The Monograph provides a comprehensive roadmap for reforming India’s defence offset policy which despite having gone through several rounds of revisions in past decade or so, still lacks effectiveness. The roadmap is based on extensive study of offset practices followed by six countries: Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey and the UAE.
China’s new military strategy as it applies to the Indian Ocean is not a matter of a minor shift in the balance of maritime power, but one that impacts India’s capacity and will to impose a deterrent cost.
In spite of the existence since October 2006 of a SAARC Disaster Management Centre, the Nepal earthquake brought to the fore the difficulties faced by this organization and its failure to rise to the occasion.
After 67 years of diplomatic relations and two decades of collaboration in connecting India with Southeast Asia in January of 2012, Thailand and India finally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Cooperation. This effort to deepen defence and military ties between the two countries emerged relatively late when compared with those between India and most other Southeast Asian countries.
India’s ministerial presence at the Shangri La Dialogue could have helped India to articulate the new government’s strategic thought and expand from the realm of military diplomacy to defence diplomacy. So, is India’s defence establishment blind to probable benefits of participating in the Dialogue or are they thinking differently?
The revised defence guidelines have added value to the US-Japan partnership and the fundamental shift in Japanese security policy complements the US call upon Japan to shoulder greater security responsibility as a partner.
In the last two months, the large-scale exodus of Rohingyas towards the coastlines of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia has been a concern not only for the region but also for the international community.
Stakeholder regional countries threatened by Islamic militancy need to get together under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and fight a joint war to end the menace.
While both Saudi Arabia and Iran vie for power and influence, Yemenis continue to suffer and the country seems to be slipping into further instability.
The 2015 NPT RevCon ended on an expected dismaying note. The only positive outcome was its endorsement of the recent initiatives to project the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, though not adopting its underlying theme - a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty.
As the dust settles after the visit of Prime Minister Modi to China, it is time to take a calm and dispassionate look at where we stand in the context of Sino-Indian relations.
It is time for India to reconnect with a rapidly-changing Central Asia—increasingly the focus of world attention, and rivalry among the great powers over security and energy stakes. India too has high stakes in Central Asia, and a cogent policy outlook is long overdue. Partition and the subsequent Pakistani occupation of parts of Kashmir led to a direct physical cut-off on India's northern flank.
There is widespread commitment in India for Nepal’s reconstruction. India’s provision of reconstruction assistance to Nepal must be worked out as a long term strategy.
While the Iran nuclear agreement will be the primary agenda of the summit, there are expectations that other regional issues will also be raised: the campaign against the Islamic State, removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the ongoing war in Yemen and the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In today’s India, the narrow nationalism, if not paranoia, built on the burden of 1962 seems only artificial. But, can Modi and Xi move beyond this burden and change the bilateral discourse? Modi needs to be metaphysical not just pragmatic.
India has to play a critical role in developing and thereby realising the full potential of Chabahar port which will significantly boost its image as a proactive regional power that is building such critical infrastructure not only to maximise its financial and strategic gains but also to propel regional growth and prosperity.
It is time the MoD considered creating structures and organizations that are not an intrinsic part of the ministerial set up to implement the production and procurement policies once these are formulated by the ministry.
For better operational cooperation, India and China need to go beyond rudimentary agreements on combating piracy and crime in the Western Indian Ocean. They need to work out an acceptable framework for functional collaboration and create positive momentum in favour of greater strategic interaction.
This Occasional Paper looks at the idea of China being a potential security threat as spoken about in India's official discourse that is, as written down in annual reports or governmental statements or mentioned in the speeches of Indian officials. It does not analyse India's foreign policy, the strategic environment, or offer a new perspective on the development of bilateral security relations.
Shifting the centre of gravity of fighting from their traditional strongholds in the South to the northern parts of Afghanistan in this operation is indicative of the Taliban’s shift in focus to other regions that are also in the al Qaeda’s radar.
This Issue Brief examines the various dimensions of the conflict in Yemen and analyses the conflict’s impact on the region and beyond.
Bangladesh has moved away from the caretaker government system and the Election Commission is supposed to hold parliamentary and local elections in future. This would require a robust Election Commission that enjoys the confidence of all political parties.
Nepal should raise Ecological Task Force (ETF) units to assist in tasks related to ecological reconstruction.
India and China could and should cooperate on environmental issues and specifically on clean urbanization because there is scope to develop a shared understanding of the problems and solutions.
