What is MANDALA THEORY and is it Relevant in Present Times… ??

“Never trust your Neighbor, Enemy’s Enemy is your Friend

The Mandala Theory

The mandala system was given by Kautilya in his treatise Arthasastra

The word “mandala” means circle in Sanskrit. It is an international relations order of relations based on geographical factors of a kingdom/country.

The Kautilya’s Mandala Theory is perhaps the oldest rational strategic theory of security and strengthening policy of the territory for the Kingdom.

Lets understand Mandala Theory in brief before we find out its relevance :

“Your neighbor is your natural enemy and the neighbor’s neighbor is your friend” this was the basic thought behind Kautilya’s Mandala theory.

Mandala theory of foreign policy, is based on the geographical assumption that the immediate neighbor state is most likely to be an enemy (real or potential) and a state next to the immediate neighbor is likely to be ones friend, after a friendly state comes an unfriendly state (friend of the enemy state) and next to that a friendly state (friend of a friendly state) and so on i.e., “With respect to the middle king [he himself], the third and the fifth constituents are friendly elements. The second, the fourth, and the sixth are unfriendly elements.

This theory is specifically for foreign relations and diplomacy.

Ari (Enemies), Mitra(Friends), Madhyama(Mediators) and Udasina(Neutrals).

Enemies and friendly rulers are divided into two kinds natural and artificial.

According to Kautilya the king and his immediate neighbors are the natural enemies to each other.
A king who attempted to give trouble to another king without reasonable cause was an artificial enemy of that king.
The best kind of friend, according to kautilya, who was constant, noble, straight forward since generations.
A ruler whose friendship was courted for the sake of protection of life and property was the artificial friend.

Now, the important factor is INTEREST’s and GEOGRAPHICAL location of a territory which decides the relationship of a neighbor rather than many other features.

Along with this, SAMA (Conciliation) < DANA (Offer Gifts) <BHEDHA (Cause dissention) <DANDA (Punishment) are the four concepts which are the means to use before directly initiating for war with any country. This is supported by accounting the various possibilities and economic sustainability of the country.

Relevance in the Modern World :

We know that in the modern world the development of the technology and defence mechanism or the transport system made most of us believe that Mandala theory is no more relevant in its Fears or Features.
In every Political Theory there is no complete application universally for all periods specifically so, here also we are bound to look forward for the factors we can take into consideration from the mandala theory for the Indian international Relations.

It is inevitable truth that, even in Modern world also the major problems for India are by the neighbor countries like Pakistan, China or Bangladesh for various issues.

That implies the importance of Mandala theory on the major account.
Kautilya’s Theories are not based on Emotional factors they are based on rationality in analyzing all factors possible for the security threat of a country.

He said that “A King who understands the true implication of diplomacy conquers the whole world.

The natural enemies does not define that we are on continuous war mode relation with them but an alert mode operation of International Relations is the point of concern.
For example the relations like India – Nepal or India – Maldives are a clear demarcation that benevolence is no longer the only mode of operation for the security and strength of the country in International arena

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