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Vol 11, No. 1                   Jan-Mar 2016





Future Trajectory of Sino- Indian Relations

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DHRUV C. KATOCH: former Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, (CLAWS), New Delhi and presently the Editor of SALUTE Magazine

India - China Relations: Deal with a Measure of Pragmatism

India needs a measure of pragmatism in its policy of dealing with China. Increased trade flows do not by themselves lead to an absence of conflict. The excellent personal rapport developed between the Indian Prime Minister and his Chinese counterpart, while useful, is also not a guarantor of peace. That comes about through hard power. India will need to develop its economic and military might to safeguard its vital national interests. Militarily, it is vital that India maintain adequate deterrent capability in the oceans as well as over the Tibetan skies. That is the guarantor of peace.


SRIKANTH KONDAPALLI: Professor of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

India-China Relations: Need for Intensive Dialogue on Core Issues

To prevent the emergence of any conflict situation, both China and India need to usher in an intensive dialogue mechanism across the board, with each other’s core sensitive issues discussed and solutions implemented. Compliance on this issue is a matter of power equations; however, in a similar asymmetrical power equation, India needs to understand that China did extract concessions from the United States previously.


AVINASH GODBOLE: Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs.

India-China Relation:  Enhancing Engagement Promises Better Future

Prioritisation of economic development and the immense scope of engagement-led development in the last decade have led to somewhat more mature India-China relations. Pragmatic leadership and an increase in people to people contact in areas of education, trade, and tourism will only create a momentum leading to deeper understanding. India and China have aimed to expand predictability in their bilateral relationship by enhancing the scope of engagement that promises a better future for both the countries.


MONIKA CHANSORIA: Senior Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi, where she heads the China-study programme.

Chinese Naval Presence in the Indian Ocean Region

The future trajectory of Sino-Indian relations shall be determined by the route that China undertakes to gain greater strategic primacy in India’s immediate neighbourhoodmost importantly in and around the Indian Ocean region. With PLA’s naval presence in the Indian Ocean now becoming an almost regular feature, it would only be far-sighted to assume that the growing need to operate far from home shores is the main driver for China’s new operational maritime missions. Establishing berthing rights and a possible forward presence are vital pivots for the constantly improving capabilities of the PLA-Navy. As China’s presence in the Indian Ocean becomes more established, it expectedly could challenge Indian interests in the Indian Ocean, thereby placing the existing Indian deterrence-at-sea under considerable strain.



Joint Statement between the India and China during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China - May 15, 2015





M. MATHESWARAN: Former Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, President Aerospace Business, Reliance Defence Ltd.

Emerging contours of Space Security - India's options

Space has emerged as a critical centre of gravity. The use of space-derived inputs is a vital necessity for the conduct of everyday life on Earth. While civil and commercial space activities provide a range of applications, create employment, and promote technological progress, the use of space for military and intelligence purposes has become critical requirements for national security.

The fears of an arms race and power-politics for dominating space or establishing control and hegemony in space are very real. The emerging contours of space security are dominated by the contest between national security interests of states and the interests of the larger humanity. This contest is unlikely to ever end. In the meantime, India must preserve its freedom to access and exploit space for its security and development. Given rapid developments in technology and space capabilities, it is important that India steers itself into a position of strength in space, technologically, economically, and militarily, in order to support and usher 21st century space as a peaceful ‘Global Commons.”

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SHARAD K SONI: Assistant Professor, Centre for Inner Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Emerging Dimensions of India’s Relations with Mongolia:  From Comprehensive to Strategic Partnership

In terms of regional dimensions, the North East Asian identity of Mongolia, together with socio-economic and political ties with other countries (particularly in Asia) generate much scope for further expansion and concretisation of India-Mongolian cooperation in various sectors. Herein, the political role of Buddhism takes precedence in guiding engagements with foreign partners and institutions. Therefore, Buddhism - both as a religion and as a soft power foreign policy tool - must be seen in the context of achieving the goals of peaceful co-existence, ensuring friendship from generation to generation, and furthering mutual development through cooperation in terms of foreign policy objectives. Buddhism in Mongolia’s foreign policy perspectives may prove to be beneficial not only in the smooth execution of relations with countries like India but also with Russia as well as other countries of East Asia, including both Southeast and Northeast Asia where Buddhist communities exist in large numbers.

