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The cracks in the BRICS

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: As it prepares to hold its latest annual summit in New Delhi on March 28-29, the BRICS grouping — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — remains a concept in search of a common identity and institutionalized cooperation. That is hardly surprising, given that these countries have very different political …

DNE

South Asia’s false spring

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: From the armed coup that recently ousted the Maldives’ first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, to the Pakistani Supreme Court’s current effort to undermine a toothless but elected government by indicting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on contempt charges, South Asia’s democratic advances appear to be shifting into reverse. Nasheed’s forced …

DNE

No escape from empire’s graveyard

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: With the stage set for secret talks in Qatar between the United States and the Taliban, US President Barack Obama’s strategy for a phased exit from war-ravaged Afghanistan is now being couched in nice-sounding terms that hide more than they reveal. In seeking a Faustian bargain with the Taliban, Obama risks …

DNE

Asia’s new tripartite entente

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: The launch of trilateral strategic consultations among the United States, India, and Japan, and their decision to hold joint naval exercises this year, signals efforts to form an entente among the Asia-Pacific region’s three leading democracies. These efforts — in the world’s most economically dynamic region, where the specter of a …

DNE

Asia’s natural-born allies

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: At a time when China’s economic, diplomatic, and military rise casts the shadow of a power disequilibrium over Asia, the just-concluded visit of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to India cemented a fast-growing relationship between two natural allies. Now the task for Japan and India is to add concrete strategic content …

DNE

China’s dam frenzy

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: China’s frenzied dam-building hit a wall recently in Burma (Myanmar), where the government’s bold decision to halt a controversial Chinese-led dam project helped to ease the path to the first visit by a US secretary of state to that country in more than a half-century. The now-stalled $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam, …

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‘Our’ Islamists

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: Following the death of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s interim government announced the “liberation” of the country. It also declared that a system based on sharia (Islamic law), including polygamy, would replace the secular dictatorship that Qaddafi ran for 42 years. Swapping one form of authoritarianism for another seems a cruel letdown …

DNE

China’s ethnic tremors

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: In the face of spreading civil unrest among China’s Uighur population, the Chinese government’s love-fest with its all-weather ally, Pakistan, may be starting to sour. Indeed, the authorities in China’s Xinjiang province are charging that a prominent Uighur separatist that they captured had received terrorist training in Pakistan. No less embarrassing …

DNE

Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: The killing of Osama bin Laden by United States special forces in a helicopter assault on a sprawling luxury mansion near Islamabad recalls the capture of other Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistani cities. Once again, we see that the real terrorist sanctuaries are located not along Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan and …

DNE

Japan’s nuclear morality tale

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: The troubles of the Fukushima nuclear-power plant — and other reactors — in northeast Japan have dealt a severe blow to the global nuclear industry, a powerful cartel of less than a dozen major state-owned or state-guided firms that have been trumpeting a nuclear-power renaissance. But the risks that seaside reactors …

DNE

NATO’s dangerous Afghan dream

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: The agreement at the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon on a transition plan to help end the war in Afghanistan within the next four years raises troubling questions about regional security and the global fight against transnational terrorism. As the US and other coalition partners gradually wind down their combat role, …

DNE

Asia After Obama

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama’s 10-day Asian tour and the consecutive summit meetings of the East Asian Summit (EAS), the G-20, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have helped shine a spotlight on Asia’s challenges at a time when tensions between an increasingly ambitious China and its neighbors permeate the region’s geopolitical …

DNE

A scramble for Asia?

By Brahma Chellaney NEW DELHI: Asia’s festering Cold War-era territorial and maritime disputes highlight the fact that securing long-term region-wide peace depends on respect for existing borders. Attempts to disturb Asia’s territorial status quo are an invitation to endemic conflict — a concern that led Asian states to welcome the US and Russia to their annual …

DNE

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