Sandhya Jain

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  • Sandhya Jain is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. The current Essay is part of her ongoing research on Balochistan province of Pakistan. The views expressed are personal.

    Balochistan: On The International Drugs Superhighway

    Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which shares borders with Iran and Afghanistan, has quietly functioned as one of the main arteries through which Afghanistan’s massive opium crop reaches the outer world. Six of the nine major drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan transit through Balochistan en route to Iran, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Afghanistan’s opium production peaked at 9,000 tons in 2017, on account of the country’s rampant instability and lack of viable options for families to sustain themselves.

    September 2018

    The Brexit-Belt and Road Axis: India for Neighbourhood First

    China's Belt & Road Initiative (B&RI), also known as One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR), depends for its success on a tacit alliance with Britain and the financial acumen of the City of London. The London-Beijing axis has likely gathered momentum with Britain's decision to quit the European Union (EU) in June 2016 and Prime Minister Theresa May's triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, to begin the divorce process.

    November 2017

    Brexit: Harbinger of an Unexpected New World Order

    The stunning British vote of June 24, 2016, to quit the European Union (EU)—dubbed Brexit—has triggered a major realignment of economic and political forces across the globe, strengthening the template of a new world order tilted towards Moscow, Beijing and the rising powers of Asia and Africa. As Washington nervously recognizes, there will be a decline in the influence of the US, EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the latter two having served as instruments of US global domination.

    January 2017

    Kurdistan: Ataturk to Öcalan

    The rise of Dawlat al-Islamiyah f’al-Iraq w Belaad al-Sham (Daesh), or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in the vacuum created by the war in these countries has reignited the Kurdish question that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk skilfully bypassed after World War I, when several nation-states were carved out of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Kurdish problem began in the early 19th century when the Ottomans centralised the administration, emphasised Turkish identity, erased the autonomous Kurdish emirates and ruthlessly suppressed their protests.

    January 2016

    Saudi Arabia: King Salman Faces the 21st Century

    Since assuming the throne on January 23, 2015 following the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s new monarch, King Salman, seems to have set about the task of shaking up the ultraconservative kingdom. The punishment or pardoning of Raef Badawi became the litmus test of the new Saudi monarch’s reign as the blogger’s sentence coincided with the last days of the ailing King Abdullah and King Salman was compelled to face his personal past as promoter of Islamic fundamentalism abroad.

    May 2015

    Turkey: ‘Sick Man’ of NATO

    Turkey: ‘Sick Man’ of NATO

    In the West, there is growing realisation that only boots on the ground can defeat or substantially destroy the Daesh. Unless a ground force capable of taking back the territories seized by the Daesh arrives on the scene, the advantage will lie with the jihadis.

    October 17, 2014

    ISIS on backfoot: Coalition gets al-Baghdadi

    ISIS on backfoot: Coalition gets al-Baghdadi

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death will be a serious setback to Daesh as it is different from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups that did not proclaim a ‘caliphate’. As the history of Islam shows, the proclamation of a new ‘caliph’ can be problematic.

    November 11, 2014

    Islamic State not invincible: Need to take Russia, China on board

    Islamic State not invincible: Need to take Russia, China on board

    China, like Russia, suffers from domestic terrorism (the Uyghur East Turkestan Islamic Movement). Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has put China on a list of countries accused of persecuting Muslims, thus making it a target for jihad.

    September 15, 2014

    Kurds sole ‘boots on ground’ against Islamic State

    Bitter last ditch battles are being fought by Kurdish men and women, including boys and girls barely out of their teens, against the Daesh. Some feel that to succeed, Washington must cooperate with the Syrian Kurds (YPG) as Kurdish fighters alone have proved willing and capable of taking on the Daesh.

    October 09, 2014

    Saudis join war against Islamic State; many sceptical

    Saudis join war against Islamic State; many sceptical

    The participation by the Saudi royal family in the US-led bombing of Daesh positions in Syria indicates Riyadh’s implacable opposition to the mercenary group. Iran, however, has dismissed the air strikes as a “psychological operation”, not a military one.

    September 29, 2014

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