The year 2020 accelerated some tectonic realignments in Indian foreign policy. Two of New Delhi’s biggest foreign policy challenges swapped places—China, with its unprovoked border aggression in eastern Ladakh in May 2020, appeared as a threat for the first time in recent years; while Pakistan, with its economic worries and political turmoil, somewhat diminished as a challenge. However, close political, economic, and military ties between Beijing and Islamabad have made the prospect of a joint front a bigger strategic headache.
The China challenge and the prospect of two live borders with collusive neighbors have led to India reaching out more enthusiastically for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with the US, Japan, and Australia. The Quad’s collective heft, New Delhi hopes, will geopolitically address the military imbalance it faces on its vast mountainous frontier with China. It will also buy India time to accelerate its own military infrastructure along the border.
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HOME IN THE WORLD
HIGH & MIGHTY 10 GLOBAL INDIANS
Q+A MY FAVOURITE THINGS
RUSKIN BOND started writing at 17. Today, at 87, he is as prolific and precise. As a new anthology hits stores, he takes stock of both past and future
HIGH & MIGHTY 10 ADMINISTRATORS
THE ALPHA LEAGUE
HIGH & MIGHTY 50 POWER PEOPLE
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A look at three of the most coveted, energy efficient LED lights from celebrated global designers
A CONTENTIOUS MOVE
FOREST ACT AMENDMENT
BJP IN GOA:BREWING DISCONTENT
BJP IN GOA
Making Mumbai the Kindness Capital
Happiness delivery: Organising meals and vaccinations for the underprivileged in Mumbai and offering educational and financial support to children orphaned during the pandemic
THE CLOUT WIELDERS
THE GLOBAL COVID PANDEMIC, which hit the world last year, not only took away the lives of millions and devastated economies, it also reorganised the political order in many regions. India was among the countries hit the hardest by the ravaging virus, yet, the political impact of Covid is still not evident. Six states went to polls since the pandemic broke out in India in March 2020—all before the second wave of Covid hit the country in early April 2021—but it was not an electoral issue during the campaigns. The political power order of the country has remained largely unchanged with the RSS-BJP ecosystem firmly entrenched at the top. While de facto Congress chief Rahul Gandhi remains the sole national voice against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government, recent political movements have seen the emergence of regional satraps as new power centres. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee not only withstood a massive BJP campaign to dethrone her in the assembly poll earlier this year but is also now projecting herself as an alternative to Modi. In this quest, she will need the support of Maratha stalwart Sharad Pawar, who is the unofficial nerve centre of the Maharashtra government. The India Today political power list of 2021 provides a quick overview of the strongest players giving direction to the political discourse in the country.
J&K: Fear Returns To The Valley
For the past fortnight, a Kashmiri Pandit social activist in Srinagar (name withheld for security concerns) has been living under police protection. A posse of policemen knocked on his door around midnight on October 5 and shifted him to a more secure location, a kilometre from his house. “They told me I was on the militants’ radar and needed to go with them,” he says.
CHINA CRACKDOWN ON APPLE STORE HITS HOLY BOOK APPS, AUDIBLE
Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China, the latest examples of the impact of the country’s tightened rules for internet firms.
CHINA CALLS MISSILE LAUNCH ‘ROUTINE TEST' OF NEW TECHNOLOGY
China said its launch of a new spacecraft was merely a test to see whether the vehicle could be reused.
Pakistan sees a victorious Taliban in Afghanistan to the west and a partner in China to the East. But the U.S. is at odds with both, pushing leader Imran Khan into a delicate balancing act.
America Can't Ignore Afghanistan
Exclusive: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says the Taliban can be a partner for peace, not a terrorist threat - if the U.S. stays engaged.
MICROSOFT SHUTTING DOWN LINKEDIN IN CHINA
Microsoft is shutting down its LinkedIn service in China later this year after internet rules were tightened by Beijing, the latest American tech giant to lessen its ties to the country.
CHINA SET TO SEND 3 ASTRONAUTS ON LONGEST CREWED MISSION YET
China is preparing to send three astronauts to live on its space station for six months — a new milestone for a program that has advanced rapidly in recent years.
Beyond Traditional and Modern
JYOTI BHATT is a celebrated and awarded artist, best known for his work in painting and printmaking, as well as his photographic accounts of rural Indian culture and folk art. He and his colleagues founded the “Baroda School” of Indian art. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019, and has been honoured with five Lifetime Achievement Awards. In August 2021 he had a conversation with ANANYA PATEL, musing about his life and his art. Excerpts from that conversation are presented in this 2-part series, along with some of his work.
CIA Creates Working Group on China as Threats Keep Rising
China is an especially difficult challenge for the U.S. intelligence community.
CHINA TIGHTENS POLITICAL CONTROL OF INTERNET GIANTS
The crackdown reflects Xi Jinping’s emphasis on reviving the party’s “original mission” of leading economic and social development.
MASTERING the UNIVERSE
Nuclear fusion has been a fantasy for decades. But recent breakthroughs signal the holy grail of clean energy could finally be close to reality. Who’ll get there first?