The war emanated from Middle East has spanned to trans-continents in the form of terrorist activities. After Paris attack, there are series of such sporadic incidents in Mali, US,UK and recently in Yemen. Perhaps many more such incidents may be repeated in other parts of globe. In this complex geopolitical setting of Middle East-US, West,Russia and other powers have their own strategic interests. Iran is supporting Shia regimes in Shia majority Iraq and in Sunni majority Syria. Prominent Sunni countries in Middle East protected and supported by US and West are providing covert support to ISIS against these Shia regimes. So, if US and other Western powers says that there are three factions fighting in Syria i.e. Asad's forces, Anti-Asad's forces and ISIS, it would be wrong. Basically ISIS is fighting on behalf of Anti-Asad forces. So, there are only two factions-one, Asad’s forces and other Anti-Asad and ISIS coalition forces. The whole conflict in Iraq and Syria appears to be on Shia Sunni Sects. So, if US or West says that they are fighting with only ISIS in Syria, it would be wrong and amounts to paying lip services only as ISIS and Sunnis are aligned in Syria and same is situation in Iraq. After Paris attack perhap sFrance has come to senses and sees a rationality in Russian approach. US and West need to keep aside their geopolitical interests for time being and should fight cohesively against global terrorism in order to establish peace in the region and across the globe. They should learn a lesson from history that how bitter enemies Communists and Nationalist of China fought together against Japanese occupation of China. Alternately, with the help of influential Arab States US and West can broker peace with fighting forces through reconciliation.
Terrorism is an outcome of clashes of two unequal powers where weak power resorts to sudden and clandestine attack on strong power. Terrorism may take place in many forms: between two groups, between group and state and between state and state. There may be state sponsored terrorism also. The root cause of terrorism is real or perceived notion of getting robbed of its tangible or intangible assets of a weak power by a strong power. The assets may be tangible assets like territory, natural resources etc or intangible resources like ideologies, beliefs, culture and environment etc.
With the unprecedented rate of globalization in recent past, the economic benefits of globalization are skewed in favour of few selected countries and group of people. In that process some group of people and countries feel that they are being economically exploited by big powers. On the other hand, due to greater global interconnectivity due electronically enabled social media, people are able to express their divergent ideologies and views without respecting the ideologies and views of other groups or people. If the two groups are having divergent views on ideologies, beliefs and culture and one group considers being exploited economically by normally other powerful group, the problem gets further compounded that creates a conducive environment for emergence of terrorism. Under this circumstance, if conducive political opportunity structure is in place for a leader to emerge that frames the issue against real or perceived exploitation and injustice and based on this issue if he is able to secure financial and non financial resources to strike terror, then it is quite like that terror act will be executed.
Earlier terrorism used to be mostly intra-state or at most with neighbouring state. However, with the rapid globalization, the conflict has also travelled long distance and so is the terrorism which is amply clear from 9/11 and recent Paris Terrorist Attacks on 14th November, 2015 that perpetrators were sitting in far off countries.
Miseries faced by humanity due to two World Wars in the first half of twentieth century compelled the world leaders to create international organizations in order to avoid conflicts, promote social and economic progress, and ensure human right and human dignity, and United Nation was one of the organizations established on 24th October, 1945 to achieve some of these goals. One of the basic aim for which United Nations (UN) was created is to maintain international peace and security. The Security Council is the United Nations' most powerful body, with "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security." There are five permanent members of Security Council of UN and ten non-permanent member of Security Council. Non-permanent members are elected for two years. Each of the five permanent members i.e.China,France,Russia, United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA) are equipped with veto power to turn down any proposal for consideration in Security Council. All these five countries who are permanent members of Security Council jointly fought against the Axes Power and defeated them during Second World War.
After more than half a century, global geo-political scenario has changed considerably. Bipolar world after Second World War became a uni-polar world after disintegration ofSoviet Union. However, new powers are emerging inAsia. Crisis over South China Sea, prolonged conflicts in West Asia and Africa, and terrorism inSouth Asianecessitate an effective role of UN Security Council in resolving these issues peacefully and amicably. But, UN has not been able to fulfil expectations of global community in achieving the desired result in this direction.
Some of the countries of axes power such asGermanyandJapanmade rapid economic progress after war and reconstruction, and contributed to social and economic development of developing and least developed countries through generous aid.
