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

24 April 2019

Critical Shifts in India’s Outer Space Policy

By Namrata Goswami and Peter Garretson

While the world has been focused on China’s impressive space firsts, notably the Chang’e-4 landing on the far side of the moon, and U.S. proposals for a Space Force, India is seeing steady progress on its own comprehensive space program.

A number of important policy changes have been made and are in the works. These changes reflect both a changing international environment where nation states are competing across categories of prestige, military capability, and economics, as well as India’s increasing material wealth and technological capability. A Standard Chartered report forecasted that India will overtake the U.S. economy ($31 trillion) in nominal GPD terms by 2030, to become the world’s second largest economy at $46.3 trillion, only behind China ($64.2 trillion), projected to be the top economy.

23 April 2019

Honours bestowed upon Modi by countries signal success of his foreign policy initiatives

by Vijay Chauthaiwale 

The writer, a molecular biologist, is in-charge of the foreign affairs department of the BJP.

When Modi took over as PM, everyone expected that he would strengthen relations with Israel but no one thought that he will take relations with Islamic countries to new heights.

There are several “firsts” in the foreign policy initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It began with an invitation to all SAARC country leaders for the NDA government’s swearing-in ceremony. There are at least seven countries which no Indian head of government or state ever visited before 2014.

Modi also addressed the British Parliament and World Economic Forum. His multilateral initiatives like the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Jaipur, India-Africa Forum Summit-III (IAFS-III, where participation by African countries was increased from 17 to 54), participation of all the 10 ASEANcountries in India’s Republic Day celebrations, the first India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm deserve special mention. There were more than 20 countries where no high-level visit from India had taken place for more than a decade; the gap was bridged by the Modi government.

The India opportunity for Taiwan

Tanvi Madan

A few months ago, a Taiwanese business weekly’s cover story was all about the India opportunity. It included an anecdote about one businessman telling another that India might initially be a tougher place to do business than China, but it was nonetheless worthwhile and, crucially, would not be fatal over time. The idea of the India opportunity (and option) is also present in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), which seeks to expand links with countries across South and Southeast Asia.[1] There have been previous Taiwanese efforts to look beyond this region. However, this time, there’s an emphasis on building economic and people-to-people ties, as well as a greater focus on India.

As Taipei looks to the south, there is opportunity for broader and deeper engagement, especially as India “acts east”—an approach that includes economic, technological, and cultural engagement with Taiwan (as well as quieter security cooperation). But any interactions will have to take place in the context of India’s relations with China. That country looms even larger for Delhi than it has in the past. India’s China relationship has elements of cooperation, competition, and, potentially, conflict, and, like many countries, India has attempted to engage, as well as compete with Beijing. It has stressed the need for the two countries to respect each other’s sensitivities. In India’s case, this has meant taking cognizance of Beijing’s Taiwan sensitivities, while declining for the last decade to reaffirm its earlier support for a One China policy explicitly—implicitly and occasionally explicitly linking it to a Chinese affirmation of a One India Policy, which is unlikely to be forthcoming.[2] This delicate dance was evident in state-owned Air India’s decision to switch to using “Chinese Taipei,” but not go as far as Beijing’s demand to use “Taiwan, China.” Overall, though, India’s relationship with China imposes certain constraints on the way India-Taiwan relations can develop (particularly officially).[3]

India And Pakistan: Making the Stability/Instability Paradox Go One Way

By Kevin R. James

Exploiting Kashmiri disaffection and the transnational jihadist movement, Pakistan is waging a deadly guerrilla war against India in Kashmir. Usually, of course, sponsoring an insurgency in a more powerful neighbouring country would provoke a very costly response (eliminating the incentive to sponsor the insurgency in the first place).

In the case of Kashmir, however, Pakistan has cleverly combined its conventional and nuclear capabilities in a way that makes it impossible for India to impose such a penalty at a price that India is willing to pay. That’s because Pakistan’s conventional strength is sufficient to eliminate India’s ability to impose significant costs with a low-intensity conventional response, and Pakistan has drawn its nuclear use red lines such that any high-intensity conventional response will lead to the risk of a nuclear war. In short, Pakistan has found a way to make the stability/instability paradox go one way.

