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Dilating on a ‘Half-front War’

English

 

The reference to a “two and a half front war” by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is critically dissected. The “half front” apparently covers large tracts of India and a significant number of its marginalised people. The thought of a war on the half front, as conjured by this term, needs to be controverted outright. The army’s imagining of such a war and preparation for it is questioned.

Locating the Belt and Road in China’s Broader Policy Shifts

Undefined

The Belt and Road initiative is part of a broader Chinese policy reorientation where its leaders are responding to the challenges and opportunities of a fraying United States–led international order. The B&R was envisaged to gain strategic depth in the inner Asian hinterland to counteract geostrategic pressure from the US–Japan alliance as well as to buy time to reform a highly imbalanced domestic political economy.

A Disjointed Doctrine

Undefined

The recently released joint doctrine of the armed forces outlines the manner in which they expect to fight the next war. Though the doctrine suggests “decisive victory” is possible, it bears reminding that the closer they get to this the closer would be the nuclear threshold. Since the doctrine does not dwell on the nuclear level, it cannot be said that the doctrine makes India any safer. However, the doctrine’s take on civil–military relations is far more interesting. 

Corrosive Impact of Army’s Commitment in Kashmir

Undefined

The army has had an extended deployment in Kashmir. While it has enabled operational experience for its members, there is a danger that the advantages of this can make the army acquire a stake in the disturbed conditions. This makes the army part of the problem in Kashmir. Its deployment is not without a price in regard to the internal good health of the army. 

India’s Opposition to China–Pakistan Economic Corridor Is Flawed

Undefined

China is opening up its land borders in Xinjiang to interact more freely with Central Asia and Europe. China and Pakistan are jointly building the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India views this as a violation of its sovereignty. Geopolitics rather than geoeconomics predominates India’s thinking on possibilities offered by the revival of the old Silk Road by the Chinese.

War and What To Do About It

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A case for the peace lobby to continue its engagement with anti-war issues, even in times of relative peace. The military doctrines are geared for a quick war, resulting in shorter crisis windows. Therefore, keeping the public informed and capitalising on such preparations for ensuring moderation in strategic decisions in crises and war can prove useful when push comes to shove. This would be an uphill task, but inescapable for war avoidance and limitation. 

Neo-liberal Agenda

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The Indian soldier is in a state of stupor. The civil–military relations in the country are in crisis. The government’s policies are aggravating the situation, alienating the armed forces by lowering their status and salaries in comparison to other arms of the state. Neo-liberal forces are using the crisis as an opportunity to introduce military transformation that would splinter the national military and replace patriotism with profi teering.

Asian Connectivity

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The idea of “connectivity” appears to be the flavour of the season in Indian foreign policy. Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs facilitated a high profile conference on the theme of “Asian Connectivity” (Raisina Dialogue, 1–3 March 2016).

Gunga Dins of World War I

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The Indian Government is spending large amounts of political and financial capital to whitewash the use of Indian soldiers as cannon-fodder by the colonial British Indian Army in World War I. An exploration of the possible reasons for this about turn in understanding the role of Indian soldiers in the colonial wars.

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