The Indian military and environmental affairs: an analysis through the lens of military change

Type: Article

Description: In India, issues related to environmental governance have not been aligned to the military’s objectives except in a few cases. Since environmental change has not been recognised as a critical 'security' issue yet in India, there is a reluctance on the part of the security establishment, including the military, to deal with it on an urgent basis. 

The question of why the armed forces should be trained to undertake environmental activities when their primary duty is to defend the country against external aggression assumes significance as it is largely believed that if they are trained for the former, their primary functions could suffer and territorial integrity of the nation could be threatened. Other impediments to institutionalisation include the complex relations between the civil and military establishments; constitutional and legal status of the Indian armed forces that is not uniformly enshrined or recognised; and their societal status that still comes under constant scrutiny, leading to a wedge between the military and civilian domains. 

In this context, the article attempts to identify the doctrinal and policy dimensions of the Indian military’s role in environmental affairs as well as the factors that influence formal institutionalisation.

Author(s): Dhanasree Jayaram

Published in: Contemporary South Asia Vol. 28, Issue 3

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Date: 11 June 2020

Pages: 15

Publication Page:


  • Vulnerability
  • Capacity Building
  • National Security