Fear rules polls in India’s Christian Nagaland State

Elections to the 60-member state legislative assembly are scheduled for February 27. Under pressure from insurgent groups, a collection of tribal and civil society organizations had forced political parties to announce on January 29... More

On Maldives, India appears to be losing the initiative to China

By cold shouldering the Maldivian government’s effort to send a Special Envoy to New Delhi to explain the circumstances which led to the declaration of a State of Emergency and the arrests that followed... More

Kabul Intercontinental Hotel

It was in July 1987 that I stayed in Kabul Intercontinental Hotel – the same hotel that became target of the recent Taliban attack which left 22 killed. My room was on the third... More

The Nagas are on a collision course with India – again

On 14 August 1947, as the Flag of Pakistan was being hoisted in Karachi and Dacca (now Dhaka), a group of Christian tribesmen and descendants of headhunters in the Naga Hills of Assam were... More

Bangladesh’s proposed Digital Security Act may lend itself to gross misuse

Bangladesh’s proposed Digital Security Act (DSA) has sections which could be used by both the State and private individuals to throttle the freedom of expression guaranteed in the constitution. The vaguely worded and all-encompassing draft... More

Mounting assaults on freedom of expression in the “World’s Largest Democracy” 

In the 2017 World Press Freedom rankings, India, touted by the US as the “World’s Largest Democracy”, was placed 136th among 180 countries, a dismal ranking in the 67th year of the existence of... More

Long wait for Nepal to get a new Prime Minister

Six weeks have passed since elections to the Nepalese provincial assemblies and the federal parliament were held. The Left Alliance registered a thumping win in the federal parliament polls and had won six out... More

Will Assam be India’s Rakhine?

Work on creating a National Register of Citizens (NRC) to weed out “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh in Assam is in progress under the guidance of the Supreme Court of India. With it, a major... More

Is Japan out of sync with South Asia’s concerns?

Deeply concerned about China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, and its expansionist moves in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Japan has become diplomatically active in the region in... More

Lanka head onto 2018 on rickety bridge

As Sri Lanka speeds away towards the end of the remaining days of 2017, a giant red stocking stands at the Galle Face Green seaside promenade in Colombo in place of the 72.1 m... More

Yameen’s two-pronged strategy to win the 2018 Presidential election

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, who has been drawing intense flak from the opposition and the Western powers for allegedly flouting democratic norms and fostering Islamic radicalism, is hoping to win the September 2018 Presidential... More

Nepal – in the throes of change and hope

The airport of Kathmandu has gone through the mill of change in recent years as with much of Nepal, politics or otherwise. Where once was a flurry of elbowing for access for immigration documentation... More

Cross overs, trade overs, factions and splits heralds Lanka govt polls

The February 2018 local government polls, the litmus test of President Sirisena’s power over the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the popularity of RanilWickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) as well as the wellbeing... More

China overtakes India as Sri Lanka’s single largest trading partner

India has been the single largest trading partner of Sri Lanka for a very long time; especially since 1977. But in 2016, China overtook India by a small margin, says the Sri Lankan economist,... More

Free trade and OBOR pacts take Sino-Maldivian ties to a new height

The signing of a Free Trade Agreement and an MoU on cooperation in implementing China’s ambitious and prestigious One Belt One Road (OBOR) international connectivity project at the Great Hall of People in Beijing... More

Maldivian opposition protests rushing through of FTA with China

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has vehemently protested against the way the Abdulla Yameen government rushed the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement (FTA) through parliament on Wednesday (Nov 29). “The Speaker of parliament had called... More

Discomforts ahead for Sri Lanka PM

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision in 2014 November to adopt senior Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member Maithripala Sirisena to be the United National Party (UNP) coalition candidate in the January 8, 2015 Presidential election was... More

Release of UN designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed will further vitiate Indo Pak...

The release of the UN, US and India-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed by a Pakistani High Court on Wednesday, will adversely affect the global fight against cross-border terrorism and further vitiate India-Pakistan relations. Given the backing... More

Speeding up projects and acquisition of Mattala airport to dominate Modi-Ranil talks

In the open-ended talks between Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to be held in New Delhi on November 23, the main theme will be speeding up the... More

India lets Rohingya Muslims down cruelly for the third time in succession

India has let the hapless Rohingya Muslims down for the third time in succession. New Delhi’s sordid record began when it endorsed Myanmar’s brutal military action against lakhs of men, women and children, and... More

Hindutva’s zealots trigger Sikh militancy in Punjab

Flush with unprecedented success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Indian parliamentary elections, and given the BJP’s alliance with the Sikh party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak... More


Against India’s plan to scuttle, Pakistan has the plan to expand...

When Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena recently arrived in Pakistan as a chief guest to celebrate the Pakistan Day on March 23, he was not just witnessing the military parade, but was also making a meaningful statement about Pakistan’s importance in the region and the value Sri Lanka itself... 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


Subversion of democracy

The problem starts at a fundamental level. How does one define a sadhu? Tied to the meaning of this word, or character, is in a way the well-being of the world’s largest democracy. Most people would think of a sadhu as an ascetic or monk of some sort. Dictionaries,... More

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



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