Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
General Studies 2:
India and its neighborhood- relations.
The government has begun another attempt to tackle the Kashmir issue with the appointment of an interlocutor, former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma recently. The Centre’s decision to begin a political dialogue in Jammu & Kashmir is a step in the right direction. The interlocutor has been appointed to begin a “sustained dialogue” aimed at understanding the aspirations of the people”.
It shows that the government, earlier determined that there could be no talks so long as terrorism continued, has now realised that the situation in the state cannot be improved through force and firepower alone.
Terrorism, infiltration and militancy have continued despite the steady elimination of commanders and foot-soldiers of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish. There is no reason why containment of militancy or terrorism cannot go side by side with talks.
The move acknowledges that the solution of the problems in J&K lies in the realm of politics, and not security.
The open mandate to speak to all parties implicitly indicates that the government is willing to speak to separatists for a “sustained dialogue”, a considerable turn from the hardline policy of the government thus far.
For any dialogue to enjoy credibility in Kashmir, the minimum requirement is that the Centre must engage with the Hurriyat and its top leadership. Any process in Kashmir is set up for failure unless the separatist leadership is included in it.
The Centre could also consider talks with Pakistan, as outlined in the Agenda of Alliance document of the PDP-BJP coalition in J&K.
Sharma’s success in reaching out to all stakeholders in the Valley depends on confidence in the Modi government’s seriousness in a long-lasting dialogue process in the State, with a view to effecting an enduring peace — one envisaged but not achieved by so many earlier governments.
The Centre appointed working groups on Kashmir after 2006 — apparently in earnest — didn’t take any action on their recommendations. This shouldn’t be the case this time.
The process must transform into a meaningful political dialogue, sooner than later.
The Union also needs to takes a bold initiative and initiate a dialogue with Pakistan as neighbourhood remained a reality which couldn’t be altered.
As PM Modi once remarked, “Kashmir can’t be resolved through force but by embracing Kashmiris” — seriously. In this light the step taken is in right direction. However, the follow-up is equally important.
Connecting the dots:
The Kashmir issue remains unresolved. However recent appointment of interlocutor to initiate dialogue which would involve separatists as well is a step forward. Critically analyze.
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
India-U.S. relations: A welcome change
In calling for an ambitious 100-year partnership with India, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on his recent visit to news has drawn attention to an enduring relationship between India and US.
The US-India relationship occupied high priority and visibility during the Obama administration. The Donald Trump administration, too, has shown its commitment to the relationship, hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington DC, earlier this year. Secretary Tillerson also articulated the importance of India and of US-India ties. He spoke of maintaining stability, security and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific region in the coming decades.
Paradox that marks the relationship between India and America:
The gap between expert expectations and actual outcomes.
No other major Indian relationship has been subjected to such intense bureaucratic suspicion and negative public scrutiny.
The relationship remains way below potential.
Neither side has taken full advantage of all the possibilities that have emerged.
Annual trade between the two countries has now advanced to $115 billion, with the surplus in India’s favour. Yet multiple obstacles remain in boosting two-way trade to the proclaimed goal of $500 billion.
While two-way trade, and investment, between the two countries has increased significantly in the past five years, there is much room to expand the economic partnership.
It is important to note that US-India commercial ties have seen an uptick in recent years with the present governemnt’s market-oriented reforms. India is currently the US’ ninth largest goods trading partner. India is also one of the fastest growing sources of foreign direct investment in the US, at nearly $11 billion.
In defence, the scale and scope of the exchanges have expanded. America, for example, has become a major arms supplier for India. The volume of Indian defence imports has grown from near zero at the turn of the century to about $15 billion now.
Yet there are residual issues in Washington about supplying advanced defence technologies to India and Delhi remains reluctant to inject greater political content into the security partnership.
Historically, the biggest drag on India-US relations has been the seemingly unbridgeable differences on Pakistan and China. More broadly, Delhi and Washington could rarely come up with a common assessment of the political dynamic in Asia and the Indo-Pacific. In the last couple of decades, Delhi and Washington made progress by setting aside their differences on Pakistan and China. The Trump Administration is promising to change that.
In demanding that Pakistan suspend cross-border terrorism and asking that India play a larger role in the region — from stabilising Afghanistan to balancing China — the US has begun to clear the path for strategic regional coordination between India and the United States.
The US and India will increasingly need to work together on the political and security challenges across the Indo-Pacific region, from mounting tensions with North Korea, the Rohingya crisis, and India’s own standoff with China over Doklam to the lingering challenges in Afghanistan.
The announcement of a ministerial dialogue which will bring Secretary Tillerson and US Secretary of Defense General James Mattis into direct engagement with their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman is a welcome step in this regard.
The India-US conversation about burden-sharing in the Indo-Pacific will necessarily be a prolonged one. Delhi and Washington will need to iron out many other issues. In the past, US power tended to limit India’s room for regional manoeuvre. Now it could contribute to India’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific.
Connecting the dots:
The India-US relations has huge potential which remains to be tapped. However, recent developments have set the stage for a renewed relationship between the two. Discuss.