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Back to the era of simultaneous polls?
The Parliamentary Standing Committee's (on Personnel, Public Grievances, and Law & Order) decision to consider the possibility of recommending 'concurrent' or 'simultaneous' elections to the Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies across the country is a suggestion worth serious consideration, like very many other aspects of electoral reforms.
Maldives: And, Nasheed applies for clemency
19 June 2015
By applying for clemency to President Abdulla Yameen during the month of Ramadan, former President Mohammed 'Anni' Nasheed has put the ball in the court of the Maldives President. Yameen is now under twin-pressure on the Nasheed front.
Yameen greets poor Opposition rally with China visit
17 June 2015
In Maldives, the combined Opposition rally on June 12 failed to impress or inspire. The failure is attributed to the confusion caused by the unclear Opposition response to President Yameen's call for political negotiations.
Sri Lanka: Tamil separatists putting India on notice again?
09 June 2015
With Tamil Nadu Assembly elections due by May next year and an anti-Jaya political realignment likely on cards, the Sri Lankan Tamil 'separatists' appear to be trying to drive a wedge between political parties in Tamil Nadu. The purpose seems to be to try and embarrass prospective allies of the DMK.
Maldives slipping into 'pressure cooker' mode?
08 May 2015
Now, Maldives seems to be slipping steadily into the 'pressure cooker' mode. No solutions are in sight. None one knows what is going to happen next. May be, the ruling Yameen leadership should look around to learn its lessons from neighbouring Sri Lanka.
MDP's 'May Day' call, now again to India
30 April 2015
Combined with the Maldives government's demonstrated preparations for a face-off, the tone and tenor of the Opposition's preparations for the May Day rally, and their call for the civil society to chip in, indicate a possible repeat of the 'December 23 movement' protests (2011-12) that led to President Nasheed's exit.
TNA joins Colombo to pour cold water on Tamil Nadu fishers' proposals
24 April 2015
The Tamil National Alliance, heading an elected Government in Sri Lanka's Northern Province, have shocked well-wishers in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, with its tough stand on the fishers' issue between Colombo and Chennai.
Maldives: Yameen 'returns' Bill barring politics for Nasheed
08 April 2015
While it may be inconceivable in the Third World democratic context that the Bill that restricts political rights of Nasheed was moved and passed without the President's consent, Yameen has now returned the Bill to Parliament.
Modi's Sri Lanka visit
27 March 2015
For a bilateral visit at the highest-level after an undesirable and inexplicable gap of 28 long years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-day tour of Sri Lanka was noted as much for what it achieved as for the optics.
After Nasheed's conviction, Maldives at cross-roads again?
18 March 2015
After the court sentencing of former Maldives President Nasheed, India has expressed 'deep concern over the developments' and said that it was watching the situation. Yet, it may not be the best of time for Nasheed?s supporters in Maldives and sympathisers in India.
India-Sri Lanka relations and PM Wickremesinghe's interview
12 March 2015
Do the Modi government think that the worse was over for its bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, first with the exit of the LTTE, and later the electoral defeat of President Rajapaksa? If so, PM Wickremesinghe's interview should be seen as a lesson in the 'right direction' - though not necessarily on the 'right lines' as India would have wished.
Maldives: Feeble light at the end of the tunnel?
07 March 2015
Nasheed is the nation's most charismatic leader, maybe for all time. In such a scenario, independent of what the court verdict could be in the 'Judge Abdulla case', any disqualification of Nasheed from contesting the elections could see the politically-polarised nation even more sharply divided.
Can South Africa succeed where India and Norway had failed?
02 March 2015
Compared to India and Norway, South Africa may have entered Sri Lanka first and re-entered now to a relatively positive start, or so it seemed. Their timing now proves to be wrong, and their proposals thus may not either be heard, or acted upon.
Maldives at it again: Courts, protests, arrests
24 February 2015
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.
Pragmatic approach to combat climate-change: Former Secretary
21 February 2015
"India, China and the US share a similar perspective on balancing economic interests with climate-action, seeking a pragmatic approach to combat climate change through plausible self-determined contributions that are cognizant of national interests," says former Union Environment Secretary N R Krishnan.
President Sirisena's global outreach commences on a positive note
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.
US keen on investing in alternate energy sources: US official
16 February 2015
The US is keen on investing in alternate energy sources, especially in Southern India where there is high potential for such innovations, says Samuel F Rothenberg, Political/Economic Officer at the US Consulate-General in Chennai. He said around $1 billion has been earmarked by the US Exim Bank to ensure the implementation of such plans.
India's foreign policy set to undergo sea change: Former NSA
02 February 2015
India's former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan thinks that the country's external relations are set to undergo a sea change. "The first half of the 21st Century will be a soft period, but as time progresses, things will not be so smooth," he cautions.
