The politics of the India-Pakistan peace talks August 23, 2013Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
Despite the best will of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, their attempts at creating a relatively stable relationship have been hijacked by various factions on both sides.
Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly stated, even before he won the last general election, that he wishes to create a better relationship with India. This, he alleged, was crucial to Pakistan’s economic development. India’s Prime Minister has echoed this sentiment. From his perspective, better ties with Pakistan will enable India to concentrate on the “China threat” along its northern and north-eastern borders with that state. Also, the economic benefits to be accrued from a better relationship with Pakistan make it an attractive goal. Unfortunately for both Prime Ministers, though, forces in both countries are working, deliberately or otherwise, against such a resolution of their differences. Attempts at peace-making are no longer a diplomatic issue, but a highly politicised endeavour. (more…)
Diplomatic damage from latest India-Pakistan border clashes August 21, 2013Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
The recent killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops has put the Indian Government under pressure. The incident is likely to cause the suspension of the scheduled dialogue between the two countries.
On 6 August 2013, five Indian soldiers were shot dead in an ambush in Indian-controlled Kashmir, near the India-Pakistan Line of Control (LoC). While it is unclear who was responsible for the attack, blame has been attributed to either militants backed by the Pakistan Army, or the Pakistani Special Forces themselves. Although Pakistan has denied any involvement and its Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has sent his condolences over the killings, tensions have markedly increased. Intermittent exchanges of small arms fire across the LoC have occurred throughout the week, wounding several soldiers and civilians. The most recent incident occurred on 11 August, with both sides using machine guns.
New developments along the Line of Actual Control July 26, 2013Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, By country, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
Controversy over repeated incursions by Chinese soldiers into disputed territories has provoked an Indian reaction. India’s government has given approval for a new mountain corps for offensive warfare to be based near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Chinese “transgressions” and “insensitivities” in recent months have helped prompt the creation of a so-called China Strike Corps, which is to be headquartered in Panagarh, West Bengal. This is the official culmination of a process that began six years ago. It was given a boost by an in-principle approval by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010, but with the proviso that the three military services work together to strengthen India’s capabilities. The stated goal of this development is for India to achieve military parity with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along the border, a situation it has long desired.
Sri Lanka’s renewed ethnic tension June 26, 2013Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, Future Directions International, Guest authors, Sri Lanka , comments closed
Sri Lanka appears to be moving towards renewed ethnic strife – this time between Buddhists and Muslims.
The Muslim community makes up approximately ten per cent of Sri Lanka’s population of twenty million. Relegated to a back seat during the Civil War between ethnic Sri Lankans and Tamilians, who fought for a homeland, Sri Lanka’s Muslims now appear to have taken the place of the latter. Muslim-owned businesses have been fire-bombed and boycotted. As in Burma (Myanmar), Buddhist groups have formed to lead organised protests and violence against Muslims.
Chinese “Blue Book” optimistic on Indian future May 27, 2013Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, By country, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
The first Chinese “blue book” on the state of India has expressed concern over a government in ‘serious crisis’, but also believes India will emerge stronger after conquering its current obstacles.
Chinese think tanks release “blue books” every year on numerous issues; the books have tacit backing by the Chinese government, even if they do not fully represent its views. The “blue book” on India runs to over 300 pages and was compiled by Yunnan University, which hosts one of China’s biggest South Asia programmes.
India: corruption affecting investment and economic growth December 13, 2012Posted by southasiamasala in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
Transparency International released the results of its annual Corruption Perceptions Index on 5 December 2012. India was ranked 94 out of 174 countries in corruption, a claim highlighted by the scandals that have hit the Indian National Congress-led government this year.
India, and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in particular, have felt increasing pressure over the levels of corruption. This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) illustrates that although the situation has improved since last year, an underlying culture of corruption still exists in India. Such endemic corruption may cause a decline in India’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Canada and India agree on nuclear cooperation deal November 20, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed
Ottawa and New Delhi have completed negotiations, commenced in 2010, to ratify a nuclear agreement. This may ultimately result in Canadian firms exporting uranium and nuclear infrastructure to the energy-poor South Asian state.
Canada has followed Australia and concluded a civil nuclear deal with India, which has been in development since 2010. The latest uranium agreement is indicative of India’s strategic energy policy, emphasising nuclear power to moderate energy shortfalls. The challenge for New Delhi now will be to complement well-executed diplomacy, with supportive domestic legislation.
Pakistan government pressured by Imran Khan’s anti-drone rally October 23, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, Future Directions International, Guest authors, Pakistan , comments closed
Imran Khan’s anti-drone protest march did not reach its final destination, but it may well heap pressure on the Pakistani Government to take a stronger stance against US drone deployments, especially ahead of the 2013 election.
A protest march against US drone strikes in Pakistan, led by former cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, ended on 7 October 2012, when authorities prevented the marchers from entering the South Waziristan region. While the march of some 20,000 people failed to reach its final destination, it has renewed pressure on the United States and may force the Pakistani Government to take a stronger stance against US drone attacks, especially ahead of the 2013 election.
Mauritius under pressure from India to amend taxation treaty September 24, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, By country, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India, South Asia - General , comments closed
Leighton G. Luke
India and Mauritius are yet to agree on changes to the double taxation arrangements that have seen New Delhi miss out on tax revenues of up to US$600 million annually.
Concerned at the amount of tax revenue lost to Mauritius-based companies under existing arrangements, India is continuing to seek a renegotiated taxation treaty with the island state. Indian officials have estimated that the “Mauritius route” results in the loss of some US$600 million in tax revenues each year.
Afghanistan defence minister’s resignation: implications August 31, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Afghanistan, Future Directions International , comments closed
For the last eight years, Abdul Rahim Wardak has been the Afghan Defence Minister, but a recent Vote of No Confidence by the national parliament has forced his removal and subsequent resignation. The problem associated with these events is two-fold: can President Karzai maintain stability and what will this mean for the coalition countries, particularly the United States, as the 2014 troop drawdown agreed upon in the 2010 Lisbon summit approaches.