Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

27 June 2019

From Inertia to Integration: Getting Serious About U.S.-India Defense Cooperation


India and the United States are declared “major defense partners.” But as Secretary Pompeo visits New Delhi this week, they are still not nearly as aligned as interests and values suggest they should be.

The relationship between the United States and India is excellent proof that the dominant theory of international relations—nations form partnerships and alliances based on mutual interests or common values—is wrong. If this theory were true, America and India—the world’s oldest and largest democracy, respectively, united by a common English language, increasingly connected through trade and investment flows, targeted by the same terrorist groups, and confronting Chinese expansion—would be far more closely aligned than they are today.

More illuminating in this context is the law of inertia: In the absence of a major crisis, don’t expect major change from large democracies. Secretary of State Pompeo will soon arrive in New Delhi for his first exchange with Prime Minister Modi since his re-election victory. Mutual words of affirmation will surely be uttered, and the specter of growing Chinese military power will be a silent presence during the dialogue. But it remains to be seen if this common concern can compel both governments to move toward meaningful cooperation.

US-India Relations at the Crossroads

By Vinay Kaura

Can the growing U.S.-India partnership survive ‘America First’?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit New Delhi this week to prepare the ground for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on June 29 in Osaka. S. Jaishankar, India’s new foreign minister, must convince Pompeo that the unnecessarily hard-line trade policies of the Trump administration will only cloud the geopolitical promise of a closer strategic alignment between India and the United States.

It is time to redefine the parameters of Indo-American ties. Pompeo needs to be told unambiguously that if trade tensions are allowed to persist, the very foundation of Indo-U.S. strategic partnership will be called into question. It is not in Washington’s interests for trade frictions to powerfully drive India’s domestic political debates in policymaking toward the United States.

Is ancient India overrated ? A mindblowing analysis by Chinese Ex Professor from University of Toronto

Seriously? If anything, ancient India is sorely UNDERRATED.

I mean, I’m an ethnic Chinese living in Canada. But when I was growing up in Canada, I knew jacks-hit about India. Besides maybe curry.

I mean, people here have a vague understanding of Chinese history but they have NO idea about Indian history. For example, most people know that the Middle Kingdom is how China referred to herself but how many people know about Bharat? How many know about even the Guptas? People know that China was famous for ceramics and tea but how many people know about ancient India’s achievement in metallurgy? People know about the Great Wall, but how many know about the great temples of southern India?

This is partly due to the lackluster historical records that ancient Indians kept and also partly because modern Indians have a tendency to look down upon their ancient heritage and view western ideas and ideals as superior. China also has this problem but not nearly to the same extent.

26 June 2019

As Pompeo heads to Delhi, the US-India relationship is at a critical juncture

Tanvi Madan

From a glance at news headlines, you’d think the U.S.-India relationship is in crisis. It isn’t—not yet anyway. But it could be.

The partnership with India is one of the few U.S. relationships that has deepened notwithstanding transitions from the Bush to the Obama to the Trump administrations. But a number of differences are coming to a head over the next few months that could stall or even derail progress.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to head to India next week, and President Donald Trump meets recently re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan during the G20 summit, both these convergences and divergences will be on the agenda. If not handled with care, the latter could overshadow the former, with lasting consequences.


Over the last two years, there has been steady progress in the U.S.-India relationship. Strategically, both sides have seen the other as playing a crucial role in their Asia strategies—for the U.S., its Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy; for India, its Act East policy. This has paved the way for deeper diplomatic, defense, and security cooperation. The two countries established a ministerial-level 2+2 defense and diplomatic dialogue last year, their highest-level institutionalized strategic dialogue. Senior bureaucrats and military officials now meet regularly, and their various security dialogues have continued to meet on issues such as defense technology, cyber security, and counterterrorism. Liaisons between the Indian navy and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, and the countries’ defense innovation units, are being established.

