The worst fears about Afghanistan appear to be coming true. For more than a year now, there was a virtual consensus, not just in the international community but also within Afghanistan, that the future of the country was critically dependent on a credible presidential election in 2014. So much so that the prospects for relatively smooth security and economic transition was also contingent on an orderly political transition from President Karzai to his successor.
The world is in a state of continuing flux. The economies of the major powers are still fragile and vulnerabilities exist in those of the bigger emerging powers in the Asia-Pacific like China and India. The balance of power is concurrently undergoing a shift with competing focal points of power surfacing in the East. The fragile nature has been accentuated in the past few years with Beijing’s accelerated push for recognition as the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific. This is resisted by the US, Japan and India and has made South East Asian countries nervous.
India-US relations need to be put back on track. The relationship has lost steam in recent months with many contentious issues surfacing that remain unaddressed. We have now to see whether with the change of government in Delhi a new start can be made. The 5th India-US strategic dialogue on July 31 will provide an occasion to review the state of our bilateral ties. The composition of the US delegation indicates the subjects the US side intends emphasizing.
Children have been an exploited class in India, not only on account of age but also on account of the way our economy functions in the informal sector, as also the caste system which discouraged education for large sections of the community and virtually forced the children into the labour market at a very young age.
The Economic Times published on 11th July, 2014 carries the headlines “Narendra Modi aims for goal, hits crossbar”. This newspaper and some others, not to mention the Opposition have
The Pakistan army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb(sharp and cutting), its much delayed ground offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan, on June 15, 2014. Since then, the army claims to have killed 386 TTP and Uzbek terrorists, including the mastermind of the twin terrorist attacks on Karachi airport on June 9th and 10th, while 20 soldiers have lost their lives. Approximately 600,000 civilian inhabitants have had to leave their homes and join the swelling numbers of IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Pakistan.
After evaluating the emerging strategic environment in the neighbourhood and beyond, Prime Minister Narendra Modi preferred to visit Bhutan first and thereafter Japan. While the visit to Bhutan underscored his understanding of the crucial strategic importance of Bhutan to India and the need to correct the drift in relationship which had crept in during the UPA’s tenure, Modi’s forthcoming visit to Japan is expected to bring in a paradigm shift in the nature of relationship between the two nations.
Mr.Narendra Modi is perceived as a tough Prime Minister who will take tough decisions. He is also seen as one who will even take harsh decisions if need be. In the run up to his government’s first budget, Mr Modi reinforced this image
by warning the people that he may have to administer some “bitter medicine” in order to revive the economy. Since no Prime Minister in recent times had ever given the people such advance warning, the people expected some really harsh measures in the Union Budget, but that did not happen.
The meeting between internationally designated terrorist chieftain Hafiz Saeed and an Indian journalist (?) and political operator, Dr VP Vaidik, in Lahore has caused a veritable storm in not just political circles but also the media. Normally, no eyebrows should be raised if anyone who claims to be a journalist meets any extremely undesirable and notorious criminal. Howsoever unpleasant and politically incorrect, such meetings are part and parcel of a scribe’s profession.