Ep. 805: Tech Alliances in the Indo-Pacific

Technology diplomacy has become a crucial strategic tool in the current Information Age. Priyal Lyncia D’almeida talks to Arjun Gargeyas on the possibility of curating tech alliances between the states of the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s dominance.

Suggested Readings:

  1. India, Japan, Australia need tech alliance to counter China and Huawei’s monopoly
  2. Taiwan’s lucrative chip industry faces threat from China, but India can play saviour

Ep. 804: China’s National Computing Network

The concept of computing power and the ability to handle large amounts of data in short intervals of time is of the utmost importance. Arjun Gargeyas talks to Megha Pardhi about what China’s recently announced ‘National Computing Network’ means for the country’s tech landscape.

Ep. 803: China and India’s Approach to Human Trafficking

Human trafficking became a hot topic in China after a clip of women being mistreated went viral. This incident sparked a debate that also drew the attention of China’s Premier Li Keqiang during a session of the National People’s Congress. Social aspects of human trafficking in both China and India have some common elements. In this episode, Megha Pardhi and Harshit Kukreja discuss various aspects of human trafficking in India and China.

Suggested Reading:

  1. 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report: India
  2. China launches campaign to stem trafficking of women and children after viral video exposed chained mother

Ep. 802: The Arctic & India

India recently came out with its finalised Arctic Policy document on 17th March 2022. The document casts a wide net and explains India’s priorities, objectives and course of action for the Arctic. With areas such as international cooperation, scientific cooperation, space, digital connectivity, biosecurity and polar ice-class research vessels being at the forefront.

Aditya Pareek joins Alexandre Delangle to discuss the Arctic’s governance structure, security environment, international cooperation and India’s approach to the region.

Alexandre Delangle is currently a Ph.D student at Université Paris-Saclay focusing on among other things the militarization of the American Arctic, 1930-50s. Alexandre currently lives in Michigan, USA and works as a Teaching Assistant at Albion College.

Links to the Sources mentioned in the episode:

1. The geopolitics of the Arctic: What it means for the EU, Russia and India By Aditya Pareek and Ruturaj Gowaikar

2. Charting a course for India’s Arctic engagement By Aditya Pareek and Ruturaj Gowaikar

Ep. 801: The Political Side of Unemployment

They say the personal is political, we think this is true for unemployment as well. The political side of unemployment is an exigent issue that is meticulously wrapped around elite capture, selectorate theory, low-cost labour, and political donations in India.

Sudisha Mishra discusses with Aarushi Kataria on some of these theories, citing examples from Ghana, and MNREGA in Karnataka, among others.

Suggested Readings:

  1. The Logic of Political Survival
  2. Political and Economic Explanations for Unemployment: A Cross-National and Long-Term Analysis
  3. Interests and Participation of Elites in MGNREGA: Lessons from Elite Capture in Karnataka

Ep. 800: Simultaneous Elections: What It Means and The Implications

Simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are an idea to solve a lot of ills associated with the Indian election system. Do the claims of one nation – one election add up? What are the implications for voters and parties and more importantly for Parliamentary democracy? Pranay Kotasthane and Suman Joshi discuss.

Ep. 799: China’s Turn from One Child to Three Child Policy

China is incentivizing couples to have more children and has changed their one-child policy to three children. Megha Pardhi and Harshit Kukreja discuss China’s approach to population control, population dividend and lessons for India.

Suggested Readings:

  1. China-India population debate comes down to quantity vs quality after social media sparks storm
  2. Reaping India’s demographic dividend

Ep. 798: A New Employment Data Architecture to Solve the Jobs Crisis

Sridhar Krishna, Senior Scholar at The Takshashila Institution speaks to Dr. Radhicka Kapoor, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) on the huge employment crisis facing the nation. Dr. Kapoor explains how the two significant changes to employment data, the replacement of the NSSO’s quinquennial Employment and Unemployment Surveys with an annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) and the introduction of monthly payroll data are inadequate given the dualistic nature of India’s labour markets, the dominance of low- wage and low-productivity jobs and the problem of underemployment.

Suggested Readings:

  1. An Employment Data Strategy for India; India Policy Forum, 2019 by Radhicka Kapoor
  2. Rethinking India’s Employment Data Architecture; Economic and Political Weekly of India, 2018 by Radhicka Kapoor
  3. India’s jobless growth by Sridhar Krishna and Aarushi Kataria
  4. Education, labour and agriculture reforms will usher in individual freedom by Manish Sabharwal.
  5. Trends and forecasting of employment intensity of growth in India by Puttanaik and Nayak.
  6. The employment elasticity of economic growth by Morén and Wändal.

Ep. 797: TTP’s Resurgence and the Future of Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

Recently, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced its spring offensive against the Pakistan Army. The TTP’s resurgence is leading to a sharp increase in terrorist activity in Pakistan. These developments, after the Taliban victory in August last year, have confounded many. While it was thought that the Taliban victory would unleash the brotherly relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and ensure Pak’s strategic depth, the situation is far from Islamabad’s control. Harshit Kukreja talks to Shrey Khanna to discuss the TTP’s resurgence and the future of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations.

Ep. 796: What went wrong with the Sri Lankan economy?

