Wednesday 20 Jun 2018 | 10:08 | SYDNEY
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India

Kashmir: walking the line

Perhaps the biggest casualty of the current state of India–Pakistan relations has been Kashmir, where issues regarding territory, autonomy, and cross-border confrontations have been a long-standing flashpoint between the two countries. Recent times have seen total disregard&

Modi plays by the “rules” at Shangri-La

Sometimes what politicians don’t say is as important as what they do say. So it was with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s keenly anticipated keynote at the Shangri-La Dialogue this year. The speech could have been fiery, as Modi’s rhetoric often is in front of a domestic audience. But

India: guiltless children in prison

More than 1800 children aged between one month and six years old languish in Indian jails, growing up with their imprisoned mothers. The plight of these guiltless children has long been known in India, but recent investigations by a human rights lawyer in the state of Odisha, on

The India–China summit in Wuhan was no reset

The “informal summit” in Wuhan, China, between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping last month generated a wave of commentary in India, China, and further afield. The Chinese media played it up, heralding a major breakthrough in

Star wars: Tamil actors enter India’s political fray

Two famous Tamil actors are aiming to use their fan clubs as the basis for new political parties.  “First, we must integrate the registered and unregistered fans associations and bring them under one umbrella,” declared Tamil film star Rajinikanth at the launch of his new political party

India’s political roller coaster

One month is a long time in Indian politics. In early March, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was celebrating electoral victories in the north-east states of Tripura and Nagaland. The BJP’s electoral successes in these states was a significant achievement. The party and its affiliate

A new high: India–Japan defence links

An unexpected partnership was forged last week at India’s defence exhibition, DefExpo 2018, in Chennai. For some time, India has been in negotiations with Japan to purchase more than a dozen US-2 amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Considered the world’s best amphibious

Why are some Indian movies made tax-free?

Back in 2005, a crime-comedy movie about two nice thieves titled Banty Aur Babli was made tax-free by the state government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India. Although the film ends with the heroes returning everything they’ve stolen, it is still a bad-guys-are-good

Sexual violence back to the fore in India

The brutalisation of women in India has increased alarmingly in recent times. Rape, molestation, and abuse have spiralled out of control, with the incidents  of violence becoming uglier and more frightening. Violence against women happens everywhere. While its causes vary in different

Indian Ocean base race: India responds

It seems that we are in the middle of a base race across the Indian Ocean. The latest move, reported on Tuesday, involves an agreement to give India access to naval facilities in Oman, close to the Strait of Hormuz. This may be the first step towards a greater Indian naval presence in the

India’s intolerance is hurting the country

In January the ugly face of an intolerant India was again on display with protests and violence in several parts of the country against Indian film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extravagant medieval epic Padmaavat. Caste groups, especially the Rajputs, predominantly from the northern

Asia’s escalating missile race

If the Cold War was one long arms race, the modern era could be accurately described as an arms jog. Countries are defined less by how many nuclear warheads they have, and more by what they can do with them. This is particularly the case in Australia’s immediate region, where a

The China factor in India’s commitment to ASEAN

India will host ASEAN leaders as its chief guests during the commemoration of the country's 69th Republic Day on 26 January, reflecting the importance New Delhi places on relations with South East Asia. India's much-vaunted Look East policy, launched in the early 1990s as part of a concerted

What Rahul Gandhi’s rise means for Indian politics

Last month's long-awaited ascension of Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India's Nehru–Gandhi political dynasty, to the presidency of the Indian National Congress marks a new era for the party. Often derided for his lack of charisma and apparent reluctance to assume the mantle of leadership, Gandhi was

Babri Masjid – India’s flashpoint

On 6 December 1992 thousands of Hindu fanatics tore down a medieval mosque in the temple town of Ayodhya, in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid mosque, constructed under the rule of the first Mughal Emperor Babar, sparked violence across

The crackdown on free press in India

In June, India’s former president Pranab Mukherjee drove home the point to the Indian media that ‘discussion and dissension’ is crucial for a vibrant democracy and that public institutions must be held accountable. His words could not have been more timely. The independence of the mainstream

Why India is buying the world’s emptiest airport

Geopolitical rivalry between big powers sometimes yields odd results. The latest development in growing strategic competition across the Indian Ocean region is India's purchase of what has become known as the 'world's emptiest international airport' in Sri Lanka, maybe just to keep it empty.

Quad redux: A new agenda for Asia's maritime democracies

With President Donald Trump part-way into his protracted tour of Asia, much of the focus has been on the North Korea threat, his personal relations with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and President Moon of South Korea, and his interaction with President Xi Jinping, China’s political strongman who

A reborn quadrilateral to deter China

Recent news that Australia’s Foreign Minister has indicated interest in taking part in a resurrected US-Australia-Japan-India quadrilateral dialogue on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN Summit is to be welcomed. It is an indication how much the strategic situation in the Asia Pacific has shifted

Tillerson doubles down on US-India partnership

Yesterday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered his most substantial remarks on India to date, ahead of his first official trip to South Asia. While Tillerson’s influence in the Trump Administration is in considerable doubt, his speech pointed to yet more convergence between Washington and

The limits of India-Japan defence cooperation

The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India this September was much talked about in the context of the evolving Asian balance of power. Big ticket ventures including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway were the highlight of the summit. But the larger issue of defence cooperation,

