The Republic under Siege

AS India observes the 66th anniversary of the Republic, it is necessary to have a hard look at the state of affairs in the country. The adoption of the Republican Constitution on January 26, 1950 was a major achievement of the independent India. It is under the Republican Constitution that a parliamentary democratic system was instituted.

Economy in Trouble

THAT the economy is in trouble is seen by two figures which have come out. The first is the index of industrial production which contracted by 3.2 percent in November 2015 and the second is the retail price index which registered a 5.61 increase in December.  The industrial output figure is cause for worry as the manufacturing sector within this index has declined by 4.4 percent.  Capital goods sector has declined by 24 percent, a clear indication that investment is not forthcoming.

Pathankot Lessons

THE Pathankot terrorist attack has come within four weeks of the announcement of the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan during the visit of Sushma Swaraj to Islamabad.  Such an attack was anticipated by many observers on both sides of the border. The Modi visit to Lahore may have just speeded up the plan to attack.

No Military Bases for US

DEFENCE Minister Manohar Parrikar’s first visit to Washington has led to various initiatives in defence cooperation with the United States.  The most serious and disturbing of them is the willingness expressed by the minister for giving US access to Indian military bases and ports. Media reports suggest that Parrikar has conveyed to his US counterpart Ashton Carter that the Indian government has an open mind on the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA). 

An Alignment in US Interests

IF there is any confirmation required that the Modi government is fully aligned with the United States’ strategy in Asia, it has come with the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India. During the visit, various agreements were signed which established close military and security ties with Japan. This is what the United States has wanted India to do as Japan and India are the two pillars in its Asia-Pacific strategy. It is under the urging of the United States that the trilateral security alliance was forged during Modi’s visit to Japan in September 2014.

India-Pakistan Talks:Move Forward

THE visit of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to Islamabad to attend a conference on Afghanistan, preceded by the meeting of the national security advisors and foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, mark an abrupt reversal by the Modi government of its stand with regard to talks with Pakistan. While it marks a welcome change, it also underlines the flip-flops and the lack of consistency in Indian diplomacy vis-à-vis Pakistan.

West Bengal: Rising Resistance

WEST Bengal is witnessing rising resistance and mass activities against the misrule and terror tactics of the Trinamul Congress. The Bengal Platform of Mass Organisations (BPMO) had organised jathas to cover 64,000 polling booths in the state. The rest of the 17,000 booths were to be covered later. These jathas took place between November 14 to 30. According to the reports received so far, over 60,000 booths were touched by around 18,000 jathas. Approximately, 16 lakh people participated in the jathas.

A Vacuous Tribute

THE winter session of parliament is to begin with a two-day special sitting to observe the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar and the adoption of the draft Constitution on November 26, 1949. There is no doubt that the legacy of Dr Ambedkar, the champion of social equality and one of the main architects of the Constitution should be commemorated. But the question is, how it is to be done.

Paris Outrage: Change Course in Syria

ANOTHER terrorist outrage, this time in Paris. On November 13, on a Friday night, gunmen wearing explosive vests mowed down 129 people and injured 200 others in six places in the city. The fact that most of those killed were young men and women who had gone to a concert or were in restaurants for fun and relaxation makes their deaths more reprehensible and poignant. That this happened in the French capital which is the centre of European culture and civilisation makes it a barbarous crime. There were other terrorist attacks in the same week.


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