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25 July 2016

What’s the Real Story in Turkey?

I was in Ahmedabad when the attempted or rather failed ‘coup de tat’ took place in Turkey. I was to speak at a corporate function about India’s national security. However, my hosts requested me to first specifically speak for a few minutes on Turkey because ostensibly most of the audience could not join the dots about what exactly was happening in that country. I readily obliged because that’s a country you can’t fail to know if you have any pretensions like me of being a strategic commentator.


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25 July 2016

Indian military has remained committed to democracy

In our much-storied history, which our hyper-nationalists will possibly claim is the most ancient, there has been just one recorded instance where a commander-in-chief of the army overthrew the government of the day and seized power. This issue finds some resonance today in the context of the attempted coup in Turkey. Many ask, could this happen here, although the answer is pretty unambiguous that it cannot and will not.


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25 July 2016

Critical time for globalisation

This month marks the 25th year of economic reforms and the beginning of the era of globalisation in India. It has benefited millions and has also resulted in malls full of goods. Many people have managed to get jobs at salaries undreamt of in the past. Thus few would wish to see liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation reversed. Imported fruits to fancy cars, appliances and cosmetics are available in India for those with money.


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4 July 2016

The great 21st century data rush

In the digital age, data is currency and information is the energy that drives the 21st century economy. Today, 46.1 percent of the world’s population is online. These 3.4 billion Internet users collectively generate a significant amount of commercial and personal data that can be stored, collated, and analyded. This data is the lifeline that charts users’ online identities: It can also be monetised by Internet service providers, social media platforms, and end user applications.


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4 July 2016

Why India must be flexible on FTA with EU

The EU-India FTA (free trade agreement) negotiations have been ongoing for more than nine years. The two-way trade in goods stood at $98.5 billion in 2014-15, and India received $24.91 billion in FDI equity inflows from the European Union (EU) between April 2012 and May 2015. The EU has been India’s largest trading partner and the two-way trade is likely to swell significantly if the parties could firm up the long-pending FTA, officially called the Broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).


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14 June 2016

Antimicrobial resistance a ticking time bomb

It is estimated that by 2050 infections that have become drug resistant will result in a global loss of 10 million lives annually. This chilling revelation was the crux of a report released last month, titled “Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations,” commissioned by the UK government, and led by renowned economist Jim O’Neill.


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14 June 2016

Managing the Rise of China and its Collusion with Pakistan

The foremost challenge to working to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific will be to manage the rise of a militarily assertive China that is seeking to achieve a ‘favourable strategic posture’. Having come close to completing its four modernisations, China has discarded Deng Xiaoping’s 24-character strategy to ‘hide our capacity and bide our time’ and has begun to flex its military muscle. China senses the emergence of a security vacuum in the Indo-pacific and is rushing to fill it. India must join the US and other strategic partners, such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam, to establish a cooperative security framework for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, for the security of the global commons and to deal with contingencies like those described below. If China is willing to join this security architecture it should be welcomed.


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27 May 2016

Countering cyber terrorism: Public-private partnership need of the hour

Undoubtedly, the United Nations (UN) has truly not been engaged completely to serve as a platform for counter terrorism dialogue. Even now, the nature of the UN structure and the sovereign will of nation-states are yet to converge practically for a pragmatic solution. Similarly, to counter online extremism and radicalisation, both UN and states should open the negotiating door to the private sector internet industries.


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27 May 2016

The Patriarch and the Pope

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All-Russia and Pope Francis met in Havana on 12 February 2016 – the first-ever meeting between the heads of the two Churches. The Russian Orthodox is part of the Eastern Communion, and hence part of the Great East-West Schism between Eastern and Western Christianity, which took place in 1054. Nonetheless, its relations with the Catholic Church have followed their own distinct path over the last thousand years, since the Schism.


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13 May 2016

India’s urbanisation is dangerously exclusionary and unequal

In popular imagination, the city is often viewed as a liberating space where rigid social structures make way for secular transformations. Particularly in the global South, the city is synonymous with social mobility and emancipation. Taking into account the transformative potentials of cities and towns, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Dalit icon and key architect of the Indian Constitution, exhorted the oppressed communities to leave the “narrow-minded” villages for city life.


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