One of the significant developments in the country’s fast changing political scenario has been the rather premature demise of the much hyped 11 party Third Front. After the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK dumped the alliance with the Left parties in Tamil Nadu within days of its announcement, other key constituents the Samajwadi Party, JD(U) and Left parties decided to contest the elections on their own in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states sounding the death knell of the much-hyped initiative.
While India’s interim defence budget for the financial year (FY) 2014-15 has remained stagnant in terms of the Rupee-Dollar exchange rate and inflation, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has been given a 12.2 per cent increase over the previous year in planned defence expenditure to US$ 131.57 billion (Yuan 808.23 billion).
For us Indians there are certain truths which we should take as immutable. The Constitution of India, the basic features of which have remained unchanged despite a number of amendments, is the document which prescribes how this country will be structured and governed. Article 1 categorically states that India is a Union of States, which means that it is a true federation in which the Union as an entity exists because of its constituent States.
Little interest has been shown domestically about possible new orientations in foreign policy under a Narendra Modi-led NDA government. Modi’s single-minded focus on the development agenda has dominated political and media discourse, barring, of course, the 2002 post-Godhra Gujarat violence. The slowdown of the economy, the negative investor sentiment, price rise, corruption, the perceived lack of leadership have been issues of public concern, not foreign policy.
The more you think about it, the more it confounds: Pakistan government’s peace dialogue with the Taliban. Look at it from a logical, if also conventional, standpoint, and it appears as though the Pakistani state has entered into a desultory dialogue with the Taliban which will ultimately crash on the rocks of reality. It would, however, be stretching the limits of incredulity to think that in reaching out to the Taliban, the Pakistan government is utterly unmindful of the pitfalls of dialoguing with the Islamist terrorists.
North India was under Greek rule in the form of a colony, whose Governor General was Seleucus Nicator. India was divided into little principalities or Janpads of which Magadh in modern day Bihar was probably one of the most prominent. Magadh had a sage, thinker, a political philosopher called Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, who had left Magadh for Taxila or, as it was then called, Takshashila, because he was persecuted in Pataliputra, the capital of Magadh.
The Supreme Court took yet another firm step recently to cleanse politics and to de-criminalise the country’s legislative bodies when it directed trial courts hearing cases concerning corruption and serious offences against MPs and legislators in the states to complete the trial within one year of framing of charges.
Japan has been an important trading partner of Vietnam from the 16th century. The port of Hoi An close to Danang in Central Vietnam was an important trading port and Japanese ships visited this location frequently to undertake trading activities. During the Second World War, Japan exercised control over this region and thereafter relations remained dormant up to 1972. Diplomatic ties were established on 21 September 1972, but active commercial activities between the two countries resumed only after the return of the Vietnamese Army from Cambodia in 1989.