Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

16 October 2021

India’s Space Program Inches Closer to America and the Quad

C. Raja Mohan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to privatize one of his country’s most zealously guarded governmental monopolies: the space sector. In a major speech at the inauguration of the Indian Space Association, a new industry grouping this week, Modi called for a new approach, where, he said, the private sector is free to innovate and the government becomes an enabler.

The announcement was a significant step in Modi’s efforts to pull private resources into India’s space sector, which has rapidly fallen behind global peers as space competition heats up in telecommunications, resource exploration, planetary expeditions, and defense. What’s more, Modi’s reorientation of India’s space policy is yet another indication of the profound shift in New Delhi’s geostrategic orientation.

Modi’s government has been exploring common ground on space security issues bilaterally with the United States and also plans to work with India’s partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—Australia, Japan, and the United States—to leverage their collective space capabilities. For now, these would include areas like monitoring climate change, managing disasters, and mapping precious natural resources from space. For the first time, New Delhi is also ready to work with Washington and its allies on setting new global norms to manage space, including rules for commercial competition and the use of space for defense.

15 October 2021

Has the Pandemic Burned Itself Out in India’s Capital?

Avtar Singh

What a difference a few months make.

I returned to Germany in September after a few weeks in India. It was my first visit to the country of my birth since the pandemic began. In April and May of this year, Armageddon seemed at hand there. Sirens ringing through the night, crematoriums stretched beyond capacity, dead bodies dumped in rivers because there wasn’t enough space to burn them or wood to burn them with.

I watched in horror as the deaths mounted in India. My phone lit up with frantic pleas for plasma, remdesivir, ivermectin—all those discredited magic bullets people at the ends of their tethers turned to when they saw their loved ones slipping away.

As in India, so in its capital. New Delhi seemed the epicenter of the surge in the press. Among other reasons, this was because so much of India’s reporting happens there. The numbers couldn’t be hidden. The dying was happening in plain view. The situation in the city had a personal urgency for me. My father, my sisters, and their families live there. I couldn’t look away.

A Tale of 2 Navies: India and China’s Carrier Airwing Development

Rick Joe

This is the third and final part of a three-part series reviewing Indian and Chinese carrier procurement. Part one reviewed the history of China’s and India’s aircraft carrier procurement and part two outlined the future trajectory for the two countries’ carrier and escort fleets. Part three below explores the development of carrier airwings in both China and India.

Indian Navy Carrier Airwing Development

The Indian Navy (IN)’s carrier procurement plan of the late 1990s and early 2000s dovetailed with a plan to develop a carrier-based naval variant of the single engine LCA Tejas aircraft that was being pursued by the Indian Air Force at the time. This variant was aptly named the LCA Navy. Two flying prototypes of the LCA Navy were ultimately developed, with the lead prototype making its first flight in early 2012. The LCA Navy was a STOBAR configured aircraft with reinforced landing gear, tailhook, and additional LEVCON surfaces to enable the aircraft to operate from a carrier.

14 October 2021

India-China Border Row: Beijing Won’t Budge, Even at the Cost of War

SRIKANTH KONDAPALLI

Both India and China accused each other for the failure to move forward during the 13th round of the commanders meeting on 10 October at Moldo in the western sector of the border. India stated that the “unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements” have created a problem in the border areas and that the Chinese side did not propose any “forward-looking proposals” to resolve the problem.

On the other hand, the Chinese side accused India of making “unreasonable and unrealistic demands” and hoped India “will not misjudge the situation” in the border areas.

In other words, going away from what it agreed to, China is arguing that India must accept the current status quo on the borders after its troops marched into Indian-claimed regions since March last year. It is also sending a signal that it is unwilling to vacate such lands even at the cost of going to war or changing the format of bilateral relations.

13 October 2021

India’s Fog of Misunderstanding Surrounding Nepal–China Relations

VIJAY GOKHALE

SUMMARY

India’s postindependence ties with Nepal were predicated on the intimate cultural and historical links between the two countries. As India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, noted, “though Nepal was an independent country, it was very closely allied to India in culture and tradition and we did not look upon it as a foreign country.” New Delhi also regarded China as an “interloper” in Nepal in 1950 who threatened India’s security and interests in the region, ignoring at least a century of Sino-Nepali history centering around Tibet. This paper argues that New Delhi’s close relationship with Nepal, bound in history and culture, and the misperception about China’s relations with Nepal before 1950 have contributed to a skewed understanding of Sino-Nepali relations. The Working Paper looks at the impact that New Delhi’s misperceptions of Sino-Nepali relations, termed the “fog of misunderstanding,” has had in the context of the triangular relations between China, India, and Nepal.

