Thursday, September 19, 2019
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What we heard

Surplus During Trade War

There's something odd about reports in the Western media that China's economy is in the doldrums, manufacturing is down etc etc. The trade figures...

On A Mission

Kenji Hiramatsu is reckoned the hardest working ambassador Japan has sent to India. Now in the fourth year of his Delhi tenure, Hiramatsu is...

China’s ‘Base’ Hunt

In the next few years, expect China's overseas military bases to expand, in the Indian Ocean. Indications are they are scouting for bases in...

Relocation Woes For Industries

Industries moving out of China are not coming to India, preferring Vietnam and Cambodia, according to a trade specialist from Beijing.  He was not...

Weather, The Saviour

The Vietnamese seem confident that the standoff with China in the South China Sea could be drawing to a close  due to the weather!...

Dealing With China

Vietnam has dealt with China for thousands of years and has developed considerable insight into how that country behaves, say Vietnamese scholars. China wants...

Craving For Land

Former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarathy had an interesting anecdote to share during a recent conference on Gilgit-Baltistan organised by the Indian...

Going Slow On 5G?

Is India deliberately going slow in announcing the trial dates for 5G equipment? Telecom industry sources point to two possible reasons: one, that a...

China’s Nuclear ‘Mating’?

There's a buzz in sections of the international strategic community that China is "mating" nuclear warheads to its strategic missiles. Until now, these were...

Buy One, Get One Free!

In his first media interaction after becoming External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar delivered his opening remarks to the media detailing his meeting with U.S....

Withdrawal Symptoms?

Could Arvind Subramanian be suffering from "withdrawal symptoms"? Some of his economist friends and colleagues suspect the former chief economic adviser is missing...

Hunt For Rare Earth

Critical components in the U.S. military's arsenal of conventional and nuclear weapons are made from rare earth materials, the processing of which is largely...

Interesting Times For MEA

These are interesting times for the Ministry of External Affairs with former foreign secretary S. Jaishankar having taken over as the external affairs minister...

Afghanistan Upset With India?

Afghan officials are deeply disappointed that President Ashraf Ghani wasn't invited for PM Modi’s second swearing-in. While the PM chose to go the BIMSTECrather than the SAARC way, to keep...

Snubbed Twice Over

No invite to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for the swearing-in of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been widely reported as a snub....

Tweet, Call, Then Meet?

So the ice has been broken. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called up PM Narendra Modi on Sunday to congratulate him on his government...

Sweating It Out

Giving interviews under the sun in the middle of  a hot Indian summer can prove to be, quite literally, sweaty business. This is what...

AIDS Test For Visa?

If you’re a top Indian industrialist, you’d probably assume that getting a visa to travel to countries abroad would be easier than it is...

Yet(i) To Be Seen

It isn’t very often that official Twitter handles give cause for mirth, steeped as they are in officialese and the humdrum of publicity. But...

Chinese Recast Possible?

China lacks a "cosmopolitan culture" which is critical if it seeks to displace the U.S. from its global superpower perch. That's the view among...

Mission Old Practice

It's curious why the Indian foreign office has never sent a Sikh as high commissioner to Pakistan. Nor for that matter, an ethnic Tamil...

Ironing Out Trade Creases

Check this out: India's biggest trading partners are the U.S., China, the EU and the GCC countries. But we don't have any free trade...

Ties Fuelled By Oil

The Pakistanis are worried about the growing convergence in relations between Saudi Arabia and India, also between the UAE and India. At one level...

Behind UAE’s Aid Offer

When the UAE offered $100 mn in aid to flood-stricken Kerala last year, it underscored an important point: that Kerala's historic ties with the...

Military Talk Possible?

This idea has been mooted before, of a dialogue between the Indian and Pakistani militaries. The rationale is since the army runs the country...

The Aerial Route

India may be striving hard for land connectivity with the doubly land-locked Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in its...

Learning The Hard Way

India needs to harden its government and people to the consequences and casualties of conflict. This view among some strategic thinkers flows from the...

United Korea: Far Cry

Who wants the reunification of the Korean Peninsula? The joke is barring India nobody since Delhi will not have to pay the bill for...

Iraqis For Indian Treatment

This may not be widely known but of the thousands of foreign nationals seeking medical treatment in India, a staggering 80,000 come from one...

U.S. Troops In Iraq

There may be as many as 2000 foreign (read American) "advisers" in Iraq. They are reportedly spread across government departments and ministries, including the...

‘Mission’ Security Check

It was a ‘spooky’ experience for Indian invitees headed for the Pakistan National Day celebrations at the Pak High Commission in the Capital on...

India’s Africa Outreach

India's continuing outreach to the African nations saw the government organising the14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships earlier this week. The three-day...

Karma Cola

Sex and politics have always gone together but it has been largely unknown in Tibetan Buddhism, at least publicly. That is changing. Reports circulating...

‘Constructive’, Not Critical

The average Chinese journalist is an 'incurious' individual, according to Indian and Western academics living and working in China.  His or her training does...

