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

19 July 2018

Follow the Money: India Should Become an International Leader in Financial Intelligence


As reflected in India’s move from a Neighborhood First policy to an Act East policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unequivocally wants India to assume an increased role in world affairs. Such aspirations entail more responsibilities in upholding the peace and prosperity of the world order. One such responsibility is protecting the integrity of the international economic system from illicit threats, such as corruption, money laundering, counterfeit currency smuggling, and tax evasion. Neil Noronha is a Henry Luce scholar, and a visiting scholar with Carnegie India. Financial intelligence is a field within the purview of the central government that helps Indian law enforcement and intelligence agencies understand the nature, capabilities, and intentions of entities of interest so as to identify such threats. Activities in this field include the collection, receipt, analysis, collation, and dissemination of intelligence, both foreign and domestic, related to financial services, taxes, international trade, and foreign and domestic currency.

18 July 2018

In India, a Missing Key to a Temple’s Treasure Vault Ignites a Furor

By Kai Schultz and Suhasini Raj

PURI, India — A group of men in loincloths assembled outside a 12th-century temple on a hot April day in Puri, India, preparing to venture deep inside to a pitch-black vault where piles of gold and silver jewelry were stored under lock and key. To enter Jagannath Temple, dedicated to an important Hindu deity, the group of 16 archaeologists, Hindu priests and government officials had to pass through metal detectors. Their skimpy loincloths were required as a security measure along with oxygen masks in case the vault, unopened for more than three decades, lacked breathable air. Their instructions were simple: Check the structural integrity of the vault and ignore the millions of dollars’ worth of antiquities stashed inside.

When will India stop rewarding incompetence in the military?


In his seminal On the Psychology of Military Incompetence Norman Dixon poses the questions: "How, if they are so lacking in intelligence, do people become senior military commanders? And what is it about military organisations that they should attract, promote and ultimately tolerate those whose performance at the highest levels brings opprobrium on the organisations they represent?" Fortunately we have not had a major war in recent times to test the mettle of our commanders. But even in peacetime, many have, unfortunately, managed by their acts of omission and commission to bring opprobrium on our military.

16 July 2018

India in a changing global order

BY Neelam Deo

The world order we live in was created in 1944-45, the post-World War II period, to deal with the problems confronting the United States and its Western European allies. That order is crumbling and we have to examine whether the changes work for or against our interests since the earlier construct was designed to maintain western domination. While the changes underway can be disruptive at the micro, sectoral or industry level, at the macro level, they can serve as an opportunity to participate in the shaping of the emerging new order.

Considering the ramifications of India’s exclusion from the British “Low-Risk” visa list

Recently, the government of the United Kingdom decided to exclude Indian students from a new list of twenty-five countries categorised as posing ‘low-risk’. This move, designed to expedite the visa process for students of countries on the list, brings no change to the Indian visa experience – leaving out Indian students entirely. As a result, it has invited flak from the Indian media and various stakeholders across the globe. Several analysts across the UK have actively spoken against this policy, a British think tank describing the exclusion as ‘an act of self-harm’ that threatens to push more applicants away. The British Labour Party has also been an active voice in the matter, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemning the stand and calling it “deeply offensive” towards Indian students. Labour Party’s Diane Abbott on Twitter called (the move of exclusion) “discriminatory and counter-productive” while appealing the ministry end the hostility instead of extending it. In this piece, we discuss the economic and academic aftermath of this move.

The Indus Waters Treaty: an exemplar of cooperation

The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 shows how international mediation can be instrumental in reaching an agreement between India and Pakistan. With this in mind, India and Pakistan should use the treaty as a model to negotiate, cooperate and resolve other ongoing issues as well, writes Saud Sultan. With the partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, the Indus basin was also divided into two parts, with the upstream riparian (the area surrounding the river and its banks) belonging to India and the downstream belonging to Pakistan. Although the Boundary Commission Awards of 1947 demarcated the boundary between Pakistan and India, it did not define how the waters of the Indus system of rivers would be used by the two new dominions. Therefore, it was left to the governments of India and Pakistan to decide how this water would be shared. (see Gulhati, 1973, p.56-57)

15 July 2018

The India-Russia-US Energy Triangle

By Saurav Jha

In early June 2018, India received its first consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Gazprom. This followed the first ever arrival of an LNG cargo to Indian shores from the United States in March this year. Each occasion found India’s Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Dharmendra Pradhan, in attendance, as if to symbolize that India is engaging both the United States and Russia as part of its agenda to diversify away from acute dependence on OPEC for energy sources. It also means that the United States and Russia, besides vying for a share of the Indian defense market, will now increasingly find themselves in competition for India’s energy pie as well.

