The talks between the foreign secretaries of the two nuclear-armed South Asian countries had been set to take place on August 25 in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad but India announced it would not attend the talks after Pakistan's High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit, held talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders on August 18. The talks had been regarded as an important milestone in the bumpy Indo-Pakistani peace process as they would have prepared the meeting of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan scheduled during the UN General Assembly in September. While India's foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin spoke of an "interference" in domestic affairs, Pakistan deplored the cancelation of the talks, calling it a "setback" in efforts to promote good neighborly relations. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part. The move comes nearly three months after … [Read more...] about Peace talks cancelation ‘overshadows’ Modi-Sharif meeting
Indo us civil nuclear deal
It's been described as a relationship in an upward trajectory. And ties between India and Japan are likely to get a further boost when PM Abe visits New Delhi for the 9th annual Indo-Japanese summit scheduled for December 11-13. While leaders of both nations have institutionalized the annual visits, the upcoming meeting will be closely watched given that Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are likely to sign a host of key investment, defense and energy-related agreements. The leaders of Asia's second and third-largest economies are also expected to review the implementation of a series of decisions made during Modi's 2014 visit to Japan, in which the two sides decided to elevate their ties to a Special Strategic Global Partnership and significantly boost trade ties. Against this backdrop, James D. J. Brown, a Japan expert at Temple University's campus in Tokyo, argues that Abe's trip to India will be "highly significant" in both symbolic and practical terms. "This visit not … [Read more...] about India and Japan to deepen defense, trade ties
Some 12 years after the NATO invasion of Afghanistan, combat troops are scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2014. But many questions linger about the nation's future. According to experts, there are four major aspects that will play a key role in determining the prospects of the war-torn South Asian nation. These involve the number of allied troops set to remain in the country, the success of negotiations with the Taliban, the upcoming presidential elections and the willingness of neighboring countries to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process. But it all starts with the drawdown. According to a report by the US Congressional Research Service, the size of international forces remaining in Afghanistan post 2014 could be about 8,000-12,000 trainers plus an unspecified number of counterterrorism forces, the majority of which would be from the US. Fears of a Taliban resurgence "It is clear that it is going to be a very light physical footprint, with the Afghans leading … [Read more...] about NATO exit may trigger ‘proxy war’ in Afghanistan
Tanks, missiles, thousands of soldiers and common people are set to line the streets of India's capital New Delhi as the nation celebrates the enactment of its constitution back on January 26, 1950. Witnessing the festivities alongside Indian PM Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee will be the guest of honor, US President Barack Obama, who is set to visit India from January 25 to 27. The massive parade is designed to showcase India's military prowess as well cultural and social heritage. But amid the political symbolism, Obama's participation in the event sends out a clear message: US-India relations are on an upward trajectory and have proceeded far more smoothly than many imagined under PM Modi. While Obama's exact itinerary is still being worked out, the White House has expressed interest in his visiting Agra and the Taj Mahal. He will spend much time, however, in New Delhi. There is a great deal of symbolism attached to this visit since this is the first time a sitting US … [Read more...] about Obama to visit India amid warming US-India relations
India is one of the few states to not have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the United States, thinks it would be impossible to do so under the circumstances. India, like its arch-rival Pakistan, has nuclear weapons and is not willing to scrap them. However, Shankar points out that her country has "always kept to the rules of the treaty like other nuclear states". "We have put civil nuclear technology that could be used militarily under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency," she adds. She also says that India is committed to worldwide nuclear disarmament. "We think the world would be safer without nuclear weapons." US - India Deal Meera Shankar, the Indian ambassador to the US India first tested nuclear weapons in 1974, plunging itself into decades of isolation. Only two years ago was a bilateral treaty signed under US President George W. Bush that opened up India's atomic energy market to US companies. … [Read more...] about Complicated Indo-US nuclear relationship
The Indo-Japanese nuclear deal has been six years in the making, and was officially signed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Tokyo on Friday. The deal marks Japan's first nuclear cooperation agreement with a country that is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). The NPT is an international treaty meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and arms technologies, while promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. India refuses to sign it, saying it is discriminatory because it defines nuclear-weapons states as those that tested nuclear devices before 1967. The nuclear deal between Asia's second and third largest economies has been described by the two countries as "a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership for the cause of a peaceful and secure world." Mutual benefits Supporters of the impending deal say it is a win-win situation for both Tokyo and New Delhi. India will be able … [Read more...] about India and Japan sign nuclear deal – A risky business?
Indian PM Narendra Modi will be in Washington on June 7-8 as part of a whirlwind five-nation tour, covering Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico. This is Modi's fourth trip to the US after taking office as prime minister, and the Indian leader's schedule in the US capital includes holding talks with President Barack Obama and other top administration officials as well as addressing a joint session of Congress. Modi's trip "reflects the significance that the two leaders place on the natural alliance between the two largest democratic countries of the world," a State Department spokesperson told news agency PTI. The discussions between the two sides are expected to focus on deepening bilateral defense partnership as well as ways to boost US investment into India, particularly in the energy sector. Trade and defense There is talk of a potential multibillion dollar deal with the US electric giant Westinghouse to build a nuclear power plant in the southern Indian state … [Read more...] about PM Modi looking to buttress India-US ties