Expansionist Xinhua

All over the world, newsrooms are shrinking as wire services and media houses cut back on journalism budgets in an effort to stay afloat....

Concessional Detour?

When the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India and Pakistan was in the works, the Saudis were gently told by...

Chinese Trade Juggle

India's annual trade deficit with China is $62 billion and Beijing has promised to invest $60 billion in the CPEC projects in Pakistan. So...

The BRI Power Route

The Belt & Road Initiative is like no other project in the world. Monstrous in size and scope, it is controlled, organised and its...

The Digital Race

Today's digital economy is all about Disruptors, Followers and Laggards. Big corporations and engineering behemoths that have ruled the roost for decades are losing...

5G Field Trials Coming

India is struggling to realise 4G internet speed even as the Department of Telecom is preparing for field trials of 5G. The argument is...

Reschedule Hitch

There seems to be some problem with the manner in which India goes about scheduling visits by foreign officials, diplomats and political leaders. Apparently,...

With Trump’s Support

Saudi Crown Prince Salman appears to have weathered the storm over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The word is he owes his...

Delayed Chandrayaan-2 Mission

India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon should have taken off in January 2019 but never did, not for any fault of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).  The mission...

Port Development Helps OBOR

China is relying heavily on port development as part of its One Belt One Road initiative.  The focus on ports reflects the view within...

African Nations Turn To China

Japan charges a measly 0.04% interest on the loans it makes to foreign countries.  China charges 4%.  It reinforces the view in a number...

A Different General?

A retired Indian army general who has served on UN peacekeeping missions, recalled a Pakistani officer by the name of Qamar Bajwa. The same...

Driving A Hard Bargain

Chinese trade negotiators are regarded as among the world's toughest. Indian officials who have negotiated with the Chinese say their information and research is...

Taiwan Trouble

Taiwan suffered another diplomatic setback late last year when Bangladesh shut down the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Dhaka. The move was obviously...

Step Towards Afghan Peace?

Some of the buzz at the recently concluded Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi was about Afghanistan. There is a view that the latest U.S....

U.S.-Russia To Partner?

Could the U.S. and Russia get together on Afghanistan? On the face of it, that seems hardly likely given the current lows in their...

Politician Who Loves To Turn Chef

It isn’t just in the electoral field where Sheikh Hasina has recently cooked up a storm. The Awami League leader who recently won a...

Gwadar not so strategic?

There is a view among some analysts of China's maritime strategy in the Indian Ocean, that Gwadar port in Pakistan is a "tier two...

Pipeline economics

Reports about China's plan for an oil pipeline from Gwadar to Kashgar in Xinjiang, to overcome its "tyranny of geography" (meaning the choke points...

Not so Chinese after all

Credit to the Chinese for appropriating an idea thought up elsewhere. The Belt & Road is seen as a grand master plan of the...

South Block’s Huawei Dilemma

The ban in the US and Europe over Chinese investment in 5G mobile services is not reflected in India. The buzz is the Indian...

China’s ‘Spy’ App?

Heard of UCBrowser? It's a Chinese app used by an estimated 400 million young Indians. All the data is stored in China and it...

Chinese ‘Hand’ In Indian Tech

There's a curious lack of debate in India over Chinese investment in Indian technology startups. Researchers at a recent seminar in Delhi, say Chinese...

Is Africa Going The ‘Pakistan Way’?

Some African scholars recently in Delhi tried to answer the question why so many of those countries preferred to go the 'Pakistan way', meaning...

China’s investment in Africa

China has capitalised on Africa's hunger for infrastructure to steal a political and strategic lead over others in the continent. Most African governments want...

UN’s Preoccupation With Africa

Remember the Nigerian General Olusegun Obasanjo, who was president from 1999 to 2007. He served as a young lieutenant in the Congo as part...

More Than A Free Lunch!

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj played host to a large number of journalists at the ministry’s annual media lunch at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan on...

The ‘Royal’ Peepul Tree

A seedling planted 58 years ago in the lawns of the Japanese embassy in New Delhi now stands tall as a magnificent peepul tree....

35 Strategic Partners

To all those baffled by India's strategic partnerships, here's adding to the puzzle. At the last count, India had 35 strategic partners ranging from...

Getting Mallya Back

Indian diplomats who have served in Europe believe there's a good chance of fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya being extradited to India from the UK....

After Dalai Lama, Who?

Rumours about a successor to the Dalai Lama has been doing the rounds for quite some years now. The word is he's a Tibetan...

China’s Protest Trouble

China's late great helmsman Chairman Mao saw the exodus of Tibetans to India as an easy way of ridding his government of people opposed...

‘Early Harvest’

Ahead of the visit of China's foreign minister Wang Yi to Delhi later this month, the buzz from Beijing is "early harvest", which is...

Where Kerala’s doctors love to go

Would you like to venture a guess on the name of the country to which many doctors from Kerala head to work? The answer,...

