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  • 34th Anniversary of Bangladesh Liberation - Cause for Concern

    The 34th anniversary of the liberation of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh on December 16 is an occasion for concern and deep introspection about the nature of the internal turbulence in that country and the related implications for India.

    It may be recalled that prior to December 16, 1971, what is now known as Bangladesh was East Pakistan and for almost 24 years from August 1947, the military leadership of Pakistan treated the eastern part of the country as a poor relative.

    December 14, 2005

    Dhaka SAARC Summit: Political Compulsions Blunt Economic Progress

    The 13th SAARC summit concluded in Dhaka on November 13 with a declaration, which notwithstanding its rhetorical flourish and ambitious objectives, reflected the structural constraints that have hobbled the organization for two decades and are likely to do so for the near future.

    December 08, 2005

    Bangladesh Blasts: Wake up call

    A series of 434 bomb blasts that rocked as many as 60 of 64 districts in Bangladesh on August 17 may have been 'mild' by way of the number killed – just two people – but the symbolism is very significant and perhaps inversely proportional to the damage caused.

    Leaflets recovered from some of the blast sites demanded that the country become more Islamic and the needle of suspicion points to the banned Islamic group, the Jamaat-ul- Mujahedin. And while investigations are continuing, the implications of this incident are of potentially grave import.

    August 24, 2005

    Karakoram Impasse

    As the Karakoram Highway reopened on May 2, 2005, for traffic between China and Pakistan, the area surrounding it continues to be tense. The Northern Areas (NA) of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir continues to be in turmoil since the assassination of Shia leader Aga Ziauddin by gunmen in Gilgit in January this year. In a case that was clearly indicative of rising sectarian intolerance, fifteen people were killed by the rampaging mobs before some modicum of governance was restored. A large number of government buildings were set on fire and a number of officials and their families were attacked.

    June 02, 2005

    The Changing Definition of Kashmir

    If the attack on the district collector’s office in Srinagar in January and the attack on the Jammu and Kashmir tourist office on the eve of the inauguration of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service came as a harsh reminder of Kashmir’s violent history, the overall mood in the valley, for a couple of reasons, suggested otherwise. In recent months, the people of Kashmir have sent a message: Freedom can wait, but development cannot. Two developments symbolise the transformation of popular mood.

    April 15, 2005

    Troubled Road to SAFTA

    The proposal to reconvene the 13th SAARC Summit soon has rekindled the hopes of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) coming into force on schedule on 01 Jan 2006. It is a sad commentary on the regional economic cooperation that although the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has been in existence for about 20 years, the intra regional trade is still languishing below five percent of the global trade of the member states. It is widely believed that all the seven states of the region will benefit immensely in the long run from the economic benefits of SAFTA.

    March 10, 2005

    Indo-Pak Peace Process: Keep the Process Afloat

    India-Pakistan interaction, in recent days, is fast losing its familiar flavour of distrust and bitterness. This is not to deny, however, that one can still identify the inertial sense of rancour, the propensity to misunderstand and misinterpret each other within the dialogic track that has completed one year.

    March 10, 2005

    Indo-Pak Ties and Visit of Pak PM Shaukat Aziz

    The intense media interest and the more modest outcome of what ultimately transpired after the just concluded visit of the Pakistani PM Mr. Shaukat Aziz to New Delhi is in many ways indicative of the tone and texture of Indo-Pak relations at the present moment. While the two nations have had a relationship of varying degrees of hostility and bitterness since October 1947, the agreement reached in January 2004 over the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) is the framework in which bi-lateral ties are now being pursued.

    January 05, 2005

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