Future of India’s Supercarrier Program Still Uncertain

The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has still not approved plans to move forward with the acquisition of the Indian Navy’s first supercarrier, the future 65,000-ton flattop INS Vishal, the second ship of the Vikrant-class, according to Indian media reports. As of this month, the MoD has not issued a so-called Acceptance of Necessity note, the first official step in procuring a new defense platform. The principal two reasons for the delay are difficulties with the carrier’s design and the Indian Navy’s declining budget. The proposed new supercarrier, to be constructed at the Cochin shipyard in southern India, is part of the Indian Navy’s Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCCP) which foresees the creation of three carrier strike groups with two groups deployed on the east and west coasts of India and the third held in reserve.

14 July 2018

India’s evolving response to China’s ‘stealth threat’


New Delhi has been alarmed by China’s deployment of J-20 aircraft near India’s sensitive northeastern border. Last January the Chinese Air Force – officially known as the People’s Liberation Army Air Force or PLAAF – conducted extensive military exercises in Tibet with the Chengdu J-20 and other fighters, primarily the Chengdu J-10C and Shenyang J-11. The Chinese planes were using improved Tibetan airfields that China has made all-weather capable. There are now 14 important airfields in Tibet supporting PLAAF operations.

Is India shifting the goalposts in Indo-Pacific debate?


India’s participation in the ongoing Indo-Pacific debate and its decision to join the revived Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the US, Japan, India and Australia) have raised concerns in the corridors of power in Moscow, Beijing and other capitals. Even Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) member states view the two back-to-back “Quad” meetings last month in Singapore with concern, as they fear the informal body could eclipse the bloc’s leading role in regional affairs. Then there are several other extra-regional stakeholders who also remain wary of the role of the Quad in this tectonic shift from the continental “Asia-Pacific” to the maritime “Indo-Pacific” geopolitical paradigm.

13 July 2018

The staggering rise of India’s super-rich

By James Crabtree

On 3 May, at around 4.45pm, a short, trim Indian man walked quickly down London’s Old Compton Street, his head bowed as if trying not to be seen. From his seat by the window of a nearby noodle bar, Anuvab Pal recognised him instantly. “He is tiny, and his face had been all over every newspaper in India,” Pal recalled. “I knew it was him.” Few in Britain would have given the passing figure a second look. And that, in a way, was the point. The man pacing through Soho on that Wednesday night was Nirav Modi: Indian jeweller, billionaire and international fugitive.

India's new 'Modi doctrine' straddles the US-China divide

The game plan has changed.

Military watchers were surprised earlier this month when the Chinese People's Liberation Army sent a 10-member, high-level delegation to New Delhi. The officials went for talks "to promote strategic trust and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two militaries," according to Luo Zhaohui, China's ambassador to India. Only a year ago, the neighbors appeared to come closer to war than at any point in the last half-century. Chinese and Indian soldiers stood eyeball to eyeball for two and a half months in the border area of Doklam, where the two countries and Bhutan intersect.

India Will Lose "All Other Privileges" If It Cuts Oil Imports, Warns Iran

Iran on Tuesday criticised India for not fulfilling its promise of making investments in expansion of the strategically located Chabahar port and said New Delhi will stand to lose "special privileges" if it cuts import of Iranian oil. Iran's Deputy Ambassador and Charge d'Affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi said Iran will end the privileges being provided to India if it tries to source oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the US and others to offset cuts in Iranian oil. "It is unfortunate that Indian investment promises for expansion of Chabahar port and its connectivity projects have not been accomplished so far. It is expected that India takes immediate necessary measures in this regard if its cooperation and engagement in Chabahar port is of strategic nature," he said.

