Tag Archives: India

India Takes a Step Toward Decriminalizing Homosexuality

On January 10, 2018, India’s Supreme Court declared it would re-examine Section 377 of the Indian Penal code, which bans “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal” — an act currently punishable by life imprisonment. The idea that same sex relations went “against the order of nature” came from a 16th century English law, passed down from when India was a colony of the British Empire.

While beleaguered gay activists, long engaged in an uphill battle to deliver justice to India’s LGBTQ community, may have heaved a collective sigh of relief, some representatives of India’s right-wing government were quick to douse their hopes. “As long as they don’t celebrate it, don’t flaunt it, don’t create gay bars to select partners it’s not a problem,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy. “In their privacy what they do, nobody can invade but if you flaunt it, it has to be punished and therefore there has to be Section 377 of the IPC,” he added.

That reasoning — that a tolerant society somehow encourages homosexuality to flourish — has been used to support anti-gay legislation in Uganda, Russia, and elsewhere.

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Posted by on January 23, 2018 in Asia



How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads

Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations — where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement as they are, at least evolve, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate target — a political settlement.

A stable Syria is crucial to all parties involved in Eurasia integration. As Asia Times reported, China has made it clear that a pacified Syria will eventually become a hub of the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — building on the previous business bonanza of legions of small traders commuting between Yiwu and the Levant.

Away from intractable war and peace issues, it’s even more enlightening to observe how Turkey, Iran and Russia are playing their overlapping versions of Eurasia economic integration and/or BRI-related business.

Much has to do with the energy/transportation connectivity between railway networks — and, further on the down the road, high-speed rail — and what I have described, since the early 2000s, as Pipelineistan.

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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Asia, Economy, Europe, Middle East


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Devastating Himalayan floods are made worse by an international blame game

Devastating floods in Nepal have sparked regional tension, with Nepali politicians and media outlets claiming that Indian infrastructure along their shared border has left Nepal vulnerable.

In a visit last week to India, Nepal’s prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba released a joint statement with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi pledging to work together to combat future flood disasters. But relations between the two countries remain strained, and many in Nepal still resent India for a three-month blockade of supplies in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes.

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Posted by on September 12, 2017 in Asia


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70 years on, India and Pakistan have successfully dehumanised each other in popular imagination

On the 70th anniversary of Partition, intellectuals, analysts, writers, artists and engaged citizens seem driven to try to understand 1947, to make sense of the bloodshed and trauma, to explore the legacy of Partition, and to uncover the personal stories that were far too often sidelined in favour of grand state narratives on both sides of the border.The first Partition Museum is being inaugurated in Amritsar this month while the 1947 Partition Archive, the largest repository of Partition interviews, has just moved forward to release the narratives for public consumption.

Source: 70 years on, India and Pakistan have successfully dehumanised each other in popular imagination – Blogs – DAWN.COM

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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Asia


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China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns

So, once again it’s down to a face-off in the Himalayas. Beijing builds a road in the disputed territory of Doklam (if you’re Indian) or Donglang (if you’re Chinese), in the tri-junction of Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan, and all hell breaks loose. Or does it?The Global Times blames it on an upsurge of Hindu nationalist fervor, but selected Indian officials prefer to privilege ongoing quiet diplomacy. After all, when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana last month, they struck a gentleman’s agreement; this dispute is not supposed to escalate, and there’s got to be a mutually face saving solution.The tri-junction drama is actually a minor tremor in the much larger picture of the ongoing geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia. The major subplot occurs in the conjunction between the inexorable momentum of the New Silk Roads, aka China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s push, these past nine years, to assert itself as a major naval power in the Indian Ocean.

Source: China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns

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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Asia


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How long can China and India avoid war in the Himalayas?

A remote corner of the Himalayas has become the unlikely scene of a major power standoff between China and India. Now entering its seventh week, the standoff centers on the tri-junction border shared by China, India, and Bhutan referred to as Doklam in India and Donglang in China. Neither side is spoiling for a fight, nor are they ready to back down anytime soon considering the security concerns, domestic political pressures, and regional reputational stakes. A series of quiet diplomatic interactions has not restrained the brinkmanship or ultimatums and the risk of a major armed clash between two Asian heavyweights remains. China and India have sparred along the Himalayan border for decades, including a brief war (and clear Chinese victory) in 1962. In areas like Aksai Chin or Arunachal Pradesh, long-standing disputes still play out in regular diplomatic arguments. Yet until recently there seemed to be a settled status quo in the comparatively peaceful tri-national border area, which has special strategic significance, lying as it does above the 14-mile-wide Siliguri valley, or the “chicken’s neck,” that connects northeast India to the rest of the country. As it turns out, both sides had very different visions of just what that status quo was.

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Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Asia


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What’s Wrong With Modi’s Outmoded Idea of India 

Three years after he was elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi looms over India’s political scene like no other leader in the country’s recent history. And his critics must explain why his mass appeal seems unimpaired, despite his increasingly authoritarian ways and growing failures. Modi is far from realizing his promises of economic and military security. Pakistan-backed militants continue to strike inside Indian territory. The anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir has acquired a mass base; Maoist insurgents in central India attack security forces with impunity. Industrial growth, crucial to creating jobs for the nearly 13 million Indians entering the workforce each year, is down, at least partly due to Modi’s policy of demonetization.

Source: What’s Wrong With Modi’s Outmoded Idea of India – Bloomberg

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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in Asia



Understanding Modi’s Magical Appeal 

We are now deep in the era of political shocks. One electorate after another has expressed its anger with mainstream parties and technocratic elites by favoring political outsiders and know-nothing anti-incumbents. But what explains the appeal of demagogues once they start governing and reveal themselves to be exponents of chaos?

Source: Understanding Modi’s Magical Appeal – Bloomberg View

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Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Asia



Big Tests for Modi’s BJP in State Assembly Polls 

State assembly elections now in progress in five states will indicate how successful India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been in meeting the aspirations of electors who voted him into power with a landslide victory three years ago to change the way India had been run by ineffective national governments.

Uttar Pradesh is the biggest prize, but the states of Punjab and Goa could make political history by launching another agent of change, the Aam Aadmi (people’s) Party, into national politics outside its current base of Delhi where it was elected two years ago.

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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Asia



Game-changers ahead on the (long) Maritime Silk Road

From the Bab al-Mandab to the strait of Malacca, from the strait of Hormuz to the strait of Lombok, all the way to the key logistical hub of Diego Garcia 2,500 miles southeast of Hormuz, the question pops up: How will the unpredictable new normal in Washington — which is not exactly China-friendly — affect the wider Indian Ocean?

At play are way more than key choke-points in an area that straddles naval supply chains and through which also flows almost 40% of the oil that powers Asian-Pacific economies. This is about the future of the Maritime Silk Road, a key component of the Chinese One Belt, One Road (OBOR), and thus about how Big Power politics will unfold in a key realm of the Rimland.

India imports almost 80% of its energy from the Middle East via the Indian Ocean. Thus, for Delhi, protection of supply chains must be the norm, as in the current drive to develop three carrier battle groups and at least 160 naval vessels, including submarines, before 2022. That also implies boosting a cooperation agreement with the nations bordering the strait of Malacca — Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia — and developing military infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

China for its part advances a relentless economic/infrastructural drive from Myanmar to Pakistan, from Bangladesh to the Maldives, from Sri Lanka to Djibouti — a counterbalance to the impossibility of fully implementing “escape from Malacca,” the complex, multi-pronged Beijing strategy for diversifying energy supplies.

Source: Article: Game-changers ahead on the (long) Maritime Silk Road

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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Asia


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