The paper is divided into four sections arranged chronologically. The first section looks at the historical Sino-Nepali relationship from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. It establishes that this early relationship was centered on Tibet. While the Gorkha kings of Nepal sought to preserve their trade privileges in the region, the Chinese were concerned about the security of their southwestern frontier. Notably though, Beijing’s concern with security does not appear to have extended into any desire to conquer Nepal. This section also touches upon British India’s policy toward Nepal in the nineteenth century, and the subsequent approach that the government of independent India took in the first few years, without an adequate appreciation of Kathmandu’s history with China. As a consequence, India developed a suspicious attitude toward Beijing’s desire to re-establish ties with Kathmandu after the Chinese Civil War, and shaped its policy toward Nepal with this factor in mind.

12 October 2021

Why India Can’t Wean Itself Off Coal

Vijaya Ramachandran

When the United Nations climate summit convenes in Glasgow, Scotland, in just a few weeks, rich countries will once again pressure India to speed up its energy transition. India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its use of fossil fuels is still rapidly growing as it continues to industrialize and raise its standard of living. Because India is so dependent on carbon-based fuels—especially coal—and has understandably little interest in curtailing its own development, it has been a notable holdout in the current global climate negotiations, including an agreement to phase out coal consumption and end the financing of coal plants. India skipped the pre-summit ministerial meeting in London, the only one of 51 invited countries to do so. And while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Glasgow summit, New Delhi risks once again being painted as an obstacle to the global fight against climate change.

Yet those who point to India as a climate boogeyman—mainly policymakers, activists, and journalists in the developed world—are holding it to an unfair standard they would never apply to themselves. Yes, we all know that burning coal is bad for the environment, not to mention the health of coal workers and local communities. But it is not fair to ask a developing country like India to bear the costs of an exit from a carbon-based economy without developed countries making significant emissions reductions first—which they are demonstrably not doing. What’s more, weaning India off coal too fast would come with terrible human costs that cannot be ignored.

It’s a truism but bears repeating: One of the main reasons Indians are still poor is that they don’t have enough access to energy. Modern energy services such as reliable electricity, clean cooking fuels, and mechanical power are critical for lifting people out of poverty, ending malnutrition, improving health and education outcomes, and raising productivity in agriculture and industry. The Indian government’s Economic Survey shows that Indian states where more schools have access to electricity have higher rates of literacy. When health care facilities have a reliable supply of electricity, fewer patients and babies die. The need to lift more Indians out of poverty is once again acute: The Pew Research Center estimates that the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed 75 million Indians into poverty, nearly doubling the number of people who live on less than $2 per day.

11 October 2021

India’s Cautious and Calculated Approach to the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan

Animesh Roul

More than a month after Taliban forces stormed Afghanistan, the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (IEA) has yet to gain international political recognition. All eyes are on the primary stakeholder countries behind the Doha Accord of February 29, 2020, which paved the way for the Taliban’s ultimate victory. Although clamor for the Taliban’s global recognition is gathering momentum under Pakistan’s stewardship, India, which has been a major player in rebuilding the war-ravaged Afghanistan in the last two decades, has maintained a studied silence, sitting on the fence with regards to this latest iteration of the fast-shifting “Great Game” in Afghanistan.

India had been calling for an inclusive government in Afghanistan that represents all sections of Afghan society well before the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, 2021. New Delhi was willing to accept limited Taliban participation in a future governance structure following democratic principles as long as major concerns, such as cross-border terrorism and human rights of women, children, and minorities, were addressed. However, the Taliban leadership’s conflicting remarks on security and rights-related matters, such as Pakistan’s reported air surveillance support to the Taliban in the Panjshir battle against anti-Taliban resistance fighters or curtailing rights of women and minorities, have limited India’s willingness to formally recognize Afghanistan’s new Taliban government (News 18.com, September 5; HRW.Org, September 29; Times of India, September 7).

India Competes for Sri Lanka’s Affections

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Sri Lanka from October 2 to 5. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Shringla’s visit was an opportunity to review the status of bilateral ties, including an assessment of the bilateral projects between the two countries. The was undertaken at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart, Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage. It was possibly meant as an effort to iron out some of the recent wrinkles in the bilateral relationship, a reflection of which is the rescheduling and/or cancellation of some of India-led projects in the island nation.

