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Asia Unbound

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Showing posts for "Alyssa Ayres"

Where Should Donald Trump Begin in South Asia?

by Alyssa Ayres
Barack Obama meets with Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) Barack Obama meets with Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Donald J. Trump will assume the U.S. presidency at a time of flux in South Asia. Afghanistan appears at risk of greater instability, Pakistan continues to harbor terrorists that attack its neighbors, India-Pakistan tensions have increased, and India’s growth story has hit a speed bump. China has escalated its involvement in the region, with extensive infrastructure development plans for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The Trump administration’s national security and international economic teams will enter office with both near-term tactical as well as long-term strategic decisions to make about how to approach the region. Read more »

Time to Expand the Idea of “Abroad”

by Alyssa Ayres
A group of students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology pose on the steps of a vav (stepwell) with students from Sardar Patel University and nurses from Hinduja National Hospital during a study abroad trip to Gujarat, India. Photo by Daniel Oerther, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, cropped from original. A group of students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology pose on the steps of a vav (stepwell) with students from Sardar Patel University and nurses from Hinduja National Hospital during a study abroad trip to Gujarat, India. Photo by Daniel Oerther, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, cropped from original.

This is International Education Week, an opportunity for the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education to promote study abroad. As the State Department press release puts it, the week will emphasize “encouraging Americans and international students alike to seek opportunities to study abroad, make connections with peers in other countries, and ultimately to see themselves as actors in and shapers of both their local communities and a globalized future.” The State Department has also announced a partnership with Diversity Abroad to “work toward diversifying participation in international education overall.” Read more »

Trump and India

by Alyssa Ayres
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (2nd L) enlists the help of Republican Hindu Coalition Chairman Shalli Kumar (2nd R) and others to light a ceremonial diya lamp before he speaks at a Bollywood-themed charity concert put on by the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey, U.S. October 15, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (2nd L) enlists the help of Republican Hindu Coalition Chairman Shalli Kumar (2nd R) and others to light a ceremonial diya lamp before he speaks at a Bollywood-themed charity concert put on by the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey, U.S. October 15, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The unexpected results of the U.S. presidential election last week have delivered Donald J. Trump to the White House. Trump has no foreign policy history to pore over for clues, but his comments over the course of the campaign—and his visit to a Bollywood-and-anti-terrorism-themed jubilee in Edison, New Jersey, offer some indications of where he might take U.S.-India ties. Read more »

This is the New India

by Alyssa Ayres
People wave national flags to celebrate after India said it had conducted targeted strikes across the de facto frontier, in Ahmedabad, India, September 29, 2016. (L-R) banners read: “Many congratulations to Indian army,” “the country is with Indian army” and “Good wishes to BJP-led government.” (Amit Dave/Reuters) People wave national flags to celebrate after India said it had conducted targeted strikes across the de facto frontier, in Ahmedabad, India, September 29, 2016. (L-R) banners read: “Many congratulations to Indian army,” “the country is with Indian army” and “Good wishes to BJP-led government.” (Amit Dave/Reuters)

Narendra Modi has laid down the gauntlet.

Sari-and-shawl exchanges, then birthday diplomacy, failed to produce breakthroughs with Pakistan. Cross-border terrorist attacks continued. This week, New Delhi signaled the end of its patience by expanding its diplomatic coercive strategies as well as military actions to deal with terrorism and Pakistan. Read more »

Pakistan, Terrorist Groups, and Credible Responses

by Alyssa Ayres
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, speaks as they end a "Kashmir Caravan" from Lahore with a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan July 20, 2016. (Caren Firouz/Reuters) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, speaks as they end a "Kashmir Caravan" from Lahore with a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan July 20, 2016. (Caren Firouz/Reuters)

More than a week after the terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between Pakistani and Indian-administered parts of Kashmir, on the Indian side, a familiar pattern has returned. Which is to say: a group of terrorists crossed the Line of Control, attacked and killed Indian soldiers, Indian officials cite specific evidence they believe links the terrorists to a group domiciled in Pakistan, and the Pakistani government then bristles that such an allegation would be made without a complete investigation. Read more »

India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Paris Climate Accord

by Alyssa Ayres
Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Reuters)

The Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Hangzhou brought big news: U.S.-China ratification of the Paris climate agreement, heralded as an important sign of “climate change cooperation.” The world’s two largest carbon emitters called upon other Paris signatories to join them in bringing the global agreement into effect. India remains the third largest carbon emitter globally, although its per capita emissions are much lower than those of the United States or China, so many eyes have been watching to see what New Delhi does next. Read more »

Three Takeaways on U.S.-India Defense Ties

by Alyssa Ayres
WASHINGTON (Aug. 29, 2016) Secretary of Defense Ash Carter hosts Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar at the Pentagon, Aug. 29. DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee licensed under CC BY 2.0. WASHINGTON (Aug. 29, 2016) Secretary of Defense Ash Carter hosts Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar at the Pentagon, Aug. 29. DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar came to Washington today for his sixth meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.  Secretary Carter noted in his opening statement of their joint press conference that he has spent more time with Minister Parrikar “than with any other counterpart.” He did not qualify the statement further, and did not limit his remark to convey “any other non-NATO” counterpart or a similar formulation. For me, that gives us takeaway number one about U.S.-India defense ties: The time Carter and his counterpart, Parrikar, are investing in this venture illustrates the opportunity they perceive in a deepened strategic relationship—but also underscores the hard, time-consuming work required to find a way for the defense systems in both countries to learn to work together more seamlessly. Read more »

Olympic Grit in India

by Alyssa Ayres
Gymnastics - Olympics Qualifier - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/4/2016 - Dipa Karmakar of India performs during her vault in the women's apparatus final (Sergio Moraes/REUTERS). Gymnastics - Olympics Qualifier - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/4/2016 - Dipa Karmakar of India performs during her vault in the women's apparatus final (Sergio Moraes/REUTERS).

Since the Rio Olympics began, I have been glued to the television during primetime, cheering for the American athletes who have already made history—the women’s gymnastics team, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, and women’s volleyball, just to start. Performing at this level, breaking world records and achieving scores or times untouchable by the runners-up, requires years of dedicated practice, and as importantly, a family and national infrastructure that supports developing world-class sports talent. Read more »

Bangladesh and Global Terror

by Alyssa Ayres
Relatives and friends leave after attending the funeral prayer of the victims who were killed in the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 4, 2016 (Adnan Abidi/REUTERS). Relatives and friends leave after attending the funeral prayer of the victims who were killed in the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 4, 2016 (Adnan Abidi/REUTERS).

News continues to emerge about the terrorist threat in Bangladesh, a majority-Muslim country of 160 million, and it is alarming for two reasons: one, the apparent international dimension, more significant than previously imagined, and two, the profile of the terrorists themselves. Read more »

Joining the Club: India and the Nuclear Suppliers Group

by Alyssa Ayres
A member of Denmark's delegation (C) takes a picture with his phone while seated next to India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi (R) at the start of the second plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington April 1, 2016 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters). A member of Denmark's delegation (C) takes a picture with his phone while seated next to India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi (R) at the start of the second plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington April 1, 2016 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Last week the forty-eight “participating governments” of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met in a plenary session in Seoul. Among the subjects of discussion: how to consider for membership countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Discussion of membership for non-NPT signatories was the result of India’s application for membership, an application the United States has vocally supported. Read more »