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Book Reviews: South Asia

from flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/rishibando/7666817406/in/photolist

from flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/rishibando/7666817406/in/photolist

September 21, 2016: Five interesting additions to the South Asia literature this year. Robert Crews’ Afghan Modern depicts Afghanistan as a nation formed by intense interaction with global powers – an arresting thesis, though he left out some important counterweights. A.S. Dulat, Indian intelligence chief with deep experience in Kashmir, gave us Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, an irreverent and surprisingly sensible account whose punch line was that talking to everyone is the only way out of today’s impasse. Mark Salter’s To End a Civil War goes deeply into Norway’s effort to resolve Sri Lanka’s two-decade ethnic conflict. Somini Sengupta, a New York Times reporter who spent years in India, provides an extraordinary picture of the “New India.” And Alex Vatanka’s Iran and Pakistan is, surprisingly, the first serious book I have seen on that important relationship.

 

Read my reviews of all five books here. 

 

This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy ©, The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

 

 

 

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India at the Global High Table: Remarks at Richmond

Photo: www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table

Photo: www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table

May 10, 2016: Introducing India at the Global High Table at the Richmond World Affairs Council, we discussed emerging India’s international role, focusing on the main themes of its foreign policy, the competing visions of India’s role in the world, and some examples of India’s negotiating Style. Books are available at Brookings (http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table), at Amazon, and in book stores. The text of our remarks follows:

Good evening.  It’s a great pleasure for my wife and me to come here to Richmond to talk with you about India and the book we’ve written about the drivers of its foreign policy and diplomatic practices. The two of us have spent a good deal of time as State Department officials working in India and dealing in Washington with Indian Read more

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Harold H. Saunders: Remembering a Peacemaker

Photo by permission of Kettering Foundation

March 10, 2016: When Hal Saunders died last weekend, the world lost one of the most creative peace negotiators it has ever known. He is best remembered as the man who gave Jimmy Carter’s vision of an Israel-Egypt peace practical form at Camp David. Having worked for him both during and after his distinguished government career, we think it’s important to highlight two other characteristics that have been lost in most of the early remembrances. First, Hal was an extraordinary boss and colleague. Second, his government career – a couple of decades at the top of the official pyramid – was only the beginning of his contribution to both understanding and doing peacemaking.

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Improving U.S.-India Relations

From Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennharper/3827597220/sizes/m/in/photostream

In a February 1, 2016 interview with The Cipher Brief, Teresita Schaffer discusses the transformation of U.S.-India relations, where China fits into that change, and what issues will be critical in the future.

Read the interview.

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Sahibzada Yaqub Khan 1920-2016: End of an Era

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January 27, 2016: For diplomatic old-timers like us, Sahibzada Yaqub Khan was both a legend and a central part of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship we both worked on for years. His death at 95 leaves the world a poorer and less colorful place. We will let others write about his storied career – scion of the princely house of Rampur in central India, Lieutenant General in the Pakistan Army, ambassador to the United States, the Soviet Union, and France, and several times foreign minister of Pakistan. What we would like to share are some stories that illustrate the talents and high professional standing of the unique gentleman we knew.

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South Asia in the U.S. Presidential Primary Season

www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/22391436666/in/photolist creative commons

www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/22359941600/in/photolist creative commons

January 21, 2016: Voluminous reporting filed by political correspondents in key battlefield states suggests that South Asia has not figured in any meaningful way in this year’s contests for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has not offered to build a beautiful wall along the Line of Control separating Indian and Pakistani forces in Kashmir. Nor has his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, called for the carpet-bombing of the Pakistan Taliban, let alone of the Maoist Naxalite guerrillas in eastern India. Neither Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton nor her Republican opponent Carly Fiorino has claimed that in seeking to become the first U.S. woman to preside over the White House she is following in the Read more

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India at the Global High Table

December 21, 2015: The book that we have been working on for three years is going to be published by

Photo: www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table

Brookings Institution Press in the spring of 2016!  We’ve looked at India’s emerging role, global vision, and negotiating style. Read the longer description in the Brookings Press’s preview of “coming attractions.” For those who read our earlier book, How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States, the subject matter is similar, but the story it tells is quite different.

We wish all our friends and colleagues a joyful holiday season, and South Asia Hand looks forward to a new year of news – hopefully more of the good kind.

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Book Reviews – India, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka

from https://www.flickr.com/photos/rishibando/7682708246/in/photolist

This year’s publications include five noteworthy books on South Asia. Sanjaya Baru’s  The Accidental Prime Minister paints a close-up portrait of Manmohan Singh and Diego Maiorano’s Autumn of the Matriarch dissects the decline of Nehru’s congress and the rise of a more de-institutionalized party in the last years of Indira Gandhi – interesting contrasts to today’s Modi government. Bidisha Biswas takes a close look at how India has tackled internal conflicts in Managing Conflicts in India. Andrew Small’s The China-Pakistan Axis is the first serious study of this fascinating relationship. And Samanth Subramanian’s This Divided Island is an intimate look at Sri Lanka’s war and its aftermath, told in unforgettable vignettes.

Read Teresita Schaffer’s reviews here.

This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy ©, The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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South Asia in US Strategic Context: India, Sri Lanka

Photo from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/narendramodiofficial/16238223378/in/photolist

Read our take on U.S. strategic priorities in Asia, building a network of strong relationships around the region, prospects for India’s economic transformation, and the possibilities and challenges for the new government in Sri Lanka. See Mercy Kuo’s interview with Teresita Schaffer in The Diplomat.

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India and South Asia: Toward Economic Integration

from Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/narendramodiofficial/15308631163/in/photolist

Since his dramatic swearing-in, in the presence of the leaders of most neighboring countries, India’s Prime Minister Modi has moved smartly ahead with economic initiatives aimed at knitting together one of the least integrated regions in the world, with India’s economy as an engine of growth. India needs to build on this base – and bring Pakistan into the process.

Read Teresita Schaffer’s article in the Brookings Impact series, published June 18, 2015.

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