The convergence of political, economic and social interests may get a definite push in Mongolia’s bilateral and multilateral relations if its Buddhist diplomacy succeeds, especially in the Asian context. In this vein, PM Modi’s Mongolia visit can be described as a “strategic step” in order to make India’s strong presence felt in East Asia in general, and Northeast Asia, including Mongolia, in particular.





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ERIC GONSALVES: Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Former Ambassador of India to Japan, to Belgium, to the EEC and Luxembourg.

Rajiv Bhatia, India-Myanmar Relations: Changing Contours, (New Delhi: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2015), Pages: 257, Price: Rs. 895.00


DARVESH GOPAL: Professor of Political Science and Director, School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi

Pankaj K. Jha, India and the Oceania: Exploring Vistas for Cooperation (New Delhi: ICWA / Pentagon Press, 2016) Pages: 248, Price: 795.00


RAJIV BHATIA: Former High Commissioner of India to Kenya, to South Africa, Former Ambassador of India to Myanmar and to Mexico.

Yogendra Kumar, Diplomatic Dimension of Maritime Challenges for India in the 21st Century, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2015), Pages: 272, Price: Rs. 995.00


ABDUL NAFEY: Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US & Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi  .

D. Gopal and Dalbir Ahlawat, eds., Indo-Pacific: Emerging Powers, Evolving Regions and Global Governance (New Delhi, Aakar, 2016), Pages: 319, Price, Rs.995. 


NIVEDITA RAY: Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

Ruchita Beri (ed), India and Africa: common Security Challenges for the Next Decade, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2016), Pages 150, Price: Rs. 595.00


M. SAMATHA: Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

Anand Kumar, Multi-Party Democracy in the Maldives and the Emerging Security Environment in the Indian Ocean Region, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2016), Pages: xi + 192, Price: 795.00


AMIT RANJAN: Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

Priyanka Singh (ed.), The Role of Media in Promoting Regional Understanding in South Asia (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2016), Pages: xxxi + 256, Price: Rs 995.00




Published in Volume 10, 2015





Vol 11, No. 2                           Apr-Jun 2016





India - Nepal Relations: A Reality Check

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K. V. RAJAN: Former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs; and, former Ambassador of India to Nepal.

Nepal Today: Bad Politics Trumps Good Economics

There is nothing new about India-Nepal ties striking the occasional rough patch. Nepal’s psyche is of a small, landlocked country, overwhelmed by India’s cultural, economic and physical (indeed, often overtly political) influence. This, together with India’s apparent inability (or unwillingness) to factor in Nepal’s sensitivities in day to day dealings with its neighbour, practically  guarantees abrupt downturns in the relationship every now and then.

The euphoria generated by the spectacularly successful visit to Nepal of Prime Minister Modi in 2014, and of much of the goodwill generated by India’s spontaneous and generous response to the earthquake of April 25, 2015 seems to have evaporated in the past few months. Both countries have tried in vain to dismiss this as a routine hiccup.

Perhaps it would be more realistic to acknowledge that the present phase of uncertainty is likely to last for some more time. The reasons for this are complex: some are rooted in Nepal’s internal political situation, others in the severe mutual trust deficit that appears to be increasingly difficult to address as time goes on.


HARI BANSH JHA: Executive Director, Centre for Economic and Technical Studies, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal and formerl Professor of Economics at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University.

Nepal-India Relations Gaining Ground

Of Nepal’s two neighbours, it is only China that supported the constitution. Time will prove that the Chinese stand on the constitution is counter-productive, though it seems to have gained certain ground among the ruling elites in the country now. Nepal has sacrificed its own interest by giving undue concession to Beijing mostly in the transport sector in lieu of Chinese support to Nepal’s new constitution. It is the Chinese security interest that is served more through the agreements made by KP Sharma Oli with China than Nepal’s own interests.

