India and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation

February 19, 2015

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.

Giving Aero India 2015 a Make-in-India Touch

February 18, 2015

There is an urgent need to conceptualise a policy framework as to what Make-in-India implies so far as defence production is concerned and how it is different from the existing policy framework.

Some issues in respect of Indian’s nuclear liability law - I

February 10, 2015

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 Dependence Entrapment

February 10, 2015

India’s nuclear deal with the US is driven less by technology requirements than by the need to be integrated into the global nuclear community and gain access to uranium imports for fuelling its nuclear power expansion plans.

‘Make in India’ for Defence: A Roadmap

February 05, 2015

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.

Obama’s Visit and the Paradox of Countering Chinese Expansionism and Western Messianism

February 4, 2015

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.

The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Saudi Arabia’s Approach towards the Islamic State

February 02, 2015

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 Lightning from Greece Strikes Germany

January 30, 2015

If Greece defaults and walks out, the EU will be in crisis. Speculators will go for Spain and the EU will not be able to find the money to bail out a large economy such as that of Spain.

Sheikh Hasina’s Secular Political Approach

January 23, 2015

Sheikh Hasina has to ensure that the writ of the Awami League central leadership runs throughout the country, and elements like the Chhatra League are not allowed to derail accommodative and secular policies.

Islamic State and Social Media: Ethical Challenges and Power Relations

Tuva Julie Engebrethsen Smith

January 23, 2015

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.

Rejig of Defence Budget 2014-15?

January 23, 2015

If reports about the diversion of INR 13,000 crore from the capital segment of the defence budget to the revenue heads are true, it is an indication of the growing strain on the revenue budget.

Reappraising Relations with China: From Strategic Ambiguity to Recognising Mutual Interests

January 22, 2015

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.

State versus Nations in Pakistan: Sindhi, Baloch and Pakhtun Responses to Nation Building

January 21, 2015

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.

The Chinese Dream 2015: Which Way Is It Heading?

January 17, 2015

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.

Military Courts in Pakistan: A Soft Coup by the Pakistan Army?

January 14, 2015

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?

A New Era in Sri Lanka’s Politics?

January 12, 2015

Sirisena will be expected to restore both the institutional checks and balances which saw an erosion as a result of the 18th Amendment to the constitution and the faith of minorities in the pluralistic character of Sri Lankan society.

A Season of Political Protests in Bangladesh

January 12, 2015

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.

Did the Chinese Model of Growth Defeat Rajapaksa?

January 12, 2015

During the Rajapaksa years, Sri Lanka experienced jobless growth, similar to the experience of many African countries where Chinese investment had increased exponentially in the last decade.

Meeting the Maoist Challenge

Gurmeet Kanwal and Bibhu Prasad Routray

January 08, 2015

In the wake of the Sukma attack, it is apparent that the CPI-Maoist's weather- and surrender-induced operational frailty is a matter of the past.

SAARC Energy Agreement: A step in the right direction

Sanket Sudhir Kulkarni

January 05, 2015

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.

Taking Stock of the Public-Private Partnership in Cybersecurity

December 31, 2014

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.

Of Agents and Agency Commission in Defence

December 31, 2014

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.

Tunisia stands out

December 31, 2014

With the conclusion of the parliamentary and presidential elections, based on a constitution that finely balances the country’s Islamic heritage with the need for modernity, Tunisia has done what Egypt has failed to do.

Cybersecurity: Global, Regional and Domestic Dynamics

December 30, 2014

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.

Why Bodo Violence Continues to Recur?

December 29, 2014

To prevent the recurring violence in Bodo areas, establish a land record system, improve the presence of both the state civil administration and the law enforcement agencies, and collate credible data on the flow of migrants.

Border Fencing Will Not Stop Illegal Migration

December 26, 2014

Unless fundamental factors such as vested political interests, economic compulsions and non-cooperation from Bangladesh are addressed effectively, illegal migration will continue to take place, fence or no fence.

The Islamic State’s Forays in North Africa: Libya, Tunisia and Egypt

Tuva Julie Engebrethsen Smith

December 17, 2014

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?

Need for Inclusive Governance Structures in the North-East

December 17, 2014

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.

LUH Acquisition Programme: Which Way is it Headed?

December 15., 2014

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.

Russia’s Military Cooperation Agreement with Pakistan: An Assessment

December 15, 2014

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?

