Naval War College Review


Nearly forty years after Independence and amidst the largest expansion in its history, the Indian Navy still struggles to promote the belief that India’s political grandeur has always been inextricably linked with its status as a thalassocracy. Indeed, most Indian navalists, irked by the continental outlook of the last two millennia, not only emphasize the decisive role sea power played in the European conquest of the subcontinent during the Columbian era, hut also wistfully reminisce about lost glories of an ancient Indian naval tradition where an early invocation (ca. 2500-1500 B.C.)-"Do thou whose countenance is turned to all sides send off our adversaries, as if in a ship to the opposite shores: do convey us in a ship across the sea for our welfare" (Rig Veda 1, 97, 7 and 8)-is often adduced to buttress their claim of a long, proud, and antiquarian maritime lineage.