India: corruption affecting investment and economic growth December 13, 2012Posted by southasiamasala in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , 1 comment so far
Transparency International released the results of its annual Corruption Perceptions Index on 5 December 2012. India was ranked 94 out of 174 countries in corruption, a claim highlighted by the scandals that have hit the Indian National Congress-led government this year.
India, and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in particular, have felt increasing pressure over the levels of corruption. This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) illustrates that although the situation has improved since last year, an underlying culture of corruption still exists in India. Such endemic corruption may cause a decline in India’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Canada and India agree on nuclear cooperation deal November 20, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , Comment
Ottawa and New Delhi have completed negotiations, commenced in 2010, to ratify a nuclear agreement. This may ultimately result in Canadian firms exporting uranium and nuclear infrastructure to the energy-poor South Asian state.
Canada has followed Australia and concluded a civil nuclear deal with India, which has been in development since 2010. The latest uranium agreement is indicative of India’s strategic energy policy, emphasising nuclear power to moderate energy shortfalls. The challenge for New Delhi now will be to complement well-executed diplomacy, with supportive domestic legislation.
Pakistan government pressured by Imran Khan’s anti-drone rally October 23, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, Future Directions International, Guest authors, Pakistan , Comment
Imran Khan’s anti-drone protest march did not reach its final destination, but it may well heap pressure on the Pakistani Government to take a stronger stance against US drone deployments, especially ahead of the 2013 election.
A protest march against US drone strikes in Pakistan, led by former cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, ended on 7 October 2012, when authorities prevented the marchers from entering the South Waziristan region. While the march of some 20,000 people failed to reach its final destination, it has renewed pressure on the United States and may force the Pakistani Government to take a stronger stance against US drone attacks, especially ahead of the 2013 election.
Mauritius under pressure from India to amend taxation treaty September 24, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, By country, Future Directions International, Guest authors, India, South Asia - General , Comment
Leighton G. Luke
India and Mauritius are yet to agree on changes to the double taxation arrangements that have seen New Delhi miss out on tax revenues of up to US$600 million annually.
Concerned at the amount of tax revenue lost to Mauritius-based companies under existing arrangements, India is continuing to seek a renegotiated taxation treaty with the island state. Indian officials have estimated that the “Mauritius route” results in the loss of some US$600 million in tax revenues each year.
Afghanistan defence minister’s resignation: implications August 31, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Afghanistan, Future Directions International , Comment
For the last eight years, Abdul Rahim Wardak has been the Afghan Defence Minister, but a recent Vote of No Confidence by the national parliament has forced his removal and subsequent resignation. The problem associated with these events is two-fold: can President Karzai maintain stability and what will this mean for the coalition countries, particularly the United States, as the 2014 troop drawdown agreed upon in the 2010 Lisbon summit approaches.
Afghanistan releases hydrocarbon acreages July 26, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Afghanistan, By country, Future Directions International , Comment
In July, the Afghan Mining Ministry announced the release of exploration rights for oil and gas developments in the state’s north-west. Extractive industries could provide Kabul with much needed revenue as it enters the next stage of its post-Taliban reconstruction period. The existence of resources, however, does not automatically translate to productivity. Geopolitical politicking, corruption, governance issues and the security situation may constrain the sector.
US-Pakistan relations deteriorate as Washington looks to India for new regional support June 21, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : Future Directions International, India, Pakistan , Comment
US-Pakistan relations are currently ‘the worst they’ve ever been’, according to a senior US official. The tumultuous relationship continues to be hampered by an impasse over NATO supply routes to Afghanistan and the perceived reluctance of Pakistan to crack down on militants in its northern tribal areas. As US military aid to Pakistan remains suspended, there are now signs that the US is looking toward New Delhi, rather than Islamabad, as its key regional ally.
While the US has traditionally viewed Pakistan as its key regional ally in the War on Terror, recent events have seen the relationship hit a new low. In particular, the two remain at loggerheads over Pakistan’s six-month blockade of NATO troop supplies meant for Afghanistan and its supposed harbouring of militants in the northern tribal areas.
Pakistan: fallout over NATO supply route escalates May 29, 2012Posted by southasiamasala in : Afghanistan, DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Serge, Future Directions International, Pakistan , Comment
Although there has been recent progress in cross-border cooperation, the modalities of a revised agreement between Pakistan and the US to re-establish a NATO supply route, have escalated domestic and regional tensions.
On Friday last week, after six months of stand-off, Pakistan for the first time authorised a US supply convoy to pass into Afghanistan, with office supplies destined for Kabul. The symbolic cross-over, however, after months of ongoing tension, has not resulted in the recommencement of the NATO supply route, a goal much desired by the US.
Since the imposition of the blockade, US and NATO forces in Afghanistan have been compelled to use the Northern Distribution Network. This is a series of alternative, and more costly, supply routes that transit through the Caucasus, Central Asia and Russia. The US is also eager to resume the NATO supply route through Pakistan to facilitate the withdrawal of its forces and military equipment from Afghanistan by 2014.
Maldives: democracy, back in transition mode? May 15, 2012Posted by southasiamasala in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, Maldives , Comment
N. Sathiya Moorthy
With the People’s Majlis, or Parliament, clearing President Mohammed Waheed Hassan’s vice-presidential nominee, Waheed Deen, after the “majority” Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) group stayed away, the Indian Ocean archipelago seems to be back in democratic transition, for the second time in three years. A new element has been added this time, with a National Inquiry Commission (NIC) probing the circumstances surrounding the resignation of then MDP President Mohammed Nasheed and his succession by Vice-President Waheed. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has given the Waheed Government four weeks in which to make the probe team credible.
The last time the Maldives went through a similar phase, the nation ushered in multi-party democracy after 30 years of one-person rule under President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He was elected for six successive terms of five years each, under a constitutional scheme that provided for only a single candidate in national elections. That is firmly in the past, yet, the Nasheed resignation has left a situation of instability. His subsequent charges of a coup-cum-conspiracy, involving some in the uniformed services and “discredited sections” of the polity, and the fact that fresh presidential polls are still a year or so away, in November 2013, have all given rise to the question of whether democracy is really back in transition mode in the Maldives.DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Serge, Future Directions International, India, Pakistan , Comment
This article first appeared here on the Future Directions International web site on 9 May 2012.
In spite of progress being made to enhance bilateral ties, geopoltical rivalry between Pakistan and India continues to escalate. The most recent example was demonstrated by the launch of India’s Agni-5 nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was closely followed by the launch Pakistan’s Hatf-4 Shaheen-1A nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile. While this strategic rivalry has been notable on land, escalation in the maritime domain has made Pakistan increasing concerned at India’s unprecedented plans to modernise its navy.