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  • Pakistan’s Report Card at the Halfway Mark
    June, 2010 By Rohit Honawar

    Two years have passed since Pakistan had its first democratic elections in close to a decade. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) victory and Asif Zardari’s subsequent nomination to the presidency was touted as a breakthrough for a country which contended with military rule for more than half of its independent history. With incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani making the decisive decision to keep the military away from politics, there was much expectation that Pakistan would assume a path to recovery which would encompass and provide for the needs of the electorate. Yet, what has emerged after twenty-seven months is a system far from the participatory politics and fair representation the people had hoped for when the PPP took charge. The country continues to be defined by dynastic politics, with a handful of powerful individuals running the affairs of the state. Not to be outdone, the army has cemented its position as the key decision maker with regards to the ‘war on terror’ and its historic rival India, while distancing itself from the internally volatile situation. Expectedly, it is the people of Pakistan that have had to bear the consequences. As the government approaches the halfway mark of its five year tenure it is imperative to assess its interim ‘report card’ – just how successful has the PPP led government been, and is the outlook optimistic, or will the electorate continue to be marginalized as the country’s leaders focus on their vested interests? 

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  • The Chinese Element in the Korean Equation
    June, 2010 By Sahiba Trivedi

    Chinese diplomats are currently engaged in pacifying both North and South Korea, poised at a stand off. The fragile armistice between the two Koreas was shattered when a South Korean warship was torpedoed in March this year, resulting in a death toll of 46 people. South Korea accused North Korea of carrying out the attack; North Korea took an aggressive stance, rejecting the accusations and threatening war against its neighbour. Since China is a traditional ally of North Korea and is a major powerbroker in the region, it has taken the lead in de-escalating the tension in the Korean peninsula. Although Beijing seems to be refraining from any drastic measures at present, due to its ambitions of becoming a global power, it may eventually agree to sanctioning the North Korean regime in case its carefully constructed strategy of diplomacy, negotiations and tough rhetoric fails. 

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  • Faesal’ Success: A Hope for Kashmir
    June, 2010 By Shivangi Muttoo

    Faesal Shah, from Kashmir, secured the first rank in the country’s prestigious and competitive Civil Service exam. The present generation of youth in Kashmir has grown up in an atmosphere of conflict and turmoil. This article seeks to highlight the plight of Kashmiri youth and analyze the future implications of Faesal’success for the state. 

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  • Where the Mind is Without Fear
    June, 2010 By Anumita Raj

    “Books won't stay banned.  They won't burn.  Ideas won't go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.”  ~Alfred Whitney Griswold

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  • Lessons to Learn from the Rainbow Nation
    June, 2010 By Joyanto Mukherjee

    The World Cup which is being hosted by South Africa this month has become the talk of the town for various reasons apart from football. It is being viewed as the coming of age for a country which was reeling in the clutches of apartheid till 1991. It is the first time that an African country is hosting the biggest prize in the game. It is seen as the birth of a whole new era, with countries from Africa and Asia embracing football at its highest stage. The world cup in Africa can be embraced as an education for all developing countries who dream of hosting the cup. Future hosts can understand the nuances involved in staging such a huge event. Will they actually benefit from such an event or is it another way of exploiting such growing markets? Will the money raised help in the development if the sport and the country or will it make the rich richer? Similar questions will be raised, but the answers are actually open to self-interpretation.

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  • In the Post Natural Evolution World
    May, 2010 By Sundeep Waslekar

    Sundeep Waslekar examines the nature of politics in a post natural evolutionary world.

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  • The African Decade?
    May, 2010 By Ilmas Futehally

    I am just back to work after a weeklong workshop at the Bellagio Centre of the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy. Located on the banks of Lake Como, the Centre is a dream location for meeting people from all over the world and hearing different perspectives. Some of the things that I learnt there about Africa were very illuminating.

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  • The Energy Game
    May, 2010 By Ambika Vishwanath

    The global financial crisis, the long war, and the theory that water will be the next big cause of conflict, have all served to partially hide an extremely important, quietly waged, global energy game. This ‘game’ is a fierce struggle for control over the world’s greatest oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. With the discovery of new reserves to the tune of several trillion barrels of oil and gas in both Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, in addition to the existing known reserves in Azerbaijan, the region has become a great playing field for the energy hungry world. On the one hand there are the western powers spearheaded by America who are soon to be heavily dependent on others for oil and gas, and on the other hand is the new emerging contender on the block, China, with her old fair weather friend Russia, in the middle.  

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