Due to unprecedented rise and global reach of China today, India and Russia are faced with some pertinent challenges. Some of the key issues are: How best to deal with China? Will the Cold War policy of containment work in case of China as mainstream communist ideology has failed for the most part in the post-globalised and post-Cold War phase? Or, simply a bland policy of engagement with China will work as China has adopted a more muscular approach in its conduct of foreign policy?
Lately, the United States and some European nations have lifted oil and other financial sanctions on Iran and have also released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that Iran had complied on its promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear programme. To signal that the relations are now moving towards friendship, just few hour before the implementation of the nuclear accord five Americans were released from Iran’s prison.
After the tragic downing of flight MH17, the US along with some major European countries has called for “hard-hitting sanctions” on Russia. The UK is pushing for the tough “Tier 3” sanctions against Russia that could cover areas such as financial services, trade and energy exports. However, there are growing concerns that the strongest-possible sanctions will be blocked by EU member states because of French arms sales as well as German dependence on fossil fuels from Russia.
In his famous 1990 essay in Foreign Affairs, Charles Krauthammer had declared that the unipolar moment had arrived. He had listed a few reasons to support his argument; there was no challenging power, nor was there likely any in the few decades, there was no power dispersion at the international level at that moment, the former Soviet Union’s capacity was in a decline. Thus, Krauthammer emphasised, at that time there was no first-rate power in the world that could match the capacity of the US.
Syrian crisis has achieved the unachievable. It has compelled a communist country to talk peace and democratic/capitalist countries to talk war. Fortunately, it appears that the invasion of Syria by the US forces has been stopped, at least, temporarily. An agreement on chemical weapons stockpiled in Syria has been reached following the talks held in Geneva between the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey V. Lavrov, and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
There is good news from the Arctic for the shipping industry. According to data released by the Northern Sea Route Administration, the nodal agency of the Russian Federal Government which manages the Northern Sea Route (NSR), 330 applications from ships have been received since April 2013 informing the agency of their plans to transit through the NSR this summer. Of these, 213 applications were approved and 51 rejected. The reasons for rejection of applications and the fate of the balance 66 applications have not been made public.
The acceptance of feasibility of BRICS Development Bank at recently concluded Fifth BRICS Summit at Durban has sent a shivering effect on a certain section who criticise the very idea.
Two Russian built warships with the same name i.e. Admiral Gorshkov have been making news in the last few weeks. The first vessel is an aircraft carrier which was sold to India in 2004 and is rechristened as INS Viramaditya. It has been plagued in controversy due to costs and time over runs. The pre-delivery trials of the ship were unsuccessful and according to reports, the vessel will have to wait till the White Sea ice melts during the summer of 2013 to complete the trials.
The latest Sukhoi T-50 prototype – PAK-FA – a twin-engine fifth-generation stealth jet fighter aborted a takeoff at the recently held MAKS Air Show outside Moscow on 21 August 2011 after four days of successful demo flights. While two prototypes of PAK-FA have cumulatively made 48 flights since 29 January 2010, it will be important to know the reasons of this mishap.