Archive for April, 2013

Indian Foreign Minister to visit China & border issues

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

It was announced on April 25th, Thursday, that Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid will travel to Beijing on May 9th. This trip will marke the first visit from the most senior Indian official since the start of the new leadership in January. Currently, India and China are facing border issues in the Ladakh region on India. Chinese military has set up camp in the region and refuses to leave, though there has been communication between the Indian and Chinese military. This Chinese infringement is believed to be in regards to the Chinese wanted to put pressure on the Indians to sign a border cooperation agreement. Regardless of the dispute, Khurshid believes it is important to maintain a dialogue between the two nations as they have mutual interests with one another and do not wish for this issue to destroy their communication ties. Certainly, this is proactive and a mature response from the Indian government. However, the Indian government needs to make sure that China does not step on their toes too much.

“A foreign policy analyst in New Delhi said India has failed to resolve the border dispute largely because of an inherent “inferiority complex”” (Daily Times 2013). While it is important for India to not let issues, such as this, fully derail their already fragile relationship, India needs to stand up for itself and its people. According to Sujit Dutta, a professor at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, India needs to be firm in its dealings with China (Daily Times 2013). China will play the role of the bully if India lets it and it is important for India to not let that happen. If India wants to be a major global power, it will need to establish firm and strong relationships with current global players in order to be successful. By setting up a framework between India and China, both countries will understand one another’s position and India will find its voice to stand up to China. Moreover, China will take India more seriously if it realizes that India will not allow itself to be walked over, as it currently seems to be allowing now.

India: 8th most powerful nation

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

A Times of India article reports a new study by the Foundation for National Security Research, which ranks India as the 8th most powerful nation in terms of ‘national power’. The study focuses on three elements that define a country as potentially powerful: Population above 50 million, GDP above 500 billion and defense expenditure above US $5 billion.  27 countries are determined to adhere to these criterion. National power was defined as foreign affairs capability, which includes aspects such as defence self-reliance, membership in multilateral institution/role in global decision making, and soft power, energy security, population, and technological capability.   Not surprising, the US and China top the list with a respective 1st and 2nd ranking.  India’s economic position is ranked at 8th, military capability at 7th, while technological capability ranked at 17th and energy security at 20th.

What does this mean for India?

India’s position in the top ten in terms of economic and defense capabilities is important in terms of India’s quest to be a global power.  This shows India is a legitimate player in the global order.  However, India needs to improve other aspects if it wishes to become stronger.  Not surprisingly, India ranked low in energy security, power projection, and strategic orientation as well as a number of other issues.  These three, however, are what I believe to be the most important of the issues India needs to develop in terms of the criterion of this study.

While the study shows India is a relevant and growing power, it is still important to note it is not there yet.  India must continue to address its foreign policy weaknesses and not rest solely on its economic power.

Are dams a viable energy resource? Some say “yes”.

Friday, April 26th, 2013

In class today, we were asked to discuss our most prominent takeaways from the semester.  One of these takeaways was how India’s energy crisis is going to affected foreign policy.  The need for energy resources will motivate India to build friendly relationships with energy-rich nations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Mexico, Brazil, and Bolivia.  The drive for foreign energy resources is based in domestic politics, and has drastic affects for the Indian people.  An example of how important this is to the common folk occurred last July in northern India, when 600 million people lost power in a blackout that lasted for two days.  While international methods are being considered, domestic energy resources, such as dams, should also have some time on the table.

Dams have a large potential to partially solve the energy problem.  The Indian government has proposed to construct 292 dams (one every 20 miles) across the Himalayas.  When finished, these dams would double India’s hydropower capacity and meet 6% of the national energy needs projected for 2030.  While the main article of this blog post argues against dams, when the above statistics are taken into account, perhaps building these dams would be worth the displacement of a few villages.  Such a solution would relieve some of the pressure on Indian foreign policy makers to put energy needs first.