Similarly,Indiahas been one of the biggest contributors of peacekeeping troops, and made a lot of sacrifices of its people in both World Wars while fighting on behalf ofBritain. About 1,50,000 soldiers of united India died in World war I and World War II. History is evidence thatIndiahas never invaded any country in past. Moreover,Indiais second largest country in terms of population and seventh largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest in PPP with highest growth rate at present.
Brazilis fifth largest country in world and largest country inSouth America.Brazilhas been selected 10 times member of Security Council and has contributed to peacekeeping operation.
Though number of members of UN has increased from 53 since its formation in 1945 to 193 at present; but, the number and powers of permanent members of Security Council have remained unchanged. Considering the growth of members of UN, changing global geopolitical scenario, changing economic and military profile of some of the emerging countries and need for more democratic governance in UN and more specifically in Security Council, number of permanent seats in Security Council needs to be expanded with same powers which existing permanent members have. In this scenario,India,Japan,GermanyandBrazilare most eligible claimant for permanent seat in Security Council. If security council is not reformed and new claimants of permanent membership are not inducted in Security Council, they may resort to formation of an alternative organization for cooperative security and peace building. In case, if this happens, UN will lose its importance in due course of time.
Language plays an important role in emotional unification and nation building. InIndia, wide spread use of Hindi can play an important role in nation building. Hindi is most widely understood, spoken, read and written language inIndia. More than 55 percent of Indians can understand, speak, read and write Hindi. Despite that English language is widely used inIndiain business and offices especially in central government offices. Even after six decades of independence,India could not replace usage of English by Hindi in bureaucracy, business, and professional education such as engineering, medicine, science and management etc. It is matter of great curiosity and concern for the people who are genuinely concerned about its widespread use. In last week,India hosted 10th International Hindi Conference at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh from 10th to 12th September, 2015. In this conference delegates from about 30 countries have participated. The conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India and attended by Ministers of Government of India, Chief Ministers, Governors, and other Ministers of various State Governments. Most of the speakers at this conference painted a very rosy picture about Hindi in time to come, stating the vast potential of Hindi usage can be leveraged through digital technology which is growing inIndiaat phenomenal level. Prime Minister of India went on saying that future belongs to three languages i.e. English, Chinese and Hindi. Of course, there was sense in his this statement as China and India are two big and growing economy with vast market that will allure people to learn Chinese and Hindi to access market and English will remain there due to its historical presence as lingua franca.
Every year India observes Hindi Fortnight to promote the usage of Hindi in official work. However, despite the efforts made for over half a century to promote Hindi, its impact is not visible. This compel many who are concerned about growth of usage of Hindi to think that either government has been paying only lip services to promote Hindi or its policies to promote Hindi is not appropriate. Perhaps both may be true and may not be mutually exclusive. Let's hope that with honest commitment and dynamism of new government under PM Modi coupled with digital technology will herald a new era of widespread use of Hindi through suitable policies and plans.
In the last week of August 2015, there was a massive violence in Ahmedabad city of state of Gujarat inIndiain which 5 people died. This violence was an outcome to demand made by Patel community for reservation in government jobs and admissions in government educational institutions under other backward caste quota. Patel community is economically and socially well developed. They have fairly good representation in Gujarat government and well placed in business. However, they feel that some of other castes and communities who are economically and socially better placed than themselves are enjoying this reservation benefits.
Provisions of reservation were provided in the Constitution of India to accelerate the process of economic, social and political justice by providing equal opportunity to each community. Initially, reservation was intended to be provided for ten years only, however, it is still continuing for more than six decades. But, whether reservation policy in its current form has been able to meet its intended purpose in last six decades is a matter of debate. But, one thing is sure that it has reduced the efficiency of government due to selection of incompetent employees in government jobs due to reservation policy. Moreover, it has created social tension among various factions in society. Reservation policy has become an instrument of political game to woo the voters of particular factions of society. No political party in India has guts to take any rational and firm stand on reservation due to vote bank politics. There is only ray of hope in this matter from Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. Supreme Court needs to commission a study on existing system of reservation to study its impact and its relevance at present on socioeconomic uplifting of socially downtrodden castes and communities; so that based on this study a decision of continuation, closure or modification on reservation policy could be taken.
There are many empirical evidences to establish that quality education and economic, social and intellectual developments are highly interdependent on each other helping one another to scale a new height. Therefore, if India has to move forward on path of development rapidly, it has to improve access to education to all and improve the quality of education. Getting an high score in examination necessarily does not mean that quality of education has improved, as we can see that getting 80 percent and above used to be an uphill task some thirty years back and hardly top 10 to 20 students in state level Board examinations used to achieve such high score, but now it is very common. But, whether these high marks obtained by majority of students really reflects improvements in quality of education? Many studies conducted on the same proves that quality of education has not improve with steep improvements in marks obtained. Similar story exists for higher education. Higher education requires critical thinking on subject, developing new innovative thoughts and finding an answer to unresolved issue or unanswered question based on some founded logic or principle. This gets reflected in articles published in journals of repute and patents obtained.
