Central Asian steppes mutely watch Taliban’s surge

Pamir Highway between Osh and Khorog near Tajik-Afghan border Compared to the events two decades ago when the Afghan Taliban appeared in the Amu Darya region in northern Afghanistan and Central Asian states and Russia went into feverish tantrums, there is an eerie calm palpable in the steppes today.  The contrast couldn’t be sharper. In …

Vajpayee’s Kashmir necklace becomes Modi’s Albatross

Meeting room of the United Nations Security Council. Pakistan has called for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss Kashmir The Russian news agency Tass reported that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephonic conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday to convey that Islamabad should defuse its tensions with New Delhi …

India’s narrative on J&K is hyperbolic

China’s State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi in talks with India’s Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, Beijing, Aug. 12, 2019. Editorials have appeared in two leading Delhi newspapers today (here and here) urging the government to present a credible, appealing diplomatic narrative on the J&K developments.  The Indian narrative so far is largely …

The return of the strongman in Sri Lanka

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) and SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa (R) wave at supporters during the party’s National Convention, Colombo, Aug 11, 2019 The announcement in Colombo on Sunday by former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa that his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be his party SLPP’s presidential candidate in the election due …

A Sino-Russian firewall against US interference

A sit-in at Hong Kong international airport, Aug 9, 2019 China has explicitly accused the United States and Britain for fomenting the “pro-democracy” protests in Hong Kong. Beijing has taken up the matter via the diplomatic channel demanding that the US intelligence should stop inciting and abetting the Hong Kong protestors. Last week photographic evidence …

China backs the opening of Kashmir file in UNSC

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Beijing, Aug. 9, 2019. The “special and emergency visit” by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Beijing on Friday August 9 has been highly successful in getting China to voice open support for Islamabad’s proposed move …

A safe zone for Syrian refugees — so near, yet so very far

People wave as a US military vehicle travels through Kurdish-dominated Amuda province in northern Syria, bordering Turkey  Six years after Turkish President Recep Erdogan floated the idea of creating a safe zone in northern Syria, it still remains a chimera. When the Turks lobbied for the zone, notably in 2013 and 2015, the Obama administration …

China reacts to J&K, India demands reciprocity

Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, on lockdown. File photo. In the aftermath of the Modi government’s decision to remove ‘special status’ for J&K and bifurcate the state into two union territories, the most keenly awaited regional and international reaction — and a hugely consequential one — would be that of China’s, not the US’ or even …