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Indo-Pacific Forum

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will now be known as commander-in-chief of the military's joint operations command centre. The title, bestowed on a fatigues-clad Xi by the State media towards the end of April, is largely a symbolic reaffirmation of his existing authority over the People's Liberation Army.


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.


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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be visiting India between 7th and 10th of April and plethoras of agreements are likely to be signed then. Among the various agreements, the two countries will be signing the defence cooperation agreement which  has been getting the most attention. 
The Congress needs to come up with a more aspirational narrative than that of the BJP. The party doesn’t lack talent, but its leadership clearly lacks hunger and enthusiasm required for winning elections, writes Tridivesh Singh Maini for South Asia Monitor.
 India should not hesitate in using both overt and covert means to bring its policies to successful fruition. Indian policy makers must be guided by the dictum that there is no permanent friend or enemy but only permanent interests, writes Adarsh Singh for South Asia Monitor.
Society for Policy Studies in association with India Habitat Centre invites you to a lecture in the Changing Asia Series by by Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India on Health And Development: India Must Bridge The Disconnect Chair: C Uday Bhaskar, Director, Soci...
spotlight image 'Covert military actions or surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan have limited utility that won't change the mind of the Pakistan Army or the ISI  which sponsor cross-border terrorism
In Dutch politics, alliances are imperative to construct an administration. The post-election government formation is, therefore, a slightly time-consuming process. In due course, a coalition led by the incumbent Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, will surface.  
Japan is a special country in several ways. For centuries, it remained isolated and disconnected with the outside world. But once it opened itself up to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854 by the use of force by Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry of the United States Navy, Japan has never looked back. Japan is a spe
Recently, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and earlier under the late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdallah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia has rolled out a series of women-friendly initiatives.  Recently, under the leadership of Custodian of the
spotlight image No First Use as a nuclear deterrent without additional caveats should work well enough

India remians the inflexible bête-noir for Pakistan, yet there are few books by Indian authors that have sought to interpret the prodigal neighbour in a holistic, informed and empathetic manner.


The line that Mortimer Durand drew across a small map in 1893 has bled the Pashtun heart ever since. More than a century later both sides of that line remain restless. But the mystery behind what actually happened on 12 November 1893 has never ...


What went wrong for the West in Afghanistan? Why couldn't a global coalition led by the world's preeminent military and economic power defeat "a bunch of farmers in plastic sandals on dirt bikes" in a conflict that outlasted b...


What will be Pakistan's fate? Acts of commission or omission by itself, in/by neighbours, and superpowers far and near have led the nuclear-armed country at a strategic Asian crossroads to emerge as a serious regional and global concern whi...


Some South African generals, allied with the British forces, sought segregation from the enlisted men, all blacks, after being taken prisoners of war. The surprised German commander told them firmly that they would have to share the same quarte...

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