Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Xi’an had fuelled hopes on the Chinese side that India was finally warming up to the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative. Studious silence on this matter is albeit a reminder that New Delhi’s reservations remain steadfast viz-a-viz OBOR. In this context, how insecurities can be managed and a better economic environment can be created in the region emerges as a burning question.
What is OBOR?
The Nepal earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015 measuring 7.8 was the worst earthquake since 1934 and resulted in widespread damage in Nepal and surrounding countries of the region. According to “Did You Feel It?” and the responses on the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, tremors within India were felt as far and wide as Karnataka and Kerala.
The strategy of "Winning hearts and minds" has remained a common factor in the "Global War on Terror" initiated by the Bush Doctrine as well as President Obama’s endeavors abroad. However, the US strategy to counter Al-Qaeda and contain the growth of the Islamic State (ISIS) has largely challenged the concept of “winning hearts and minds”. The extensive use of American air power to attack the Al-Qaeda cells in Yemen and Pakistan, as well as the ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria have faced serious criticisms.
The bilateral relationship between India and South Korea has made great strides in recent times. In this regard, India’s economic liberalization in early 1990s and adoption of the ‘Look East Policy’ as well as South Korea’s ‘New Asia Diplomacy Initiative’ has played a vital role.[i] Since 1990s, for almost two decades, New Delhi-Seoul relationship was largely driven by economic factors. The strategic context of it was not harnessed adequately until recent times.
On 18 August, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson announced that the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan scheduled for 25 August had been cancelled. This followed some dramatic developments earlier in the day centred around India’s Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh, calling the Pakistan High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, and advising him that the Foreign Secretary-level talks will be cancelled if he went ahead with his meeting with the Hurriyat leaders. Eventually, Basit settled for talking to them instead.
I read a news headline a couple of days back that India braces up for Pakistan raising the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) issue at the United Nations (UN). I always wonder why India is sensitive to Pakistan raising the J&K issue at the UN or at any other international fora? Firstly as per the Independence of India Act (1935), further endorsed in the 1947 Act, it was the sovereign of the princely state, who was authorised to choose between India, Pakistan or to remain independent.
Safety and Security Concerns Regarding Pakistan’s Nuclear Energy Policy
The burning issue under which Nawaz Sharif ran his election campaign last year was Pakistan’s economic debt and its acute energy shortage. The energy crisis gripping the nation has not only resulted in long hours of power shortages and load shedding but has adversely impacted the economy with commercial sectors and industries facing the brunt of the energy crunch.
The plight of fishermen traversing the Palk Strait, which marks the maritime border between India and Sri Lanka has been mired in controversy ever since the Independence of both the states. The narrow strip of water way called the Palk Strait separates Tamil Nadu in India from the Mannar district of Sri Lanka. Its width is between 53 and 80 kilometres. This narrow strait has been a cause of confusion and conflict over the use of the waters, particularly for activities such as fishing.
While the news of al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing has taken India by storm, there was another piece of news, which did not receive so much media attention in the country. On September 2, some of Taliban’s hard-line leaders had said that they might consider aligning with the Islamic State (IS) after considering the legitimacy of its Caliphate.[i]