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National Security Conversations
39 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Nuclear dangers in South Asia | Episode 94
In this episode of the NSC, Dr Happymon Jacob discusses ‘Nuclear Dangers in Southern Asia’ with Dr George Perkovich (vice president, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of India’s Nuclear Bomb). The discussion focuses on how the growing rivalry between India and China could potentially complicate nuclear stability in Southern Asia. The conversation brings out the conceptual and practical aspects of nuclear deterrence in the region. Answering a question whether the growing Chinese cyber capabilities could trigger a change in India’s nuclear policy and posture, Dr Perkovich argues that it might not make any sense for India to abandon its ‘No First use’ policy or adopt a ‘Launch on Warning’ posture to respond to growing Chinese capabilities.
42 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Does India Need a Course-Correction in South Asia? I Episode 93
In this episode of the NSC, Dr. Happymon Jacob (Founder, csdronline.org) discusses India’s South Asia policy in context of the rise of China with Amb. Gautam Bambawale (former Ambassador to China and High Commissioner to Pakistan). The discussion highlights the fierce competition underway between India and China for influence in South Asia and how New Delhi should up its game to remain relevant in the region. Amb. Bambawale argued that India should build on the cultural and historical connect with the region, something China doesn’t share with South Asia. The discussion also focuses on issues relating to the two front situations faced by India and India’s 5G options.
33 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
India’s Place in the World | Episode 92
In this episode of the NSC, Dr. Happymon Jacob discusses India’s standing in the world with Dr Ashley J. Tellis (Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC). The discussion focuses on how India-US relations will fare under a Joe Biden administration, and what the two sides could do to address the growing China Challenge in the Asian region. The discussion also provides important insights on the potential geopolitical changes in Southern Asia in the years ahead and what that might mean for New Delhi.
48 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Indo-US Relations under a Biden Administration | Episode 91
In this special episode for The Wire, Dr. Happymon Jacob is joined by former Foreign Secretary of India Nirupama Menon Rao and Max Rodenbeck, South Asia Bureau Chief for The Economist magazine, to discuss the future of India-US relations under a US Administration led by Joe Biden. The panel discusses the current state of India-US relations and assesses whether a democratic administration in Washington DC would change the character and course of the robust India-US strategic partnership. The panel examines the sources of the bipartisan support for India in the US, how the China challenge has brought the two sides closer than ever, and the potential geopolitical changes under the Biden administration in the US and their impact on India.
50 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Covid upsets India's 'Great Power' ambitions | Episode 90
Dr Happymon Jacob discusses the 2020 Asia Power Index with Herve Lemahieu (Director, Asia Power & Diplomacy Programme, Lowy Institute, Sydney & Lead, Annual Asia Power Index). This episode unpacks the 2020 Index & offers insights into the measures & indicators used in the study. The conversation analyses how the pandemic has unsettled the balance of power in Asia. The episode also focuses on India’s performance in the Index and how it will need a multi-decade effort to regain the lost ground due to Covid-19.
43 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Why is Pakistan accusing India of Terror? | Episode 89
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to Amb. Vivek Katju (Former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan) & Tilak Devasher (Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India) against the fresh backdrop of the shocking allegations that Pakistan has made against India. The discussion probes whether this is a tactic by the Pakistan Government to divert attention away from its own domestic failures. The conversation also analyses the impact of Islamabad’s unbridled accusations against New Delhi on the bilateral relationship of the two rival countries going forward
36 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
India’s Strategic Springboard: Myanmar | Episode 88
Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to Amb. Gautam Mukhopadhaya, (Former Ambassador to Myanmar 2013-2016) on the strategic importance of India-Myanmar relations. The discussion explores the rationale behind the new momentum in India-Myanmar relations and the historical background to the current state of bilateral relations. The conversation brings forth interesting insights regarding India’s strategic Port-building projects in Myanmar which would play a crucial role in India’s land & maritime connectivity to the ASEAN region. Ambassador Mukhopadhaya explains how Myanmar is a ‘launching pad’ for India’s maritime grand strategy. The conversation concludes with the Ambassador reasoning how India can afford “a more sympathetic policy towards persecuted refugees”, even while abiding by national interests. To Receive Instant Updates! Follow: @NSCwithHJ @HappymonJacob
41 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Implementing the Indo-Pak Partition | Episode 87
Dr. Happymon Jacob in conversation with Dr Pallavi Raghavan (Assistant Professor at Ashoka University). They discuss the unique arguments she makes in her new book entitled ‘Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship’. The conversation focuses on how newly-created India and Pakistan, despite a great deal of animosity, decided to cooperate with each other. The discussion evaluates whether it was the common cultural & institutional affinity that prompted cooperation between the two adversaries in the 1950s or whether it was due to their 'shared faith in the creation of Westphalian states.’ The discussion also revolves around the significance of the Nehru-Liaquat pact, its provisions for flexible sovereignty & the remarkable collaboration to reassure minorities on both sides. To Receive Instant Updates! Follow: @NSCwithHJ @HappymonJacob
