India, Pakistan on the road to peace

New hope for India-Pakistan relations?  Opportunities missed and opportunities seized in the chronicle of international diplomacy in modern history provide two outstanding illustrative examples.  After centuries of enmity and the colossal destruction inflicted by two devastating world wars in the last century, France and Germany seize an opportunity to turn a new page in their … Continue reading “India, Pakistan on the road to peace”

Biden proposes a Quad summit. This is why

Quad alliance upgrade: US President Joe Biden proposes summit meeting with counterparts from Japan, Australia and India The Axios reported Friday that President Joe Biden plans to meet his counterparts from the so-called Quad — Japan, Australia and India — later this month. Biden’s plan can potentially transform the regional alignments in Asia-Pacific. It impact on the … Continue reading “Biden proposes a Quad summit. This is why”

Blinken blinks on human rights

Protesters wearing helmets, gloves stand behind makeshift shields during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar, March 1, 2021  On March 3, the US State Department has put on its website a hilarious statement titled The United States Opposes the ICC Investigation into the Palestinian Investigation.  In a nutshell, the statement exposes that the Joe Biden Administration … Continue reading “Blinken blinks on human rights”

Colombo port deal calms India’s paranoia 

Colombo Port needs China and India to emerge as trans-shipment hub in the Indian Ocean The Sri Lankan government has announced that it is going ahead with a project to develop jointly with India and Japan a new container terminal from the scratch at Colombo Port called the West Container Terminal.  According to the official … Continue reading “Colombo port deal calms India’s paranoia “

Biden set to inflict wounds on Eurasia

Yet another colour revolution in Georgia, Tbilisi, Feb 26, 2021 Mikhail Gorbachev in a special interview to the Tass news agency on Monday gave a poignant message to the Kremlin by calling for the strengthening of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security treaty Organization and for mending relations with those former Soviet republics … Continue reading “Biden set to inflict wounds on Eurasia”

Iran pushes back at US overreach on nuclear issue

Iran rejects talks with US unless sanctions are lifted Tehran rejected on Sunday a pending proposal from the European Union to arrange a “diplomatic conversation” with the US. But the Iranian statement in this regard is rather nuanced. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated:  “In view of the … Continue reading “Iran pushes back at US overreach on nuclear issue”

Guns fall silent on India-Pakistan border

The extraordinary joint statement last Friday at the level of the Director-Generals of Military Operations [DGMO] of India and Pakistan came like a bolt from the blue. It triggered speculations. Of course, it is preposterous to contemplate that the Indian Army went out on a limb without political directive, or that some “grand bargain” involving … Continue reading “Guns fall silent on India-Pakistan border”

US exceptionalism surges again. Will it fly?

Poverty is the ultimate denial of human rights  In a statement marking the “return” of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken disclosed that the Biden Administration is placing democracy and human rights at the centre of American foreign policy.  The cat is out of … Continue reading “US exceptionalism surges again. Will it fly?”

Biden and the Saudi conundrum

King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia (C) meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (R) aboard the USS Quincy in Great Bitter Lake, Egypt, February 14, 1945. The Joe Biden Administration is expected to release the Central Intelligence Agency report on the brutal murder of the prominent dissident and well-known journalist Jamal Khashoggi in … Continue reading “Biden and the Saudi conundrum”

India has lessons from Sino-Russian normalisation

China backs India for hosting BRICS 2021 summit At a press conference in Beijing on Monday, when asked about China’s attitude toward BRICS cooperation and India’s current chairmanship of the grouping in the backdrop of the border tensions in Ladakh, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin described BRICs as a cooperation mechanism with “practical … Continue reading “India has lessons from Sino-Russian normalisation”

US, Iran edging back to negotiating table

New generation of centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment plant  The frozen lake of US-Iran confrontation is generating a pinging sound. The cracking of the ice is yet to produce that loud booming thunderclap. But these are early days.  It was only last Thursday that the US and the three European states who are party … Continue reading “US, Iran edging back to negotiating table”

The zen of Ladakh disengagement

A meeting between special representatives of India and China on  boundary question – Ajit Doval (L) and Wang Yi (R) – is on the cards The 9th round of talks at the army commanders’ level between India and China resulted in a breakthrough that since achieved the successful disengagement of troops on the north and … Continue reading “The zen of Ladakh disengagement”

India’s forever wars and forever warriors

Disengagement between Chinese and Indian forces at the banks of the Pangong lake in Eastern Ladakh  The Washington-based Quincy Institute, arguably the most intellectually stimulating American think tank nowadays, in its compulsively readable publication Responsible Statecraft featured on Tuesday an investigative report titled Weapons biz bankrolls experts pushing to extend Afghan War, authored by Eli Clifton, … Continue reading “India’s forever wars and forever warriors”

