This paper examines jointness within the Indian armed forces. The main argument is that the structural pattern of civil-military relations, conceptually described as an ‘absent dialogue’ inhibits jointness. This is primarily because of two factors—civilians hindered by a lack of expertise and tradition do not impose jointness. In turn, the Services enjoy considerable autonomy and driven by bureaucratic politics are unable to come to a mutually acceptable solution. This argument is made by examining jointness in the major wars fought post-independence. A larger significance of the paper lies in arguing that in addition to path-dependency and bureaucratic politics, civil-military relations is an explanatory factor in explaining jointness.
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