Gokul Sahni Profile picture
Geopolitics, geoeconomics, & Cold War(s) - India’s viewpoint | MA Modern War @WarStudies King’s; MSc IR @RSIS_NTU; MBA @UniofOxford | Own views.
Mar 3 11 tweets 2 min read
Excellent piece:

“The WTO stopped functioning the way it should have, a long time ago… The question is why it is not allowed to die? Well, one reason is that international organizations rarely disappear.” 1/11 “In the case of the WTO, there has been enormous investment by the industrialised West in the organization. It was fine as long as the West benefitted from the WTO, the classic example being the Uruguay Round.. enabled the transition from the erstwhile GATT to the WTO in 1995.”
Feb 28 12 tweets 2 min read
On India-Russia relations:

“The reality, however, is that this relationship is a shell of its former self and, rather than being a constant, it is in fact undergoing a managed decline.” 1/12 “This is demonstrated by New Delhi downgrading its interactions with Moscow on several fronts, including bilateral summits and multilateral forums, economic engagement, and defense cooperation.” 2/12
Feb 27 7 tweets 2 min read
“India’s arms industry passed a milestone in January with the unveiling of the country’s first intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drone, which was made by the defence arm of the Adani conglomerate in a joint venture with Israeli military producer Elbit.” 1/7 “🇮🇳 remains the world’s biggest arms importer, forced to shop overseas even for basic equipment such as assault rifles — something 🇮🇳 is pushing the private sector to help address after decades in which state-run groups have struggled to build a world-class defence industry.”
Feb 25 5 tweets 1 min read
There is a massive difference between many parts of the West and post-colonial countries around the world about whether speech / perceived actions around secessionism is legitimate discourse or a threat to national security. This will always cause a major divergence of views. 1/5 For many in the West, the freedom to call for, and even work for, separation from the nation-state is based in their views of what constitutes democracy and the importance that they give to an individual’s freedom, whether around speech or association. 2/5
Feb 25 15 tweets 3 min read
“Russia’s drift away from.. the West began well before Putin came to power. The main drivers of this development… were the reaction to the Soviet collapse, the crisis of identity, fragility of Russian sovereignty, and ressentiment against the US-led international order.” 1/15 “Important strategic choices were postponed or never made. A few in the Bush administration understood that, after the Soviet collapse, Ukraine could become a bone of contention between the West and an eventually resurgent Russia.” 2/15
Feb 24 11 tweets 2 min read
“A few days ago, a bunch of people realized that Gemini — which was released on February 8 — wouldn’t draw pictures of White people, no matter what the context.. The ultimate facepalm-worthy moment was when Gemini decided that Nazi soldiers were Black and Asian.” 1/11 “Some people wondered how the app’s creators had managed to train it never to draw White people, but it turned out that they had done something much simpler. They were.. specifying that people in the image should be “diverse” — which the AI interpreted as meaning “nonwhite.”.
Feb 18 15 tweets 3 min read
"Taiwan’s geography matters. A self-governing Taiwan anchors Japan’s defense and denies China a springboard from which it could threaten U.S. allies in the western Pacific. But unlike in the 1950s.. today the island is a full-blown liberal democracy.." 1/15 "unlike in MacArthur’s time, Taiwan today is economically crucial to the rest of the world, by virtue of its role as the primary producer of advanced microchips. A war over the island could easily cause a global depression." 2/15
Feb 17 12 tweets 2 min read
Interesting parts from @nitingokhale's Gentleman Spymaster (2019):

"3 crucial files on Bangladesh, the merge of Sikkim and Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination will not be open until 2025, according to instructions left behind by him, months before he passed in January 2002.” 1/12 Image “Days before the.. IAF bombed the Balakot camp.. two assets of the R&AW.. had managed to get inside the Balakot facility for a week between 15 and 22 February and send vivid details that clinched the decision to hit the camp that trained recruits for jihad in J&K.” 2/12
Feb 15 11 tweets 2 min read
"although some checks and balances have been eroded on Jokowi’s watch, Indonesia’s democracy in other ways remains resilient: a vibrant civil society sector, investigative media outlets, and the country’s decentralized system now help restrain a president’s power." 1/10 "Prabowo’s record is checkered. Yet the most dire narratives from abroad about a possible Prabowo presidency say as much about Western anxieties as they do about 🇮🇩. They reflect analysts’ tendency to view Indonesia through the lens of imminent catastrophe or "turning point.”
Feb 15 11 tweets 2 min read
.@KuperSimon: “In short, the US is almost impregnable. Hardly any event off its shores affects it. This creates the American paradox: the US remains the “indispensable nation” for defending vulnerable countries such as Ukraine, yet it can treat them as dispensable.” 1/11 “The free world needs the US, but the US may not need the free world. That’s the horrible logic behind Donald Trump’s worldview. If, as president, he abandons Ukraine and other democracies, the US will probably be just fine.” 2/11
Feb 13 9 tweets 2 min read
“Political pundits offer different and very compelling reasons for why Modi keeps winning elections: the cult of personality, Hindutva, nationalism... But what many underestimate is how the political matrix has been remade by a society that now devours digital content.” 1/9 “Long before the last general elections, Modi told his cabinet colleagues that the election would be fought on the smartphone. Today, India consumes the largest amount of mobile data per smartphone user in the world.” 2/9
Feb 12 11 tweets 2 min read
“Available data suggest that in subsequent state elections, Muslims have largely voted against the BJP and in favor of the leading challenger party. There are several caveats, however.” 1/11 “Alongside this consolidation of the Muslim vote, salient social and political differences within the Muslim population have simultaneously surfaced.. Muslim caste hierarchies & other sub-identities such as sect have become important topics of mainstream political conversations.”
Feb 7 19 tweets 4 min read
Thread 2 (of 2) of @DrSJaishankar's latest book, “Why Bharat Matters” – this covers India & its foreign policy and how it looks at various partners and how the bilateral relationships have evolved. (1/19) “Interestingly, when we the I2U2 and India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) initiatives were table, we surprised our other partners by the swiftness of our response, precisely because our analysis of the regional anticipated their coming.” 2/19
Feb 7 18 tweets 3 min read
Thread 1 (of 2) of @DrSJaishankar's latest book, “Why Bharat Matters” – this covers India & its domestic story, from a past, present & future sense.

