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India and the East Asia Summit

The inaugural East Asian Summit (EAS), representing nearly 50 per cent of the world's population with 20 per cent of global trade, and comprising 16 nations that are on a dynamic path of economic development, is obviously a mega event. For India, it is yet another opening to increasingly align itself with this region and play a commensurate political and security role. There is no question that the centre of gravity is decisively moving to East Asia and developments in this region will offer great economic opportunities and pose serious challenges as well.

December 20, 2005

Preparing for Pandemics of Infectious Diseases Like Bird Flu

Threats to human, national and international security as a result of biological warfare and pandemics are inadequately discussed in the popular media. Non-state actors are expected to use innovative methods to execute acts of terrorism. It is often contended that a terrorist organisation may well get the best results using conventional high explosives. This trend is clearly discernible in the methods used by terrorists worldwide. Manufacturing terror-grade dirty radiological or biological bombs that can be delivered effectively is far more difficult than using conventional explosives.

December 20, 2005

India and the Crisis in Nepal: The Madhesi Option

Nepal has been in turmoil ever since the king sacked the duly elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and took over the direct control of government on February 1, 2005. Since then Nepal has been engulfed by relentless violence as conflict between Royal Nepalese Army, which has always been the king’s army as opposed to a national army, and the Maoist rebels has intensified and resulted in a large number of deaths and destruction. Frequent violations of human rights by the two sides have been reported.

November 19, 2005

Resumption of the National Convention in Myanmar

On December 5, 2005, the National Convention reconvened to resume the process of drafting a new Constitution. Without doubt the process of framing a new Constitution for Myanmar has been a long drawn out one. The National Convention, with over 1,000 delegates from various national races and groups, and comparable to a constituent assembly, first began its task in 1993. It last held its meetings between February 17 and March 31, 2005.

December 16, 2005

Sharon’s Disengagement

The resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from the ruling Likud party in Israel has set off reverberations not only within Israel but at the regional level as well. Many Israelis and Palestinians, both politicians and scholars, believe that Sharon’s decision to leave the Likud has brought about a political earthquake that could realign not just the political configuration within Israel but also have a significant effect on the peace process.

December 14, 2005

India’s Balancing Role in the Central Asian Power Game

In 2001, Uzbekistan opted to become the linchpin of US policy goals in Central Asia. It was then argued that Washington would guarantee the nurturing of geo-political pluralism in the region. This was viewed against the backdrop of the historical ascendancy of China and the imperial decline of Russia. Much has happened since then. Today the US is facing a deadline to quit its airbase in Karshi-Khanabad (K-2), set up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, because of Tashkent’s suspicion that Washington had plotted the revolt in Andijan on May 13, which led to a bloody massacre.

December 14, 2005

34th Anniversary of Bangladesh Liberation - Cause for Concern

The 34th anniversary of the liberation of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh on December 16 is an occasion for concern and deep introspection about the nature of the internal turbulence in that country and the related implications for India.

It may be recalled that prior to December 16, 1971, what is now known as Bangladesh was East Pakistan and for almost 24 years from August 1947, the military leadership of Pakistan treated the eastern part of the country as a poor relative.

December 14, 2005

Myanmar: America’s Next Rogue State

There are embryonic signs that Washington is all set to turn the heat on Myanmar next. The UN Security Council finally agreed unanimously on December 2 to a US request for a “one-off briefing” by the Secretary-General on “the deteriorating situation” in Myanmar. The US request followed the Tatmadow’s extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest and a UN Committee resolution condemning Myanmar’s human rights abuse.

December 14, 2005

Dhaka SAARC Summit: Political Compulsions Blunt Economic Progress

The 13th SAARC summit concluded in Dhaka on November 13 with a declaration, which notwithstanding its rhetorical flourish and ambitious objectives, reflected the structural constraints that have hobbled the organization for two decades and are likely to do so for the near future.

December 08, 2005

India-China Energy Cooperation: Attaining New Heights

Last week witnessed a major development on the India-China energy front with the joint bidding plan for Petro-Canada's Syrian assets by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). In September this year Petro-Canada expressed interest to sell off its 38 per cent stake in the Al Furat field, which produces about 70,000 barrels of oil daily accounting for 50 per cent of Syria's total output. This is the first time that Indian and Chinese firms have joined together to secure stakes in an overseas energy facility.

November 28, 2005

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