South Asia

Bridging the Castes? The Assembly Elections in Utter Pradesh

The new government in India's largest state is also an articulation of a process highlighting a clear shift in the centre of gravity in Indian politics - power has been shifting lower and lower down the caste order. This silent revolution was neither envisaged by the pollsters, nor the major political parties.

Stanching political atrophy in Pakistan

Asia needs a stable Pakistan even more than a democratic one. If Gen Pervez Musharraf is a "gone man", to cite ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a civilian regime that replaces him overnight would be wobbly and prey to the next military adventurer.

The BJP's Textbook Revisions: What lasting legacy for society?

The barometer of success that defined the BJP's education policies was neither the introduction of new textbooks, nor the emergence of RSS activists at the helm of national education institutions. It has been the apparent acceptance of the discriminatory narrative by the Indian public.

SAARC's Achilles Heel? The South Asian Free Trade Agreement

Discussions on the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), the big item on the summit agenda, one which the ministers of India and Pakistan were hoping for a breakthrough, found only an occasional mention. Details in terms of sectors, modalities or problems were neither discussed nor mentioned in the formal declaration.

Violence against women in India

For a country on a dizzying upward economic growth trajectory, India's treatment of its women is abysmal. Dowry deaths, rapes, molestations and a swathe of other crimes against women are commonplace even amongst the socio-economic elite. 

14th SAARC Summit: Time to end the South Asian Slumber?

This year's SAARC summit comes with a few firsts, each of which are likely to herald the birth of new political equilibriums. For one, Afghanistan will officially become a member of SAARC. Secondly, the EU, Japan, US, South Korea and China will attend the summit as observers. 

Pakistan: The Wages of Sin

It is far from clear if the present demonstrations against General Pervez Musharraf's regime will result in his departure from office. Even if General Musharraf is forced to step down because the protests render the country ungovernable, it is by no means certain that the military will return their barracks.

Red Corridor or Red Belt? Naxal Resurgence in India

Two consecutive attacks by the Maoists on Indian jails in 2004/5 to release their colleagues and the more recent massacre of security personnel in Chattisgarh on 16 Mar 2020 illustrate the magnitude of what is officially characterised as "red terror".

Nepal: The Issues and the Way Forward

Unfortunately, at this very time, the Madhesi people (people from the plains in southern Nepal) have launched a separate campaign from January 2007 demanding greater autonomy for the plains, which are evidently, the most prosperous agricultural and industrial locale in the country.

When will India take its place?

The domestic and external agendas that India needs to address are formidable. Nevertheless, they are not beyond the reach of its policy establishment. However, until it fashions clear-cut strategies to meet the challenges ahead, any jubilation about India as the next Asian power is downright premature. 

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