India’s forever wars and forever warriors

Disengagement between Chinese and Indian forces at the banks of the Pangong lake in Eastern Ladakh  The Washington-based Quincy Institute, arguably the most intellectually stimulating American think tank nowadays, in its compulsively readable publication Responsible Statecraft featured on Tuesday an investigative report titled Weapons biz bankrolls experts pushing to extend Afghan War, authored by Eli Clifton, … Continue reading “India’s forever wars and forever warriors”

India’s forever wars and forever warriors

Disengagement between Chinese and Indian forces at the banks of the Pangong lake in Eastern Ladakh  The Washington-based Quincy Institute, arguably the most intellectually stimulating American think tank nowadays, in its compulsively readable publication Responsible Statecraft featured on Tuesday an investigative report titled Weapons biz bankrolls experts pushing to extend Afghan War, authored by Eli Clifton, … Continue reading “India’s forever wars and forever warriors”

India’s forever wars and forever warriors

Disengagement between Chinese and Indian forces at the banks of the Pangong lake in Eastern Ladakh  The Washington-based Quincy Institute, arguably the most intellectually stimulating American think tank nowadays, in its compulsively readable publication Responsible Statecraft featured on Tuesday an investigative report titled Weapons biz bankrolls experts pushing to extend Afghan War, authored by Eli Clifton, … Continue reading “India’s forever wars and forever warriors”

Biden resumes adult conversations with Beijing, Moscow

US envoy to Iran Robert Malley (third from left) at a 2015 meeting with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (far R), Geneva Like a bolt from the blue, the news has appeared belatedly that the US special envoy to Iran Rob Malley initiated a call with Chinese vice minister Ma Zhaoxu on February … Continue reading “Biden resumes adult conversations with Beijing, Moscow”

Biden resumes adult conversations with Beijing, Moscow

US envoy to Iran Robert Malley (third from left) at a 2015 meeting with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (far R), Geneva Like a bolt from the blue, the news has appeared belatedly that the US special envoy to Iran Rob Malley initiated a call with Chinese vice minister Ma Zhaoxu on February … Continue reading “Biden resumes adult conversations with Beijing, Moscow”

Qatar on mission to break US-Iran stalemate

Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif (L) and Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani (R), Tehran. Feb. 15, 2021 With five days to go, Iran nuclear issue is tiptoeing toward a deadline on February 21 when Tehran is obliged by its domestic law to stop allowing inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency unless there … Continue reading “Qatar on mission to break US-Iran stalemate”

US-Indian strategic construct of Western Indian Ocean runs into headwinds

Pakistan Navy is hosting largest multinational maritime exercise ‘Aman 21’ in North Arabian Sea on February 11-16, 2021. The AMAN-21 naval exercise, the biennial event hosted by Pakistani Navy since 2007, in Karachi and the Arabian Sea from February 11-16 draws special attention. As many as 45 navies are reportedly participating, which makes AMAN probably … Continue reading “US-Indian strategic construct of Western Indian Ocean runs into headwinds”

Biden kickstarts China re-engagement

What distinguishes the new US administration is that there has never been an American president before with anywhere near the foreign policy experience that Joe Biden possesses. Biden brings into the presidency enormous experience spanning over half a century, through his continuous stretch in the US Senate and the White House from 1973 to 2016 … Continue reading “Biden kickstarts China re-engagement”

US reboots Quad in unseemly hurry

Protests in Myanmar’s central plains after the military coup. The Japanese news agency Kyodo reported from Washington Sunday quoting “a source” that the Biden Administration had proposed to New Delhi, Tokyo and Canberra the idea of holding an online summit meeting of the leaders of the “Quad”.  The report added, “Whether the talks will materialise … Continue reading “US reboots Quad in unseemly hurry”

India needs course correction on Myanmar

The Modi government made a strident call on February 1 that the “rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld” in Myanmar. The statement, following a prodding from Washington, was unabashedly intrusive, and, ironically, completely overlooking that human rights, rule of law, democratic pluralism, etc. are universal values that India also can (and … Continue reading “India needs course correction on Myanmar”

Biden’s dilemma: There are no good guys in Myanmar

The difficulty in forging a consensus in the UN Security Council over the developments in Myanmar does not come as surprise. The fact of the matter is that the unfolding events cannot be neatly captured yet in binary terms as democracy versus dictatorship. Washington took time to assess whether what happened was a coup at … Continue reading “Biden’s dilemma: There are no good guys in Myanmar”