25 June 2019

The United States, India, and the Future of the Indo-Pacific Strategy

by Walter C. Ladwig III and Anit Mukherjee

The U.S. Department of Defense, on June 1, released its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, which reiterates U.S. commitments to the region’s long-term peace and prosperity through partnerships. As guest editors for a recent issue of Asia Policy, Walter C. Ladwig III and Anit Mukherjee worked with several authors to examine the opportunities and limitations of Indo-U.S. cooperation in different subregions of Asia. In this commentary, they present some of their main findings in the context of the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report.

On the eve of the 2019 Shangri-La dialogue, the U.S. Department of Defense released its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, which reiterates U.S. commitments to the region’s long-term peace and prosperity. The “bedrock” of U.S. strategy to achieve that aim is the deepening and expanding of U.S. partnerships with friends and allies across the region. Principal among these partners is India. The report’s release coincides with the conclusion of India’s general election that returned Prime Minister Narendra Modi to office with an increased majority. Modi has been personally committed to strengthening ties with the United States and his resounding victory provides an opportunity for the prime minister to replicate the “extraordinary international activism” of his first term with the support of veteran diplomat S. Jaishankar at the Ministry of External Affairs.

24 June 2019

India forced Twitter to suspend open source intelligence handles: Report

A popular US news website reported on Tuesday that the Indian government had forced Twitter to take action against a number of handles that disseminate 'open source' intelligence (OSINT).

OSINT is information of a political or military nature gathered via commonly available tools such as travel trackers, social media or news media. At least four Twitter handles were suspended over the weekend, but restored following an outcry.

Writing in the Daily Beast, journalist Kevin Poulsen claimed a student of a college in Texas had received a notice from Twitter after the Indian government complained his tweets were a “national security threat”.

The Daily Beast report claimed the tweets of Ryan Barenklau (21) primarily focussed on Crimea and North Korea, “but in May a journal in India wrongly claimed his account was part of a Pakistani disinformation ring”. Barenklau is a senior student at Texas A&M University.

The Daily Beast said it had copies of notices from Twitter several handles had received after complaints from India this month. The Daily Beast claimed “Twitter has since suspended four of the accounts for unrelated violations of the company’s terms-of-service.”

23 June 2019

Modi 2.0 and the India-US Partnership: What Next?

By Monish Tourangbam and Radhey Tambi

Ahead of the Modi-Trump meeting at the G-20 and Pompeo’s visit to India, a serious task is set out for New Delhi.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after winning a second term, sets his eyes to confront major foreign policy challenges, India-U.S. relations stand at an inflection point. In the strategic context, India-U.S. ties are well-positioned for Modi 2.0 to move further forward. However, New Delhi and Washington seem destined to encounter a number of roadblocks in the economic sector, at least in the near future.

A number of high-level meetings are on the schedule, including a planned meeting between Modi and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan and an upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to India. Therefore, it is imperative to reflect on the highs and lows of India-U.S. relations, and the way forward in this strategic partnership.

India may get caught in Sino-US 5G war: NSAB chief

Manu Pubby

India faces the unsavoury prospect of getting caught between Sino-US 5G war, NSAB chief has warned.

AgenciesRaghavan said that India needs to do more to get ahead on the technology front to meet future challenges because issues like the 5G involve a combination of economy, technology and national security factors.

NEW DELHI: India faces the unsavoury prospect of getting caught between the United States and China in the 5G battle, which is akin to a technological cold war between the nations, said PS Raghavan, the head of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).

Identifying an Indian standard essential patent that is awaiting global approval as the silver lining that can give the nation a toehold into the worldwide 5G pie, the senior diplomat made a strong case for independent technology development that has a bearing on national security.

“Today the kind of rhetoric that you are hearing (on 5G) from the US and China, with Europe stuck somewhere in between, you are looking at the real possibility of a technology cold war replacing the ideological cold war of the past. We are in the danger of being caught in it very badly unless we get our act together,” said Raghavan.

22 June 2019

The Myth of Indian Strategic Restraint

by Sumit Ganguly S. Paul Kapur

Indian security policy is guided more by pragmatism than by moralism.