The MEA’s press release about the visit insisted that “Sri Lanka occupies a central place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy” and that the visit was a reflection of the significance that the two countries attach to buttressing their “close and cordial relations in all spheres of mutual interest.” But clearly, New Delhi has been feeling the pressure of China’s efforts to befriend India’s neighbors. During the visit, Shringla met with both the president and prime minister, following which he traveled to Kandy, Jaffna, and Trincomalee to inspect some Indian-funded projects.

8 October 2021

Should India Accept the Taliban’s Invitation?

Sudha Ramachandran

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been reaching out to the Indian government in recent weeks. In addition to asking for the reopening of commercial flights between the two countries, it wants New Delhi to facilitate the travel of scholarship students to India.

The first official communication from the Taliban came a day after the interim government was announced. In a letter dated September 7 to the chief of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation Arun Kumar, Afghanistan’s new interim Minister for Civil Aviation and Transport Alhaj Hameedullah Akhunzada said that Kabul airport, which was “left damaged and dysfunctional by American troops before their withdrawal” was operational now. He sought the resumption of flights operated by Afghan carriers Kam Air and Ariana Afghan Airline to and from Delhi and asked India to “facilitate their commercial flights.” Only a small number of aid and passenger flights are currently operating from Kabul airport.

New Delhi does not officially recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, its officials have engaged with the Taliban in recent months. In early June, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India was “in touch with various stakeholders” in Afghanistan, obliquely suggesting that New Delhi may have reached out to the Taliban.

7 October 2021

EU-India trade relations: assessment and perspectives

SUMAN BERY, SONALI CHOWDHRY,  AND NICLAS POITIERS

Following the EU-India summit in May 2021, talks on both an EU-India trade and an investment agreement have resumed. This analysis provides background on where EU India economic relations stand and why it is important to maintain momentum following this breakthrough, despite a somewhat unpromising domestic political environment in India.

This new impetus largely reflects a transformed geopolitical landscape since the last round of EU-India talks were abandoned in 2013. The increased tension between India and China, as well as the EU’s intent to reduce its reliance on Chinese manufacturing have created the conditions for changes in policy by both parties. However, many of the issues that bedeviled the 2007-2013 negotiations remain unresolved. In this analysis, we provide an overview of EU-India trade and investment relations as well as the major topics in these negotiations. The impact of key global initiatives on climate change and WTO reform that will shape the negotiations is also briefly discussed.

Based on this analysis, we discuss three potential ways forward for EU-India trade and investment negotiations: a comprehensive agreement similar to that reached between the EU and Vietnam; a limited investment deal primarily focused on manufacturing; and a reinforced status quo with trade and investment relations growing organically under the existing multilateral umbrella.

6 October 2021

India’s Fog of Misunderstanding Surrounding Nepal–China Relations

VIJAY GOKHALE

SUMMARY

India’s postindependence ties with Nepal were predicated on the intimate cultural and historical links between the two countries. As India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, noted, “though Nepal was an independent country, it was very closely allied to India in culture and tradition and we did not look upon it as a foreign country.” New Delhi also regarded China as an “interloper” in Nepal in 1950 who threatened India’s security and interests in the region, ignoring at least a century of Sino-Nepali history centering around Tibet. This paper argues that New Delhi’s close relationship with Nepal, bound in history and culture, and the misperception about China’s relations with Nepal before 1950 have contributed to a skewed understanding of Sino-Nepali relations. The Working Paper looks at the impact that New Delhi’s misperceptions of Sino-Nepali relations, termed the “fog of misunderstanding,” has had in the context of the triangular relations between China, India, and Nepal.

The paper is divided into four sections arranged chronologically. The first section looks at the historical Sino-Nepali relationship from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. It establishes that this early relationship was centered on Tibet. While the Gorkha kings of Nepal sought to preserve their trade privileges in the region, the Chinese were concerned about the security of their southwestern frontier. Notably though, Beijing’s concern with security does not appear to have extended into any desire to conquer Nepal. This section also touches upon British India’s policy toward Nepal in the nineteenth century, and the subsequent approach that the government of independent India took in the first few years, without an adequate appreciation of Kathmandu’s history with China. As a consequence, India developed a suspicious attitude toward Beijing’s desire to re-establish ties with Kathmandu after the Chinese Civil War, and shaped its policy toward Nepal with this factor in mind.

