Constructive engagement with neighbours and beyond
You can call it a masterstroke. Engaging not just the neighbours, okay there are some continuing irritants, but also those in the region, Narendra Modi has shown statesmanship qualities as Prime Minister. Except for Pakistan which continues to pose a problem, there are significant positive signs that have emerged on the external affairs front. The latest being Narendra Modi’s engagement with Japan on several matters that are crucial not just for bilateral relations but also for a stable geopolitical scenario.
As many have termed it as ‘dawn of a new era in India-Japan relations’, it truly is considering that the two Prime Ministers—Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe—have put the seal on the Tokyo Declaration of September: the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. One of the highlights of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit was in the realm of defence wherein the bilateral maritime exercises were institutionalised. Importantly, there is going to be significant activity in transfer of technology in defence, beginning with the US-2 amphibian aircraft offer from Japan. Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd) and Ranjeet Kumar have analysed differently the significance of Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan.
Subsequent to that, the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, came calling to India and the meeting with the Indian Prime Minister was fruitful for many reasons. The two countries signed the historic Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement which will facilitate sale of uranium fuel to India, without which the country’s 20 odd nuclear power plants are running on partial capacity. The resurgence of India has encouraged Australia in entering into a nuclear deal and we believe that this is not just a one-off case. India is going to see many more partnerships as it gets into an economic drive.
These two meetings have made it amply clear what India’s nuclear policy is. It may be recalled that after the Pokhran nuclear tests, India had declared a no first-use policy and announced a nuclear doctrine based on a credible nuclear deterrence, which means that the country will maintain an effective arsenal to retaliate if attacked. India had declared that the country’s armed forces will have a second strike capability from land, air or sea. The Prime Minister assured before going to Japan that “we are not taking any initiative for a review of our nuclear doctrine.”
Following up on the issue of 49 per cent cap on foreign direct investment (FDI), we have two major original equipment manufacturers—Lockheed Martin and Saab—spell out their strategies. Saab has pointed out that there is absolutely no limit on FDI in Sweden.
In his frank and forthright viewpoint, Lt General Katoch (Retd) has talked about the latest video from Al Qaeda leader announcing the formation of an Indian branch of his militant group to spread Islamic rule and raise the flag of jihad. The General has categorically stated that this is our fight and we have to fight it ourselves, while there is so much big talk of international cooperation for countering terrorism. He points out that at best there could be sharing of intelligence.
Finally, the Indian Armed Forces have once again performed beyond their call of duty in meeting with the challenges of disaster management and saving precious lives during the recent flood relief operations in Jammu and Kashmir. In an article, we look at their efforts in the valley during the calamity. Salutations to the Indian armed forces for their bravery and dedication to the nation!
SP’s M.A.I. continues to focus on issues that are critical to the nation. In this endeavour, we look forward to your feedback to improve our coverage.
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Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief