2014: A Challenging Year for Indian Foreign Policy
Our major foreign policy challenges are enduring and no dramatic change in our security environment is likely in 2014. Relations with Pakistan could actually worsen. Nawaz Sharif is focusing on Kashmir, knowing that it is a dead-end issue. His strong links with Punjab-based jihadi groups, the continuing grip of the Pakistani military on policies towards India, his adviser Sartaz Aziz’s new environmentalist twist that India vacate Siachen to cease polluting Pakistan’s waters, Pakistan’s prevarication on DGMO talks to end LOC firings, relegating the MFN issue to the back-drawer, are all negative portents.
An imperial imprint
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan were in New Delhi and Chennai last month in one their rare overseas visits. Their visit underscores the growing centrality of India in Japanese foreign policy. That New Delhi took this visit seriously was evident from the fact that the Indian prime minister decided to appoint a special envoy with ministerial rank to oversee the preparations for this visit.
India must Solidify Ties with Japan for Growth, Moderating China
The visit of Japan’s royal couple to India, the first in the history of India-Japan relations, deserved greater attention by our media. The government did make special gestures to underline the visit’s importance, with the Prime Minister receiving the couple at the airport and the External Affairs Minister acting as the Minister-in-waiting. But the media did not amplify the government’s political signals, which a mature media with geopolitical sense should have.
India yet to stabilise as a nation state
Far from reaching the sky, the Indian project seems to be sinking. This is the message coming out of a clutch of unconnected developments: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh abandons his plans to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka because of protests from political parties in Tamil Nadu; West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee bans the export of potatoes from the state to ensure that the price of the commodity does not rise in her state.
India will Make It
There is no doubt about it. The Indian economy is facing some challenges. Growth rates that were close to 8% for a decade have significantly plummeted and are expected to drop below 5% in 2013. This growth rate that could be envied by the vast majority of developed countries is simply not enough for a country like India. For the Indian authorities themselves, the fight against poverty, which still affects over 300 million people, can only be effective with a GDP growth of at least 8% per year.
Space should be playground for humanity's dreams, not new battlefield
With the growing dependence on outer space assets for socioeconomic, developmental and military purposes, the number of players in outer space is growing rapidly. There are more than 60 such operators, including non-state actors, in this domain.
The Emerging Doctrine of Military Intervention
The ongoing struggle of people across the Arab world to get rid of military dictators and tyrannical monarchies has led to a new debate about the efficacy of the emerging doctrine of military intervention. The foremost question today is whether the international community should punish the Assad regime in Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people.
Are Emerging Markets Submerging?
With economic growth slowing significantly in many major middle-income countries and asset prices falling sharply across the board, is the inevitable “echo crisis” in emerging markets already upon us? After years of solid – and sometimes strong – output gains since the 2008 financial crisis, the combined effect of decelerating long-term growth in China and a potential end to ultra-easy monetary policies in advanced countries is exposing significant fragilities.
Europe’s Fake Normal
August is traditionally Europe’s holiday month, with many government officials taking several weeks off. In the process, important initiatives are put on hold until the “great return” at the beginning of September.
G20 and India
The G20 had played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis of 2008-09. During and after the global financial crisis of 2008, while advanced economies experienced dwindling growth, India was one of the countries that continued to grow.