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Vol 2, Issue 1 | 13 Feb, 2017

Op-Eds and Media Appearances

Anniversaries... leading where?

Business Standard

Will 2017 prove to be only an anniversary of 1947, or almost as significant a turning point in our evolution? Its 70th year finds India significantly different, in values, pressures, functioning, both from what it was and what most founding fathers envisaged. The Constitution they gave us, effective Republic Day 1950, suited their vision, but has changed comparably. Will it witness a 70th anniversary, or be shorter-lived de jure, as it has been de facto?

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Why India's ICBM Tests Rile China: The reason behind China’s fierce reaction to India's recent missile tests.

The Diplomat

Two back-to-back Agni IV and V missile tests have rattled China, particularly as they signal the growing prowess of India’s inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) development program. Reacting to the Indian missile tests, Global Times, an English-language Chinese state-owned publication, gratuitously advised “India to cool its missile fever.”

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Why Indian Army shouldn't have been dragged into another controversy

Daily O

This is not about the government's decision to appoint Lt-Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Army Chief; it is a prerogative that is unquestionable. Nor is it about his suitability or otherwise. This is about perpetuating the narrative with regard to the need for hands-on experience of dealing with counter insurgency and low intensity conflict currently being waged by Pakistan, and the increasing threat from China, as the central focus of the government’s decision.

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No More Committees

The Indian Express

In 2012, former Indian defence minister, Jaswant Singh, had reportedly told American journalist Tom Hundley, “There is no Cold Start doctrine… It was an off-the-cuff remark from a former chief of staff. I have been defence minister of the country; I should know.” India’s new army chief, by boldly shattering the wall of silence that surrounded the “Cold Start” concept for over a decade, and articulating his views regarding some other sensitive issues, may have triggered an era of “glasnost” in India’s defence discourse leading, hopefully, to a “national security renaissance” in the form of overdue reforms.

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Ex-air chief marshal SP Tyagi seems to have wandered into a minefield

Hindustan Times

‘No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a part of the main....... never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’ There is no doubt that these words of poet John Donne echoed subliminally in the mind of every soldier, sailor and airman as he watched TV footage of a man, who once headed the world’s fourth largest air force, being led into a Black Maria to be lodged in the company of criminals in jail. Given the position he held, the arrest of Air Chief Marshal (ACM) SP Tyagi by the Central Bureau of Investigation and his detention for “custodial interrogation” has shaken the armed forces’ community to the core and it should also stir our collective conscience.

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The Changing Civil-Military Dynamic Doesn’t Serve India’s Strategic Interests

The Wire

Nothing exemplifies the periodic descent into the ‘theatre of the absurd’ of Indian politics better than the prolonged and inane debate that followed the army’s cross-Line of Control operations of September 20, melodramatically termed ‘surgical strikes’. The nation was forced to witness, with embarrassment, the spectacle of all major political parties – ably assisted by the electronic media – jumping onto the stage to indulge in a puerile competition of one-upmanship on an issue of serious national security import. Having grudgingly approved of the government’s response to the Uri terror strike, the opposition, on second thoughts, coalesced in a raucous effort to deny BJP the credit for this operation by seeking ‘proof’.

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Breaking the N-silence

The Indian Express

Raksha Mantri (RM) Manohar Parrikar’s seemingly wayward remarks about India’s nuclear posture may have stirred a hornet’s nest in the media, but if they are indicative of a new-found interest in security matters amongst decision-makers, this occurrence needs to be lauded. Given their preoccupation with electoral politics, it is worrying to see how little time and mental space our political leaders devote to national security. Nowhere is this neglect more worrisome than in the area of higher defence management and the existential complexities of our nuclear deterrent.

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2016 In Review: Afghanistan

By Shreyas Deshmukh and Yaqoobul Hassan
SAV, Stimson Centre

Mullah Omar’s death and Mullah Mansoor’s rise as an Emir of an Islamic militia prompted expectations of the Taliban being forced back to the negotiation table. A political settlement was longed for after Pakistan showed signs of pressuring the Taliban. 2016 closes upon unrequited hopes, however. A variety of indicators show that peace and stability are still a far off dream for Afghanistan. Political settlement of any kind appears impossible as of now. Afghan and NATO forces have only succeeded in keeping the Taliban from overrunning major cities. This article will highlight three major developments in Afghanistan in 2016 that will impact the future course of the Afghan conundrum. more ...

