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Russia and United States Making India Their Number One Priority



INS Vikramaditya undergoing sea trials in Russia, read more.

Right after the independence when India was going to be the world’s largest democracy, India made a decision that no foreign power would be able to decide India’s future or its policies. This led India to become a founding member of NAM (Non Alignment Movement). It is the largest group of nations in the world after UN. One of the major policy of the group was to not to join either U.S. led western bloc or Soviet Union led eastern bloc during cold war era. Although Cold war and Soviet Union do not exist now, but the NAM still exists with the same policies.

When India’s arc rival Pakistan signed security pact with United States, India’s relations with Soviet Union became sweeter for obvious reasons including arts and culture and India’s growing military needs. Although, India never joined Soviet Union’s security pact formally, west had observed India’s slight alignment towards the socialist republic resulting into complex relations with western powers.
Today conditions are way much different. While India still enjoys the company of its all weather friend Russia, United States too has discovered that partnership with India has a great economic and strategic potentials in 21st century. At this, India has two options to keep its non alignment policy intact; either do business with both of them, or don’t do business with any of them. Latter sounds a bit non productive in this globalized world.
Earlier, Russia enjoyed the monopoly of supplying arms to India, now it has to compete with almost all other major arm exporters like France, Britain and the United States. Raising concerns in Russia over India’s increasing alignment towards west. Realizing that India was cozying with the United States and Pakistan’s relations with the U.S. were souring. Russian president Vladimir Putin scheduled a visit to Pakistan risking relationship with India, which was later cancelled at the last moment. It was last year only when a report made clear that India was still the number one user of Russian arms.

Russia Making India its First Priority

russia india

One of the reasons why Russia is pitching towards making India an important partner is India’s location at the centre of Indian Ocean. Last year America announced that it is shifting its focus towards Asia Pacific from the middle east. This means a large presence of Indian and Russian navy in the region would be required to neutralize any attempt by America to influence the geopolitic stance of the island nations.

Seeing India cozying with America, Russia tried to approach Pakistan in search of a new potential partner in the South Asia. However, Russia probably decided to stay with India and push even more to win India’s heart by competition. The reason behind this is that unlike in Soviet era, when Indo-Soviet relationship was mere a buy and sell relationship. Today, India and Russia have successfully identified areas of cooperation and 50-50 partnership, whether it is space research or military and civil development.
It is difficult to find a partner as scientifically advanced and economically sound like India. India has been funding a lot of Russian scientific projects with a huge amount of capital; something which Russia cannot expect from Pakistan or any other country in the region. Indian scientists have also been involved in development and manufacturing of world’s fastest cruise missile, Brahmos and Indo-Russian Fifth Gen Fighter Aircraft. Russia and India have also been exploring cooperation in space and have partnered in India’s second mission to the moon which has been delayed till 2016.
Another country with which Russia can have such kind of relations is China. China has economy larger than India and is ahead of India in many areas whether it is scientific papers published per year, or space race or military. Russia emphasized a lot on Sino Russian relationships and their future as forming a big powerful region. Russia promoted Chinese education and language in the country and urged people to learn it. Russian media time to time lauded China how it is taking on west in the economic system which is mainly dominated by the western countries.
However, Russia is now late to form any such alliance with China. China with its fast growing economy is currently on its best time and gives it the confidence of moving ahead independently. Those Chinese who had been living in east Russian cities like Vladivostok and Khabarovsk are also moving to their homeland seeing more opportunities and better living across the border. Young Chinese premiers now consider Soviet Union a history. Earlier China considered Soviet Union a great power and avoided messing with it. Today China places border claims and shows some Russian territories as its on their maps. [Tell us your Opinion]

Culturally, Russia and China have been far from each other, whereas Indian culture has been close and familiar to Russians since the Soviet times. Soviet Union promoted Indian movies in the country as it was the only big film industry after Hollywood, which was banned. Indian movies also had good teachings and family values which was encouraged in USSR. [Read more: Influence of Bollywood in Former Soviet Union; Why India and Russia Need to Target Bollywood Diplomacy and Business]

Considering everything, India deserves to be Russia’s top priority. Russia simply cannot afford to let it lose India to the western powers who are aggressively hailing and praising India and forming ventures and partnerships.

