Summary: India witnessed tremendous political turmoil this year but also saw some landmark achievements in its history – a mission to Mars being one. However, India’s fascinating democratic process is in full swing at the moment. With national elections approaching in April-May 2014 the electorate stands divided and the debate has become very passionate. The debate is shaping in the form of ‘a choice between two evils’ i.e. a corrupt, dynastic but socially inclusive party (the Congress); and a relatively clean and performance-oriented but highly communal figure (Narendra Modi of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP). In addition to this, the ghost of the Sri Lankan civil war came to haunt India as PM Manmohan Singh got caught up in domestic political turbulence, over Colombo’s hosting of the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM). With a tough history of military intervention, Sri Lanka remains critical to India’s strategic interests, however, Tamil political parties within India would want the central government to hold Colombo responsible for alleged human rights violations. Thirdly, and from a security perspective, India is bracing for more militancy in its northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), believing that fighters now focused on resisting US-led troops in Afghanistan will shift toward the Himalayan flashpoint with Pakistan. It is increasing its use of drones, thermal sensors and foot patrols as it tries to catch out any battle-hardened militants moving through the forested mountains near the turbulent frontier. Finally, The Indian Navy received a new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, from Russia, boosting the number of carriers in its fleet to three. This will make it the third Navy in the world after US and Italy to operate more than one carrier.
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