‘My India, My Mozambique’

Mozambique’s minister for foreign affairs and cooperation José Pacheco’s lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) during his official visit to New...

Travel Time = G-20 Visit Duration!

Diplomacy can be demanding at times not merely due to the hard-nosed bargaining that's involved but also because of the sheer logistics of travel....

Concerted Diplomacy

Diplomacy may be their primary vocation but some foreign diplomats serving in New Delhi have other talents. Take, for instance, the German ambassador to...

Merciless Oppression

Xinjiang is under duress, is the verdict of recent visitors to that region. Mosques in the capital Urumqi are walled off with barbed wire...

Forced to Conform

“All nationalities shall embrace tightly like little pomegranate seeds,” posters in English and Mandarin exhort the public in Urumqi and other cities in China's...

Foreigners, Keep A Distance!

Foreign tourists visiting Urumqi, Kashgar and other cities in Xinjiang are warned about fraternising with the locals. And just to make sure they are...

Scrambling for Credit

Who has stolen whose thunder? This seems to be the big question as India and Pakistan scrambled to take credit for the Kartarpur Sahib...

China’s Weaponry

According to an assessment by some agencies, China has the capability to make from three to five nuclear weapons every year. The agencies also...

Friendship Amid Hostilities

Friends who stand by you in times of trouble are always remembered. So amidst a fresh eruption of hostilities between Israel and Palestine, following...

Seven Good Enough?

Tiny Bhutan has many suitors. Japan and Australia want to open embassies in Thimphu. China, of course, has tried every trick in the book...

War Cry Or Poll Bugle?

Could Bangladesh go to war with its Myanmar? Unthinkable as it may appear, many Bangladeshis say the government is under mounting pressure from the...

Secretariat Trouble

Some diplomats posted in Dhaka where the BIMSTEC Secretariat is located have a grouse. They say Dhaka is too crowded; getting anywhere involves frustrating...

Blessings Postponed

A golden statue of Garuda which is the national emblem of Thailand, and used as a symbol of royalty in the south Asian nation,...

Xi, Trump To Visit?

There's a low-key buzz in government circles in New Delhi about the possibility of Chinese President Xi Jinping coming over perhaps in December for...

Outsiders Unwelcome

Here's a reality check on the Shinzo Abe-Narendra Modi bonhomie. Japan wants qualified IT engineers from India to fill vital gaps in the industry...

Salesman Diplomacy!

An Indian diplomat who served in a senior position in the embassy in Tehran used to say that when negotiating with the Iranians, one...

Bid To Stem Tech Leak?

On the sidelines of Narendra Modi's Japan visit, and with an eye cocked on possibly China, leading technology entrepreneurs warned that the free market...

Japan’s Sub Tech

This may not be widely known but the Japanese are highly regarded in naval circles for their submarine technology. In World War II, the...

Trump And NATO

Here's something on Donald Trump from someone who has worked closely with him. Contrary to his public image, Trump closely listens to what his...

Prime Minister’s Gift To Abe

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Japan for the annual India-Japan Summit, he presented his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe with some beautifully hand-crafted...

China Maritime Strategy

China's naval literature provides interesting clues to its maritime strategy. A reading of some of these accounts suggests China's naval brass plans to build...

China’s Port Focus

Here's another side to China's naval activity. The Chinese, it seems, see Gwadar in Pakistan as a "logistics base" while Karachi is described as...

Tough Logistics For Dragon

The Indian Ocean may present the greatest logistical challenges for China. This is because of the presence of "choke points", passages that are constricted...

No Visa For Pak Filmmaker

Cricketing ties have not been the only casualty of the rift in India-Pakistan ties. While the political leadership of the two countries bickers and...

India’s Next China Envoy

Vikram Misri, currently India’s Ambassador to Myanmar will succeed Gautam Bambawale in Beijing by the end of November. His appointment raised some eyebrows in...

Indian Ocean: China At Sea?

Fifth century Chinese strategist Sun Tzu maybe turning in his grave over the PLA Navy's rising profile in the Indian Ocean since 2008. He...

Congo, Cobalt And China

Did you know that 80 per cent of the world's supply of Cobalt comes from Central Africa, from mines in the Democratic Republic of...

Second Military Adviser

The revamp of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) is continuing apace. After redesignation of former Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee RN Ravi as...

Religion For Convenience

China is officially atheist but has 300 million practising Buddhists. Other religions including Taoism, Christianity are also popular. And there are Hare Krishna adherents...

Brexit Brew

As the March 29, 2019 deadline for Brexit approaches, some diplomats in India and Europe are popping the champagne. There's a view that Britain...

Like President, Like Minister

As Vladimir Putin wound up his 24-hour visit to New Delhi, a word about some personalities past and present. Present was Sergey Lavrov, Russia's...

Celebrating Gay Verdict

The British High Commission was the venue for an evening of celebration on Thursday as over 100 members of the LGBT community gathered on...