A new book on India-Pakistan relations by former High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, brings his practitioners’ knowledge to the fraught bilateral. He reiterates that the determining factor is still Pakistan’s quest for identity based on territory and security, and the paranoia of the Pakistani army. The book contains fascinating insights about his predecessors’ suggested solutions and lays out three scenarios for the future.
China’s world vision has entered its next phase. After the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), come the Global Initiative on Data Security (GIDS) so Chinese tech standards can lead, Global Development Initiative (GDI) so China leads the development dialogue, and Global Security Initiative (GSI), so China’s security is ‘indivisible’ from other countries – all in time for China’s 2049 goal of becoming a global power.
The proximity in the Indo-French relationship is reflected in the countries' increasing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. An ambitious joint Indo-Pacific roadmap is supported by the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative and the recently announced Indo-Pacific Triangular Development Cooperation Fund. Both partners must now devise timelines for the implementation of the proposals.
Maldives’ President Mohammed Muizzu’s desire to have an independent foreign policy has steered it away from India and closer to China. It has added a new dimension to the strategic contestation in the Indian Ocean. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, shares his insights on the Maldives’ strategic importance in the region, the ‘India Out’ campaign, and the way forward for Indian diplomacy in South Asia.
A tiny nation of half a million people, Maldives has drawn enormous attention from the media, diplomats and informed public since Muizzu’s election last September. The interest has only risen after the recent diplomatic row with India and Muizzu’s increased bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Japan and the EU have a stable and long engagement with India. As India grows in economic and geopolitical significance, both partners must change the lens they view India with. Japan has done better, especially with investment, and because of a common interest and activity in the Indo-Pacific. The EU is driven by Brussels still and needs must overcome that limitation to better leverage India.
The parallel political and security crises in Myanmar and Manipur have led Indian authorities to consider abolishing the Indo-Myanmar Free Movement Regime (FMR). However, without long-term policy efforts to ameliorate the political and economic situation along the border, ending the FMR and fencing the Indo-Myanmar border is unlikely to resolve India’s security problems in the region.
The more India enjoys cooperative relations with its neighbours, the greater its ability to exert influence in the world. Meanwhile, neighbours looking at India with a reasonable mindset may internalise that cooperating with the world’s fifth largest economy is clearly in their interest.
After a year affected by a sustained polycrisis, global geopolitics in 2024 remains a delicate dance between hope and realism. Ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza cast uncertain shadows, while Taiwan and the South China Sea present potential flashpoints. Indian diplomacy will have to navigate old and new challenges, while promoting India’s expertise in digital technology, as also managing its own upcoming parliamentary elections.
A sweep of democracies across the world are scheduled to hold general elections in 2024, including seven of the 10 most populous countries. India has an interest in several of these: its own national election and those in its immediate neighbourhood; in the G20, of which India is still part of the troika; and in BRICS-plus, where a new global game is afoot.