The changing face of maritime terrorism
Maritime terrorism has reared its ugly head again—this time in Southeast Asia where a Vietnamese cargo ship was attacked by supposed members of the dreaded Filipino terrorist outfit, Abu Sayyaf. Days later, Jürgen Kantner, a German national captured off the coast of southern Philippines in November 2016, was beheaded by members of the same group, sparking international outrage and all-round condemnation.
To avert disaster the US must deal with North Korea
The US must consider giving nuclear no-first-use assurance to North Korea in return for non-use and no further missile or nuclear tests A new round of belligerence, including missile tests and an assassination, make it clear that the Trump administration needs to focus on North Korea before events spin out of control. Reports that Washington is considering military action may be speculation, but nevertheless underline the situation’s increasing gravity.
Donald Trump’s Asia outreach
The Trump administration, after making a chaotic start at home, has started venturing abroad. Not surprisingly, Asia remains its big focus.
To raise resources, give and take needed
Rapid infrastructure development and public investment to strengthen competitive markets are the stepchildren of the annual Budget process. This continues a trend, started by the previous government, of shoring up state government finances, at the risk of being stingy on spending in areas of its own core, constitutional mandate.
ISRO has impressed; now for policy innovation
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) accomplished a major feat last week by launching 104 satellites at one go, breaking the record held by Russia (37 satellites) and the earlier US record (29). Launching dozens of satellites in different orbital slots is an extremely complex manoeuvre. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the tried and tested workhorse of Isro, proved yet again that it can achieve more complex missions. Despite this impressive achievement, some international reports tried to underplay it by saying that these were simply nano satellites. Inserting multiple satellites in space is significant irrespective of the weight.
The end of Davos man
President Donald Trump’s initial policy pronouncements on migration and his increasingly evident determination for creating jobs in America itself are new markers in this post-globalisation era. They end an epoch that began 25 years ago today, when the Maastricht Treaty was signed, creating the European Union. Three years later WTO was inaugurated. By the turn of the century, Project Globalisation had gained unstoppable momentum courtesy the internet.
Modi’s parliamentary speech: What it tells us about his pitch for 2019
On February 19, in about 10 days from now, the Narendra Modi government completes 1,000 days in office. The milestone may be only statistically symbolic but comes in a period of intense and defining political significance. On March 11, the verdict in five state elections, particularly the large state of Uttar Pradesh, will be known. Immediately after that negotiations for the next vice-president and president will begin.
Safeguard poor, bring India back on track…
In a welcome change of national focus, becoming rich is no longer enough unless the poor are taken along. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is very au fait with international headwinds, was prescient in his December 31 address. For the first time, it was not the youth, nor non-resident Indians, nor Hindus, that the PM was focusing on. His attention was primarily on the travails of the poor.
Bridging the Gulf
India’s ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to get a major boost with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, visiting New Delhi as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
Indo-Pak Ties Likely to Remain Fraught in 2017
2017 marks the 70th year of Independence and the ‘Great Divide’ between India and Pakistan. The 69th year – 2016 – saw a steep deterioration in the already not so normal state of relations between the two countries and it is highly unlikely that the 70th year will see some sort of breakthrough in their adversarial relations. At best what might happen is what has happened innumerable times in the past – one or two steps forward, one or two steps back.