48 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Australia & NZ's views on Indo-Pacific & QUAD | Episode 86
In this special episode from CSDR, Dr Happymon Jacob is joined by an eminent panel consisting of Dr Anne-Marie Brady (University Of Canterbury, New Zealand), Dr David Capie (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) &; Dr Euan Graham (IISS-Asia, Singapore). The panelists in this conversation discuss how Australia & New Zealand views the growing Chinese challenge in the Indo-pacific & the South China Sea. The conversation also revolves around Oceania & interests in the QUAD given the growing belligerence of China in the region. The discussion also probes whether the security decisions taken by Canberra and Wellington are handicapped by the strong economic ties both countries share with China and provides insights into India’s role in their strategies to tackle the ‘China Challenge’. For updates, find us on Twitter: @NSCwithHJ @CSDR_India
38 minutes | Sep 25, 2020
Germany’s 2020 Indo-Pacific Strategy | Episode 85
In this episode, Dr.Happymon Jacob and Amb. Walter J. Lindner (German Ambassador to India) discuss the implications of the German Government’s new policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region. Starting with the curious timing of its announcement in the midst of the Indo-China standoff at the LAC, they discuss the opportunities & challenges in the Indo-pacific region before shedding light on how Germany seeks “to promote the ‘enforcement’ of rule-based order in the region”. While acknowledging that the strategy is a ‘break from the past’ the Ambassador asserts that the new policy guidelines are not designed to take sides, but intended to support and initiate multilateralism. For updates, find us on Twitter: @NSCwithHJ @CSDR_India
59 minutes | Sep 6, 2020
Time to scrap the Sedition Law? | Episode 84
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob discusses the colonial origins and the post-colonial evolution of the Sedition law with Anushka Singh (Author, Sedition in Liberal Democracies & Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University of Delhi). 150 Years since the imposition of Sedition Law in colonial India, the discussion probes whether these Laws are used to stifle free speech and political opposition in contemporary India. The discussion brings out the contrast between the popular conceptions of ‘sedition’ in the country and the higher Judiciary’s views on the same. The discussion also explores how the Sedition Law eventually made it to the Constitution despite most Constituent Assembly members viewing it as a repressive Colonial Law. The author argues that while the conviction rate is negligible when it comes to those charged under the controversial law, the process itself is the punishment. For updates, find us on Twitter: @NSCwithHJ NOTE: The Kerala case referred to in the interview where the Director General of Police had issued guidelines for registering FIRs under section 124A in 2016 was in the wake of a sedition case filed against writer Kamal Chavara and not Thirumurgan Gandhi. Gandhi was also charged for sedition in Tamil Nadu, not Kerala.
54 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
“National Interest can’t be used as Football..." | Shyam Saran | Episode 83
Dr. Happymon Jacob speaks to Amb. Shyam Saran (Former Foreign Secretary & Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board) on contemporary Indian Foreign policymaking. The duo discuss the various options available to New Delhi in addressing the twin challenge of responding to a restive neighbourhood and managing an aggressive China while at the same time adjusting to a changing global order. The discussion unpacks India’s attitude towards “Alignments & Alliances” amidst the ongoing US-China confrontation and examines the concept of ‘Strategic Autonomy’. The conversation also examines whether economic decoupling with China is feasible and probes whether the standoff with China has pushed India closer to the USA For updates, find us on Twitter: @NSCwithHJ @CSDR_India
44 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
Ep.82: Economic Impacts: One year since Abrogation of Article 370
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to Haseeb Drabu (Former Finance Minister of Jammu & Kashmir) about the economic impacts of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The conversation discusses whether J& K’s dependency on subsidy from the central govt will end after a change in its special status and compares economic growth of J& K before and after the August 5 decision. The discussion also probes whether or not development and economic growth are possible at all in Kashmir without sustained efforts at conflict resolution.
35 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
Ep. 81: New Political Trends in J&K: One year since Abrogation of Article 370
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to Altaf Bukhari (Founding President, of Jammu & Kashmir’s Apni party) about the political situation in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Bukhari, a former minister in the J&K cabinet, explains what prompted him and his colleagues to come together and create the Apni Party. He also discusses the core agenda and vision of his party that responds to a new political context in Jammu & Kashmir. The discussion also brings to light the general sentiment on the ground and the resulting political trends in the union territory, a year after losing its statehood. Note: At 01.18 Dr Jacob says that the PDP-BJP coalition was in power in J&K till August 2019. Correction: It was in power only until June 2019.
