Taliban-US talks: There is more to it than meets the eye

After meeting US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan Taliban are said to have agreed to hold a second round of talks on paving the way for a negotiated end to the war and reach a political settlement.... More

Bhutan’s PM elect Lotay Tshering to SAM: Policy on India and China...

Acknowledging the presence of two huge neighbours—China in the north and India in the south—within an emphatic “yes, yes”, Bhutan’s prime minister-elect and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa(DNT) party president Dr Lotay Tsheringon October 18 said that his government... More

Bhutan’s ‘silence’ over Doklam continues – on the mountains and in Thimphu

At first glance, the imposing gateway appears to be the entrance to a frontier Buddhist monastery tucked away in the unending roll of Bhutan’s mountains. No sooner did our vehicle stop barely 100 metres short of the... More

Enigmatic silence over China and India as Bhutan’s poll campaign nears end

As campaigning for the final round of elections to the Bhutanese National Assembly gathered pace about a week ago, the country’s Election Commission imposed a Ngultrum 12,000 (around USD200) fine against a nominee for the Druk Phuensum... More

In Maldives, democracy has triumphed over attempts to subvert public opinion

When democracy globally has been tilting towards populism and bordering on autocracy, Maldives has shown that the future is not to despair. Democratic forces will usher in corrective measures when the time is appropriate. The whiff of... More

Disquiet and anger in Awami League as party’s alliance with fundamentalist Hefazat-e-Islam...

Even as the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League battles anti-incumbency at a time when Bangladesh is headed for general elections, the party’s rank-and-file is riven with anger and disappointment by the “unholy nexus” the leadership has established with... More

Russia woos India with multi-billion-dollar defence deals, but the hurdle is USA

At one level the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi is routine—it is for the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit. At another, it is special because it comes at a time when India’s time-tested... More

Bhutan’s elections and how country’s constitution limits political participation  

  Days after losing the recent primary round of Bhutan’s third National Assembly election, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tshering Tobgay has been telling supporters that the party will continue to play an active role from outside Parliament. However,... More

Sri Lankan political rivalry intensifies as economy goes into a tailspin

While Donald Trump told the UN earlier this week that globalism should be done away with and national interests safeguarded, a declining Sri Lankan economy, caused by a steady depreciation of the rupee, has pushed political leaders... More

As Rakhine issue deepens, Myanmar’s businesses fast losing confidence in economy

Amid the growing international outcry over its handling of the Rakhine issue, the Myanmar government has sought some respite by boosting economic growth. But the country’s business community has been left cold by the government’s recent drive... More

The Dalai Lama has chosen his successor!

The 14th Dalai Lama, reigning since 22 February 1940, has selected his own reincarnation. This happened secretly on July 13 in Diskit monastery of Ladakh, sources familiar with the internationally sensitive matter have revealed. The Dalai Lama... More

Surprise defeat for pro-China Maldivian strongman Yameen, but India shouldn’t celebrate yet

The just concluded presidential elections in Maldives have handed a surprise defeat to the pro-China president Yameen Abdul Gayoom and victory to joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohammed Solih or Ibu, thus making Maldives the fourth state in... More

BJP will use citizenship Bill to ‘invite’ Bangladeshi Hindus to India, party’s...

After the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam identified 4 million people as suspected ‘foreigners’, the BJP’s West Bengal unit has planned to employ a proposed central legislation to demand the inclusion of Bangladeshi illegal... More

Bhutan’s middle class, armed forces and youth among voters who delivered poll...

The primary round of the third National Assembly election in Bhutan sprung a major surprise last Saturday with the incumbent People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay getting knocked out of the contest. PDP... More

What the Afghan war looks like after 17 years?

Afghanistan’s geopolitics has changed; the ‘war on terror’ narrative is absolutely dead given that the US is now talking to the Taliban (the erstwhile “terrorists”) and sees them as a political force. While the war in Afghanistan is... More

A flawed NRC, a dangerous proposed citizenship legislation and BJP’s cynical politics...

The year: 1993 The setting: The Delhi-based headquarters of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. The protagonists: RAW chief Jagjit Singh Aulakh and his junior colleagues Vijay Shukla and Vishwanath Reddy who plan to employ... More

Awami League infighting to hit party’s vote bank and poll prospects

Nearly 10 years of uninterrupted governance of the Awami League paved the way for “rule bending” and allowed “carte blanche” to activists to take to “extortion”, besides causing “intra-party factional feuds” and emboldening “criminal activities” which have... More

Protesting for a democracy, or a Monarchy?

The dust has barely settled on the streets of Colombo that the over twenty five thousand supporters of former President and his Joint Opposition (JO) trod last Wednesday but despite the general view that the Janabala Colambata... More

Shadow of India, Hasina government’s corruption, repression of BNP looms over Bangladesh...

Bangladesh will go into election mode in the next few months. Democratic transfer of power in Bangladesh became the norm ever since the overthrow of military dictator General H M Ershad in 1990. The army-backed caretaker government,... More

‘Kashmir not a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan’ 

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is Kashmir’s chief religious cleric and head of Hurriyat Conference- a conglomerate of political groups that demands resolution of the Kashmir dispute. In an interview with South Asian Monitor, Mirwaiz underscores the need of an... More

Bhutan Elections: Four parties campaign for the primary round

Voters in Bhutan will head to the polls on September 15 to decide who among the four political parties will contest for the general round on October 18. The National Assembly of the second Parliament dissolved on... More


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



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