Despite the fact that China wants to occupy space in India’s backyard in Nepal, India’s pre-eminent position in Nepal is unmatched. In this context, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae recently rightly said that no one can stop prosperous relations between Nepal and India.  This is one of the major reasons why Nepal has not been able to implement the constitution so far. Even in the past Nepal’s Zone of Peace (ZOP) proposal that intended to undermine India’s presence in Nepal could not become successful, though nearly 114 countries of the world, including China and Pakistan, have endorsed it. There is a feeling that the Nepalese constitution that has overlooked the interest of the overwhelming majority of the population in the country will not succeed because it does not have any support from New Delhi.


SHEEL KANT SHARMA: Former Ambassador of India to Austria and former Secretary General, SAARC, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nepal’s Democratic Polity and India

... [I]t is critical for both countries to realise the need to prevent distortion of mutual public perceptions. Even India and Pakistan at Shimla had agreed to promote good neighbourliness, and eschew hostile propaganda. Why can’t the Nepalese leadership and their counterparts in India come to an understanding that this climate of gratuitous hostility and the airing of unfounded blame must be stopped? No matter who wins the political sweepstakes in Kathmandu, there should be a halt to India-bashing or enflamed hysterics. Likewise, on the Indian side too, despite the ostensible power of the fourth estate, a concerted attempt is required not to speak of Nepal in a disparaging or condescending manner. China never does this, and thus wins public opinion in its favour. It is high time that this malaise is addressed with adequate political will. It would go a long way in removing misgivings and misapprehensions between the two countries.


BHUWAN C. UPRETI: Presently ICSSR Senior Fellow and a former Director at the Centre for South Asia Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur,  and a former Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi.

India-Nepal Relations: Complexities, Misperceptions and Irritants

... [T]here are very strong foundations of India-Nepal relations. The deep rooted socio-cultural linkages that the two countries possess comprise a rare repository in the arena of bilateral relations. But unfortunately, all these and many other aspects of India-Nepal relations are overshadowed by personalised politics and short term gains. For a brighter India-Nepal relationship, Nepal needs stability, development, and a mature political leadership. On the other hand, India needs to follow a clear, consistent, transparent, and more cooperative approach towards a close neighbour.


ANJOO SHARAN UPADHYAYA:  Director, Centre for the Study of Nepal, Banaras Hindu University; former ICCR Chair at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.

Rise Above Prejudices and Suspicions: Build a 'Naya Nepal'

Economic development has long eluded Nepal. It is high time Nepal carries out  some serious introspection, and tries to go overcome its prejudices against its own people. A well integrated population is a source of strength, but at the same time, if discriminated or rejected, can be an equal source of weakness. Nepal has been ranked the 33rd most fragile state in the world, according to the Fund for Peace, a Washington-based research and educational institution . This has been diagnosed on the basis of demographic pressure, refugee and IDP flows, group grievances, human flight and brain drain, uneven economic development, state legitimacy, public services, human rights and rule of law, security apparatus, factionalised elites, etc.

It will do Nepal good if it rises above prejudices, suspicions and disbelief, negotiates a mutually acceptable solution to its current differences, and starts building a 'Naya Nepal' (a New Nepal)!






AJAI MALHOTRA: presently Distinguished Fellow & Senior Adviser (Climate Change), TERI, is a former Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation. He was earlier Ambassador of India to Kuwait, to the UN/New York, and to Romania.

Climate Change: Tackling the Challenge Confronting India

As per preliminary estimates, over US$ 2.5 trillion would be required between 2015 and 2030 to implement India’s climate-related plans. Scaling up these plans would require even greater resources. Developing countries like India are resource constrained, and implementing climate change mitigation/adaptation actions would require additional domestic and new funds from developed countries to cover the resource gap. Enhanced action on technology development and transfer will be central to the implementation of India’s INDC. Developed countries should help in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, in providing climate finance, capacity building, as well as creating a framework for R&D on clean coal technologies. India has projected an illustrative list of clean coal, nuclear power and renewable energy technologies that it would like to see shared.

