India is widely regarded as a would-be great power with a slew of mainstream realist strategic policies. It has not shied away from the use of force nor from coercing its smaller neighbours. But it professes peace and is committed to resolving disputes through negotiation. Characteristically though, India’s use of hard power is more evident in domestic politics and in its extended domain, in its relations with the smaller states of the subcontinent that are within the Indian social and cultural orbit, than in its dealings with the more consequential countries. The differences in the premises and presumptions of the two separate sets of policies are at the heart of the country’s strategic incoherence and potential irrelevance in the coming years.