Vivek : Issues & Options

Elections in Sri Lanka and Evolving Relationship with India

The coming elections for the Presidency in Sri Lanka have heightened the political activity. President Mahinda Rajapakse is seeking a third term based on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution (carried out in 2010 to overcome the two-term limitation for a President) that had been objected to by the Opposition parties. The Opposition parties have thrown up a joint candidate Maithripala Sirisena (who was General Secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party and has now defected to the opposing side) to present a unified front in order to defeat Rajapakse.

How the Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan is being Funded?

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its latest Afghanistan Opium Survey 2014 suggests that poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has hit an all-time high in 2014. It was estimated at 224,000 hectares in 2014, a 7% increase from the previous year, surpassing the previous high of 209,000 hectares of poppy in 2013.

IS Growth Poses Threat to Several Countries

The menace which has been created by the Sunni militant group, Islamic State (IS) is likely to stay for some time to come. Despite the United States (US)-led coalition airstrikes to destroy the terror organisation , there has been no significant decline in its activities. Rather, it is spreading to different parts of the globe and other terror groups are pledging allegiance to it.

Modi’s Visit to Nepal: An Assessment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kathmandu from November 25-27 to participate in the 18th SAARC Summit. Though the visit was primarily for a multi-lateral event,the summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), it had a significant bilateral component as well. This paper aims to focus on this aspect in the context of its impact on the overall Indo-Nepal relations.

An Agenda for India’s new Defence Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed Mr. Manohar Parrikar as India’s new Defence Minister. The Minister will require all his management skills to set the right priorities for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the armed forces. He will need to lead from the front and work closely with the leadership of the armed forces, the bureaucracy and his counterparts in the other ministries to put defence preparedness back on the rails and give a fillip to the stalled process of military modernisation.

India and Russia: Putin Visit to Boost Ties

The India-Russia Strategic partnership was formed in the year 2000. Russia was the first country with whom India established a strategic partnership and in the year 2010 during the 11th Summit, India and Russia elevated their relationship to a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” status, indicating a mutual desire to emphasize the exceptional closeness of ties.

Foreign Archaeological Collaborations and India’s Security Concerns

The current rage in Indian archaeology is foreign collaboration. One of the reasons why this has become popular is that it imposes no intellectual and logistical burden on the Indian collaborator. The problems of the necessary fund and the research strategy are sorted out mostly by the foreign collaborators who also work subsequently on the excavated and explored archaeological materials .

Imperatives of Defence Modernisation and Indigenisation

Self Reliance in defence production has been one of India’s national goals set since the 1950’s. Post 1971, it was quantified as reversing the ratio of indigenous production to imports which was in the ratio of 30:70 to 70;30. However, on the ground, the situation has not changed. On the contrary, after more than 40 years, the level of imports has only increased. There are many causes for the present situation and in the order of their significance, these are :-

Urgent Need for Steps to Make Nathu La Route to Kailash Mansarovar Safe for Pilgrims

India and China had signed a bilateral agreement on September 18 this year providing for conducting the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim Himalayas in addition to the existing Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. Addressing the media after the signing of the MoU in this regard, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the new route offers many benefits. “It makes Kailash Mansarovar accessible by a motorable road, which is especially beneficial for older pilgrims.