This Issue Brief looks back at the implementation of the JPOA and examines the extent to which the recent framework (JCPOA) agreed upon at Lausanne adheres to the letter and spirit of the JPOA, specifically as it relates to the pledge to treat the Iranian nuclear programme “as that of any non-nuclear state party to the NPT”.
Policymakers need to ask themselves ‘What Really Makes Offsets Tick?’ in order to develop an objective framework based on sound principles repeatedly noticed in the offset regulations of ‘The Smarter Lot’ of countries and in the process avoid committing the seven ‘original sins’ that a poorly-designed offset policy may entail.
Kautilya argues that when the treasury gets depleted, concerted efforts become necessary for its replenishment and even recommends extraordinary measures in emergency situations. But the guiding principle should be what the people consider as beneficial to themselves.
A loosely articulated idea of making India a defence manufacturing hub cannot work unless it is backed by a comprehensive blueprint, efficient procedures, meticulous implementation, trained and responsive manpower, continuous monitoring and quick decision-making.
The new version of US maritime strategy candidly recognises China’s maritime expansion and territorial claims as a source of regional unrest, but stops short of recognising the A2/AD challenge even as it pronounces “all-domain access” as a strategic prerequisite.
India’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks is going to increase exponentially with the development of infrastructure and programmes such as Digital India, National Optical Fibre Network, e-Governance, e-commerce and e-Services. The NCC provides a ready resource for picking up India’s cyber warriors in the available time frame.
It may be an over-optimistic assessment to expect the present Thein Sein regime to achieve a substantive and comprehensive political accord in the run-up to the elections.
The recent attack on the Bardo museum and killing of foreign tourists has demonstrated that the challenge from the hardline Islamists remains.
India needs to shape the nature and scope of the projects the bank will finance to support the Asian Century and its own re-emergence as one of the two centres of gravity in Asia.
The US and other countries, including India, should open the floodgates of military and economic assistance to the Afghan state and help build the capacity and capability of its security forces and administrative machinery.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit is likely to improve the atmospherics to a significant extent, introduce a positive vibe into the process of engagement and serve as a stepping stone for deepening the relationship further.
One area where the 2015-16 defence budget is likely to hurt the most is in capital acquisition, which has already been under acute pressure in recent years due to the overwhelming share of the ‘committed liabilities’ arising out of contracts already signed
The bad news in this year’s defence budget is that it does not recognise that things are not going in the right direction but only the beaten track. And the poor track record in fully utilising the resources allocated for ‘Modernisation’ is the worse news.
It is a fairly simple exercise to estimate what the defence budget will be given available indicators. My assessment is that the Budget Estimate for defence is likely to be around Rs. 250,000 crore, with 105,000 crore for Capital Expenditure and 145,000 Crore for Revenue Expenditure.
The thumb rule in making a policy U-turn is “minimise damage or maximise advantage”. What is extraordinary about the Modi government’s U-turn is that it maximises losses and minimises advantages.
The Modi’s government determination to adopt a muscular stance on national security and its commitment to expedite defence modernisation are likely to translate into greater political and defence engagement with Israel.
There is a general feeling among analysts that while US government lawyers may have been satisfied that the CLNDA is compatible with CSC in light of explanations offered by the Indian government, this view is being reportedly challenged by nuclear industry lawyers.
While the exact nature of the understanding between the two countries is yet to be announced and in fact may never be officially released, it is possible to offer an outline of the possible “memorandum” with possible understandings on all the three liability issues as well as the administrative arrangements.
The ‘Make in India’ drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers a way of improving the country’s self-reliance in defence production. But for the MII to succeed in the defence manufacturing sector, the government needs to address some legacy issues.
The US will continue to do what it can for blocking rapprochement between India and China or Japan and China for it knows the danger of its loss of a dominant role in Asia. Despite all the distortions of time and space, the hard geographic reality of Asia will triumph just as it happened in Europe.
Saudi Arabia has joined the war against the IS and it supports more boots on the ground to tackle this challenge. Although it is employing all the options available to it, the success of anti-IS operations depends to a significant extent on the ground situation in Syria and Iraq.
The IS frequently releases graphic videos of, for instance, beheadings, on social media. Once these videos surface, an ethical debate arises about the sharing of violent imagery and how these social platforms should deal with the situation.
It is time to see the relations between the re-emerging Asian giants less in terms of balance of power in Asia and more in terms of recognising mutual interests in shaping the Asian Century.
The present monograph traces the origins of the Pakistani state and the processes that encouraged the state-sponsored efforts to build a Pakistani nation, and seeks to isolate various problems associated with such nation-building efforts.