Sri Lankan Presidential Elections: India’s Stance

December 15, 2014

It will be in India`s interest to adopt a neutral posture vis-à-vis the contestants in the January 2015 Sri Lankan Presidential elections.

Showcasing of PLAAF Technological Developments

December 11, 2014

The 2014 edition of the air show tried to reinforce the Chinese theme of a rising, strong and technologically advanced industrial base to the domestic constituency, international arms market and adversaries.

Status of India’s Border Trade: Strategic and Economic Significance

December 10, 2014

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.

An Analysis of the US Sale of the Patriot Missile Defence System to Saudi Arabia

Debalina Ghoshal

December 10, 2014

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.

An Impending Royal Death: What Next in Oman?

December 09, 2014

Sultan Qaboos once observed that “while other Gulf Arabs prefer to get on a camel and go west into the Arab desert, Omanis prefer to be on a boat and drift towards India.”

Is Russia Relevant for India?

December 08, 2014

The trust and comfort factor in the India-Russia relationship still exists. Modi needs to find more diligent ways to reboot the relationship with Russia and make it more relevant for changing times.

Resolving India’s Nuclear Liability Impasse

December 06, 2014

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act has emerged as an appropriate template that could rekindle the nuclear energy sector while also safeguarding the public interest.

Time for India to Look At Energy Security from Geostrategic Perspective

December 05, 2014

Is India now looking at energy through the strategic prism? Its recent signing of the TAPI deal is certainly indicative of that.

The Imperative of Public Private Partnership in the Defence Aviation Industry

December 03, 2014

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.

Rajapaksa Seeking a Third Term as President: Not a Cake Walk Anymore!

December 01, 2014

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?

Eurasian Economic Union: A Preliminary Assessment

December 01., 2014

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.

Let’s Partition SAARC

November 28, 2014

The time has perhaps come to restructure, even partition, SAARC to make it more effective. This is something that might also be required to be done in the likely event that Pakistan fosters the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Artillery Modernisation: Need for Firepower

November 27, 2014

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.

Why Marine Police remains the weakest link in India’s coastal security system?

November 27, 2014

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.

Macchil Verdict: Reading Between the Lines

November 25, 2014

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.

Avro-replacement programme hits air pocket

November 25, 2014

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.

Xi-Abe handshake, not yet an embrace

November 24, 2014

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.

President Obama’s Policy on Syria

November 18, 2014

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.

Modi’s Mission Downunder

November 14, 2014

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.

Modi’s Australia visit: Maritime Cooperation in Focus

November 13, 2014

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

Threat of Islamic terror looms large over Assam

November 12, 2014

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.

ISIS on backfoot: Coalition gets al-Baghdadi

Sandhya Jain

November 11, 2014

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.

Things that Modi should do in Myanmar

November 10, 2014

The Prime Minister must reach out to Myanmar in unconventional ways and remove any antipathy among the people who once, like other neighbours, had began to perceive India as a big military threat.

Fall of the Berlin Wall: Marking 25 years

November 10, 2014

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.

“Make In India” in Defence: Embedding Industry-wide Dialogue and Consultation

November 07, 2014

For the mantra to become an all-pervasive reality in defence acquisitions in India will be to multiply manifold the onsetfrequencyrange and depthof its industry engagements.

Why India is getting Wagah all wrong

November 05, 2014

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.

Dysfunctional Operating Environment in Defence: Removing the Cobwebs

November 05, 2014

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.

Geo-strategic Implications of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

October 31, 2014

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.

Exchange Rate Variation in Defence Contracts in India

October 31, 2014

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.

Dysfunctional Operating Environment in Defence: The Malaise

October 27, 2014

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.

ISIS in Central Asia

October 22, 2014

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.

Dysfunctional Operating Environment in Defence: The Problem

October 21, 2014

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.

North East in BCIM-EC: Problems and Prospects

October 17, 2014

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.

India’s Defence Procurement Procedure: Assessing the Case for Review and Reforms

October 17, 2014

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.

Can ISIS be degraded and destroyed?

October 17, 2014

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.

Turkey: ‘Sick Man’ of NATO

Sandhya Jain

October 17, 2014

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.

Ceasefire in Ukraine: An Assessment

October 14, 2014

While the ceasefire is a much needed respite yet it does raise two questions: What made the key players arrive at such agreements? Can these deals facilitate the initiation of a political dialogue in Ukraine?

