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Sometimes India Doesn’t Look So Bad By Comparison

Sometimes India Doesn’t Look So Bad By Comparison

Two articles in the Wall Street Journal this week contain thoughts bearing on the debate regarding the relative virtues of China’s authoritarianism and India’s free-wheeling, cacophonous democratic system.  Countless paeans have been written about the triumphs of centralized, technocratic pragmatism in Beijing.  The closed-door, brutally efficient decision-making may not be all that great in terms of […]

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Finally, Some Good News from South Asia…. But Will It Last?

Finally, Some Good News from South Asia…. But Will It Last?

UPDATE (February 29): Islamabad today announced that it would grant “most favored nation” trade status to New Delhi and phase out major restrictions on Indian imports by the end of this year. For all of the discouraging news coming out of South Asia – Afghanistan’s escalating turmoil, the breakdown in U.S.-Pakistani relations, and growing political instability […]

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Republic Day Reflections

Republic Day Reflections

Salman Rushdie’s effigy is burned in Mumbai Just in time for Republic Day, which commemorates the adoption of a post-colonial constitution on January 26, 1950, a series of events lays bare the limits on freedom of expression in India. Foremost among these is the raging controversy surrounding Salman Rushdie’s scheduled appearance at the Jaipur Literature […]

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Advancing the Strategic Partnership

Advancing the Strategic Partnership

The state visit to New Delhi by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2010 focused on the potential for mutual economic cooperation. Wen arrived with a large business delegation that promptly signed some $16 billion worth of deals. The two governments also pledged to take their $60-billion trade relationship to the $100-billion level by 2015. […]

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Missed Opportunities, Promising Trends

Missed Opportunities, Promising Trends

The year was filled with missed opportunities but also promising developments in U.S.-India relations.  2012 is shaping up to be the same. President Obama’s state visit to India in early November 2010 appeared to impart new dynamism to a bilateral relationship that had been listless since his inauguration. The trip offered an effective tonic for […]

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Borders and Buddhism

Borders and Buddhism

Events last week illustrated that the true fault line in India-China relations remains the 60 year-old acrimony over the Tibetan frontier. From India’s increasing presence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea to the duel over diplomatic influence in Myanmar, developments in recent months amply illustrate how India and China will bump into […]

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Red Lines and Reversed Roles

Red Lines and Reversed Roles

The respective security roles that the United States and India traditionally play in East Asia seemed to switch last week.  By deciding not to supply Taiwan with the new fighter aircraft it has requested, the U.S. appeared to defer to China, which had cautioned that the sale was a “red line” that must not be […]

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Knocking on APEC’s Door

Knocking on APEC’s Door

Having made the calculation that America’s security and prosperity would be enhanced by partnership with India, the United States over the last decade has promoted New Delhi’s admission into global governance structures.  For the Bush administration, this meant doing the heavy lifting required to enroll India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an informal cartel governing […]

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Why Can’t India Be More Like Bangladesh?

Why Can’t India Be More Like Bangladesh?

An apparel manufacturing facility in Gurgaon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has just completed a high-profile trip to Bangladesh.  Although domestic politics in India prevented the visit from being as fruitful as it could have been, Mr. Singh nonetheless made good progress on issues that have divided the two neighbors for decades.  Yet even greater dividends […]

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Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Once again, it’s time for business leaders to step forward As earlier posts have argued, relations between Washington and New Delhi – which not too long ago seemed destined to reach for the stars – are now feeling the heavy tug of gravity.  In place of soaring rhetoric and high-profile undertakings, ties between the two […]

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Summer of Protest

Summer of Protest

The fireworks celebrating India’s Independence Day on August 15 illuminated shifting political terrain.  Appropriating the motifs of the anti-colonial struggle against the British Raj, the anti-corruption movement that has been gathering momentum for months erupted in full force, staging the most widespread popular demonstrations in decades.  The protests presented Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s seven-year-old government […]

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Defense Dysfunction

Defense Dysfunction

Much of the commentary about India’s elimination of the Boeing and Lockheed Martin bids from its hotly-contested, highly-lucrative Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition has focused on its meaning for U.S.-India relations.  The air force is the largest beneficiary of the country’s burgeoning military budget and a number of foreign companies were looking to snap […]

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Follow the Money

Follow the Money

  Santosh Hegde blows the lid on another mega-scandal The latest malefaction to explode in India’s seemingly unending season of scandals concerns the illegal mining and export of iron-ore deposits in the southwestern state of Karnataka.  According to an extensive report – some 25,000 pages in length, with the summary running almost 500 – released […]

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Manmohan’s Lackluster Summer

Manmohan’s Lackluster Summer

  Things are not going well for Dr. Singh The contrast could not be starker.  Twenty years ago this week, Manmohan Singh, then serving as finance minister to Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, championed a bold slate of economic reforms that has transformed India in ways few could have imagined back then.  Quoting Victor Hugo, […]

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The New Normal

The New Normal

Smiles but plenty of clouds, too The inaugural session of the annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington last summer imparted new energy to bilateral affairs following a period of treading water.  President Obama used the occasion to announce his visit to India and emphasized that partnership with New Delhi was one of his “highest priorities.”  […]

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About the Author

David J. Karl
David J. Karl

David J. Karl is president of the Asia Strategy Initiative, an analysis and advisory firm that has a particular focus on South Asia. He serves on the board of counselors of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and previously on the Executive Committee of the Southern California chapter of TiE (formerly The Indus Entrepreneurs), the world's largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

David previously served as director of studies at the Pacific Council on International Policy, in charge of the Council’s think tank focused on foreign policy issues of special resonance to the U.S West Coast, and was project director of the Bi-national Task Force on Enhancing India-U.S. Cooperation in the Global Innovation Economy that was jointly organized by the Pacific Council and the Federation of Indian Chambers & Industry. He received his doctorate in international relations at the University of Southern California, writing his dissertation on the India-Pakistan strategic rivalry, and took his masters degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

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