United States Making India its First Priority

obama india
Photo: Reuters
Last year in 2012, U.S. Defence Secretary Lionel Panetta made a visit to India hoping that Indian defence establishment could be taken granted to prepare for strategy of re-balance in Asia Pacific that many believes is aimed at China’s rise in the region.
Recently India has started looking towards U.S. for its defence needs leaving its old and trusted ally behind. India cleared its biggest ever defence deal with US in June, 2011, signing the $4.1 billion worth contract for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft. One of the reason why India has to look towards west was delay in delivery of arms and weapons and their parts by Russia, especially the delay in the delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
In the global slowdown of economy, U.S. is looking for new markets and economic partners. This is why U.S. had urged India to bring reforms such as FDI in retail and airline business which will help big brands in America like Walmart earn more profit by tapping a consumer market of the billions of Indians. India’s share in the world’s software/services market is third after U.S.A and Japan in which U.S.A accounts for a share of 51.63% in India’s total export of Software / Services.
Although officially not accepted yet, U.S. considers rise of China alarming and sees it as a potential rival. U.S has tried to engage with China on a lot of issues and had also managed to bring China to its side during Cold War, but as the rise of dragon began, America lost it from its grip. India, which is a democracy having a good proliferation record and which has shown signs of peace and friendship with almost every country in the world, looks reliable and responsible in a sense that it can lead the world neutrally. This was one of the reasons why the U.S. has recently stared pitching for India’s permanent seat in UN Security Council.
Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary, said, “Today, we have growing economic, social and diplomatic ties that benefit both [India and the U.S.] of our nations, but for this relationship to truly provide security for this region and for the world, we will need to deepen our defense and security cooperation. This is why I have come to India.”
After a great mistrust between the two countries during the cold war, today both the nations understand each other’s interest. Recently United States’ regional interests in South Asia have somewhat started matching with India. Its souring relations with Pakistan, creating a Taliban free Afghanistan, and checking China’s alarming growth has all been directly or indirectly in India’s interest. The only place where India and U.S.collide is Iran. India wants to continue trade and support Iran and use its territories and ports for trade with Afghanistan, thus bypassing Pakistan. Whereas, U.S and the western world is making business opportunity with Iran even more difficult.

Who Among United States or Russia Will Win the Race?

The question is very interesting, but its answer is obvious, no one! India has been following the policy of non alignment since the day of independence. Even though the real meaning of non alignment lost after the collapse of Soviet Union, India believes in having its own space when it comes to making policies or decisions.

If India accepts the alliance of any country, the first strong reaction will come from China, who considers any move by India aimed at itself, whether it is increasing cooperation with Japan or Taiwan. China and India both are aware of each others rise and the amount of tough competition they are going to face. However, both of them try to ignore it and play it down to avoid any escalated tensions.
Another reason why India will not accept U.S proposal is that U.S has a bad history of dumping and going against their own allies whether it is Iraq, Afghan militants, or Pakistan. India will definitely pose a risk to America’s dominant position in the world as China does now. Therefore, U.S would try not to let India reach that place; just like how it did with Japan and South Korea.
If India becomes strategic ally of the U.S it will unnecessarily make all the U.S enemies as its enemies. India is surrounded by the countries who do not like the U.S; be it China, Pakistan, Myanmar or the Middle East. Tensions across India will increase and it will have to fight decades long wars initiated by the U.S. India has not used its military properly for past 40 years after the war of liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 and in future also it doesn’t wish to; Kargil in 1999 was a confined military operation.
Russia on the other hand has won India’s trust several times, but India will still not venture into any such strategic alliance which can impact India’s business with the western world. A large part of India’s economy is based on trade with America and Europe whether it is software or food or minerals. India’s alliance with Russia can give a negative impact to the U.S which will gradually look for alternatives that can bring the whole growth story of India to a halt.
Word “alliance” doesn’t suit the present conditions in the world. It was popular earlier when the world was divided into two blocs, today it is not the case. Today the world is multi-polar, although other poles are not as strong as the U.S. In this growing world, it will be best for India to take help and support from both Russia and the U.S and continue on its growing path keeping its non alignment policy intact.
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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Humanity Endures During Coronavirus Pandemic




Photo by Press Information Bureau, Government of India

The world changed exponentially since the pandemic broke out. We changed too. Emotions are running high. We have learnt to take one day at a time and have stopped expecting changes to happen overnight.