It is said that this century belongs toAsia. Among two biggest developing countries in Asia i.e.China and India,China has made a significant progress in improving its quality of education as two of its universities i.e.PekingUniversity and Tsinghua University are globally placed under top 50 universities. There has been significant increase in number of research articles published in international journals of repute and number of patent applications registered in China. However, situation in Indiais not that rosy. IITs, once one of the most revered institution in India and abroad are not finding a place in top 300 institutions globally. Number of research articles published in reputed journal and number of patent applications filed is dismally low in Indian Institutes of higher learning. Unless and until institutions of higher learning are research based and contributing to knowledge creation, its existence does not matter. Over regulation of universities is also a big barrier for its quality improvements. However, there is some ray of hope after some new private universities and institutes like Ashoka University, Shiv Nadar University, Mahendra Centrale Ecole, Azim Prem Ji University etc that are focusing on research based education. Let us hope that effort of these institutions of higher learning by implementing new, modern and research base education system will take higher education to new height.
There is general perception in some quarters of Indian armed forces that budget allocation is not sufficient to meet the capital acquisitions for armed forces. There is no doubt that capabilities of Indian armed forces need to be further strengthen in terms of acquisition of state of art weapons, equipment and other supplies considering the strength of perceived adversaries.
However, in order to speed up the acquistion process, there is greater need for demand side management in military acquisitions. In the recent past, most of the time, budget allocated have not fully utilised especially for capital acquisitions. Demand for enhanced budget is only justified when in previous years budgets have been fully spent. Many failure of capital acquisitions and consequently non utilization of budget are due to real or perceived corruption cases in defence acquisitions. Real corruption starts while framing the GSQR. There is a tendency to make GSQR/specifications that favours importation rather than taking the same from OFB, DPSUs even though contemporary technologies exists with these organizations. And moreover, in importation also a particular firms is favoured by making specifications in such a way that it suits the specifications of existing weapon, equipment and supplies of that particular firm only and others get eliminated on flimsy ground.
Specifications/GSQRs should be made on generic requirements and not on whims and fancies of some individual sitting at the top in military. It should be based on generic requirements of theater of war in which our defence forces are more likely to operate, military capabilities of perceived adversaries, military intelligence etc. While framing the GSQR, views of all stakeholders including leading manufacturer of defence equipment and weapon should also be taken into consideration. If the issues relating to demand side management of defence acquisitions are not addressed properly neither indigenous defence manufacturing capabilities will develop nor import acquisitions will take place.
While addressing the 193-member U N General Assembly on 27th September, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the world leader to observe 21st June as International Yoga Day as widespread practice of Yoga will make world better. With massive support of 177 nations, on 11th December, 2014 United Nations General Assembly declared 21st June as International Yoga Day. First International Yoga Day was observed on 21st June, 2015.
If Yoga is practiced properly, it harmonizes body, mind and soul that improves physical, mental and social health. If Yoga is practiced across globe, it will not only improve the wholesome health of individuals, but it will also improve the societal health. With better physical, mental and social health of people across the world, there are better chances to mitigate conflicts within individual, between individuals, between individual and society, and among societies. This will lead to conflict reduction and global peace.
Wide spread use of Yoga may provide preventive heath care opportunities to billions of poor people across the globe at very low cost or virtually at no cost. This will also create a new opportunity of employment as a Yoga teacher or trainer especially among developed and developing countries where a large number of people are ready to pay in lifestyle business. However, unfortunately due to political reasons some countries and some political parties in India are not supporting and encouraging wide spread practice of Yoga. Some countries are unnecessarily doing propaganda against Yoga labeling it as cultural hegemony of India, while some groups and some countries are falsely projecting it as infringement on their religious believes and practices and denying the benefits of Yoga to their people. But majority of people across the globe have displayed their rationality and embraced Yoga overarching. Yoga is a global goods that is almost freely available to everyone that can provide good health, employment and peace to mankind.
Modi government got massive mandate in previous parliamentary election and completed its one year on 26th May, 2015. As mandate given by public was massive, so was their high expectation from this government. How far this government has been able to meet the expectations of people is being debated in media, political and social circles.