With eye on Biden, India’s Iran diplomacy shifts gear

India completes two years of operations in Chabahar Port By a fortuitous happening, the top South Block official  heading the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran Division in India’s External Affairs Ministry, J.P. Singh was in Iran in the weekend, hot on the heels of the senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. It is improbable they met. It is … Continue reading “With eye on Biden, India’s Iran diplomacy shifts gear”

What a multifaceted US-Indian partnership should be

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (L) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a meeting in Delhi in December 2015 (File photo) The phone call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to External Affairs Minister Jaishankar materialised on January 29, only three days after the Senate confirmation of his appointment. The state department … Continue reading “What a multifaceted US-Indian partnership should be”

Biden won’t upset the Saudi-UAE apple cart

US President Biden pauses arms deals to Saudi Arabia & UAE  The reported US decision to review the weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that were authorised by former President Donald Trump becomes a test case of any dramatically new directions in the Biden administration’s West Asian policies — the … Continue reading “Biden won’t upset the Saudi-UAE apple cart”

Taliban risks losing international legitimacy

A high-powered Taliban delegation led by Mullah Baradar arrived in Tehran for consultations on January 26, 2021  A high-level delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the senior leader of the Taliban and its chief negotiator at the Doha talks, held consultations in Tehran and Moscow this week through January 26-29 amidst growing uncertainty over … Continue reading “Taliban risks losing international legitimacy”

Taliban scouting for regional support draws blank

A high-powered Taliban delegation led by Mullah Baradar arrived in Tehran for consultations on January 26, 2021  A high-level delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the senior leader of the Taliban and its chief negotiator at the Doha talks held consultations in Tehran and Moscow this week amidst growing uncertainty over the Afghan peace … Continue reading “Taliban scouting for regional support draws blank”

Geopolitics swarms Afghan peace talks

A high-powered Taliban delegation led by Mullah Baradar arrived in Tehran for consultations on January 26, 2021 There are signs that Pakistan and Iran — and the Taliban — are on guard over the likely outcome of the Biden Administration’s intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, which the White House National Advisor Jake … Continue reading “Geopolitics swarms Afghan peace talks”

Biden and Putin break the ice

Six days into the Joe Biden presidency, the first telephone conversation between POTUS and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin took place on Tuesday. Who took the initiative remains a tantalising detail, given the tense Russian-American relationship and the poor personal chemistry between the two leaders who are known to each other for a decade. But the … Continue reading “Biden and Putin break the ice”

China cherishes Hanoi’s nay to ‘Quad’

The 13th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam got under way in Hanoi on January 25, 2021  The 13th national congress of Vietnam’s ruling communist party, which began in Hanoi on Monday is an event of exceptional significance for the country’s internal politics and future trajectory of development, regional politics and the … Continue reading “China cherishes Hanoi’s nay to ‘Quad’”

US-Pak reset to advance Biden’s Afghan settlement

Barack Obama (C) with advisers reviewing Afghan exit plan, vice-   president Joe Biden (L), White House, Washington, DC, circa 2010 Mark Twain is credited with the saying ‘History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.’ The echoes of history resonate as the new US administration prioritises the Afghan problem for policy review.  The … Continue reading “US-Pak reset to advance Biden’s Afghan settlement”

Biden’s Idea of India and Savarkar’s are poles apart

Kamala Harris being sworn in as US Vice-President. At right extreme is President Joe Biden. Washington, DC, January 20, 2021 According to media reports, the US President Joe Biden has picked as many as 20 Indian-Americans for senior positions in his government, and the common thread running through them is that none of them had … Continue reading “Biden’s Idea of India and Savarkar’s are poles apart”

Blinken’s diplomatic cart will have a bumpy ride

US Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken at confirmation hearing of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, Jan 19, 2021 The confirmation of Antony Blinken as US secretary of state by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a foregone conclusion. That makes his opening statement at the senate hearing Tuesday an important document. Blinken did not throw … Continue reading “Blinken’s diplomatic cart will have a bumpy ride”

US makes aggressive opening move on Russian chessboard

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was detained at the airport in Moscow upon arrival from Germany, January 17, 2021   A regime change project in Russia was launched on Sunday with the return of political activist Alexei Navalny to Moscow. It was a highly symbolic event — except that Navalny was travelling by an aeroplane … Continue reading “US makes aggressive opening move on Russian chessboard”

Biden is shifting leftwards

Racial and other forms of inequality limit US economic strength The US-president elect Joe Biden did two spectacular things last week which may rewrite the assumption that his presidency would return America back to the Barack Obama era. One was the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan Biden rolled out Thursday and the other his choice … Continue reading “Biden is shifting leftwards”

