Commentaries & Articles
Revisiting the Indian Tradition of Public Dissent
Avant Propos Writing a foreword to noted social historian and political philosopher Dharampal’s (1922-2006) book ‘Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition’ [1971] legendary Indian mass leader and socialist thinker Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) made certain poignant observations on the Indian tradition of the relationship between the ruler and the ruled and more importantly on the role and legitimacy of public movements within a democratic framework.
Will Mamata Follow Hard-Line Policies Against The Maoists?
It is a fact that Mamata Bannerjee and her party have done considerable damage to the anti-Maoist security mechanism in West Bengal, through her ‘no-hold- barred’ mission to capture power in West Bengal. Flush with a huge electoral win that has led her to the Chief Minister’s chair, her approach to the Maoist issue has been raising the anxiety levels of multiple stakeholders including those at the Centre, strategic observers, Security Forces; they are at a loss regarding the possible policy Mamata Bannerjee may adopt vis-a-vis Left Wing Extremism.
Unrest In The Pakistan Army?
Never, since the 1971 War debacle, has the self- image and public perception of the Pakistani Army reached such a nadir. Operation Neptune Spear – the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, turned the spotlight on Pakistan’s amazing duplicity or astounding incompetence. Initially the Pak Army was in a painful cleft about which facet to plead guilty to. Both were equally damning and put Pakistan between a rock and a hard place. For 36 hours after the raid there was a stunned official silence in Islamabad. The Middle East hardly noticed Bin Ladens passing.
Great Expectations: Indo-French Defence Relations
The shortlisting of the French Rafale and the Eurofighter as the two final contenders for the $10 billion MMRCA deal puts a renewed spotlight on Indo-French defense cooperation, particularly as the US aircraft have been excluded. The comprehensive and impartial technical evaluation of the competing aircraft attests to the high quality of the French-made fighter. It is unclear which aircraft will win eventually, but it is clear that India has opted for the European option.
India’s Stalled Reforms
Conventional wisdom would dictate that the weakening of hard-line communist parties in recent state elections should have been a boon for the country’s reform agenda. But these polls have also reaffirmed the importance of regional parties, which retain the ability to hijack the policy agenda at the national level. These political considerations have translated into policy lethargy and complacency in the UPA government, which is manifested in the case of several recent high-profile corruption scandals and prolonged inflationary pressures.
Pakistan After Bin Laden
The killing of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town on 2 May 2011 raised heated questions about that state’s reliability as a partner against terrorism. Given that since 2001, Pakistani officials had repeatedly insisted that the Al Qaeda chief was not within their jurisdiction, his discovery at Abbottabad was an embarrassment. It implied that either local security officials were incompetent, or that they knowingly sheltered an international terrorist fugitive. There is also a third possibility, which is that incompetence might have co-existed alongside partial complicity.
China and Vietnam: Delicate Balance of Natural Allies
The recent row between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea is yet another illustration of ‘peaceful rise of China’. It began in the last week of May and continued through second week of June, when in two similar incidents, exploration cables of Vietnamese oil and gas survey ships were cut off by Chinese patrol and fishing boats respectively. The first clash occurred between a Vietnamese oil and gas survey ship and Chinese patrol boats in an area around 120 km off the south-central coast of Vietnam and about 600 km south of China’s Hainan Island.
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