INDIA HAS emerged as a central partner in U.S. efforts to balance rising Chinese power. To this end, the United States has invested heavily in India, brokering an agreement to afford it access to nuclear materials and technology; enabling Indian acquisition of cutting-edge military and dual-use systems; and declaring India to be a “major defense partner” and “lynchpin” of its strategy in Asia. These efforts to build capacity in India leave an essential question unanswered, however: even if the United States significantly augments India’s strategic capacity, will India prove willing to contribute to U.S. balancing efforts in the region?

Conventional wisdom suggests that India is likely to disappoint the United States in the long run. Scholars and analysts have traditionally cast India as a weak strategic actor, possessing a large landmass and population and abundant natural resources, but lacking the will to effectively pursue its security interests. This view grew out of India’s history of suffering serial conquests at the hands of much smaller opponents. Great Britain had been able to colonize India with armies only a small fraction the size of the opposing Indian forces. The British attributed their success to the Indians’ supposed inferiority of character, which made them unable to resist invasion and subjugation. Pakistani leaders believed that the history of Islam in South Asia, which was characterized by small Muslim armies defeating larger indigenous forces, showed that Indians were inherently lacking in martial qualities. Mohandas K. Gandhi’s campaign to free India of the British sought to convince Indians that, despite their colonial history, they were not by nature passive subjects, but rather powerful social and political actors deserving of self-rule.

India to overtake China as the world's most populous country: UN

(CNN)India is set to overtake China as the world's most populous country in less than a decade, according to a new United Nations report.

China and India currently account for about 37% of the entire global population of roughly 7.7 billion, with China currently home to about 1.4 billion people and India to 1.3 billion.

But by 2027, India will have more people than China, according to the UN's 2019 World Population Prospects report released Monday, and by 2050 the gap is expected to have widened even further.

"Between 2019 and 2050, 55 countries or areas are expected to see their populations decrease by at least 1%," the report said, mostly due to low-levels of fertility and in some cases, high numbers of emigration.

"In the largest of these, China, the population is projected to shrink by 31.4 million, or 2.2 per cent."

Exclusive: U.S. tells India it is mulling caps on H-1B visas to deter data rules - sources

Neha Dasgupta, Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The United States has told India it is considering caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, widening the two countries’ row over tariffs and trade.

The plan to restrict the popular H-1B visa program, under which skilled foreign workers are brought to the United States each year, comes days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to New Delhi.

India, which has upset companies such as Mastercard and irked the U.S. government with stringent new rules on data storage, is the largest recipient of these temporary visas, most of them to workers at big Indian technology firms.

The warning comes as trade tensions between the United States and India have resulted in tit-for-tat tariff actions in recent weeks. From Sunday, India imposed higher tariffs on some U.S. goods, days after Washington withdrew a key trade privilege for New Delhi.

21 June 2019

India must play a key role in claiming the Indo-Pacific region

Girish Luthra

There is an increasing recognition of the importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation. In the last few years, almost every joint or vision statement at the end of summit-level talks or meeting between major maritime powers accords high priority to maritime security and stability.

The prevailing and emerging international order, characterised by a new form of internationalism and hazy geopolitics, finds centrality in the Indo-Pacific region. It is the new arena for strategic rivalry, within the bounds of interdependence, and all major players have made Indo-Pacific-related policy and posture pronouncements in the recent past. The region’s share of world merchandise trade is over 75 per cent and its seaports are the busiest in the world. Its contribution to global GDP is around 60 per cent. The region is also critical to world energy flows, for both suppliers and consumers. The rise of China (and President Xi Jinping’s grand Belt and Road Initiative), the realignment of US global strategy, the new approach adopted by India, Japan, ASEAN, France and other key players and new partnerships have further underlined the salience of the region.