Hong Kong Protests: What it means for the Chinese leadership?

October 10, 2014

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.

Pakistan’s Dangerous Game of Brinkmanship

October 10, 2014

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.

Settling border disputes with Nepal and Bangladesh

October 10, 2014

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.

Indigenous manufacture of defence equipment needs policy reform

Davinder Kumar and Gurmeet Kanwal

October 09, 2014

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.

Kurds sole ‘boots on ground’ against Islamic State

Sandhya Jain

October 09, 2014

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.

Making India a Defence Manufacturing Hub

October 7, 2014

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.

Reinventing India’s “Make” Procedures for Defence Acquisitions

October 1, 2014

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.

Need to revive Iran-India energy ties

September 30, 2014

The possible lifting of the sanctions on Iran will lead to a rush for a share of the lucrative Iranian energy pie similar to Myanmar’s opening up last year. India cannot afford to be left behind.

Saudis join war against Islamic State; many sceptical

Sandhya Jain

September 29, 2014

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.

India and Bhutan: The Strategic Imperative

September 26, 2014

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.

New Gambles in Ladakh

September 25, 2014

It all appears that the Indian army this time got clear orders to hold the ground and undo what the previous UPA government did – dismantled huts, bunkers and observation posts in exchange of PLA moving back from the Indian territory.

2014 General Elections in Kashmir Valley: Incidents of Violence and its Impact

Deepshikha Hooda

September 25, 2014

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.

India and China: Ready to Meet Halfway

September 22, 2014

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?

Xi’s visit and the boundary issues

September 24, 2014

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.

A primer on the Indian Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010

September 23, 2014

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.

PLA Asserts as Modi-Xi Jinping Talk

September 22, 2014

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.

India Mission to Mars: Ready to Orbit

September 19, 2014

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.

Standard Contract Document - Guideline or Canon?

September 19, 2014

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.

Takeaways from the 2014 Floods in J&K

Septmber 17, 2014

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.

Strategising India’s Defence Exports

September 17, 2014

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.

Xi’s Visit: Dawn of a New Era?

September 16, 2014

Modi should talk to Xi and seek an interim boundary solution at least by having some sort of Friendly Pillars, call them Shanti Stupas along the border (almost 500 kilometers) in the Western Sector.

India-China Relations: A Reflection

Saurabh Kumar

September 15, 2014

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.

India-China Ties: Between Personalities and Principles

September 15, 2014

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.

Islamic State not invincible: Need to take Russia, China on board

Sandhya Jain

September 15, 2014

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.

Strategic Significance of the India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

September 15, 2014

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.

Assam-Nagaland Border Violence: From Past to Present

Namrata Goswami

September 12, 2014

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.

Need to build a good coalition to combat ISIS

Rohit Pattnaik

September 09, 2014

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.

Nawaz wins this round as army loses plot

September 05, 2014

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.

India-Japan Relations: New Times, Renewed Expectations

September 04, 2014

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.

Abbott and Modi’s Historic Opportunity

Septmber 04, 2014

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.

India’s Revised Defence FDI Policy

September 01, 2014

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.

Japan’s white paper on defence: An overview

September 01, 2014

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.

Egypt's Uneasy Transition: Internal and External Dynamics and Challenges for India

August 29, 2014

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.

An enigma called defence technology fund

August 27, 2014

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.

National Security Decision Making: Overhaul Needed

August 26, 2014

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.

Ukraine: where is it going?

August 25, 2014

It is possible, if there is political will, to find a negotiated settlement on the basis of a new constitution giving greater say to regions in foreign policy. In brief, the US should agree to a sort of Finlandization of Ukraine.

Déjà vu in Pakistan: Army overpowers Nawaz

August 08, 2014

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.

Border tension between Bangladesh and Myanmar

August 22, 2014

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.

Failed India-Pakistan dialogue: Reworking policies

August 22, 2014

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.

Examining the Assam-Nagaland Border Crisis

August 21, 2014

These repeated incidents of border trouble and deaths bring into sharp focus the lack of serious border law enforcement. It is, therefore, critical that we do four important policy interventions fast.

1st US-Africa Leaders Summit: A New Chapter in the US-Africa Relations

Aakriti Sethi

August 20, 2014

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.

