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Srinath Raghavan

Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He is the author of many acclaimed books on history and international affairs. He lives in Mumbai and tweets as @srinathraghava3.

Articles by Srinath Raghavan

A new landscape evolves

The 1967 election showed a widening of the electorate and a deepening of Indian democracy. Voter turnout had risen from just under 45% in the first general election, in 1952, to 61% in 1967. The opposition was uniting and, at the same time, the Congress was divided from within.

Indira Gandhi with party leaders at her residence. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 01:33 PM IST

India’s path to power: Strategy in a world adrift

At a time when global, regional and national politics is undergoing a churn, some of India’s finest public intellectuals — including those who have been policymakers and those who have observed and studied India in depth — have come together to outline the contours of the new world order and, more importantly, what India should do to achieve its objectives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PTI)
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 06:05 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar, Sunil Khilnani, Prakash Menon, Shivshankar Menon, Nitin Pai, Srinath Raghavan, Ajit Ranade, and Shyam Saran

Naya Kashmir: It’s not a new idea | Opinion

Like Modi, Indira Gandhi, too, wanted to alter the status quo in the state almost 50 years ago

In Kashmir, Indira Gandhi’s biggest challenge were local leaders who would cleave to New Delhi’s vision. Modi will face the same thing(REUTERS, GETTY IMAGES)
Updated on Aug 14, 2019 07:53 AM IST

Why an escalation in US-Iran tensions should worry Delhi

Faced with serious attempt to squeeze its economic or strategic assets, Iran will respond in ways that can jeopardise maritime traffic in the Gulf.

In this June 13, 2019, file photo, an oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman. A series of attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf has ratcheted up tensions between the US and Iran -- and raised fears over the safety of one of Asia’s most vital energy trade routes, where about a fifth of the world’s oil passes through its narrowest at the Strait of Hormuz. The attacks have jolted the shipping industry, with many of operators in the region on high alert(AP)
Published on Jul 09, 2019 07:58 PM IST

The defence policy must be prioritised

The government has enormous political capital to bring in defence reforms. Band-aid fixes won’t work

The Modi government faces a string of daunting challenges from reforming the security architecture and structuring the armed forces to strengthening the defence industrial base and military readiness(PTI)
Updated on Jun 19, 2019 07:30 PM IST

Jaishankar has his work cut out

The foreign minister has to figure out ways to arrest the slide in the India-US bilateral ties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, Manila, The Philippines, 2017.(PTI)
Published on Jun 05, 2019 08:46 AM IST

Diplomatic patience will pay more dividends on the China front

Diplomacy should help expand our options in such a context rather foreclose them in petulance. Think of how the Chinese are dealing with the Trump administration over the trade war. New Delhi’s efforts should be geared towards getting China to yet again calibrate its approach to India and Pakistan

The Modi government was initially well-placed to persuade the Chinese to avoid too sharp a tilt towards Pakistan. Yet the widening power differential with China as well as a series of mis-steps eroded its ability to do so(PTI)
Updated on Mar 19, 2019 07:40 PM IST

Indo-Saudi ties, a fine balancing act

Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman’s India visit comes at an important juncture in the geopolitics of southwest Asia as well as in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Buenos Aires, November 29, 2018. Modi government has invested considerable time and energy in fostering stronger relations with countries in West Asia, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE.(REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 18, 2019 11:01 AM IST

Question the government on Rafale

The handling of the Rafale issue by the Modi government have dealt a deep blow to India’s military modernisation.

The prime minister evidently took the decision to scrap the old tender and purchase 36 Rafales without consulting the Air Force or the ministry of defence.(PTI)
Published on Jan 23, 2019 07:48 AM IST

Army chief Rawat’s statements ahistorical, poorly judged

Army chief General Bipin Rawat sparked a political row with his remarks that the All India United Democratic Front has been growing faster than the BJP in Assam because of support of Muslims, with Pakistan and China pushing Bangladeshi migrants into the North-east.

Army chief Bipin Rawat’s remarks about the rise of the AIUDF and changing demography in the northeast drew a sharp backlash from the Assam-based party’s chief Badruddin Ajmal, who called the comments “politically driven and shocking”.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Feb 23, 2018 07:25 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Kashmir’s Article 35A conundrum: New Delhi must tread carefully

Kashmiris are apprehensive that any move to undo Article 35A of the Indian Constitution would open the sluice gates for a demographic transformation of the Valley—an objective propounded by Sangh groups as the ideal solution to the Kashmir problem.

In a pointed warning to her coalition partner, the BJP, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has noted that attempts to undo Article 35A of the Indian Constitution would strike a fatal blow to the nationalists in the state.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
Published on Aug 03, 2017 10:31 AM IST

Sikkim standoff: India cannot afford to allow China to change the status quo | Opinion

India must abandon the notion that our grand strategic choices boil down to either balancing against China in concert with the United States or bandwagoning with China. It is time we demonstrated strategic creativity and diplomatic agility.

A file picture of the India-China border at Sikkim. India and China have a delimited and demarcated international border in Sikkim, going back to the Anglo-Chinese convention of 1890. But the boundary between Tibet and Bhutan is disputed and hence the location of the trijunction remains contested.(Ashok Nath Dey)
Updated on Jul 06, 2017 12:25 AM IST

Sheikh Hasina’s hate statues can only weaken democracy in Bangladesh

Sheikh Hasina’s efforts to reach out to the religious sentiments of Bangladesh’s Muslim majority has emboldened conservative Islamists to escalate their demands

The statue of Lady Justice stands after it was reinstalled near the Supreme Court complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 28(AP)
Updated on Jun 21, 2017 06:24 PM IST

Why private defence manufacturing in India needs to take off

The government has all along insisted that defence industry would be a centrepiece of Make in India. Although the NDA government has taken its time to approve the policy, it has done well in thinking through its underlying rationale as well as the practical steps needed to unleash the Indian private sector in this critical domain.

