Hailed as the highest altitude tunnel in the world, the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang pass in Himachal Pradesh is a significant part of India’s border infrastructure push. It has reduced travel time from Manali to Leh and forward areas. It is significant for national defence as also tourism because it provides all-weather connectivity to the Lahaul-Spiti Valley.
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The recently-enacted China Coast Guard laws have renewed uncertainty in the South China Sea. India must work with the Quad to build collective maritime competence of maritime law enforcement agencies beyond the Indian Ocean Region within the Indo-Pacific.
With the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 set to be introduced during parliament’s on-going budget session, India is now ready to introduce its own official digital currency—following in the footsteps of China and Russia. So far, Indian regulations prohibited the public from trading in crypto-currencies. However, the investor community has an interest in them, as an asset that is not subject to government devaluation, unlike regular fiat currency in circulation. This infographic traces the evolution of crypto-currencies since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009.
On February 1, the Myanmar army seized power, turning a partial democracy into a full-fledged military rule, once again. Whenever democracy suffers, India feels concerned. However, New Delhi is committed to the policy of non-interference in another state’s internal affairs. It is also guided by its national interest and will astutely balance principles, values, interests, and geopolitical realities.
The Union Budget for FY 2021-22 is due next week. ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and the continuing stalemate with China in Ladakh will guide Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to allocate financial resources for the defence sector. How will she cater to the defence services’ expectations? Will she unveil special measures to further ‘Make in India’ in defence? Listen to defence expert Dr. Bhartendu Kumar Singh, in conversation with Sameer Patil, Fellow, International Security Studies Programme, to know how the budget will shape India’s mission to achieve self-reliance in defence-industrial capabilities
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have come under global scrutiny in recent months following their use to incite or misinform the public. For years, governments around the democratic world have not taken the responsibility to adequately regulate these platforms. Now that may be changing – and it won’t be easy.
The U.S. Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, visited India on 17 Dec 2020. Will this year-end visit culminate in the reactivation of the First Fleet under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command? The First Fleet, is likely to be an expeditionary fleet - one without a shore-based headquarters and assigned primary responsibility for the Indian Ocean and parts of Pacific Ocean bordering South Asia. Its reactivation will emphasise the strategic importance of this region. It will also relieve the burden of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet headquartered in Japan, that is deployed for operations in this vast oceanic space.
Both India and Canada have interests in strong multilateral systems. WTO and other institutions help create a network of alliances and norms, essential to function in a global economy. India-Canada should collaborate on developing overarching principles, as neutral third parties to develop broad principles to guide the technology exchange across borders that could act as a beacon similar to the UNDHR document.
In preparing India for its G20 Presidency, domestic standards must be strengthened to reflect globally. The chaotic nature of the Global Digital Infrastructure requires a champion in standard setting and developing regulatory frameworks. India and Canada, both founding members of the Global Partnership on AI with the OECD may influence the multilateral system.
Australia's much-awaited inclusion at the Malabar Exercise-2020 reflects a hard reset in India's foreign policy that was traditionally accommodative to Chinese concerns on the militarisation of the Quad. In the backdrop of the on-going stand-off with China at the Ladakh border, the Indian Navy has maintained a high operational tempo and deployed the highest numbers of frontline assets during this edition of the Malabar Exercise. India must build on this strategic vision and work towards including France at the next edition of Malabar in 2021.