On November 26, the first flight took off from Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh, set up to help Buddhist pilgrims reach the Mahaparinirvana Temple, where Lord Buddha attained nirvana. Promoting India's Buddhist legacy can lead New Delhi's effort to revive diplomacy between the SCO's eight member nations.
While several Bay of Bengal countries are rich in hydropower and thermal electricity generation, others are net energy importers with large markets. India can lead creative energy projects with its eastern neighbours, supported by regional and international institutions.
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern across the globe, especially in Africa. India has shown solidarity with the continent, extending supplies of Made in India vaccines, drugs and medical equipment. Despite some setbacks, there is vast potential for Indo-African collaboration based on strategic advantages and mutual goals.
The news of the EU's much-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy was overshadowed by the Australia-UK-U.S. military alliance, AUKUS. Eight weeks later, tempers are cooling off as the U.S and EU signed agreements at COP26. So, are transatlantic good times back on track? Has AUKUS put a permanent spanner in the wheel of the EU’s Indo-Pacific outreach?
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 Bay of Bengal is gaining relevance as a significant sub-region within the Indo-Pacific. Despite its importance to regional security, there is inadequate financial, physical, and energy connectivity. India must use its strategic and political pre-eminence and influence in the sub-region to pursue deeper connectivity with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and to block China's growing influence.
After successfully developing Dubai and Abu Dhabi as aerotropoli or cities around an aviation hub the United Arab Emirates aims to become an astropolis, a hub of space tourism and human spaceflight. There is ample scope for UAE to cooperate on this with India, which is also its comprehensive strategic partner.
The EU's Indo-Pacific strategy, released in September, set the tone for a renewed focus on the region. Europe's Asia connect is rich, strong and multi-layered, laying the foundation for an advantageous position for the EU in the Indo-Pacific. This can be achieved if the EU is more candid with itself, more assertive with China, and more cooperative with India.
Last month, at a hybrid meeting, the Foreign Ministers of India, the U.S., Israel, and the UAE set up a forum for quadrilateral cooperation. In the many issues discussed, the technology dimension shows the most potential for collaboration, with unique contributions of expertise and resources available from each country's tech hubs: Bengaluru, Silicon Valley, Dubai and Tel Aviv.
Cyberattacks from Pakistan-based hacker groups targeting India have increased. The stepped-up cyber activity comes in the backdrop of Islamabad's new cyber security policy and expanded digital cooperation with China. India must bolster its existing abilities in cyber forensics and regulations to counter the enhanced Pakistani threat.