12 July 2018

Operation Tomorrow: Why Investing In Human Capital Is Crucial For The Indian Army

by Abhijit Iyer-Mitra

Much has been made in recent months of a supposed lack of funding for the military. This is not something new. Virtually, every government in independent India has been accused of this at some point during its tenure. World over, there is not a single military, not even the US military (whose defence budget dwarfs the next 10 high defence spenders), that does not complain about a paucity of funds. Yet, what we find in recent history is that the most innovative approaches to national defence come not from overfunded fat militaries, but rather those facing a cash crunch. Sweden and Taiwan, for example, are countries that have faced serious threats on their borders (Russia and China respectively) and managed a robust defence at relatively low cost. Sweden especially used technology at a very early stage, going from having the world’s third largest air force in the 1950s to a much smaller but more lethal force in the 1980s. France, lacking a proximate threat, similarly made the best of defence cuts by innovative solutions to their expeditionary capabilities.

India Should Be Ready To Reap Military Potential Of AI, It Can Redefine Warfare As We Know It

by R. Shashank Reddy

That artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be central to economic and military power in the coming decades is by now a well-worn cliche. All major powers have jumped on the AI bandwagon in one way or another. In 2017, when Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the nation that becomes the predominant leader in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world’, he only brought to public attention what was already being acknowledged in capitals across the world. Governments are beginning to see AI as a transformative technology that could enhance their military and economic capabilities, creating what has been called in popular media as an ‘AI arms race’.

India: ZUF Factional Feuds – Analysis

By M.A. Athul*

On June 28, 2018, Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) militants shot dead a civilian, identified as Lanshinthui Kamei, at Gairilong Luangrang village in the Noney District of Manipur. The militants alleged that Kamei was an informer for the Security Forces (SFs). On May 3, 2018, two ZUF militants were killed in an internecine clash in the jungle area between Khamnang and Douban villages under the jurisdiction of the Mahur Police Station in the Dima Hasao District of Assam. According to reports, the clash was between two factions of ZUF, one led by S. Kamson and the other by Jenchui Kamei.

11 July 2018

The US-India Partnership and Its Discontents: Managing Trump-Era Turbulence

By Harsh V. Pant

In the end it was much ado about nothing, really. All the recent hyperventilation of the Indian strategic community was really an exercise in vanity. Grand deductions were being made about why the United States canceled the much anticipated “2+2 talks” with India, set for July 6. It turned out that it was indeed a scheduling problem with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo actually having to go to North Korea to salvage that diplomatic process, which is seemingly on the verge of collapse. Trump’s outreach to North Korea is his signature foreign policy achievement so far and he would want to preserve at the least the appearance that it retains some traction. It’s not surprising, therefore, that India would be asked to wait. Nikki Haley’s visit to India last week is no coincidence either. It was meant to convey that even as the 2+2 was postponed, India will remain an important focus area for the United States.

India's unofficial recycling bin: the city where electronics go to die

In Moradabad, whole communities subsist by processing waste created by the world’s love affair with electronic goods. In this extract from their book, Assa Doron and Robin Jeffreyinvestigate the impact of this dangerous trade  Hazardous e-waste material exported from the affluent developed world continues to plague cities in developing countries. From the road one could see locals washing the ash from burned e-waste and using sieves to recover fragments of metal. Women and children broke apart and segregated the printed circuit board components, prying open the object and separating the gold, silver and copper-plated components. Locals in Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh described [to us] the process of recycling this hazardous material. Once the basic dismantling and separation were achieved, different methods of extraction followed: typically burning, grinding, washing and bathing in acid.

The Struggle for the Indo-Pacific: In Search of Shangri-La

By Roncevert Ganan Almond

The approach into Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport requires carefully navigating the encompassing mountains, some rising nearly 10,000 feet. At altitude, Kathmandu’s magnificent pagodas, stupas and palaces are lost amidst a maze of haphazard multicolored tenements, the flowering cover of the developing world. Mount Everest, named for the former surveyor general of India, hovers, white in the near distance. As always, China is over the horizon – and in the market.

10 July 2018

Modi govt revamps DRDO: Key body reconstituted, to set agenda

Shishir Gupta

DRDO’s powers have been enhanced by the government for sanctioning projects and competitive procurement to Rs 150 crore from the existing Rs 75 crore. The Narendra Modi government has taken its first steps towards restructuring and revamping the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by reviving the defunct DRDO Science and Technology Management Council (DSTMC) under the chairmanship of principal scientific advisor K Vijayraghavan and doubling the financial powers of the secretary, DRDO, to Rs 150 crore. According to a July 3 notification accessed by Hindustan Times, the reconstituted DSTMC is a high-profile body that will chart the future of DRDO laboratories in synergy with the science and technology department.