1. As U.S.-China ties plunge over the continuing fallout from the “spy balloon”, an editorial in The Hindu warns of the dangers of the current climate in relations between the world’s two biggest powers, and why, when the next crisis emerges, possibly over a sensitive issue such as Taiwan, finding an off-ramp will be a challenging task amid an intensifying rivalry and heated domestic discourse. In this podcast, we discussed the balloon incident, what may have happened, and China’s likely response.
  2. India’s connectivity projects with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar have been accelerated due to its “obvious” concerns about the frontier with China, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said last week. Suhasini Haidar explains how the government has been ramping up border infrastructure. China, meanwhile, has announced plans to build a railway line connecting Xinjiang and Tibet through the Aksai Chin region and close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), one of several new routes announced last week as part of a long term plan to expand the railway network in Tibet.
  3. S. Akbar Zaidi on why Pakistan could be staring at its worst crisis in decades as it faces political and economic destabilisation and even the return of terror. The Hindu, in an editorial, writes that unless Pakistan’s governance structures refocus themselves to addressing long-term structural weaknesses in the economy and find ways to improve relations with neighbours such as India, the cyclicity of the economic problems will remain. But for that to happen, the military establishment has to take a back seat: a bleak prospect in the medium term.
  4. Pranav Satyanath looks at the future of India-U.S. space cooperation, and why the recent agreement to advance space collaboration in several areas, under the ‘initiative on critical and emerging technology’, comes at a crucial time for both countries.
  5. As India and France mark 25 years of their strategic partnership, Harsh Pant and Ankita Dutta take stock of a time-tested strategic relationship that has continued to gain momentum over shared values and aspirations of peace, stability and, most importantly, their desire for strategic autonomy.