Biden is shifting leftwards

Racial and other forms of inequality limit US economic strength The US-president elect Joe Biden did two spectacular things last week which may rewrite the assumption that his presidency would return America back to the Barack Obama era. One was the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan Biden rolled out Thursday and the other his choice … Continue reading “Biden is shifting leftwards”

Russia takes charge of Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) met Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev (C) and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan (L), Moscow, Jan. 11, 2021 The trilateral meeting of the leaderships of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Kremlin on January 11, exactly two months after the ceasefire in the 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, can be seen as a robust … Continue reading “Russia takes charge of Nagorno-Karabakh”

No matter Impeachment 2.0, Trumpism haunts America

US President Donald Trump faces reporters as he walks toward Marine One, White House, Washington, DC, January 13, 2021. “My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine. You may my glories and my state depose but not my griefs; still I am king of those.” (King Richard in William Shakespeare’s Richard II)  For … Continue reading “No matter Impeachment 2.0, Trumpism haunts America”

Germany draws another line in the sand for the US

Russia’s pipe-layer crane ship Fortuna, capable of laying about 1km of undersea pipe a day (File photo) Exactly a week after the announcement on December 30 regarding European Union’s long-sought comprehensive investment agreement with China, the Danish Energy Agency received an innocuous revised schedule from Nord Stream 2 AG for the construction of the gas pipeline … Continue reading “Germany draws another line in the sand for the US”

Boris Johnson has done Modi a favour

Prime Minister Modi (R) and UK PM Boris Johnson. File photo Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson conferring on the latter the great honour of being the chief guest at the Republic Day on January 26 was a hasty and premature move. True, the Oxford vaccine can turn India’s dismal … Continue reading “Boris Johnson has done Modi a favour”

US may annoy adversaries but means no harm

The US Congress in night session after rioters were evicted and Capitol building was sanitised, Washington, DC, January 6, 2021 Atonement becomes an inevitable process as the decline of a superpower begins accelerating. But imperial powers finds it genuinely difficult to learn to become a ‘normal’ country. That dichotomy could cause traumatic events. The sack … Continue reading “US may annoy adversaries but means no harm”

Whither American Democracy?

Rioters stormed US Capitol, Washington, Jan. 6, 2021 In a poignant remark, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reacted to the dramatic events in Washington, DC, on Wednesday — the storming of the Capitol building and President Donald Trump’s attempted coup — by recalling that Hitler’s seizure of total power started with the burning of the … Continue reading “Whither American Democracy?”

Wither American Democracy?

Rioters stormed US Capitol, Washington, Jan. 6, 2021 In a poignant remark, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reacted to the dramatic events in Washington, DC, on Wednesday — the storming of the Capitol building and President Donald Trump’s attempted coup — by recalling that Hitler’s seizure of total power started with the burning of the … Continue reading “Wither American Democracy?”

Modi marks distance from Trump, finally

Modi-Trump bromance comes to an end (File photo)  Apropos of the dramatic happenings in Washington, DC, — with President Donald Trump’s ardent supporters and acolytes ransacking the Capitol Hill on Wednesday — Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted: “Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceful transfer of power … Continue reading “Modi marks distance from Trump, finally”

Saudi embrace of Qatar falls short of Gulf unity

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) welcomes Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon arrival to attend Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Al-Ula, Jan. 5, 2021. The West Asian region is such a fragmented part of the world that any semblance of reconciliation on any of the criss-crossing fault lines becomes a … Continue reading “Saudi embrace of Qatar falls short of Gulf unity”

Biden needs Russia and China’s help to cut Trump’s Gordian knot on Iran

South Korean-flagged tanker Hankuk Chemi carrying 7200 tonnes of ethanol escorted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats off Oman for polluting the Gulf with chemicals, January 4, 2021   In international diplomacy, while creating narratives, there is a criticality about the timeline over normative values. Iran’s announcement on December 4 that it has begun to enrich uranium … Continue reading “Biden needs Russia and China’s help to cut Trump’s Gordian knot on Iran”

Preview signals Biden’s foreign policy shifts

Iran says it has resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity In his first media interview, the incoming US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has given a preview of Joe Biden administration’s foreign policy directions in regard of Russia, Iran and China. Major shifts can be expected in the policies toward both China and Iran while … Continue reading “Preview signals Biden’s foreign policy shifts”

A perfect storm gathers in Persian Gulf

Scene from a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, Tehran, Dec 31, 2020 On the first anniversary of the killing of the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a targeted drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020 that was approved by President Donald Trump, something had to … Continue reading “A perfect storm gathers in Persian Gulf”