The renowned war veteran of Vietnam, General Vo Nguyen Giap has recently called for a novel kind of war on poverty. Can the warmongers accept this realistic call? While the strong argument for the war is maintenance of peace thereby sustaining livelihoods, the truth is however, somewhat different. The pledges for poverty reduction by half by the countries have gone awry as financial assistance is diverted to war. The amount of aid given by developed countries to poorer nations has fallen by half since the 1960s, risking the lives of millions of children.
With sensors and submarine detection methods getting more sophisticated and advanced, the primary advantage of a submarine, its ability to operate undetected and unobserved, has been getting vitiated because of the need to surface frequently for recharging batteries. Even coming up to snorkel depth, while evading human visual capabilities, is now well within the cognisant ability of advanced ‘eyes in the sky’.
Two piracy attacks in less than a fortnight on Japanese flagged vessels transiting through the Malacca Strait have shaken up the government in Tokyo as also the national shipping agencies. On March 14, armed pirates in three fishing boats boarded a Japanese-flag ocean tug MV Idaten towing a large construction barge Kurooshia, for Myanmar in the Straits of Malacca. They kidnapped the Japanese Master and two engineers. Later, the Royal Malaysian police patrol boats escorted the tug and towed the vessel to Penang.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), known to the World as North Korea, has indicated that it has increased its ‘existing’ nuclear arsenal to counter a possible preemptive invasion by the United States. Earlier, the self-proclaimed nuclear power has accused the United States of seeking to topple the government at helm. It also feared that the joint US-South Korean military exercises could pose as a preparatory war against the country.
The Convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and their destruction, better known as the BTWC or BWC has attained thirty years of existence on March 26, 2005. The BTWC, a multilateral treaty, was negotiated from 1969-1971. It was opened for signature at London, Moscow and Washington DC on April 10, 1972. It entered into force on March 26, 1975 with 43 member countries, after ratification by the three Depository State—the USA, the Soviet Union (erstwhile) and the United Kingdom.
The East Asian Community has been propagated as the new harbinger of comprehensive security processes. The idea of an East Asian Community got an impetus with the December 2003 Tokyo Declaration between Japan and ASEAN. Although East Asia has witnessed sufficient degrees of ‘regionalization’, ‘regionalism’ still has a long way to go. The former refers to those processes, which come from markets and private investment flows while the latter emerges as a result of intergovernmental dialogues and treaties.
The unprecedented destruction caused by Tsunami waves on December 26 last year, is not only a rare phenomenon for Indian Ocean countries, but it is also unique as it witnessed intense diplomatic maneuvering in the name of aid. The aid flowing from donor countries carry not only humanitarian assistance but are also seen as a diplomatic tool used to further their foreign policy objectives. The first move in this regard was made by India while coping with the disaster on its eastern shores. It is interesting to note that despite suffering loss of almost 15,000 lives and need for Rs.
The US Congress has approved a $ 300 million military aid package for Pakistan in November last year, the biggest military aid package to Pakistan since the events of 9/11. President Bush has thus begun his second term by deciding to dole out ‘arms bonanza’ to Pakistan. The $300 million is a part of the foreign military financing programme (H R 4818 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2005) totaling more than $4.7 billion, a major chunk of which goes to Israel ($2.2 billion) and Egypt (1.3billion).
Containerised cargo system has emerged as the most convenient and cost effective mode of transporting large volumes of goods. It has reduced handling time by minimising break-bulk operations thereby permitting the shipping infrastructure to keep up with increasing volumes of goods to be transported. But it has its own problems that seem to take a back seat particularly with the international maritime shipping system who believe in the philosophy of maximising profits and in most cases at the cost of security.
The three-day visit of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the northeast, described as significant for the peace and development of the region, failed to rise above the morbidity of a political visit and in the end, left many discontented. A visit to Manipur and Assam, especially when both States stand at crossroads, was expected to galvanise a host of positive forces leading to discontinuation in the phase of violence and agitation.