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.
For over a year and a half now, the signals emerging from London are extremely negative. On the surface, the British appear to be very keen to engage India, in particular the Modi government, and leave no opportunity to pay lip-service to the ostensibly close and friendly relations between India and the UK. They are also very eager to tap into the business opportunities that are opening up in India. But behind the scenes, on the security front, the British have been doing a lot that directly impinges on and has serious implications for India’s security.
While China had announced the year 2015 as ‘Visit India’ year after the visit of President Xi Jinping to India last September, this year after the visit of Prime Minister Modi to China officials in Beijing are in an overdrive to implement some of the agreements announced during the two summits. Strengthening economic and cultural relations while bypassing the strategic differences has been the dominant narrative of Chinese think tanks and government officials.
In a landmark decision, the Indian Government has given a green signal to the ambitious project of turning 100 urban centres spread across the country into smart cities ,the need for which has been vigorously espoused by the tech savy Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi .The “Smart Cities Mission” that will attract an investment of Rs.480,000-million has as its objective, “recasting the urban landscape of the country by making cities more liveable and inclusive, besides driving economic growth”.