This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

The internal politics and external relations of south Asia's giants are tracked by writers from the region and beyond.

Pakistan’s authoritarian move

The government in Islamabad will face opposition in the coming week to its Protection of Pakistan Ordinance. Is it about protecting the citizen—or the state?

Negotiating with the Taliban

No one should expect progress in Afghanistan anytime soon, enmeshed as it is in a complex web of interaction among state and non-state actors. 

India and Pakistan: time to call time on proxy wars

India and Pakistan’s zero-sum game is hindering development and the proxy wars in which the two states have indulged need to come to an end. If they do, big dividends would follow.

Pakistan: prospects poor for Taliban talks

The announcement of talks between Islamabad and representatives of the Pakistan Taliban surprised many. Few will however be surprised if they fail.

The Indian diplomat and her nanny: why consistency is crucial

The prosecution of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade over the treatment of her nanny has sparked a full-blown row between the Indian and US Governments. But what are the deeper lessons of this story?

The world should be watching India’s coup of common people

Can the new Aam Aadmi party transform Indian democracy? Or will high expectations be dissipated as the party's promises are challenged and its weaknesses are tested? Either way, other movements for social and political change should take heed.

China and the Great Game

Almost all discussion of Afghanistan after 2014 hinges on the withdrawal of western forces. Yet into that gap a major power is stepping—China. China’s involvement in turn poses major questions, vis-à-vis Pakistan, India and their own point of friction—Kashmir.

Drones over the world

US drones are often thought of as focused entirely on action against Al-Qaeda and associates, particularly in Pakistan. But the CIA's expanding global net extends into the Pacific, linked to the surveillance operations of the National Security Agency.

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women in the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda?

Pakistan, drones and politics

American drones are shattering Pakistani lives. But behind moral obscenity is political reality, says Maruf Khwaja.

Liberty Abroad - Part 2. JS Mill on empire

JS Mill, liberalism's intellectual giant, justified despotism in India, thought Britain should be a beacon of liberty like Athens (because of its navy) and that it is impossible for a democracy to rule another country well. Listen to Dr Georgios Varouxakis on his latest book, Liberty Abroad

Bangladesh, in the ruins of the future

Bangladesh's modern experience of industrial disaster highlights the fragile conditions in which many of its urban workforce toil. But the country has an earlier history of large-scale developmental ambition, far from the metropolis, which equally defined the lives of those involved. The trajectory of these "ruins of progress", says Delwar Hussain, can illuminate the challenges of the present.

Genocide of the Pakistani Hazara: where does the responsibility lie?

The targeted killing of Pakistan's Shia Hazara minority continues. The Pakistani government remains inactive. Impunity makes the government partially responsible.

Yes to ending violence against women, but no to the ‘zero tolerance’ route

The problem with the use of 'zero tolerance' in public discourse is that it makes for good populist politics and rhetoric which generally translates into regressive and ill-informed public policy, especially in the area of criminal justice, says Vijay Nagaraj.

India: breaking the supply chain of human beings

There are more than one million prostituted girls in India. "Only when the buyers of sex are arrested will the brothels close down; and only when the brothels are closed will we be safe,” Uma Das, speaking to Hillary Clinton in India

Taliban: agent or victim?

In their attempt to assassinate girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, has the Taliban inadvertently rescued the narrative of violence against women?

The decline in 'missing women' in Bangladesh

Alarm about the declining ratio of girls to boys in the Indian population, evidence of a particularly lethal form of gender discrimination, has overshadowed the more positive trend that is emerging in neighbouring Bangladesh where the ‘aversion to daughters’ seems to be weakening

Shaking the 'foreign hand': a view from India

India has had a complicated relationship with the United States for most of its independent history. Things are better now - but Indians still do watch the election closely, fearing a return to old tensions.

United colours of the American elections - in three continents

"Many temples in South India held prayers for Obama’s victory in the 2008 elections. Haven’t heard of any this time round. Here is one from me, after four encounters on three continents."

Independence in Dependence

As India celebrates its 66th year of independence, the country's leaders are still largely ignoring what needs to be addressed, and the government has come to be referred to as a 'consortium of the corrupt', with two parallel power centres

Reopening of the NATO supply routes won't stop cross-national terrorism from Pakistan

The Pakistani military and intelligence service will not easily break the ties with Islamist terrorist groups in Afghanistan like the Haqqani network. Islamabad wants to keep a foothold in Afghanistan when western troops leave and use Islamic extremism as a counterforce to ethnic conflict and incompatibility strewn across the border. 

Democracy and Indian foreign policy

To what extent is India’s foreign policy driven by the democracy factor? Yogesh Joshi reviews S.D. Muni’s latest book India’s Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension

Syem Saleem Shahzad: death of a journalist

The Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad made both friends and enemies in the course of his detailed reporting of Islamist groups and insurgencies in the country. An official report on his abduction and murder in May 2011 may leave key questions unanswered, says Nick Fielding, but read carefully and in context it brings the truth of his end closer.

Uncertainty looms amid progress in talks with the Taliban

The Afghan Taliban and the United States have begun talks, advancing prospects that coalition forces can withdraw from Afghanistan. But there are many potential pitfalls on the road to peace: a real risk of a political and military stalemate in Afghanistan, forcing the United States to leave the region under uncertain and possibly dangerous terms.

Has India reached the limits to economic reforms?

The government of India’s decision to roll back legislation that would allow FDI in multi-brand retail is ill-advised. However, in the grand scheme of things it is but a hiatus that at worst merely derails the momentum of reforms.
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