Holding a G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir is a bold, audacious and timely move. It will provide the government with an opportunity to cement the gains it has claimed accrue from revoking Article 370. The geopolitical setting will provide an opportunity to diplomatically cock- a-snook at the Chinese, camping not too far away in the un-demarcated border areas with India.
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Hailed as historic, the new global rules to curb harmful fishing subsidies is a step towards sustainable fishery practices. The negotiated deal, however, is fraught with concerns over overcapacity in fisheries, deep-sea fishing legislations, and blue finance. It may be better for developing countries to formulate their own regulations and set up mechanisms to prevent illegal fishing within their territorial waters – and hold the WTO agreement to its word.
Great power competition in the Indo-Pacific is a concern for regional powers. India’s maritime security strategy has adapted to this geo-political change, and is moving from acting as a balancing power, to a leading force in the region. India is a near, yet non-resident power, and has a strategy for providing stability, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
Pakistan’s latest economic survey reveals the extent of the country’s indebtedness to China. High-interest Chinese loans, reckless multilateral borrowing, and ever-increasing defence budgets have deleteriously impacted Pakistan’s finances. Any lasting solution to these problems will have to involve China.
China’s expansionist nuclear programme aims to bolster its capabilities, so much so, that Beijing's predictions boast 2500 new warheads by 2030, thus rivalling the American and Russian arsenals. As the dragon quadruples its nuclear propensity, heralding the world to something greatly unstable – a tripolar nuclear system; nuclear peace seems a quite convoluted goal.
On 31 May 2022, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia delivered keynote address at the panel discussion on Emerging and Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges, organised by the Kalinga Institute of Indo-Pacific Studies. Amb. Bhatia elucidates on usage of technology in modern warfare, especially the Ukrainian war, while also stressing those critical technologies in the Indo-Pacific can provide a fillip to sustainable development in the region.
After its fourth summit on May 24, the Quad has emerged stronger and clearer in its initiatives which are aimed at addressing the Indo-Pacific’s geopolitical challenges. India now has a chance to work with like-minded democracies on an equal footing, with much to contribute. The Quad’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific is to deepen internalised cooperation for continued peace, prosperity, and stability.
The Quad has agreed to launch a satellite-based maritime security initiative to curb illegal fishing by China. India is a global leader in satellite launches, especially in Earth Observation (EO) satellites. The Indo-Pacific nations are looking at the Indian model because it is applicable, economical, and sustainable.
A serious stocktaking is expected at the Quad Leaders' Summit in Tokyo, to measure the progress of its wide-ranging list and proposals. In addition to vaccine partnerships, climate change, and connectivity, the Quad must now craft a common strategy for and expedite cooperation in, the economy, higher education, industry, and technology. It will also project unity in the Indo-Pacific region.
With mass digitisation, India has proved that technology is not just for the educated, privileged, and wealthy. The country's open and secure digital public platforms can be significant for the Indo-Pacific, the world's most data-rich region. The Indian model is applicable because it is open-source, interoperable, auditable, and enshrines individual rights, ownership, and empowerment.