5 October 2021

Rebooting India’s Foreign Ministry

Pranay Ahluwalia

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar addresses a press conference on the performance of the Ministry of External Affairs in first 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new term in office in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, September17, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Indian foreign policy is in a moment of transition. Emerging out of its “aspirational power” chrysalis, India is shedding its non-alignment hangover, embracing its increasingly critical place in the Indo-Pacific, and assertively protecting and projecting its interests abroad.

In recent months, however, India’s foreign ministry has been found wanting. There have been opportunities for Indian diplomacy to step up and shine: the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the aftermath of AUKUS, to name some notable examples. Some commentators, rightly, have called for the Indian government to capitalize on the opportunities these rapidly evolving situations present.

4 October 2021

Is the India-Turkey Relationship Headed to Ruin?

Amalendu Misra

Turkey and India have shared bilateral ties for centuries. That age-old relationship, however, is on a downward spiral. Whatever historical and civilizational bond they share is declining so rapidly that both are now openly exchanging diplomatic blows at the global stage in full view of the public. Their heightened tensions are likely to have a bearing on their respective neighborhoods. What ails this centuries-old relationship? What is at the root of the falling out?

Erdogan’s Sins

The worsening of their fraught relationship was triggered by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s interference in India’s domestic affairs. Erdogan’s gripe against India centers on the latter’s treatment of its Muslim minority population and New Delhi’s control over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Not particularly famous for his diplomatic flair, Erdogan has said in the past that “India right now has become a country where massacres are widespread. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims. By who? Hindus.”

The Age of America First

Richard Haass

Donald Trump was supposed to be an aberration—a U.S. president whose foreign policy marked a sharp but temporary break from an internationalism that had defined seven decades of U.S. interactions with the world. He saw little value in alliances and spurned multilateral institutions. He eagerly withdrew from existing international agreements, such as the Paris climate accord and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and backed away from new ones, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He coddled autocrats and trained his ire on the United States’ democratic partners.

At first glance, the foreign policy of U.S. President Joe Biden could hardly be more different. He professes to value the United States’ traditional allies in Europe and Asia, celebrates multilateralism, and hails his administration’s commitment to a “rules-based international order.” He treats climate change as a serious threat and arms control as an essential tool. He sees the fight of our time as one between democracy and autocracy, pledging to convene what he is calling the Summit for Democracy to reestablish U.S. leadership in the democratic cause. “America is back,” he proclaimed shortly after taking office.

29 September 2021

India should invest in ever more sophisticated cyber armaments

Nitin Pai

A century ago, the declaration of war was a formal exercise. Diplomats in frock coats would turn up at chancellories to first serve ultimatums and subsequently to hand-deliver notices of war. Some would even insist on reading them out aloud for the benefit of bemused recipients, who would then make arrangements for the safe departure of the enemy’s embassy. These age-old courtesies were abridged by the time of World War II and terse telegrams replaced frock coats. The advent of the Cold War, nuclear weapons and proxy wars of the 20th century put an end to the custom of formal war declarations. In recent times, an incoming missile or fighter aircraft announces war. Even so, we are used to wars that have a starting point and an end date.

Not anymore. Information warfare is an ongoing affair. Cyber warfare, its technical aspect, has already been militarized. It is global and continues regardless of whether or not states are in armed conflict. We cannot pinpoint the date, month or even the year it started. And, unfortunately, we also cannot say when it will end, if ever. States have no choice but to wage it. Gloomy as this sounds, at least so far the pursuit of politics through these other means has avoided large scale bloodshed that characterized armed conflicts of the Industrial Age.

For India’s Military, a Juggling Act on Two Hostile Fronts

Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar

In the past year, it has tripled the number of troops in the contentious eastern Ladakh region to more than 50,000. It has raced to stock up on food and gear for freezing temperatures and 15,000-foot altitudes before the region is largely cut off for much of the winter. It has announced that an entire strike corps, an offensive force of tens of thousands more soldiers, would be reoriented to the increasingly contentious frontier with China from the long, volatile border with Pakistan.

India’s military is now grappling with a reality that the country has feared for nearly two decades: It is stuck in a two-front conflict with hostile neighbors — and all three are nuclear armed.

And it comes as India increasingly finds itself isolated in its broader neighborhood, part of the global security backdrop to President Biden’s discussions on Friday with India, Australia and Japan, the group known as the Quad.