India’s Global Challenge

“India wins yet again!” Narendra Modi announced in May 2019, just after securing a second term as Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy in a landslide general elections victory. When Modi was elected for a first term five years ago, he promised that India would win back its place at the high table of leading world powers. Indeed, after decades of sustained growth, India today is at a tipping point in terms of socio-economic prospects for its 1.35 billion citizens. As the global balance of power and economic growth shifts towards Asia, and a whole new set of forces is seeking to redefine the international order, opportunities abound for the subcontinent to carve out its place as a leading, democratic, global actor. Is India ready to do so?


Paolo Magri

1. India’s Turn: Groundbreaking Reforms for a Global India

Gautam Chikermane, Observer Research Foundation

2. How Solid Is India’s Economy?

Bidisha Ganguly, Confederation of Indian Industry

3. Defining the Indian Middle Class

Antonio Armellini, Former Ambassador to India

4. Inequality: Global India’s Domestic Bottleneck?

Nicola Missaglia, ISPI

5. A “Paper Tiger”? What India Wants to Be(come)

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

6. Facing Global China: India and the Belt and Road Initiative

Christian Wagner, SWP Berlin

7. India, Europe and Italy: Time to Boost Partnership

Claudio Maffioletti, Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

India a Vital Cog in the Wheel For US’ Strategy For Indo-Pacific Region

The Pentagon recently published a report on “The Indo-Pacific Region. The Indo-Pacific Region report accuses China of being a so-called “revisionist power” that is ostensibly opposed to the U.S. vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. The strategic report on the Indo-Pacific Region also mentions the significance of India and how the US is wooing Delhi on its side.

Former President Barack Obama began to turn the United States towards the Indo-Pacific Region. Under President Trump, the same course continues. The report argues that the continuity of the American common strategic vision is not interrupted, despite the increasingly complex security situation in the region.

The geography of the American Indo-Pacific is defined quite simply – it is the zone of responsibility of the 7th and 3rd fleets of the US Navy.

The Indo-Pacific region provides two-thirds of world gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 60% of world’s GDP. The Indo-Pacific Region comprises of the world largest economies – the United States, China and Japan – and the six fastest growing economies of the world – India, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Nepal and the Philippines.

20 June 2019

Minority-focused secularism will not work

Kanwal Sibal 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral victory has been extraordinary despite the Opposition’s attacks on him on various issues: farmers’ distress, youth unemployment, poor implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), demonetisation, lynchings, Hindutva, assault on institutions, media gagging, intimidation of intellectuals, tampering of electronic voting machines, politicisation of the armed forces and the Rafale deal. But the country was not swayed by these accusations.

The refrain of the secular, Left-liberal circles that with increasing intolerance, the “Idea of India” (unilaterally defined) is being destroyed had no impact either. The Opposition misread the public mood because with such comprehensive denunciation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have lost miserably. One hopes that instead of persevering with the same analysis and discourse as before and impeding the National Democratic Alliance(NDA)’s task of governance by agitations and negative politics, the Opposition will participate in consensus-building in areas of national priority such as judicial, police, parliamentary, electoral, agricultural, banking, labour, educational, land acquisition and energy-market reforms.

How India Funds the World: Financial Assistance in the Immediate Neighbourhood

In the schema of realist international politics, where political relationships between aspiring powers are often decided by economic underpinnings, financial aid is often a key instrument of foreign policy. In most cases, it serves as a long-term insurance to preserve old relationships, while in others, it acts as a direct incentive to forge new partnerships. Using figures from the "Expenditure Profiles" in the union budgets of the past five fiscal years, this article is the first in a two–part series that provides an assessment of India's budgetary aid programme to countries in India's geographic neighbourhood.

India has traditionally extended financial assistance to countries in its immediate neighbourhood in order to maintain geopolitical clout and to keep crucial economic partnerships up and running. This long-standing policy is gradually becoming a centrepiece of Indian foreign policy as the hegemony of the global North1 gives way to a new geopolitical reality wherein regional powers in the global South2 steadily gain international influence through new horizontal partnerships and investments. India’s broadening foreign aid spectrum must be seen in this dynamic context of rapidly expanding South–South Cooperation3, a distinct feature of which is the "equal partner" relationship between the donor and recipient countries.

