The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released its report on international arms transfer. This article highlights the current state of arms transactions, including sales and procurement of defence and military equipment worldwide. It attempts to establish and underscore the patterns of the arms trade in the years spanning 2017-to 2021.
Key actors in global politics appear to be receiving conflicting signals from India's position on the Ukrainian imbroglio every passing day. A few pointers are in order for further consideration. First, India has abstained from voting against Russia at the United Nations at least twice in the past, pleasing the Russians with its tacit support. At the same time, its latest abstinence at the UN actually went against Russia, making the Russians curious about Indian intents.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict is more than one month old now, yet there is no immediate solution in sight. Just before starting the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin had given a clear-cut 'nuclear' message to the world by mentioning that any western intervention would witness consequences the West had never seen or thought of before. Putin is systematically raising the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) bogey over the last month. Traditionally, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons are classified as WMD.
Different media groups have produced contrasting perceptions of the situation in Ukraine thus far. Internet and social media sources are full of deep fakes, leaving the common citizens divided virtually along with Russian and non-Russian narratives. But, the reality on the ground is that as of March 1, 2022, Russia is in complete control of significant parts of Ukraine's territory. Russian troops are about to surround Kyiv and have fired missiles on Kharkiv, Chernihiv and fourteen other areas.
Alexei Navalny, the Russian pro-democratic opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, wrote in an August 2021 article that “[I] did not die from poisoning by a chemical weapon, and it would seem that corruption played no small part in my survival.” Fortunately, he lives to tell this ordeal. Navalny was recollecting the assassination attempt on his life exactly a year back, with a suspected nerve agent. On August 20, 2020, Navalny was grievously ill onboard a flight from Tomsk (Siberia) to Moscow.
It appears India is in a perpetual search for the acquisition of fighter aircraft – an important arsenal for the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is woefully short of its sanctioned strength (39.5 squadrons). Although calculations available in public domain vary – ranging from sanctioned 39.5 to ambitious 42 / 46 squadrons for the IAF to maintain its combat edge – slightly over 30 current squadrons with fast depleting MiG fleet put the IAF in a difficult spot, despite braggart assertions from highest-level military commanders about India’s growing military aerospace prowess.
With the evolution of space technology, various space-faring nations and some private agencies have readied their plans to colonize the outer space. Currently, a few are working towards sending people to the Moon and Mars in order to understand the nuances behind colonizing the planets in the near future. All these grandiose proposals will actually depend upon how swiftly and successfully people will develop the heavy satellite launch vehicles in order to deliver heavier payloads in the range of different orbits and even into the deep space.
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?