68 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
Ep.80: The Covid-19 Impact on South Asia's Regional Stability
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob is joined by an eminent panel consisting of Amb. Nirupama Rao (Former Foreign Secretary), Lt. Gen DS Hooda (Former Northern Army Commander), Suhasini Haidar (Diplomatic Editor, The Hindu), Max Rodenbeck (South Asia Bureau Chief, The Economist) & Rajeshwari Rajagopalan (Distinguished Fellow, ORF). The panellists discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching implications on the stability of the South Asian region. The conversation touches upon COVID-19’s effect on pre-existing inter & intraregional conflicts in South Asia including on terrorism and insurgency and impact on the flow of regional migrants and refugees. The conversation also prescribes the ways in which countries in South Asia can cooperate in order to minimise these impacts and chart out a path of recovery to transform the region. For updates, find us on Twitter: @NSCwithHJ @CSDR_India
42 minutes | Jul 11, 2020
Ep.79: Decoding PM Modi’s Statement on China | Happymon Jacob | Prem Shankar Jha
In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to Mr Prem Shankar Jha(Managing Editor, Financial World; Former Information Advisor to V.P.Singh) to understand his interpretation of PM Modi’s statement during the June 19 All-Party meeting on China. The conversation attempts to unpack the reasons behind PM Modi’s statement which became controversial amongst the Indian strategic community. Mr Jha interprets the statement as a signalling strategy that the Indian PM used to signal to China. He argues that the PM was factually correct in stating that the Chinese have not entered India territory as the Chinese have only forced their claims on disputed areas. Therefore the PM’s statement is a call for de-escalation. Mr Jha argues that media coverage of this statement undermines this strategy by misinterpreting the PM’s words. Mr Jha also discusses the reasons behind the present Chinese aggression at the border and the future of Sino-Indian relations.
73 minutes | Jul 11, 2020
Ep.78: 'Cartographic Tussle' | India-Nepal Border Dispute
Dr Happymon Jacob speaks with Mr Kanak Mani Dixit (Publisher of Himal Khabarpatrika & editor of Himal Southasian) and Amb. Rakesh Sood (Retd.) (Former Ambassador to Nepal), about the recent tensions in India- Nepal relations. The two guests discuss the triggers of these tensions and trace the primary cause to multiple maps released by the British government in India. The conversation presents views from both India and Nepal as to how the differing perceptions presented by these maps should be interpreted in the present time. The conversation also discusses the impact of Nepalese domestic politics, China’s growing closeness to Nepal and India’s 2015 blockade on India-Nepal relations. Towards the end, the two guests recommend steps that need to be taken by both governments to restore relations and restart border resolution mechanisms.
38 minutes | Jul 11, 2020
Ep.77: Military Escalation in Galwan | India–China Border Tensions
Dr Happymon Jacob speaks with Lt. Gen. Deependra Singh Hooda, former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian army's Northern Command, on the India-China standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). They discuss the current state of the standoff, the larger Chinese rationale behind these unprecedented attacks, and the strategic importance of the region where the standoff is taking place. The discussion also covers the potential military options India has to respond to China and offers an assessment of the balance of forces between the two sides.
57 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Ep.76: "Differing Perceptions Theory is a Chinese Ploy" | India-China Border Tensions
Dr Happymon Jacob speaks with Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag (Retd.) (Former GOC in C Northern Command and Central Commands, Indian Army. Former Member of Armed Forces Tribunal) on the ongoing India China military standoff on the Line of Actual Control. They discuss how the latest standoff is unprecedented and more worrying than the previous border skirmishes. Lt. Gen. Panag argues that the Chinese have chosen to alter the status quo at selected locations and are using a ‘Differing Perceptions’ paradigm to justify their actions. Therefore, India must challenge this narrative and call out China’s expansionist policies to set the narrative straight. Lt. Gen. Panag also argues that if India does not push back at this stage, China will only increase such behaviour in the future. The conversation ends with Gen. Panag’s thoughts on how New Delhi can counter these incursions.
40 minutes | May 26, 2020
Ep 75: India – China Border Tensions : China’s Designs and India’s Options
Dr. Happymon Jacob in conversation with Amb. Nirupama Menon Rao (Former Foreign Secretary, Former Ambassador to China), Col. Ajai Shukla (Senior Defense Journalist) and Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia (Former DGMO, Indian Army) to understand the recent spate of incursions carried out by the PLA along the Line of Actual Control. The discussion focuses on the reasons why the latest incursions are different from what is usually seen, and seeks to understand why the Chinese leadership would choose to behave aggressively during a global pandemic. Discussants also shed light on the options India has in the short and long term in order to diffuse the current situation and to create mechanisms that may prevent a repeat of such incidents in the future.
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