India believes that it can achieve a similar level of well-being as the developed world without going down the path of reckless and wasteful consumption. It has, in the past, indicated that its per capita emissions would never exceed those of the developed countries, including their historical emissions. It is also prepared to share its technologies with others, as seen from its readiness to develop a satellite specifically for South Asia by 2016, and its offer of free-of-cost remote sensing satellite data to other SAARC countries


OBJA BORAH HAZARIKA and VIVEK MISHRA: Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh; and, Doctoral Candidate, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, respectively.

Soft Power Contestation between India and China in South Asia

Abstract: Soft power has become an indispensably critical component of a country’s power and influence today. It has emerged as a new requisite of present day geopolitics, even more so for rising powers like India and China.

In South Asia, India and China both possess abundant resources of soft power. Both have their spirituality, culture, cuisine, technological advancement, economic attractiveness, and entertainment industries, along with their widely spread and influential diasporas. India and China are competing to increase their influence and power in South Asia by using soft power among other means as an instrument of power politics.

China is rapidly making military, economic and cultural forays into the region and is using soft power as a bridge to South Asia. China’s effort to increase its influence in the region through its One Belt One Road initiative and India’s sustained effort to remain a crucial partner in the national development of Afghanistan are examples of competition between the two Asian giants.

This paper attempts to provide an understanding of this competition by exploring the manner in which soft power is being harnessed by both countries to augment their influence in the region. Along with this, this paper intends to examine whether India can use its historical, cultural and civilizational commonalities with its neighbors to mitigate some of the deep-rooted animosities and match Chinese efforts to make inroads into the region.


ANAND KUMAR: Associate Fellow, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India-Maldives Relations: Is the Rough Patch Over?

... [T]hings appear to be changing now. This is particularly so after President Yameen’s visit to India in April 2016, when India signed six agreements with his government, one of which was in the defence domain.

Still, it cannot be said that the India-Maldives relationship is out of the woods. The legislation passed by the Yameen government to sell islands, and allot land without bidding has not been repealed. Though things have improved between India and the Maldives, still, India cannot be complacent.




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SAMEENA HAMEED: Assistant Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Talmiz Ahmad, Turmoil in West Asia: Sectarian Divide Shapes Regional Contestations,  (New Delhi, IDSA, April 2016), Pages: 81, Price: Rs. 150.00


ABDUL NAFEY: Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US & Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Prem K.Budhwar, Canada-India: Partners in Progress, (New Delhi, Vij Books / ICWA,2016), Pages: xvii+216, Price: Rs. 850.00


K. P. FABIAN: Former Ambassador of India to Qatar, Finland and Italy.

Kishan S Rana, Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge  (New Delhi, Manas Publications,, 2016), Pages: 371, Price: Rs 595.00


DHRUV C. KATOCH: former Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, (CLAWS), New Delhi and presently the Editor of SALUTE Magazine

Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Afghanistan Pakistan India: A Paradigm Shift, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2016),Pages: 208, Price: Rs. 995.00



Vol 11, No. 3                     Jul-Sep 2016



India and the Multilateral Export Control Regimes

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SHYAM SARAN: former Foreign Secretary, former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Indo-US civil nuclear issues and later as Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator on Climate Change.

India May Have to Wait for a Possible Opening in the Future

Even before the NSG plenary meeting held in Seoul to discuss India’s membership application in June 2016, China made a rare public statement opposing India’s membership, insisting that NPT adherence was a key criterion for entry, even though this is not included in the NSG Guidelines. It was apparent that unlike in 2008 China was prepared to stand alone, if necessary, to block India’s application. While consultations are continuing on the issue, China has given no indication that its position may undergo a change in the foreseeable future.

.... ....

it is unlikely that China will allow India’s entry into NSG unless Pakistan’s entry can be assured at the same time. Pakistan has also applied for NSG membership this year soon after India’s application was tendered. And since a majority of NSG members are not all enthusiastic of bringing a serial proliferator like Pakistan into their ranks, India may have to wait a longer time for a possible opening in the future.

MANPREET SETHI: ICSSR Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies New Delhi.

India’s Inclusion into the NSG: A Paradigm Shift

The benefits of the membership would be many though the process of gaining membership is likely to be long. China will try its best to tire out India and the other NSG members by raising one issue after another. India will have to remain patient and continue its diplomacy quietly and confidently to address the objections, technical as well as political, of the few nations still left to be won over.

