There is an effort among some western commentaries – taken up and amplified by the Pakistanis - to try and project the situation in Afghanistan as a proxy war between India and Pakistan. The drumbeat of this thesis grows as the draw-down of western forces from Afghanistan draws near. Such a view sounds strange to Indian ears, for we were labouring under the belief this last decade that it was a straight, though covert, fight between the US and Pakistan.
More than a decade after the US and its allies ousted the monstrous Taliban regime and gave the people of Afghanistan a level of stability and progress that they had not known in decades, it seems that things could well be coming a full circle.
Despite the development of science and technology, the magnitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, tornado, storms, floods and drought does not seem to have taken any respite. All the nations of the world continue to be plagued by such natural phenomenon in one or the other way. But it does not mean that the world community lives just at the mercy of the natural disasters. Many countries in the world have taken adequate measures to save the lives and property of the citizens from such disasters. But not much has been done in this direction in Nepal.
India’s Look East Policy (LEP) came of age when New Delhi celebrated two decades of engagement by holding the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in November 2012. The first phase of LEP lasted for one decade till 2002 when the then Minister for External Affairs Mr Yashwant Sinha announced the commencement of the second phase.
When India became independent, the government led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru took a deliberate decision to launch a massive programme of building infrastructure in India and for this purpose opted for a planned economy. The state of the then infrastructure can be best illustrated by the fact that of the more than five and a half lakh rural settlements and about 4000 urban settlements in India, only 5000 had any electricity and this included our very large cities such as Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. Today the whole of India is electrified.
The present government at the Centre has just completed four and a half months in office. This is too short time to judge the performance of any government and, therefore, an effort will be made to ensure that this paper is in no way judgemental. However, before proceeding any further in the matter one could start by considering one or two basic issues. One view is that the triumph of the ruling party, BJP and the Prime Minister is the evidence of disgust of the people with the Congress Party and greater acceptability of BJP.
New Crisis: Barbarians on the March
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India will set up 100 Smart Cities in the near future. Many arguments are offered in favour of smart cities, one of which is that there is a demographic shift from village to town, this trend will accelerate and we need to create the urban infrastructure which will gainfully employ the new migrants. Whilst it is a fact that between 1901 and 2011 there was a fivefold increase in the total population of India, the increase in the urban population was seventeen-fold.