The Indian calendar of Landslide disasters is literally dotted with catastrophic events, most of which, by hindsight, look self imposed and probably avoidable. If landslides could plead their cases in the courts of law, a great majority of them will come out unscathed, after convincingly proving that the boot is on the other leg. It is we who have flouted the basic rules of slope safety by one hand, while turning over the pages of the landslide calendar, by the other hand, without remorse.
The curious thing about the Joint Statement issued after the meeting between the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers in Ufa is that it is being interpreted by both sides in a way that suits them. The problem is that these divergent interpretations raise questions about whether there is indeed a clear understanding on where the road map that the two countries have set to re-engage with each other will lead. That the statement was somewhat loosely worded and left enough wriggle room for both sides could either be a case of masterly drafting or a monumental goof up.
On May 1, 2015, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, appointed a 10-member committee headed by former Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, to review the defence procurement policies and procedures and to recommend fresh guidelines with a view to implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhortation to ‘make in India’.
Since 1998 China has been taking out white papers on defence regularly as part of its exercise in military transparency. While such an exercise does have inherent limitations in terms of what it can reveal and what it should conceal yet it serves as a good instrument of public diplomacy. The paper not only informs the domestic audience it also has relevance for major powers and China’s neighbours as well irrespective of the fact that their names may or may not be mentioned in the paper.
Transnationals/Tax Havens/Terrorism - How the TTTs destroyed Westphalian consensus on National Sovereignty
In the context of the strikes made against terror camps on the border of Manipur/Nagaland by the Indian Army; there has been number of discussions about national sovereignty and the role of individual States. Actually in the last few decades the activities of transnational corporations aided by tax havens on one side and terrorists on the other side have destroyed the concept of nation state and its sovereignty evolved after the 30 years’ war in 1648 in Westphalia.
There is a growing debate whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will advance into the heartland of Central Asia or not, although the figures of people from the region joining the outfit differ from source to source. But considering the prevailing situation in most of these countries, even a few hundreds could be a worrying number. The rise in radicalism gained momentum after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Global Peace Index (GPI), published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a Sydney-based global non-profit organisation, has ranked India low in peace index, as ‘143rd among 162 countries and fifth out of seven in South Asia for the second year in a row.
The most significant news of last one week from Sri Lanka was not only the dissolution of its Parliament and fresh elections, but also the public declaration of intent by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) to mark his political re-entry. Addressing a group of supporters in his home base Medamulana, MR announced his candidature for the general elections scheduled for August 17, 2015. The news of his political ‘comeback’ generated an euphoria among his supporters and but sent shock waves among his nemesis; both within his own political party and outside it.
It is indeed encouraging that in a few days Prime Minister Modi will be visiting all the Central Asian countries simultaneously, something that no Indian Prime Minister has done so far. However, India seems to be grappling with the same issues and dilemmas in relation to Central Asia that were present in the nineties, notwithstanding periodic efforts to kick-start the relationship. Why is this so? There are both objective constraints, as well as some missed opportunities.