Global affairs | The Daily Star
  • Sino-India ties: A boat ride to a new future?

    In a previous article, I had raised the question: can Asian giants India and China navigate through their competing aspirations to become regional and global powers and find a new template for working together? A tentative answer to this is available after the recent “informal” summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jingping on the bank of the Yangzte river in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27 and 28.

  • An emerging global policy challenge

    Illicit trade in any of its forms—alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, diamonds, timber, ivory and oil—sits at the nexus of two social-economic disorders that challenge global stability. Firstly, the global economy remains on unsteady footing, and governments are scrambling to stimulate growth, employment and investment in infrastructure and other public programs.

  • Can India and China find a new template for their ties?

    One of the most enduring images from the first-ever meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping less than four years ago was that of the two leaders sitting together on a swing on the riverfront of Sabaramati river in Ahmedabad city of Gujarat. That was Modi's way of welcoming Xi who had begun his maiden tour of India with a visit to Modi's home state. On April 27 and 28 this year, the two leaders would again come together—this time at a sprawling villa by the Yangtze river in the picturesque Chinese city of Wuhan.

  • BJP's response to Kathua and Unnao rape cases

    Public anger is mounting by the day over two recent horrific cases of rape in India: that of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the Jammu and Kashmir state and that of a teenager in Uttar Pradesh. Street protests and candle-light rallies were held in several Indian cities and towns with the participation of people from all walks of life and age groups—they came out with placards demanding justice for the victims through bringing the perpetrators of the

  • India-Nepal ties: Leaving bitterness behind

    As Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli wrapped up his foreign visit to India (April 6-8) two months after assuming power in February, the two countries have put behind them a nearly three-year phase in bilateral ties marred by mutual recrimination, suspicion and distrust. In a media briefing after talks between Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Indian Foreign Secretary explained it as a


    Since March, when President Trump announced his plan to slap tariffs on USD 50 billion Chinese imports to the USA, the world has been anxiously waiting to find out about the nature and extent of China's response.

  • The galvanising effects of Dalit protests

    The caste cauldron in India was on the boil once again on April 2. Thousands of activists of Dalit outfits took to the streets and clashed with police in several states leaving nine persons dead and scores wounded. The immediate trigger for the protests was the Supreme Court's ruling on March 20 allegedly diluting some of the provisions of a law that is designed to protect lower-caste people from atrocities by the upper-caste members of society.

  • North Korea out of the cloister

    In an unexpected new development, North Korea has stepped out of its long-standing seclusion and taken a few steps to reach out into its neighbourhood, thereby doing something to breach its self-imposed isolation.

  • Fuelling the fire

    There is no indication that this week's protests in Khuzestan were anything more than an expression of popular anger against perceived denial of an Iranian Arab identity.

  • India's ode to Africa

    IF there has been one segment of India's foreign policy on which there has always been a multi-party consensus all along, it is the ties with Africa.

  • Vladimir Putin

    Where is Putin leading Russia?

    When Vladimir Putin was inaugurated in 2000 as president for his first term in office, he inherited a Russia shrunken by the collapse of the Soviet Union with an economy left in disorder by President Yeltsin. State assets had been seized by a new class of oligarchs while ordinary Russians found pensions unpaid.

  • Towards a new Cold War

    Did you ever get sick on a plane? Some years ago, in Sydney, I was told by someone in the know, “I have a friend who travels a lot and he never eats on planes.” In terms of poisoning, a plane offers advantages. The event will occur in international airspace. National laws prohibiting such activity may not apply and even if they do, will be impossible to enforce.

  • An unexpected setback for Indian EC

    One of the most important reasons behind Indian democracy's remarkable strength is the impeccable and impartial conduct of the Election Commission (EC).

  • Prince Salman's move towards moderation

    In his effort to improve Saudi Arabia's badly tarnished image and project the kingdom as embracing an unidentified form of moderate Islam, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has hinted that he envisions a conservative rather than an ultra-conservative society, but not one in which citizens are fully free to make personal, let alone political choices of their own.

