IDSA COMMENT

Iranian Elections: President-elect and Regional Security

June 28, 2005

The results of the second round of elections in Iran's ninth Presidential elections, announced June 24, are not unexpected given that the first round held on June 17 revealed that the victorious President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a much greater appeal for the average Iranian voter than his opponent, the former Iranian President and pragmatic cleric Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Karakoram Impasse

June 02, 2005

As the Karakoram Highway reopened on May 2, 2005, for traffic between China and Pakistan, the area surrounding it continues to be tense. The Northern Areas (NA) of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir continues to be in turmoil since the assassination of Shia leader Aga Ziauddin by gunmen in Gilgit in January this year. In a case that was clearly indicative of rising sectarian intolerance, fifteen people were killed by the rampaging mobs before some modicum of governance was restored. A large number of government buildings were set on fire and a number of officials and their families were attacked.

Koizumi’s Visit to India: Forgotten Friendship to Active Partnership

June 02, 2005

Japan’s relations with India are at crossroads, even as we recently completed 53 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties. The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently as part of his four-nation tour which took him to South Asia and Europe proved to be an apt opportunity for both countries to carve strategies to solidify ties for the future. The significance of Koizumi’s visit cannot be understated considering the fact that this is the first visit by a Japanese head of state after a hiatus of nearly half a decade.

NPT: Crisis of Compliance

May 24, 2005

The agenda of the NPT Rev Con, currently underway in New York, has now been finalized. Moreover, the Chairman of the Rev Con, Ambassador Sergio Duarte of Brazil has also been able to finalize upon the three Main Committees (MC) and the three Subsidiary Bodies (SB). These three subsidiary bodies will look into three important issues: practical steps towards disarmament (SB1), regional issues including the issue of Middle East (SB2) and the issue of withdrawal from the NPT (SB3).

UN Reforms and India: Need for Calibrated Prudence

May 24, 2005

Ms Shirin Tahir-Kheli, the special adviser to the US government on UN reforms, will be in Delhi this week, beginning Monday, and clearly of the 101 proposals in six different areas made by the High Level Panel, the one that will attract the most attention will be the question of the Security Council expansion – and India's status in the matter along with that of Japan, Germany and Brazil -- the so-called G 4.

Global Order and the Second World War

May 16, 2005

Every war is waged to fashion a better and more acceptable peace. Peace, in the sense of a legitimate framework within which States can pursue their interests without recourse to arms. The fashioning of a better and legitimate peace is especially important in the wake of wars among Great Powers, which have an immense impact on the international system as a whole. In fact, some wars among Great Powers – like the Thirty Years’ War, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars – are expressly waged to determine a new framework for the conduct of international relations.

The NPT Review Conference: Redo the Regime

May 13, 2005

The immediate challenge ahead for the state parties to the NPT in the ongoing Review Conference, May 2-27, 2005 in New York, is how to salvage the tarnished image of the treaty. The efficacy of the treaty is under scrutiny primarily on three issues— disarmament, nonproliferation, and universality of compliance. The unraveling facts of over the last two years, related to various kinds of breaches of the NPT commitments by Libya, Iran and North Korea, add to further suspicion over the credibility of the treaty.

Revival of Racism in Fiji

May 10, 2005

Several events in Fiji have once again opened the festering wounds of racism and revived the apprehensions of Indo-Fijians about their future in this island State. The first was when the former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka stated that Indo-Fijians should emulate Sonia Gandhi and not stake a claim for the office of the Prime Minister, even if they get a majority in the Parliament after the next elections. Adding, that even though Sonia wore Indian clothes and spoke the language, she still felt that India should be led by an indigenous person.

The Spirit of Bandung

May 30, 2005

Exactly fifty years back in 1955 leaders from 29 countries spanning Asia and Africa met in the town of Bandung on West Java in Indonesia from April 18 to 25 to deliberate on a new strategy they should adopt vis-à-vis the rest of the world to make their voice heard and to make their presence felt at a time when the world was in grips of the most intensive ideological warfare between those who ardently advocated communism and those opposed it as fervently led respectively by the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Koizumi Visit – Need to Advance Strategic Dialogue and Content

May 02, 2005

The visit of the Japanese PM Mr. Junichiro Koizumi to Delhi on April 29 is the last in a series of high levels visits that have the potential to fundamentally re- alter India's bi-lateral relations with the major poles of relevance in the post Cold War/post 9-11 global systemic and the challenge will be in realizing the potential that has been agreed to at the highest political level. These visits began with that of Ms. Condi Rice, the US Secretary of State in mid March and this was followed by the Chinese PM Mr. Wen Jiabao in early April.

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