India and France have common interests bilaterally and multilaterally, and these are increasingly forging together. India must now step up its commitments to trade, technology and defence, all areas where France has an expertise and can make a greater contribution as India’s old allies like Russia become vulnerable.
Swagato Ganguly is Consulting Editor, The Times of India and Research Affiliate, Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University. He has worked across editorial pages of Indian newspapers and was Editorial Page Editor, The Times of India, from 2009 to 2021. His two most recent books are: (as author) Idolatry and the Colonial Idea of India: Visions of Horror, Allegories of Enlightenment [Routledge, 2018]; (as editor/curator) Destined to Fight?: India and Pakistan 1990-2017 [Times Group Books, 2017]. He lives in New Delhi.
Last modified: April 21, 2022
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics came to a close on 20 February. It was marked by Covid restrictions, athlete dramas, and a united diplomatic boycott by Western democracies citing human rights concerns in Xinjiang, a boycott India later joined for Galwan-related issues. In contrast with the unity presented by China and Russia with summit meetings in the lead up to the Olympics, shifting alliances are now the norm.
The contemporary fate of Hong Kong, which has known freedom and rule of law, offers in microcosm a glimpse of what could happen if the liberal world order is up-ended. In this book, Mark Clifford convincingly argues that what happens in Hong Kong doesn’t stay in Hong Kong, as he draws connections between the techniques used to end freedom there with China’s penetration and manipulation of open societies elsewhere.
In six concise case studies, Vijay Gokhale, former Foreign Secretary of India, demystifies the Chinese style of diplomacy. The reviewer says the book makes a compelling case for how the lack of diplomatic experience of newly independent India’s leaders enabled the Chinese Communist leadership to outmatch and outmaneuver them in the early years, despite the latter playing a relatively weak hand.
On November 15, the presidents of the U.S and China met for the first time since Joe Biden was sworn in earlier this year. The main purpose was for the two heads of state to get to know each other and establish a line of communication. If this is Cold War 2.0, with similarities to, as well as differences, from Cold War 1.0, then what the Biden administration has in mind is something akin to détente, with some scope for cooperation, especially on climate change.
The notion of “peaceful reunification” of China with Taiwan has been a geopolitical fiction that has been now shredded by Beijing’s talk of taking Taiwan by force. Should Taiwan go under and much of Asia fall to Chinese hegemony, India’s interests will be as threatened as America’s, or perhaps even more.