By all means, the Sept 28th flawless flight of the trusted four stage,Indian space workhorse, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV),was an exciting and extraordinary space mission for a number of reasons. To begin with, the 1513-kg.space based astronomy observatory, Astrosat, which was ejected into a 650-km orbit as the main payload by an augmented XL version of PSLV, helped catapult India into the select galaxy of nations that have launched dedicated space telescopes to study celestial objects and cosmic phenomenon from close quarters.
2014 was a formidable year for Afghanistan and its international partners. Growing fears amidst the pending withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan left Afghans uncertain of their political, economic and security future. Afghans questioned the ability of the new National Unity Government’s (NUG) to strengthen good governance; to improve the deteriorating economic conditions; and the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in bringing stability, something they could not achieve even when there were over 150,000 foreign forces in the country.
November 2014 saw the first-ever visit of a Russian defence minister to Islamabad in 45 years, and the two countries signed a milestone agreement to enhance cooperation in defence. The last visit had taken place as far back as 1969, when USSR defence minister Andrey Grechko made a trip to the country. Both sides expressed satisfaction over convergence of views on many international and regional issues. Hitherto a recipient of American largesse, on seeing USA woo India, Pakistan seems to have chosen to exercise alternate options.
India’s ‘Maritime Diplomacy’ is a function of the desire of the nation to preserve, protect and promote her maritime interests. These maritime interests flow-from and simultaneously feed-into India’s core national interest which, derived from the Constitution, is “to assure the societal, economic, and material well-being of the People of India”.
“The Indian Navy, as the prime manifestation of the nation’s maritime power, offers a versatile instrument in progressing the vision of SAGAR and the Act East Policy for enhancing security and economic cooperation with friendly countries” - Admiral R K Dhowan, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC
The phenomenal rise of India in the 21st Century has its foundations in the ‘antiquity’. India was a pre-eminent maritime power in Asia and possessed mercantile and naval prowess, which was brought to bear on its strategic conduct. This power was symbolized by its networks of politico-economic and strategic transactions in the neighbourhood in Southeast Asia, China, Persia, Eurasian landmass and the Mediterranean.
The Army, Kashmir and the nation have just lost a great son in Col Santosh Mahadik., SM, Kashmir has figured in popular imagination as ‘Jannat’; as paradise since the days of the hugely popular Budshah. Also called Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-1470), his rule for 50 golden years is wistfully recalled 600 years later…The closest Kashmir has ever been to paradise.
The most important stumbling block for discussion during September 2015 meeting between US President Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi was on the issue of cyber infringements and hacking used by China to steal designs and information from US Government networks and Private enterprises. Recent cyber attacks on US Office of Personnel Management allegedly by Chinese sleuths have been very aggressive. Cyber détente negotiations to establish code of conduct is of highest priority.
The entire visit was all about military soft power and its ability to work more instantly then any formal diplomatic engagement