“COVID19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back”
A clarion call from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is a call to unity and solidarity. Already plagued by natural/manmade disasters and wars, many countries seem to bite the dust for want of resources in the fight against the virus. Warning each other against complacency is appreciable but never a blame game to cover up a dysfunctional response. Not all update themselves on the governments, new economic policies and R&D on Covid vaccine. Many we come across seem to be making wise individual choices. No matter how badly the tiers of government fail us, there will always be thousands of people working to make things better. Besides, finding reasons and faults on policies for the spread doesn’t help. A virulent strain of flu had managed to spread within a few months to the remotest corners of the world infecting half a billion people – more than a quarter of the human species in 1918 long before the current age of globalization.

Separating, alienating and forswearing the endless moments of contact that knit society together thrust us into frightening new realities. The good is still there. Social distancing is nothing but taking a step back to literally give breathing space to others. Going by news & views, we understand that amid concerns of rising numbers of positive cases in frustrating circumstances, acts of kindness and solidarity are burgeoning. Yes, it’s been extremely sad and sobering to watch this all unfold, but watching people share resources and supporting one another in every conceivable way has made us feel more connected to our local communities. Whether singing a song together out on balconies, getting groceries for the elderly or calling a friend to alleviate anxiety and fear, each one I know play a part and take comfort in a sense of togetherness. We are steadily aware of our limitations yet don’t hesitate to free our wells of compassion. Do we think twice and thrice to make an online contribution to save the lives of people we don’t know and will never know!

Sadly, it has taken an invisible virus to help us belive once again that we are strongest only when we have the welfare of others in our mind. Halfway through quarantine and self-isolation a phone call, a kind word, an opportunity to reach out, a breeze, bird calls, one good news and loss of a loved one, we are hit with the necessary humility and awe we ought to feel and appreciate just how beautiful our world is and precious life is.

Post pandemic recovery will be better and bigger if life goes on with this beautiful idea, of humility, inwardness – as an ethical relationship, for the sake of others. For better or for worse, we have learnt that one can’t be an island unto himself. Lives are intertwined and are bound together. We, humans produce more rubbish than any other species. The growth in the human population is part of the explanation, but cannot account for all of the extra rubbish, a result of haste and greed both which almost skinned humans of humanity.

Unity among countries must ensure that all countries are equipped to trace, isolate and treat people infected by COVID-19. Only a global effort can avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system. Sanctions that affect health care should never be imposed. Development in one part of the world should not rob another country of it’s resources. Humanity gains the upper hand over invisible predators through the sharing of reliable scientific information, global solidarity, vaccinations, antibiotics, improved hygiene and a much better medical infrastructure. Today,it doesn’t take too much to figure out that global sharing and caring is the best defense. The Jing Si aphorism, “Good actions require everyone’s cooperation. So let’s not cling to personal biases” holds good for all times.

Stories of good samaritans are aplenty. To know humanity is still alive and kicking and is at it’s best when united assures us that we’ll come out of this “abnormal” time with a new normal. In their own unique ways, humans respond to protect life and health and ensure respect for fellow beings. ‘single-nucleotide polymorphisms’ are no joke. From handing over meals, survial kits, medicines, home made masks to calling on an old couple across the street, everything is humanity in action and it is the power of this humanity – humane behaviour towards other humans – that we seek to celebrate, improve and increase, especially during crucial times. Remember “A person with a generous heart and compassion for all beings leads the most blessed life”.

With thousands of migrant workers taking it on their chin, vehicles filled with food and ration along highways reach the needy and stranded and canteens serve free food. Rays of sunshine! We see through hypocrisy and deceptions, hear excuses for inefficiency, inadequacy and inflexibility and within the tumult and uncertainty we are doing much, much better in life than we thought we can. Quietly. Kindly. Gently. Being able to spare a part of us to help someone live is worth being thankful for. ” Giving with an expectation for return brings misery”. May we give generously, but don’t guilt ourselves if we can’t. If we have nothing left to spare, let’s go slow and kind.

The world is being taught a lesson, the harder way. This lesson is not about rich and powerful versus poor and powerless but about leadership that treasure the common wealth and common good, above private greed and profit and above protecting the privileges of a handful elites.

None of us are actually going anywhere. Might as well stay. The conclusion we draw from this crisis is that all humans matter equally, that we need to give a hand, raise one another, flourish or perish together- no matter what our limitations are, we’re capable of a great deal. This virus backlash is nothing short of a fleeting lesson to all leaders about how sane, humane societies should function all the time. Those who regard themselves as wonderfully favored of leadership, power and pelf are called to do great things. Anything that constantly arise to cause conflicts or disunion must be questioned, criticized, denounced and judged.

