IDSA COMMENT

Civil Aviation: A Forgotten Facet of Air Power

Indian aviation has been witnessing spectacular growth in the past five years. Private low-cost airlines have proliferated and the average middle class Indian today aspires to fly rather than use rail or road transport to travel to major destinations. This has also resulted in the growth of inland tourism, and with the economy registering an impressive 8 per cent growth, this trend is likely to continue. Indian skies are now buzzing with activity.

May 18, 2007

Galileo in Crisis

In October 2006, when India decided to pull out of the ambitious Galileo project, a global navigation system jointly developed by the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA), some Indian observers had expressed surprise that a long-drawn negotiation process within the ambit of the EU-India Strategic Partnership came to naught. Envisaged to be the most accurate and sophisticated navigation system thus far, the Galileo project has attracted the attention of developed and developing nations mainly because of its civilian focus and near perfect resolution.

May 16, 2007

China's Anti-Terror Raid in Xinjiang

On April 19, 2007, the provincial Chinese court in Xinjiang sentenced Huseyin Celil, a Uyghur, to life imprisonment for taking part in "terrorist activities" and "plotting to split the country". The verdict of the People's Court of Urumchi states that Huseyin Celil will be deprived of his "political rights for life". This verdict has once again incensed human rights activists, who have begun a debate on Chinese intentions towards Uyghurs and Beijing's currently imprecise reportage on terrorism in Xinjiang.

May 11, 2007

The LeT Menace in Delhi

The arrest of three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists on April 26, 2007 from Dilli Haat in New Delhi has once again exposed the challenge of terrorism confronting the capital. Attempts to target the National capital Region (NCR) is indicative of a broader trend of terrorists targeting mega cities in the country. Among the various terrorist outfits that seem to have a presence in New Delhi, the LeT appears to be the most dangerous and most persistent.

May 11, 2007

FMCT Negotiations: The Next Gathering Nuclear Storm?

The Presidential Draft Decision at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) decided on March 23, 2007 to appoint a co-ordinator each to preside over the discussions on three core issues on the agenda - nuclear disarmament, prevention of arms race in outer space (PAROS) and negative nuclear security guarantee. At the same time, the Presidential Draft Decision also named Ambassador Carlo Trezza of Italy as the co-ordinator to preside over negotiations on the fourth core issue - a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

May 07, 2007

India should beware of US motives on nuclear deal

From all accounts it appears that the much talked about India-US nuclear deal is slowly but surely unravelling. This should not come as a surprise. Right from the beginning when the US secretary of State declared her country's intention to help India become a major power, we should have become alert since it is not very often that one major or superpower will help another to become a possible contender in the future. There were many other indications as well in terms of opposition to the deal. The US non-proliferation lobby vehemently opposed it.

May 03, 2007

Wen Jiabao's Ice-Melting Visit to Japan

Wen Jiabao's three-day visit to Japan starting on April 11, 2007 was the first visit by a Chinese Premier in seven years. It has been hailed as an 'ice-melting' visit, distinguishing it from the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 'ice-breaking' visit to China in October 2006. Though the visit did not bring about any fundamental change in Sino-Japanese relations, it did strike a new chord by enabling the relationship to be viewed from a strategic and long-term perspective. For the first time, a visit did not focus squarely on the history issue.

April 25, 2007

Sino-Japanese Relations and the 'Wen Jiabao effect'

It is no exaggeration to state that Sino-Japanese relations are currently going through a phase of renewal and revival. Reflecting current sentiments that seek to build an optimistic future, Wen Jiabao became the first Chinese leader to visit Japan since 2000. Wen's visit follows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise visit to China in October 2006, which was unfortunately overshadowed by the North Korean nuclear test.

April 20, 2007

Seminar on Outsourcing Possibilities in Defence: Some Impressions

The Ministry of Defence (Finance) organised a day-long seminar on March 24, 2007 on Outsourcing Possibilities in Defence. The seminar brought together a variety of perspectives – of the Services, the Ministry of Defence, industry, academia and think tanks. The March 24 event was a follow-up to the first-of-its-kind International Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics held in November 2006. Its importance lies in the fact that not long ago ‘defence’ was considered a ‘strategic’ affair and thereby excluded from public scrutiny and economic analysis.

April 11, 2007

LTTE Air Strike Redefines Conflict

The LTTE's air attack on the Sri Lankan Air Force base at Katunayake, adjoining the Katunayake International Airport (KIA), marks a new dimension in the three-decade-old conflict. The bombing raid by the Tamileelam Air Force (TAF), reportedly originating from Vanni, has not only sharpened the focus on the island's security but also on that of India. Besides, the bombing, which left three people killed and about 17 injured, has thrown open the question of how weak the Tigers really are even after the debacle they have recently suffered in the Eastern Province.

March 30, 2007

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