Saturday, 30 August 2014

South China Sea, East China Sea and the maritime disputes in and around those regions

Need a separate post for tracking these topics and get armed with links.

good link on ADIZ

"Editor’s Note: China’s establishment last November of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) shook many observers, who feared it was a first step in a more aggressive Chinese foreign policy. Here at the Foreign Policy Essay, we’ve already taken an early look at the issue. However, as the months have passed and a crisis has yet to emerge, analysts are beginning to take a second look at the issue. Eric Heginbotham, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, contends that the reasons for China’s decision to establish the ADIZ are often misunderstood and that U.S. policy needs to focus more on China’s actual behavior, not the zone itself."

Friday, 29 August 2014

Very interesting

More on covert operations and how Russia is playing that currently.

Note to self: to remember this stuff and limits of media and also open-source analysis

Link here

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tips and interesting thoughts on the Indian economy and markets

Good read. Though I don't *totally* accept with the views expressed, they are perhaps the most interesting that I have read in a while.

I would have liked to seen something on the power, energy and distribution sector too. Perhaps a bit on defence... if it can be privatized, made into public listed companies and such. They will become good avenues for investment too.

Link here

Friday, 15 August 2014

Back to the basics

Should really keep a note of stuff that I do from time to time.

Little did I realize that I will see S P Infocity, Fursungi, Hadapsar etc again... and did it all over again while going to Purandhar.
Covered a fair bit of Vishalgad, Ratnagiri, Radhanagari and the ghats too.

Yay,I remember the routes in and around Pune! Feels good to be back... to life.

Now if only I could take sometime off to cover the entire west coast. Someday...

Friday, 8 August 2014

Brilliant article by an Ambassador

excellent. Though I will not totally agree with the thoughts, its pretty exhaustive, interesting and very informative.

A balanced view, in my opinion.

A few good lines:

Several reasons could be attributed to the 'new thinking' in Beijing. First and foremost, China may sense that under Modi's leadership, India is all set to pursue a genuinely independent foreign policy.
The idea of an 'independent foreign policy' has been a cliche in Indian discourses and has been bandied about cavalierly by many governments in India.
>> My opninion: this bit remains to be seen. Its early days and one couldn't be sure about a summer after seeing one sparrow. But its surely a plausible reason.

A bit on what he calls the Modi Doctrine:

  • Modi has a pronounced 'India-first' approach, which is a rooted belief as well.
  • But he is not dogmatic when it comes to the pursuit of India's national interests.
  • Nor is it divested of emotions. The human factor is obvious from his trademark slogan, 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (meaning, inclusive development) and he visualises the foreign policy as an extension of national policies.
  • India needs help for development from all available sources and there is willingness to source it without pride or prejudice.
  • India needs a friendly external environment that is conducive to development and acts as a buffer for its national security. Modi places great store on regional cooperation.
  • Modi visualises that India's 'influence' in its region is critically dependent on its capacity to carry the small neighbours along on the path of growth and prosperity that would make them genuine stakeholders -- rather than by demanding respect or insisting on 'influence' on the basis of its pre-eminence in the region as a military and economic power and through 'muscle-flexing'.
  • He reposes confidence in the country's inherent advantages as a regional power and is not paranoid about any 'string of pearls' chocking India.
  • Modi believes in promoting India's commonality of interests with other emerging powers that also have been denied their due role in the global political and economic architecture, which was erected by the West out of the debris of World War II and has become archaic, but remains impervious to change and reform.
  • "
    It is entirely conceivable that at some point sooner rather than later the SCO countries may move toward trading in their national currencies, creating banking institutions to fund intra-regional projects and forming preferential trade regimes.
    Needless to say, with India, Pakistan and Iran inside the SCO tent, the grouping becomes a lead player in Afghanistan.
    >> My opinion: The author is perhaps trying to play the Af card too much. It cant be said for certain that the US wants to muck around in Af for ever. Agreed that Af has about a 1trillion dollar mineral deposit. However, if it were to be said that US wants to stay there for ever, why the talk even of coming out of Af? Will they not want to stay there forever? The Af operation is costly. Period. And like anything else in life, over time, US influence will wane and without security forces [boots on ground], influence in business will drastically reduce

    Finally, the Silk Road as such would get a massive fillip and within the SCO framework, India could aspire to gain greater access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
    India's energy security gets strengthened, too. The time may have come for the creation of an SCO energy club, an idea first mooted by Putin a decade ago.
    New possibilities arise for initiating trans-regional energy projects under the auspices of the SCO, such as the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
    >> My opinion: Energy security is paramount and anything sensible to secure it should be pursued

    Entire article here

    Wednesday, 6 August 2014

    Strategy and why it matters

    A great line from FP. Hear, Hear

    Basically, making strategy should not feel good, avers Roger L. Martin. (The article is titled "The Big Lie of Strategic Planning," but I don't think that really captures what it is really about.)

    "Fear and discomfort are an essential part of strategy making," he writes. "In fact, if you are entirely comfortable with your strategy, there's a strong chance it isn't very good.... You need to be uncomfortable and apprehensive: True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success." Indeed, if there is not much risk, there probably isn't much strategy, he emphasizes: "Strategy involves a bet."


    Monday, 4 August 2014

    South China Sea : Excellent Infographic

    Should surely be amongst my top current fav topics.


    Plod along. Gently

    To be remembered at times of going through a difficult phase.

    There comes a time in everyone's life when the future is a bit more blurred than one would like it to be, its not clear we are going along in the right path towards success and the overall outlook is very hazy. Its important to be cognizant of the present and take steps, one at a time. Its important to ensure that there is reflection and keen awareness of whats happening around you, but most importantly, that there is movement. Keep moving. As Churchill mentioned it wisely and aptly, if you are going to hell, keep going.

    Saturday, 2 August 2014

    Europe : Challenges ahead, a geopolitical perspective

    A brilliant read, IMO. No wonder why geopolitics is very interesting and opens up various opportunities and ways of looking at things that not a lot of other fields could ever imagine throwing up.


    "Back when I was teaching, I used to provoke my students in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service by observing that Europe — birthplace of the Enlightenment, cradle of democracy — was really just “Africa with autobahns.” I wanted them to understand that despite all the apparent differences, Europeans are just as likely as Africans to embrace narrow tribal loyalties that lead to political division and violence."

    "Resurgent tribalism in Europe would raise a host of military and diplomatic issues for America.  For instance, the Scottish National Party that would likely run an independent state has said it does not want nuclear weapons on Scottish territory, but the United Kingdom government says there is no suitable alternative site to base its ballistic-missile submarines.  It isn’t clear what that might mean for a Scottish state’s role in NATO.  And Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has hinted that Madrid might veto Scottish membership in the European Community, for fear of the signal that membership would send to Spain’s own separatists."

    "Almost nobody in Washington is thinking about such possibilities right now.  It is so much easier to default to our Cold War preconceptions in addressing the Ukrainian crisis, as if the separatist impulses of ethnic Russians within Ukraine were irrelevant.  Problem is, such impulses are latent across Europe, and they might come to the surface with a vengeance if economic conditions deteriorated or new political catalysts emerged (as they did in Ukraine).  At that point, the similarities between Europe and Africa could become all too obvious."

    The whole article is a great read