South Asia

March, 2014

  • 18 March

    Indian Polls: Congress Party Outlives its Use

    India’s Congress Party appears to have outlived its use as Mahatma Gandhi once said. It was formed largely to end the British colonialism and for swaraj or self-government. Established in 1885, it was the pivot of the Indian Independence Movement before it became the premier political party that has ruled India for more than five decades since Independence in 1947. …

  • 15 March

    General Musharraf’s Arrest Warrants Issued

    A Pakistani Court, hearing high treason case against former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on Friday, March 14, issued his non-bailable warrant for March 31st after he failed to appear before it. Musharraf could face possible indictment for violating the country’s constitution on November 3rd 2007 by proclaiming emergency. If convicted, Musharraf could face death sentence or life imprisonment under the country’s constitution.   …

  • 13 March

    Pakistan’s Blowback Mountain

    The major problem facing Pakistan is the vacillation of the government in dealing decisively with the terrorists because (1) fear of blowback in the urban areas if there is any major counter-insurgency operations in the mountains and (2) some terrorists groups in the Punjab (province) have loose links with influential political elements, they not only fear their presence in their …

  • 12 March

    Critical Year Ahead for Afghanistan

    In under four weeks’ time (5 April) Afghanistan’s 12 million voters will get the chance to elect one of 11 candidates to replace President Hamid Karzai, in what observers hope will be the country’s first ever peaceful and democratic handover of power.   It will be one of the biggest challenges in a vital year of transition for the country, …

  • 10 March

    A BJP-Muslim Entente Cordiale in India?

    In a TV interview last week, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley admitted that the BJP had a Muslim “problem.” “Yes, we have it,” he said, pointing out that there was a “problem both ways.”   “Part of the problem is that they (Muslims) have to understand us and part of the problem is we have to accept it…But …

  • 8 March

    Before the Next Attack

    Within hours of the Islamabad court carnage on March 3, Pakistan’s chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani vowed to take the culprits to task. The next day, he ordered the installation of security cameras at all court premises.   The prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) expressed his displeasure over the attack, saying “it does not augur well for peace talks.” The Tehrik-e-Taliban …

  • 6 March

    Pakistan’s War and Peace Conundrum

    The March 3 Islamabad attack highlights the fact that the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the umbrella organization of extremists fighting the Pakistani state) either, viz (1) has no control over most of its 30 plus factions (and certainly not on the 60 or so ones criminally inclined but existing under the cover name of TTP), or worse (2) is deliberately ignoring …

  • 4 March

    Lessons India Draws From Afghan War

      Twenty-five years ago last month, Marshal Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov walked the last few meters over the bridge from Afghanistan to the Soviet Union, at the very tail of the army he had commanded. Mr. Gromov’s son, Maksim, had stood watching as the great convoy of tanks and armored personnel carriers thundered by, waiting for his father with a fistful …

  • 1 March

    When a Dynasty Read the Future

    Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, has among her photographs a collector’s item taken when she was an 11-year-old girl. Crowded into the frame are no less than five South Asian Prime Ministers who served at different times over five decades in the 20th Century: her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike, herself (she was Prime Minister …

February, 2014

  • 28 February

    Nepalis Fear as India Dykes Mahakali River

    Last June, a flood in the Mahakali river – which marks a part of Nepal’s western border with India – swept away almost half of Khalanga Bazaar, a town that is the headquarters of Nepal’s Darchula district. The cause of the flood is still a debate. Most locals blame Indian officials, alleging that they opened the gates of the Dhauliganga dam upstream. This has been consistently …