Recently it was reported in sections of the media that the United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that could possibly include the disputed South China Sea.
The U.S. and Indian government officials were quick to dismiss the report. Washington suggested that while the U.S. and India have a shared vision of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the two countries were not planning joint maritime patrols in the Indian Ocean or South China Sea. New Delhi also argued that there was no change in India’s policy of joining international military efforts only under the U.N.… Seguir leyendo »
When it happened, it was not a wave as the exit polls were predicting but a tsunami. With 54.3 vote share, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) resoundingly won the Delhi state elections, garnering 67 of 70 seats. The BJP was reduced to a mere three seats, although its vote share dipped by only 1 percent.
This is a remarkable win for a party that was comprehensively rejected in the May 2014 parliamentary elections and that had forfeited much of its credibility after it failed to govern Delhi, deciding instead to shun responsibility after a mere 49 days in office.
That Delhi voters are ready to give the AAP another chance in February 2015 is testament to the hard work that the AAP’s members have done in the last few months to reinstate confidence in their party’s ability to deliver on its key commitments.… Seguir leyendo »
Earlier this month India decided to send five planes and two ships carrying water and machinery parts to Maldives after drinking water was cut off to more than 100,000 residents in the nation’s capital of Male due to a fire in the city’s only water sewage treatment plant.
The Indian Navy’s patrol vessel INS Sukanya carried 35 tons of fresh water and two reverse osmosis plants onboard, which can produce 20 tons of fresh water per day to meet the water crisis in Maldives.
India’s large fleet tanker delivered about 900 tons of fresh water to the Maldivian capital, while two C-17 planes of the Indian Air Force also delivered another 90 tons of potable water.… Seguir leyendo »
Though there is the temptation to view the outcome of the Indian prime minister’s recent five-day visit to the United States through the prism of “concrete deliverables,” Narendra Modi’s trip has energized a relationship that had been drifting for the past several years. But it has not won universal praise.
India’s Congress party has attacked the prime minister for reducing diplomacy to “event management” and trying to create an atmosphere through “cheerleaders.” Modi’s critics are also attacking him for getting nothing substantive out of the visit as if the only purpose of high-level foreign visits is to bring back “presents” for the country.… Seguir leyendo »
Burying their past differences, Australia and India opened a new chapter in bilateral ties when, during Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to India, the two nations signed the long-awaited agreement on civil nuclear cooperation that entitles India to buy uranium from Australia, after years of negotiation.
It was Abbott’s predecessor, Julia Gillard, who paved the way in 2012 for a uranium safeguards agreement that has finally allowed Australia to export uranium to India. The safeguards pact is viewed as critical by those who have opposed the changing Australian policy of nuclear trade with a country like India that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).… Seguir leyendo »
These are exhilarating times in India. An old political order underpinned by the supremacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family is crumbling before our eyes while a new order is gradually taking shape.
The victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Narendra Modi’s leadership has transformed the political landscape of India almost beyond recognition. For a democratic system to remain vibrant and dynamic, such transitions are essential.
In fact, most mature democracies do see such transitions periodically. In India, for a host of reasons, while democracy has flourished, its vitality has been sapping, especially over the last decade. Today, when the Indian electorate has demolished the myth of the Nehru-Gandhi dynastic right to rule, it can safely be concluded that Indian democracy has taken a turn for the better.… Seguir leyendo »
India and Vietnam made serious efforts to upgrade their bilateral relations earlier this month during the visit to New Delhi by Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong. Eight pacts were inked, including ones on energy cooperation and protection of information, which are strategically significant areas that will influence the trajectory of this bilateral relationship. Vietnam has offered seven oil blocks to India in South China Sea, including three on an exclusive basis where Hanoi is hoping for production-sharing agreements with India’s state-owned oil company ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL).
In a significant move, India has also decided to offer a $100 million credit line to Vietnam to purchase military equipment.… Seguir leyendo »
India’s “Look East” policy was once again in focus earlier this month as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Brunei and Indonesia on a four-day visit to boost India’s profile in a region increasingly crucial for India’s economic revival and for its strategic goals.
The prime minister took part in the 11th India-ASEAN Summit and the 8th East Asian Summit at Brunei Darussalam, then went on a bilateral visit to Indonesia.
As the prime minister has rightly observed, India’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations now forms the cornerstone of Delhi’s Look East policy, but it was his trip to Indonesia that was watched more closely.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month India became the fifth nation with the capability to indigenously design and build its own aircraft carrier. INS Vikrant, as the new carrier is called, was launched by the defense minister with great fanfare signaling India’s coming of age as a global naval power.
This launch followed the announcement that the reactor in India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine (SSBN), INS Arihant, has gone critical, marking a turning point in New Delhi’s attempt to establish a nuclear triad.
But the celebrations came to an abrupt end when, two days after the launch of the aircraft carrier, INS Sindhurakshak, one of the 10 Kilo-class submarines that form the backbone of India’s aging conventional submarine force, sank with 18 crew members after explosions at the naval dockyard in Mumbai.… Seguir leyendo »
The visit of the Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to Iran in early May has once again brought to focus India’s changing role in West Asia where it has significant stakes that are rising by the day.
India made known its desire to enhance its energy engagement with Iran as it sought joint exploration and joint investment in infrastructure.
Tehran has reportedly made offers with regard to joint exploration and a production sharing agreement in an oil block that New Delhi has indicated will be of interest. There are also plans to bring together some countries like Iran, Indonesia and India under the rubric of the Non-Aligned Movement to manage the deteriorating situation in Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
The nonproliferation regime is in crisis with North Korea’s defiance and Iran’s continuation of its nuclear program despite opposition from the international community. Yet while a lot of discussion is happening about what can be done about these two states, no one seems willing to take on the elephant in the room: China.
Not only has China played a crucial role in the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, its nuclear engagement with Pakistan potentially remains the most destabilizing factor in the global management of nuclear weapons technology.
Last month Beijing confirmed its plans to sell a new 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor to Pakistan in a deal signed in February.… Seguir leyendo »
The much delayed India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) gas pipeline is back in the news, but without one “I” — India.
Iran and Pakistan marked the start of Pakistani construction last month when the presidents of the two countries came together for the groundbreaking ceremony. The two are hoping that the pipeline will be complete in time to start delivery of 21.5 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan by December 2014.
There was much political symbolism involved in this move by Islamabad and Tehran as both nations are trying to snub the United States, which has been against this pipeline and has been trying to isolate Iran for its nuclear program.… Seguir leyendo »
The Pakistani government early this month gave its nod to a proposal for Chinese government-owned China Overseas Port Holdings Ltd. to purchase control of Gwadar port from Singapore’s PSA International, which had won the contract in 2007 to operate the port for 40 years.
With this, operational control of the strategic deep-water Gwadar port will go to China. New Delhi’s reaction was as confused as ever with the Indian defense minister describing it as a matter of “serious concern” for India, but the external affairs minister suggested that India should not “overreact to everything that Pakistan does or everything that China is involved in.”
China has always been keen on gaining a strategic toehold in the Arabian Sea and Gwadar has been an attractive option.… Seguir leyendo »