Pakistan’s Kashmir strategy leaves India with two unpalatable options: live with the insurgency and terrorism that Pakistan promotes; or retaliate in a manner that crosses Pakistan’s nuclear red lines (as currently defined). Given the state of India’s military forces, India now has no choice but to live with the insurgency. But it’s no surprise to find that India is making a considerable effort to develop the counterforce and anti-ballistic-missile capabilitiesrequired to put option 2 on the table. It follows that the next crisis could play out very differently from the current one.

22 April 2019

Strategic Chabahar port is win-win for India, Iran and Afghanistan

By J K Verma 

China, the world’s second largest economy, thinks that India may soon challenge its supremacy not only in Asia but also in the world arena. Hence it encircles India through a ‘string of pearls’, a term used for a network of Chinese military and commercial installations spread from China to Port Sudan in the Horn of Africa. Besides encircling India, China also assists and instigates Pakistan to carry out hostile activities against India.

In view of the Chinese-Pakistan axis, Indian policy planners in 2015 signed an agreement with Iran to develop Chabahar port. It is a trilateral contract between India, Iran and Afghanistan. China is also developing Gwadar Port in Pakistan which is just 400 km by road and 78 km by sea. Chabahar has two ports, namely Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti. Both ports have five berths each. Chabahar port is situated on the Gulf of Oman and at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, giving Iran direct access to Indian Ocean.

The Notre Dame Fire – Why it strikes a chord in many Indian hearts and minds

Jay Bhattacharjee

For the last few days, the world’s attention has been riveted on a terrible tragedy that has struck one country and one city. The fire that engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has saddened and grieved millions of people all over the world, even those who have little in common with France and Paris.

This is because the magnificent structure in the heart of Paris (and indeed the heart of the French Republic, because this building is the point from which all physical distances in France are measured) is an inseparable part of the world’s patrimony, in the same way as the ancient temples in our own country, the Parthenon in Greece, Machu Pichu in Peru, the shrines in China and the Pyramids of Egypt, just to give a few random examples.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President who, in my opinion (and that of most of his fellow citizens), ranks as one of the least distinguished holders of this office, salvaged some esteem when he came up with a very moving response to the tragedy that had struck his nation: “Notre Dame de Paris is our history, our literature, the place where we have lived all our great moments, epidemics, wars and liberation. It is the epicentre of our lives, it is the cathedral of all the French. This is history, it is ours and it is burning. A part of us burns”.

20 April 2019

India: Tranquillity At Risk In North East – Analysis

By M.A. Athul*

On March 30, 2019, a former District Council member, identified as Seliam Wangsa, who was campaigning for a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, Honchun Ngandam, was killed by suspected militants at Nginu village in the Longding District of Arunachal Pradesh. Ngandam is the BJP candidate for the Arunachal Pradesh East parliamentary seat.

On March 29, 2019, suspected cadres of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) shot dead Jaley Anna, a National People’s Party (NPP) worker, at Kheti village in the Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh.

Seven-phase general elections are in the process across the country, scheduled to be over by May 19, with counting of votes scheduled on May 23. Polling in eight States of the Northeast is scheduled in three phases, between April 11 and May 19.

19 April 2019

Tuberculosis: India’s Silent Epidemic

By Siddharthya Roy and Sayan Ghosh

Aditi (name changed), 18, sat cross-legged on her private hospital bed in Kolkata. The black scarf covering her mouth did little to hide her emaciated face. Cheeks stained with long-dried tears, she stared at the ceiling unsure of whether she’d live or die – unsure of whether or not there was a real cure for her.

It had all begun about a year before our meeting, when she’d started experiencing severe bouts of coughing and unexplained weight loss. Her parents initially took her to a homeopathic doctor who had prescribed medicines. As is the norm in most homeopathic clinics, no diagnosis or pathological tests were done and whatever was given to her as medicine was to treat the symptoms.

The reason for choosing the local homeopathy practitioner was an obvious one – his fee was what Aditi’s parents could afford and they trusted him to keep the disease a secret.

Needless to say, her condition worsened.

