Date: Jul 12, 2023
National Security Dialogues | What is Comprehensive National Power? The Case of China

This event is part of the series "National Security Dialogues," a new monthly feature of the Strategic Studies Programme. The dialogues aim to engage debate and discussion on the myriad aspects of India's national security landscape.

Measuring power is an important exercise for those who keep track of other countries. It gives a clear idea of your own strength and that of your adversary. There have been many formulae and ideas on how to go about this and people have devised a variety of indices to project this. Commonly we look at GDP, energy usage, steel production and so on. But as everyone knows, there are also those that are immeasurable such as national will, national cohesion, and sense of purpose.

The notion of Comprehensive National Power evolved in China and came into prominence in the 1980s when the Chinese were beginning their march to economic and military success. China has sought to use the CNP concept as part of its grand strategy and its shifts have been occasioned by perceptions relating to a particular stage of its CNP. China has displayed considerable growth in various aspects of its CNP, ranging from basic resources to science and human capital. And all this has also translated into the growth of its military power.

What are the lessons for India and the rest of the world from this? Can we refine the concept further and find better ways to measure power in light of contemporary technological developments?

Venue Address

ORF Conference Room, 20, Rouse Avenue Institutional Area, New Delhi