The India-Japan relationship is acquiring increasing strategic importance. Japan’s economic partnership with India, although far below the actual potential of the relationship, has always been significant, but strategic understandings on issues of security have been lacking. India and Japan have had serious differences over nuclear issues, with Japan following the US lead in sanctioning India on the technology front, and even being more restrictive in some respects. Now, both on the economic and strategic fronts India and Japan are coming closer.
It is rare to see the international community coming together on any issue which threatens the collective security of the world at large. When Daesh emerged as the freshest scourge everyone knew that it was flush with funds looted from the Mosul treasury; later it would commence the functioning of the Mosul oil facility and rake in the dollars by selling the products to its enemies at half price.
For years, the India-US defence partnership has been more about symbolism than substance. While the two countries conduct a spate of joint exercises across the three services, the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and especially its risk-averse defence minister AK Antony had prevented achieving full potential of their possible joint ventures. Under Antony’s watch, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) was careful not to appear sliding too close to Washington.
For a change it’s good that there isn’t too much euphoria over the announcement of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue between India and Pakistan during the recent visit of Mrs Sushma Swaraj, India’s External Affairs Minister, to Islamabad.
The worst is over and the city of Chennai is getting back to normalcy after the unprecedented flood catastrophe of December 2015. The whole country applauds the exceptional grit and grace with which the citizens of Chennai fought the fury of the floods as one single family of friendly strangers!
Even though the Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy (NLD) won the November parliamentary elections with a thumping majority questions regarding smooth transition of power are being asked. Will the military dominated government of President Thein Sein transfer power voluntarily and peacefully given the nature of the legacy bequeathed by various Tatmadaw led governments in the past?
Such imponderables indicate apprehensions about the likely post election behaviour of the government.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama met in Paris on the sidelines of the crucial climate change conference, it was their sixth bilateral meeting in a little over one year, a very impressive tally by any reckoning.
As a gross generalisation, three factors shape the foreign policy of most countries: history, geography and capability. And each of these has decisively influenced Indian foreign policy, in different ways at different times. India’s power of attraction, the foundation of any country’s “soft power”, derives from each. India’s newly recognised global economic significance and potential greatly lends weight to the country’s international profile.
Few people are aware why Foreign Minister (FM) Sushma Swaraj is likely to be going to Islamabad on 9 Dec 2015. Indeed it’s a follow up to the Prime Minister’sbrief chat with Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Prime Minister during the Climate Conference at Paris. However, the occasion is not about Indo Pakistan rapprochement; that is a sub agenda for the sidelines. The main event is the Heart of Asia Conference which is a part of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s public announcement downsizing the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the grand military parade on September 3, 2015, was a major event. It signalled that the final stages of reform and reorganization of the PLA would begin now that internal consensus had been reached.