The saga for procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) actually began in 2001, gathered steam in 2007 and was stuck in price negotiations for the past three years.
Meanwhile, the IAF's combat fighter jet strength was depleting fast. Over the past couple of years, the Air Force top brass was alarmed enough to tell the government that its conventional combat edge even against Pakistan was in danger of being lost.
There is a well known song from an old Hindi film, with a catchy melody whose opening words are “Aayega aanewala, aayaga, aayega, aayega”. What these words literally mean is that he who is to come will come.
The much-awaited nuclear breakthrough has happened again when Iran and the P5+1 countries comprising of the United States (US), Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) signed the “parameters” for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 2 April 2015. As it was with the 2013 Geneva interim accord, this deal is considered as a “good deal” or a “historic understanding” by the US President Barack Obama. Simultaneously, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to consider the deal as a threat to Israel’s survival and to the region.
When India became independent in 1947 it inherited a system of government which even today holds good. The basics of democracy and parliamentary government, separation of powers which gave the judiciary total autonomy in its own sphere, disciplined Armed Forces totally under civilian control, an organised and independent Civil Service and the rule of law are the positive legacy the British left us and it would be churlish not to acknowledge this.
Article 79 of the Constitution provides for a Parliament for the Union consisting of the President, House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the Council of States (Rajya Sabha). Our bicameral Parliament thus shapes itself on Westminster, where Parliament consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons in Parliament assembled. By contrast the U.S. Parliament, called the Congress, consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the latter representing the States, but does not include the President.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena visited China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping from 25th March to 29th March 2015. Apart from the bilateral meetings in Beijing, he also attended the Bo Ao Forum in Hainan on 28-29 March. This was Sirisena’s maiden visit to China since taking office.
While connectivity as a principle cannot be faulted with it is the geopolitical implications of such projects, for instance the China-Pakistan economic corridor that has raised concerns amongst India’s strategic and security establishment. Firstly, there is the question of infrastructure or for that matter any other developmental projects in an area which is considered disputed not only by India but also by Pakistan.
The Indian Army has a proud record of achievements – both in peace and war. Political leaders, government officialdom and people – all have absolute confidence in the Army as is evident from their eagerness to call for the military help in any eventuality too dangerous or difficult for others. Such absolute love and confidence should be a great source of happiness for the soldiers.
Existing Agreements need to be Diligently Implemented
The Special Representatives of the Prime Ministers of India and China met on March 23, 2015 at New Delhi to discuss the resolution of the territorial dispute. This was the 18th round of border talks that have made little progress so far. A typically bland statement was issued by the Ministry of External Affairs after the talks: “The Special Representatives continued the discussions to reach a mutually acceptable Framework for resolution of the Boundary Question on the basis of the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.”