  • Congress' leftward tilt for the big battle

    There was more than one reason why the recent plenary session of India's main opposition party Congress stood out as an important political event.

  • Why the US and EU are demanding that China open up its markets

    Happenings in China always make the headlines around the globe. Two recent events, one in the political arena and the other in the economic policy domain, will have profound, long-term impacts not only in China but also geopolitically. The first event happened in Beijing. President Xi Jinping secured a lifetime job by having the National People's Congress endorse his desire to continue ruling beyond the two-term limit set by the Constitution.

  • No dove in the White House

    In yet another “apprentice-style” dismissal, US President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—his 20th dismissal as

  • Can Modi remake India?

    Narendra Modi is a powerful phenomenon in Indian politics. Though he is not part of the traditional elites, either by caste or education, he has enormous energy.

  • Did Trump start a trade war?

    European Union (EU) President Jean-Clause Juncker warned the United States (US) on March 2 that EU will retaliate in kind if President Trump follows through with his plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe.

  • Saffron sunrise on India's northeast

    Five years is a long time in electoral politics. From zero to zenith—that is how Prime Minister Narendra Modi described BJP's rise to power in Tripura assembly elections. What he was pointing to is statistics. In the previous assembly elections in 2013 in the state, BJP had failed to get a single seat but this time it won an emphatic majority on its own in a state where its organisational growth comprised largely of imports from other parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPI(M).

  • Model trade deal con

    In early 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement—involving twelve countries on the Pacific Ocean rim, including the USA—was signed in New Zealand. Right after his inauguration in January 2017, newly elected US President Donald Trump withdrew from the TPP, effectively killing the agreement as its terms require the participation of both the US and Japan.

  • Gulf crisis upends fiction of a separation of sports and politics

    The Gulf crisis that has pitted World Cup host Qatar against a United Arab Emirates-Saudi Arabia-led alliance for the past eight months is showing up the fiction of a separation of sports and politics.

  • America's lethal gun status quo

    Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in an Uber at 2:19pm on Wednesday, February 14. He carried a duffel bag in which he hid his semiautomatic AR-15 rifle. He entered the school building, pulled his weapon out and randomly shot people on a whim. Seventeen people, mostly students, were killed in the carnage.

  • The next big opportunity

    Relations between China and Bangladesh have undergone a speedy transformation in the past few decades. The former is the latter's

  • Trump puts America back in Asia

    The 37th annual Cobra Gold military exercise among 29 nations, now under way in Thailand, reflects the United States' nuanced geostrategic playbook under the Trump administration. It was thought in many quarters that the administration of US President Donald Trump would take an isolationist turn and be aloof from Asian affairs, given its “America First” mantra. But this has not been the case after its first year in office.

  • Intellectual property regime undermines equity, progress

    Over the last few decades, people in the developing world have been rejecting the intellectual property (IP) regime as it has been increasingly imposed on them following the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) including its trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) regime. IP rights (IPRs) have been further enforced through ostensible free trade agreements (FTAs) and investment treaties

  • Saudi Arabia and Iran battle it out in Azerbaijan

    It's the pot calling the kettle black. As Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to encircle it with its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as Qatar, the kingdom and the Islamic republic are extending their bitter rivalry beyond the Middle East into the Caucasus.

  • BJP's coalition pangs and opposition's search for unity

    Coalition pangs and stuttering unity efforts are staring at India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition parties as they brace for fresh national elections due early next year.

  • Island of the lion and land of the dragon

    Globalisation has swept the world. It has brought about breathtaking progress in many areas for many people.

  • The unfolding political crisis in Maldives

    Maldives has plunged into a major political crisis after the Supreme Court on February 2 in a judgement ordered the government to release 12 members of the parliament who were stripped off their posts and held by the government under different charges and order retrial of the case.