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Showing posts from October 10, 2013

India's Tryst with Destiny

By Robert D. Kaplan and Michael Nayebi-Oskoui

India could offer the world a signal electoral drama next spring, with geopolitical repercussions for the whole Eurasian rimland. Narendra Modi, the charismatic chief minister of Gujarat in northwestern India, will likely run for prime minister against Rahul Gandhi, the great-grandson of the political forefather of India's modern republic, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Modi, though considerably older than Gandhi, represents an efficient, new style politics that is nationalistic and unapologetically abrasive, and thus comfortable with civilizational tension. The youthful Gandhi, through his name, embodies an old-style politics that, while portrayed as corrupt and complacent, is also universalist. Modi has many enemies yet promises to shake things up in a country with vast potential but stuck in the economic and institutional doldrums. Gandhi, who has far less experience and is half-Italian, is actually the less-disruptive, more conservative choice. H…

India: Telanganan Statehood Threatens Regional Economic Activity


Ongoing unrest in the coastal regions of India's Andhra Pradesh state exemplifies the threat local politics pose to India's national strategic interests. Protesters upset with the prospect of Telanganan statehood, including local utility employees, have shut off power and other services to some parts of Andhra Pradesh, much to the detriment of the city of Hyderabad, one of India's most vibrant local economies and a center of the country's information technology sector.

The threats to Hyderabad and southern India's power grid, as well as to Chennai's industrial sector, already have prompted New Delhi to begin negotiations with protest leaders. But with India's contentious national elections only eight months away, supporters on both sides of the Telanganan separatism issue will continue to leverage Hyderabad's significance to the Indian economy in their attempts to gain concessions from the government.


India's ruling Congress Party su…

Russia Props Up a Controversial Figure in Ukraine's Energy Industry


With a key decision on Ukraine's orientation toward Europe approaching, the Russian government continues to apply pressure on Kiev. Unnamed sources within Gazprom said Oct. 9 that the Russian energy giant would supply natural gas at a discounted rate to Ostchem Holding, a firm run by influential Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Under the deal, Ostchem would purchase 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas for storage purposes, discounted at 30-36 percent, or to around $260 per thousand cubic meters.

Key to the announcement is the exclusion of Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz, which has been embroiled in a yearslong dispute with Gazprom over energy supplies and pricing. Neither Gazprom nor Ostchem has confirmed the deal, but if true, it would give a significant boost to the controversial Firtash, who has previously challenged the Ukrainian government in favor of Russian interests.


Firtash was previously the chairman of RosUkrEnergo, an intermediary that oversaw R…