May 27, 2009
A brief contextual review of South Asia at the moment the blog is launched.
The ASI blog is born at a moment that is eventful for many across the large subcontinent of South Asia.
- In Pakistan, the tripartite tug of war between the Taliban, Pakistani government and the US war on terror provides the foreground for yet another large wave of IDPs in a state that cannot take care of them. On the day I am posting this, Lahore has seen fresh bomb blasts with a large number of casualties.
- Nepal’s new republican democracy has been in crisis as the army and Maoist-led government locked horns, resulting in the resignation of the Prime Minister. Developments in Nepal could hold important lessons for other polities coming out of civil war.
- Parliamentary elections took place in the Maldives last week, consolidating the process of democratic transition that began with the election of President Nasheed and the ouster by the ballot-box of President Gayoom.
- India has just re-elected its ruling coalition but more resoundingly than before. The challenges the new government faces are legion. Whether it is able to use its mandate to make a positive difference on each front or whether coalition imperatives continue to form an obstacle course, remain to be seen.
- The Sri Lankan army’s long campaign to wrest territories in the control of the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam culminated in the death of the LTTE’s entire leadership. The campaign came at a huge humanitarian cost, and rehabilitation, reconciliation and a political solution must all be pursued with the same determination.