What’s India Thinking This Week?

The Research & Analysis section of The Dispatch features original ideas, research work, analysis, and commentary on a wide variety of subjects by some of brilliant minds in India’s growing community of strategic thinkers. In this newsletter on Saturdays, we bring to you a range of pieces selected by our Editor from those published across the week.

India and Mexico: Celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations

By Ruchita Beri

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On August 1, 2020, India and Mexico ushered in the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Mexico was the first country in Latin America to establish diplomatic relations with India in 1950. Despite the vast geographical distance that separates them, the two countries share certain commonalities. Both are democracies, diverse societies and share similar development priorities. This view is echoed by Octavio Paz, Nobel Laureate and former Mexican Ambassador to India, “From the beginning, everything that I saw inadvertently evoked forgotten images of Mexico. The strangeness of India brought to mind that other strangeness: my own country”. [Read the full story here]

Rewiring Japan’s national security strategy in post-COVID Indo-Pacific

By Titli Basu

Japan is revisiting its National Security Strategy. The immediate question dominating Japanese security thinking, following the cancellation of Aegis Ashore system, is anchored on missile defence and “enemy-base strike”. As his official term draws closer, Prime Minister Abe will leave behind a Japan whose changing nature as a security actor will be an important variable in framing the strategic equilibrium in not just East Asia, but the Indo-Pacific. Abe’s legacy will be defined by his resolve to turn around the narrative of a “reactive” Japan, by pushing the envelope from passive/negative pacifism to active/positive pacifism, under the banner of Proactive Contribution to Peace. [Read the full story here]

The UAE-Israel agreement: A step towards peace?

By Md. Muddassir Quamar 

The US-Israel-UAE joint statement of August 13 might have come as a surprise for many, but for those following the trajectory of the growing contacts between the Arab Gulf States and Israel, this was long in the making. Released by President Donald Trump, the joint statement promises to normalise diplomatic, political, economic and cultural relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), strengthening the already growing political and diplomatic contacts between the two countries. The question, however, is how will it impact the complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whether it will have any effect on the Israeli-Arab relations. Though only time will tell the true efficacy of the move, it is likely to positively impact the Gulf-Israel relations but unlikely to significantly alter the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Read the full story here]

Community based Solar Power projects

By Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhatt


The world is undergoing a fundamental shift in the energy sector from fossil fuel-based systems to increasingly decentralized renewable energy systems at scales to suit all energy sectors. Limited energy infrastructure, population spread over vast areas and an arid climate in Jammu and Kashmir was a disadvantage, but now there is an advantage by installing solar power generation infrastructure. The whole union territory of J&K has unmatched renewal energy availability. The technologies required to utilize this energy can be scaled to meet every need and installed wherever energy is needed. Furthermore, Jammu and Kashmir can avoid costly lock-in of centralized energy systems in areas previously without electricity and upgrade existing systems creating energy security. This will also ensure safeguarding our natural resources like forests which are off and on damaged during laying of huge transmission lines and construction of dams for hydropower plants. [Read the full story here]

Never Again: 75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By Dr Manpreet Sethi 


This August marks 75 years of the dropping of Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These were the first two nuclear bombs built by the US in the secret Manhattan Project; run at a frenzied pace to beat the possibility of Germany getting to the weapon before the Allied powers. Within minutes of the nuclear attack, a bustling city turned into a wasteland, as nearly 60,000-80,000 people vaporised immediately. None had seen such death and destruction being caused by just one bomb. [Read the full story here]

COVID-19: Cumulative impact on world economy

By Ritika Karan

The Coronavirus pandemic has spread with distressing speed, blighting millions of people and bringing economic activities to a near-standstill as countries have imposed tight restrictions on all sort of activities in order to halt the spread of the virus. As the health and human toll raises, the economic damage is already evident and epitomizes the largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades. The whole world is struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. [Read the full story here]

China’s curious wars

By Vice Adm (Retd) Vijay Shankar

The Chinese tradition of warfare differs from contemporary understanding. Instead of focusing on their own weaknesses, they seek to avoid exposing their flaws by instituting long-term measures to alter and isolate the environment. This is before subversion and morale-breaking disinformation generate the advantage. This strategy uses every possible means to manipulate forces at play well before confrontation. In this context, the significance of the clash neither constitutes the ‘moment of decision’ nor would its outcome be the end of the engagement. And, if conclusion is not to China’s terms, it is effectively delayed and kept animated in order to erode the will to resist. A favourable consequence is thus sought through an ‘isolate-subvert-sap’ strategy. [Read the full story here]  


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