If globalization is a game, India would seem to be one of its winners. The past decade has seen India record impressive economic growth and move into fast-moving high tech sectors. Nowhere is this transition more apparent than in information and communication technology (ICT). While China has made a name for itself making ICT hardware, India is known for its prowess in software. Multinational corporations from Microsoft to Adobe have set up R&D centers in India, while home-grown firms like Infosys and Wipro have taken advantage of the outsourcing boom to become global players.
Foreign Policy & Security
On the eve of India’s founding, no one could have imagined how successfully it would come to navigate the international system. At that time, there were legions of skeptics who believed that the half-life of this new country would be measured in years, perhaps decades at most. The question of when India would split apart was one of the staples of public discussion going back to Churchill’s celebrated remark, “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator.” Since then, legions of commentators believed that it would be a miracle if India survived.
As the United States and India grow ever closer as partners, they cannot escape the challenges posed by Pakistan, which has been a complication in the bilateral relationship between Washington and New Delhi since 1947. The next American President and his Indian counterpart will find it impossible to ignore the dangers and opportunities posed by Pakistan today. Cooperation between Washington and New Delhi on how to deal with these challenges is crucial and fortunately seems to be improving especially as we prepare for the 2014 transition in Afghanistan.
The troubled state of civil-military relations in India has attracted much attention in recent times. Many, especially within the military, argue that it has been in a state of prolonged crisis as far back as 2006 when disputes over the Pay Commission created bad blood between civilians and the military. These tensions, however, paled in comparison to the controversies that erupted earlier this year. General V.K.
The third annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in June left many convinced that the two nations’ “strategic partnership” is expanding. And not without reason as unprecedented counter-terrorism coordination, extensive joint military exercises on land, sea, and air, and candid discussions on sensitive topics like Iran and Myanmar point to a deepening relationship. But amidst a flurry of high-level visits surrounding the Dialogue, U.S.
The latest round of talks between India and Pakistan on the Siachen glacier ended on June 12th without a breakthrough. It’s been twenty-eight years since India launched Operation Meghdoot to pre-emptively occupy the dominating Saltoro ridge on the glacier. It’s been twenty-seven years since Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India and President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan agreed to begin talks at the level of defence secretaries on the Siachen dispute. Thirteen rounds of talks have taken place over these years and both sides have expended considerable amounts of lives and treasure.
Do recent events and the logic of the past indicate that we are at the beginning of a shift in policy by India’s neighbors from attempting to “balance” India to “bandwagoning” with India over the long run? Why do India’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, but also to a lesser extent Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, not bandwagon with the region’s largest and fastest-growing economy for their own interests?
In response to security concerns in the neighborhood and as it emerges as a regional superpower, India has embarked on a grand scheme of defense modernization. A recent study published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) places India as the largest importer of arms between 2006 and 2010 and estimates the modernization of the industry at $80 billion.
Despite the popular rhetoric of “rising India,” a common argument amongst scholars is that India lacks a grand strategy. Elites are said to rely on “ad hocism,” India’s preferred guiding star, on matters related to foreign policy. The absence of strategic thought is not only a given, but re-enforced by the lack of a visible foreign policy template that is seriously discussed, argued, and made available for public consumption.
Barack Hussein Obama is about to become the sixth American president to visit India and the third in a row. He is going in the first half of his first term; only Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon did so before him. Presidential visits are carefully planned and scripted, but events invariably have a way of intruding onto the agenda and the stage. This Presidential visit takes place against the backdrop of America’s longest war ever in Afghanistan and a natural disaster in neighboring Pakistan where Obama has invested a huge effort in trying to stabilize a deeply wounded state.