IDSA STRATEGIC COMMENTS

Illegal Migration in Assam: A Concern for India's National Security

Assam, a strategic border state of India, witnessed the influx of migrants since the British period from then East Bengal, now Bangladesh. The influx was largely engineered by the British, given the economic rationale of cheap labour that the migrants provided for the sprawling tea estates in Assam. However, this issue of migration assumed political and communal overtones after independence, and continues to be an issue of concern.

May 04, 2006

India's Role in Afghanistan: Need for Greater Engagement

The killing of Kasula Suryanarayana, an Indian telecommunications engineer working for a Bahrain based firm in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan raises important questions on the emerging challenges to India's efforts at reconstruction and stabilization of a "nascent democracy". Suryanarayana was reportedly abducted by the Taliban on April 28 and his abductors linked his safe release to the withdrawal of all Indians working in Afghanistan.

May 04, 2006

Overfed Europe, Underpaid Russia: Beginning of a New Energy Cold War?

Russia is on the move to become an energy superpower by spreading its influence deep into Western and Eastern energy markets. Possessing the largest reserve of natural gas in the world, Russia's domestic and foreign policies have now come to be largely determined by the energy factor. Apart from the already existing market in the West, Moscow's plan to explore Asian markets was welcomed by the major energy consuming countries such as China, Japan, and the Koreas in the East Asian region.

May 03, 2006

Nepal's Political Conundrum: Emerging Challenges to Tenuous Peace

Nepal is witnessing relative political calm after the Maoists declared a three month ceasefire to facilitate a political solution to the insurgency, which has been marked by unabated violence, threatening peace and stability in the Himalayan Kingdom. The Maoist insurgency, which originated ten years ago in April 1996, has reached a new phase. After several rounds of unsuccessful negotiations to resolve the political crisis posed by the Maoists in the past, the current situation is characterized by anxiety and hope. The anxiety is over whether a peaceful solution can be reached.

May 03, 2006

Democracy Versus People's War in Nepal

Despite the King's proclamation and the subsequent end to the 19-day anti-Monarchy protests by the seven party alliance (SPA) on April 25, 2006, Nepal is still not sure of peace and stability. The difference between the SPA and the Maoists on the new constitution seems to be the biggest challenge before the Koirala Government. Although the Maoists have declared a three-month ceasefire, they have refused to surrender their weapons before or during the elections to a Constituent Assembly.

May 03, 2006

Numbers Do Matter

The fast breeding domestic debate on the size of the nuclear deterrent is taking place in the light of India's separation plan of nuclear facilities for civilian and military purposes. The scope of the debate related to India's credible minimum deterrence is complex with reference to the continuing relevance of the role of nuclear weapons in military strategies worldwide both at the conceptual and operational levels.

April 28, 2006

An Appraisal of the Indian Prime Minister's Visit to Uzbekistan

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded his two-day state visit to Uzbekistan on April 26, 2006. This was the second visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Tashkent since Uzbekistan's independence in August 1991. India and Uzbekistan signed seven agreements in the fields of energy, business, education, mineral prospecting and stepping up the joint fight against international terrorism, religious extremism and drug trafficking. This has undoubtedly increased Indian stakes in Central Asia.

April 28, 2006

Import of Afghan President's Visit to India

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's four-day state visit to India from April 9-12, 2006 was the fourth since he was appointed Chairman of the Afghan interim administration in December 2001. His visit assumes significance in the backdrop of heightened violence in Afghanistan, the inclusion of Afghanistan in SAARC with India's facilitation, the recent political row between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the issue of cross-border terrorism, and the March 2006 visit of President Bush to the Subcontinent.

April 26, 2006

Indian Prime Minister's Visit to Uzbekistan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting Tashkent April 25-26, 2006 on a two-day state visit to Uzbekistan at the invitation of the Uzbek President, Islam Abduganievich Karimov who himself had visited India in April 2005. The visit will mark a new chapter in Indo-Uzbek relations.

April 25, 2006

Strategic Predominance and Open Market Access: The Twin Pillars of Russia's Policy in the Central Asia-Caspian Sea Region

As the Russian thinking on its near abroad is crystallizing in the wake of the US withdrawal from Uzbekistan's Karshi-Khanabad airbase in late 2005, it appears that Moscow is aiming at strategic predominance in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region, though it seems ready to accept the reality of free market dynamics. But the fact of the matter is that Moscow has neither the will nor the resources to single-handedly resolve all the problems of the impoverished former Soviet republics of the region.

April 10, 2006

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