16 April 2019

2019 Lok Sabha election: Will PM Modi be rewarded for his vision or punished for his miscalculations?

Raj Chengappa 

Every Indian leader who occupied the spartan corner office in the prime minister's wing in Delhi's South Block after Jawaharlal Nehru, has looked to emulate him.

Even Narendra Modi, though he may be loath to admit it in public. Modi's ideological moorings in the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have seen him spout venom against India's first prime minister and trash his achievements.

Yet, more than Indira Gandhi, it is Nehru's exalted status as the builder of modern India that every prime minister after him, including Modi, aspires to surpass. Do a Google search using the words 'Nehru' and 'books'.

Apart from the list of 50-odd books that he authored, including compilations of his speeches, it will throw up a thousand books written about him and his legacy. Such has been Nehru's prominence in the Indian mindspace.

How the Hans met the Hindus.


China has 55 distinct ethnic groups such as Tibetan, Uighur, Manchu, Zhuang, Mongol, Kazakh and Tujia. But its diversity is swamped by 1.2 billion Han Chinese who comprise 92% of the population. Han Chinese are the majority in every province, region or municipality except for the autonomous regions of Xinjiang (41%) and Tibet (6%). Xinjiang and Tibet occupy 1.6 and 1.2 million square kilometers respectively of China’s 9.6 million square kilometers, and are its two biggest regions. The minority homelands are mostly at its extremities and the empire quite literally holds on to them by its claws.

Mao Zedong is quoted to have said in a 1956 speech published in the fifth volume of his selected works: “We say China is a country vast in territory, rich in resources and large in population. As a matter of fact, it is the Han nationality whose population is large and the minority nationalities whose territory is vast and whose resources are rich.”

This mentality is at the core of the problem. The problem being clash between the struggles to preserve identities, protect geography and conserve resources with the attitudes and wants of the majority. Is it any different in India where the Adivasi’s are battling to keep their homelands, identity and natural wealth? China’s solution to this is typical. It makes them Han. Like it did to the Manchu’s, who till the early years of the last century ruled China. Today there are only eighteen Manchu language speakers left in China. Not all of China’s nationalities are willing to undergo such transfusion without resistance. The Tibetans and Uighurs are among the most notable.

15 April 2019

What Did India’s Foreign Secretary Achieve on His Trip to Russia?

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Recently, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, the most senior bureaucrat in India’s foreign ministry, completed a visit to Russia. The visit shed light on the ongoing collaboration between the two countries and the opportunities and challenges for the relationship.

Unsurprisingly, official accounts of the visit focused on areas of collaboration, most of it already ongoing. The Russian embassy release said that the two countries examined “cooperation within the BRICS format, the current issues of the key multilateral export control regimes, including New Delhi’s application for NSG [Nuclear Suppliers Group] membership, other non-proliferation and arms control issues, as well as topical international issues of mutual interest.”

The evolving situation in Afghanistan too was covered by the two leaders. The foreign secretary is reported to have also met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov for Foreign Office Consultations, where they “reviewed the implementation of the decisions of the 19th Annual Bilateral Summit” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin in 2018.

What Kashmir's Looming Water Crisis Means for India-Pakistan Relations

Christopher Snedden

Nowhere is the relationship between India and Pakistan more contentious than in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. Complicating this dispute is the fact that the Indus River Basin, which is critical for the livelihood of nearly three-fourths of Pakistan’s population, flows through Indian-controlled territory. The dispute over control of various portions of the Indus River and its tributaries was formally arbitrated by the World Bank and resolved with the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960–to which India and Pakistan are both signatories. However, Pakistan has asserted that recent hydroelectric damming projects undertaken by India in Jammu and Kashmir violate the treaty. To better understand this issue, NBR spoke with Christopher Snedden.

What is the Kashmir water crisis?

The Kashmir water crisis is an ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan over the use of three rivers—the Indus, the Chenab, and the Jhelum—that flow through the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir and into Punjab, the fertile geographic and cultural region located in northern India and eastern Pakistan. The name “Punjab” comes from the Persian words punj (five) and ab (waters). The region is thus defined by the five tributary rivers of the Indus River (the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas) that flow through it, collectively called the “Indus waters.” In 1960, India and Pakistan, with the assistance of the World Bank, agreed on the Indus Waters Treaty. Without much consideration of efficiency, three of the rivers—the Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej—were given to India, and the other three rivers—the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum—were essentially given to Pakistan.

