IDSA COMMENT

The Emerging Islamic Militancy in North-East India

The emergence of several Islamic militant groups in North-East India and their ability to forge close ties with the region's most violent militant groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom [ULFA] and other foreign-based Islamic groups pose a major security threat for the region. Islamic militancy started in North-East India in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent communal disturbances as well as because of Manipur's infamous Meitei-Muslim riot in 1993.

August 03, 2007

Tackling the Challenge Posed by Amateur Terrorists

After a month of global media frenzy, alliterative headlines, statements by senior politicians across continents, charges and rebuttals, the terrorist attempts in London and Glasgow appear to be finally gaining some concrete shape. The attempts, which coincided with the second anniversary of the July 7 terrorist attacks on the London Underground, and the subsequent arrests, present a changing trend. The most striking aspect of these failed terrorist attacks is the social and professional strata of the persons detained on charges of involvement.

August 01, 2007

India and the Container Security Initiative

While the amorphous threat of terrorism can be extrapolated on the basis of what happened on 9/11, this constitutes only the 'visible horizon' of the extent of the terrorists' innovation. They are likely to be on the lookout for new means to cause mass effect, which may even include transfer of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to their intended target. As a predominant part of the vulnerable global trading system, sea-ports and commercial shipping are widely acknowledged to be highly suitable as vectors for delivering WMD.

July 17, 2007

India-Bangladesh Relations after the Foreign Secretary Level Talks

The recently concluded Foreign Secretary level talks in Dhaka between India and Bangladesh saw agreement on three broad issues. The first of these related to sharing of intelligence pertaining to security. Secondly, India agreed to provide greater access to Bangladeshi goods to the Indian market, as earlier announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the SAARC summit held in New Delhi. And thirdly, the two countries agreed to take steps to implement the 1974 Indira-Mujib land boundary agreement, which has been a long-standing demand of Bangladesh.

July 17, 2007

India and the US-India Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Although it is nearly two years since the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement between President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their intention to facilitate civil nuclear commerce between India and the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the process is still to be completed with even the first step towards that goal, an Indo-US agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation, still under negotiations with apparently strong differences between the two countries on a number of issues. Expectations are that the agreement may be finalised by the end of this year.

July 03, 2007

Change the Pattern of Aid to Afghanistan

Nearly six years after the toppling of the Taliban regime and the completion of the Bonn Process, the situation in Afghanistan continues to remain fragile. A recent visit to provinces in Afghanistan and 'person on the street' narratives in Herat, Kabul, Balkh, Parvan, Baglan, Samangan, Kapisa, and Nangarhar portrays a general sense of resignation amongst the people as they watch their nation sliding backwards. Despite a massive international effort with a total pledge (Grants & Loans) of US $29,304.9 million, the goal of rebuilding a stable Afghanistan remains distant.

June 28, 2007

Gaza on the Boil

The factional fighting between the Islamist Hamas, represented by the recently dismissed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the Gaza Strip, and the 'moderate' Fatah, headed by the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas, took a turn for the worse on June 14 when Hamas cadres ransacked the Preventive Security Service building, the headquarters of the PA in Gaza City. The renewed fighting between the two factions, which accounted for more than 100 deaths during the week gone by, has already claimed over 600 lives since January 2006.

June 21, 2007

The Caspian Pipeline Deal and Russia’s Energy Strategy in Central Asia

Vladimir Putin’s week-long visit to Central Asia in the second week of May 2007 was aimed at courting Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as part of Russia’s future energy strategy in the region. Behind the visit lay the Kremlin’s desire to create a natural gas cartel in the region and maintain its monopoly over gas supplies to Europe. Moreover, despite its vast resources of oil and gas, Russia may actually face domestic shortages, at least of gas, because much of its own resources are in remote areas and need heavy investments to be made productive.

June 11, 2007

Surge in Infiltration Attempts Across the Line of Control in J&K

A surge in infiltration attempts by heavily armed terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K has been reported in the last two months. With the snow receding on the Pir Panjal range of mountains along the LoC and the passes opening up, terrorists waiting in training camps in Pakistan/PoK are attempting to sneak into the State. The period April to July is generally a peak period of infiltration.

June 07, 2007

Ethanol and India's Energy Security

With 14.1 per cent growth (2007) in the manufacturing sector, 14 per cent (2006) in the service sector, and an agriculture sector that is beginning to finally look up, the Indian economy needs all the energy it can get to sustain the growth momentum. However, enshrouded in the figures of the galloping Indian economy is the precarious energy situation that the country faces.

June 07, 2007

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