Left-Right ideological divide no longer makes sense of today’s world
For those who grew up and came of intellectual age during the Cold War, the left-right binary was fairly simple to comprehend. There was the United States and liberal democracy, which seemed to stand for a market derived system of economic decision making and organisation, and a gamut of civil liberties for the citizen. On the other hand, there was the Soviet Union and the East bloc, which gave the state a much larger role not just in ordering the economy but also allowing it to intrude in the private lives and choices of people.
India and the South China Sea dispute
The South China Sea (SCS) is witnessing a dramatic rise in maritime tensions. Last week, China landed two fighter jets on Woody island – a subset of the Paracel group of islands – just days after the PLA placed surface-to-air missiles at the same location. With a range of about 200 kilometers, the new HQ-9 missiles can target aircraft approaching China’s claimed spaces in the South China Sea. To add to regional worries, the latest satellite images of several of the Spratly Islands showed probable radar infrastructure, suggesting that the PLA may already have established full radar coverage over the SCS.
Rising inequality and urban exclusion
In Indian cities today, it doesn’t take long for an outsider to observe the vast difference between the posh, middle class and the low income neighbourhoods. India’s growing inequality of income is much more evident in urban areas than in rural areas because India’s rich live in the big metro cities and towns and not in villages. Their lifestyle is distinctly different from the lifestyle of the low income and middle income groups.
Need to beef up India’s cyber security policies and mechanisms
Take a stock of the past, analyse the present cliché and frame a strategy for future. In the recent years, India’s approach to cyber security has experienced a shift from style to substance. Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy has made various strong interventions on cyber security matters. Those interventions need to be materialised to manoeuvre the interest. Presumably, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) is likely to invest both political and capital energy to enhance a cautious cyber-strategy.
Will India’s economy live up to expectations?
Unlike other emerging economies, strong investor sentiment and the meltdown in crude oil prices bolstered India’s growth in the last financial year. Though the projected growth rate for 2016 shows a slight decline of 0.1 per cent, the World Bank predicts that India will grow by a robust 7.8 per cent this year and by 7.9 per cent in the next two years. This means India is shaping up to outpace China in the next three years.
Seizing the ‘One Belt, One Road’ opportunity
The central feature of much of the post-World War II American external engagement has been the security of its energy interests. Likewise, recent conversations with Chinese scholars, Communist Party of China members and officials indicate that the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative of Xi Jinping’s government is likely to become the lynchpin of Chinese engagement with the world. If, to understand American foreign policy of the years past, many have ‘followed the oil’, to decipher Chinese interests going forward, we may just have to ride the Belt and the Road.
Prime Minister’s address to Military leaders: No clarity on National Security Strategy
In his address to the Chiefs of Staff and the Commanders-in-Chief of the armed forces on board the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on December 15, 2015, the Prime Minister made a rare statement on India’s defence policy.
The Islamic State exploiting cyber-terrorism
It has been assumed that the currents of global politics consist of state-to-state relations. But such a clustered definition of world politics as merely the interactions of states has been challenged in the post-Cold War period. The concept of territoriality and the defining feature of the ‘1648 state’ has been steadily diminishing with the rise of non-state (non-territorial) actors. The phenomenal growth in technology for both military and civilian applications has provided more brokering power to the violent-non-state-actors like Islamic State (IS). Cyber terrorism and radicalization of cyberspace have also emerged as a new phenomenon both in global and regional levels.
Modi government’s economic challenges ahead
The Index of Industrial Production shrank by 3.4 per cent in November last year. It had risen to 9.4 per cent in October. This could be a temporary phenomenon. But still it makes one wonder what is going to happen to ‘Make in India’ dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when manufacturing growth is so erratic. There is a changed global environment today from when Mr. Modi made his promises. Commodity prices are falling and the steepest fall has been in the price of oil which has declined by 70 per cent since 2014.
2016 economic outlook: Not much cause for cheer
At the beginning of this year most people will be hoping for better times ahead for the economy. All reports say that India will be better off than most countries in 2016 and unlike China is not facing a slowdown. According to the government, India is going to continue growing at a relatively high rate of 7.5 percent. Mr. Jaitley is pleased with last year’s economic performance and according to him, it is reflected in the rise in indirect revenue receipts.