Iran and the future of the Afghanistan peace process

US officials are currently engaged in peace talks aimed at reaching a political settlement with the Taliban, driven by a desire for peace and security in Afghanistan, with the support of regional neighbors. This article focuses on... More

An unholy alliance: Monks and the military in Myanmar

With almost 90 percent of Myanmar's population being devoted Buddhists, the religion has been at the heart of the nation's very identity for centuries. But while the pillars of Buddhist teachings are love, compassion and peace, there is... More

Understanding the latest India-Pakistan meeting on the Kartarpur corridor

On March 14, Pakistan and India’s delegations met on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border to finalize the modalities for the Kartarpur corridor’s opening. The development comes a few weeks after the two countries were on... More

Ex-Blackwater boss moves into Myanmar security

Blackwater, a now-defunct private military contractor founded by Prince, was condemned internationally after its employees allegedly opened fire on a Baghdad street in 2007, killing at least 14 civilians. Prince later sold Blackwater, which then changed its... More

A battle for plural, secular India as 900 million people gear up...

India goes to the polls in a seven-phase national election that will commence on April 11 and conclude on May 19, with the results declared on May 23. As the world's largest democracy, the current voter base... More

Genocide, war or peace?

A full-scale war between Pakistan and India was averted last month because India’s hastily delivered bombs caused no damage; Pakistan’s response was measured, demonstrating capability but deliberately avoiding Indian casualties; and Prime Minister Imran Khan, apart from... More

BRI developments a boon to Bangladesh

Bangladesh historically enjoys good ties with China. The beginning of their relations dates back more than 2,000 years and was brought about primarily by the Silk Road. Both countries have long shared deep political, economic and people-to-people... More

Pakistan’s F-16s battled Soviet jets and shot down the future vice president...

In 1977, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq overthrew Pakistan’s civilian president in a coup. He proceeded to institute hardline Islamist laws throughout Pakistan, and began rebuilding Pakistani military power after its humiliating defeat in a 1971 war with India. Following... More

Solving the Kashmir puzzle

Pakistan has been seeking enforcement of a 1948 UN Security Council resolution which states that a plebiscite should be held across Kashmir asking residents there whether they want to live in a province controlled by India or... More

Sri Lanka’s debt problem wasn’t made in China

Global media and numerous "experts" routinely assert that Sri Lanka was forced to cede a strategically important port to China after being lured into a debt trap by easy Chinese loans. This story has now become part of... More

Narendra Modi’s post-Pulwama doctrine: Securitise politics, politicise security

The Pulwama terror attacks unleashed an ugly frenzy within the Indian public sphere. There were angry calls for retributive action and even war from sections of the television media and the citizenry. Those appealing for restraint and mobilising... More

Depth of China’s ties with Pakistan costs India

As expected, China has again gone ahead and vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution listing Masood Azhar under the UN sanctions regime. This veto is the fourth such “technical hold” on the part of China... More

Is an Afghan peace deal finally within grasp?

After 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha, US and Taliban negotiators have wrapped up their longest round of negotiations on March 12, signalling concrete progress towards a peace deal to end the 17-year-old war... More

BJP infighting may prove costly for Modi

An unsavory incident at a party meeting in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh on March 6 has led to red faces at the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). BJP Member of Parliament Sharad Tripathi thrashed his... More

After the crisis

Although the 2019 India-Pakistan standoff may have passed its immediate intensity, it is clear that the entire episode has left a slew of new worries for policymakers all over the world. It is crucial that lessons are... More

China needs solid proof in Azhar case

China suspended India's latest bid to list Masood Azhar, the leader of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), as a global terrorist, to give it more time to examine the request. Why did China take this position? Will... More

Pakistan becomes pivotal to Afghan peace

The marathon talks between the US officials and the Taliban representatives at Doha through a 16-day period ending Tuesday can be seen as a defining moment in the endgame in Afghanistan. Both the US special representative Zalmay... More

Religion-based crimes have risen sharply in India. Does Modi love hate?

Two days before Christmas 2018, when 70 members of the New Life Fellowship Church in the tiny Hindu-dominated village of Kowad were happily rehearsing performances, they had no idea their celebrations would be cut short by bloodshed. That... More

Are the Maoists rising again in Nepal?

On February 22, one person died and two others were seriously injured when a bomb exploded at the entrance of Ncell’s office, located in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. On the same day, bombs were planted targeting... More

India’s election cash would do more good on training

Some studies have estimated that Indian politicians may spend about $7 billion on their campaigns for the upcoming general elections, a splurge that is likely to be costlier than the 2016 US presidential election. The general election in... More

Bangladesh gets a $20 billion Saudi windfall

Saudi Arabia signed a slew of agreements with Bangladesh on March 7 worth up to US$20 billion in investments. The Saudi investment will cover different development projects in Bangladesh connected with energy, industries and infrastructure. This significant increase... 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

Pakistan receives warning from Iran not to join Saudi proxy war

Pakistan has received a stern warning from Iran's Major-General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force and other senior in the aftermath of the February 13, 2019 attack on their forces by Iranian Baluch militants in the country's restive Sistan and Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan. The new tone from Tehran is a response to Pakistan's recent tilt back toward Saudi Arabia since Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran... 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