Narendra Modi has completed eight years as the Prime Minister of India. His tenure has seen a strengthened and transformed Indian foreign policy. In his book, Crunch Time: Narendra Modi’s National Security Crises, author Sreeram Chaulia studies India’s national security crises under Modi, and his handling of it. His main argument that Modi was more decisive than his predecessors in dealing with China and Pakistan, holds.
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been focused on resolving the Afghan crisis. But divergent views of members and the influence of China and Pakistan have eluded a solution. This has been further impeded by the ongoing sanctions and humanitarian issues which are beyond the organisation's scope.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
A shift is taking place in the business of global dominance and hegemony, from the model of expressing force through troop presence to financial sanctions. But China and Russia, in concert, may provide a way out of the sanctions regime.
While international organisations in Afghanistan have made a noticeable impact in the humanitarian field, they have been less successful in the political field, putting into question their overall effectiveness.
Islamabad recently lifted a ban on the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a violent Islamist group in Pakistan, and released its leader from jail. This is worrisome, with serious implications for India and counterterrorism efforts as a whole, for the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Army to activate its proxies like the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, to advance its domestic political ambitions and openly support extremist organisations.
India has seen a recent influx of refugees from Afghanistan and Myanmar. This has highlighted the absence of a concrete refugee policy in India. India must formalise its approach towards refugees. The Citizen Amendment Act of 2019, is a start. India can move this forward by learning from the examples of other democracies like the U.S., Kenya and South Korea, on how to balance international law with its national security interests.
India hosted a summit with five Central Asian states on January 27, marking 30 years of diplomatic relations with the region, and an important step forward to pursue greater connectivity between India and Central Asia. New Delhi's engagement holds promise for ambitious bilateral agendas including security in Afghanistan, the revival of dormant projects, and potential collaboration in renewable energy, space and information technology.
The Taliban's resurgence since 2001 has been largely funded by the creation of an opium economy and extortion. Now, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops, legitimate aid from Afghanistan and the freezing of Afghan funds abroad, the Taliban will revive its informal sources of finance to stay afloat. A look at the financing that brought the Taliban back to Kabul.
The upcoming Summit for Democracy hosted by U.S. President Biden, has high expectations from him. With trust in the U.S. having suffered badly, it remains to be seen how much confidence the democracies at the summit will have in American efforts at restoration of world leadership.