The coming visit of President Xi Jinping is being viewed as a visit that could define the next decade of engagement between the two Asian giants. It is generally accepted that Sino-Indian relationship could turn out to be more important than the Sino-US engagement if leadership of both the countries were to cooperate and give substance to the conception that the locus of global economy and power has shifted to Asia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just concluded visit to Japan has been successful on various counts. Politically, the India-Japan relationship has been solidified; economically, prospects of major Japanese investments in India have improved; on the security front, enhanced understandings should give substance to defence cooperation in the future.
As per Angus Maddison’s pioneering OECD study, India and China had nearly 50 percent of the global GDP as late as the1820‘s.1 Hence, India and China are not emerging or rising powers. They are merely retrieving their original position or re-emerging markets. In 1990, the share of G-7 in world GDP [on PPP base] was 51 % and that of the emerging markets was 36 %. But in 2014 it is the reverse. [See Chart 1].
The past three months since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government assumed office in India have been momentous in terms of defining, inter alia, a new era of Indo-Nepal relations. The pace at which events have unfolded has been unprecedented. Starting with Nepal Prime Minister Koirala’s visit to New Delhi in end-May 2014 to attend the swearing in ceremony of the Modi cabinet in response to the new govt’s invitation to all the SAARC leaders to the event, there have been two further high level contacts between Kathmandu and New Delhi over a short span of less than two and a half months.
After years of neglecting the Northern frontiers, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force are re-calibrating their strategy giving a hard push to improving its war-fighting capabilities against its more powerful neighbour. Ladakh for instance is buzzing with an unprecedented military buildup. Consider this:
- A new Air Force Station to base fighter jets is coming up just 25 km from the Line of Actual Control
- For the first time since India’s independence in 1947, a full-fledged armored brigade of T-72 tanks will now be based in Ladakh.
A theatre of the absurd is on display in Islamabad with the street-fighters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri breaching the barricades to storm the Parliament and lay siege to the Prime Minister’s House. The denouement of this clear collapse of state authority in the face of a marauding mob is not yet clear. What is clear is that democracy has been grievously damaged, the civilian government has been reduced to a mockery and the political and administrative system has been brought to the verge of a meltdown.
Swami Vivekananda once visited a great sage of our country, a very holy man and wrote: “We talked about our revered book- the Vedas, of your Bible, of the Koran, and of the revered books in general. At the close of our talk, this great sage asked me to go to the table and take-up the book; it was a book, which, among other things, contained a forecast of the rainfall during the year. The sage said, Read them. And I read out the quantity of rain that was to fall. He said, now take the book and squeeze it. I did so and he said, why my boy, not a drop of water comes out.
The Pakistan High Commissioner (HC) should not have met the Hurriyat leaders when he was asked by the Indian Foreign Secretary not to do so. Diplomatic norms obliged him to take this request communicated at such high level seriously and failure to do so, he knew, would have repercussions. He chose to snub the government and left our political leadership no choice but to cancel the Foreign Secretary (FS) level talks fixed for August 25.
Powerful nations radiate powerful influence far across their geographical borders over countries and continents. And this influence is mostly coercive – often disregarding opinions of a majority of sovereign nations. President Bush was brazenly explicit in conveying his threat even to friendly countries when he said, “If you are not with us, you are against us.” The world has watched in the recent decades how a couple of powerful nations have not felt deterred from launching punitive operations against unfriendly regimes.