I just returned from a visit to China, and it offered interesting insights. Propositions that China is collapsing from within due to internal unrest; that industrial parks and stifling manufacturing h...
On 18 September this year, 18 Indian soldiers of the 10 Dogra and 6 Bihar Regiments were killed at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir by four heavily armed terrorists who infiltrated the Indian Army base. In th...
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) appears to be on the defensive in both Iraq and Syria. It recently lost its hold on Aleppo, Syria to a combined attack by Russian and Syrian government for...
While Trump’s freewheeling statements appear like a solution to American problems in the short term, be forewarned -- it could be the writing on the wall for the demise of the American Republic as we know it. History warns us that both the Roman and Mughal empires never recovered from the self-interested, power hungry, divisive policies that Augustus and Aurangzeb unleashed.
Growing up in Haflong, a remote mountainous town in Dima Hasao District, Assam, offered me the privilege of accessing the town's multiple ethnic cultures. This experience held me in good stead as I chose to study ethnic conflicts in the Northeast years later. Most of these conflicts are about dignity, prestige and identity. But that's not all there is to it.
An Indian officer once stated that his desire to enter the civil services stemmed from the fact that the driver would always rush out to open the door for the officer. So, ironically, the power that officers hold, which ideally should mean the power to create a level playing field for all, is actually seen as power to access privileges, entitlements, cars with red lights, houses in the best part of town, and a state system that exists for them, and not for the common person.
Assam is a land where group identity, and loyalty to that identity, matters. And group identities in Assam have been historically formed based on who is not the group, or more simply, by the process known as 'othering'. So, anybody outside of that 'imagined' Assamese or indigenous community is an 'outsider' not worthy of political, moral or social consideration.
For some years now, I have been reviewing the rise of China and India as potential lead players in the global economy by 2050. In 2011, I had predicted in a joint study that by 2030, China would overtake the US as the lead global economic super-power. This would result in growing competition between the US and China over which among them would write the rules of the global economy. Today, just five years later, that battle has begun...
The concept has been around for a while, but with Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP; tapping sunlight in space to generate clean constant energy) winning the top prize for innovation in technology for a clean and truly prosperous world at the D-3 (Diplomacy, Defense and Development) summit on 2 March in Washington, D.C, the idea seems closer to being realized than ever before. When seen in the context of recent developments in China and Japan, and with India waiting to get in on the action, the possibilities are electrifying.
With the ever increasing thrust for knowledge, information, and globalised flow of information, the role of think tanks in bridging gaps between policy and academia, citizens and their governments, research and implementation of effective ideas will only grow. I hope India is up to the challenge of establishing and supporting think tanks as "centres of excellence" as it jostles for space in a fast-paced and interdependent world where those with the best ideas matter most.
In September 2015, Russia entered the picture in aid of its ally Assad. The US position on the Syrian imbroglio is that in order to succeed in its fight against ISIS, the dictatorial Assad has to go. The Russian position, backed by Iran and the Hezbollah of Lebanon, is quite the contrary: Assad has to continue for some semblance of order in this conflict-afflicted land. These contradictory objectives have the potential of pitting the Russian intervention against the NATO and US in Syria into a much larger conflict for influence.
For a few weeks now, I have been watching Star Trek: The Original Series, a TV show so innovatory and far reaching in its inspiration in the 1960s that it impacted a whole generation of people to dream of exploring the unknown. So, how is this space story connected to aspirations of Great Power status, much sought after by countries like India and China? In more ways than one, I think.
The Indian state has taken pride in "the effective management of conflicts in the Northeast", as one former National Security Adviser put it, in a recent op-ed. I would like to argue that this pride is rather misplaced if one analyses the situation from 1955 to date as it has unfolded in the Northeast.
As the TV news flashed on 3 August with images of Naga Peace Interlocutor, R N Ravi and Thuingaleng Muivah, the leader of the NSCN (IM) inking the Naga Peace Accord, it took me back to my visit in 2007 to the Naga People's Consultative Meeting (PCM) organised by the NSCN (IM) in their Camp Hebron near Dimapur. It was in this meeting that I first heard Muivah and Isak Chisi Swu (the outfit's co-founder) speak on the Naga political cause.