The events in Afghanistan seem to be turning a full circle. ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ that commenced in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is drawing to a close and plans are afoot to hand over Afghanistan to the very forces that were the root cause of the problems in Afghanistan. The American strategy has been shifting and its objectives have been diluted over a period of time. Disruption and dismantling of the Taliban networks is no more their objective.
In the Indian perception, there are several major areas of concern that are limiting the growth of the bilateral relationship. The foremost among these is the unresolved territorial and boundary dispute. The other major concern is the “all-weather” friendship between China and Pakistan that is, in Chinese President Hu Jintao’s words, “higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans”.
The arrest and hand-cuffing of India’s Deputy Consul General (DCG) Devyani Khobragade in New York as if she is a criminal with all the intrusive personal indignities heaped on a “felon” by the US manuals raises serious questions about India-US bilateral equations and the unilateralist manner in which the US interprets the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR).
The Preamble to the Constitution of India starts with the following words, “We, the people of India …” and ends with the words, “hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution”. The final arbiters of what happens in this country are the people and how they will fulfill their role is given in Chapter 2 of Part IV of the Constitution and Chapter 3 of Part VI of the Constitution, which provide for an elected Parliament at the level of the Union and an elected Legislature at the level of the States.
Indian Ocean, the third largest oceanic body in the world accounting for 20% of the total area of the world under water, holds a position of paramount importance for India. Since India occupies a central position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the significance of the Indian Ocean to the maritime security of the country hardly needs to be emphasized. Rightly and appropriately, India considers the Indian Ocean as its own backyard. As pointed out by the historian K.M.Pannikar, “For India, the Indian Ocean is a vital sea.
Declaration by China of a new overlapping Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over contested islands of Diaoyu/Senkaku besides raising tensions between Tokyo and Beijing have caused reverberations in the strategic firmament of the entire Asia-Pacific region. While the new ADIZ may not have conferred any sovereignty rights over the disputed islands, it was surely an innovative way by China of advancing its claims. It also needs to be noticed that Japan had also been at work in a similar way when it announced its ADIZ in 1967.
As the campaign ended in the Delhi State Assembly Election, leaders of both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tended to be rather dismissive of the challenge posed by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). When asked by media persons if she was worried about the growing popularity of AAP, the former Delhi Chief Minister, Ms.Sheila Dikshit reportedly countered by asking “Who is Arvind Kejriwal?”. This was on December 4, the day of polling. On December 8, the day the votes were counted, the people of Delhi had answered her query!
A police escort was killed and another wounded when militants attacked a team of polio vaccinators on the outskirts of Peshawar on 30 November.1 Earlier on 23 November, militants in Pakistan kidnapped eleven teachers involved in a polio vaccination campaign for school children at a private school in the Bara area of the Khyber tribal agency.
The visit of Japan’s royal couple to India, the first in the history of India-Japan relations, deserved greater attention by our media. The government did make special gestures to underline the visit’s importance, with the Prime Minister receiving the couple at the airport and the External Affairs Minister acting as the Minister-in-waiting. But the media did not amplify the government’s political signals, which a mature media with geopolitical sense should have.
In the light of what was attempted by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1975 by declaration of Emergency and references to the same by contemporary politicians, it is pertinent to examine whether the Indian Constitution is strong enough to prevent the imposition of authoritarian and totalitarian rule on India, or whether there are loopholes in the Constitution which an unscrupulous person can perhaps exploit.