Prerna Gandhi writes: Despite the current international tensions and the narrative of multipolarity, there is still a vanity that power dispersion in the international order will happen between nation states. Even though threats from non-state actors have received a fair degree of attention, the fact that states have become comfortable with private entities capable of impinging on their monopoly on violence has been conveniently ignored. Whether it is explained as a supply-demand problem of budgets to operational requirements or the herald of a new medievalism, the rise of Private Military Contractors (PMCs) is changing warfare, and therefore the conduct of international relations. Though, profit motive stirs up comparisons with mercenaries, PMCs are distinguishable by their corporate structure which requires registration in some origin state and working on legally recognizable contracts. Thus, PMCs are constrained in their role as international businesses to engage in only legitimate business actions, at least if they wish to remain legally recognized corporations. There have been reports that one of Japan’s yakuza gangs was planning to adopt the PMC business model, providing bodyguards and security personnel for businesses in Southeast Asia in a bid to go legit
writes: July 2021 was envisaged as a turning point in current Ethiopian history. The results of the partial elections held in June provided a resounding victory for the Prosperity Party led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This was preceded by a withdrawal of Ethiopian Defence Forces (ENDF) from Mekelle, the capital of Tigray and several parts of the Northern state. Eritrean forces which had helped ENDF subdue and chase away Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces moved towards their own borders. Armed militia from the adjoining state of Amhara did not leave the lands they occupied in Tigray. A surprise unilateral ceasefire and withdrawal of ENDF from Tigray was announced on 28 June. The Foreign Minister told diplomats that this was to facilitate the farming season. Analysts saw this as a defeat of the ENDFwhich had retreated.
Amb Skand Ranjan Tayal writes for VIF: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan hosted an important conference ‘Regional Connectivity Between Central Asia and South Asia – Challenges and Opportunities’ in Tashkent on 15-16 July 2021. The conference was proposed by the Uzbek President in his statement at the UNGA last September, but the weeks before the conference saw a rapid deterioration in the Afghan situation and the subtext of the informal discussions and the formal statements was the dangerous situation in Afghanistan.
go to VIF website: Uzbek President’s Call for Connectivity, Cooperation, Dialogue and Trust in Central Asia-South Asia Region: Pakistan’s Obduracy is the Obstacle | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)
Arvind Gupta writes for VIF: At the initiative of Uzbek President Shavket Miriziev, a high-level conference was held in Tashkent on 15-16 July 2021 to discuss connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia. The conference was attended by President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and several Foreign Ministers of regional countries, including the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
Lt Gen (Dr) Rakesh Sharma (Retd.) writes for VIF: With a meeting of the EAM Jaishankar with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Eastern Ladakh has come in focus again. Most information and analysis of the events in Eastern Ladakh of 2020 and the first half of 2021 have been analysed in fine detail, and hence requires no repetition. There are three issues that of late have been at the fore and need examination – infrastructural push by China in Tibet, the state of disengagement and infringements, if any, in Eastern Ladakh and the prospects of the next military talks following the meeting of the two Foreign Ministers.
Major General (Retd.) Ajay Kumar Chaturvedi, AVSM, VSM writes for VIF: Water is essential for the life in more than one ways. Besides the drinking purpose its centrality for the agriculture, in an agrarian society, is highly established. In this connection, it is important to note that water, particularly potable water, is finite. Also, besides drinking and agriculture purposes, substantial quantity of water is needed for the industry
Saumya Joshi writes for ORF: Presently, drones have become an integral part of military’s arsenal for superpowers, while for others it is just a work in progress. From Yemeni soil against the Saudi oil installations to eliminating a high-ranking serving military officer General Qasem Soleimani. A few months ago, in Ladakh, during the current stand-off, the Chinese used drones for aerial surveillance. Whereas in the case of Americans, armed drones are used in Afghanistan and Iraq to eliminate terrorists. In fact, Turkey-supported Azerbaijani forces have also used drone technology against the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. They are now an integral part of a country’s military arsenal. India has also obtained armed drones from the USA to strengthen maritime security.
Lt Gen (Dr) V K Saxena (Retd) writes for VIF: The media was in frenzy post the drone attack on Jammu Air Force Station on the night of 26/27 Jun 2021. The volcano of breaking news and minute-to-minute reporting was trying to show us the face of danger that awaits us from the little monsters called drones.
VIF writes: As the largest bay in the world, the bay of Bengal holds pivotal importance for the countries surrounding it. During the 4th submit of BIMSTEC, countries discussed the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change, and how the Himalayan ecosystem was related to the ocean ecosystem. Dr Sreeradha Datta has taken the initiative from the VIF, to edit a book on “BIMSTEC: The journey and the way forward” with the contributions of 23 scholars and experts. Join Ruwanthi Jayasekara and Cchavi Vasisht to discuss the importance of the blue economy and the importance of BIMSTEC region.
listen to the podcast: BIMSTEC: The Need for Ocean Governance | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)