19 June 2019

Trump’s trade tantrums and a delicate balancing act for India

The US recently announced the termination of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) designation for India. Under the GSP, certain designated goods had been permitted to enter the US duty-free. While the US action has made the headlines, its origins and implications are not well understood. What is the larger significance of this spat?

As background: Indian merchandise exports to the US in 2018 were about $55 billion, of which only about $5.5 billion were exports under GSP. The “preference margin" that India enjoyed by gaining duty-free access on these goods was only about 3-4%. If this cost is completely absorbed by Indian exporters, the withdrawal would translate into a loss to India of about $200 million. However, if India has market power in any of these industries, the cost may be passed on to US customers in the form of higher prices. Market realities will determine the sharing of this burden; the ultimate cost to Indian exporters could be considerably lower. Regardless, the costs of GSP withdrawal are quite modest.

US’ Recent Decisions To Cloud Pompeo’s Visit To India – Analysis

By Kashish Parpiani

Washington is seeking to share onus with New Delhi on continuing the cultivation of strategic ties.

Ahead of his visit to India on 25-26 June, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a policy address on the India-US ties at the India Ideas Summit and 44th Annual Meeting of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) in Washington DC. In underscoring the criticality of the evolving dynamic between the two nations, Secretary Pompeo said, “it’s only natural that the world’s most populous democracy should partner with the world’s oldest democracy to maintain our shared vision throughout the Indo-Pacific.”

This address comes amidst a recent flurry of attention to India’s central position in the US’ strategic calculus. For instance, the recent US Department of Defense Indo-Pacific Strategy Report underscores the cruciality of the United States “building new and stronger bonds with nations that share our values across the region, from India to Samoa.” Furthermore, building on the June 2017 discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, the US has now reportedly agreed to sell surveillance version of the Sea Guardian drones. If the sale goes through, India will be the first non-formal treaty partner of the US to receive the MTCR Category-1 Unmanned Aerial System.

Glacier Watch: Indus Basin – Analysis

Many of the world’s most iconic river systems – the Mekong, Indus, Yangtze – are fed by glaciers that both supply and modulate their water flow. Now these glaciers are melting due to climate change, threatening irrigation systems, electricity generation, and drinking water reserves in some of the most densely populated areas of the planet.

No two glaciers are exactly the same. They’re melting at different rates, with some entering their terminal decline sooner than others. The repercussions vary as well. In some cases, reductions in glacier runoff have a negligible effect on downstream flow. In others, they can severely disrupt local water systems, particularly those with antiquated and wasteful extraction methods.

The concept of ‘peak water’ is key to understanding glacier decline. As overall glacier mass shrinks, higher-than-average run-off is produced during the melt season. However, these run-off levels will eventually peak, and a period of terminal – and essentially irreversible – decline will follow. Every glacier has a unique peak water threshold. According to a study published by Nature Climate Change, around 45% of the world’s glacier-fed basins have already passed this point, including the source of the Brahmaputra. Another 22% of basins are predicted to be trending up in run-off through to 2050, including the Indus and Ganges headwaters, which are expected to peak in 2070 and 2050 respectively.

18 June 2019

India’s Ailing Health Sector

By Neeta Lal

Poor quality (yet expensive) healthcare is becoming a national crisis for India.

Even as the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party celebrates the triumphant return of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term with a historic mandate in the just-concluded 17th Lok Sabha elections, one of the greatest challenges confronting the new government will be the nation’s health.

Lack of hospitals, missing doctors, ill-equipped health professionals, and paucity of funds have dogged the Indian health sector for decades. But as the country stakes a claim at the geopolitical high table under a nationalist government, its human development indices — including citizens’ wellness — are increasingly coming under scrutiny.

And the picture isn’t looking good. According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, the Indian medical industry fares poorly on many critical parameters, including quality of health care as well as qualification of doctors, traditionally regarded as a prized human resource in the West.