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May 1, 2010

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LeT in Pakistan’s strategy
ASHLEY TELLIS of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace states that Lashkar-e-Taiba’s global presence and its sponsorship by the Pakistani military and ISI due to a similar ethnic composition and ideological sympathies enhanced the prospect of major war and global consequences.

In an article for YaleGlobal Online, “Pakistan and the Afghanistan End Game”, he states that Washington had now reached the conclusion that LeT represents a threat to America’s national interests while Pakistan’s military leaders continued to harbour the illusion that their current strategy of unleashing terrorism would enervate India, push it out of Afghanistan, and weaken US stabilisation efforts there and such a strategy would come to nought.

Moscow-Kabul-Karachi
PREM MAHADEVAN of the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich states that the Moscow bombings were on one level motivated by local considerations such as revenge for assassination of Chechen terrorists, while also being linked on another level to the shifts in Afghanistan in the backdrop of Moscow agreeing to facilitate the resupply of NATO forces through the Northern Distribution network.

In a commentary for ISN Security Watch, “Fallout of a New Great Game?”, he posits that the new supply route would reduce NATO dependence on Pakistani supply routes and hence significantly lower transit fees for Islamabad, which could explain the sudden drop in Taliban attacks on the convoys and also cautions Moscow to brace itself for more terrorist attacks in the wake of intensification of the war in Afghanistan.

Strategic diffidence
DOMINIQUE MOISI, advisor of the French Institute of International Affairs (IFRI) and visiting professor at Harvard University draws parallels between a strategically diffident New Delhi and Washington of the 1920s to state that India continued to remain ill at ease in the projection of strategic power.

In an opinion piece in The Scotsman, “India still lacks practice in power game”, he states that India’s unease about strategic power, and its resemblance to a gigantic EU reflected its ongoing search for a new international identity and that India lacked both the means and the ambition to be a second China and that was a further reason for the west to engage and invest in India.

The nuclear hermit
RORY MEDCALF, director of International Security at the Lowy Institute argues that New Delhi’s nuclear-weapons posture characterized by a minimum credible nuclear deterrent, no-first use policy could be a model to emulate for other states. In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, “India’s nuclear example”, he calls for closer U.S.-India strategic ties to ensure India’s strategic arsenal remained small and the world could not afford to leave New Delhi out of the non-proliferation and nuclear security tent.

Kisan inquilab!
RAJIV KUMAR, director of ICRIER calls for a liberation of the kisan through the facilitating the entry of private, co-operative or commercial investors including foreign multi-product retail companies into agriculture to establish their agro-procurement operations for the Indian domestic and export markets.

In an opinion piece in Mint, “Liberating the farmer”, he states that dis-intermediation in agriculture, enhanced investments in logistics and technologies, along with government switching its role from that of a supplier of services and inputs to that of regulator could bring about massive productivity gains in the agricultural sector.

Pole positions in clean-energy
The Pew Environment Group led by its director JOSHUA REICHERT analyse trends in the clean energy sector within the G-20 economies over the past 5 years and are sanguine about the sector that is forecast to grow by 25% to $200 billion in 2010 on the back of a prioritization on clean energy funding by the G-20 governments.

In a report titled “Who’s winning the clean energy race? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World’s Largest Economies”, they state that nations such as China, Brazil, UK, Germany and Spain with their strong, national clean energy policies were leading the clean energy economy sweepstakes and other countries would need to more actively evaluate policies to stimulate clean energy investment and compete effectively for clean energy jobs and manufacturing.

Narco-terrorist networks
MICHAEL JACOBSON and MATTHEW LEVITT of the The Washington Institute’s Stein program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence point to the increasing linkages between terrorist organisations and organised crime networks with about 60 per cent of terrorist organisations connected to drug trafficking which generated $322 billion in sales and additional ancillary revenues. In an article, “Tracking Narco-Terrorist Networks: The Money Trail”, they state that this presented an opportunity for increasing international co-operation since it would convert the terrorism problem the semantics over which states differed into a law and order problem which would be easier to gain trans-national co-operation against.

Fade Britannia
CHRISTOPHER HILL of the University of Cambridge cautions that the financial crisis had resulted in tough foreign policy choices for Britain and recommends de-personalising British foreign policy and grabbing the opportunity provided by the Lisbon Treaty to shape European diplomacy. In an article for Chatham House’ publication, The World Today, “British Foreign Policy Priorities: Tough Choices“, he lists anti-terrorism, foreign office and its attendant diplomatic network and a resizing of armed forces as key priorities in the wake of the financial crisis.


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