The External Affairs Minister has returned back from his visit to China. Despite this seemingly happy ending to the sordid border incident, inconvenient questions about China’s intentions and assertiveness persist.
What we are seeing in Pakistan is the ushering in of an anti-democratic Islamic order through the ballot box. What is more, the Pakistan Army has decided to also indirectly ensure that Islam is never “taken out of Pakistan”.
Rockets in the Maoist arsenal may seem, presently, to have nuisance value. However, the possibility of the Maoists acquiring greater capability to fire the rockets with accuracy cannot be ruled out. Many strategic and static locations would come under threat with disastrous consequences.
With an expected fractured poll results, Pakistan is further heading towards uncertainty. The question is not so much as to who forms the next government but more importantly on how it functions. Chances are that the May 11 elections could well end up making Pakistan further ungovernable.
Most developed economies are already feeling threatened by increasing equity investments sponsored by foreign government-owned and/ or foreign government-controlled entities in the defence and high-tech industries. A coordinated government response for supervision of foreign investments will emerge on the horizon sooner than later.
Incursions and incidents of escalation are not new to India-China relations. Importantly they have been successfully diffused by a combination of adroit diplomacy, ‘show of force’ and political statesmanship.
Struggling to deal with a rigid China on the intractable border issue, India would do well to digest the core assertions of the white paper, including the growing reach of the PLA, its professionalisation, keenness to protect overseas interests, modernisation of the nuclear arsenal, and growing role in foreign policy making.
Like many other developing counties, Brazil also believes in self-reliance in arms manufacturing and has articulated comprehensive national defence policy with a strong support of its armed forces. There could possibly be some lessons for India.
North Korea’s uranium enrichment programme has made the US jittery and is not totally confident of reopening the six-party talks. Washington needs assurances regarding North Korea’s future nuclear programmes and the key to finding a solution to the present stalemate lies with Beijing.