Fix the economy, don't target big business
With the cacophony of the 16th Lok Sabha election behind us, it is time to reflect on the realities of the politico-economic system that constitutes the set of initial conditions for the next government. The economy is sluggish and structurally weak. More than 60 years after Independence, only a small minority can afford a decent living.
India's growing trade deficit with China: What can be done?
Where politics disappoints, economics gives a hope. The Sino-Indian ties are emblematic of this proposition. Once bitter neighbours, India and China have for years been trying to integrate economic ties to help resolve their territorial dispute, and trade between the two countries has steered bilateral relations for the last decade. The bilateral trade has travelled a long way since the two sides signed the Most-Favoured Nation Agreement in 1984, crossing the $10 billion mark in 2004, and China becoming India's biggest trading partner in 2011.
EU-India FTA: Can it be revived?
India and the European Union share an extremely important trade relationship. The value of India-EU trade has more than tripled, to €95 billion in 2013 from €28.6 billion in 2003. A free trade agreement (FTA) between the two partners would strengthen these ties and enable both economies to gain further access to each other's markets. However, with negotiations of the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) at a standstill, the question of whether FTA discussions will eventually be concluded post-elections is an important one.
As internet matures, India faces a choice on governance
For many years, the Indian public in particular had very little interest in who controlled the internet and decisions taken at a structural level that shaped its future.
With urbanisation, a new breed of politician is set to dominate Indian governance
Nearly a decade and a half after the 21st century began; the politics of India is catching up with the new century. One of its greatest manifestations is the sense that things are going to change in a big way through Election 2014.
In his article 'In strategic interest, and for self-respect' (Indian Express, January 30), Hardeep S. Puri has underscored why we need to discuss internet governance, cybersecurity and related issues threadbare, and among a much larger set of stakeholders. This intrinsically democratic and most accessible medium has witnessed a disappointingly muted debate within India on its governance and regulation. Some key aspects highlighted in Puri's article must be discussed further.
Retooling for a new Asia
That India has little sense of geography and history was once again underlined by the scant national attention paid to President Pranab Mukherjee's visit last week to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Mukherjee's visit to the Andamans, as his trip to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland a few weeks ago, was about alerting the Indian political classes about the geopolitical significance of its far-flung and neglected territories.
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.