Main article:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/hobbled-on-energy-india-ponders-a-multitude-of-dams/

 

 

 

Information on energy rich nations:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/business/worldbusiness/05bolivia.html?pagewanted=all

Information on the blackout:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/grid-problems-curb-indias-electric-vehicle-appetite/

Moving On

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Blog 7

Moving On

Aman Jaspal has set in motion the building of a peace museum in the Punjab territory along the Pakistani-Indian border. This is to reach out to the youth who are curious about their shared history but ignorant about their shared heritages.  It will contain three parts: first, it will be revolve around the theme of our Punjab, second it will have our Punjab and your Punjab, and third it will be the Punjab of hope. These are believed by Jaspal to share history and show the history before Partition, after Partition, and look forward to what is possible for the new Punjab. This is a step towards the goal of peace between Pakistan and India.

With more funding and advertising, it could easily become a internationally recognized location. The goal would not be to show the violence that took place between the two sides; rather it would focus on the promotion for a successful and peaceful coexistence. Jaspal has shared that both citizens of Pakistan and India have donated items; in addition to donations the museum would have a wide range of multimedia to convey the message of peace. What if both governments of India and Pakistan were to invest in a museum program that would promote peace?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Coming-Peace-museum-along-India-Pakistan-border/articleshow/19734263.cms

India Is More Like A Hive

Friday, April 26th, 2013

India Is More Like A Bee Hive

An article from the magazine India Today –April 22,2013

 

India has problems just like every other country. Vice President of the Indian National Congress Rahul Gandhi wants to change the way India operates. He has a vision to empower a billion, decentralize the government, make knowledge more accessible, and sharpen skills and training. It is argued that migration between cities will help foster opportunities with jobs and skills. The decentralization of the government will allow the reformation of political parties to have elections at every level.  As said by one of Rahul’s aide “ the idea is to ensure that anyone who is capable and appreciated by his peers at the ground level no matter from which caste or family can rise up the party ranks.”  The government of India should not hold information from the public rather it should let it flow openly. This would allow data that can help with health, education, and other goods and services. Finally, training methods would be updated and employers would have a voice in the school curriculum at universities. It is a vision that is still in development however it is a start.

By reaching out to the underrepresented billion it would give them a chance to be better represented however if there were a billion more opinions would anything actually get done? The idea that anyone who is capable can work their up the political ladder is powerful, regardless of caste or family they come from.  Giving the ability to access knowledge is another powerful idea. However, a costly idea; a majority of people still don’t have access to clean water. The skill development program could help with the brain drain issue that India sometimes faces amongst its youth. The solutions offered are a great start but will need strong support. Gandhi believes that India is not an elephant of slow and giant characteristics; rather a complex and diverse bee hive. How do these issues affect India’s foreign policy?

Do Not Cross This Line

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Do Not Cross This Line

India has been accused of violating air-space and borders by China. The two superpowers have had border disputes in the past with military personnel. As with any country, border disputes have a possibility of occurring, however the need to not let them escalate into military confrontation is very important. India has agreed to welcome negotiations between the generals and clarification of the borders between the two countries. India’s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid has said that India will wait out a few more days for the 30 odd Chinese soldiers to pull back from Burthe in Daulat Beg Oldie region. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said that this will not affect border peace and security.

The thirty odd Chinese soldiers that are in a disputed territory will not be the cause of an all out attack from the Indian military. Small misunderstandings such as this should not escalate into a bigger issue however. It would be unlikely  that border disputes such as this would damage anything between China and India. The border disputes should be taken  case by case and they should treated as isolated incidents.  However, border disputes could get complicated and heated if the disputed area had access to resources or has strategic value. The question is how many troops are needed in a disputed area to be confronted in a military matter?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-could-agree-to-China-demands-on-patrols/articleshow/19734017.cms

