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Maldives at it again: Courts, protests, arrests
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit Maldives in mid-March as part of the first-ever four-nation southern Indian Ocean trip by any Indian leader. The greater success and long-term achievement of the visit, will depend also on how it all goes and goes down well just now.

 
China
 
Defence diplomacy
C. Raja Mohan
21 February 2015
China has discarded the traditional emphasis on criticising the arms control agreements promoted by the Western powers and focuses instead on securing Beijing's national interests by actively participating in international and regional military negotiations and shaping the international military norms.
 
Swaraj's Beijing visit creates right atmosphere for Modi's visit
K.V. Kesavan & Vindu Mai Chotani
13 February 2015
After Sushma Swaraj's successful visit to Beijing, which managed to create a certain degree of 'warmth' in China's attitude towards India, now all eyes will be on Mr Modi's visit to China in May. But before that the border talks that are going to be held soon will play a key role in determining the course of events.
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Sri Lanka
 
President Sirisena's global outreach commences on a positive note
N Sathiya Moorthy
19 February 2015
During the meeting with visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Modi has indicated he would like to visit Sri Lanka in March. During the tour, the Indian PM may also visit Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. The visit has the great potential for these nations to emerge as a collective Indian Ocean Rim voice.
 
A bridge across the Palk Strait
N Sathiya Moorthy
28 January 2015
Earlier during his stint in office nearly 10 years back, Ranil Wickremesinghe had mooted the idea of building a bridge - literally - across the Palk Strait, linking his country to India. Now that he is back as prime minister and as part of a 'cohabitation arrangement' but through political consensus,
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Africa
 
Is China practising new form of imperialism in Africa?
Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani
10 February 2015
Many see China to be practicing a new form of imperialism in Africa as it imports primary goods from Africa and exports manufacturing goods to Africa, without transferring skills to the continent. And China-Africa ties are not free from challenges. There is also immense potential.
 
Al-Shabaab emerging as a dangerous Jihadist organisation in Africa?
Arushi Gupta
02 February 2015
Following the ideology of global Jihadism and maintaining links with Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab is emerging as a lethal organisation in Africa, posing a strategic challenge to the United States besides Somalia and its neighbours.
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US
 
The Obama visit and its geopolitical context
Vikram Sood
09 February 2015
If we accept the US to do something for us, we too have to be able to offer a quid pro quo, remembering that in international relations, national interests are supreme, sovereignty is (sometimes) equal but power and reach are not equal.
 
Is India firmly aligned with the US now?
Ravi Joshi
30 January 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, within eight months of coming to power, has gone about strengthening India's relations with Japan, Australia and the US, in what seems to be a well laid out plan with a clear agenda.
US »
Japan
 
Japan's defence spending at a crosscroads
K.V. Kesavan
04 February 2015
One is still not sure whether Prime Minister Abe will be inclined to let the defence budget cross the self-imposed limit of 1 per cent of the GNP. Only once in the 1980s Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone crossed the Rubicon. But considering the 'extraordinarily grave' security situation in East Asia, Abe may feel impelled to do so.
 
Japanese Foreign Minister's 'Three Bridges' for the Indo-Pacific
K.V. Kesavan & Vindu Mai Chotani
20 January 2015
Japanese and Indian foreign ministers, Mr Fumio Kishida and Ms. Sushma Swaraj, have now agreed to hold a meeting at an earlier date this year that would allow the foreign ministers of India, Japan and the US to conduct talks.
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Russia
 
Russia - the Bric that came apart
Richa Sekhani & Geethanjali Nataraj
04 February 2015
Russia's troubles are unlikely to vanish soon. With the Central Bank forecasting a 4.5 per cent drop in GDP in 2015, a downgrade is a certainty. The budget deficit, forecast to be larger than 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2015, will prove to be another cause of misery.
 
Russia-Turkey deal and geo-politics of gas
Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty
30 December 2014
At a time when it is facing Western sanctions and a proxy war on oil prices, Russia sprang a huge surprise early this month by signing a gas deal with Turkey. The deal will enable Russia to pump natural gas into a Turkish hub, near the Turkey-Greece border and from there into the southern EU market.
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Maldives
 
Maldives President sacks Defence Minister after police recover weapons
N Sathiya Moorthy
22 January 2015
In Maldives, a midnight police break-in and alleged yet uncontested seizure of 'dangerous weapons' from Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim's residence has led to his unceremonious replacement by Maj-Gen (Retd) Moosa Ali Jaleel, until then High Commissioner to Pakistan.
 
Maldives: Trivialising the Presidency
N Sathiya Moorthy
03 January 2015
In Maldives, a ruling coalition member's decision to move an amendment to the 2008 Constitution, to fix an upper age-limit of 65 years for contesting presidential election, has landed President Abdulla Yameen in an unnecessary controversy.
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Pakistan
 
Pak boat operation mysterious and deserves some answers
Manoj Joshi
12 January 2015
It is strange that the operation took place on the edge of India's exclusive economic zone, 365 km from Porbandar. It would have made more sense to have allowed the suspect boat to come into our territorial waters where we could have legally boarded it forcibly? Even if it was sunk, you could have then recovered the evidence in the shallower waters.
 
Pak boat operation: Was there any other option with Coast Guard?
Vikram Sood
08 January 2015
No one really knew what had happened on the high seas off Porbunder on the New Year Eve, yet everyone had an answer within hours. The boat was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time,
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Bangladesh
 
Bangladesh: Warring Begums
Pinak R Chakravarty
12 January 2015
The political situation in Bangladesh is reverting to the bad old days of hartals and blockades. Major countries which could influence the Sheikh Hasina government, including India, seem reluctant to pressurise her.
 
Dhaka boundary settlement: Modi bites the bullet
C. Raja Mohan
01 December 2014
Constructing a border of cooperation with Bangladesh should liberate India from one of major geopolitical constraints imposed on it by the Partition of Bengal. When he travels to Dhaka in the near future, Modi is in a position to unveil a genuine strategic partnership with Bangladesh.
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Iran
 
Iran steps up fight against Extremism
Ravi Joshi
15 December 2014
Iran recently organised the first international conference on 'World against Violence and Extremism (WAVE)' as per the proposal made by President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly in September. Most significantly, the conference brought together the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen - four of the most troubled states in the region.
 
Iran's N-talks: Two steps forward and another act of sabotage
Ravi Joshi
06 November 2014
While the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are on track and when Iran is conceding most of the demands, why should there be an explosion in a crucial Iranian nuclear site, that too a missiles and munitions centre -- Parchin.
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