14 April 2019

China’s Diplomatic Moves Amidst the India-Pakistan Conflict

By: Adnan Aamir


On March 13th, diplomatic representatives of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) placed a hold on a draft resolution under consideration at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)—a resolution intended to designate Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist (Business Today (India), March 14, 2019). Maulana Masood Azhar is the founding leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Muhammad”—JeM) (Militant Leadership Monitor, March 5). On February 14th, a suicide bomber killed 42 Indian paramilitary troops in the town of Pulwama, in Indian-administered Kashmir; in the aftermath, JeM quickly claimed responsibility for this attack (Al Jazeera, February 14). This incident dramatically escalated the tensions between Pakistan and India: on February 26th and 27th, both countries bombed each other, and were on the brink of full-scale war before the international community stepped in to mediate.

As a result of blocking the resolution against Massod Azhar, the PRC has been criticized for having double standards on the issue of terrorism. On the one hand, China is cracking down on its own Uighur Muslim population under the pretext of terrorism; while on the other hand, it is providing diplomatic cover to an alleged terrorist wanted for masterminding attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir. However, the actions of the PRC are part of a consistent pattern of pursuing its interests: protecting Pakistan and countering the rise of India; retaining the interest of Pakistan in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by coming to its support; and seeking to prevent any threat to PRC interests on the part of groups in Pakistan.

STRATCOM’s Hyten Calls For Space Rules After India’s ASAT Test: Update


SPACE SYMPOSIUM: For the first time, the United States is sharing its space war plans, known as Olympic Defender, with a small number of allies, says the head of Strategic Command.

Gen. John Hyten told us in a Monday evening interview that a new version of the plan was published “last December,” he said. “Everything that is in that plan can be looked at by our allies.” (There are other space plans not included in Olympic Defender that aren’t being shared).

Hyten would not identify the countries that have requested and been granted access so far, but it’s a small group. A safe bet would be that it includes members of the so-called Five Eyes: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

13 April 2019

The Modi Mirage Why I Fell Out of Love With India’s Reformist Prime Minister

By Gurcharan Das

India in 2014 was a troubled and discontented nation. Inflation was in the double digits, growth was declining, and corruption was rampant. Sick of the drift and paralysis in the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, many Indians longed for a leader who would get the nation out of the mess. The situation was not unlike Britain’s in the late 1970s. Britain found Margaret Thatcher; India found Narendra Modi.

The sudden ascent of the tough and stocky 63-year-old as a serious contender for the nation’s highest office caught everyone by surprise. As chief minister of the state of Gujarat, Modi had built a vibrant economy and reduced corruption. His campaign speeches, with their single-minded focus on vikas (development) were fresh and mesmerizing. But people were also wary. Modi was considered dictatorial and anti-Muslim. Above all, he carried the stain of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002, when his state government looked the other way as nearly a thousand people, most of them Muslims, were killed over several days.

In PAF lies & subterfuge, an F-16 tail number & a PAF pilot  —  both hidden to serve a myth


How the Pakistani state has managed to clamp down on eyewitness accounts, online videos of the crash and initial ISPR flip flops — to obscure the fact that a PAF F-16 jet was shot down by an Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison on 27 February 2019. Interestingly, after over a month post the aerial clash the narrative is being twisted significantly — with a distinguished foreign media house jumping in the fray and claiming that no F-16 was shot down by the IAF that day. Nothing could give more succour to the dirty tricks department at ISPR, led by the infamous Major General Asif Ghafoor of the Pakistan Army, who has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s hybrid war campaign to deny any manner of worthwhile information scrutiny on the matter since the day the PAF lost one of its most advanced platform to a bold and gritty IAF counterattack. While the evidence is right in front of us to sift through its worth; the first indication of a massive coverup by the Pakistani state on this intriguing subject was provided by none other than Major General Ghafoor himself — who it seems, was overwhelmed by the ‘truth of it’ all in those initial few hours post the aerial clash.

