World Order" made a comparison between Kautilya, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz.

And he pointed out some important theories from the Arthashatra related to new world order like international system theory, realism, and classical realism. It is the result of the behavior of India which created curiosity in the mind of western, they compel into know that which person or philosophy followed by India. When they came to know about Kautilya, ultimately they started work on him and pointed out some new knowledge.

Arthashastra and some versions of this book translated into English and Indian writers also wrote a replica of Kautilya's studies in English. One cannot criticize Indians why the state is adopting these kinds of policies based on realistic behavior, every state has the right to adopt any kind of policy which is good for its interest. Other regional countries should come up with smart foreign policies to tackle India.

Reference Article:
  • Bender, J. (2013). The 11 Most Powerful Militaries In The World. Electronic copy available at:
  • Davis, M. (2014). Chanaky Niti -Shastra . Falode, A. (2009).
  • The Theoretical Foundation of Realism.
  • Lagos State University. Goswami, D. K. (2013).
  • Chanakya and Chandra-gupta Maurya : The affair of a companionship.
  • Jagannath University - Bangladesh. Jindal, N. (2019).
  • Relevance of Kautilya in Contemporary International System
  • International Journal of Historical Insight and Research (IJHIR). Khattak, M.-U.-R. (2011).
  • Indian Strategic Thinking: A Reflection Of Kautilya's Six Fold Policy � Analysis. Eurasia Review Journal & Think Tank. MCGLINCHEY, S. (2017).
  • International Relations Theory. Bristol, England.
  • Pillalamarri, A. (2015, 1 19). Chanakya: India's Truly Radical Machiavelli.
  • Central & South Asia'. Proportion, P. A. (1995).
  • Percent: A Privileged Proportion.
  • Review of Educational Research. Shamasastry, R. (1995). Kautilya's Arthashastra. Singh, B. (2016).
  • India's Neighbourhood Policy: Geopolitical Fault Line of Its Nepal Policy in the Post-2015
  • Constitution. Subramanian, V. K. (1980). Maxims of Chanakya.

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly