C. Raja Mohan (for Info only, not official)

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C. Raja Mohan

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    ...Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put India back in play in the maritime world by accepting the Indo-Pacific idea. But Delhi is yet to come to grips with continental Eurasia. If Indo-Pacific is an idea that gained traction during 2017, Delhi must now cope with another expansive geopolitical construct — Eurasia. The Indian political and policy establishment, long brought up on the notion that Europe and Asia are different, must adapt to their slow but certain integration into a single geopolitical theatre. Three events last week point to the importance of Delhi quickly adjusting its mental maps. The Chabahar port on the south-eastern coast of Iran, formally launched on Sunday by President Hassan Rouhani, opens up not just an alternative route to Afghanistan but also facilitates India’s overland connectivity with Central Eurasia. Second was the annual gathering of the heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Sochi, Russia. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 5, 2017, 12:26 a.m.

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    ... Mohammad bin Salman, the bold crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has been making waves with a muscular foreign policy, an ambitious economic agenda to wean the kingdom away from oil, the will to destroy the domestic political order and plans for social liberalisation. Conventional wisdom warns pursuing any one of these four elements would be politically suicidal. But the 32-year old crown prince, promoted out of turn by his father King Salman, is pressing ahead. Not all his exertions have succeeded. The Saudi intervention in Yemen has turned out to be prolonged and costly. His attempts to punish Qatar have not brought Doha to its knees. The recent arrest of 200 top royals, officials and business tycoons on charges of corruption, has been viewed by many as marking a political coup by Mohammad bin Salman, widely known as MbS. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 28, 2017, 12:35 a.m.

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    ...Amidst all the excitement and anxiety about the Indo-Pacific quad — which brings together India, United States, Japan and Australia — it is easy to miss the significant prospects for Delhi’s bilateral maritime security cooperation with Paris in the Indian Ocean. Looking beyond the traditional areas of high-technology and defence cooperation, and the more recent focus on global mitigation of climate change, Delhi and Paris appear ready to lend a strong regional dimension to their strategic partnership. A series of recent high-level consultations — between foreign and defence ministers as well as the national security advisers — have focused on finding ways for India and France to work together, especially in the Western Indian Ocean. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 21, 2017, midnight

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    ... Why is a low-key meeting between officials from four nations — India, US, Japan and Australia — taking place after a gap of 10 years drawing so much attention? After all, India has joined so many mini-lateral forums since the end of the Cold War. That America is a big part of the quad provides a partial answer. Although Indian officials have been sitting down with their American and Japanese counterparts for some years now, the quad comes amidst the growing Chinese unilateralism in Asia. India did much the same when it sought to hedge against America’s unipolar moment by forming a political triad with Russia and China that later became the BRICS to include Brazil and South Africa. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 14, 2017, 12:40 a.m.

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    ... Why is a low-key meeting between officials from four nations — India, US, Japan and Australia — taking place after a gap of 10 years drawing so much attention? After all, India has joined so many mini-lateral forums since the end of the Cold War. That America is a big part of the quad provides a partial answer. Although Indian officials have been sitting down with their American and Japanese counterparts for some years now, the quad comes amidst the growing Chinese unilateralism in Asia. India did much the same when it sought to hedge against America’s unipolar moment by forming a political triad with Russia and China that later became the BRICS to include Brazil and South Africa. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 14, 2017, 12:40 a.m.

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    ... US President Donald Trump’s extended swing through Asia underlines the deep difficulties in sustaining the present order in Asia. At the root of the Asian instability is the changing dynamic between the traditional hegemon, America, and its challenger, China. That Washington and Beijing need each other is not in doubt. What is in play, though, is the terms of a new economic and political settlement between the two. For all the sweet talk by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, there is no clarity on what a potential accommodation might look like. On its part, Delhi should stay the course on managing its problems with China and deepening ties with the US and key Asian actors, Japan, Korea, the ASEAN, and further afield, with Australia. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 11, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

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    ... As India hosts Charles, the Prince of Wales this week, Delhi and London have an opportunity to think afresh about the future of the Commonwealth. If an archaic anti-colonial prism distorted Delhi’s view of the Commonwealth, the troubled dalliance with Europe did much the same to London. If they contributed to the marginalisation of the Commonwealth in the past, Delhi and London now have a stake in reviving it through shared leadership. Charles is coming to India to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Commonwealth Summit in London in April 2018. On his way, Charles stopped over in three other commonwealth countries — Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. The London Summit of the 52-nation forum, formally called the “Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting” is significant for many reasons. For one, Charles, who has been taking considerable interest in Commonwealth affairs in recent years, is likely to take over from Queen Elizabeth as the head of the organisation. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 7, 2017, 12:35 a.m.

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    ...(Source: PTI Photo, file) One of the interesting features of Japan’s latest plan to revive the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral dialogue is the move to associate the European powers with it. Speaking to the Nikkei Asian Review last week, the Japanese foreign minister, Taro Kano, said that early next month he would present a formal proposal to convene a high-level dialogue between the officials of Japan, India, Australia and the United States. Exploratory talks on the Japanese initiative are likely to take place between the officials of the four countries on the margin of the East Asia Summit next month in The Philippines. Kano added that consultations are also on with France and Britain to associate them with the quad. This is not surprising. For Shinzo Abe, who first discussed the idea of a quad a little over a decade ago, the four-nation forum is, in essence, a coalition of “maritime democracies”. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 31, 2017, 12:15 a.m.