Insights into Editorial: Reclaiming SAARC from the ashes of 2020

  Introduction: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in recent years: Thirty-six years after it first began, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), appears to be all but dead in the water. The year 2020 marked the sixth year since the leaders of the eight nations that make up SAARC were able …

Insights into Editorial: Reframing India’s foreign policy priorities

  Context: The year 2021 should see a cementing of the many trends that had their genesis in 2020. Leadership change in the United States is perhaps the most awaited change, but is unlikely to bring about a major power shift in the international arena. Even before the changeover, and despite the promise of a …

Insights into Editorial: Dialogues for democracy, lessons from Rajasthan

  Introduction: Ancient India had democratic republic even before 6th century BCE and India has seen democratic rule through ages. Vaishali (in present day Bihar) is considered one of the first republics around 6th century BCE. Republics at that time were called ‘Mahajanpadas’ and Sabhas and Samitis (assemblies) existed. Panchayat systems were also used in …

Insights into Editorial: How serious is the bird flu outbreak in India, and how can it be contained?

    Context: Avian influenza, popularly known as bird flu, has been reported from Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in recent weeks. In recent, reports of unusual deaths of a large number of birds, including wild ones, started coming in from many States, indicating that the virus is being …

Insights into Editorial: China holds third South Asia multilateral meet in new push

    Context: China has held its third multilateral dialogue with countries from South Asia to take forward closer cooperation on fighting COVID-19 and coordinating their economic agendas, reflecting a new approach in Beijing’s outreach to the region. The third dialogue, held virtually, brought together every country in the region barring India, Bhutan and the …

Insights into Editorial: Do we have a grip on disinformation in 2021?

  Context: Disinformation, or “fake news”, is a malaise that has been worsened by the infodemic of the social media age. In the last few years, it has been used as an effective weapon to polarise communities and upset democratic processes. Even if the fake news is not an electoral agenda, it is in the …

Insights into Editorial: A nod to recognizing the value of housework

  Context: In the context of the forthcoming State Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, one of the contesting party has made an eye-catching election promise that is evidently targeted at a large constituency of voters women who are full-time homemakers. The party has promised to recognise housework as a salaried profession by paying homemakers ‘hitherto …

Insights into Editorial: India must integrate its UNSC engagement with broader national goals

  Context: As India enters the United Nations Security Council for the third time since the end of the Cold War, India finds a very different dynamic than the one it encountered during the earlier stints in 1991-92 and 2011-12. India, too, has changed over the last decade. The range of Indian interests has expanded …

Insights into Editorial: Maximum Governor: On Governor’s role

    Context: In yet another tug-of-war between Kerala Governor and Chief Minister, the Governor has turned down a request to summon a special sitting of the Assembly to debate the new three central farm laws. The state government’s Cabinet had written to the Governor and, after the denial, is mulling approaching him again with …

Insights into Editorial: India approves COVID-19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin for emergency use

  Context: The stage is set for the biggest vaccine rollout in India’s history with the Drugs Controller General of India formally approving two vaccines for restricted use under emergency conditions: Covishield by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. Though other vaccine candidates are in the fray too, these two …

Insights into Editorial: India needs to invest urgently in climate action

  Introduction: The phrase ‘new normal’ has become very popular in 2020. Often, one will hear it in the context of life during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, its usage is not exclusive to the pandemic. Climate disasters, especially in India, also form part of a new normal. India continues to suffer the …

Insights into Editorial: Dealing with India’s two-front challenge

  Context: Indian strategic thinking on a two-front war Till recently, any mention of a two-front war evoked two contrasting opinions. India’s military was firmly of the view that a collusive China-Pakistan military threat was a real possibility, and we must develop capabilities to counter this challenge. On the other hand, the political class in …

Insights into Editorial: Give adequate time for a probe

  Context: Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020: The Maharashtra Cabinet cleared the draft of a Bill prepared on the lines of the Disha Act passed by the Andhra Pradesh government to curb crimes against women and children. The draft of the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020, proposes death penalty …

Insights into Editorial: Tribal ministry panels draft fresh guidelines for community forest, habitat rights

    Context: Draft fresh guidelines for community forest, habitat rights: Draft guidelines were prepared by two committees formed by MoTA in February 2020-Committee on Management of Community Forest Rights (CFR) and Committee on Habitat rights. Guidelines for CFR are aimed at creating a community forests resource management committee as an executive arm of Gram …

Insights into Editorial: Rethinking waste management: Improving governance in India’s North East

    Introduction: In recent years municipal solid waste (MSW) management has been one of the most environmental concerns for all urban areas of India. Most of the urban centres have neither adequate land nor any facility for MSW disposal. In view of scarcity of lands for making landfill sites, solid wastes can be used …

Insights into Editorial: Article 356 and an activist judiciary

  Context: The recent order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court directing the Andhra Pradesh government to come prepared to argue on the ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state’ is shocking as it opens up the possibility of use or even misuse of Article 356 by the judiciary. Though the Supreme Court of India …

Insights into Editorial: Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approves anti-conversion bill

  Context: The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020, which provides for a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of ₹1 lakh for conversion through “marriage or by any other fraudulent means” got the State Cabinet’s approval. The Bill, in some ways, is similar to the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion …

Insights into Editorial: This is how we prevent future pandemics, say 22 leading scientists

Context: The emergence of COVID-19 in late 2019 as a major global pandemic is part of a pattern of disease emergence that highlights linkages among biodiversity, global environmental change and human health. COVID-19 and other pandemics are rooted in biodiversity. They are caused by micro-organisms that are themselves a critical part of biodiversity and are …

Insights into Editorial: European powers as natural partners in constructing a durable balance of power in Indo-Pacific

  Context: India’s international coalitions: As the problem of reversing Chinese aggression in the Ladakh region carries over from 2020, strengthening India’s international coalitions becomes an important priority for Indian foreign and security policies in 2021. If the intensification of security cooperation with the United States has become an important milestone in India’s foreign policy …