Xi Jinping has already recognized the inevitable by stressing that China would adjust to the ‘new normal’ of lower growth and, to ensure stability, he has already cracked down on dissent and strengthened media control measures.
Why is the Pakistan military pushing for Military Courts when the country already has a fairly robust Anti Terrorism Act together with designated Anti Terrorism Courts set up specifically to try terrorism related offences?
It is not clear what kind of democracy the BNP wants to restore in alliance with the Jamaat which does not believe in democracy. But the AL needs to proceed with caution in dealing with the ongoing protests lest it comes to be seen as an autocratic government.
Signing of the SAARC agreement is merely the first step in the process of regional energy cooperation. To make this initiative work, governments in the region need to synchronise their efforts on a range of technical, institutional and political issues.
Effective cybersecurity calls for a close partnership between the government in its role as custodian of the nation’s security, and the private sector, in both roles of information infrastructure provider as well as the provider of many critical services.
It is necessary to adopt a pragmatic approach while framing a new policy that makes it simpler for individuals and firms to function as representatives of foreign and Indian companies without compromising on the need for probity in defence contracts.
Governments find themselves struggling to deal with the issue of cybersecurity. Given the current state of play in cybersecurity, it is not surprising that any discussion sooner or later ends up as a confusing mix of viewpoints on fundamental rights, privacy, law enforcement, human rights, globalisation and national security, thus leading to a gridlock.
The Islamic State is fast gaining support outside Iraq and Syria. Next on its agenda seems to be the North African region. However, is the ground fertile enough for the IS to find roots in Libya, Tunisia, or Egypt?
The Centre must reiterate its commitment to uphold the Constitutional provisions enshrined in Article 371, expand the scope of the Sixth Schedule, and empower the autonomous council institutions in the North-East.
It is difficult to visualise how the Russian offer to make LUH in India could be actualised unless the government invokes ‘strategic considerations’ for making it in India or signs an inter-governmental agreement for that purpose.
The military cooperation agreement between Russia and Pakistan raises two pertinent questions: What are the driving factors behind Russia’s Pakistan strategy? And should India be concerned?
Border trade is trade in local products of limited value by the people residing within a few kilometres on either side of the international border. Although the contribution of border trade in India's economy is negligible, it has substantial impact on its relations with its neighbours as well as on the people living on the border.
The PAC-3 missile defence deal is a win-win package for both the United States and Saudi Arabia in terms of both their bilateral relations and the enhancement of regional security.
Is India now looking at energy through the strategic prism? Its recent signing of the TAPI deal is certainly indicative of that.
It is necessary to evolve a long term strategy keeping in mind all the aircraft acquisition programmes, review the factors that contribute to determining the right numbers and begin the process of building a long term partnership with the private industry.
If the Sinhala opposition parties, the Tamil TNA, and the Muslim parties support the common candidate, there is a possibility that they may be able to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. But will these political forces come together?
Is the Eurasian Economic Union aimed at reincarnating the Soviet Union minus the Marxist ideology? While some in Russia assert that the term “union” symbolically harkens back to the Soviet Union, many outside Russia fear that it could be so.
Despite the lessons learnt during the Kargil conflict, where artillery firepower paved the way for victory, modernisation of the artillery continued to be neglected. The recent acquisition of 814 truck-mounted 155 mm/52-calibre guns is a step in the right direction.
Given that marine police has been exclusively created for coastal security, it is imperative that the force is adequately strengthened and for this to happen, it is incumbent upon the respective state governments to recognize the severity of sea-borne threats.
The incident raises important issues. First, the role of honours and awards in such crimes, second, the impact of punishment on the morale of troops who undertake a challenging responsibility and last, its impact on the population of the disturbed area at large.
Replacement of the Avro is an approved requirement. Scrapping the on-going process could delay acquisition of the transport aircraft by at least a year or two as it would inevitably involve revisiting the qualitative requirements (QRs) before restarting the tendering process.
Escalation of tension has scarred relations between Japan and China. The fallout of this has been reflected in the trade and economic ties between the two. Stabilizing China-Japan bilateral relations is critical for peace in the East Asia and it has to be seen how this four-point agreement will translate into action.
This is the right time to raise a fundamental question about Obama’s policy towards Syria: Is there a coherent, consistent policy, based on a reasonably accurate assessment of the ground realities in Syria? The answer is a definite no.
India-Australia relation is entering a new orbit and setting a path of strategic convergence. But there are equally other significant issues of cooperation that can bolster Modi’s vision for inclusive development and better governance including Australia’s successes at preserving its ecosystem, water resources distribution and renewable energy.
