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Between Walls and Bridges of Business

President George W. Bush will be on his first official trip to India from March 1 to 3. India has travelled the road from natural partner to strategic partner to a global partner of the US in merely a few years. The new equation between India and the United States depends to a large extent on the manner in which business and trade ties progress in the future.

February 28, 2006

Khaleda's Pakistan visit Shifts Focus to Economic Synergy

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's state visit (February 12-14, 2006) to Pakistan after a gap of a decade signals subtle changes that are driving bilateral relations. Both sides are consciously moving away from the political issues that had undermined ties for long and are looking to economic cooperation as the engine of change. The composition of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister and the focus of the official dialogue reveal a focus on strengthening economic ties.

February 27, 2006

Whither Baluch Resistance?

Baluchistan is back in news. Most resolute among the Baluchis would tell you they are fighting a last ditch battle against Pakistan. They would try to convince you the flame of Baluchi resistance would live on. Will the Baluch resistance live on or will it be put out by the might of the Pakistan military for the time being only to rise again in the future.

February 21, 2006

Off to Geneva for now

As a fresh attempt to kick start the Sri Lankan peace process takes shape, the future of this strife-torn island swings uncertainly between no war and new war. Formal talks between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been stalled since 2003. After much dispute over a mutually acceptable venue, the two sides finally agreed on Geneva, and talks are set to take place on February 22-23, 2006. But both sides are looking at only a limited mandate for the upcoming talks.

February 18, 2006

Instability in Nigeria's Delta Region

In the last month tensions had mounted in Nigeria's oil rich Delta region due to the kidnapping of four expatriate oil workers and attacks by militant youths at two oil flow stations at Bayelsa state, owned by the energy giant Shell. The violence caused a shock in the Delta. Shell had to evacuate 326 staff and contract workers from four remote oil facilities and shut down production of 211, 000 barrels per day in the western Delta region. This move had led to price increase in the already jumpy oil market.

February 13, 2006

Russia-Iran Nuclear Connections

Russia's concern over Iran's nuclear programme is increasing with every passing day. Iranian authorities are showing un-willingness to accept Russia's proposal to enrich uranium in Russian territory. Russia is trying to resolve an international crisis over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme, though its position on Iran has rhetorically moved closer to the European "Troika" (France, Germany, UK). Russia agreed to Iran's referral to the UN Security Council on the condition that the council would take action only after the March 6 IAEA meeting.

February 10, 2006

Hamas victory: From Non-State to State Actor

In the post Yasser Arafat era, politics in the Gaza Strip is taking a completely different turn. For the last few years Ariel Sharon had taken a very tough stand against the militant group Hamas. However, now, particularly when Sharon is fighting for his life in the hospital, the Hamas's overwhelming victory in the Palestinian elections is likely to change the political dynamics of the region incalculably.

January 29, 2006

Upcoming Elections in Israel and Palestine

Two very important elections are set to take place in Israel and in the Palestinian territories - the Israeli Legislative Elections on March 28 and the Palestinian Parliamentary elections for the Legislative Council on January 25. Both events are beset with equal amounts of tension, confusion and turmoil, resulting in extremely strained run up to the elections.

January 23, 2006

Balochistan Flares up Again

Balochistan has once again flared up, as troops moved in on December 18, 2005 to discipline the recalcitrant Marri tribes in Kohlu district. By commencing its much-awaited operations in Balochistan, the Pakistan military broke a tenuous peace that had lasted for nine months since clashes in Dera Bugti had claimed over 60 lives. The present operations in Balochistan ostensibly started in response to the December 14 rocket attacks on Kohlu town during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to lay the foundation stone of one of the three new cantonments to be set up in the province.

January 18, 2006

China 's Economy: Statistics versus Reality

At the end of 2005, China became the world's sixth largest economy if one were to look at the size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone. China 's GDP was estimated to be 15.99 trillion renminbi (RMB) i.e., around USD 1.98 trillion. It now follows the United States , Japan , Germany , Britain and France in GDP terms and is expected to emerge the fourth largest economy before the end of 2006.

January 18, 2006

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