Kautilya’s Views on Espionage and its Current Relevance

Vishnu Prabhu K.S., Laxmi Dhar Dwivedi


Kautilya’s The Arthashastra is considered one the finest political and war discourses ever written in prose form. Dating back to the 4th century, it contains a whole plethora of views on espionage elements carefully embedded in them. Kautilya, is often referred to as the modern-day economist of his times. Having belonged to one of the oldest Indian civilizations, he has spelt out clear principles for espionage and stressed the importance of spies in securing the livelihood of about six billion global citizens living across the world. The espionage discourse is filled with courage, dedication and commitment. And is also equally watered down with anxiety and unparalleled justice toward a greater cause. Kautilya is a realist and a naturalist in his approach and his discourses often contain animal analogies. This paper attempts to study the aspects on espionage laid down by Kautilya and fundamentally tries to address the modern day issues like containing terrorism, securing country’s borders and ultimately guaranteeing security of an individual.

Keywords: Kautilya, The Arthashastra, espionage, spies and security.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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