President Sirisena addresses nation, says assassination plot prompted removal of Wickremesinghe  

An alleged assassination plot which had the involvement of a cabinet minister and the ‘tremendous pressure to avoid investigations’ under the UNP led government were the main reasons behind his decision to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe from the... More

Sri Lanka’s post-civil war reconciliation mechanisms mired in controversy

Sri Lanka once again finds itself trapped between the Western prescription for its post-war reconciliation path and local fears of an equality-driven emphasis on healing its traumatic past which pitted the Sinhalese against the Tamils in a... More

A battle between Bangladesh’s old and new elites?

Bangladesh society and the power relations within are undergoing significant changes. The paths to elite-hood and the protection that many established elites had taken for granted for long are also undergoing transformation. This doesn’t mean that impunity... More

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


Pakistan, Afghan peace and India

After almost two decades the US-led NATO intervention in Afghanistan aimed at eradicating the Taliban had no end in sight. US President Donald Trump and the American people, if not the US military, decided that an honourable exit was necessary to end the longest war in US history. Despite the fact that one of Trump’s election promise was to exit Afghanistan (Iraq and Syria) by reluctantly Troop had approved... More

Despite controversy, Afghanistan Peace Process makes major strides

Despite Kabul’s publicly made allegations on the US about ‘selling Afghanistan to the Taliban’ in the peace talks, there is little gainsaying that the Afghan-US war has never been so close to ending through settlement than it is now. While Kabul continues to express its anger over being excluded, there is little, given the legitimacy crisis Kabul is itself facing, that even the principal Afghan actors can do to... More

Regulators and conflict of interest

A governmental body created by a legislature to implement and enforce specific laws, a "Regulatory Agency" or a "Regulator" would usually have quasi-legislative functions, executive functions, and judicial functions. Many laws govern social and economic matters, such as income tax, environmental laws, occupational health and safety laws, real estate law, employment laws, etc. A regulatory agency serves two primary functions in govt: implement the laws and enforce the same. Regulations... More

Is Bangladesh an online state?

Bangladesh is an online state with an incredibly high number of virtual citizens. Few can match them in enthusiasm, participation and enjoyment of what the online world offers, good or bad. Much great stuff happens on the net but so does nasty stuff. It’s also a great producer of cultural and otherwise, not to mention, political ones. The recent spate of actions against online content considered “harmful” have spiked, which,... More

How China might undo Saudi plans for Iran?

The recent Saudi bid to increase its economic and political influence in South Asia (Pakistan and India) is, as I pointed out in my previous stories for SAM, largely informed not just by the imperative of a Saudi economic expansion across Asia and avoid economic doom, but also by the objective of snatching Iran’s share of oil market in this part of the world. This is partly one reason... 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