Myanmar: A test case for India’s regional ambition

India has scored a string of recent geopolitical victories in Asia: the alleged sale of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile to Vietnam; a further deepening of the strategic relationship with Japan, marked by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India; and the recent de-escalation of tensions

With an eye on Beijing, India and Japan double down

In 1999, India’s then foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, travelled to Tokyo to smooth ruffled feathers after India's nuclear tests of that year. 'Relations between Japan and India are basically good', declared Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, damning with faint praise.' But the nuclear issue

Coming full-circle in the Sino-Indian relationship

Despite the recent BRICS Summit's theme of a 'stronger partnership for a brighter future', the two-month stand-off between China and India at the Doklam plateau (which China refers to as Donglang) has confirmed a bitter truth – the territorial dispute is still a constant thorn

Modi banking on jobs from Make in India

Make in India. It’s one of Narendra Modi’s signature policies - trumpeted by the prime minister to both domestic and foreign audiences, and exhaustively promoted by his government with savvy marketing campaigns. Its chief symbol - a stalking lion comprised of cogs and wheels - has become

Delhi’s new Indian Ocean diplomacy

As China continues to ramp up its Indian Ocean presence, Delhi is stepping up its engagement, collaborations and demonstrations of leadership in the region. In addition to expanding its network of naval partners and bilateral exercises, India is also reviving regional institutions such as IORA and

Doklam: Who won?

North Korea's latest missile outrage has stolen the global headlines from a potentially even more significant turn of events in world security. That is the seemingly sudden resolution of the border confrontation between Chinese and Indian troops in an area known as Doklam in disputed Himalayan

How Trump’s new approach to Pakistan might pan out

Perhaps the most notable part of President Trump's new Afghanistan 'strategy' is its treatment of Pakistan, with Trump saying out loud what was once largely debated and threatened in private: The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no

Doklam stand-off may spark Indian Ocean tensions

The two-month standoff between India and China on the desolate Doklam plateau in the Himalayas shows no signs of ending. Indeed, while both sides have so far been careful to avoid a shooting match, there are indications that relations are souring further and the confrontation could easily

India feeling the heat on Belt and Road

In May, when China organised a major summit in Beijing around its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as 'One Belt, One Road', or OBOR), one invited country was completely absent: India. In response to queries, New Delhi issued only a short statement that underscored the benefits of

Doklam: Paths ahead for India and China

As the India-China standoff at the Doklam tri-junction area enters its second month, it is clear this is the most serious crisis between the two countries in 30 years. There are several ways in which it might develop. Unilateral concessions and Chinese escalation are unlikely, with the local

Vietnam and India: Shared interests in the South China Sea

Vietnam's recent request to India to play a more prominent role in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea did not come as a total surprise. It's not the first time Vietnam has asked a nation with no direct interest in the area for backing – it made a similar call to South Korea a few months ago.

Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammad: An unholy alliance

The resurgence of the extremist Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed in recent years is clear. Less obvious is the nature of - and motivation for - Pakistan's links with the group. India has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for terrorist attacks in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), as well as

Modi-Trump meeting: Signs of continued convergence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural visit to the Trump White House this week was fraught with uncertainty, with recent irritations in the relationship (visas and climate change), a softening in US policy on China, and tension between Trump’s transactional instincts and the longer-term

A revived Quad won't help Australia

The resurrection of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), a proposal that would bring Australia into a strategic grouping with India, Japan and the US, has again been floated, this time in ministerial talks between Australia and Japan in Tokyo. Australia has a perfect right to form

India-Australia relations: Getting over the Quad blues

Last week the Indian warships INS Kamorta, INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti arrived in Western Australia’s port city of Fremantle to participate in a bilateral exercise. The military drills came close on the heels of a controversial decision by New Delhi to reject Canberra’s request for observer

Countering China’s submarine operations in South Asia

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka earlier this month, reports emerged that the Sri Lankan government had turned down China's request for a submarine docking in Colombo harbor. Beijing, apparently, wanted one of its submarines (ostensibly on its way to the Gulf of Aden for '

Why India missed China’s Belt and Road summit

China's President Xi Jinping is today hosting what is arguably the biggest celebration of China's rise as a great power since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The One Belt, One Road or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum in Beijing is being attended by 29 heads of state or government and by

Where India fits in an activist Australian foreign policy

There can be little doubt that Prime Minister Turnbull’s recent visit to New Delhi has started to close the gap between where that country sits in the Australian strategic imagination and the current pace of India’s economic and strategic development. Turnbull’s very enthusiasm throughout the

India remains cautious about the 'quad'

Days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from a successful visit to India, speculation emerged that New Delhi might reject Canberra's request for participation in Malabar, a multilateral naval exercise comprising India, the US and Japan. A media report noted that a formal

Turnbull’s India visit an opportunity to revive the Quad

Economics is likely to dominate the agenda during Malcolm Turnbull's visit to India this week, his first trip to New Delhi as prime minister. That makes sense. No longer the ‘sick man of Asia’, India has the world’s third-largest economy by the purchasing power parity standard of measurement,

Modi strengthens his hand in India and abroad

On 11 March, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an overwhelming victory in state elections in Uttar Pradesh. In India, there are few more significant political prizes. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state, home to over 200 million people, and the original

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