Foreign Policy Blogs

South Asia

To Be Taken Seriously By Others, India Needs to First Look Inside

To Be Taken Seriously By Others, India Needs to First Look Inside

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Several developments related to India call to mind William Shakespeare’s famous line in Julius Caesar.  The first are the tours of the United States undertaken last week by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma, aimed at drumming up […]

read more

Pakistan’s Polio Problem

Pakistan’s Polio Problem

Among Pakistan’s many problems—rampant power cuts, extremist violence, anemic economic growth, widespread poverty—it can seem puzzling that a disease that has claimed only 58 new victims in the last few years has commanded so much attention. Polio, or poliomyelitis, has suffered a stunning defeat in the last 30 years, with a worldwide eradication rate of […]

read more

U.S. and India: The So-So Strategic Dialogue

U.S. and India: The So-So Strategic Dialogue

This year’s session of the annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which brought Secretary of State John Kerry to New Delhi two weeks ago, produced few headlines.  The gathering was preceded by low expectations as well as talk (here and here) about how bilateral affairs have plateaued in the years since the nuclear cooperation agreement between President George W. […]

read more

BRAC in the News: Bangladesh Viewed Correctly

BRAC in the News: Bangladesh Viewed Correctly

The PBS Newshour ran a story about the troubled garment industry in Bangladesh last night. However, unlike the mono-narrative run by the majority of news outlets the story laid out wasn’t about how things have gone irremediably wrong in Bangladesh. Instead, the story was about BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) the world’s largest […]

read more

The History of Rape in Pakistan

The History of Rape in Pakistan

Growing up in the Indian Sub-Continent, we are taught that British India was partitioned on the basis of differing religious ideologies. Hindus didn’t want to be governed by Muslims and Muslims by Hindus, and the Sikhs, well, they weren’t given too much importance, but they were somewhere in the middle too. As is still the […]

read more

U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue: What Not To Do

U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue: What Not To Do

Secretary of State John F. Kerry is in New Delhi for the annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue.  He’s receiving plenty of good advice (examples here, here and here) on what he and Salman Khurshid, the Indian foreign minister, can do to energize the nascent strategic partnership that just a few years ago looked so promising but which now is stuck […]

read more

Think: ‘Independent’

Think: ‘Independent’

In its 65 years of independence, this election year was the first time Pakistan managed to vest power from one democratically elected government to the next – this being the first time the process was not interrupted by a coup d’etat. This is also the first time Pakistan saw the advent of a strong third political party. […]

read more

India and Pakistan: Dangers Ahead for the Revived Spirit of Lahore

India and Pakistan: Dangers Ahead for the Revived Spirit of Lahore

Nawaz Sharif’s return to the helm in Islamabad is sparking optimism that a more stable and constructive India-Pakistan relationship is in the offing.  But South Asia is a rough-and-tumble neighborhood that regularly eviscerates the best of intentions.  Indeed, given the potent brew of pernicious forces acting on bilateral affairs – contiguous but bitterly contested territory, sharp historical […]

read more

Balochistan: The Ignored

Balochistan: The Ignored

 Citizens of Balochistan protesting the election results Photo Credit: Facebook Balochistan Balochistan – the province comprising some 44 percent of the entire land mass of Pakistan and merely five percent of the population, it is possibly the most ignored province in Pakistan. Balochistan remains the poorest province, while also the most naturally rich with massive […]

read more

A Cheat Sheet to Pakistani Elections

A Cheat Sheet to Pakistani Elections

This marks the first time in Pakistan’s history a civilian government has completed its full term and will transition power to a new civilian government, Pakistani elections this Saturday are complete with hope, democratic fervor and anticipation. Here is a guide to who’s running, and what each party stands for. The Businessman: Nawaz Sharif Party: […]

read more

Savar, Bangladesh as One Photograph

Savar, Bangladesh as One Photograph

The photograph above of a man and a woman found dead at the collapsed ruins of Rana Plaza, the eight-story building in Savar, Bangladesh was shot by Dhaka-based photographer and workers’ rights activist Taslima Akhter. The photograph stands, by itself, for both the tragedy that took the lives of nearly 400 garments workers and for […]

read more

Seven Pictures of Savar, Bangladesh and Its Rescue

Seven Pictures of Savar, Bangladesh and Its Rescue

Two days ago an 8-story building collapsed in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka, Bangladesh. That building housed garment factories; at least 300 people were crushed to death, many must have suffocated after surviving the initial burial under concrete. More victims are sure to be dragged out dead as the minutes and hours tick by and […]

read more

Pakistan: Will the Youth Bulge turn into a Democratic Dividend?

Pakistan: Will the Youth Bulge turn into a Democratic Dividend?

I argued in an earlier post that much of Pakistan’s future direction will hinge on events unfolding this year.  The first of these are the national elections scheduled for May 11, which could be decided by a large number of first-time voters.  These voters are the product of one of the world’s largest youth bulges […]

read more

Political Pakistan

Political Pakistan

In preparation of the elections scheduled for next month (amidst talks of postponement), officers in charge of scrutinizing election nomination papers have questioned candidates on their knowledge of religion, as is required by Article 62 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. Under Article 62, persons seeking to contest in parliamentary elections must display adequate […]

read more

Shahbagh: Justice as Politics Against Truth

Shahbagh: Justice as Politics Against Truth

This is the third in a 3-part series on Shahbagh, its history, its politics and the normative views it captures (and fails to capture). What recommends the Shahbagh movement for any praise whatsoever? Mainly that it registers in form the demands for justice for those killed during the Liberation War against Pakistan in `1971; justice […]

read more

americasdiplomats_socialmediaasset