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Showing posts for "Alyssa Ayres"

How India Can Help in Afghanistan

by Alyssa Ayres
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani inspect the guard of honour in Herat province, Afghanistan June 4, 2016. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will head to Afghanistan, and reportedly Pakistan and India as well, this weekend. In the wake of Thursday’s Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb drop in Afghanistan, targeting Islamic State cave-and-tunnel hideouts on the border with Pakistan, McMaster will have much to discuss with his Afghan interlocutors on the security front. Read more »

The Trump Administration and H-1B Visas (So Far)

by Alyssa Ayres
Then-U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks as (2nd L to R) PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook and Oracle CEO Safra Catz look on during a meeting with technology leaders at Trump Tower in New York U.S., December 14, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

During his campaign, President Donald J. Trump made a number of comments about the H-1B visa program—the visa for highly-skilled workers. At different moments he was against the program, then in favor of tightening it up. In the early days of his administration, a rumored executive order concerning the H-1B program circulated, causing some alarm among different interest groups, but it has not been issued yet. Read more »

BJP Puts Religion in the Front Seat in India’s Largest State

by Alyssa Ayres
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath (C) is greeted after he was elected as Chief Minister of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, during the party lawmakers' meeting in Lucknow, India March 18, 2017. (Pawan Kumar/Reuters)

Last week, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received a landslide victory in the state assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s most populous state, and arguably one of the country’s most politically important arenas. The day after the election results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a celebratory speech at the party headquarters in New Delhi, and heralded the dawn of a “New India.” As I wrote last week, his New India remarks, along with a campaign unfurled to encourage citizen involvement, pointed to a focus on jobs, development, anti-corruption, “Clean India,” protecting nature, peace, unity, and goodwill, among other priorities. Read more »

The BJP’s Big Win and the New India

by Alyssa Ayres
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being garlanded by party leaders during a ceremony at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India, March 12, 2017. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

What a weekend for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On Saturday, March 11, the election results for five state legislative assembly contests came in, delivering the voters’ verdict. More than halfway through the Narendra Modi government’s term in office, and four months after a painful currency demonetization, voters delivered the BJP two resounding victories (Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand), two close calls that the party has converted into power (Goa and Manipur), and one defeat (Punjab). Read more »

The Kansas City Shooting Is Quickly Changing How Indians View The U.S.

by Alyssa Ayres
Alok Madasani, who was wounded in a bar shooting that killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, sings during a candlelight vigil at a conference center in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 26, 2017. On right is Madasani's wife Reepthi Gangula. (Dave Kaup/Reuters)

When a gunman shot two technology workers from Hyderabad, India in a Kansas City bar on February 22, the story quickly topped the headlines in India—especially once it emerged that the shooter singled the two men out to harass them over their immigration status. Read more »

Pakistan: Defeat Is an Orphan

by Alyssa Ayres
Protesters hold placards and chant slogans against the recent bomb blasts in various parts of Pakistan during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan February 17, 2017. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters)

What ails Pakistan? A new book from former Reuters correspondent Myra MacDonald shows how the country’s chronic struggle to somehow best India has instead led to deleterious results on all fronts. I had the chance to interview her by email on her compelling book, and our exchange appears below. Read more »

India Hopes Donald Trump Will Solve the Pakistan Problem

by Alyssa Ayres
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (3rd R), a UN- and U.S.-designated terrorist, openly leads a rally against India and in support of Kashmir, in Karachi, Pakistan, December 18, 2016. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

For those of us in Washington, the days since President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration have been head-spinning. The executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entry into the United States produced mass protests across the United States. A rejig of the National Security Council has raised questions about its politicization. Angry tweets on Mexico, Australia, Iran, Berkeley, Democrats, Chicago, numerous corporations, and many other targets have ushered in a high-speed news cycle centered on Twitter, and disrupted the more sedate pace of both foreign and domestic policy that many of us had grown used to. (Disclosure: I supported the Hillary Clinton campaign.) Read more »

The Indian Economy Has Not Overtaken the UK (But It Will, Soon)

by Alyssa Ayres
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) smiles next to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, November 7, 2016. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Is the Indian economy now bigger than that of the United Kingdom (UK)? Despite what you may have read, the answer to that, right now, is no.

Over the past few days, the Indian press has been brimming with articles proudly proclaiming this new “fact.” The Times of India, the Indian Express and the Economic Times, among others, have hailed the milestone of India overtaking its former colonial ruler for the first time in 150 years. India’s minister of state for home affairs tweeted the story as fact. Read more »

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)

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.

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 »