Delimitation of Indo-Bangladesh Maritime Boundary

August 19, 2014

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 Return of the Americans to Iraq

August 19, 2014

The decision to commit US military power has been camouflaged in suitably humanitarian terms to give the impression that it was an effort designed to ‘protect’ the fleeing Yazidis and other minority groups. 

Pakistan: Under the Shadow of the Military Jackboot

August 19, 2014

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’.

Sifting Through the Himalayas

August 14, 2014

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.

Indo-US Cooperation in Defence Production: Hagel’s visit to India

August 13, 2014

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.

Ebola virus: Public health a big challenge

August 11, 2014

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.

Competitive politics over illegal migration from Bangladesh

Aug 08, 2014

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.

Beijing’s APEC Call on India: A New Twist in India-China Power Politics?

August 05, 2014

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.

Is Russian ready to face the Afghan fallouts?

August 05, 2014

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.

Post-Crimea: Central Asian Fear Putin’s Stick

August 04, 2014

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.

Is Putin Gearing Up for Intervening in Asia Next?

August 01, 2014

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.

Indian Army’s Modernisation Plans: Call for Pragmatism

July 31, 2014

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.

ZARB-e-AZB: Phony War or Paradigm Shift

July 31, 2014

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.

Ballot Box Distress and Future of Afghanistan

Smruti S Pattanaik and Akriti Vasudeva

July 30, 2014

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.

Total Recount in Afghanistan: What Next?

July 26, 2014

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.

United States Reforms to Its Higher Defence Organisation: Lessons for India

July 22, 2014

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.

Avro-replacement Programme – Out of Turbulence?

July 23, 2014

The IAF must be rueing the day it agreed to tweak the proposed categorization of the proposal from Buy (Global) to Buy and Make. Since then the programme has been through a lot of turbulence.

Sixth BRICS Summit: A step towards more equitable global order?

July 22, 2014

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.

India-Brazil Relations

Priya Saxena

July 21, 2014

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.

Gaza: What Does Israel Want?

July 21, 2014

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.

British Reforms to Its Higher Defence Organisation: Lessons for India

July 21, 2014

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.

Reviewing Defence Offset Guidelines: A Recap

July 17, 2014

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 Maritime Silk Route: Implications for India

July 16, 2014

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.

Iraq crisis: Lessons for India

Manish Vaid & Tushar Shah

July 16, 2014

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.

Current Issues in Climate Change

July 16, 2014

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.

Synergising Quality Assurance for Speedy Defence Procurement and Ensuring Quality

Mahendra Prasad

July 15, 2014

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.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization and India

July 14, 2014

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.

Defence Budget 2014-15

G. Balachandran & Vinay Kaushal

July 11, 2014

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.

BRICS: An Effective Multilateral Forum in a Multi-polar International Order

July 11, 2014

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.

Takeaways for Defence in the Union Budget 2014-15

July 11, 2014

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.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram

July 10, 2014

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.

NYT editorial on India’s nuclear policy: A case of inaccurate portrayal and propaganda

July 07, 2014

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.

US Military Departure from Manas: Stirring a New Game in Central Asia

July 07, 2014

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.

Is Iraq imploding?

July 07, 2014

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.

The McMahon Line: A hundred years on

July 03, 2014

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.

Sri Lankan perceptions of the Modi government

Gulbin Sultana

July 01, 2014

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.

Takeaways from Defence Minister’s address at Naval Commanders’ Conference

Amit Cowshish

July 01, 2014

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.

Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Bangladesh: A new beginning?

June 30, 2014

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.

Why Non-Alignment has greater relevance in Modi’s India

Abanti Bhattacharya

June 29, 2014

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.

FDI in Defence - Revisiting the Conundrum

June 26, 2014

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.

Threat of Israel's Regional Isolation and Imperatives for the Future


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.

Kashmir: Finding Lasting Peace

June 26, 2014

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.

Revisiting India’s Nuclear Doctrine

June 20, 2014

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.

China’s Second Coast: Implications for Northeast India

June 19, 2014

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 Maiden Foreign Visit: Consolidating Bharat for Bhutan Relations

June 18, 2014

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.

India-Sri Lanka Fishermen Problem: Some Solutions

June 18, 2014

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.

Rescue Pakistan chorus is back again

Sushant Sareen

June 18, 2014

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.

Indian Mujahideen Arrests: Lessons Learnt and Future Directions

June 06, 2014

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.

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