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China Factor

These days we are frequently told, usually by government ministers and spokes-persons, that India is the "fastest growing large economy in the world". Never mind that the debate on the new (since January 2015) national income data series, on which this claim is based, remains the subject of vigorous debate and scepticism. Many reputable, non-government analysts believe that "real" economic growth is probably one or two per cent points lower than the 7.5 per cent GDP growth indicated by the new series.

 
 

The last two decades have seen a remarkable shift in India's security dialogue. From almost nowhere, issues in the maritime sector have begun to acquire increasing focus. Terms such as Sagar Mala (development of ports), Mausam (promoting interconnectivity with littorals in the waters around us) and Blue Economy have entered the discourse even as efforts to build a stronger Navy and Coast Guard to safeguard the nation's interests at sea and to act as a Net Security Provider have come to the forefront. At every strategic discussion maritime security gets mentioned at the very start of the debate. This relatively recent development merits discussion.

 
 

Today, the Republic of Djibouti, the tiny East African nation with a population of just 8,75,000, is fast becoming the hub of global powers. Being in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti holds the key to major international maritime transactions passing through the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea in the east of the country. Djibouti, being an integral part of the erstwhile French African Empire — l’Afrique Noire — even today, the French Government has an agreement to defend its former colony. As the legend goes, many centuries ago, Yemen and Djibouti were only one country and only after a violent earthquake, both got separated (Africa from Arabia) creating the channel known today as Bab-el-Mandeb. Thus, Bab-el-Mandeb means “Gate of Tears” in Arabic after the cries of those who died in the earthquake.

 
 

The first ever state visit by an Indian head of state to Papua New Guinea began on Thursday with remarks by President Pranab Mukherjee brushing aside a suggestion that India was in competition with China in the Pacific region.

 

India needs a credible response for China, especially for the Indian Ocean region, where it must remain the big power. American support can help significantly in this regard. India just needs to be confident enough to leverage that in its favour

 

The mention of the South China Sea dispute in the joint communiqué issued by Russia, India, and China after their 14th annual trilateral meeting in Moscow this past week is an interesting development, indicating the evolving stance of all parties on the issue.

 

India has a developed economic relationship with the Gulf monarchies, and has lately invested in re-furbishing of political ties. The most vivid example of this was the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE recently, and earlier that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia, which yielded the important gain of Riyadh helping us apprehend leading terrorists.

 
India has engaged in a series of high-level political meetings with both the US and China and more are in the offing over the next two months. To briefly recap — US secretary of defence Ashton Carter was in India earlier this month and met his Indian counterpart, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, and there was a certain breakthrough when both sides announced that an “in principle” agreement had been reached apropos a long-pending logistics supply protocol.  
 

India’s maritime traditions are over 2,000 years old. Evidence suggests Arab traders used to buy spices from Kerala before the Common Era began. It was through the port of Surat that the British first traded with India. Small wonder that 4,500 delegates from 40 countries attended the Maritime India Summit held in Mumbai last week.

 

Investment in the port is key to the new Silk Route but challenges Indian shipping’s prospects

 


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spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
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India has accused the United Nations Security Council and the international community of tending to ignore the terrorists ravaging Afghanistan and their backers while these forces “have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world.”
 
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Close Canada-India collaboration in health and wellness is a journey that commenced in 2015 in Toronto, when the first major health summit was held, and ended in March 2017 in New Delhi.
 
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With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
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The death of deputy superintendent Mohammed Ayub Pandith at the hands of a lynch mob highlights the dangers to the police in Kashmir today, whether from gun-wielding militants or locals disgruntled with the Indian State.
 
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The rapid rise of Mohammed bin Salman, from one among many princes in the al-Saud royal family to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia within a span of two years, is an unprecedented development in the history of the Kingdom.
 
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A United States fighter downed a Syrian military aircraft for the first time when it bombed a Syrian rebel faction backed by Washington.
 
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Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
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  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
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  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
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