Maldives President sacks Defence Minister after police recover weapons
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.
A bridge across the Palk Strait
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, unlike in the past, the two governments could consider reviving the proposal for mutual and greater benefits.
Statute-change mooted for better civil-military cooperation
20 January 2015
As evolved in the US and the UK, an Integrated Defence Staff, in which 'army controls army', is the need of the hour for better implementation of required reforms. This weakness can be resolved only through a constitutional amendment or to the Rules of Business of the Government, or both, says Lt-Gen. S. Pattabhiraman (Retd).
Sri Lanka's new Govt, and India and China
09 January 2015
Sri Lanka's poll results have shown that President-elect Sirisena's victory was made possible by the overwhelming vote of the minorities, particularly the Sri Lankan Tamils. However, the Indian concerns on ethnic issues will be addressed wholly only when the new government and its limited TNA underwriter arrive at a negotiated settlement.
Next Russian nuclear power plant likely to come up in Andhra Pradesh
08 January 2015
The next Russian nuclear reactor plant is likely to come up in Andhra Pradesh, according to Russian Consul-General at Chennai Sergei Kotov. Initiating a discussion on "President Putin's Visit and India-Russia Relations" at ORF Chennai Chapter on January 3.
Maldives: Trivialising the Presidency
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.
Sri Lanka: Swapping of fishers, just a beginning
31 December 2014
The Centre needs to consider a short-cut into the seas for the most-affected Rameswaram fishers in particular to cut their travel time, diesel storage and the like by 8-10 hours, while going into the deep-seas. It will also be their collective responsibility to motivate, train and equip the southern coastal fishers in deep-sea fishing.
Maldives: 'Water crisis' shows India's heart is as close as the two nations
11 December 2014
India has assured Maldives to extend all technical expertise to resolve the current water crisis. India pressed the button after Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon called counterpart Sushma Swaraj soon after the seriousness of the crisis was known.
SAARC: Balancing regional realities, global modalities
06 December 2014
In context of SAARC, the reality of the situation demands that India handles Pakistan separately. India also has to approach the rest of SAARC neighbours with a more accommodative mind-set. Such mind-sets cannot be confined to sharing history and culture, economic prosperity and development-spending.
Maldives: Reading China's 'Indian signals' wrong?
26 November 2014
The unresolved India-China border dispute brings China closer to the Indian Ocean in every political and geo-strategic calculation of nations like Maldives and Sri Lanka, even though they are not as close to both the 'Asian giants' as the rest of India's South Asian neighbours.
Sri Lanka: Is Indian concerns on Chinese naval presence justified?
18 November 2014
Since 2010, some 250 naval vessels from across a wide spectrum of nations have berthed at Sri Lankan ports. If Indians have to suspect Sri Lanka in the matter of Chinese naval vessels, then they would have to suspect a host of other nations.
Going beyond SAARC power-grid
13 November 2014
The Indian proposal for a SAARC power-grid, revived by Union Minister Piyush Goyal, has the potential to increase power-generation in South Asia. It also has the potential to reverse the way the South Asia thinks about itself - and the world thinks about South Asia, besides cutting oil bills of countries like India.
Sri Lanka: Death sentence for Indians stresses urgent need to resolve fishers' problems
01 November 2014
It may be time for both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government to actively consider the alternate, 'deep-sea fishing', away from the Sri Lankan waters, if India's Palk Strait fishers and bilateral relations were not to run aground.
Digital economy the biggest challenge facing the Indian policy-maker', says ex-PM Advisor
20 October 2014
"The structure of the Indian economy is undergoing a radical transformation, moving towards a highly service-oriented digital economy. In a digital economy we produce less tangible goods and consume more, consequently resulting in reduced savings.
Sri Lanka: TNA sending out confusing signals to India?
20 October 2014
Sri Lanka's Northern Province Tamil Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran seems to be sending contradictory signals to India through his actions. On the one hand, he wants India to play an active role in finding a 'political solution' to the ethnic problem. On the other, he boycotted the India-funded Colombo-Jaffna railway inauguration and earlier President's invitation to be part of the delegation to India.
Jaya judgment and after
13 October 2014
If someone in Sri Lanka thought that the jail-term handed down to Jayalalithaa, until then the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, would ease avoidable political tensions across the Palk Strait, they should be sadly mistaken.
Xi's visit to Maldives: Should India worry?
29 September 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit and accompanying independent agreements with Maldives and Sri Lanka, on undefined maritime issues and cooperation, have the potential for causing greater concern not only in India, but in the shared neighbourhood and beyond.

Chennai Address
Observer Research Foundation
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Chennai - 600 004.