In the initial phase, the government could identify one Indian private entity as a strategic partner to manufacture one major system: single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles. This at once caters for the systems most needed by the armed forces and encourages specialisation among Indian firms.(AFP)
Updated on Jun 12, 2017 06:55 PM IST

Defence policy has to be a joint effort between civilians and the military

The recently unveiled Joint Doctrine for the Indian Armed Forces lays out the military’s perspective on what is wrong with our existing institutional arrangements of civil-military relations and how to set it right

Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, Bangalore, February 2017.(AP)
Updated on May 11, 2017 07:56 AM IST
BySrinath Raghavan

Our historians have scant interest in wars or soldiers

Between the old imperialist memorial and the proposed nationalist one — the proposed National War Memorial — India’s contribution to the Second World War has been airbrushed out of existence

An ANZAC soldier’s grave stone at the ANZAC cemetery, April 24, pictured to commemorate the 102th anniversary of the Anzac Day. On April 25, 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey has become a defining symbol of courage and comradeship for both nations.(AFP)
Updated on May 10, 2017 03:33 PM IST

How Emergency provided the template for the mobilisation of Hindutva forces

The Emergency had far-reaching consequences for Indian politics. Its historical consequences may still be unfolding.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares India to be in a state of emergency in 1975. The consequences of that decision may still be unfolding in Indian politics.(Bettmann Archive)
Updated on Mar 29, 2017 12:45 PM IST
BySrinath Raghavan

Assembly elections: Former generals should steer clear of politics

The one rank, one pension episode underscored the danger of the military being treated as a special interest group by politicians. The coddling of the military by any political party will invariably lead others to follow suit or to look at it with suspicion.

SAD BJP candidate JJ Singh (Retd) campaigns in Patiala, January 23, 2017(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Mar 15, 2017 08:33 PM IST

India must involve itself in the China-Pakistan One Belt, One Road initiative to stay in the game

The reality is that the Asian economic order is set to undergo far-reaching changes. By refusing to take a realistic tack, India is effectively depriving itself of an opportunity to shape the transforming landscape of Asia

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi , Beijing, February 22, 2017(PTI)
Updated on Mar 23, 2017 03:35 PM IST

If you think Trump is good for India you are in for a shock

The striking success of Indians who immigrated in recent decades is also testimony to the extraordinary changes in America since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Without the delegitimisation of the older, brisk racism and overt xenophobia Indians could not have scaled such heights in the US

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (right) with US President Donald Trump, Roosevelt Room, White House, Washington, January 31(AP)
Updated on Feb 15, 2017 03:50 PM IST

Not fully empowered chief of defence staff is a bad idea

If the Chief of Defence Staff does not outrank the service chiefs, then his ability to function as the single-point military adviser to the government will be undoubtedly circumscribed.

Since Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has already spoken of his desire to move in the direction of a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister, the recommendations of the Shekatkar committee assume greater importance.(PTI)
Updated on Jan 18, 2017 11:12 PM IST

SP’s battle differs sharply from the ideological rifts in past socialist parties

A closer look at the history of socialist parties shows that the ongoing convulsion in the Samajwadi party is qualitatively different from those of the past. And these differences underscore the fundamental challenge confronting the party

Mulayam Singh Yadav at an election rally in 1990, Lucknow(Sanjay Sharma/HT File Photo)
Updated on Jan 05, 2017 09:37 AM IST

The choice of service chiefs is a matter of political judgment

The choice of service chiefs involves multiple trade-offs and considerations that cannot be wished away by sticking to seniority or hankering after criteria of “merit”. But as with all political judgments it will be open to public scrutiny

The Line of Control with Pakistan may be hot right now, but why do we have the corps commanders and the Northern Army commander if the chief’s personal experience is supposed to count for so much? What about his relative lack of experience, say, with mechanised formations in the plains?(Kunal Patil/HT)
Updated on Dec 21, 2016 10:50 PM IST

On demonesitation, will Modi do a Morarji or a Pandit-ji?

A brief history of the Gold Control Order issued by intransigent finance minister Morarji Desai reveals some interesting insights.

People stand in queue outside the PNB ATM to withdraw cash at Patel Chowk in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 07, 2016 11:14 PM IST

OROP controversy: Stop playing politics with the Indian Army

When it comes to the military, politics cannot be as usual. Once we begin to sway the strongest coercive institution in the State for partisan political ends, we can never be sure that it will not end up coercing the political system as a whole

Congress leaders at a march paying tribute to Ramshankar Yadav, who was killed in an ‘encounter’ with SIMI activists, and Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide over OROP, Bhopal, India, November 3, 2016(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT)
Updated on Nov 10, 2016 07:50 AM IST

India should be prepared for the perils and prospects of diplomatic leadership

The Suez crisis was not a triumph for Indian diplomacy. Yet, by showcasing its ability to play a genuinely independent role, India buttressed its standing as an Asian power

President of the Republic of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Cairo, Egypt, July 15, 1957(Getty Images)
Published on Oct 26, 2016 07:19 PM IST

Reduce friction, it’s worth a try

HT Image
Published on Oct 13, 2016 09:59 AM IST

India and China must show mutual restraint to avoid a major crisis

Much ink has been spilt in the past days on analysing the likely impact of the “surgical strikes” on our relations with Pakistan. But its trickier implications may be vis-à-vis China

(From Left) Brazilian President Michel Temer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma at the BRICS summit, Hangzhou, China, September 4, 2016(PTI)
Updated on Oct 12, 2016 09:21 PM IST
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