Author Archive

Improving U.S.-India Relations

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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India and the U.S.: Getting More Comfortable

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U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebration was rich in history and pageantry, and produced a wider array of serious agreements than many observers had expected. Perhaps its biggest accomplishment, however, was to take a big step forward in the degree of comfort both countries feel about this complicated relationship. Now the hard work begins.

Read our article published January 29, 2015, on the Web site of Gateway House in Mumbai.

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India and its South Asian Neighbors: Where does the U.S. Fit In?

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Read my article in the Brookings U.S.-India Policy Memo, January 20, 2015.

In seven months in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established himself as a decisive player in his immediate region, willing to turn on the charm but determined to maintain India’s primacy. His summits with the United States, Russia and the large East Asian powers have had a pronounced economic flavor, and Modi is encouraging these countries to compete with one another for India’s favor. He has made himself the central personality in all these relationships.

Modi sees no U.S. role in India-Pakistan relations. President Obama should draw Modi out on how India expects to exercise the leadership role it seeks, especially on the future of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Read the full article.

Read all the articles in the Policy Memo.

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Sri Lanka: After the Election Upset – What Next?

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January 12, 2015: Maithripala Sirisena, sworn in as Sri Lanka’s president soon after his stunning upset victory in the January 8 election, will have a very different persona from his predecessor. His top priorities deal with domestic governance, and will be tough to implement. He presides over a coalition which has little in common except distaste for his predecessor. His election presents an opportunity to reset Sri Lanka’s relations with India and the United States. To do this, he and his foreign friends will need tact and creativity, and he will need all his political skills to keep the coalition together. A good place to start would be to suspend action on the annual U.N. Human Rights Commission resolution on Sri Lanka while the new team gets its balance.

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