The two decade-old Indian Ocean Rim Association holds its first ever summit next week. Maritime safety and security in the region is a paramount concern as also enhanced trade, but will the Blue Economy be included as a priority? Another area of concern is devising modalities for cooperation with dialogue partners, such as the United States, China and Japan
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Trends in technology, geopolitics and geoeconomics have dramatically transformed the global energy scenario in the last two years. This means favourable conditions for import-dependent India, which must use the opportunities available to reduce its vulnerability to high energy prices. The jump in oil prices past the $60 mark suggests that India must act with alacrity. India’s Energy Footprint Map offers a profile of India’s global trade and investment in energy, and indicates what India can do to access cheap and reliable supplies
China is the largest investor in Sri Lanka today, with funding and investment of nearly $15 billion. Gateway House tracks the Chinese money trail to Sri Lanka-- where it lands, where it stays--and assesses its depth. This is the second in the Gateway House Series on Chinese investments in South Asia.
Perhaps South Block did not gain as much as it had hoped to: there was a gulf in member states’ perceptions. One takeaway, therefore, for policy makers was that while noise has its uses, it is now time for some quiet diplomacy
Sri Lanka’s deputy foreign minister Harsha de Silva delivered the opening address at the first Gateway of India Dialogue in Mumbai in June 2016. In his speech he underlined the need for building a bilateral of “irreversible excellence” between India and Sri Lanka based on shared geography, history and culture.
Does India plan to remodel its Andaman & Nicobar Islands as a launching pad for future security operations to check growing Chinese inroads in the Indian Ocean Region? Development of the islands has long been ignored to India’s detriment, and their strategic position in the Indian Ocean, underutilised.
After decades of passivity, India is beginning to assert itself in the maritime arena. There is a whiff of salt in the usually 'sea-blind' corridors of Delhi, where the Modi government clearly sees the linkage between the possession of maritime wherewithal, both civilian and military, and the furthering of national prosperity, through ever-increasing trade.
This year, India's defence diplomacy has ramped up. In 2015 alone there have been 18 military exercises- naval, army and air force- with 13 countries, among the largest engagements the country has had. Most significant is Japan joining the Malabar exercises in the Bay of Bengal and the first-ever maritime exercise with Australia. This is increasing India's presence from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. As these exercises intensify India will be better positioned to handle regional security challenges.
After losing power in January, Mahinda Rajapaksa, former president of Sri Lanka, is trying to re-enter politics by contesting for the prime minister’s seat in the elections on August 17. If he wins, it could destabilise Sri Lanka’s politics and impact relations with India, which had been hit under Rajapaksa’s rule. The future scenario will become clearer by next week.
With the Modi government’s focus on improving neighbourhood relations, India cannot afford delays in its aid projects in the region—especially because aid is an effective foreign policy instrument. Why are these projects getting delayed? Is the government taking remedial steps to improve India’s aid programme?