The government’s ‘Act East Policy’ needs to legitimise the ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept. Interestingly, only a few months after the release of the 2013 White Paper, Australia released a Country Strategy Document on India which identified the Indian Navy as possessing the most potential for a close maritime partnership
The jihadi elements in Assam are making their presence very visible. Measures have been initiated to counter the menace of Islamic terror especially along the India-Bangladesh and inter-state borders following intelligence inputs indicating JMB’s plan to spread tentacles in the state.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death will be a serious setback to Daesh as it is different from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups that did not proclaim a ‘caliphate’. As the history of Islam shows, the proclamation of a new ‘caliph’ can be problematic.
The fall of the wall also coincided with the collapse of the USSR and end of the Cold War. Theoverall changes since 1989 have been largely a remarkable success with the majority of citizens in the former socialist countries not wanting to go back to the earlier economic and political system.
For the mantra to become an all-pervasive reality in defence acquisitions in India will be to multiply manifold the onset, frequency, range and depthof its industry engagements.
The Wagah incident is not going to wake-up Pakistan to the existential threat posed by jihadist terror groups. There is neither going to be any change in its attitude towards using terrorism as an instrument of state policy, nor its inimical attitude towards India.
The effort to set right the operating environment has to start with creating a mechanism to review the existing devolution of power comprehensively based on clearly defined principles and not in an ad hoc manner.
The US sees the establishment of the AIIB as an attempt by China to pull South- East Asian countries closer to its orbit and a soft-power play that promises economic benefits while refurbishing its image among its Asian neighbours.
This Brief analyses industry demands and reviews existing regulations in IT and defence procurement markets, culminating with suggestions on a possible way forward for reforms that can avoid adverse implications of industry demands, particularly in view of their potential conflict with important policies fostering indigenisation.
There is no single agency in MoD to deal with these issues holistically. Generally, matters related to administrative powers are processed separately for each service by the administrative wings concerned with little concern for commonality.
There is no single factor cited for motivating Central Asians to join ISIS ranks. However, the search for employment and earnings remain the main driver. More than 4 million migrants (Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz) engaged in low-paid jobs in Russia are vulnerable to the jihadi network.
Widespread problems have made the operating environment ‘dysfunctional and inefficient’. Some of this is on account of inscrutable issues like ‘integration of the services with the MoD’ or ‘civil-military relations’ but, in large part, the immediate problem lies with MoD’s inability to resolve more mundane issues.
Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar-Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) is a sub-regional grouping. The North Eastern states have shown keen interest in the BCIM initiative and are exploring ways for boosting cooperation in the services sectors like health, tourism, education, and transport and communication.
This Issue Brief examines certain provisions relating to intellectual property rights and transfer of technology in India’s defence procurement procedures, together with suggestions on streamlining the same for achieving enhanced procurement efficiencies in capital acquisitions.
With the US determined not to commit troops, the military defeat of ISIS, at present, is therefore neither feasible nor imminent. Neither the so-called retrained Iraqi Army, nor US air power against this powerful and motivated force will be sufficient.
In the West, there is growing realisation that only boots on the ground can defeat or substantially destroy the Daesh. Unless a ground force capable of taking back the territories seized by the Daesh arrives on the scene, the advantage will lie with the jihadis.
Beijing’s desire to manage the political process in Hong Kong stems from the ‘one country two systems’ model whereby it continues to retain its influence. It will not take much time for mainland to see a foreign hand in the islanders’ pro-democracy movements.
The recent heavy firing by the Pakistani army is to gain public sympathy and providing it greater flexibility in the flawed civil-military relations. It is an orchestrated plan to provoke India believing that it can take such a risk of escalation in the back drop of its effective nuclear capability.
Given that the onus for settling the border disputes with Nepal and Bangladesh is on India, the Indian government has to demonstrate political wisdom in evolving political framework that would satisfy the national interests of both India and Nepal as well as win over the domestic opposition to the LBA.
The national aim should be to make India a design, development, manufacture and export hub. India must study the Chinese concepts of “leap frogging” of technology across several generations and “civilianisation” to exploit dual use technology.
Bitter last ditch battles are being fought by Kurdish men and women, including boys and girls barely out of their teens, against the Daesh. Some feel that to succeed, Washington must cooperate with the Syrian Kurds (YPG) as Kurdish fighters alone have proved willing and capable of taking on the Daesh.
While the government is widely seen as investor-friendly, investment decisions, however, are made on more tangible considerations – ease of doing business, security of investment and intellectual property rights, and returns on investment.