Be it a forced contemplation of our mortality or a sudden urge of self denial or an awareness of the passage of time and life, this screeching halt is proof that humans are designed to be more productive when connected, even in isolation. So, not all hope is lost. The time has come when we must know for ourselves why we believe in humanity as we do.

“Do something good for somebody today; the people who are trying to make the world worst aren’t taking days off.”

Gestures to honor humanity are varied, aplenty. A flypast in India is a cruel joke on the already tumbling down economy and on the selfless humanitarians who spare nothing to reach out. We can only wish the trail of showered petals, if showered will guide the departing victims of COVID19. Flying past/over ground realities is a highly irresponsible act of governments. Also, a misuse and mismanagement of meagre resources.

Was it a premonition that urged saint Thiruvalluvar, celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher to get on with kural 578 which when translated into English goes as

” The world is theirs (Kings) who are able to show kindness, without injury to their affairs, (administration of Justice).

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Congress’s Electoral Enervation




BlakeShramster / CC BY-SA

Lately, the Grand Old Party of India has been suffering from severe political lacerations. It is bleeding profusely but it still refuses to recognize and feel the pain of its grisly wounds. The Congress party is obstinately practicing political podsnappery and this is further eviscerating its relevance. Slowly and steadily, its ideological roots are being chipped away. We are witnessing a kind of dilemmatic democratic party, which is strangulating in the ever-shifting tectonic plates of Indian politics. The fresh act of defection by Jyotiraditya Scindia foregrounds the ideologically weak aura which now surrounds the Congress.

In every period of its history, a particular type of ideological encrustation surrounded the Congress and illuminated its charm among the Indian voters. This ideology rooted it firmly in a vast network of ideologies. This ideology, for the most part, has been secular and liberal and acted as a strong bulwark against a xenophobically framed anti-secular strategy. But now, this prodigious party has shrunk to a miniscule group. This cataclysmic contraction has happened primarily due to the elitist imagery to which it was tethered. Congress’s political rivals portrayed it as an inherently elitist group by harping on its corruption scandals like the Satyam Scam, Coal Scam, Chopper Scam, Adarsh Scam and Tatra Truck Scam. All this overemphasis on the financial impurity of the Congress led to the citizens believing that the Congress party is an aristocratic admixture of kleptocracy and bogus secularism.

The political dynasticism of the Congress further solidified this elitist imagery and soon, Congress became the ‘suit, boot ki Sarkar’. The usage of the aforementioned epithet successfully established the presence of the Congress party as a technocratic liberal party, accustomed to high-handed bureaucratic methods of administration. The attribute of a ‘pro-people party’ was snatched away from the Congress and it was represented as a technocratic group, largely unconnected from the material conditions of the citizens.

Apart from the political and financial palm-greasing, the Congress has also been disemboweled due to its confounding ideological quagmire. The Grand Old Party is stuck in a regal fort, where it is continuously wavering between a secular strategy and a thinly-veiled contrivance of religious pandering. It has already flip-flopped on its ideological plank by pitching Rahul Gandhi as a religious leader which actually backfired because people at once understood that he had suddenly become a synthetically Hinduized leader.

And now, it is lending its support to the Anti-CAA protests and has all of a sudden, arrived like a knight in shining armor, chaotically shouting secular slogans. Opportunistic acts like these cause severe trust deficit and the party incurs widespread odium for its electoral opportunism. So, due to the Congress’s ideological shilly-shally, its attempt to provide guidance to the Anti-CAA protests is seen as a crude act of politically hijacking the protests. To say succinctly, the Congress has been utterly passive in reacting to some major political events and has not even tried to extend its sinews to drag itself out from the quicksand of financial dissoluteness and ideological vacillation.

Due to all the above mentioned iniquitous inadequacies, Congress is withering and losing its elephantine presence on the electoral platform. This is the most appropriate time for the Congress to recognize its Achilles heel and try to overcome this deficiency. The defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia highlights the fact that now, an ideological string no longer ties any Congress member and the party needs to alter its highly feudal organizational structure which is identical to a form of royal structure, based on monarchical munificence. The Congress party can utilize the following remedial measures to perform the medical operation which is indispensable for it to regain its health.

