In a predictable policy statement, the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation, Andrew Sammel, remarked at the just concluded NPT Review Conference that India should eventually sign the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. He asserted: “The situation in South Asia (also) poses unique challenges. Let me reiterate that the United States remains committed to NPT universality.” But at the same time he also highlighted the fact that neither India nor Pakistan may join the Treaty for the foreseeable future.
The results of the second round of elections in Iran's ninth Presidential elections, announced June 24, are not unexpected given that the first round held on June 17 revealed that the victorious President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a much greater appeal for the average Iranian voter than his opponent, the former Iranian President and pragmatic cleric Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
As the Karakoram Highway reopened on May 2, 2005, for traffic between China and Pakistan, the area surrounding it continues to be tense. The Northern Areas (NA) of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir continues to be in turmoil since the assassination of Shia leader Aga Ziauddin by gunmen in Gilgit in January this year. In a case that was clearly indicative of rising sectarian intolerance, fifteen people were killed by the rampaging mobs before some modicum of governance was restored. A large number of government buildings were set on fire and a number of officials and their families were attacked.
Japan’s relations with India are at crossroads, even as we recently completed 53 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties. The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently as part of his four-nation tour which took him to South Asia and Europe proved to be an apt opportunity for both countries to carve strategies to solidify ties for the future. The significance of Koizumi’s visit cannot be understated considering the fact that this is the first visit by a Japanese head of state after a hiatus of nearly half a decade.
The agenda of the NPT Rev Con, currently underway in New York, has now been finalized. Moreover, the Chairman of the Rev Con, Ambassador Sergio Duarte of Brazil has also been able to finalize upon the three Main Committees (MC) and the three Subsidiary Bodies (SB). These three subsidiary bodies will look into three important issues: practical steps towards disarmament (SB1), regional issues including the issue of Middle East (SB2) and the issue of withdrawal from the NPT (SB3).
Ms Shirin Tahir-Kheli, the special adviser to the US government on UN reforms, will be in Delhi this week, beginning Monday, and clearly of the 101 proposals in six different areas made by the High Level Panel, the one that will attract the most attention will be the question of the Security Council expansion – and India's status in the matter along with that of Japan, Germany and Brazil -- the so-called G 4.
Every war is waged to fashion a better and more acceptable peace. Peace, in the sense of a legitimate framework within which States can pursue their interests without recourse to arms. The fashioning of a better and legitimate peace is especially important in the wake of wars among Great Powers, which have an immense impact on the international system as a whole. In fact, some wars among Great Powers – like the Thirty Years’ War, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars – are expressly waged to determine a new framework for the conduct of international relations.
The immediate challenge ahead for the state parties to the NPT in the ongoing Review Conference, May 2-27, 2005 in New York, is how to salvage the tarnished image of the treaty. The efficacy of the treaty is under scrutiny primarily on three issues— disarmament, nonproliferation, and universality of compliance. The unraveling facts of over the last two years, related to various kinds of breaches of the NPT commitments by Libya, Iran and North Korea, add to further suspicion over the credibility of the treaty.
Several events in Fiji have once again opened the festering wounds of racism and revived the apprehensions of Indo-Fijians about their future in this island State. The first was when the former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka stated that Indo-Fijians should emulate Sonia Gandhi and not stake a claim for the office of the Prime Minister, even if they get a majority in the Parliament after the next elections. Adding, that even though Sonia wore Indian clothes and spoke the language, she still felt that India should be led by an indigenous person.
Exactly fifty years back in 1955 leaders from 29 countries spanning Asia and Africa met in the town of Bandung on West Java in Indonesia from April 18 to 25 to deliberate on a new strategy they should adopt vis-à-vis the rest of the world to make their voice heard and to make their presence felt at a time when the world was in grips of the most intensive ideological warfare between those who ardently advocated communism and those opposed it as fervently led respectively by the former Soviet Union and the United States.