The Indian defence industry needs procedural clarity and simplification to be ingrained in the “Make” procedures, as the rules are presently silent on a number of important operational aspects.
The participation by the Saudi royal family in the US-led bombing of Daesh positions in Syria indicates Riyadh’s implacable opposition to the mercenary group. Iran, however, has dismissed the air strikes as a “psychological operation”, not a military one.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed aware about the nuances that underpin India's cultural and political obligations in Asia. By making Bhutan as his first visit abroad followed by a visit to Nepal, he has effectively invoked the deeper imperatives to revitalize India's national interests.
The background study looks at incidence of violence in the Kashmir Valley during the 2014 parliamentary elections and the correlation of violence to voter turnout. This study also lists out various actors responsible for violence and the trends in voting patterns from different regions of the Valley.
Can the two leaders go further and recognize the regional strategic interests of each other in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans? What about full support for India’s membership of the Security with the two countries working together in that forum?
In the Chinese mind the settlement of the border issue with India cannot be divorced from regional, political and larger strategic issues. China has used the threat of intrusions across the LAC, as a part of its coercive diplomacy and it is too valuable an asset to give up.
During PM Modi’s visit to US, one of the topics that is likely to be high on the agenda will be the still incomplete US-India nuclear cooperation by way of sales of nuclear reactors to India because of the Indian Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010.
The military gap between Indian and China is growing steadily as the PLA is upgrading the military infrastructure in Tibet to enable rapid deployment. China will stall resolution of the territorial dispute till it is in a much stronger position.
The orbit insertion scheduled for September 24 will be a landmark achievement. The Mars accomplishment could assist the global efforts towards the possible human colonization of the Red Planet and would automatically increase India’s status.
The SCD is a template meant for guidance of the contracting parties but is not cast in stone. Every contract does not have to be its exact replica but it is not uncommon for the contracting officials of MoD and the vendors to get embroiled in protracted discussion on the wording of some of the clauses.
There is a view that the armed forces must ideally not be employed for disaster management. However, repeated instances have proved that the armed forces will continue to do the heavy lifting during such situations and therefore this role should be formalised and designated in a manner that efficiency can be improved and procedural voids filled.
What the Strategy for Defence Export tries to achieve is to create institutional mechanisms and establish clear-cut procedures within the overall ambit of the Foreign Trade Export for facilitating arms exports through export promotion/facilitation and export regulation.
A determination needs to be made whether the paradigm within which India-China relations have come to be conducted is not unduly adverse to India, and therefore in need of a rejig, before proceeding further to conclude any political agreements anew, or reiterate previous understandings, during Xi Jinping’s visit.
President Xi Jinping’s visit to India is a new opportunity for infusing momentum in the bilateral relations. Economic dealings would be one aspect of the talks; but neither country can afford to bypass the sensitive security and strategic issues that dog their efforts to bring peace and stability.
China, like Russia, suffers from domestic terrorism (the Uyghur East Turkestan Islamic Movement). Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has put China on a list of countries accused of persecuting Muslims, thus making it a target for jihad.
As Australia and India have to deepen their security cooperation for a peaceful prosperous and stable Asia-Pacific region, both the countries will have to manage global nuclear commerce together.
The Assam-Nagaland border dispute is the direct result of the lack of success of the stakeholders in transitioning historical concepts of frontiers between neighbouring ethnic groups into mutually agreed upon updated delimited administrative boundaries of the modern state.
There is a great traction amongst western countries on building up a coalition to tackle ISIS, but the big question is which countries in West Asia would be able to synchronise western goals with theirs? While the US and its NATO allies, along with France and Australia have been assisting the Kurdish peshmerga, the list of Arab countries willing to work with the West-led coalition is unclear.
If Nawaz Sharif now plays his cards well - improves governance, makes his politics more responsive and inclusive, reaches out to opposition and his constituency, doesn’t remain aloof and keeps the parliament and political parties as his back – he could well change the power equations for good.
The biggest takeaway for India from Prime Minister Modi’s visit is Abe’s assurance of $33.5 billion public and private investment and financing including ODA, doubling Japanese FDI and the number of companies in India over the coming five years.
As the Australian PM visits India, the future of the two countries relations hinges not so much on their strategic cooperation in the international sphere, as on how meaningfully can Australia help India deal with its enormous human development challenges, including poverty alleviation.
Under the earlier policy, the foreign portfolio investment in Indian defence industry was either banned, or capped at an arbitrary level for certain companies, causing a lot of dissatisfaction among several listed Indian companies which had pleaded their genuine helplessness in controlling such investments given their nature of flow.
