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Thawing tensions in the Himalaya


In the last few decades, state-making projects have transformed life in the Himalaya. Infrastructure development intended for troop deployment along disputed borders has, more recently, enabled large-scale transport and extraction projects and a tourist rush in this... More

Prayagraj is now the official name, but Allahabad will live on in...


Allahabad officially became Prayagraj on October 16. That afternoon, jokes started circulating on local social media sites: “Where were you born?” “In Prayagraj.” “Which coach of Prayagraj?” For Prayagraj Express has so far been a popular train... More

In Pakistan, an ambitious effort to plant 10 billion trees takes root


When Mohammed Riasat, a government forest service officer, peers up at the majestic ridges around him, he sees small miracles others might miss: a few dozen pine seedlings that have sprouted in rocky, near-vertical cliffs or a... More

Afghanistan’s mineral wealth catches Trump’s eye


The Ghurian iron mine in Afghanistan’s Herat province is a perfect pilot investment target for a proposed US/Uzbekistan mining venture underwritten by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), according to Dr Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, chief adviser... More

Amit Shah’s ‘migrant termites’ speech echoes leaders around the world who orchestrated...


Speaking at rallies in Rajasthan and Delhi this month, Amit Shah called Bangladeshi migrants “termites” that are eating away at India. “Are you bothered because of illegal immigrants in Delhi or not?” the Bharatiya Janata Party president... More

China didn’t cause Pakistan’s financial crisis but it should play a role...


Pakistan faces another balance of payments crisis and may again head to the International Monetary Fund for help. China and its Belt and Road Initiative have been blamed – unfairly – for the crisis, but the real... More

If Your Name Is Shahrukh, the Tricolour Is No Longer Allowed to...


You can carry the tricolour on a kanwar yatra, wave it from motorcycles. You can even drape the bodies of those who have committed violence against Muslims with it. But you cannot look towards it for shelter. Can... More

India’s muddled South Asia policy


Energetic and proactive: These were the words used to describe the foreign policy of the Narendra Modi government that came to power in May 2014. Nearly four years and four months since the swearing-in ceremony that saw leaders... More

As India’s Ganga runs out of water, a potential food shortage looms


Millions of people living in the lower reaches of the Ganges basin in India may face food shortages in the next three decades if the iconic river continues to lose water due to factors such as unsustainable... More

Diplomatic enclave: Newer ties


This year is the year for elections in South Asia and has already brought unexpected electoral changes in all three elections held in 2018. From Nepal to Pakistan and most recently in Bhutan, which has just conducted... More

India’s shrinking democratic space


With less than a year to go before we head into general elections in the summer of 2019, it is becoming evident that this will be no ordinary electoral contest between the BJP and the rest because... More

In India’s tribal-dominated NE, caste poses fresh challenge


If the idea of minority is central to democracy, the principle of equality is critical to the Constitution of India. Inherent in that principle of equality are the provisions for reservation of appointments or posts and affirmative-action... More

Major Gogoi’s hotel escapade exposes vulnerabilities of women in Kashmir


“What goes on between two consenting adults is not anyone else’s business,” said a high-ranking army officer while commenting on the recent indictment of the controversial army officer, major Leetul Gogoi, posted with the Rashtriya Rifles battalion,... More

Modiji, welcome to the Great Indian Chauraha that you had ordained


If the Prime Minister keeps his promise to turn up at a public square and face the consequences of demonetisation, a sneak preview of what lies in store was provided by Rahul Gandhi on Thursday (August 30)... More

Pakistan’s US challenge

Notwithstanding Geography and Geopolitics, the epitome of measuring national power is the leadership, national character, and morale. Pakistan now has all three. This is a development that shall bode well for Pakistan’s engagement amongst the comity of... More

NRC issue has the potential to disturb peace in Assam


The recent controversy over the exclusion of 41 lakhs of the total 3.29 crore applicants for the National Registrar of Citizenship (NRC) in Assam has left more questions than answers. The NRC, first of its kind in India,... More

Storm of accountability gathers over Myanmar


The one-year anniversary of the state-sponsored mass killings, rape and arson that brutally expelled over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh is fast approaching, without any clear sign of resolution or accountability. On August... More

In the US-China trade war, Pakistan and the global economy will be the...


The year 2017 ended on a positive note, with some major economies leading the “broadest synchronised global upsurge since 2010”, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Markets reacted positively to the improved global economic outlook, giving... More

Is India creating its own Rohingya?


On July 30, four million residents of the Indian state of Assam were effectively stripped of their nationality after their names were excluded from the recently formed National Register of Citizens. Indian authorities claim to have initiated and... More

What the student protests mean for Bangladesh


I reached out for my copy of Willem Van Schendel’s A History of Bangladesh on Wednesday last week, almost two weeks after the beginning of the student-led protests against unauthorised vehicles and unlicensed drivers on the roads... More

Afghanistan and the issue of transnational conspiracy


The deplorable statistics of drug addicted people in Afghanistan exceeded one million and the poppy growth almost doubled, since the international community call for counter-narcotics. The most outrageous in this context is, that one third of the... More

COLUMN

Redefine Act East thrust 

India's Act East policy has so far mainly focused on developing greater connectivity with Southeast Asia through the country's northeast. But economists and logistics experts have long concluded that India's Look East or Act East thrust will primarily remain a maritime phenomenon because it is much cheaper to connect to much of Southeast Asia by sea than through an under-developed region like Northeast India. It defies logic as to... More

Is conflict driving Bangladesh’s politics and society?

Hate, insults, endless allegations and occasional physical confrontations have become the staple of Bangladesh’s political culture. No one is spared, and no one wants to be excluded. Instead of debate there is abuse. And then comes the counter and then some more...and the cycle goes on. Apart from the highly toxic level of antagonism, it also means that power has become precious and far too many people are trying to... 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 of geo-politics in this region shows that the prospects of a strong Indian presence are bleak. For one thing, India’s main reliance is on the US, which is itself gearing up to withdraw... More

Myanmar’s economy could go into a tailspin as currency woes deepen

y Fears that Myanmar’s currency crisis has only momentarily stalled are growing, as the government does not seem to see any urgency in tackling the underlying causes of the recent fall in the kyat’s value against the dollar. Regional analysts believe a major collapse of the currency remains very real. Their fears were justified when, the end of last week, the kyat plummeted once again to over K 1,600, largely... More

Spreading falsehood and distorting facts

Initiated in 2014 the Ashiana-Iqbal project could not be completed mainly because an illegal award increased the cost, and if it were to be initiated now, the escalated cost of Rs 40 billion will be borne either by the applicants of the government. As Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general between 2013 and 2016, Ahad Khan Cheema was also a member on the Punjab Land Development Corporation (PLDC) board.... More

VIDEO-INTERVIEW

OUTCOME AND FUTURE OF BMISTEC? & WHAT’S ON THE BALANCE?


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

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