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FOCUS – May 17, 2022. By Kartik Bommakanti, Sameer Patil, ORF. During the ongoing Ukraine crisis, a lot of the debate surrounding India’s ‘neutral’ stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine has focused on India’s dependence on arms imports from Russia. This piece explains India’s arms imports from Russia and what it means for India’s defence industrial capacity and India’s foreign policy. Explained: India’s arms imports from Russia

 

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Afghanistan

  • May 16, 2022. By Aakriti Vinayak, VIF. The world is in a state of flux. Ukraine crisis is triggering cascading risks globally. However, while the world attention is diverted to the Ukraine conflict, the crisis in Afghanistan remains sidelined. The country faces confluence of multiple crises. Economy is in doldrums, there is political uncertainty and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis is leading the country to a precipice of unmitigated disaster. It is seen that nearly one third of the country is grappling with emergency levels of food insecurity. Adding to the misery is the worst drought recorded in 27 years. There has been an unprecedented rise in hunger from 14 million people in July 2021 to 23 million in March 2022. This has forced households to resort to desperate measures such as skipping meals or relying on debt to ensure there is some food on the table at the end of the day. Further economy is in dire straits as according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 97% of the population teeters on the brink of universal poverty[1]. The financial situation already remains grim as more than $9 billon of Afghanistan’s assets were frozen after the Taliban took power last August. Uncertain Future of Women Rights in Afghanistan

Bangladesh – India – China

  • May 17, 2022. By Sohini Bose, ORF. In a meeting that took place at the end of April in Dhaka, between the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and India’s Minister of External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, the Bangladeshi premier offered the use of Chittagong Port to India. Jaishankar was in Dhaka on behalf of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Hasina for visiting New Delhi. Discussing the need for greater connectivity between the two neighbouring countries for their mutual benefit, Prime Minister Hasina pointed out that increased linkages would help India’s landlocked Northeastern states of Assam and Tripura to have an access to this seaport. This proposition is reminiscent of a similar offer Bangladesh made to China in 2019 for its southwestern states to use the ports of Chittagong and Mongla. Indeed, the port of Chittagong often features in Bangladesh’s strategic partnerships with its neighbourhood, particularly the two Asian giants: India and China. As Bangladesh meanders its way through the geopolitics of the Bay of Bengal region, which is fast regaining its dynamism, the importance of this port is worth cultivating. The Chittagong Port: Bangladesh’s trump card in its diplomacy of Balance

Central Asia

  • May 16, 2022. By Valdai Discussion Club. In terms of Russian foreign relations, the countries of Central Asia remain the most stable in the former USSR. There is no state or association for which the fight against Russian interests would be a central foreign policy strategy. Potential challenges and threats to stability are primarily related to internal factors, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev. Central Asia and Crisis in Europe

India

  • May 17, 2022. By Niranjan Sahoo, PhD, ORF. In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court bench has put all sedition cases in abeyance till the Union government reconsiders the colonial-era law. In the interim order, the bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice Surya Kant directed the Union and State governments to refrain from registering any FIRs under Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code.  While this is an interim order and the final judgment may be different, nonetheless, the order is a watershed in the history of 162-year colonial law. Given the seriousness displayed by the current CJI to review the seditious provisions and the Union government’s surprise climb down to reconsider its original stand on the same, one may expect a decisive verdict on this in the future that ideally should have no place in a modern democracy. The Sedition Law: Time to erase the blot on Indian democracy
  • May 17, 2022. By Arunima Gupta, Sanjay Anandaram, ORF. Cultural entrepreneurship promotes a country’s heritage, resources and creative talents through products, services, and experiences. It shapes the country’s cultural economy; enables economic growth, innovation, and sociocultural development; and, when exported, contributes towards building soft power. India, with a millennia-old heritage, indigenous knowledge systems, and practices, has the potential to become a leading cultural and creative economy in the world. This brief draws attention to the importance of developing India’s cultural and creative economy. It offers a strategic roadmap for the growth of cultural enterprises through three focus areas: conducive policy environment and incentives; market-side interventions and infrastructural support; and greater access to capital. Catalysing Cultural Entrepreneurship in India
  • May 17, 2022. By , Project-Syndicate – The Strategist. India is no stranger to political controversies. At least half a dozen rage in its fractious public life at any time. But perhaps the most unseemly recent dispute has been the current one over the country’s Covid-19 mortality figures. Covid-19’s true toll on India

India – Sri Lanka

  • May 17, 2022. By Shashank Sharma, VIF. India’s neighbourhood is in a churn with both Pakistan and Sri Lanka reeling under severe economic and political crises. While Pakistan, obstinately continues to inflict pain unto itself with its self-defeating obduracy, Sri Lanka finds itself at the precipitous end of the options trail as it faces its biggest economic crisis since its independence in 1948. A few years back no one would have expected Sri Lanka to land up in such a deleterious situation, facing huge external debts and depleted foreign exchange reserves. People are out on the streets protesting against shortage and rocketing prices of food, fuel, power, gas and essentials, as also 12-13 hour long power outages. The country doesn’t have enough foreign exchange to foot the import bills for daily essentials. In Aid of a Troubled Maritime Neighbour: India and the Sri Lankan Financial Crisis

Quad

  • May 17, 2022. By Angus Houston,  Marc Grossman, The Interpreter. While Russia’s attempt to blackmail Poland and Bulgaria by cutting off natural gas supplies may seem a distant question for the nations, we believe it is relevant and urgent. Accordingly, the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, the group known as “the Quad”, should use their gathering in Tokyo on 24 May to order the immediate creation of a Quad energy strategy to prepare for unforeseen but not unimaginable disruptions to regional energy supplies. No Gas: Lessons from Poland and Bulgaria for the Quad

DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE

  • May 17, 2022. By Jada Fraser, The Interpreter. The clear intention of AUKUS is to tip the military balance in the Indo-Pacific in favour of the United States. The various initiatives in the pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States are headlined by cooperation to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. The overarching aim is to expand defence technology cooperation between the partners to augment military capabilities and enhance US power projection in the region. AUKUS: More than meets the eye
  • May 17, 2022. By  and , The Strategist. The establishment of defence space organisations among space-faring nations means they must explain their purpose and rationale alongside well-established branches of militaries. Three distinct camps have emerged in the attempt to characterise the role of defence space organisations. The first group argues that the space domain should not be militarised and warns that even using language describing it as a contested environment will turn space into a warfighting domain. Understanding the military’s role in space
  • May 17, 2022. By , The Strategist. In terms of scale, the recently announced Pacific support vessel, ADV Reliant, is chicken feed compared to the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine and frigate projects, but these capability decisions have more in common than is immediately apparent. The recurring issue is an inverse relationship between strategy, concepts and platform acquisitions. Strategy should drive concepts, and concepts should drive what we buy. Pacific support vessel another platform that doesn’t fit Australia’s policies

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