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The Impact of North Korea's Nuclear Test

The underground nuclear test conducted by North Korea yesterday has established it as the ninth member of the nuclear club. There had been speculation, particularly since the failed test of a long-range missile, that North Korea would move to a nuclear test. It had warned about the impending test, and quite simply had nothing to lose. From a North Korean point of view, it was clear that the failed missile test demonstrated weakness and another missile test in the near term was unlikely to reduce international pressure on the regime.

October 10, 2006

The EU-India Helsinki Summit

The Seventh EU-India Summit will be held on October 13th in Helsinki. The annual summits take place alternately in New Delhi and in the capital of the incumbent European Union presidency - at present held by Finland - under the existing framework of EU-India relationship, which was given the shape of a 'strategic partnership' at the EU-India Summit of 2004 in The Hague. The Joint Action Plan (JAP) adopted at the New Delhi Summit in 2005 was a comprehensive programme of EU-India engagement in the coming years.

October 10, 2006

Impressions of an IDSA Seminar on the North East

On September 25 and 26, 2006, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, conducted a seminar on Peace and Development in the North East in Shillong, Meghalaya. This was done in collaboration with the North Eastern Council (NEC) and the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. The two-day seminar provided a forum for scholars, media personalities, military personnel, bureaucrats and politicians from the region to express their views and thinking on the subject at hand.

October 10, 2006

Lights out for the nuclear deal?

The speed and relative ease with which the Indo-US nuclear deal raced through the respective committees of Congress and the margin by which it was assented to by the House of Representatives on 27 July, scarcely four months after it was introduced in Congress, created the expectation that the same scenario would play out in the Senate. These hopes have been belied by the failure of the Senate to pass the Bill before it recessed for the mid-term elections.

October 05, 2006

The Eastern Factor in the Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflict

A flare-up in the fighting in the East, particularly in Trincomalee District, has put a question mark on the prospects of peace in the island nation. The Eastern province of Sri Lanka has been a theatre of war for more than 20 years, and, since the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement it has particularly been the stage for continued local level conflict due to its multiethnic nature. All three communities, Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, continue to face severe threats to their human security such as loss of livelihood and internal displacement.

October 05, 2006

Countering Terrorism as a Joint Venture?

The outcome of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf at Havana has evoked mixed reactions from various quarters within both India and Pakistan. It has also raised a number of questions to which there are no easy answers. The meeting, which took place on September 16 on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, was obviously successful as it resulted in the resumption of the dialogue process, which had stalled in the aftermath of the Mumbai train blasts in July 2006.

September 27, 2006

An Embarrassment of Riches!: China's 'Trillion Dollar' Foreign Exchange Reserves

If current trends are any indication, the global financial system will witness a unique 'first' in mid-October when China's foreign exchange reserves are expected to cross US$ 1 trillion.

September 26, 2006

The Havana Round: Much Ado about Nothing

The meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Musharraf on the sidelines of the Havana non-aligned summit is being projected as an important breakthrough on the issue of terrorism as well as with regard to the broad contours of Indo-Pak relations. The meeting was significant as it was held in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts, which had led to some tough talk by India. This Indian outburst underlined the frustration and limits of its tolerance to Pakistan's continued support to terrorism.

September 25, 2006

India-South Korea: The State of Affairs

The India-South Korea bilateral relationship is a remarkable example of how trade is the primary driver in global relationships. Ideology, which marked international relations in the previous decades, has given way to trade - which now is the international marker for relations. An important watershed in the relationship will be the beginning of construction for the POSCO integrated steel plant, which is slated to begin in April 2007 and would constitute the single largest foreign investment in India at US$ 12 b.

September 22, 2006

Thailand's Political Crisis

Thailand is once again at the crossroads of political uncertainty and the entry of the military in the affairs of the state has created a sense of instability. On September 19, 2006, the Thai armed forces dismissed the Thai Rat Thai Party government and revoked the country's 1997 constitution even though acting Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra has announced a state of emergency in Thailand. General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, the army chief, has assumed prime ministerial powers till alternate political arrangements are made.

September 21, 2006

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