India’s Data Localization


The suggested draft bill released in July by the Justice B.N. Srikrishna committee is the most recent contribution to a sprawling debate over electronic data that has been going on in India and elsewhere for some years. The report and the bill concern the privacy of personal data, but they are part of a policy discussion that goes much farther, encompassing essentially all data that are stored electronically. This is a classic example of the old adage: be careful what you wish for – you might be sorry if it comes true.


See op-ed by Teresita Schaffer, published in The Print (India) October 10, 2018.

India, Pakistan and the United States

Modi greets Nawaz Sharif,

By inviting the leaders of the other South Asian countries to attend his inauguration, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a message of continuity and change. The continuity lies in India’s strategic commitment to maintaining primacy in the region. Every government of independent India has shared this determination; so did India’s imperial rulers. The change is primarily one of tone, but tone has a way of becoming substance. It adds up to a moment of opportunity for India, which the United States can encourage.

Read the rest of Teresita Schaffer’s essay, released by Brookings Institution as part of a collection on the challenges facing India’s Prime Minister Modi as he heads for the United States.

Making Peace When Disaster Strikes: Sri Lanka, Aceh, and the 2004 Tsunami

Photo by S. Baker,

On the day after Christmas 2004, a powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean off of northern Sumatra sent massive waves crashing against the coastlines of countries as far away as Kenya and Madagascar. This tsunami killed or left missing some 226,000 people and displaced an estimated 1.7 million more in fourteen Asian and African countries. Damage to property—infrastructure, residences, government buildings, and commercial establishments—was enormous. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives were the most seriously affected. The cata­strophic tsunami boosted on efforts to bring about a negotiated settlements of the insurgency then raging in Aceh, Indonesia; it had the opposite effect in Sri Lanka.

Read full report by Howard Schaffer, released by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue: All-Star Cast, Playing Small Ball

Photo by U.S. Embassy Delhi,

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is bringing with her an all-star team for the second round of U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which will take place later this year. Five heads of agencies are joining her, including the Director of National Intelligence, along with 3 officials who are one rung away from the top of their agencies. They will do useful work, but they need to make their game more ambitious.

Read Teresita Schaffer’s comments, posted by Brookings July 18, 2011.

U.S., Pakistan Need to Reboot Relationship

Karachi Street, photo by Hassan,

The recent announcement that the United States is suspending about one-third of its military assistance is understandable at one level — but both the United States and Pakistan still need each other, and this is not the way to avoid a breakup. Instead, they need to rebuild the relationship around a civilian core, recognizing the strategic importance of Pakistan’s economy, and to focus on a more modest and concrete set of shared objectives on the security side.

Read Teresita Schaffer’s op-ed on CNN.Com, posted July 14, 2011.