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Kabir Taneja

Associate Fellow - Observer Research Foundation

Associate Fellow - Observer Research Foundation
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Syrian Superheroes Or Propaganda Pawns?: Netflix’s Documentary ‘White Helmets’ Is Already Dividing Opinions

“Don’t give mom a hard time, OK?” the trailer of Netflix’s upcoming documentary White Helmets shows a Syrian Civil Defence (SCD) volunteer, a “White Helmet”, kissing his child, and then stepping out in the dystopian background of the bombed-out city of Aleppo in Syria. He looks up at the sky, scanning it for planes and helicopters, which come and drop bombs every day, killing scores of people who do not matter much to the world anymore.
12/09/2016 11:14 AM IST
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When Facts Get A Beating: A Geo-Political Review Of ‘Dishoom’

Films like ‘Dishoom’ are mere entertainers, and perhaps not much should be expected of them to begin with. But Bollywood’s soft power in representing not just India, but what India is about -- politically, socially and economically -- is a very uncelebrated branch of both policy and diplomacy. Unfortunately, more often than not, our films prefer to overlook basic fact-checking and logic to pursue the over-the-top entertainment that sells so well.
10/08/2016 11:17 AM IST
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Our Reactions To Terror Are A Litany Of Hypocrisies

Social media reactions to terrorism or acts of terror make for very interesting case studies. Never before have the masses been able to opine with such freedom on platforms that allow millions of others to read and share their views. News channels, newspapers and so on today are being challenged by people directly as the internet, often via smartphones and tablets, offers unprecedented, and often alternative and raw access to information. However, such access and fluidity in information flow comes with certain shortcomings.
27/07/2016 4:55 PM IST
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Tie-Breaker: Global Diplomacy Needs To Reach A Final Consensus Against The Necktie

First and foremost, I want to offer you, the reader, a disclaimer. I am possibly one of the worst people around to give any sort of advice or comment on fashion or style. But I have given myself a creative license just this once, on the back of the argument that if ex-cricketer and former Scale-4 bank officer Chetan Chauhan can become the boss of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), I can take the prerogative of taking the necktie (or just tie) to task.
24/06/2016 8:30 AM IST
Reuters Photographer / Reuters

Making Sense Of The World's Strangest Political Phenomenon

NEW DELHI -- Trump's bulldozing of his rivals through the nominations process has seemingly been designed around digging up the land around conservative politics in America, and digging it deeper than anyone else before. The aim has been to gain not just the conservative vote but to ensure that the ultra-conservative, racist, xenophobic and ignorant voices in America get some mainstream exposure as well.
15/05/2016 2:08 PM IST

Snitches With Edge: The ‘Stasi Punks' Of East Berlin

One of the products of the anti-West East German state, was the formation of the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, more commonly known as the Stasi. The secret police, formed in the early 1950s, was developed to keep an eye on the country's own population, and also tasked with cultural purification. One of their challenges in the 1970s and 80s was the growth of the underground punk movement. The Stasi started to jail youths found listening to such music. They also worked to turn these musicians and 'scene' members into informants.
27/04/2016 8:19 AM IST
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Blinded By Fear: It's Time We Saw The Light On Nuclear Power In India

Today, an Indian will perhaps not have a problem with nuclear weapons placed in his or her backyard in the name of national security, but will have reservations over a nuclear plant that could help millions. India needs everything from miniature solar grids to nuclear power plants for its energy needs, considering nearly 300 million people, or close to the same size as the population of the US, still live in darkness.
09/03/2016 8:30 AM IST

Ice-Breaking Diplomacy: Countries In The Arctic Circle Show How To Handle Territorial Disputes

"It is a Middle East-like situation in very superficial terms -- just that no one is killing each other over it," a former oil executive said on the sidelines of the Arctic Frontiers conclave in Tromsø, Norway, a town of 72,000 inhabitants 350km inside the Arctic Circle. And it is international law that is coming out as the big winner in "disputes" over continental shelf extensions between states like Canada and Russia, with the US also being a major influence via its Arctic coastline in Alaska.
04/02/2016 8:16 AM IST
ATTA KENARE via Getty Images

Fuel To The Fire: The Saudi-Iran Flare-Up And The Politics Of Oil

Many fear that the tensions between Iran and Saudi could erupt in a full-blown military conflict. However, this is a highly unlikely eventuality. The Iranian President has condemned the embassy attack, and Saudi has hinted at renewing diplomatic ties under terms and conditions. In fact, much of the indirect Saudi-Iran war had been already being fought for months hundreds of miles away in Vienna, Austria, behind the closed doors of the cartel-like Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) headquarters.
08/01/2016 12:02 PM IST
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COP21: India Should Stand Its Ground In Battle Between Moral Duties And Realism

It was never a secret that India would be the center of attention at COP21. However, the narrative towards some sort of agreement by December 11 will require compensations from both the developed and developing markets, the former taking the lead role. The developing world today is asking for billions of dollars in critical funding from the developed nations in order to orchestrate a side step from fossil fuels to clean energy.
06/12/2015 8:14 PM IST

Global Disorder And The Idea Of ISIS

ISIS is looking to actively disrupt narratives in the West. If it becomes successful in earning the allegiance of Muslims who are citizens of Europe, then it would be correct to conclude that the potential of the organisation has been greatly underestimated. However, even if ISIS managed to smuggle operatives into Europe from Iraq and Syria, and then coordinated the attacks, the fact will still remain that the abilities of ISIS to formulate such strikes has been either completely missed by intelligence agencies or vastly under-realised by the political establishment.
17/11/2015 8:32 AM IST
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Why The Iran P5+1 Nuclear Deal Does Indeed Add Up

It is imperative to understand why this nuclear deal is important and how it will suppress any Iranian misadventure to procure a weapon. The first and most important point to recognise is that Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which by its very nature does not allow Iran to make nuclear weapons.
04/08/2015 8:24 AM IST

Why Operation Rahat Is A Major Achievement For India

Even the United States has now asked any remaining Americans in Yemen to approach the Indian High Commission for help. While this is a surprising move, the success of Operation Rahat in trying conditions is an outcome of nearly two decades' worth of experience of trying to protect a small country-sized population of Indian citizens outside of India's borders.
08/04/2015 3:11 PM IST