This category contains 16 posts

Aiming for Russia’s Jugular Vein

On Sunday, the people of Crimea today voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in a referendum, turning back the clock some sixty years after the General Secretary of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine in 1954. The transfer itself marked the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Russian Empire. Khrushchev … Continue reading

A New Era of Alliances – Part 3: The Return of the Persians

For the longest time the world has seen Iran as an outlier, a pariah state run by a conservative Islamic clergy that is hostile to the West. A history of subterfuge between the United States & Iran ensured that the two remained bitter enemies throughout the Cold War, and into the 21st century as well. … Continue reading

A New Era of Alliances – Part 2: Of Dragons & Bears

Red Dragon Part 1 of this series ended with a discussion of the informal alliance between China, Pakistan, and North Korea. But this informal triple alliance does not cover the full range of China’s concerns. The alliance certainly does nothing to alleviate China’s chief anxiety: how to prevent the United States from acting as a … Continue reading

Chess Pieces Moving

There is something in the history of India-Pakistan relations that you can almost predict when the latter’s relations with India are going to be on an upswing and also when relations are heading in a downward spiral into an abyss. In previous pieces, I have already written as such about the way Pakistan undulates between … Continue reading

Gathering Storm

There are times in South Asia’s history when unfolding events seem to precipitate a change in the prevailing status-quo. For the past decade or so, a halting but strengthening peace process between the two principal antagonists – India & Pakistan – has kept the lid on simmering forces on the boil. From time to time, … Continue reading

Deciphering Indian Thoughts On Sea Power

You could be forgiven for being confused about recent developments involving the Indian Navy. On December 3rd, the Indian Navy Chief D.K. Joshi made an assertion that the Navy was prepared to deploy to the South China Sea to protect it’s oil interests. The assertion was widely reported in the Indian and international media. It … Continue reading

India’s Lankan Problem – Part 3: Intervention & It’s Aftermath

Continuing from Part 2 of this series, we have reached that point in recent history when Rajiv Gandhi took over as Prime Minister of India. At this point, India was reeling from an unrelenting insurgency in Punjab supported by Pakistan. India’s foreign relations with the United States and most of the western world were defined … Continue reading

India’s Lankan Problem – Part 2: The Lion & The Tiger

The origins of the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese & the Tamils in Sri Lanka lies in the opposing nationalism of both sides. The Sinhalese, as was presented in the Part 1 of this series, had an ingrained sense of being the inheritors of the distinct Sinhalese/Buddhist identity that had been their legacy from the … Continue reading

India’s Lankan Problem – Part 1: Ancient & Medieval Origins

When you look at geological depictions of how, over millions of years, the Indian subcontinental plate drifted northwards towards Asia, see if you missed seeing a familiar island at the foot of the Indian plate separated by a sliver of ocean. This island is none other than present day Sri Lanka. Indeed, the island of … Continue reading

Jinnah’s Revenge

Imagine you have been transported back in time. The date is October 31st, 1984. The news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards is spreading like wildfire. There are news reports of Congress party leaders leading mobs through Delhi exhorting them to kill as many Sikhs as they can. Sections of … Continue reading


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