ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the Indo-Pacific

Eastward Ho? India’s Relations with the Indo-Pacific edited by E Sridharan, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2021; pp 487, `1,650.

Contours of India’s Arctic Policy

The Arctic region has recently assumed considerable strategic significance as it has been underlined by the policies enunciated by major powers. The interests and concerns of the Arctic states are vast and varied. India, being an observer in the Arctic Council, has legitimate interests in the region and has, of late, come out with its own Arctic policy. India’s Arctic policy notified as a draft document in early January 2021 has come as a shot in the arm for the country’s science diplomacy. The policy claims to concur with India’s fast expanding scientific-technological power status. However, it has been drafted in a strategic milieu of countries like China having invested with great ambition in the region. Though India has stepped up with its sustainable engagement diplomacy in the Arctic, the question remains whether the draft policy adequately addresses the emerging power equations in the region. The article examines this challenging scenario in the Arctic region and explores the potentials and constraints of India’s Arctic policy.

A New ‘Washington Consensus’

The United States administration is fervently promoting the “Indo–Pacific” as an alternative geopolitical construct to mobilise a large number of countries in the Asia–Pacific region to contain Chinese and Russian influence. However, India under the Narendra Modi administration has become a strategic contraption by yielding to the pressures of the Donald Trump regime for a programmed “Indo–Pacific” ploy. In the emerging scenario, New Delhi’s rhetoric on “strategic autonomy” has become a political liability.

A 2014 Project to Revive India's Historical 'Spice Route' Remains a Non-starter

India and China have been playing leading roles in establishing new maritime connectivity from Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia to Southeast Asia. India launched Project Mausam with a view to counterbalance China’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean region, particularly in the context of the “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR), which Beijing has been seriously pursuing for some time.

A Multitude of ‘Risks’

Kerala has witnessed bitter inter-party violence between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh–Bharatiya Janata Party workers and Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadre over the last decade, resulting in over 60 deaths. This intensifying violence needs to be viewed in the context of the rise of the RSS, its political inroads into the Thiyya community in the state, and structural changes in the composition of and employmentamong Kerala’s lower-middle class.

Travancore Titanium

A multi-crore effluent treatment plant being set up at Travancore Titanium, one of the most successful public sector undertakings in Kerala, may well push the company into the red. Workers are demanding a more cost-effective project, while the local population appears to be unconcerned with the financial impact of such a plant on the company.

Left Front Victory in Kerala

Political conditions under the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala provided considerable opportunities for both the Left Democratic Front and the National Democratic Alliance to muster people's support on a number of issues ranging from rampant corruption to social conditions of women and marginalised communities. While the LDF effectively reaped the windfall of several graft cases in which many ministers as well as the personal staff of the chief minister's office were directly or indirectly involved, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA has steadily succeeded in making inroads into the support base of both the fronts, as well as among new voters, though the party won just one seat.

Kerala: Kidney Trade

The fact that the Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association chose to gloss over the many irregularities in the kidney trade controversy and held the medical community and the hospitals involved to be blameless, only throws into glaring focus the state's dereliction of its duty in implementing the relevant law meant to ensure ethical practice.

Clinical Drug Trials

The controversial clinical drug trials on 26 cancer patients at the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, allegedly under a contract with the Johns Hopkins University of the US, could be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with 'biomedical joint ventures' becoming a buzzword for many leading institutions in the country. Greater public vigilance on biomedical experiments, especially in human beings, is needed to ensure that such trials strictly follow the norms set by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Helsinki Declaration.

Kerala - Grasim: Polluter Does Not Pay

The Grasim Industries unit, long tagged the "most pollutant industry in Kerala", has shut shop without paying compensation for the damage it inflicted on the environment. There is also resentment among the workers on the severance package offered, and the lack of social amenities at their workplace.

UGC's Disincentives for PhD

The UGC has re-introduced its absurd requirement that PhD degree holders must clear the postgraduate level NET to be eligible for lecturerships. This devalues the PhD degree and discourages serious research.

Cleaning Chaliyar River: Pollution Control or Jobs?

"Grasim Industries at Mavoor in Kerala plans to close shop and walk away from the river it polluted, the bamboo forests it destroyed and the hundreds who took ill from the air and water pollution it caused. Citizen and environmentalist are demanding compensation for the victims of pollution while political parties are defending the management.


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