Sri Lanka is facing a historic economic crisis, the biggest since the country’s independence in 1948. The economic crisis has resulted in massive inflation, power outages and a shortage of essentials such as medicine. Sri Lankans have begun arriving on Indian shores and some are worried that India might face a refugee crisis. Anupam Manur joins Atish Padhy to discuss the causes and consequences of the crisis.

Ep. 795: Implications of China’s Genetic Resource Guideline

What does China’s guideline on human genetic resources tell us about handling human genetic information? What are India’s position on collecting the human genome and its use? After the international controversy over the human gene-editing experiment, China has taken some stringent steps to ensure such debacles don’t happen again. In this episode, Megha Pardhi and Dr. Harshit Kukreja discuss ethical and practical aspects of human genetic resources.

Ep. 794: Menstrual Leave Policy in India

Menstruation brings pain, emotional problems and discomfort and makes it difficult to work. Many advocate for a day or two leaves each month to alleviate this discomfort. Mahek Nankani and Priyal D’Almeida discuss what menstrual leave policy is, the challenges and the arguments against the same.

Ep. 793: Wang Yi in Nepal: The Why and What of the Visit

In this episode, Shrey Khanna joins Aarthi Ratnam to talk about Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi’s visit to Nepal. They raise two main questions: Why did Yi visit Nepal and more importantly what are the geopolitical implications of this visit? They look at the implications for Nepal, China, the US and India.

Suggested Readings:

  1. No agreement on Belt and Road Initiative as Nepal toughens stand amid Chinese FM visit
  2. Wang visit: Nepal, China sign nine agreements, none on BRI
  3. Nepal Compact

Ep. 792: Did Russia use a Hypersonic Missile in Ukraine?

The Russian Ministry of Defence recently announced that a Kinzhal missile was used during combat in Ukraine. Taken at face value the event could have been the first-ever use of a hypersonic weapon in combat. The use involved a strike against an underground target but it is unclear if the hypersonic nature of the missile played a role. Aditya Pareek joins Pranav Satyanath to discuss the Kinzhal strike and other precision munition use in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Pranav R. Satyanath is an independent analyst. He works on issues related to anti-satellite weapons, missile defenses and other emerging technologies.

Ep. 791: Political Ads on Facebook in India

A 4-part investigative series by the Reporter’s Collective, ad.watch and Al Jazeera pointed to the existence of surrogate advertisers and differential ad pricing for political ads on Facebook. Prateek Waghre and Sapni GK join Rohan Seth to discuss the implications of this investigation, the knowledge gaps it highlights and potential areas for follow-up investigations.

Read the series here – #EyeballPolitics Facebook Investigation

Read Kiran Garimela and Simon Chauchard’s paper – What Circulates on Partisan WhatsApp in India? Insights from an Unusual Dataset

Read Prateek’s newsletter – The Information Ecologist

Ep. 790: A brief passage through history of Humanitarian Corridors

With war raging on multiple fronts in Ukraine and several cities under siege, Humanitarian corridors are allowing temporary respite to citizens. Priyal Lyncia D’Almeida and Ruturaj Gowaikar discuss these corridors in current and historical contexts.

Suggested readings:

  1. The siege of Sarajevo
  2. What the war in Syria tells us about Russia’s use of humanitarian corridors

Ep. 789: No-Confidence Motion against Imran Khan’s Government

Recently, the opposition parties in Pakistan submitted the no-confidence motion against the government of Imran Khan. At the time of massive global instability and deteriorating economic situation in Pakistan, the threat to a democratically elected government will create political instability in India’s neighbourhood. Why has the situation deteriorated to such an extent? What has caused the opposition unity? And importantly, what is the role that the Military Establishment is playing behind the curtains. Aditya Pareek talks to Shrey Khanna to discuss the ongoing political developments in Pakistan and the future of its democracy.

Read Shrey’s research paper here – “Interpreting the Perennial Impasse in Indo-Pak Relations: Breaking the Cycle of Dialogue, Estrangement, and Hostility

Ep. 788: Exploring India-US Cooperation in Military AI

As the United States (US) and India gradually deepen cooperation in political, technological, and other areas, the cooperation in military Artificial Intelligence (AI) also holds a lot of potential. In this episode, Megha Pardhi and Husanjot Chahal explore avenues for India-US cooperation in military applications of AI.

Husanjot Chahal is Research Analyst at the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Before CSET, she worked in the World Bank’s Corporate Security Division and in New Delhi-based research organizations, including the MP Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Ep. 787: Oil shocks and Strategic Petroleum Reserves

The Russia-Ukraine war has created a supply shock of oil, which is estimated to be priced on average at $100/barrel in 2022. This can have serious consequences on the Indian economy in terms of GDP output, inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit. In this scenario, should India be looking to use its Strategic Petroleum Reserves? Mihir Mahajan and Anupam Manur discuss India’s reserves of oil, whether it is adequate and related policy recommendations.

Ep. 786: The Semiconductors Angle to the Ukraine War

The semiconductor supply chain, considering its globalised nature and multiple dependencies remain vulnerable to major global events. Aditya Pareek talks to Arjun Gargeyas on whether the Russian and Ukrainian dependency on semiconductor production will exacerbate the ongoing chip shortage and what kind of impact will the export controls/sanctions regarding semiconductor technology on Russia have on its domestic economic sectors.