General Bipin Rawat has become the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India on New Year’s Day. This came as the result of the centre’s approval for the creation of the new posting of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Department of Military Affairs under the Ministry of Defence. This position has been recommended by many for decades and the government was not able to implement this until now due to criticism from the political class on the possibility of a military takeover and the service staffs’ unwillingness to part their powers and confine themselves to only staff functions.
Australia’s Prime Minister had called off his four-day visit to India from January 13 due to the catastrophic bushfires in his home country. However, when it does take place, the next India-Australia summit will be an important occasion to promote the bilateral ties between the two nations. The bilateral relations between India and Australia is often characterised as one of the perpetually unfulfilled promises. However, for the first time since India’s independence, India and Australia currently have an opportunity to develop diplomatic ties that are free from irritants. This is due to the common interests of the two nations that have come forth in the current changing geopolitics.
In recent years, the bilateral ties between India and Japan have been enhanced exponentially due to various mutual interests that arose because of the changing global politics. The recently held 2+2 ministerial meeting between the two nations is one of the very many examples of India’s growing diplomatic relationship with Japan.
India and the US in the recent trade negotiations in New York have failed to even arrive at a limited trade deal. The deal staggered over the duties imposed by India on Information and Communication Technology Products. The US wanted the 20% duty on mobile and ethernet switches to be reduced or eliminated. Also, America had called for greater access to the Indian market for medical devices, diary and agricultural products. These are sensitive products in the political perspective for India as the current government has promised to make them affordable. If the Indian government loosens trade restriction on these products, the price of these products will be increased. India, on the other hand, had called for the restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences. As for the full-scale trade talks, it would involve sensitive issues like H1B visas, intellectual property and e-commerce. Currently, even limited trade deal between India and the United States seems to be a challenge. Both sides must put aside these minor differences for achieving the common strategic interests of both the nations.