The dominant challenges for Japan apart from China remain North Korea. The document expresses concerns on the launching of multiple ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan along with the possibility, for the first time, that the North Koreans may have acquired nuclear warheads.
Amidst the ‘Arab Spring’ nations, the most keenly watched and followed developments have been in Egypt. Being one of the largest Arab nations, lynchpin of peace treaty with Israel, key US ally and a nation of potent and modern armed forces, Egypt deserved the attention. And so, the success or otherwise of the Arab revolutions hinged on the success or failure in Egypt. However the transition in Egypt has been far from smooth so far.
There has been much speculation since 2011 about who is going to manage the proposed fund, how is it to be different from the already existing technology related heads in the defence budget, and how will the amount set aside for the purpose be utilized.
A sub-committee of the CCS must devote time and effort to make substantive recommendations to improve the structures for higher defence management, defence research and development, self-reliance in defence production and the improvement of civil-military relations.
The army has quite patiently allowed Imran and Qadri to carry on with their protests and create a political condition unfavourable enough for Nawaz Sharif to approach the army for help. Thus like in 1993, Nawaz is feeling the heat even if the opposition is not united in their effort to dislodge his government.
There are logical reasons for India to suitably intercede with both its neighours to facilitate an agreement on the border. A mediatory role by India may not be unwelcome by Bangladesh and Myanmar as both have friendly relations.
In the short-term India needs to let the internal situation within Pakistan play itself out and see what emerges from the standoff. There is no doubt that Pakistan will have to be engaged but terms and manner will be dictated by the prevailing political and economic scenario in India, Afghanistan and the region including India-China relations.
The summit is seen as one of the major initiatives of the Obama administration towards the African continent and being the first US President to hold the largest event with the African head of states and governments.
In a recent judgment, the UN Tribunal has delineated the maritime boundary line between India and Bangladesh in the territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf within and beyond 200 nautical miles (nm). Both the countries are pleased and hope to consolidate further their relationship.
The military has ridden roughshod over Pakistan’s polity for most of the country’s history since its independence. The Pakistani army, once described as a ‘state within a state’, is now being viewed by many as the state. In fact, the army and the ISI (the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate) together form the ‘deep state’.
Prime Minister Modi has to think beyond the immediate circle and leverage the Himalayas as a bridge for India reaching out to wider Eurasian space the access to which has blocked by Pakistan. A way out could be to promote a regional market across the border, woven by a web of spiritual and commercial interests.
There now seems to be greater recognition of India’s concerns on transfer of technology and not just about co-production but also co-development of next generation weapons. The larger objective for India, however, must be to reduce its dependence on import of foreign equipment and modernize its armed forces in the quickest possible timeframe.
The death toll from the Ebola virus in West Africa is a serious health concern for the world. There are around 45,000 Indians staying in the region infected by the virus and the real ‘test’ will be whether the government will allow infected Indians back into the country.
Realising the electoral significance of the issue the Congress seems to be engaging in a competitive politics with the BJP by talking of giving citizenship to even those migrants who came to India after 1971 but were persecuted in Bangladesh.
While India needs to vigorously pursue its endeavour for APEC membership, it is crucial for the policymakers to comprehend the geo-political allusions of this Chinese invitation, which is linked with India-China ties as well as their balance-of-power politics in Asia-Pacific.
Russia seems both happy as well as worried about US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Concerns about Central Asian security apart, now with the sectarian strife in West Asia flaring up, the Russian anxieties would heighten about possible spread of ISIS type assertion along its southern belt.
There is a growing sense that Putin, after what he did to Crimea, has prepared a fine blueprint for similar intervention in Central Asian states should it become a necessary case for protecting Russian interests in these countries.
In a three part series the author analyses Russia's strategic play. In this first part, the recently held military "snap inspection" drill by Russia involving 65,000 troops is examined and significantly the intent and purpose behind it.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence’s figures reveals that the army's equipment modernisation is steadily falling. In 2008-09, the army spent 27 paisa of every rupee on capital expenditure. This fell to 24 paisa in 2009-10; 23 paisa in 2010-11; 20 paisa in 2012-13 and just 18 paisa in the last two years. Resultantly the army’s ambitious plans to transform from a ‘threat-based to a capability force’ by 2020 are being consistently thwarted.
For all the grandstanding by the Pakistan army and the civilian government that Op Zarb-e-Azb was going to be against all kinds of terror groups based in NWA, no such thing seems to be happening. Clearly, this operation has been launched keeping an eye on the post-2014 situation in Afghanistan.