The most important role of any responsible government is to create employment for its people or create environment conducive for employment generation so that people could meet their basic necessity of food, clothing, shelter, heath care and education for their children with dignity. GDP has grown from 6.9 % in 2013-14 to 7.3 % in 2014-15 in one year. However, in last quarter of 2014-15, it was 7.5% against 7% ofChina, -.2% ofBraziland 0.7% of US in subdued global economic environment. Expansion of economy is closely related with employment that clearly indicates that employment has increased almost in same proportion in last one year. Employment generation will be able to take a giant leap only when Land Acquisition Bill and GST Bill are passed creating a conducive environment for both domestic and foreign investment and that is likely to take 3-4 years from now to fully fructify. Modi government has created a separate ministry for skill development that will map the skill requirements of work force of nation for needs of its industrial, service and agricultural sector, and accordingly institution for skill and entrepreneurship development is being developed.
Within a week after its inauguration, Modi government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on corruption. Modi government has shown zero tolerance towards corruption. So far no one could raise a finger on Modi government as far as corruption is concerned.
Modi government has taken multi-pronged strategies for poverty alleviation. Make inIndia, skill development, universal access to banking especially to poor and easy access of capital to small and medium enterprises will definitely help in creating more employment and in turn will help in alleviating poverty.
Modi government has brought a number of social security schemes at affordable premium for poor people such as Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana catering to the needs of various segments of poor people who were not having any social security cover .
To give boost to industrial development, Modi government has launched ambitious “Make inIndia” program. Modi government is working on long term plan as a pre-requisite to “Make in India” that encompass Land Acquisition Bill, GST Bill, Labour Law reforms so that foreign as well as domestic investment could be deployed in country.
For enhancing internal and external security, Modi government has increased its soft power as well as hard power. Modi government has improved relations with most of the neighbouring countries through its soft power in order to enhance its internal as well as external security. In addition, this government is enhancing its hard power by acquisition of military hardware, equipment and other supplies. Moreover, hard power is further enhanced by make inIndiain defence.
To boost agricultural production, a dedicated TV channel for farmers has been launched by Modi government to educate and guide them on best global practices on agriculture to improve agricultural productivity. Similarly, this government is planning to expand soil testing lab across the country so that farmers could know precisely the quantity and type of fertilizer for their land for a particular type of crop.
Modi government has done extremely well in foreign policy by improving relations with neighbouring countries as well as with global economic and military power. This has helped in bringing foreign investment, acquisition of strategic military hardware, acquisition of nuclear equipment and nuclear fuel supplies. Modi government has reached out to people of Indian origin (PIO) through PM Modi’s visit toFiji,Mauritius, Seychelles etc. It will help inIndiasecuring a permanent seat in Security Council in United Nation.
Modi government has taken various step to enhance the capacity of rail infrastructure, introduction of high speed trains. Execution of national highway project is being executed very rapidly. There is phenomenal growth in capacity addition in power generation in both conventional as well as renewal energy sectors in last one year.
Smart cities project of Modi government is environmentally benign as well as energy efficient. Swachh Bharat and cleaning ofGangeswill help in improving the health of people and in turn improve the economic conditions of people through tourism.
In last one year Modi government has embarked on a number of ambitious projects, and most of them will show result in three to five years. Due to political reason a lot of impediments are there in implementing the policies of Modi government. But, if Modi government becomes successful in pushing various reforms through legislation, there will be unprecedented development and progress inIndiain years to come.
China has achieved its great power status through rapid economic development in last three decades. China very well knows that maintenance of political power dominance at regional level and fulfilling its aspirations of global power would be possible only if its global economic dominance is maintained. China, being an export led economy is highly dependent on its market abroad and also on access to global efficient transport infrastructure across the globe and specifically to its potential export destination to export its finished goods and procure raw materials. Maritime transport happens to be most cost effective mode of transport of goods in bulk. Therefore China places great importance to sea transport and in turn maritime security to protect its economic interest. China can make sea transport of its goods to Europe and North & East Africa more efficient through transporting its goods through Pakistan via new port being constructed at Gwadar in Baluchistan whith the help of China that will transport goods through Arabian Sea. Similarly for accessing North American, Latin American and other Pacific Island nations market it has to depend on Indian Ocean and South China Sea to have an efficient access to Pacific Ocean. China very well knows the importance of soft power specially in dealing with smaller developing and least developing countries (LDCs) in order to secure a market, and have access to port and sea lane.