June 22, 2017

Can Himalayan Hydro Power Bring Water Cooperation?

A river on Nepal-India border. (Photo by rajkumar1220, Creative Commons License)

Considering how often the fear of looming water wars is perpetuated in the media and blogosphere, you would be forgiven for not knowing that 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. But cooperation is not merely the absence of conflict, and indeed conflict and cooperation coexist in every relationship, be it between individuals or states managing trans-boundary ... Read More »

India’s Troubled Soldiers

(Photo by Rahul Venkatram, Creative Commons License)

A string of incidents involving indiscipline and insubordination in the Indian armed forces has set off alarm bells in India’s defense establishment. Since May last year, there have been at least four violent clashes between officers and jawans (soldiers) of the Indian army. Two of these occurred over a span of five days last month.   On October 10, jawans of ... Read More »

Why India is Wary of Bangladesh’s Opposition?

Begum Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party. (Photo by Jingo of Bangladesh, Creative Commons License)

Bangladesh is set to go to the polls on January 5, 2014 to elect its 10th Parliament amid a protracted political crisis. The Opposition combine has initiated a new wave of violent agitation to undo what it calls a “unilateral election.” However, it is unlikely that the Election Commission will cancel the polls it has announced to meet the nation’s ... Read More »

Indo-Iran Relations: Sauce for the Goose, But Not the Gander

That the Geneva deal may have reduced the scope for military confrontation between Israel/U.S. and Iran also aids India’s interests. Picture is of Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour with Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh. (PTI photo via The Hindu)

Earlier this year, I asked a senior American diplomat why India and the United States differed fundamentally in their vision of Iran and its place in the world. He blunted my leading question, suggested that both countries were on the same page as far as sanctions were concerned, and began reeling off measures India had taken to reduce Iranian crude ... Read More »

Dynasty vs Dynamism in India

Sonia Gandhi with her son and political heir Rahul Gandhi. (Photo via Nepali Time)

  Over the next decade or so, a host of regional parties in India will have to confront the issue of who should succeed the leaders spearheading them. Should the successor belong to the leader’s family or be one of his or her trusted lieutenants? No doubt, these parties draw their energy from the charisma of their solitary leader, one ... Read More »

Key Questions Surrounding US Arms Sales to India

The deal includes six C-130J turbo military transport aircraft, 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, and 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers -- worth $5 billion. (Photo from video stream)

The rise in US arms sales to India is being widely cited as evidence of the two countries’ deepening defense relationship. But the long-term sustainability of the relationship, in which India is more a client than a partner, remains a deep concern for Indians. Does the recently issued Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation, which establishes intent to move beyond weapons ... Read More »

The Looming Debate Over Drones in India

Indian troops participating in an operation. (Photo by Manob Chowdhury via The Hindu)

The small, portly man was laid out in bed that autumn morning in 2009, wrapped in a shawl, the intravenous line in his arm carrying ever-waning hope that he might yet beat back acute diabetes and a crippling renal disorder. He had come home to his father-in-law’s home in the small village of Makeen just days earlier, family sources would ... Read More »

India’s Other Border Problem

(Map via The Diplomat)

  Just a week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Beijing, where he signed a Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, China has reminded India of its other border conflict: Arunachal Pradesh. The Hindu reports that China opened a new highway that links Medog, Tibet’s so-called “last isolated county,” with the rest of China. The Global Times called Medog “the last roadless county in China” – it did ... Read More »

Afghanistan: A Great Game That All Sides Can Win

Afghan map

Two questions have increasingly taken centre-stage in discussions about what might happen in Afghanistan after United States withdrawal in 2014. One, if it will become a proxy battlefield for India and Pakistan, the two big South Asian rivals, and two, if anything can be done to prevent this. William Dalrymple, for instance, wrote in an essay for Brookings Institution this ... Read More »

A Vote for the Social Sciences in India

The social sciences have for long shied away from investigating the terrain of political behaviour. This has changed. (Photo by P.V. Sivakumar via The Hindu)

Although the elections are still some time away, a different political climate is being created by various stakeholders. The tone was set with Anna Hazare’s and the nationwide stir against growing corruption in high places and the demand for the setting up of an independent body at the apex to examine cases of money laundering and the misuse of public ... Read More »