The recently concluded Afghan Presidential election, rather than facilitating crucial political transition, is mired in controversy. An early resolution is crucial both for Afghanistan and the international community. For Afghanistan, a peaceful and non-controversial transition would ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming government and push the twin processes of reconciliation and democratization forward.
As all the votes cast in the run-off election are audited and recounted under international supervision, the final outcome could be a close finish with winning candidate leading by a much narrow margin. However, the America-brokered agreement might open up several larger issues with huge social, political and security implications for Afghanistan. The process of constitutional amendment can only be initiated after the new parliament is formed in 2015. The country is likely to remain in a state of transition, perhaps for several years to come.
Democracies of the world have many similarities, notwithstanding the differences in the system of governance and the governmental structure. The decision making by the Higher Defence Organisation (HDO) and the government of the United States and India face similar challenges regardless of the threat perception and the role, size and the employment of the military.
The Declaration pushes for a more equitable norm and the New Development Bank is an interesting outcome. The initial subscribed capital of $50 billion dollars and the responsibilities of the functioning are to be shared equally among the founding members of the bank. While China will host the headquarters, the regional centre will be located in South Africa; similarly the first President of the Bank will be from India, the First Board of Governors from Russia and the first chair of Board of Directors from Brazil.
The basis for the development of ties between India and Brazil rests on trade and commerce. The regional powerhouses share a relationship that is gradual and progressive. However, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brazil for the BRICS Summit can give a fillip to their bilateral association.
Israel argues that the Hamas does not recognize its existence, which, up to a point, is technically correct. But, a moment of reflection will show that recognition is exchanged only between states and that since Israel has prevented the emergence of an independent Palestine, it has no right to expect recognition from the other side.
All is not right with the Indian Higher Defence Organisation (HDO) became public knowledge, perhaps for the first time, after the Kargil War in 1999. There have been significant changes in the geo-strategic situation and the nature of threat faced by India over the years and yet little has changed in the higher defence management and the HDO of the country.
The Guidelines of 2012 have been under review for some time. While a drastic shift in the policy is unlikely, some changes in the policy, clarity about some of the existing provisions and simplification of the procedure seem necessary to make the policy work better.
China’s announcement of a 10 billion Yuan ($1.6 billion) fund to finance the “maritime silk road plan” is a clear sign that it is serious about moving ahead with its stated plans. For India, it is instructive that the sales pitch of shared economic gains does not conceal the MSR’s real purpose: ensuring the security of sea lines of communications (SLOCs) in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Given India’s vulnerability to a rise in global crude oil prices as a result of its 75-80 per cent of its crude import dependency, the Iraq crisis could widen its current account deficit, while putting pressure on exchange rate, impeding government’s fiscal consolidation goal and putting off any nudge on interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India.
The problems caused by climate change have been recognised as one of the greatest concern of this century. The subject is futuristic, relevant and multi-disciplinary with many stakeholders. The matter encompasses not only the health of the planet itself, but also that of nations and individuals.
The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) is the organisation that is responsible for ensuring the quality of a wide range of military hardware at the time of their procurement. This is a very old organisation and has evolved over a period of time to meet the aspirations of its customers.
Over the years, the scope of SCO has widened to include the interests of countries beyond the Eurasian space. For India to capitalise on the SCO it must have a clear pro-active policy, otherwise it may risk becoming a focal point of criticism by the Central Asia states like the way India is often targeted by the SAARC members.
While the Finance Minister’s budget speech struck the right chords, a closer examination of the 2014-15 budget, and its comparison with the 2014-15 interim budget, shows certain anomalies which are difficult to reconcile with some of the earlier statements made by the minister in his capacity as the defence minister.
Brazil will hold the 6th BRICS Summit of Heads of State and the Governments of BRICS from 15 July 2014 to 16 July 2014. It is a coalition of emerging economies providing alternative ideas of global governance.
There are speculations whether the present budget is sufficient to meet expenditure on big ticket items but one has to bear in mind that it is only the advance payment – generally 15% of the contract value – that becomes payable on signing of a new contract. Even if new contracts are signed for say INR 50,000 crore, MoD will require just about INR 7,500 crore for those schemes.
Boko Haram has recently emerged as one of the deadliest and most brutal terrorist groups with links to the global jihadi movement. The group is grounded in a region where it can tap into ethnic ties and take advantage of weak security environment, generic condition of lawlessness and socio-economic marginalization.