The EAM draws out the need of a confident, self-assured India, comfortable with itself & being an eager internationalist. (1/18) Image “The analytical world appears to be tangled in its own preconceptions and struggling to grasp developments that to do not fit its mould. The political arena has become exceptionally polemical, with some parties articulating positions that go against their own grain.” 2/18
Jan 26 6 tweets 2 min read
“For all the talk about China’s ascent & America’s decline, the reality is that in economic terms the US is actually rising relative to its chief adversary. Which means that relinquishing its global leadership.. would not be a concession to necessity but a retreat of choice.” 1/6 “For years, it seemed inevitable that a booming China would someday overtake the US. But now, America’s economic lead is increasing. In 2023, its gross domestic product was $26.95 trillion against China’s $17.7 trillion — the largest gap between the two countries since 2010.” 2/6
Dec 11, 2023 22 tweets 4 min read
“The Russia-Ukraine war is fundamentally a failure of big part deterrence an account of miscalculations on both sides on questions of capability, credibility, and communication on part of both Russia and the United States.” 1/22 “That 🇷🇺 had to resort to use of force and if neighbourhood is not a measure of successful deterrence. That 🇺🇦 miscalculated its campaign to join NATO would not cross the red line that 🇷🇺 had repeatedly articulated since 2007 is not a measure of successful counter-deterrence.”
Nov 30, 2023 20 tweets 4 min read
Henry Kissinger about India - its history and some predictions - in World Order (2014):

"In Japan, the impetus of Western intrusion changed the course of a historic nation; in India it reshaped a great civilization into a modern state." 1/20 Image "India has long developed its qualities at the intersection of world orders, shaping and being shaped by their rhythms. It has been defined less by its political borders than by a shared spectrum of cultural traditions." 2/20
Oct 31, 2023 12 tweets 3 min read
'To Raise A Fallen People' edited by @rahulsagar contains some excellently discovered works of Indians writing in the 19th century on various topics- sometimes about a very different India, & other times about how inhabitants of this great civilisation imagined their future. 1/12 Image Some of the best excerpts from the intro:

“It reminds contemporary observers that India has long been home to vigorous debate about ends and means in international politics. As such, it disproves the notion that there is a singular, traditional “Indian” view of the world.” 2/12
Oct 23, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Wise words from @gideonrachman: “Is Israel in danger of repeating many of these errors? Absolutely. But Israel has much less margin for error. 🇺🇸 is the world’s largest economy. It is protected by two oceans.. 🇮🇱, by contrast, is a small country in a hostile neighbourhood.” 1/7 “Hamas itself resembles the Taliban more than al-Qaeda because it is an actual governing authority that has run a defined territory for some years. That should be a warning because, more than 20 years after US troops entered Kabul, the Taliban are back in charge of Afghanistan.”
Sep 4, 2023 6 tweets 2 min read
“It could be due to diplomatic sparring with India that Xi is snubbing the Group of 20 meeting in India. Or he wants to bolster the newly expanded BRICS forum. Maybe he wants to stay home to handle China’s economic troubles..” 1/6 bloomberg.com/news/articles/… “Whatever the reason, his absence would mark a major shift in how Xi operates. The Chinese leader has attended every G-20 leaders’ summit since taking power in 2012, and he’s also sought to burnish his image as a peacemaker..” 2/6
Aug 11, 2023 17 tweets 4 min read
🧵 Delighted to share this issue brief co-authored with @Kajari1 - it is the third part in our series of the application of ancient strategic thought from Kautilya’s Arthashastra to contemporary Indian foreign policy. (1/15)

orfonline.org/research/a-kau… After covering the challenges posed to India by China and Pakistan, and the opportunities provided by the Indo-Pacific, we turn our attention to the immediate neighbourhood: India’s smaller neighbours of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. (2/15)