Archive for February, 2014

Pakistan Minister invites Taliban to play cricket

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Pakistani government has invited the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to engage in a cricket game in hopes to attract the Taliban to focus themselves on the game rather than the internal struggle between the Taliban and Pakistan. The Taliban effect many other countries other than Pakistan, and this includes India. This will play a major role in how India engages with Pakistan while Pakistan attempts to gain a peaceful ground with the Taliban through cricket, leading India to hold Pakistan at an arms length and step away from any form of alignment or economic partnership.

The Pakistani military has launched attacks on the Taliban continually for the past few days. The Taliban have been carrying out bombing attacks as well. Even though the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has invited the Taliban to put down their weapons to pick up cricket negotiations with the Taliban will not continue until there is a ceasefire has occurred on the side of the Pakistani military.

For India, this attempt at peace will be bad for India-Pakistan relations. This step toward peace through cricket with the Taliban and Pakistan are worrisome, and possibly pointless. In the past the Taliban has criticized Pakistan for media coverage of Indian cricket players simply because they were not Pakistani and were therefore unpatriotic. This should be a huge indication for the Pakistani government that the playing cricket matches with the Taliban doesn’t and will not change the Taliban’s radical views on the world. These cricket matches may prove to engage the Taliban away from violence for a small amount of time, but this attempt at peace will not prevail. India cannot afford to become close with a country that is not taking into consideration that the Taliban are more than just bodies fighting with weapons, they have hateful ideas that if prevailed would hinder the freedom of millions as well as the inevitable deaths of millions as well. Cricket won’t help the Taliban become less violent because their ideas and views on the world are violent, and India wont get close to Pakistan’s naive attempts to create peace with the Taliban.

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Modi Advises China to Shed Expansionist Attitude

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Modi Advises China to Shed Expansionist Attitude

Rabul Kamakar

            Narendra Modi, a hopeful for India’s Prime Minister office, addressed China on his election campaign. Stating that China needs to “shed expansionism” in regards to Arunachel Pradesh, a state in north east India that China believes is its own.

He goes on to state that the “world has changed and the expansionist mindset will not be acceptable.” He later stated that bilateral ties would be the preferred route. A route that would be beneficial to both states. Modi’s strong stance against China makes him look like a strong, no-nonsense political leader. This statement, addressing a contentious issue with one of the world’s super powers reflects that he believes that India needs to demand respect, and in many ways makes on believe that Modi believes that India may already be a super power. This statement, and China’s response also gives a lot of hope for the future relations of the two countries.

If these two countries can diffuse potential problems through dialogue, a peaceful and prosperous coexistence does not seem out of the question.

India, Russia, and Myanmar: How will increased relations affect these countries?

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Hannah Osorio

Recently India and Russia have increased efforts to develop strategic connections with Myanmar. This relationship could affect both countries in terms of military and economic ties. Relations with Myanmar could lead to coveted access to its shipping channel with the Indian and Pacific oceans, while also acting as a bridge to Southeast Asia for India. Russia has developed a beneficial relationship with Myanmar. Moscow had recently provided several defense systems and tanks to Myanmar. Despite previous controversy and opposition between Myanmar and India, India has strengthened ties with Myanmar by sending aircrafts and weapons. India has also increased training with the Myanmarese navy. India is in favor of increasing economic networks with Myanmar. In this article, EEPC India Executive Director Bharat Sarkar says “Improvement in political climate offers a sound base to take advantage of the growing economy in Myanmar”. Good economic ties with Myanmar could give India access to the country’s abundant gas reserves.  Presence in Myanmar could also help showcase India’s engineering abilities. This relationship could lead to increased trade in the future. Exports in military equipment could help India, Russia, and Myanmar form a good relationship. Increased training exercises and economic interest could reflect Myanmar’s support for India in possible conflicts. A positive relationship with Myanmar may suggest a constructive connection between India and Russia which could become very beneficial politically.

“Indian engineering exporters set sights on Myanmar.”NDTV, February 16, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2014.

Simha,Rakesh . “Rangoon Realpolitik: Russia, India courting Myanmar
” Russia and India Report, January 31, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2014.