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Changing Outlook: What Trump Presidency Means for Afghanistan

By Shreyas Deshmukh, Research Associate, DPG
SAV, Stimson Centre

As American political commentator Henry Olsen rightly noted, a major risk of democracy is that it can produce demagogues, popular leaders who can mobilize the population through fiery rhetoric. However, once in power, the challenge for these leaders is to determine how to formulate policy that furthers the national interest without isolating their supporters. President-elect Trump will face this common dilemma of demagogues in many areas of domestic and foreign policy, especially American policy in Afghanistan.

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Policy Papers, Policy Notes and Briefs

Interpreting Xi Jinping's 'Chinese Dream' and China's Foreign Relations

DPG

Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Dream’ means different things to different countries. That China is a rising power seeking to assert itself in its territorial disputes with neighbors and in establishing spheres of influence along its periphery makes it imperative for us to understand what is exactly the ‘Chinese Dream’. Is it a general statement of aspirations? How far will China go in putting it to practice? Do we believe China’s articulation of laying stress on negotiations and peaceful settlement of disputes?

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Conferences, Seminars and Roundtables

DPG Conference-III on Advancing BBIN Cooperation

DPG

Guwahati, 30-31 January, 2017 DPG organized the third of its BBIN cooperation conferences in Guwahati, Assam, on January 30-31, 2017. Over the two-day conference, 30 experts from India, Bangladesh, and Bhutan held in-depth discussions on BBIN cooperation in the sectors of economy, transit and transport, waterways, energy and security. The Guwahati conference drew a large number of experts from India’s Northeast States which lie at the heart of efforts to deepen BBIN connectivity. The State Government of Assam hosted a dinner reception for conference participants on January 30, which was attended by the Chief Secretary of Assam and several senior officials.

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DPG-CSIS Meeting

DPG

New Delhi, 20 January, 2017 The DPG faculty held a meeting with a CSIS delegation led by Richard Rossow, India Chair at CSIS, to discuss regional and global trends and avenues for institutional collaboration. Participants felt that the US-India strategic partnership has made significant advances in recent years. However, in view of emerging geopolitical trends and challenges, both India and the US will need to maintain the momentum of political, security and defence cooperation under the Trump Administration.

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Discussion on National Security Issues

DPG

New Delhi, 11 January, 2017 The DPG faculty invited Admiral Arun Prakash, Distinguished Fellow, for a discussion on India’s strategies to address security challenges and build capacity and coordination on national security. Recognising the critical importance of these issues, participants were of the view that the increasing complexity of security issues required institutional coherence to ensure effective decision making and strategic consistency.

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DPG - US NIC Meeting

DPG

The DPG faculty held an interaction with Robert Williams of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) on January 11, 2017. The agenda included a presentation by Mr. Williams of the US NIC’s latest Global Trends report and a discussion on global political and economic developments, power realignments in Asia and regional connectivity and security issues.

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Round-Table Discussion on Afghanistan: Emerging Regional Dynamics

DPG

New Delhi, 26 December, 2016 DPG faculty held an interaction with Ms Fatemeh Aman from the Atlantic Council on December 20, 2016. The agenda included a presentation by Ms. Aman on recent geopolitical developments in Afghanistan and Iran. The discussion focused on internal developments and emerging bilateral and multilateral groupings aimed at bringing peace and security in Afghanistan. India’s role and efforts also came into focus in the course of discussion.

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Discussion on Principles and Practice of Track II Diplomacy

DPG

New Delhi, 8 December, 2016 DPG organised a roundtable discussion on “Principle and Practice of Track II Diplomacy” on December 8, 2016. Prof Peter Jones, Ottawa University and the author of “Track two Diplomacy-Theory and Practice”, led the discussion. During the discussion Prof Jones shared his experiences of organising a track II dialogue in particular Ottawa Dialogue that includes discussion on multiple CBMs between India-Pakistan to include, military to military, nuclear, Afghanistan and intelligence communities.

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Round-Table Discussion on India-Japan Bilateral Relations with H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan

DPG

New Delhi, 5 December, 2016 DPG hosted an address and interaction with H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan on December 5, 2016. The agenda included the outcomes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan (11-12 November, 2016) and a discussion on the future direction of India-Japan relations.

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Faculty Activities

National Security Lecture

DPG

Adm Arun Prakash, Distinguished Fellow, DPG addressed the National Defence College, New Delhi on “Determinants of National Security and India’s Strategic Perspective” on January 12, 2017.

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Primakov Readings/International Studies Think Tanks Summit, Moscow

DPG

Brig Sahgal, Senior Fellow, represented DPG at the International Conference “The Primakov Readings”, in Moscow on 28-30 November, 2016. He delivered a presentation in the Conference Session on developments in the Asia Pacific on the theme “Asia-Pacific Regional Order: Strategic Flux to Mutual Restraint ”.

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