As the flagship project under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become a main target of fierce slander by anti-China forces in the US, India and some other countries. Responding to the relentless attacks, a Pakistani official recently said that the US was “conniving in cahoots with India against the economic lifeline of Pakistan.”
In a very significant development which will give an impetus to India-Sri Lanka relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inaugurating the direct flight from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar on 20th October. A number of high dignitaries and Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka will grace the occasion. Kushinagar is a major pilgrimage site that attracts a high number of Buddhist pilgrims including from Sri Lanka every year. It is believed that Gautam Buddha had attained Mahaparinirbana in Kushinagar after his death.
Is China on throes of Cultural Revolution 2.0? What will be political effects of an economic slowdown in China, and near-term pain propelled by strong headwinds? Does this shifting dynamic and internal discourse in China matter to India? With the Taliban regime in the saddle in Afghanistan, is Pakistan on proverbial pig’s back to refocus on J&K? Are there significant, palpable changes in the national security environment in India, or are these over-hyped? Many, many such questions create serious anxieties.
Since the upgrade of bilateral relations to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ in 2016, India–Vietnam strategic coordination has continued to deepen — as reflected through increased defence and maritime security cooperation. But New Delhi and Hanoi’s economic ties are lagging behind, limiting their ability to address shared security and strategic concerns raised by China’s economic rise in India’s backyard and maritime assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The October 13 meeting in Washington DC between Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Israel’s alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was a reminder of the extent of transformation in West Asia since the announcement of the Abraham Accords on 14 August 2020. A press statement issued by the State Department said that Blinken ‘welcomed the warming relations between Israel and the UAE, including the opening of respective embassies, appointment of ambassadors, new direct flights, dozens of cultural exchanges, and burgeoning economic and business ties that have benefited the people of both countries and the region.’
Thant Myint-U, the noted historian of modern Burma and grandson of former United Nations Secretary General U Thant, has documented the myriad ways in which China and India compete for resources and influence in what he’s termed “the new crossroads of Asia.” The features that make Myanmar attractive to both these two Asian giants are two: large estimated reserves of energy, both onshore and off; and the country’s long Andaman Sea peninsula. From China’s position, access overland to Myanmar’s coast would give them a new opening to the Indian Ocean, one that bypasses the Near Seas and the Malacca Strait — and the U.S. fleet. But should China secure such a route, it would put India’s navy on the front line of dealing with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The Nicobar Islands are India’s farthest outpost and the place that the Indian navy first encounters their Chinese counterparts as they sail out through the Malacca Straits. But both nations face a challenge in developing Myanmar’s geography for strategic purposes — because both Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands face potential devastation from the changing climate. Of all the places in the world most likely to be profoundly harmed from rising sea levels and increased frequency of storms, the Bay of Bengal and the Nicobar Islands are the most likely to face sustained, wrenching change.
The last few days have been quite momentous in the history of the Indian space policy landscape. The appointment of Pawan Kumar Goenka, the former Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra as the Chairperson of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) indicates that the announcement of the new space-related policies favouring space entrepreneurship aren’t just promises on paper but represent a tangible shift in the vision of the government for the space programme. The further announcements to de-regulate the telecommunication sector has reinvigorated the identity of India as a market for satellite and telecommunication applications. However, these developments notwithstanding, a few concerns remain viz., the lack of single window clearances due to the overlapping/concurrent jurisdiction of the Department of Telecommunication and Department of Space for satellite communication applications; the conspicuous failure of the government’s new policy outlook being translated into a legislation; the draft spacecom policies and remote sensing policies stopping short of providing the clarity and predictability that is considered conducive for investments; and the precise functions, responsibilities, and powers of IN-SPACe, the new industry regulator, not being defined within the framework of a law.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Oct. 11 his government will widen cooperation with industry, young innovators and startups to bring about “exponential innovation” in the country’s space sector. To that end, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will share its expertise and R&D facilities with the private sector.
Modi unveiled this plan in a speech marking the launch of the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry association of space and satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian space industry. ISpA will undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian space domain, including the government and its agencies, according to local reports published in English.
While India’s unreasonable and unrealistic demands during the latest round of corps commander-level talks with China had created new challenges for bilateral ties, India is still showing a willingness to improve economic and trade ties with China. The deepening of economic cooperation between the two major Asian economies can indeed become a stabilizer for bilateral relations. What India now needs to show is its sincerity in repairing trade relations with China.