Tragically for the Pakistani nation, there is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact and somewhere in between this blatant game of lies and deception — is a F-16 tail number and a dedicated PAF pilot — both of whom having served Pakistan to the best of their ability; now have had their records unceremoniously wiped out from the face of the earth to serve a wider subterfuge of upholding the morale and image of the Pāk Fizāʾiyah, the pantheon of past glory and Pakistan’s best shot at hitting back at India in these times of turmoil.
IAF’s shoots down a PAF F-16

12 April 2019

The Limits of India’s ‘Soft Power’ in Afghanistan

This publication contends that the peace negotiations between the Taliban in Afghanistan and major powers like the US and Russia has left India in a quandary. India’s policy of unconditional support to the Afghan government is hitting a roadblock, as external actors are increasingly sidelining the government not only in the peace negotiations, but also in the country’s internal reconfiguration. Will New Delhi reach out to the Taliban and other stakeholders? Alternatively, will it continue with its present policy of supporting the Afghan government? More importantly, will the benefits of the last decade of soft power translate into tangible gains?

Manifestos of BJP, Congress indicate that when it comes to foreign policy, ambiguity is better than clarity

by C. Raja Mohan 

C. Raja Mohan is Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, and the consulting editor on foreign affairs for 'The Indian Express'. Before his association with The Indian Express began in 2004, Raja Mohan worked for The Hindu as its Washington correspondent and Strategic Affairs Editor. He was a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. In his academic avatar, Raja Mohan has been professor of South Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. As a think tanker, he worked at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He is on the editorial board of various international affairs journals and is affiliated with the Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore; the Lowy Institute, Sydney; and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC. He is the author, most recently, of Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific.71 Shares

The BJP released its election manifesto in New Delhi on Monday. (Express photo/Neeraj Priyadarshi)

11 April 2019

The Rohingya Crisis

by Eleanor Albert and Andrew Chatzky


Discriminatory policies of Myanmar’s government since the late 1970s have compelled hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya to flee their homes in the predominantly Buddhist country. Most have crossed by land into Bangladesh, while others have taken to the sea to reach Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Beginning in 2017, renewed violence, including reported rape, murder, and arson, triggered an exodus of Rohingya amid charges of ethnic cleansing against Myanmar’s security forces. Those forces claim they are carrying out a campaign to reinstate stability in the western region of Myanmar, but international pressure on the country’s elected leaders to rein in violence continues to rise.
Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority who practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. There are an estimated 3.5 million Rohingya dispersed worldwide. Before August 2017, the majority of the estimated one million Rohingya in Myanmar resided in Rakhine State, where they accounted for nearly a third of the population. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups ethnically, linguistically, and religiously.

India’s February 2019 Strike in Pakistani Territory: A Jus ad Bellum Analysis

By Laya Maheshwari 

On Feb. 14, a suicide bombing in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir killed more than 40 members of Indian paramilitary forces—the deadliest terrorist attack in Kashmir’s history. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a terrorist group based in Pakistan and rumored to have “close ties” to its spy agency, claimed credit for the bombing. JeM’s continued existence has long been a pressure point in India-Pakistan relations, and this latest incident was no different. The attack set off an escalating chain of aerial attacks, first by India and then by Pakistan, that culminated in an Indian pilot being held captive as a prisoner of war by Pakistan for two days. India’s initial attack in Pakistani territory, on Feb. 26, was followed by a statement by the Indian foreign secretary, which described the attack as a “non-military preemptive strike” conducted in self-defense against JeM.

India justified its attack as an act of self-defense against JeM, without attributing the group’s actions to Pakistan. It listed a series of terrorist attacks the group had conducted in India in the past and hinted at “[c]redible intelligence” that another attack would take place in the near future, necessitating India’s action in light of Pakistan’s unwillingness to tackle terrorist groups active on its soil. India’s statement raises multiple questions in jus ad bellum: whether a state has a right to self-defense against a nonstate actor when the latter’s conduct has not been attributed to another state, what qualifies as an “imminent” armed attack, and whether India is explicitly endorsing the unable-or-unwilling test for the use of force in self-defense.