India and China agree on host of defense cooperation measures

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Even though India has said on more than one occasion that it will not change its non alignment policies, evident from recent measures taken to ensure a stable relations with its competitor, China, it seems more than likely that India will reconsider its non alignment policies, especially when dealing with china.

This article talks about how India and China have both agreed to “continue to expand the exchanges between their armed forces to foster mutual trust and understanding” while maintaining “peace” and “tranquility” on their border disputes. It was understood by both sides that strengthening of strategic consultation and communication would facilitate sharing of perspectives and mutual understanding in the evolving regional security situation.” Some of the measure they both agreed on includes but are not limited to, holding a joint army exercise in India this year, strengthening their maritime security cooperation, setting up hotlines between the two armies at brigade, corps and command level. etc.

Both countries agreed that this measures will help maintain peace and tranquility on their border disputes, which is an important factor in the development of the growth of their bilateral relationship. They also noted that the year 2014 is their “year of friendly exchanges.”

Evident from this, there is a possibility that India might be shifting away from its nonalignment policies, especially with its Asian neighbor, China. This concludes a possible emergence of bilateral superpowers, maybe not in the whole world, but at least for the nearest future, in all of the whole Asian continent.

Narendra Modi tells off China

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Last week, Narendra Modi spoke at a rally in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh. In the article, Modi warns China against any attempts to take Arunachal Pradesh from India, accusing China of having an expansionist outlook and therefore lagging behind the rest of the world. His confrontational speech reveals two particular points. Firstly, it shows that there is increasing hostility towards China among ordinary citizens, considering the enthusiastic response of those gathered at this rally. Modi feels comfortable speaking out against Chinese aggression either because he believes it is a serious issue, or because he knows that voters want to hear politicians confront China. If it is worth mentioning during election campaigning, it must be something that concerns Indians.

Secondly, it suggests a changing attitude among Indian politicians concerning how to deal with China. Previously, the Indian government has avoided conflict with China over border issues, often completely ignoring Chinese intrusions into India territory. An article published a year ago explains that hundreds of Chinese intrusions occur every year, and the Ministry of External Affairs often classifies them as “non-events”. If Modi sticks to his word and wins the upcoming elections, the Indo-Chinese relationship could take a negative turn. This attitude stand in direct contrast to the optimism expressed by former Ambassador Rao in a speech she gave at Brown University, and it reveals the lack of consensus within the Indian government over the best way to handle China.

China Argues Against Modi’s “expansionist mindset’ Remark

Monday, February 24th, 2014

According to the Times of India, China has refuted claims by prime minister candidate Narendra Modi that China has an “expansionist mindset.”  According to the article, China claims that it had “never waged a war to occupy ‘an inch of land of other countries.'” Modi’s comments are in reference to his assertions that “Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India” according to NDTV. It could also be said that Modi’s comments perhaps bring back memories of previous struggle with China during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, in which India had a disastrous defeat by China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said when asked about Modi’s comment  that “China was dedicated to promoting friendly relations with its neighbors and to resolving disputes through talks.” The border disputes are still ongoing between China and India. Hua Chunying later went on to say “The China-India border issue is one that has been left over from history. That being said, it is quite a complex and sensitive problem. It cannot be resolved by one or two rounds of talks.” She continued about China’s peaceful stance by also saying “The fact that there have been no shots fired in so many years really shows that both sides have the desire and ability to maintain peace and stability on the border.”

There was a period of high tension in May where Chinese troops “set up a camp at least 10 km inside Indian territory” which caused outrage in India calling for their government to stand up to China, also according to NDTV.

Construction Cap in NCR Green Zones to be Eased?

Monday, February 24th, 2014

A plan has been proposed to the Indian government to allow tourism and construction inside of Nature Conservation Zones (NCZs) in India. Previous policies (from 2005) had dictated that no more than .05% of the land in fragile ecological zones was to be used for construction purposes, but the new proposal would allow construction to go beyond the .05%. Environmentalists in India are very concerned about such a proposal for obvious reasons.

While allowing regulated tourism to occur in NCZs could help boost India’s economy, it does not seem wise to disregard the environmental concerns associated with construction in ecologically fragile areas. A variety of the articles we have read in class, including the latest article by Sandy Gordon (Nation, Neighbourhood, and Region) all make arguments that it would be wise for India to put domestic issues first, including issues such as environmental concerns. By allowing construction beyond the .05% of land already allowed in NCZs, India would be further putting its environment at risk. Such issues would only harm India’s domestic situation, not benefit it, and judging by all of the articles we’ve read for class, India cannot afford to do anything but advance its domestic situation if it wants to advance itself in the international world.

