Mamallapuram beckons China’s Xi Jinping

Indian Army holding its biggest ever mountain combat exercise in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China in Oct 2019 The ancient port city of Mamallapuram on the Coromandel Coast in southern India where the  informal summit between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping may take place, is frenetic with activity. The authorities are busy laying new roads, …

India shouldn’t lose the Afghan plot

Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah casts vote in presidential election, Kabul, September 28, 2019 India is probably the only country to hail the “successful conduct of Presidential elections” in Afghanistan on September 28. Everyone else is holding breath. Curiously, the unusually muted campaign highlighted that candidates themselves seemed uninterested in spending money on an election …

Ukraine gains from Trump’s impeachment inquiry

The controversy swirling around the phone conversation between the US President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky regarding the business interests of former vice-president Joe Biden’s son is having a salutary effect on the conflict in Ukraine.  The US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker has resigned from his official position once it transpired …

A reluctant foreign secretary takes leave — quietly, unobtrusively

KPS Menon (Jr.), India’s Foreign Secretary during 1987-89 KPS Menon (Jr.), former Foreign Secretary, passed away last night. He chose Thiruvananthapuram in deep south for his departure, as far away as he possibly could from the Byzantine world of the Indian capital. Was there a deliberateness in that decision? I suspect so.  When KPS (Jr.) …

Beware of blowback from Afghan policies

The site of a suicide attack by Taliban in Parwan province, Sept. 17, 2019, targetting a campaign rally by President Ghani, killing over 20 people. Ghani escaped unharmed.  During an exclusive interview with the Associated Press this week, the former Afghan president Hamid Karzai severely questioned the rationale behind the presidential election which is due to …

Iran’s tango with Europe is rooted in its traditions and culture

French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met at UN, New York, Sept 23, 2019. The joint statement issued by the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on September 23 indicting Iran for the attacks on the Saudi Aramco plants two weeks ago is at once consequential and declaratory.  The joint …

Howdy Modi had nothing of enduring value for India

The US President John F. Kennedy (R) received India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (L) at the airport in Rhode Island, Washington, November 1961. The art of flattery, contrary to what one might think, is a complicated affair. If it is too straightforward, it runs the risk of appearing artificial, especially when the flatterer contrives to combine …