During his last week’s visit to New Delhi, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought a pro ‘active’ Indian involvement in Afghanistan’s security even as across the border, Chinese Premier Li Kequiang committed to improve the connectivity of the strategically located Gwadar port to realize the Pakistani dream of turning it into a regional trade hub for China, Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CARs).
China has carried out a ground-launched anti-satellite missile test on May 13 which according to reports was disguised as space exploration rocket firing. China’s National Space Science Center claimed that a sounding rocket was used in a high-altitude scientific exploration test. The missile fired from Xichang Space Launch center has been identified as Dong Ning-2 ASAT missile.
In February 2013, one of Delhi’s leading newspapers published a news item which claimed that Indians don’t believe in ghosts anymore and superstitions have reduced in the country. The report was based on a research conducted during the Kumbh Mela by scientists from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who claimed to have spoken to all sections of the society.
In the case relating to irregularities or even criminality in the allocation of coal blocks, where investigation was handed over to the CBI, the Supreme Court has taken strong objection to government intervention in proceedings pending before the agency and the Hon’ble Judges have remarked that they will not rest till CBI becomes independent of government control. This has once again led to clamour for police reforms.
The Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony, has repeatedly exhorted the armed forces to procure their weapons and equipment from indigenous sources in recent months. It is a well-established fact that no nation aspiring to great power status can expect to achieve it without being substantively self-reliant in defence production. However, it is not the armed forces that are the stumbling block. Unless the government drastically reorients its policies, the import content of defence acquisitions will continue to remain over 80 per cent.
Recently Rahul Gandhi visited Bhopal for a day on purely Congress Party work. He did not come by a normal commercial flight, the fare of which he could have reimbursed as a Member of Parliament. He came by a special aircraft and for his personal protection a bullet proof armoured vehicle had been sent in advance from Delhi by train. Naturally he was accompanied by his SPG escort and more than one thousand policemen were deployed for his protection and general bandobast. He travelled in a convoy of several cars, piloted and escorted by the police and barricades were erected for crowd control.
Our statements on the recent India-China face-off in Ladakh continue to confound. One would have thought that we would have analysed the incident in depth, tried to figure out China’s motivations in staging it just before External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to China and that of Chinese Premier Le Keqiang’s to India and examined if it was another instance of Beijing’s increased assertiveness on territorial issues rather than a reaction to any specific activity by India.
This is the lesson from Ladakh — when cracks are papered over, they reappear several conclusions can be drawn from The India-China Stand-off in Ladakh. One, China can create an incident on the unsettled border at a time and place of its choosing, irrespective of positive developments in other aspects of the bilateral relationship. We should not believe that expanded political and trade ties will dissuade China from asserting its unreasonable territorial claims.
Apart from being the first elections to be conducted by a legitimately constituted civilian set-up on completion of a full term by a democratically elected government, Pakistan’s upcoming elections scheduled for May 11, 2013, are notable in more than one way. Firstly, this will be the bloodiest election in Pakistan’s history. From April 21 to 28 alone, there were as many as 20 attacks on political parties, resulting in 40 deaths and 190 wounded.