Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2010

Measuring Geopolitical Power in India: A Review of the National Security Index (NSI)

Karl Hwang

May 2010

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


This review examines how India perceives its own rise to power by undertaking a detailed analysis of the Indian National Security Index (NSI) for the period from 2003 to 2008. Like other power formulas, the NSI includes various indicators of power, though it is uniquely Indian in that it initially emphasized human development and later included ecology based on a holistic human‐security paradigm. The analysis demonstrates that this holistic approach has now been abandoned in favor of a more conventional one, and that the technical formulas and theoretical concepts of the NSI exhibit various inconsistencies and problems. In particular, one can recognize the absolute need for a unified standard for handling variables in the construction of composite indexes in general.