Month: November 2007

  • Life after the delay

    The discussions between UPA and the Left are only a device to buy time for both sides before they reach the inevitable conclusion that they must part company and face the electorate...Since the most significant outcome of the deal not going through is the national and international humiliation of the UPA, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh, it is not likely to happen. There may be delays but not an abrogation of the deal.

  • The tragedy of climate change geopolitics

    If the prospects for meaningful international co-operation are bleak, is it all doom and gloom? The first ray of hope is unilateral domestic action: states may be compelled to adopt sustainable environmental policies driven by a largely domestic cost-benefit analysis. Another ray of hope is that the world will achieve multi-polar stability fast enough, and that the need to tackle climate change will hasten this outcome.

  • The rising Naxalite rage

    Over the past decade, the Naxalite insurgency has come to understand the strategic value of interrupting the flows of globalisation. In addition to their traditional tactics of assassination, outpost overruns and extortion, the Naxals have repeatedly and systematically disrupted critical infrastructure networks to undermine state legitimacy. Nodes on cellular, power, road, and railway networks have been shut down or destroyed and resulted in, on several occasions, sustained failure of service and significant economic loss. Naxals have taken the systems disruption strategy to its logical conclusion by utilising economic shutdowns, called bandhs, to disrupt entire social systems.

  • Non-alignment 2.0

    K Subrahmanyam has been one of the eminent expositors to state it bluntly: non-alignment was always the practice of realpolitik cloaked in idealism. That the ideological veil got confused as an end in itself, manifesting in moral outbursts, was as much a reflection of India’s relative material weakness in the international system as it was of strategic naiveté.

  • The second step forward

    Spreading ourselves thin in an effort to cover as many people as possible, we give too little help for anybody to actually achieve our objective. The beneficiary will continue to keep returning the following year demanding more assistance. We do little else but take one step forward and two steps backwards. In contrast, if we focus our resources on those at the margins, we utilise our resources more efficiently.

  • The coming mutinies

    Our coming mutinies will be noble and peaceful and they will succeed. India will evolve into a confederation of ‘city-states’, whose members recognise the benefits of collective security and common foreign policy. City-states left alone to evolve their respective culture and economy while the central authority, strong but limited in scope and size, douses conflicts among members and prevents barriers to free flow of ideas, people and commerce.

  • Engaging Africa

    It is evident from the book that China and India’s greater engagement with Africa is based on pursuit of their respective national interests. Their engagement brings both benefits and costs; and represents only a potential opportunity to generate net benefits for African countries. The benign and positive outcome therefore cannot simply be assumed.