In the final analysis, it must be realised that India’s membership into the NSG could be nothing less than a paradigm shift for the non-proliferation regime. To include India as a member, a country that triggered the very creation of the NSG and whose technology sanctions and denials were crafted to target India, is not an idea easy to stomach for many of the nuclear suppliers. For China too, having India as a nuclear equal is an unpalatable thought. However, patience and perseverance in chipping away at the major and minor objections through proactive outreach to all NSG members will have to be the key for India to shape a new nuclear order that suits its national interests and unique nuclear stature.

RAJESH RAJAGOPALAN: Professor, Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

India and NSG: It’s Simply Power Politics

Just as there are strategies that India needs to consider, there are also self-defeating strategies that India should avoid. The most important among these is that India should be careful in directing its retaliation at Beijing and ensure that any such retaliation does not affect others, especially India’s friends.  ..... ....

... ...

Another self-defeating strategy would be to seek change in China’s opposition to India with concessions. Considering that India is the aggrieved party, because of the unprovoked nature of China’s hostile behaviour, it is China that needs to make-up with India, not the other way around. Indeed, New Delhi must repeatedly let China know that it is Beijing’s responsibility to set right the harm done. For example, India put Australia in the dog-house after its unwarrantedly harsh response to the Indian nuclear tests in 1998. China is not Australia but this should be the template for treating China. Offering additional concessions to China to get China to shift its stand would fundamentally undermine India’s interests, especially given that NSG is not vital, as stated earlier.

India’s NSG membership issue demonstrates the centrality of power politics in China’s behaviour. India has little choice but to join the game.

G. BALACHANDRAN: Consulting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India Should be Wary of Additions to the 2008 Criteria

There is a distinct possibility of a discussion on a common criteria resulting in additional elements to the 2008 NSG exemption criteria. What should be India’s strategy then? India should continue to insist that any new condition must be strictly in tune with NSG’s objectives.

If China, at any stage, sees the possibility of Indian application gaining strength and not that of Pakistan, it would make sure that the NSG comes up with additional conditions that would be clearly unacceptable to India. Its basic aim is to deny India membership of the NSG; the excuse of Pakistani candidature is only secondary.

ROSHAN KHANIJO: Senior Research Fellow, United Service Institution of India (USI), New Delhi.

Decision Making Process Dictated by Political Interests

In the 21st Century, India is poised to play a major role in global nuclear governance. It is a matter of time when India gains membership of the AG and WA. The question that remains is whether the NSG will continue to allow the political interests of one member (which has indulged in WMD proliferationin the past, and continues to dishonour UN backed verdicts) to dictate the decision making process of the entire group, or whether the members will unite in upholding the spirit of NSG and induct those nations who are nonproliferators and have taken steps to align with NSG’s core principles. Global power play aside, India should also aim to remove any remaining technical glitches by synchronising its SCOMET list to all four control regimes lists.

ARUN VISHWANATHAN: Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.

India’s entry into the NSG: A Long-winded Process

Despite India’s relationship with the multilateral export control regimes undergoing a transformation in recent years, India’s entry into the NSG is bound to be a long-winded process. This is essentially due to the fact that India’s accession to the NSG is a clear reversal of decades-old thinking on international non-proliferation policy. This will, no doubt, take many countries some time to accept. In addition, India’s membership has also become embroiled in geo-politics. This was apparent with the Chinese linking India’s membership to the NSG with membership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

SITAKANTA MISHRA: Assistant Professor of International Relations, School of Liberal Studies, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Expose Double Standards - Pursue Pragmatic Steps

China has been a stumbling block in every bid by India for its legitimate place in the global order, be it the UNSC or, as now, the NSG. It would be too simplistic to explain it away as at the behest of Pakistan - but as part of a bigger aim. That should not stop India from continuing its quest for its place by exposing its double standards and pursuing pragmatic steps to win over all the sceptics.




SATINDER KUMAR LAMBAH: Chairman of  Ananta Aspen Centre, New Delhi and a former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India.

