As more details emerge on the Pathankot terror strike and India's response, it is becoming increasingly clear that the quick decision-making at the highest levels of the country's security apparatus saved a repeat of a Mumbai-like carnage at the frontline airbase. Information pieced together from multiple conversations I have had with security officials also indicates excellent coordination at the field level, although many half-baked and ill-informed reports have appeared to the contrary.
With all major foreign engagements, it takes a little time – or longer – for the full facts and implications to emerge; so it is with Modi’s visit to Russia. And the documents and statements made by the leaders do not cover all the ground. However, some of the important results may now be assessed. An illustration of this may be seen in the report in the UK Sunday Times and many other papers since – that Putin met the new Taliban leader, Mansour, in Tajikistan in September.
Despite all the efforts made by the government of Nepal, the protests against the newly promulgated constitution by the Madheshi ethnic community continue unabated mostly in the Terai region of the country. The Madheshis have a feeling that the constitution is more regressive than any of the six constitutions made in the country since 1950s. Today the political situation is so tense that none of the political workers of major political parties who signed the constitution are in a position to enter into the Terai region so easily.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Russia towards the close of year 2015 remains significant in view of the complex changes that have been taking place on the international firmament and India’s endeavours to realize its policy interests. Both President Putin and PM Modi are strong leaders who have been pursuing pragmatic foreign and security policies in consonance with their national interests.
The summit and ministerial level meetings between Japan and India have taken place in right earnest and direction in the last decade. The successive meetings between Mr Shinjo Abe and Mr Modi now leave no doubt about the two Prime Ministers eagerness to take India-Japan relationship fast forward and their personal commitment to the cause. The annual summit meetings are meant for stock taking and future planning. However, if the grand intentions and announcements made at their conclusion do not keep pace with the progress on ground, the spirit of future talks is likely to be dampened.
An Eyewitness Account
The penetration of the influence of the Islamic State (IS) on the American soil has increasingly become visible over the past few months. That a few (even microscopic minority) citizens are supporting this terror group is evidence that a country, which has immense pride on its secularism and democratic values, is not anymore immune to the influencing power of this destructive outfit. Their skilful social-media propaganda campaign has been successful in radicalising young Americans of different ethnic origins.
In 1986 the Army’s Staff College at Wellington, Nilgiris gave me my first recognition in professional writing by awarding me the Lentaigne Memorial Medal (named on the first Commandant, a legendary British officer) for best dissertational analysis on the highly competitive course of instruction. It just happened that my subject was ‘Indo Soviet Relations: Foreign Policy Challenges’. The Soviet Union then was in decline but memories of 1971 made me conclude that even in decline India could never afford to ignore it.
The India-Japan relationship is acquiring increasing strategic importance. Japan’s economic partnership with India, although far below the actual potential of the relationship, has always been significant, but strategic understandings on issues of security have been lacking. India and Japan have had serious differences over nuclear issues, with Japan following the US lead in sanctioning India on the technology front, and even being more restrictive in some respects. Now, both on the economic and strategic fronts India and Japan are coming closer.
It is rare to see the international community coming together on any issue which threatens the collective security of the world at large. When Daesh emerged as the freshest scourge everyone knew that it was flush with funds looted from the Mosul treasury; later it would commence the functioning of the Mosul oil facility and rake in the dollars by selling the products to its enemies at half price.