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

Articles By K M Seethi

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.

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.