The editorial also intrinsically marks the return of the 'pro-Pakistan' lobby in the US non-proliferation community, and the American media, which was culpable in encouraging the many indulgences of the Pakistani military and nuclear establishment for many decades and facilitating favourable non-proliferation policies for Pakistan to effectively pursue a clandestine nuclear programme with technological aid from Western companies.
The author recounts his memories of the US military base at Manas International Airport in Bishkek, which was the hub for onward movement of about 15,000 troops and 500 tons of cargo a month to and from Afghanistan. The folding of the US base has not only put an end to the US-Central Asia saga but in effect the US overseas military presence is now retracted to the line of its power limits in Europe.
The government in Baghdad has lost control over a stretch of territory to ISIL. It follows that Iraq is at present inexorably moving towards dissolution. In any case, it will be a difficult if not impossible task to recover in full the territory under the ISIL and its associates.
On 3rd July 1914 nearly a hundred years ago at Simla, Tibet and India signed the Simla Convention that gave birth to the McMahon Line separating Tibet from India in the eastern sector. Much is made by some that the Simla Convention was not a legal document but from the time of the Convention till 23rd January 1959, the Chinese government never officially, in any document, ever challenged the McMahon Line.
There is no one nationalist Sri Lankan view. Among the Sinhalas, there are also the liberals who are quite realistic about their assessments and would argue that there may be a change in leadership in India, but the cornerstone of India’s policy vis-à-vis Sri Lanka will remain the same. The Tamils, on the other hand, are unanimous in their view that India can and should play a major role in bringing meaningful political reconciliation to the country.
The Defence Minister made two significant points: one, the need for making a significant amount of the nation’s resources available for defence and two, he talked about the slow pace of acquisition of defence equipment as the key concern. These are unexceptional statements of intent and the challenge would be to meet these objectives.
While the visit was proposed as a good will visit, some of the issues that have been bedeviling bilateral relations came up for discussion particularly, from the Bangladesh side, the conclusion of Teesta and the ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA). The EAM assured Dhaka that New Delhi would conclude the LBA and is already in the process of building a consensus on Teesta.
The global thrust on economic integration has certainly accrued greater space to India that the non-alignment actually stands for. It allows India to reach out to both the US and China without fear of taking sides and draw in the benefits from both of manufacturing, investments, trade and commerce.
The proposal to relax the present cap on FDI in defence has expectedly drawn sharp reactions. Those who oppose argue that higher FDI is not required and, more importantly, it will not be in national interest, not the least because it will stymie the process of indigenization. This calls for a dispassionate analysis.
Surrounded by hostile neighbours, Israel has been overly conscious of its national security interests, a concern which has shaped its regional strategy right from its birth in 1948. It needs to evolve a dynamic regional strategy in tune with the changing regional dynamics or else could end up being more isolated in the region.
India continues its elusive search for peace in Jammu and Kashmir(J&K), in the face of Pakistan’s proxy war and dissatisfaction among some sections of the youth in Kashmir Valley.
In principle there is nothing wrong in revisiting the doctrine but such revisions/reviews must be based on sound and valid reasons. The proponents of the doctrinal review argue that India’s existing doctrine is ill-suited to deter Pakistan from using tactical nuclear weapons against India.
Myanmar’s 2,276 km long coastline in the Bay of Bengal has the potential to provide the ‘second coast’ to China to reach the Indian Ocean and achieve strategic presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Especially transportation logistics to the ‘second coast’ from landlocked south west Chinese provinces like Yunnan have both economic and strategic benefits
Modi’s visit to Bhutan is politically significant. After inviting SAARC leaders to his swearing in ceremony; his choice of Bhutan as the first country came as no surprise. Bhutan is also the only country where the bilateral relationship is free from tension and expectations from each other are also easy to attain.
New Delhi should work out an arrangement with the Rajapakse government wherein the rights of both the countries’ fishermen are protected within the respective territorial jurisdiction. If this is not done, the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils, which different governments of India have endeavoured to promote as part of a decided long-term policy, will be compromised.
Before India once again goes down the path of wondering how it can rescue Pakistan from itself, some home truths about Pakistan – the state and society – need to be understood. The single most important home truth is that Pakistan's hatred for India far outweighs any fear or concern or even loathing it may have about the terrorism and extremism that the Taliban have come to stand for.
The arrests of the key Indian Mujahideen operatives has come as a major breakthrough in the fight against terrorism; however, there are a few causes of concern - such as lack of inter-agency coordination, growing radicalization in the society and the potential resurgence of the IM - that the government needs to urgently address.