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  • Akash asked: What is the impact of removal of Gen. McChrystal on Af-Pak policy? How does it affect India?

    Vishal Chandra replies: The exit of Gen. McChrystal, commander of 100,000 plus US/NATO forces in Afghanistan, is not likely to have any notable impact in the near-term, either on the ground situation in southern and eastern Afghanistan or on the US’ Af-Pak policy, certainly not until the year-end when the US will be reviewing its war strategy. The violence is not likely to abate in the near future. While Western forces have been winning the battles, the Taliban have not been losing the war, adding to the stalemate in Afghanistan.

    One of the biggest challenges before Gen. David Patreaus, who succeeds Gen. McChrystal, will be to break the monotony of the Afghan war. It is also to be seen whether Gen. Patreaus would be able to win the support of Kabul the way Gen. McChrystal did. Today, the US Administration is far more constrained by the differing perceptions among its allies, be it NATO, Islamabad, or Kabul, over the Afghan war; and also by the growing differences within the American establishment.

    As for India, it remains committed to the idea of a strong and an independent Afghan state. Gen. McChrystal’s exit is not going to affect India’s position in the near-term. However, in the last few years, India’s reconstruction projects have been increasingly hampered due to deteriorating security in parts of Afghanistan, which to a great extent is dependent on the way America and NATO conduct war against the Taliban and allies. In times to come, the response of Kabul and Washington to Islamabad’s growing thrust for a greater role in ‘stabilising’ Afghanistan will be critical to India’s position and role in Afghanistan.

    Deflecting the Assassin’s Mace: The Pentagon’s New AirSea Battle Concept and its Strategic Relevance to India

    Indian strategists may well find that many of the tactical quandaries faced today by the US carrier fleets cruising through the Asia Pacific are destined to become those of the Indian Navy in the not-too-distant future. Devising an AirSea Battle concept would enable it to parry blows and reassert sea control.

    July 07, 2010

    AFSPA: A Soldier’s Perspective

    An absence of legal statutes in the insurgency affected areas would adversely affect the utility and efficacy of the security capacity of the state.

    July 06, 2010

    India’s strategic advantage over China in Africa

    Focusing on specific sectors, beyond the options much in vogue with offensive emulationists or passive singularists, will help India to clarify its priorities, optimize its policy-making process and infuse its Africa policy with greater strategic depth.

    June 30, 2010

    Faisal asked: How do I pursue a degree in defence analysis in India?

    P. K. Gautam replies: Several colleges and universities offer courses in Defence/Strategic Studies in India. Some of these are: University of Pune, University of Chennai, Panjabi University Patiala, Punjab University Chandigarh, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, Maharishi Dayanand University Rohtak, University of Jammu, Allahabad University, H.N. Bahuguna Garhwal University, Chaudhary Charan Singh University Meerut, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University Agra

    India, Buddhism and Geopolitics in Central Asia: Regaining Centrality

    Proposal to Establish The Takshila University for the Study of Indo-Central Asia Culture to Promote World Peace in the 21st Century

    June 25, 2010

    Sanket Telang asked: About unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang and Implications for India

    Jagannath Panda replies: It is unwise to use the term “unrest” with regard to Tibet and the situation in Xinjiang. Both are different types of conflicts and could be termed probably as ethnic crisis-driven areas of China. The Tibet issue has special importance for Indian security as almost 120,000 Tibetan exiles live in India; and also because the Tibetan factor is inextricably linked with the Sino-Indian border dispute. At the same time, the Xinjiang issue also came to the fore when violence broke out between Uyghurs and Hans and the consequent crackdown on Uyghurs by the Chinese government. India of course is naturally more concerned about the situation in Tibet because of the large Tibetan exile community living in India and how their activities might evolve in the post-Dalai Lama period. As for Xinjiang, Indian worries centre on the connections between Uyghur militants and transnational jihadist groups. Above all, the most important implication for India is in terms of the geographical proximity of both Xinjiang and Tibet. Xinjiang borders Ladakh region of India. The eastern part of Ladakh became a disputed area between China and India in the wake of the Chinese occupation of Aksai Chin in 1962.

    Sanket Telang asked: Why Doesn't India Develop Dual use Port Facilities with countries like Vietnam and Cambodia like China is doing in IOR?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: The Indian Navy (IN) has both security and economic interests in seeking out port facilities in countries like Vietnam and Cambodia. IN regularly holds naval exercises (Milan) with other navies (including from Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand). IN ships frequent Vietnamese ports like Ho Chi Minh City and Haiphong; recently, between May 30 and June 2, 2010, INS Ranjit and INS Kulish docked in these ports. India has an arrangement with Vietnam for this purpose. Usually, advance information is sought for berthing facility and logistic supplies. It forms part of IN’s diplomatic exercise in peace time. (Interactions such as these at their basic level may be viewed as a CBM and at their most intense as an alliance partnership). It is assumed that the commitments that nations make for war time eventuality would be of a different order.

    R P Singh asked: Can we define "minimum" in India's nuclear doctrine of minimum nuclear deterrence?

    K. Subrahmanyam replies: The minimum deterrent should spread over three media, air, land and sea (under the sea). It should be sufficient to absorb a first strike by the adversary and then retaliate. It should be sufficient to deter two adversaries who have a nuclear proliferation relationship of over 34 years. This cannot be less than hundred but the optimum figure is a matter of strategic judgement.

    Bhopal is also about security

    Spilling of gas from a chemical factory can happen either because of accidental release or sabotage. In this era of terrorism such threats need to be reviewed on a much broader canvas.

    June 21, 2010