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Modi to charm island nations
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon visit the Island nations of Indian Ocean region to reinforce India's foreign policy objectives as part of South Asian neighborhood diplomacy. This visit will be significant in many respects as he will be visiting Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius, which can be great maritime partners for India in the strategically sensitive Indian Ocean region. Apart from strengthening relations, Modi government is planning to offer military and civil assistance to these island nations for capacity building to ensure maritime security in the region. Successive Indian government has long neglected these island nations and now the new Indian government is putting efforts to win some of the lost ground to enhance India’s strategic reach.
Obama visit may spell new equations
Barack Obama, who will be the first US President as Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day, is looking forward to cooperate and strengthen bi-lateral relations with India. Under the strong leadership of Indian PM Narendra Modi, the US has started considering India as an important player and a strong pillar in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Further, Modi, a man of strong will and who believes in walk the talk, is also trying to utilize the potential of US to realize the common goals which will be mutually beneficial for both the countries. The US, which was earlier skeptical about its relations with India under UPA rule, has started to believe that Modi’s policy, vision and decisive mandate can make India the best possible partner for the US. However US also knows that it needs India more than India needs United States.
Xi Jinping's India visit
China's President Xi Jinping, who arrived on his maiden visit to India, may have experienced the great Indian hospitality, but he has also realized that now India is not an easy country to make inroads. Though there is no denial that as the world’s two largest populated countries, China and India, share a strong common interest in upgrading their national economies, but the boundary dispute and transgressions by Chinese troops will always affect the relations. Yet, Modi has clearly indicated to China that now there is a slash to be put into. What was going on for last 10 years along the LAC must stop now. Indeed, Xi's visit was being closely followed by Japan and United States-both of whom are keen to develop stronger ties with India to counter China’s rise in the region.
Indo-Japan relations may take a new dimension
The recent visit of Indian Prime Minister to Japan has created a new synergy in the relationship between the two countries but it has raised many eye brows in China which perceives it differently. The Chinese leadership distrustful of Japanese Prime Minister thinks Tokyo has played a tactical game to limit Chinese influence in Asia. China is still studying the whole development and might adequately respond when Chinese President visits India this month. Beijing is expanding its influence and trying to assert its preeminence in a manner it has angered many Asian neighbors. But most experts feel India-Japan burgeoning relationship may be a natural response to China’s assertive rise.
Iraq crisis can deepen further
The fast advancement made by the Al-Qaeda inspired rebel group - Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - is creating a chaotic situation for the whole region and the world. They are advancing terribly fast while capturing major cities of Iraq, a country which is already in a shattered state. The ISIS, driven by Sunni sentiments and Islamic ideology, aims at setting up a new state stretching across the Syria-Iraq border. The ISIS has already caught the imagination across the Sunni world, especially among young Sunni men in bordering countries. But the bigger impact of such act will be seen in coming days.
Now India will move on a forward trajectory
With the change of power center in India, India’s rise to attaining a great power status may now prove to be unstoppable. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is all set to instill the confidence which was missing in the entire tenure of UPA-II. Modi will take India to that height which most powers may not have been anticipated in the past. However, it needs lot of hard work and sincerity, along with fast adapting to the task. Otherwise the mission will remain incomplete despite having other elements in place. No doubt it is a great challenge. Modi will succeed. Yet, if Modi fails then India will fail. The whole purpose will be lost.
SCS issue now plugs ASEAN
The recently concluded ASEAN summit in Myanmar has ended in a bitter note. Myanmar, being a close ally of China, did not raise the most potential issue involving South China Sea dispute in the event which lead to heated exchange among ASEAN members. Although some ASEAN countries who have a high stake in this regional dispute were expecting a way forward to the CoC, the ground reality was quite different as Myanmar wanted to avoid the same. Being the Chair of ASEAN, it was great opportunity for Myanmar to address the SCS issue at some level. But ignoring it could be disastrous for ASEAN in the long run.
Now that the P5+1 countries have struck an interim nuclear deal with Iran which has temporarily eased off sanctions against it, India feels relieved from the frustrated pressure of Western sanctions that had disabled India and Iran to enhance their indispensable bilateral relations. They have already begun talks to enhance ties in trade, particularly in the energy sector. Indeed, blooming bilateral ties between India and Iran can be a highly strategic game-changer not only for the region, but also for the broader strategic calculations with respect to US, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s future.
Syrian crisis: Waiting for convenient time
As the conflict in Syria enters its third year, all hopes for any reconciliation in the near future appear grim. Even the imposition of international sanctions, suspension from the Arab League, inspection and destruction of WMD and subsequent failure of peace talks with rebels has not pushed Assad regime to take well-meaning measures. Instead, with every passing event, it is becoming evident that Syria is playing a calculated game wherein on one hand it is managing to mitigate external threats so that there is no direct threat at the same time it is prolonging credible resolution with the domestic opponents. If this continues, the ramifications could devastatingly impact the entire region.
Smooth democratization is hunting Nepal
The democratization process in Nepal has been volatile since its initiation. Although the gruesome ten years of civil war ended in Nepal, the anarchic democratic machinery prevails till date. Absence of a new constitution for Nepal, constant hostility between the multiple political parties, especially escalated by the Communist Party and the failure to uphold the Comprehensive Peace Treaty are reasons to indicate absolute failure of the democratic processes in Nepal. Although the high rate of participation in the recently held elections seems optimistic, whether political stability would be instituted and prevailed is a precarious question.