Sumit Ganguly


Sumit Ganguly is director of research at the Center on American and Global Security, Indiana University, Bloomington

Dealing with the dragon

The latest dust-up in Sino-Indian ties involving Chinese participation in a global conference on Buddhism is emblematic of the troubled relationship. Despite New Delhi’s periodic efforts to downplay the significance of these periodic tensions, it is more than apparent that the two countries are now on a collision course. Though some observers, both domestic and foreign, have sought to downplay the significance of growing strains, there is no gainsaying that the two countries have fundamentally divergent interests in South Asia and beyond.

A quixotic quest for a nuclear-free world

Last week, the noted Congress politician and intellectual gadfly, Mani Shankar Aiyar, in a presentation argued that it was desirable and possible to pursue universal nuclear disarmame

The end of an affair?

The US-Pakistan alliance yet again seems to be under considerable strain.

A foreign policy adrift

At the end of the Cold War, India’s policymakers had demonstrated much dexterity in shifting foreign policy priorities to adapt to a vastly changed global order. They had moved to improve relations with the United States, upgraded diplomatic ties with Israel, turned towards SouthEast Asia and abandoned the country’s hoary commitment to Third World solidarity. All of these changes required a fleetness of foot that was genuinely remarkable.

A timely tocsin on defence laxity

Last week, a former national security adviser, Brajesh Mishra, delivered the first K. Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture for the Global India Foundation in New Delhi. Mr Mishra, a plain-spoken individual, did not mince his words about the problems confronting India’s national security. He correctly argued that India had failed to transcend the region and its two long-standing adversaries had sought to hem it in.

Pak’s cult of victimhood

Not long after the horrific terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 26, 2008, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani publicly stated that while he shared India’s sorrow, he also wished to underscore that Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism. Given the rising graph of wanton acts of terror that have swept across Pakistan since then, there is more than a kernel of truth to that seemingly fatuous and insensitive statement. That said, Mr Gilani’s claim requires greater scrutiny.

Not squaring up with Washington

With news about yet another possible scandal, this time dealing with oil leases, buffeting the United Progressive Alliance-2 government, it may be difficult for the country’s policymakers to focus on the upcoming US-India strategic dialogue scheduled for late next month. Indeed if the current disarray persists, the meeting scheduled in Washington, D.C. may lead, at best, to the usual recitation of a litany of mutual concerns.

Convenient amnesia

In the wake of the very successful American covert operation, which culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden, the US-Pakistan relationship again appears to be at crossroads. Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the land, has expressed his anger and frustration about not being alerted to the raid in advance.

A race to oblivion?

Last week India successfully tested an interceptor missile capable of destroying an incoming ballistic missile off Wheeler Island near the Orissa coast. This latest test, if the technical data that has been released in the public domain is correct, would mark a milestone in India’s quest for ballistic missile defence (BMD).

Enlightened self-interest or moral outage?

India chose to abstain on UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1973, which granted the members to use “all necessary force” to prevent Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s forces from attacking those elements of his population that are challenging his rule. This is one of the rare occasions in recent memory that the UNSC has invoked chapter VII of the UN Charter, which deals with breaches of international peace and security, to authorise the use of force against a member state.

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