India and the WTO: A Reprieve

November 13, 2014: The announcement November 13 that India and the United States had agreed on a potential resolution of the dispute that threatened the future of the World Trade Organization was very welcome indeed. One of the comments that appeared on Twitter soon after the announcement was succinct: “Champagne?” The real answer is: no – a nice cup of tea would be more fitting. It will take some work to reverse the damaging impact of the four-month standoff that preceded it, and avoid a repeat.

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Book Reviews 2014 – Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India-US

Photo from flickr,

Five new books: Gary Bass on US diplomacy, a “forgotten genocide,” and the birth of Bangladesh; Srinath Raghavan on global diplomacy in the same crisis; Hassan Abbas on Pakistan and and the “Taliban Revival”; Haroon K. Ullah on Pakistan’s Islamic political parties; and Rudra Chaudhuri on US-India relations. Read Teresita Schaffer’s review in Survival.

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

Modi in America:Economics as Strategy


Narendra Modi’s first official visit to Washington was set up before he had even been sworn in as prime minister, in a personal congratulatory phone call from President Obama. It was scheduled during the U.N. General Assembly, a significant and deliberate exception to the U.S. practice of avoiding Washington summits during General Assembly season. Especially after the 9 year freeze in Washington’s dealings with Modi, this was a good start, made better by the hope and determination both sides brought to the task.

Now, he and his American hosts need to energize their economic relationships on the way to setting some more ambitions strategic goals. Read the rest of our article in the Times of India, September 26, 2014.

Modi’s India: A View from Washington

(This article is adapted from remarks by Teresita Schaffer to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Oslo, September 20, 2014.)

Photo from flickr,

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington gives us an opportunity to look at the reasons the U.S. considers its relations with India strategic, and to reflect on how India-U.S. ties fit into India’s – and Modi’s – vision of India’s role in the world. The two visions still fit together a bit awkwardly, but this is a critical opportunity to continue the quest for better ways to work together. Continue reading “Modi’s India: A View from Washington”

Starting Strong: Modi’s First Month

Modi swearing-in,

June 19, 2014: The first thirty days after Narendra Modi’s swearing-in as Indian prime minister set a breathtaking pace. The new government – and Modi personally –dominated the news and the action agenda. The strong centralization and detailed emphasis on economic revitalization were expected; the burst of high profile foreign policy initiatives was not. A month is a short time for drawing sweeping conclusions, but so far, Modi has been remarkably successful in creating excitement about his initiatives, and an air of inevitability about his determination to follow through. His challenge will be to maintain focus and discipline in his exuberant party, and to deal with soaring expectations.

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