New Delhi must not buckle to Chinese pressure in its engagement of Indo-Pacific countries. After hiatus of over a year, I resume my monthly column in the Business Standard on the geopolitics and geoeconomics of the Indo-Pacific region. As the edit page is behind a paywall, I will put up unedited drafts, excerpts or the … Continue reading "Being credible"
Perhaps it’s time for new champions of democracy, liberty and open economies I was in a panel discussion with Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School and T K Arun, senior editor of the Deccan Herald at the Deccan Herald Spotlight, Taj West End, Bangalore on 9th January 2017. The topic of discussion was … Continue reading "Geopolitics in Trump’s age"
Nitin Pai was quoted in an article with the Los Angeles Times which examines the effects of the sudden demonetisation in India. India...
Stop worrying about Trump being in Putin’s pocket. Start thinking of how to deal with him. Donald Trump’s attitude and statements both during the election campaign and after his victory have led many analysts to conclude that the new president of the United States will share an unprecedented cosy relationship with Vladimir Putin, the long-time … Continue reading "Trump is not Putin’s puppet"
The defence ministry must quickly resume issuing official medals. Last week, a colleague and I were struck by what we saw at a new military supplies store that had opened in our neighbourhood. Among the usual uniforms, shoes, hats, bags and kit, we were surprised to see medals. Not just the ribbons, but the entire … Continue reading "Medalless army"
The big idea in urban transport is to get users to pay for parking and suchlike. Not another piece of paper. The Union government is considering a proposal to make car ownership contingent on the prospective buyer producing an “adequate parking space available certificate.” M Venkaiah Naidu, Union urban development minister stated that he was … Continue reading "Why parking needs more than proof of space"
Politicisation will limit politicisation Two of the more thoughtful critiques of the Modi government’s decision to jettison the principle of seniority in appointing India’s next army chief appear in the Indian Express and Business Standard today. Sushant Singh and Ajai Shukla are among the most astute commentators on the subject so it is important to … Continue reading "A better way of selecting the top brass – 2"
Satyagraha, Neoliberalism, CIA…we’re running out of ideas It is perhaps a good time for newspaper editors to stop publishing any more polemical opinion pieces on the great currency transfusion (‘demonetisation’). When someone argues that people standing in lines to deposit and withdraw their own money after being compelled to do so by the government, are … Continue reading "Time for a stiff drink"
Nothing is lost by abandoning the principle of seniority, but the armed forces need restructuring Yesterday, the Modi government decided to supersede two general officers and appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next chief of army staff. In a system where seniority has risen from a criterion to the criterion, and where “lines of … Continue reading "A better way of selecting the top brass"
As long as schadenfreude exceeds inconvenience Many of us at Takshashila have been struck by the seemingly paradoxical situation of the Prime Minister enjoying popular support for the Great Currency Swap (‘demonetisation’) even when everyone has been inconvenienced to various extents. In a recent post, I argued that this confirmed my cynical hypothesis of what … Continue reading "How long will the Great Currency Swap be popular?"
On making big bold moves in uncharted territory Over the past few weeks, many people have asked me (just as they’ve asked each other) what I think of the Modi government’s currency reform (popularly known as ‘demonetisation’). To this day, my response has been that PM Modi has taken a very risky bet, and it’s … Continue reading "A conservative criticism of the Great Currency Transfusion"
To be successful, the push for cashless society must accommodate the anonymity of cash There is no doubt that moving towards a cashless society has immense benefits: from making transactions convenient and highly efficient to bringing most of the economy under accountability. From where India stands at 2016, a concerted push towards reducing the use … Continue reading "The paradox of a cashless society"
How to win followers and influence people There was a pink rhinoceros at the cocktail party. All the guests saw it but no one talked about it. They believed it would be rude to do so, for who knows what reasons the hosts might have had to let it into the room. Maybe it was … Continue reading "The pink rhinoceros at the party"
Eternal nervousness might well be the price of democracy Rohit Pradhan usually has interesting things to say and minces no words. Especially on Friday evenings. As he inaugurated last weekend, he decided to take liberals to the cleaners. “But of course democracy is awesome till it elects people I don’t like. Then I want to … Continue reading "Should liberals relax when populists are democratically elected?"
Mr Trump’s telephone conversations with world leaders are indicative of his style, not substance. Donald Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, screams a headline in the New York Times are “upsetting decades of diplomacy.” An already excited commentariat — around the world — is aghast at the fantastic manner in which the new US president-elect … Continue reading "Trump is fantastic. Don’t worry."
Have Indians proved the cynics among them wrong? A few years ago, a cynic postulated two laws of policy realism in India. The first law of policy realism A policy that relies on the Indian citizen to act in selfless public interest will not work. In fact, a policy that expects an Indian citizen to … Continue reading "Currency transfusion and political cyni-, er, realism"