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.
Two weeks have elapse since the eagerly awaited results of the J&K state assembly elections were announced on December 23, 2014. It is a bit surprising, indeed disappointing, that the main political parties have still not managed to clearly understand the nature of the mandate and work out an arrangement under which a stable representative government could be provided as per the aspirations of the larger section of the electorate.
Even the day before people vote to elect the next Sri Lanka President on January 8, 2015, the question who will become the next President remains without a clear answer. If we go by media write ups it is going to be won on point- count rather than a knock-out punch. President Mahindra Rajapaksa is facing his former colleague from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala Sirisena, who served as the Party General Secretary for 12 years are locked in a do or die election battle.
Human violence and brutality fell to their lowest of the low in our living memory when 148 people, including 132 innocent students at a Pakistan’s Army run school in Peshawar were shot dead from a point blank range on Wednesday, 17 December 2014, by the ruthless Tehrik-e-Taliban. The tragedy sent shock waves across the globe, still doing rounds. The question before all of us is whether this tragedy too will be forgotten until the next one strikes; or whether the pain in our bleeding hearts will, at least this time, charge our hands to cleanse the rot, no matter how long the battle.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has left none in doubt that his commitment to the Indian defence self-reliance is “unquestionable and uncompromising”. Modi was right in his criticism of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for its failure to deliver on strategic projects on time. It is in the fitness of things that Modi pulled up DRDO with a suggestion to complete the projects without time and cost escalation. For long DRDO has been in news for its poor handing of projects that paved way for an inordinate delay and steep cost escalation.
The Fatal Attraction of the Islamic State: The Curious Cases of the Returnee, Self-indoctrinated and the Lone-Wolf
The news of the four Indian youth from Kalyan joining the Islamic State (IS) in July 2014 became a major concern to the newly-elected government in New Delhi. This was one of the first instances which exposed the probable involvement of Indian Muslims with this dreaded outfit. In a way, the attraction and influence of the IS in South Asia has been evidenced by such activities where many radicalised youths have shown their allegiance and support to the Sunni militant group.
Perhaps the most notable development in world affairs today is the dawn of Asian century. If the 20th century was dominated by the rise of US and trans-Atlantic relations , the global centre of gravity is invariably shifting to East Asia in the current century. However, much of the discourse on the region tends to focus overwhelming on the phenomenal rise of China and to a lesser extent the emergence of India. It is argued that these two countries, possessing largest population bases, and thus huge markets, would be at the centre of much of what is happening in East Asia.
The current scenario in Jammu & Kashmir is drawing attention towards some ongoing imperatives. First, the assembly election results are a reflection of uncertainty on the political front with clear dividing lines between the Valley and Jammu region ; the government formation is still some distance away and will be a manifestation of whether national interest or narrow interests will prevail.
Shinzo Abe’s decisive victory in the mid term polls on December 14 augurs well for the future of India-Japan relations. Diplomatic ties between India and Japan that have seen an upswing over the past two decades are slated to assume even greater significance in the coming years.