Apart from all the other seminal outcomes of the visit of the US President Barack Obama to New Delhi, the complete absence of any reference to Pakistan is quite remarkable. Although Pakistan was never really mentioned by name in any of the previous declarations and joint statements between India and US, it was always an issue that rankled with India and invariably became a cause for grouse with the Americans. But now both countries seem to have transcended this issue in taking their bilateral relationship to a new level.
India’s relations with the US in the last decade have undergone a transformation. Ever since our independence, our relationship with the US has been marked by suspicion, lack of empathy and differences in world view. In recent years, many in India have viewed with cynicism US using the excuse of its “values” to justify its interventionist and regime change policies marked by, what is more, glaring double standards. We have been chary of excessive engagement with the US lest it acquires too many leverages over our policies.
The media is alive with reports of a potential ban on the Haqqani network and the Jamatud Dawaby the Pakistan authorities and last reports say that it has been put into effect. Similar bans on JuD, a clone of the Markaazul-Dawa-e-Ershad, the LeT’s political headquarters, were placed in 2005 and 2008 with little seriousness. The US subsequently placed a 10 million US$ bounty on Hafiz Sayeed’s head even as he cocked a snook at it.
For many days now, there have been reports in the Pakistan media – all clearly emanating from the same source but spaced out cleverly to time them with the visit of US President Barack Obama to India – about an imminent ban on two of the most dangerous jihadist terror organisations based in Pakistan: Haqqani Network (HN) and the Jamaat ud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (JuD/LeT). But to use Arun Shourie’s evocative phrase: while the clatter of plates is loud and clear, there is no sign of food anywhere.
The upcoming visit of President Obama as Guest of Honour for Republic Day 2015 is an occasion for stock-taking, and for laying the foundation for a more stable and productive relationship. This will be the first time that a US President will be visiting India for a second time. It reflects a willingness to engage substantively with India, and we must use this opportunity to define the parameters for the future development of the relationship.
Climate change is an environmental problem that has various environmental, social and economic dimensions. Nations and citizens must determine how they can limit their own contributions to the negative impacts of climate change. India is one of the vulnerable countries when it comes to the effects of global warming due to its vast coastal line as the rising sea levels are attributed to the phenomenon of global warming.
Hectic preparations are underway for the forthcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to India later this month where he will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. This visit, like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014, will be extremely high in optics especially as there are many firsts to the visit – the first time ever that a US President will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day and the first ever also for an incumbent US President to visit India twice during his term in office.
Perhaps Mahinda Rajapaksa had seen the rapid decline in his popularity much before others did. That and apparently advice of astrologers who told him his propitious time was fast running out, forced Rajapaksa's hand in calling for elections two years ahead of schedule in November.
As someone who had won a famous if controversial military victory over the brutal Tamil Tigers, Rajapaksa was supremely confident of his grip over the country but missed all signs of a brewing rebellion under his nose.
One of the most troubling, but also fundamental, questions confronting India is while New Delhi is keen on cultivating with China a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship that, despite an element of competition, is not only conflict-free but also cordial, does China want a similar relationship with India? Despite trade between the two Asian giants booming, and a fair degree of convergence in interests in global forums, there are outstanding issues – among others, the boundary question – between them that cause strains in the bilateral relationship.