India, Japan Maritime Cooperation

The Indian Navy announced plans to dispatch a flotilla of four warships to the Asia Pacific region in March-April this year. These vessels will make goodwill visits to ports in the region and also engage in joint exercises with a number of regional navies: Singaporean Navy for the exercise Simbex in South China Sea; Malabar with the US Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) off the Okinawa coast; and Indra with Russian Navy off Vladivostok.

VIJAY SAKHUJA

India: Defence, Beyond Action-Reaction

Yet again, India’s defence budget has escaped larger national attention this year. The defence component of the national budget accounts for 14% of central government expenditure but gets less than 5% of media space, the bulk of which goes towards data released by the government with sporadic analyses by experts. Virtually no discussion on the issue takes place in Parliament either. A call for increased resources for national defence usually only goes out when defence spending by Pakistan and China makes headlines.

Deba Ranjan Mohanty

The Crimson Agenda: Maoist Protest and Terror

The Maoist insurgency in India (also known as Naxalite), which was started at Naxalbari in the Darjiling district of West Bengal in 1967, has now spread to 159 districts in fourteen states. They have virtually spread over 20 per cent of the total districts in India. Till the end of year 2004, Naxalite violence had claimed 518 lives in 1,140 incidents against 348 deaths in 1,138 incidents in the corresponding period last year. The Naxalite problem is in certain respects more serious than the Kashmir problem.

Shrouded in Mystery: Indo-China Border Issues

After the 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress National Meeting 2007, China started focusing on South Asia, specifically India. Both have been favorably disposed towards multilateralism, with India joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an observer, while China joining SAARC summit in April 2008, also as an observer. Besides, people to people diplomacy expanded with mutual tourist visits.

Naorem Bhagat Singh

Practical Consideration: An Immediate Exigency in the Indo-Nepal Relation

Cross border threats, which involve influx of counterfeit currencies, illegal arms, smuggling of narcotics, illegal wildlife trade and its derivatives and cross border terrorism, are gaining momentum along the 726 kilometer long porous India-Nepal border. It is a grave concern for India considering the present political instability in Nepal.

Amit Kumar Gupta

France-India Ties: From Sporadic Cooperation to an Enduring Partnership (Part-II)

The area, in which Franco-Indian ties have made the most progress however, remains that of defence cooperation, moving from the short term tactical relations of the Cold War, to the more long term and genuinely strategic. France has now become one of India’s most trusted Western defence partners, and Franco-Indian defence cooperation has been described by French officials as ‘discreet but wide-ranging and efficient’, both countries regularly trading information on terrorism, security in Asia and the Middle-East, and maritime piracy, amongst a host of other issues.

Iskander Rehman

France-India Ties: From Sporadic Cooperation to an Enduring Partnership (Part-I)

On the 14th of July, a contingent comprised of more than 400 Indian troops, drawn from the Army, Navy and Air Force marched down from the Arc de Triomphe monument during the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris. The event took place in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. It, undoubtedly, heralds a new chapter in Franco-Indian ties and the participation of Indian troops in the parade is indicative of a more profound trend which has been steadily growing over the past decade or so.

Iskander Rehman