A permanent seat in the United Nations (UN) Security Council seems well within India’s grasp. India’s long held aspirations of playing a more active role in the global affairs by acquiring a permanent seat at the UN Security Council has received a significant boost by the report submitted by the Secretary general’s high-level panel on threats, challenges and change.
The tsunami tragedy that struck large parts of Southern Asia abutting the Bay of Bengal and the South Eastern Indian Ocean littoral has been a tragic start for the New Year. It is feared that the total death toll in the affected areas may well cross the 200,000 mark. In many ways this is a multi-national disaster with the affected countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar amongst others and stretching all the away across the ocean to the East coast of Africa.
The Southeast Asian states are critically dependent on regional sea-lanes for trade since most of them have embarked on the philosophy of export-led development. These are also the energy lifelines of the East Asian states and are equally vital for global trade. The Malacca Straits and Singapore Straits enclose the busiest of these sea-lanes, through which about a quarter of the world trade passes each year aboard 50,000 vessels.
The intense media interest and the more modest outcome of what ultimately transpired after the just concluded visit of the Pakistani PM Mr. Shaukat Aziz to New Delhi is in many ways indicative of the tone and texture of Indo-Pak relations at the present moment. While the two nations have had a relationship of varying degrees of hostility and bitterness since October 1947, the agreement reached in January 2004 over the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) is the framework in which bi-lateral ties are now being pursued.