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Thursday November 14, 2019

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Manvendra Singh Blog - DSA's Editor-in-Chief

Opinion: Assertive China - Cooperation, competition or conflict?

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China is an enigma that continues to defy conventional analyses. It has in fact always been an enigma. From the time it came to regard itself as the Middle Kingdom, till the current era, there has been something about China that doesn't quite gel. It defies conventional wisdom on account of its many extraordinary achievements and simultaneous contradictions. The economic growth story is the envy of many in the world and an unparalleled success in human history. The largest number of human beings lifted out of poverty in the shortest span of time in an extraordinary achievement. But not all of China's achievements are worth emulating. Because at the same time as the growth story are wretched tales of environmental degradation, denial of basic human rights to its people, brutalities in Tibet and Xinjiang and flourishing corruption like there wasn't a tomorrow. It remains an enigma, therefore, because it displays extraordinary contradictions. In many ways it remains beyond scrutiny even in a networked age and information overkill.

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The Indo-French relationship

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India and France share one of those strange all-weather relationships that rarely gets the credit or status that it deserves. It just exists in the backdrop of enormous global drivers, hardly ever drawing attention toward its dynamics. Even as the atmospherics always seem to be on the wavelength, the relationship doesn't create headlines, let alone breaking news. There is of course the occasional defence announcement that creates ripples, but that is always the way it has been. India and France are sort of taken for granted. Which is sometimes also a good thing, but there is a danger that it remains one of those expected relationships, for which neither side takes that additional step to take it to a higher level.

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Founding Editor's View on Maoism and Terrorism

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On 16 April an important encounter took place in Chhattisgarh. A joint operation involving the CRPF and the state police was successful in eliminating nine Naxals in the Dandakaranya region of Sukma district. This is the area of Chhattisgarh where the Maoist Naxals are extremely active and have caused many casualties amongst policemen and other security forces. So in that sense it was an extremely important encounter and a successful one at that. What, however, is as important and maybe even more so in the long run, is how a UAV was used during the operation.

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India's Look East Policy

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India has an announced 'look east' policy. It was first enunciated in the 1990s when the country was being buffeted by western winds that sought to trap it in the diplomatic quagmire caused by Jammu and Kashmir. Late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, the much underrated practitioner of statecraft, began the use of this term. He used it in terms of the need for a few constant pegs to Indian diplomatic and security interests. At that time nothing seemed to show a direction. The world had recently witnessed the end of the cold war and the emergence of new countries from the debris of the disintegrating Soviet Union was a very real reality. It was a world quite unlike anything seen in at least a couple of human generations.

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A view on new non-alignment movement, a version 2.0

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There is a belief that things of the past can remain relevant in the future, even if they need to be retooled a wee bit. Institutions, organisations, alliances, all of these of the yesteryears continue to have a relevance with a bit of retouching. Something a little more than a rouge job. In this there is an underlying assumption that says the forces which made a particular association, organisation, are still relevant decades down the line. In the world of politics, particularly of the international variety, there is a dynamism that can age even the most contemporary institutions. So it raises serious questions when some theorise on a new non-alignment movement, a version 2.0.

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