Vivek : Issues & Options

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Upcoming Visit to Bangladesh

Prime Minister Modi, as part of his continuing neighbourhood outreach agenda that began with his visit to Bhutan followed by visits to Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Seychelles, will be paying a two-day visit to Bangladesh from June 6 to 7, 2015. Unlike other neighbours mentioned above, the visit to Bangladesh by PM Modi will not be ‘after a long gap’ since his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh had done so in September 2011. Unfortunately, Dr.

Myanmar: Emerging Political and Security Scenario

The year 2015 is being seen as very crucial for democratic transition of Myanmar as it is due to go for elections in November. From an Indian perspective a peaceful transition in Myanmar remains very important as the countries in India’s neighbourhood especially Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to an extent have elements of instability of varying degree.

A Chance to Recalibrate India-Sri Lanka Relations

The euphoria generated by results of the January 2015 presidential polls in Sri Lanka has gradually evaporated. The country is heading towards a complex political situation not originally envisaged by any of the principal actors. The focus is now on four stalwarts including the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena.The others are former Presidents Chandrika Bandarnaike Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa and the current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

First Year: Modi Invigorates Indian Economy and Foreign Policy

Marking one year in office this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets high marks for reviving India’s foundering economy and energizing foreign relations with global powers and regional neighbors. The government has experienced some setbacks in implementing its ambitious agenda, like failure (so far) to pass the land acquisition and GST bills, but overall the scales tip toward a largely successful first year. This is good news for the U.S., which is rooting for India to develop a more robust economic, political, and military role in the region and beyond.

US Remains Central to China's Military Strategy

Two almost simultaneous announcements in Beijing on Tuesday gives a glimpse into China’s greater emphasis on expanding its navy and taking all its adversaries in the volatile South China area head on. While the much awaited white paper on "China's Military Strategy", issued by the State Council Information Office, spoke about greater naval presence further from its shores, the foreign ministry also announced the construction of two lighthouses on Huayang and Chigua reefs in the Nansha Islands.

The Trajectory of India’s Nuclear Deterrence since May 1998

India conducted five nuclear tests over two days on May 11 and 13, 1998, and declared itself a state armed with nuclear weapons. Since then, India’s nuclear deterrence has been effectively operationalised. With a pacifist strategic culture steeped in Gandhian non-violence, India is a reluctant nuclear power. It shares borders with China and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed neighbours, with both of which it has territorial disputes. India had sought but had been denied nuclear guarantees and had no option but to acquire nuclear weapons.

Firm Correctness will yield Positive Results with China

A clear-eyed assessment of the Prime Minister’s visit to China from 14 to 16 May must conclude that it has its pluses, no doubt, but there are also negatives that require attention. This will entail a detailed discussion on three major aspects of the visit: the border question, the economic engagement, and the broader strategy underlying the approaches of the two countries.

Putting India Emphatically on Global Map

Prime Minister Modi has surprised his own people and, no doubt, external observers, by his foreign policy activism since he took office. In his year in power he has travelled abroad 16 times- and 19 if the forthcoming visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea are included- inviting some criticism that these peregrinations have meant less attention devoted to domestic affairs. This is misplaced criticism because today, with the change in the nature of diplomacy, the heads of governments play a critical role in external affairs.

Ghani's Gambit is Failing, Afghanistan is Unravelling

The spring of 2015 was always going to be ‘hot’ in Afghanistan. The Taliban had already made clear their intention to bring the Ashraf Ghani government to its knees. It was also going to test the mettle of the Afghan National Army (ANA) which for the first time was going to face the Taliban without the support of the US-led ISAF. And if truth be told, things haven’t quite gone the way of the Afghan state.

Modi visit to China - Looking ahead

Given the perceptions of a Janus-like character of India-China relations, it is well-nigh impossible to escape the past. Nor does one need to, considering the rich historical and cultural legacy that the two peoples have inherited. In the words of the late Chinese Indologist, Professor Ji Xianlin, India and China are天造地设(Tian Zao, Di She) (“Created by Heaven, Constructed by Earth”). Thus, the past will remain ever present in our current and future dealings. But do we have to be imprisoned in, or by, the past?