The Tragic History of Gilgit-Baltistan since 1947

The history of Gilgit-Baltistan during the last seven decades has been tragic. The region is a part of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. There have been attempts to amalgamate it with Pakistan; but strategic planners in Islamabad perhaps feel that such a move might weaken their case on Kashmir. The status of Gilgit-Baltistan is ambiguous and undefined. It is not even a part of the so called Azad Kashmir. The people of the region thus lack a national/state identity. There is no transparency or accountability in governance. Sectarian violence has been on the increase. This is because outsiders, contrary to tradition and history, have been induced to settle there. Unemployment has been increasing. The plight and difficulties faced by the people of the region have gone unnoticed for long.

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N. MANOHARAN and PRIYAMA CHAKRAVARTY: Associate Professor / Post-Graduate Scholar, respectively, at the Department of International Relations, Christ University, Bengaluru

Current State of India - Sri Lanka Relations: From Bitter to Better

India and Sri Lanka, despite having past common colonial experiences, have certain strategic imperatives, and differing policies dictated by national interests, at times conflicting with each other. One such differing phase emerged after 2009 with the decimation of the LTTE. In a triumphant mode, the Rajapakse regime started turning a deaf ear to India’s suggestions on ethnic reconciliation. It also started playing the ‘China card’ disregarding India’s strategic and security interests.

As a result, bilateral ties hit rock bottom in every aspect of the relations. However, the surprise victory of Maithripala Sirisena in an untimely presidential election has brought the bilateral ties on track. The new coalition government has started going slow on China. It is taking serious corrective measures on ethnic reconciliation and political settlement. As a result, India-Sri Lanka relations have improved to the level of cordiality, but are yet to realise their full potential.

The story of bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka is the story of ups and downs. Nevertheless, one factor or the other has come to the fore to salvage the course before it hit rock bottom. The objective of this paper is to identify those factors that have pulled the relations back on track to put the current state of India-Sri Lanka relations in perspective.


GOPAL SURI, Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi

India’s Maritime Security Concerns

India is a maritime state with a long coastline of more than 7500 km and 274 islands that sits astride the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, at the head of the Indian Ocean. The Indian sub-continent juts out nearly 1000 km into the northern expanse of the Indian Ocean like a wedge and splits this region into two distinct sub-regions.

                As KM Panikkar had once said, “It is the geographical position of India that changes the character of the Indian Ocean”.  India’s relation with the Indian Ocean is, therefore, a symbiotic one and history is witness to the fact that whenever India has neglected this huge body of water, it has lost its sovereignty, as was seen during the period of colonisation by the European powers.  The Indian Ocean has a long history of carrying India’s foreign trade with recorded evidence stretching back to the 9th century BCE.  Maritime trade still constitutes the backbone of India’s economy despite geographical shifts in the pattern of India’s trade. Considering that most of these commodities will have to come by sea, maritime security assumes an important dimension in India’s calculus for national development.

                The success of recent government initiatives like the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and the renewed emphasis on development of maritime infrastructure has to be underpinned by a guarantee of maritime security in our immediate neighbourhood. This essay will examine India’s maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and understand the security concerns thereof. A glance at the existing maritime security frameworks in the IOR will then enable a better understanding of the responsibilities of maritime security of this region.

MALANCHA CHAKRABARTY: Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Understanding India’s engagement with Africa

This paper examines the growing partnership between India and Africa. Post liberalisation, India’s policy towards Africa has shifted from the ideological realm to economic diplomacy. Economic realities in Africa have also undergone tremendous change in the last decade. Many Africa countries witnessed an economic turnaround in the 2000s. The early 2000s saw a marked increase in India’s economic linkages with Africa. This paper provides an overview of India’s trade, investment, and development cooperation linkages with the African continent from 2000 onwards. Thereafter, it critically analyses three key dimensions of contemporary India-Africa relations – energy security, food security, and diaspora. This paper criticises the view that India is a ‘new coloniser’ in Africa whose interests are limited to countering Chinese influence and extracting resources. It stresses on the need for a sophisticated analysis of contemporary India-Africa relations based on empirical research and concludes that India’s growing economic ties with Africa have the potential to make an important contribution to global development.