Cheap Cheap Oil

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Cheap Cheap Oil

The price of oil in India has gone down significantly and is linked to the global price of oil, as well as the exchange rate of rupees.  As of now the rupee has gained strength and has an exchange rate of fifty-four rupees to the dollar. In New Dehli, a litre of oil costs about sixty-five rupees which has dropped roughly four rupees last month. In recent years India has diversified its oil dependence on other countries and reduced its dependency on Iranian oil. Perhaps this has something to do with the overall decline in the oil price for Indian citizens.  The cheap oil has a significant impact on people making it more affordable to buy oil. It also affects the exporting costs of Indian products; if the fuel of the ships is cheap there could more shipped out thus temporarily boosting a profit for Indian exports In addition to this Indian consumers  could be more likely to travel further to buy products due to the cheap oil prices. . The price of oil in India has declined significantly enough and the real hope is that it will continue to get cheaper for Indian citizens, as the Indian rupee becomes stronger relative to the dollar. If India were to invest money into solar power as a energy, how would

http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/worldeconomy/Petrol-prices-may-drop-by-up-to-Rs-2-50/Article1-1048798.aspx

Iron Man Flies to India

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Why is Iron Man 3 so important in India? It is an interesting question to ask. This is a form of soft power being accepted in the Indian society. The movie’s cast is welcomed into India as they are viewed as popular super heroes. Some of the actors including Robert Downing, Jr. and Ben Kingsley will visit parts of India to discuss the film as well as topics such as sustainable energy. The movie has so much hype around it from the previous super hero movies including the previous Iron Man movies and The Avengers.   The movie will be the largest release for a Hollywood film to this date by opening in 1,000 movie theaters; typical Hollywood budget movies only open in about 200-250 theaters.  It is even going to be screened in Tamil! This article tells us a couple of things. First, the Indian movie watchers enjoy American films. Second, India welcomes soft power from the United States.  Third, American films get reviews in the Hindustan Times. The last one is interesting. Why are American films such as Iron Man 3 getting an article piece in the Hindustan Times? What else does this tell us about India’s view of the United States?

Trailer of Iron Man

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Hollywood/Iron-Man-3-packs-a-punch-in-India/Article1-1050215.aspx

An Atom of Time?

Friday, April 26th, 2013

On April 24th, the former Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran made a comment that if nuclear war were to break out between India and Pakistan, India would not separate a city from tank groups. This is a strong belief that India would launch nuclear weapons, by air or ground, at civilians if it had to.  If nuclear weapons were launched it would without a doubt be devastating on both sides.  Saran carries the argument that there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war. Saran argues that once nuclear weapons were launched all would be fair in the fight.  Saran gives explanation as to why India pursued a nuclear weapon.  He argues that China was the reason for India obtaining nuclear weapons an it was not for sake of having them.

There is such a thing as limited nuclear war. Hopefully, wars between countries will never reach that level, but if countries were to start a nuclear war, leaders of the countries would be rational enough to only target military opposition or key locations. They would be used to achieve a specific goal and not get out of hand and spill into a nuclear wipeout of the country’s population.

India is located in a hostile environment in between Pakistan and China. Saran’s argument that India obtained nuclear weapons for security purposes instead of for prestige makes sense. To prevent China or Pakistan going to war with India, it would make sense that they would want to have the ultimate deterrent.

Blood for Water?

Friday, April 26th, 2013

The Great Indian Water Folly by Brahma Chellaney- An article from India Today

A complicated treaty between India and Pakistan, called the Indus Treaty, allocates entire rivers by separating India’s full sovereignty rights to the smaller three rivers to the south.  Pakistan however has funded terrorism in this area despite the agreement between the two countries. The treaty complicates things for India because the treaty only allows India to build run-of-river plants.  This is a type of hydropower that does not use a reservoir  and this is an unreliable power source for the nearby inhabitants because the power output is dependent of the seasonal flow changes.  As a result there has been a call for International Arbitration however lawyers have tilted in Pakistan’s favor.  This great for Pakistan because they want to stall India’s domestic projects dealing with power shortages in the region. This There is a demand for water and power in the region, however India has not used some key sanction rights against the treaty.  India needs to call for a revision of the treaty to make it a fair treaty.  The arbiters of the case could achieve a veto for Pakistan that could stall and control India projects as desired.  There is another option to completely ignore the treaty and proceed with river projects without Pakistan’s consent. However, there is already violence in the region and if India were to ignore the treaty it could cause more violence.