China has made investments and inroads from Sri Lanka to Nepal. The victory in Afghanistan by the Taliban, a movement nurtured and harbored in Pakistan that has increasing ties to China, has essentially shut out India from a country it saw as a natural ally in the regional balance.

India: Coming Home In Dantewada, Chhattisgarh – Analysis

Deepak Kumar Nayak*

On September 6, 2021, five Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres, two of them carrying a total bounty of INR 200,000 on their heads, surrendered to Security Forces (SFs) in Dantewada District. The surrendered Maoists, identified as Nahum aka Pojja Sodi (25), Masa Sodi (26), Sukaru Ram aka Dogal Kadti (21), Rakesh Madkam (18) and Bhupendra Sodi (19), were active in the Gangaloor and Bhairamgarh Area Committees of the CPI-Maoist. Nahum, a Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (DAKMS, a Maoist front), ‘president’; and Masa, a ‘militia commander’, carried a cash reward of INR 100,000 each on their heads.

On August 30, 2021, two CPI-Maoist cadres active in the Amdai ‘area committee’ of the CPI-Maoist surrendered to Police in Dantewada District. Pradeep Kadti and Ramji Kashyap, both aged 20, were members of the ‘Todma Militia Platoon’, and they carried a bounty of INR 10,000 each on their heads. The duo was involved in various incidents in 2021, including the killing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper on March 4, 2021, in the Pahurnar area in Dantewada District.

24 September 2021

India’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan

Mohamed Zeeshan

Amidst the chaos of unfolding events in Afghanistan, India has floundered. Its approach to the crisis in Afghanistan has been characterized by incoherence and inconsistency.

There was reasonably long time-lag between former U.S. President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban, which paved the way for the exit of U.S troops from Afghanistan, and the eventual pullout of troops.

Yet, India was caught unprepared.

After having been shut out of early dialogue under Trump, India has been deeply unsure of how to approach the Taliban.

As late as the end of June, India seemed reluctant to recognize the reality on the ground. It took pains to contradict Qatari authorities, who claimed that India’s Minister for External Affairs, S. Jaishankar had met Taliban leaders in Doha. India’s position at the time was that the Taliban was not a legitimate stakeholder, even as the balance of power was tilting firmly in its favor.

But only two months later, when that policy became so obviously unsustainable, New Delhi had to change tack and publicly establish official dialogue with the group’s leadership.

23 September 2021

India, Singapore and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence

Karthik Nachiappan, Nishant Rajeev

Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven technologies are percolating across society and are being deployed to address gaps in areas like healthcare, education, energy and transportation. To channel and streamline these efforts, several governments across the globe are launching national strategies for widespread AI adoption. While India launched the ‘AI for All’ initiative in 2018, the Singapore government has unveiled its ‘National Artificial Intelligence Strategy’.

To evaluate the various challenges arising out of the deployment of AI and how to leverage these innovations to tackle problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore and the Ananta Centre, New Delhi, jointly organised a roundtable on ‘India, Singapore and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence’. This report is the outcome of the roundtable discussion.

22 September 2021

Why Russia, US officials are rushing to Delhi, after keeping India away from Afghan talks

TARA KARTHA

Media and strategic experts are agog with speculation as Russian and American intelligence top dogs visit India, almost stepping on each other’s toes as they tread the corridors of power. The visits are even more interesting given that both Russia and the US had chosen to keep India at arm’s distance during negotiations on the Afghanistan issue, and now seem to be eager to get New Delhi to come on board. Not that this was likely to be the only issue with either.

With the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting on 16-17 September, and the very first ‘in person’ Quadrilateral summit meeting in the same month, things are going to get interesting.

Afghanistan and trouble ahead

Russia’s Secretary of Security Council Nikolai Patrushev is officially here for a consultation on Afghanistan, a follow-up to a telephone call between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier. The visit with his counterpart NSA Ajit Doval is obviously an indicator that all is not entirely well with Moscow’s pro-Taliban position, which it has taken ever since the group fought off not only an ‘Islamic State’ segment in the far north, but also so badly shook up the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, so as to leave it a shell of its former self. Moscow has long accused the US of arming such elements, pointing to movement of helicopters in the border areas. In turn, the US accused Russia of ‘grossly exaggerated’ claims of Islamic State cadres, a statement that is quite at variance with its present stance on the IS as the biggest threat to itself.