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NEELAM D. SABHARWAL: Former Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, UNESCO and High Commissioner to Cyprus.

Andrew Small, The China-Pakistan Axis; Asia’s New Geopolitics, (Mumbai, Random House India, December 2015), Pages: 320, Price: Rs. 399.00 (PB):

ASHISH SIRSIKAR: Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi

Satish Chandra & Smita Tiwari (eds), Insights into Evolution of Contemporary Pakistan, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2015), Pages: 207, Price: 544.00

PRABIR KUMAR CHAKRAVORTY: Defence analyst, former Additional Director General of Artillery, former advisor Brahmos Aerospace.

Vivek Chadha, Even If Ain't Broke Yet Do Fix It: Enhancing Effectiveness Through Military Change, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2016), Pages: 192, Price: Rs 795.00



Vol 11, No. 4                                      Oct - Dec 2016



India-Russia Relations in a Fast Changing Global Order

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KANWAL SIBAL: Former Foreign Secretary of India, former Ambassador to Russia and to France.

Challenges and Prospects of India’s Strategic Partnership with Russia

The India-Russia relationship is and should remain a key pillar of India’s foreign policy. Despite its reduced status after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains a formidable power because of its size, resources and strategic capacities. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it exerts considerable weight on issues of international peace and security. With its military intervention in the Syrian conflict, it has re-emerged internationally as a more self-confident and assertive power. It possesses advanced space, nuclear and defence technologies. If India sees its interests served by forging strategic partnerships with several countries that do not possess any of these attributes, the need to nurture a close strategic relationship with Russia speaks for itself.

P. S. RAGHAVAN, Till recently Ambassador of India to Russia; former Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic and to Ireland; Former Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. 

India-Russia Strategic Partnership - a Mutual Commitment

The India-Russia relationship has recently come under severe scrutiny in the Indian media and in academic writings. The developing wisdom is that the traditional links are fraying and that, with India’s political realignment with USA and Russia’s embrace of China, there is now a strategic disconnect between India and Russia.

This paper reviews the canvas of the India-Russia dialogue and the range of bilateral political, economic and defence cooperation. It argues that the legacy of the past continues to have relevance for the present and future. The geopolitical logic that cemented the India-Russia relationship remains valid. The extent of defence cooperation makes disengagement an impossibility, though India’s diversification of defence acquisitions will reduce Russia’s near-monopoly in this sector. Investment linkages are growing, though awareness of opportunities has not fully percolated to corporate India. Cooperation in nuclear energy and hydrocarbons has made significant progress.

The clouds in the relationship reflect differences in security perspectives; they can be dispersed with frank dialogue, resulting in policies, which accommodate the core interests of both sides.

There is a clear commitment from leaders of both countries to preserve and strengthen bilateral relations. It is therefore not appropriate to sound the death knell of the India-Russia “special and privileged strategic partnership”.


ARUN MOHANTY: Professor, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Time to Reinvent the Indo-Russian Strategic Partnership

Both countries have enjoyed excellent political relations for decades, with a convergence of views on most international and regional issues of mutual concern. It is a matter of concern that, more recently, there seems to have emerged a gap in the mutual approaches of both countries on some international and regional issues. There is lack of understanding for each other’s security and geopolitical concerns. Russia’s growing engagement with Pakistan, particularly, has raised concerns in India’s strategic community. Russia’s military exercise with Pakistan and sales of military hardware to that country, have caused significant concern in India. The growing trilateral engagement between Russia, China and Pakistan, particularly on Afghan issue, has angered the Indian strategic community.

On the other hand, Russia has misgivings about some Indian actions, such as its growing proximity with the US, Delhi’s agreement with Washington on end use inspection, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), and the USA’s bestowing of the Major Defence Partner status on India, etc. The Malabar naval exercises with the US as well as the joint military exercises with Japan, New Zealand and Australia, are also not to the liking of Moscow. Besides, there seems to be some sort of difference in approaches to regional issues (like the Syrian crisis), along with gaps in the UN voting patterns on a host of international and regional issues. On the whole, there appears to be a gap for the first time in the understanding of geopolitical issues between New Delhi and Moscow.


