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Top News

The Quad, AUKUS, and India’s Dilemmas

When the defense arrangement between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK), known as AUKUS, was announced last month, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the deal was “neither relevant to the Quad, nor will it have any impact on its functioning.” The statement, made just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to visit the United States for the first in-person Quad summit, was an attempt to downplay the significance of...

SOUTH ASIAN BRIEF

The U.S.-India-Pakistan Triangle

Welcome to South Asia Brief.

The highlights this week: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visits New Delhi and Islamabad with vastly different agendas, the Pandora Papers implicate figures across South Asia, and India’s farmers’ protests turn deadly.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is visiting India and Pakistan this week. Her trip underscores the...

Reports

China and Bhutan reach deal on border talks ‘in...

China has signed an agreement with Bhutan to speed up talks on their disputed border, in an apparent effort to put pressure on India over their unresolved Himalayan frontiers. In an online ceremony on Thursday, China and Bhutan signed a memorandum of understanding on a “three-step...

‘Unholy’ China-Pakistan-Turkey-Taliban pact mean...

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat Friday said the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was “not entirely surprising”, adding that China, Pakistan and Turkey all worked in collusion to prop up the insurgent group. As a result, he said, the situation along India’s north-western borders...

UN chief delayed ASEAN meeting to avoid Myanmar...

UN chief Antonio Guterres asked to postpone a virtual meeting with Southeast Asian ministers at the last minute to avoid signalling any recognition of Myanmar’s military government by being in the same online room as the military’s envoy, United Nations diplomats have said. The meeting...

India drug agency faces heat over arrest of Boll...

The arrest of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in a drug case following a raid on a luxury cruise ship earlier this month has been making headlines in India for nearly two weeks now. Aryan, 23, and seven others were detained on...

SAM Special

Afghanistan sinks into poverty as nations haggle over recognition

Afghanistan is one country in the world which seems destined not to savor independence, peace and prosperity. Currently, it is sinking further into poverty as rich nations, which can lift it out of poverty and destitution, are haggling with the Taliban regime over conditions for recognition, even de-facto recognition to reach urgently needed humanitarian assistance.  Kanni Wignaraja, Director of the UN Development Program’s regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific, told the Washington Post at...

Issues

Bangladesh: climate change pioneer

Climate change is a theoretical problem to many, but not in Bangladesh. A single degree rise in temperature will increase sea levels by about a meter, enough to flood a fifth of Bangladesh and force nearly 30 million of its citizens to abandon their homes....

A rush to farm organically has plunged Sri Lanka...

Staring glumly at his paddy field in the depths of rural Sri Lanka, B. R. Weeraratne sighs. The regular incursions of greedy elephants have been bad enough. But the government’s outright ban on agrochemicals will, he fears, slash his yields of nadu and samba, two of the most popular...

How RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat dusted off a 6-year-...

Why did Mohan Bhagwat, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sarsanghchalak or patron, have to dig up a six-year-old document for his Vijayadashami speech Friday? It was the resolution that the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal or the RSS’ All-India Executive Committee had passed in Ranchi way...

Afghanistan: Russia draws red lines for US

Moscow has categorically stated that it will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region. This reiteration has come at the level of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov who told Tass that Afghanistan had been discussed at a meeting with Victoria...

Editor`s Choice

India’s Covid-19 tsunami

India’s Covid-19 tsunami

It is humbling when a columnist must retract his words soon after penning them. Just two months ago, after India rushed millions of doses of...
Quad lacks moral authority in South China Sea

Quad lacks moral authority in South China Sea

At the virtual summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue held on March 12, the Quad leaders reiterated their firm commitment that the rules-based international order...
Indonesia seeks to broker Taliban peace deal in Afghanistan

Indonesia seeks to broker Taliban peace deal...

Former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he has traveled to Afghanistan and Qatar several times in recent months to help broker a peace deal...

Focus

India

Lament for India's descent into authoritarianism

The weakening and possible collapse of Indian democracy, lamented and explained by Shashi Tharoor in "The Struggle for India's Soul" and analyzed in forensic detail by Christophe Jaffrelot in "Modi's India," is no small matter. India, with its 1.4 billion people, is the latest and largest democratic country to fall under the spell of a populist, nationalist leader such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As documented in both these books, after winning his first countrywide...
You have got literally thousands of young people who have grown up with music, and they’re not going to be just kind of switched off like that.
John Baily, an ethnomusicologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, referring to fears that Afghanistan’s Taliban government will restrict nonreligious music