Russia cannot do without Turkey’s cooperation in Syria

People fleeing the conflict zone in Idlib, northwest Syria. File photo. The former Soviet Union was a satiated world power. It didn’t have to prove anything. The Great Patriotic War (1941-45) spoke for itself. Thus, triumphalism was never a diplomatic tool in the Soviet inventory.  The removal of the US nuclear missiles from Turkey in …

Iran loathes Pompeo’s Chabahar gift

India-Iran Joint Commission meeting co-chaired by Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (L) and Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar (R), Tehran, December 22, 2019 Sometimes a crisis is needed to judge the efficacy of a country’s regional policies. The US-Iran confrontation is one such moment for Delhi.  In retrospect, the India-US meeting of foreign and defence ministers …

Bereft of soft power, India stands diminished in Hindu Kush and Central Asia

Bagh-e Babur (Garden of Babur) in Kabul, Afghanistan The dichotomy between the regime policy and public opinion is nowhere near as sharp as in the world of diplomacy. And nowhere in the contemporary situation is this maxim so sharply visible as in the dalliance of the West Asian oligarchies with Israel. The romance began at …

With eye on Trump, India scrambles for Russian support

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) at informal meeting in Sochi in May 2018  Within a week of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s consultations in Moscow on August 21, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is travelling to the Russian capital for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.  Prima …

‘America First’ means nuclear superiority

(Russia test-fires enhanced version of RS-24 Yars thermonuclear intercontinental missile, 6th February, 2019.) The US president’s annual State of the Union address traditionally focuses on domestic issues but it also throws some light on the foreign policy priorities. President Trump’s speech on Tuesday adhered to the pattern and if anything, the portions on foreign policy …

Why Mattis’ exit is a defining moment in US foreign policy

  (“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense,” Donald Trump, Jan 2017)  Within the week, President Trump’s sudden announcement of “total” troop withdrawal from Syria has ripped apart the American political system and exposed its fault lines. Trump’s decision is intrinsically a sound one. He didn’t start the Syrian …