Commentaries & Articles
Challenges Facing India in 2019
While more has been achieved by the Modi government than many earlier governments, there are still many long-standing challenges that face India which need to be addressed in 2019. The most daunting of these may be listed as the governance deficit, ineffective policing, neglect of defence capabilities, and the existential threat posed by Pakistan and China.
Sri Lanka Crisis Resolved but Challenges Continue
The political crisis in Sri Lanka has receded following the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court (Dec 14, 2018) restoring the status of the Parliament as it existed on October 24, 2018 before the crisis erupted.
Will International Oil Prices Continue to be Volatile?
India is set to enter 2019 as one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a growth rate projection by the International Monetary Fund, set at 7.4 percent and Organisation for Economic Development at 7.5 percent.1 But such a forecast are significantly dependent on major oil producers, Russians, Saudis, and the U.S. not being able to cooperate as they look to outmaneuver each other. Yet, uncertainties and volatility are likely to remain high throughout 2019.
The Great Game Revisited*
The continuing turmoil in Afghanistan and the entry of several players in Central Asia, in what has been called the New Great Game, is likely to get further complicated. This is due to the reported move of the US to pullout half their troops from Afghanistan. Against this backdrop it is worthwhile to take a step back and revisit the original ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century. Captain Arthur Conolly, a British officer of the Sixth Bengal Native Light Cavalry, is credited with coining the term the ‘Great Game’ in the 1830’s.
A Welcome Verdict on Rafale Deal
In a landmark judgment last week, India’s Supreme Court has summarily dismissed all the petitions challenging the price and propriety of the deal involving the acquisition of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets.1 Declining the petitions, the Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi found no concrete basis for alleged irregularities in the acquisition of 36 fighter jets and noted that “perception of individuals cannot form the basis for interference …and as such…there is no occasion to doubt decision-making process in the Rafale deal”.
President Trump’s Decision on US withdrawal: Middle East and the Afghanistan Situation
President Trump announced on December 20 his decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria. He justified the decision on the ground that the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS) has been defeated. Same time, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2451 on December 21 calling for cease-fire in Hodeida, Yemen. Though the two developments are not linked, they could add to the perception that Iranian influence in the region would increase. Trump also decided to reduce US troops in Afghanistan by half from the current level of 14,000.
The US-China 90 Days Truce
Prior to the G20 meeting, there were indications of some respite in the US and China. During the working dinner meeting, at the G 20 meeting held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping held a ‘highly successful meeting’.i According to the agreement, the US and China will not put any new tariffs for 90 days. Nevertheless, the prevailing tariffs will remain unchanged.
VIF News Digest
Defense, National Security and Terrorism, VIF Alerts
December 4, 2018
VIF News Digest: National Security, Defence Studies and Terrorism (November 01 – 30, 2018)

Contents DEFENCE: Consultative Committee for Ministry of Defence Reviews Operational Preparedness of Indian Coast Guard...

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International Development
January 21, 2019
VIF News Digest: International Developments (7-13 Jan 2019)

USA Newly-appointed Indian envoy likely to present credentials to Donald Trump on January 11 10 Jan 2019 India’s newly-...

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Neighbourhood News
January 21, 2019
VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 21st January, 2019

PAKISTAN 'Exemplary punishment to be given to those found guilty in Sahiwal incident,' PM assures nation: Dawn January 21,...

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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) is a New Delhi-based think tank set up with the collaborative efforts of India's leading security experts, diplomats, industrialists and philanthropists under the aegis of the Vivekananda Kendra. The VIF’s objective is to become a centre of excellence to kick start innovative ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India playing its destined role in global affairs.

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