India to play a larger role in South African economy

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

This article talks about how South Africa expects India to play a major role in growing its economy.

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe and this group will visit India for the annual Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI).  This group wants to focus on India as a high growth export market and FDI source.

Thabethe has said that “world trade patterns are changing and trade with India is of growing importance to South Africa”

India and South Africa established bilateral relations in 1993 and trade between the two countries has grown consistently. Trade between the two countries has doubled in the past 5 years with exports such as gold, diamonds, and minerals. The bilateral relations between these two countries have been positive for trade relations.

The author argues that the potential of India’s economy and the country’s growth trajectory will help to recover to previous levels in the next few years.

The outcomes that the ITI are predicting are to generate trade leads and to identify potential buyers, and to build a presence and image of South Africa’s diverse sectors in India.

In this report, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) India-Africa trade grown by nearly 32% annually between 2005 and 2011. The trade is projected to rad $90 billion by 2015. Indian private investment in Africa has increased with investments taken place in IT, energy, and automobiles sectors. I think this is further evidence that further trade relations between these countries would benefit them economically in the next few years. Both articles predict trade growth in a few different sectors between these two countries.


India-U.S. ties under stress over trade and investment

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

According to the Sachin Parashar’s article in The Times of India, India and U.S. ties are under stress over trade and investment, specifically patent rights. The U.S. considers India a Priority Foreign Country (PFC) because of its inability to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) mainly within the pharmaceutical industry. The Indian government is accusing the U.S. of intimidating the union health ministry over issues of compulsory licenses. With the PFC label, the U.S. is able to impose unilateral sanctions against India’s patent laws. As mentioned by Parashar and from class discussions, it does not surprise me that the Indian government dislikes this idea. So of course there is going to be some tension between the two states.

India also did not like the proposed visit by the U.S. International Trade Commission in which they plan to discuss the fallout of India’s trade and investment policies.

“The government is trying to convince the Americans that Indian Patents Act is not an administrative matter under its jurisdiction but a quasi-legal process, with a separate and independent appellate body to adjudicate such cases,” writes Parashar.

The Indian government claims U.S’s negative publicity is a contributing factor to India-U.S. tensions. The author also brings up the issue of piracy and how the U.S. should address this since there are around 476 websites that pirate Indian music.

In conclusion India is working on addressing their IPRs but the U.S. needs to back off and let them handle it on their own.

Post by: Angela Roberts

Is Food Security Successful?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Chetan Bhagat discusses the latest Indian food security bill, which will subsidize food for two thirds of India’s population. He illuminates the need for this bill by illustrating India’s high poverty and malnutrition levels. Bhagat favors the bill because he believes it will provide nourishment to the 61 million undernourished children in India, but his opinion reflects common misunderstandings about malnutrition alleviation. Though poverty is a pressing need, this bill requires an awareness about nutritional complexities as well as India’s potential to feed children, as to not miss further opportunities to assuage famine.

Ravi S. Jha argues the bill is flawed due to the lack of proper distribution methods and misplaced priorities of the government. The bill disregards important aspects of fighting malnutrition, including the nutritional value of the subsidized food and the amount necessary for individuals and adolescents. There are also concerns that the bill will allow the federal government to hoard food, while private corporations are allowed to discriminate against families with more children.

A food security bill cannot be adopted on the purely out of necessity, but rather implemented after attaining a comprehensive plan reaching every person in need. I believe lobbyists must work alongside nutritionists upon implementing the bill, as it currently does not fully satisfy nutritional requirements. Politicians must also be aware of food waste, which can exacerbate shortages and malnutrition. This past week, the Food Corporation of India claimed that 1.9 million metric tons of food was wasted in India just last year, which is shocking when compared with India’s malnutrition rates. Similarly, Jha mentions the vast amount of food sitting in storage while pundits debate the bill’s merits. As many Indians depend on subsidized food, it is crucial that Indian officials  organize the implementation of the bill more efficiently to avert further deaths due to starvation.

Post By: Sarah Anouilh