Kupriyanov Alexey
Maritime Regionalism as a Response to a Strategic Challenge: the Legacy of K.M. Panikkar’s Theory
Publication Type:


ISSN 0869-1908

DOI 10.31857/S086919080014925-4

In recent years, there is a growing interest in the legacy of Kavalam Madhava Panikkar, a scientist, diplomat and naval theorist, who is sometimes called the "Indian Mahan" and "the father of the Indian Navy". K.M. Panikkar was one of the first scholars to try to propose a naval strategy for an independent India. This article is devoted to the analysis of the books and articles of Panikkar, written in 1943-46, and of the evolution of his views on naval strategy. The author claims that Panikkar, on the basis of his historical research, came to the conclusion that India needs a powerful Navy. Being a follower of Mahan, Panikkar believed that the problem of protecting India could be solved by establishing control over the Indian Ocean. He tried to propose an alliance with Great Britain and the creation of a regional security organization. At the same time, Panikkar believed that the strategic interests in Britain would not allow her to leave the region; it will be forced to seek an alliance with the strongest regional power, i.e. India. A significant role in the development of this concept was played by British officials, who tried to create a pool of Indian intelligentsia loyal to the British and supported Panikkar's historical and strategic research. The article analyzes the reasons for the failure of Panikkar's initiatives but concludes that his theoretical constructs are of independent value, and the interest in his works, which has increased in India in recent years, requires their careful analysis.


Keywords: India | Indian Ocean | Panikkar | naval strategy | Mahan | navy | Olaf Caroe | Leo Amery |

Russian Science Citation Index



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