Constitutional Struggles

It should try assiduously to interconnect itself with the common masses and change its political behavioral pattern by staging what can be called ‘constitutional struggles’. These constitutional struggles will essentially be democratic demonstrations, aiming to recover the lost sheen of the constitution. These protests should be able to blend constitutional patriotism with a Gandhian non-violent idea of struggle. In this way, the Congress party would be successful in politically fructifying its vast receptacles of historical significance and will harmonize its history as a torchbearer of freedom with the present calamitous conditions. One important reason behind the need to make Mahatma Gandhi the vanguard of Congress’s recuperation struggle is the vast space which he occupies in the collective imagination of the Indian citizens. By spotlighting Gandhi, the Congress party can easily initiate a resistance movement whose objective will be to find the Gandhian truths in this age of political prevarications and fabrications.

Change Organizational Configurations

The Congress party needs to change its organizational configurations. The sybaritic structure of dynasticism should be superseded by a bottom-up approach which is decentralized. The present organizational architecture is extremely centralistic and all the members of the Congress party are seen as the supine members of a sycophantic entourage, revolving around the singular nucleus of nobility, which has invariably been the Gandhi family. The senior members of the Congress party such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Manmohan Singh are depicted as the servile stooges of the Gandhi family who possess an unbreakable fidelity to the dynastic autocracy of the Congress party. The congress leadership is also currently rudderless. During the elections, it played the role of a dabbler. After Indira Gandhi, all the Gandhis (Except Sanjay Gandhi) were reluctant politicians. They were compelled because the Nehru – Gandhi name was associated with the party. All these aspects of party functioning need to be radically changed so that non-Gandhi members are not seen as mere appendages of the supposed undisputed overlord which is the Gandhi family. (3) A coherently unified ideological political programme needs to be built. The lumbering party is in a state of delirium and is unable to properly specify its political stance. It should solidly settle this predicament by choosing to continue with its former political posture as a truly secular and democratic party, committed to constitutional values. If this operation is not undertaken, the Congress will be finally consigned to the political graveyard, where it will die with its shambolic ideological structure.

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5 Ways to Strengthen Sibling Bond



siblings relations

Blood is always thicker than water. This is one of the most appropriate proverbs one can find.

Blood relations always prove to be the most important and everything fades away when it comes to your own blood. Sibling bond is one of the closest bonds one can have.

During childhood any child with a sibling can understand that bond and feel the closeness on that bond. In Spite of endless fights, disagreements, siblings love each other the most and are very protective of each other.

It is very easy to maintain this bond while you are younger and living together, the challenge comes to maintain that bond while you grow up and start moving towards your own social and domestic life. Here are some tips how you can strengthen your sibling bond while still handling your work, social and domestic life:

1. Plan Holidays Together:

Make a pact that every year you all will get together and plan a holiday either with family(if married) or just all the siblings together. it will make sure that you are taking time out for yourselves and not getting faded in everyday life.

2. Have a Private Group Chat:

Siblings can make sure that you all initiate private group chats and make sure you share your everyday routine, happiness, problems etc in order to keep everyone in the loop of your life.

Group chat makes sure that you are catching up on each other on an everyday basis and is a constant part of each other’s lives.

3. Send Gifts to Each Other:

Siblings can plan to send each other gifts on different occasions that will help in building a close relationship with each other. Sometimes, it is possible your sibling might be based far away or in a foreign country. There are so many online platforms available where you can send a gift to your siblings whether its online birthday cake delivery or online rakhi delivery etc. everything is available on online portals.

4. Help each other in Reaching Goals:

Siblings are the most important people who can push you towards your goal. Siblings can encourage each other towards what is the best course to take for a bright future. Sometimes a sibling can recognise your potential much faster than you yourself can. Thus it is important that you share your goals and aspirations and listen to each other in order to go forward in your life.

5. Cultivate Friendship:

It is very important that siblings should cultivate not only sibling bonds but become best friends and should be able to confide in each other. This is only possible if they work on developing only  siblings but a friendship bond. A good friendship will ensure that it becomes very easy for siblings to communicate with each other and discuss any issues they might face. It is important that the friendship is of a level that when one sibling needs help they should reach their sibling in the very first course.

So, these were some tips that can strengthen your singing bond. If you follow these tips, you can make sure that you will become best friends with your siblings and will have a great relationship despite a life of your own.

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