INDRANI TALUKDAR, Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.

India - Russia: Perceptions Need to be Corrected and Relationship Strengthened

In November 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order approving the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, which updates Russia’s foreign policy priorities, and goals and objectives. It categorically states, “Russia is committed to further strengthening its special privileged partnership with the Republic of India based on the convergence of foreign policy priorities, historical friendship and deep mutual trust, as well as enhancing mutually beneficial bilateral ties in all areas, primarily in trade and economy, with a focus on implementing long-term cooperation programmes approved by the two countries”. These words, mentioned in one of Russia’s key foreign policy documents, not only underscore India’s centrality in Russia’s foreign policy priorities and objectives but also attempt to restore the perceived lost sheen in India-Russia relations of late.

MEENA SINGH ROY: Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

The Trajectory of India-Russia Ties: High Expectations and Current Realities

India and Russia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. Major events in diverse fields have been worked out to celebrate the long standing partnership, which New Delhi and Moscow have enjoyed since diplomatic relations were established in April 1947. At a bilateral level, pragmatic considerations form the basis of this relationship.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Indo-Russian relations have gone through some rough patches, the relationship notably weakened during the 1990s. The geopolitical realities and economic limitations did not allow the relationship to continue in the same way. However, all that changed after Vladimir Putin’s election as the head of the Russian state in 2000. He became the architect of a new strategic partnership between India and Russia bringing the two countries close to each other. These ties were further elevated to the level of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership in December 2010. India–Russia strategic partnership moved in the direction of greater cooperation in every respect but remained under the shadow of the emerging Indo-US strategic partnership. A fresh impetus was given to this relationship during the annual summit in Goa in October 2016. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin’s pledge to take the relationship to a new level, the current narrative on India-Russia relations in India and Russia has raised some issues questioning the changing nature of strategic partnership.






TALMIZ AHMAD: Former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, to the U.A.E, and to Yemen.

ISIS and the Scourge of Global Jihad: Regional Implications

Almost every day, there are reports of a jihadi organisation perpetrating some atrocity or the other in which several innocent victims are killed or badly injured. Images of widespread carnage at airports, shopping malls, concert auditoria, hotels, restaurants and busy streets fill our television screens while solemn reporters inform us that security agencies suspect this to be an attack by the Islamic State (or IS, also known as the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”, or ISIS) or its local affiliate or even an individual, a “lone wolf”, who was indoctrinated to carry out a suicide attack by IS propaganda on social media. This paper discusses the ideological and political bases of this scourge and its proliferation, and the implications it has had on West Asian politics.

(An article is based on a lecture on the subject, under the above title, delivered by the author, at the regular meeting of the Association of Indian Diplomats on 26 October 2016 at New Delhi.)


SITAKANTA MISHRA: Assistant Professor at the School of Liberal Studies (SLS) of Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The Asian Nuclear Energy Landscape: Major Expansion Post-Fukushima

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 in Japan has had an impact on the overall pace of building of new nuclear reactors in particular, and on the attitude towards nuclear energy, in general. However, it could not bring an end to “the nuclear renaissance in several countries”.1 A scrutiny of the halfdecade of nuclear energy trend worldwide since the Fukushima event reveals that most countries with, or planning for, nuclear programmes opted for a slowdown or temporary halt, rather than complete cessation of their programme, except Germany. The trend in Asia seems to be interesting as increasing number of states have shown interest in nuclear energy; while those countries already having nuclear programme like India, China, etc., are also planning for major expansion.





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B. S. PRAKASH: Former Ambassador of India to Brazil and to Uganda.

P. K. Gautam, Saurabh Mishra and Arvind Gupta (Eds.), Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary (Volume III), (New Delhi, IDSA / Pentagon Press, 2016), Pages: ix+166, Price: 795.00.


BHASWATI MUKHERJEE: Former Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Paris; former Ambassador of India to the Netherlands

Kanwal Sibal, Snowflakes of Time; Memories and Musings, (New Delhi, Bloomsbury India, July 2016), Pages: 220, Price: 399.00