March 23, 2017

Border Skirmishes: India, Pakistan Back to Blame Game

A Pakistani soldier aims at Indian territory from his check post on the country's "Working Boundary" with India. (Photo from videostream)

The latest India-Pakistan border tensions indicate a strategic shift in New Delhi’s policy which is becoming more aggressive with each passing day. Reports from India indicate that the new policy is being orchestrated by the country’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, a decorated former intelligence official. Read More »

Nepal: After the Storm

DISASTROUS AUTUMN: The storm came in October, when locals and trekkers least expected it. Nepal Army helicopters arrived on the morning after to ferry out the survivors of the blizzards and avalanche in Manang. (Photo via Nepali Times)

In a rare occurrence, a cyclone that started in the Bay of Bengal caused an avalanche in the Himalayas, killing at least 40 in Nepal. The even was a wakeup call to install effective early warning weather systems in mountainous Nepal’s higher reaches. Read More »

Why Emperor Akbar Haunts Hindutva

Hindutva's saffron flag. (Photo by Bharath Joshi, Creative Commons License)

There has been a traditional affinity, even bonding, between Hindu and Muslim extremists of the subcontinent. They have both mistrusted the liberals within their respective folds. It was natural, therefore, for Hindutva in India to emulate its narrow-minded Muslim counterparts in Pakistan to jointly target the genial Emperor Akbar, otherwise considered a symbol of enlightenment and religious tolerance. Read More »

Malala Brings Home the Nobel

(Photo via Dawn)

For many in her hometown of Swat and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the significance of a Pashtun girl wining the Nobel is clear. To them it is an historic event from which Malala Yousafzai has emerged, perhaps somewhat incongruously, as mythical a figure as Malalai of Maiwand, the Pashtun folk hero who rallied Pashtun fighters against the British troops during the second Anglo-Afghan War. Read More »

China’s Choice: India or Pakistan?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands with the Chinese President Xi Jinping at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on September 18, 2014. (Photo from videostream)

Which South Asian country is more important for China’s future? Many in South Asia may think Pakistan but that may not be a reality, at least now. Read More »

An Indian View on Sri Lanka: Dealing with Devolution

(Photo by Markus Spring, Creative Commons License)

After the defeat of the LTTE and the economic activism of China, the geostrategic reality has altered significantly in Colombo’s favor. With no usable leverages, India may have to live with 13A minus police powers, provided the devolved powers are actually implemented on the ground. Read More »

A View from India: Love, Faith and Conversions

Members of Dalit community at a gathering demanding land reforms in India. (Photo by ActionAid India - Campaigns, Creative Commons License)

With the romanticized temper of the 100 days of Narendra Modi government over, the anti-Muslim tone is heard throughout India; in fact, this constitutes a major strand in the bond by which the Hindutva forces feel united after the triumphant majority to the Indian parliament, says one analyst. Read More »

India’s Politics Without the Minorities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs puja at the Somnath Mandir. (Photo via Narendra Modi, Creative Commons License)

The penchant and proclivity for making India Hindu is not a new phenomenon in Indian political life; but until the 2014 election, it did not have the power or the heft to pose a serious challenge to the idea of India Read More »

South Asia Needs to Face up to Water and Energy Dilemma

India’s annual water withdrawal is the highest in the world, but its water productivity is one of the lowest. (Image from Greenpeace via thethirdpole.net)

South Asia’s water and energy crises are deeply intertwined. Growing energy demand drives water shortages and lack of water fuels power outages. Regional cooperation – such as power trading between countries – could ease tightening resource constraints but such solutions have been largely scuppered by political suspicions. Read More »

Why Do Indians Want to Study Abroad?

A degree from a top foreign university tends to be valued more in the Indian job market than a local degree, a perception based on facts too. (File photo by Nagara Gopal, via The Hindu)

Unable to cope with increasing demand for higher education, more and more students from India are heading to the West. New statistics show that offers of admission to Indian post-graduate students are up 25 per cent for 2013-14 from the previous year. But the bigger problem is that majority of these students are staying abroad after completing education, causing brain-drain — a bad news for India’s high-tech economy aspirations. Read More »