Afghanistan: The big story of massive aid waste

There are ghost soldiers; ghost police officers; ghost clinics and even ghost patients in Afghanistan. There are billions of dollars spent on papers, but there is very little on the ground. As such, despite spending billions on... More

India’s limited life-line in Afghanistan

While India continues to plan to expand its foothold in Afghanistan, using its alliance with the United States as its main source of support, and has also developed a seemingly strong relationship with Kabul, a close reading... More

China’s discreet headway into Afghanistan

While China continues officially to deny playing a leading role in managing conflict in Afghanistan, there is also no gainsaying that China continues to make a meaningful headway into Afghanistan, a development that would, even if Beijing... More

Taliban are talking from a position of strength

While the US-Taliban talks are of paramount importance in terms of bringing the 17 years old war to an end, there remains little to deny that even after fighting this war for such a long period and... More

As Taliban influence grows, dialogue without regional consensus won’t do much in...

The importance of the US-Taliban direct dialogue notwithstanding, it remains unclear as to what substantial outcome this will produce without a political and geo-political consensus supporting it. On the one hand, the US is facing opposition from... More

Pompeo claims to “reset” ties with Pakistan but makes India “strategic partner”

Just few days before the arrival of the US Secretary of the State, Mike Pompeo, in Pakistan, the US officially cancelled US$300 million aid to Pakistan, signaling the acute low health of Pak-US ties. Then came Mike... More

Why Zalmay Khalilzad might be a bad choice for Taliban negotiations

The appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad as special adviser on Afghanistan has caused consternation in the region for obvious reasons: he is among several veterans who supported the then US President George Bush’s attack on Afghanistan to topple... More

Taliban seeks legitimacy by reforming itself as prospects of returning to power...

While the war in Afghanistan has changed many things over the past 17 years, the most noticeable transformation has been the return of the Taliban to legitimacy, transforming from being “terrorists” allied with Al Qaeda religious extremists... More

Saudi investment in CPEC will deepen Pak ties with Riyadh and Beijing...

Pakistan has officially invited Saudi Arabia to not only invest in the geo-economically celebrated China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but also be a strategic partner, deepening considerable strategic convergence on economic as well as geo-political issues. The immediate reason... More

Divergence with the US brings Pakistan & Iran closer, but not close...

Notwithstanding the not-so-warm past, the fact that Iran’s foreign minister is the first foreign dignitary to visit the newly established government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) itself signifies the shifting regional dynamics of bi-lateral relations against the changing... More

New regional configurations taking lead in Afghanistan war

About two weeks ago Pakistan reportedly hosted spy-chiefs of Russia, China and Iran to formulate a joint policy and a platform for extended co-operation in Afghanistan against the rising threat of the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K)... More

The learned and not learned lessons from Afghanistan

While the most regular and most reported feature of life in Afghanistan remains the US ‘war on terror’ and the way this war continues to wreck havoc every now and then, killing thousands every year, there is... More

To forge their peace, Afghan Taliban wage their war

While the latest Taliban attack on the city of Ghazni in Afghanistan has led many in the West, especially the mainstream media, to conclude that no peace talks with the Taliban can bring peace, these analysis seem... More

India faces tough choices as the US sanctions Iran

For the Indian policy makers, one of the crucial questions today is of how to walk a balancing act between the US, their prime strategic ally, and Iran, their traditional regional ally and, of course, third biggest... More

Why is the US switching sides in Afghanistan?

In a recent twist of events, the Afghan war seems to have turned away from a ‘war on terror’ on the Taliban to a ‘war of cooperation’ with the Taliban. Face-to-face meetings between the US officials and... More

India’s lingering BRICS dilemma

With the world’s almost two-third of the total wealth to be concentrated in Asia in coming decades, any multilateral grouping, such as BRICS, which involves Asian economies in a big way is hard to get a refusal... More

Pakistan’s general election brings the opposition to power, only to find a...

As we write this piece, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehree-i-Insaaf (PTI) (Pakistan Justice Party) is the leading party, only a bat’s swing away from forming its first ever federal government,leaving Pakistan Muslim League (N) behind by a significant... More

Afghanistan: Is the Trump administration turning the tide to better?

With the Afghan Taliban claiming indirect talks currently going on with the US, the hope for an eventual emergence of a long-term truce, if not an absolute settlement and end of the war, seems to be on... More

Emphasis on dialogue is back in Afghanistan

Last few months have seen Afghanistan moving from the Taliban’s direct offer of talks with the US to the Ghani administration responding with a similar offer. Of course, president did wrap his offer without pre-conditions. The Taliban... More

Pakistan’s second decade of democracy

If the word ‘unprecedented’ was to be defined in the Pakistani political context, the immediate reference would be the two consecutive (2008-2013 and 2013-2018) transfers of power from one elected government to another, illustrating Pakistan’s evolution from... More

Pakistan & Afghanistan find a road-map to peace

Despite the myriad odds, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been successful in charting out a mutually agreed road-map to peace and stability in the ‘Af-Pak’ region. Whereas its many phases, starting from a proposal and the behind the... More


Suu Kyi seeks Asean support on Rohingya return but also faces...

Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the Asean meetings in Singapore this week, seeking support from her Asian allies in dealing with the country’s Rakhine crisis. She especially wants the members of the regional bloc to back her government’s efforts to resettle the returning Muslim refugees—who have fled the violence in Myanmar’s strife-torn western region—and to be involved in future reconciliation efforts. So, a Nargis-style approach, led by Asean but... More

Afghanistan: The big story of massive aid waste

There are ghost soldiers; ghost police officers; ghost clinics and even ghost patients in Afghanistan. There are billions of dollars spent on papers, but there is very little on the ground. As such, despite spending billions on controlling narcotics to improving health conditions and the state of security, Afghanistan remains a country with too many ill-conceived programs and too little progress made on every front. The story of the massive... More

Parties over people

With elections to Bangladesh’s JatiyaSangsad (National Assembly) now declared to be held on December 23, the political scene in the country will enter a new phase. The announcement was sudden but not really unexpected given the way politics developed over the past few weeks. The Awami League is not in a mood to listen to the others. Her main opponent, the JatiyaOikkyo Front, led by Dr Kamal Hossain and... More

Ensuring challenges provide opportunities

The situation in our country in the wake of global and internal changes affecting Pakistan has evoked multiple challenges. Not to get bogged down by their sheer number it seems important to analyse each and every challenge that the country is facing. These need not only a reaction from the state to tackle them but as an opportunity for developing new vistas of understanding for responding to the problems... More

After CBI, now RBI 

The opposition in India has blamed the Narendra Modi government for "ruining national institutions". Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seemed to fall apart over severe differences between its chief Alok Verma and his number two Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer known to be close to Modi. The government's intervention to send both officers on leave was challenged in the Supreme Court by Verma, amid television... More



The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution,... More