Z FOCUS

Z FOCUS

Divisive agenda

Until recently, politics in West Bengal was dictated by ideology, development issues and muscle power. But the latest trends show a paradigm shift, with religion and identity increasingly taking centre stage. The recent communal... More

An update on the federalist debate in India


In recent days, numerous leaders in India’s South have spoken in one voice against the 15th Finance Commission — arguing that it is unfair to South Indian states. The bone of contention... More

Bhutan’s ‘Shangri-La’ caught between two rival superpowers


With its scenic mountains and stunning Buddhist monasteries on hilltops, Bhutan is a traveller's dream and described by some as the last Shangri-La - a mystical beautiful place where everything is perfection. The country's capital,... More

Development with a difference!


The ‘India vs. Bangladesh’ syndrome Economist Amartya Sen has often drawn comparisons among the South Asian countries, where Bangladesh is well ahead of both India and Pakistan in almost all human development indicators. That is... More

As Nepal’s Oli looks to bolster ties with China, Modi may be...


There are seemingly as many interpretations as there are analysts in Nepal pouring over Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s three-day state visit to India starting April 6. One reason for such diverse views on Oli’s... More

“We fell to the level of the Nepali Prime Minister talking to...


 Kanak Mani Dixit is a pre-eminent voice for democracy and freedom of the press in South Asia. An outspoken critic of the establishment, he was arrested in 2016. Notable rights bodies describe this as... More

Tibet is not a card


The government’s bid to ease tensions with China has been met with some criticism, particularly over a leaked memo to officials telling them to stay away from events that commemorate the 60th anniversary of... More

India’s Seychelles military base roadblock has a China subtext


An agreement between India and the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles to build a military base has run into rough weather. Signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the island in March 2015,... More

Sri Lanka’s anti-Muslim violence


Over the past fortnight, Sri Lanka has witnessed a surge in violence targeting Muslims, their properties, and places of worship. It prompted President Maithripala Sirisena to declare an island-wide state of emergency on March... More

India pivots to Southeast Asia to counter China’s growing clout


In 2016, India approved just $157.7 million of combined investments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Over the same period, China approved $5.7 billion worth. Malaysia and Indonesia were the biggest recipients, with... More

Make the neighbourhood first again


Almost four years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his term with a “Neighbourhood First” moment, by inviting leaders of all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to his swearing-in ceremony, India’s... More

Welcome to the New Indian Ocean


The strategic environment in the Indian Ocean is changing fast. In the last few years we have seen growing strategic rivalry between major powers such as China and India as they expand their roles... More

If Modi believes the Palestine-Israel tangle can be solved peacefully, why not...


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has claimed that his organisation can raise a combat force in three days whereas it’ll take the Indian army about six to seven months to prepare for a war.... More

China gives dressing-down to Maldives’ Nasheed


The mystery of the Supreme Court judges in Male promoting democracy in their beloved country is deepening. One of the three judges who gave the ruling to destabilize the political situation had unaccounted money... More

Pakistan to hug Russia amid US snub


Pakistan has decided to hug Russia tightly as the United States continues its hostile policy towards the only nuclear armed Muslim-majority country, diplomatic sources said. Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that... More

US hits Uighur terror group to impress China


The Trump administration has made a significant overture to Beijing this week over the war in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, during the testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Assistant Secretary of Defense for... More

For Rohingya refugees in India, even basic nutrition services are a distant...


Hunger is a constant for the 800 Rohingya living in Salehdi, a refugee camp in northern India, but the situation is especially dire for pregnant women and for mothers and their newborn children. The women... More

Sri Lanka’s independence: Lost and regained


Temple and church bells started ringing. Ships berthed in Colombo harbour blew their sirens. It happened 70 years ago at sharp 12 midnight on 4 February 1948 to mark the dawn of Independence to... More

Courage fails, rhetoric remains


Every budget has a context, every budget must have a goal. The context of Budget 2018-19 was graphically described in the Economic Survey: The macro-economic situation was vulnerable, the exchange rate of the rupee... More

India is on its way to becoming a Fragile State


It’s really the Americans who worry obsessively about other peoples’ fragile states, not us. They feel threatened by them as places where terrorism breeds and some target practice is legitimate. Unlike us, the Americans... More

Doklam blues, again


 A fortnight ago, the government did the smart thing by distancing itself ostentatiously from the “mischievous” media reports that appeared totally out of the blue to the effect that China has beefed up its... More

COLUMN

On India’s attempts to woo Russia-EEU into economic union

While the US has been cultivating India as its major ally in the region in what the US officials have tacitly called ‘containment’ of China, prospects of this cultivation have become brighter ever since the recent out-break of trade-war between the US and China. While Indian and US interests strongly... More

Comey’s book and Pakistan’s leaders

James Brien Comey Jr served as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for four years till fired by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017. Trump initially claimed this was because of Comey's mishandling of the investigation into the private email of Hillary Clinton. The overriding perception... More

UN says Nasheed’s trial was flawed, but Maldivian govt maintains it...

The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), which went into the trial of former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed had listed the flaws in it and asked the Maldivian government to release him to enable him to contest the September 2018 Presidential election. But the government on Sunday rejected the UNHRC’s observations and recommendations... More

Bangladesh election 2018: is there a Sino-Indian stake?

It’s pretty odd to think that Bangladesh elections should be of any interest to China and India given the complete lack of its strategic value. However, Bangladesh maybe becoming a reluctant pawn of sorts in a regional ‘great game’. China’s rising influence in the region and India’s relative decline in what... More

Tripura’s new pitch for Geo-Economics

Biplab Deb is a BJP chief minister with a difference. In a 40-minute interview with this writer last week, he did not mention even once any of the usual saffron agenda -- Ram Mandir, beef, illegal migration from Bangladesh. "My agenda is development, development, development all the way," he... More

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Iran to team up with China on nuke development if Trump...

As US President Donald Trump decides whether to reauthorize the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which he has long wanted to exit or renegotiate, Iranian authorities have announced they will be getting help with their nuclear program from China. "Some negotiations have been held on mutual cooperation and building small nuclear... More

Pinarayi and Gadkari link up on development

The American think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, had featured a riveting ‘curtain-raiser’ to the 2014 poll in India entitled Does Good Economics Mean Good Politics In India? The essay appeared in December 2013 and I’d carefully stored it in my archives, as a fairly prescient analysis of... More

Mutual respect is the key

I will not reach any deal that would go against the national interest of Nepal,” K P Sharma Oli, the prime minister of Nepal, reportedly assured parliamentarians in Kathmandu earlier this week, before heading out to India. That such questions should be asked and answered is a definitive sign... More

Reviving Nepal’s independent foreign policy

The long political transition in Nepal has come to an end with the successful completion of local, provincial and federal elections. A new phase of history beckons Nepal as it has adopted federalism under the new constitution promulgated in 2015. The achievement of economic prosperity has now been prioritized... More

MOST POPULAR

READER'S VIEW

Gorkhaland, Mamata and the Chinese factor

Just a few days ago I warned two young student leaders in Darjeeling of West Bengal, against the violent movement which has started there for a separate Gorkhaland. I told them in no way should they support this demand. This has multifarious geo-political risks. If a Gorkhaland state is... More