The writer, a former ambassador and head of the Indian side of the Expert Group of Diplomatic and Military Officials (1996-2000), is director general, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi. Views are personal.
The border row between India and China could not have erupted at a worse moment. The world is grappling with a once-in-a-century coronavirus pandemic and a global recession that promises to leave none unscathed.
India could also create a new fund for Africa and adapt its grant-in-aid assistance to reflect the current priorities. This could include support for new investment projects by Indian entrepreneurs especially in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in Africa.
At a time when the UNSC, G20, G7 and the EU were inert, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood out with his initiatives to develop a joint response. In bringing SAARC together to fight the pandemic, Modi said “our neighbourhood collaboration should be a model for the world”.
Japan’s case-by-case approach to the reopening of schools by regional authorities has been criticised. There have been calls for a strict lockdown before it is too late to avert the same fate as Italy, Spain and the US.
The pandemic can be expected to goad overwhelmed healthcare systems around the world to do better, point them in new directions and provide investment opportunities in preventive and palliative care.
Bugbears in India-US relations are fewer today. There is far greater appreciation of India’s concerns on cross-border terrorism even as the US is once again looking at Pakistan through the prism of its interests in Afghanistan.
India has promoted regional cooperation in South Asia in a spirit of generosity, without insisting on reciprocity
India cannot afford to take sides. Energy supplies and the safety and security of its vast diaspora in the Gulf are of utmost importance. India has a substantial Shia population too, with sympathy for Iran.
In General Bipin Rawat, the government has chosen a seasoned COAS who, as the senior-most of the three chiefs, spearheaded far-reaching reforms in the organisational structure and war-fighting capabilities of the Army.
India will have to manage its relations with China, no matter the challenges. Ties with Japan would remain a key component of India’s vision for a stable Indo-Pacific and a cornerstone of its Act East policy.
Beijing remains worried about the advantages the quadrilateral dialogue process might offer to India in the Indo-Pacific.
Pakistan has sought UN mediation despite being bound by the principle of bilateralism under the 1972 Simla Agreement.
It is patently wrong to claim, as vested political interests have done in India, that the scrapping of Article 370 has resulted in the “internationalisation of Jammu & Kashmir” and that the informal discussion by UNSC members is the first of its kind in six decades.
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