South Asia

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  • Involvement of Major Powers in Nepal Since the 1990s: Implications for India

    Nepal being a poor landlocked country with a fragile and unstable political system, major external powers providing aid and assistance to Nepal tend to carry an influence on domestic politics, foreign policy, and the socio-economic agenda of the government. These powers have divergent interests and do not coordinate their policies towards Nepal. While some external forces like the United States and China have hidden political and strategic interests, some others like the European Union are engaged in humanitarian issues.

    January 2009

    Making of the New Afghan National Army: Challenges and Prospects

    The paper attempts to examine diverse challenges to the making of the new Afghan National Army (ANA), and its future prospects. The issue assumes significance as the Taliban shift battle lines outside the Pashtun areas and there is growing difference among Western countries regarding the means and approaches to be used to stabilize Afghanistan. The paper is broadly divided into four sections. The first section seeks to identify and critically examine the role played by key institutional structures responsible for the training and mentoring of the new national army.

    January 2009

    ‘Transformational Elections’ in Bangladesh

    As Bangladesh is holding its most closely watched general elections, the apprehension remains whether democracy would prevail in the country. All the uncertainties about the elections were removed when the interim authority repealed the state of emergency that had been prevailing in the country since January 11, 2007. It was on that day that a military backed caretaker government had assumed power after months of political strife and failure of the earlier caretaker government headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed to hold free and fair elections.

    December 29, 2008

    An Elected Government in Bangladesh and India's Options

    If all things go well, Bangladesh should have an elected government in January 2009 following the Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) elections. Contrary to much scepticism, the caretaker government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed has embarked upon fulfilling its promise of holding free and fair elections on December 29, 2008. This caretaker government received groundswell support because it was viewed as an instrument of democracy in Bangladesh, something that the previously elected government was unable to deliver at the end of its tenure in 2006.

    December 23, 2008

    Imperative of Exercising Control over the ISI

    The deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai is set to derail India-Pakistan bilateral relations. With all the evidence pointing towards Pakistan, it has become difficult to advocate that India must go ahead with the composite dialogue. The Indian government is understandably frustrated with Pakistan’s reluctance and/or inability to act against radical groups within its territory. In spite of repeated Pakistani assurances, radical groups are still operating openly in Pakistan, raising funds for jihad, and imparting armed training to jihadists.

    December 11, 2008

    The Post 26/11 Regional Strategic Predicament

    Evidence gathered in the aftermath of by far the most deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai indicates conclusively that the attack was planned by the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Toiba. The attack on Mumbai was executed by a well trained and indoctrinated suicide squad comprising of ten Pakistani terrorists. This testifies to the long gestation planning and preparation that can only have been made possible by the resources of a well established terrorist organization. The recruitment was from Punjab, training was in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and maritime training was conducted in Karachi.

    December 03, 2008

    Violence in Pakistan: Trend Analysis, October 2008

    The number of violent incidents in Pakistan increased from 309 in September 2008 to 346 in October 2008. Yet, casualty figures decreased from 1342 to 1081.1 This shows that Pakistan’s security forces have succeeded in controlling the level of violence, even though current levels are still unacceptably high. 582 suspected militants, most of them from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) were also arrested by the security forces during the month, in military operations as well as during searches in various areas.

    December 02, 2008

    Oil Politics in the Bay of Bengal

    Hydrocarbon rich Bay of Bengal seems to be emerging as another centre of oil politics. This was recently manifested by a standoff between Myanmar and Bangladesh, when Dhaka sent three naval vessels to stop Myanmar from conducting exploration activities in their disputed Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The crisis has since been diffused, though it is far from over.

    November 27, 2008

    Kashmir has nothing to do with stability in Afghanistan

    The contention that stability in Afghanistan is linked to the resolution of the Kashmir issue is fallacious. It only serves the interests of a particular interest group, which has consistently tried to link stability in the subcontinent to the Kashmir issue, and which is now illogically stretching this argument to include stability in Afghanistan. This argument gives the impression that the dynamics in the two cases are interlinked, when they clearly are not.

    November 18, 2008

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