CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "India"

Aam Aadmi Party: Sweeping out Foreign Investment

by Alyssa Ayres
AAP- Policy reversal Arvind Kejriwal (R), leader of Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, speaks during a meeting with his party leaders and media personnel after taking the oath as the new chief minister of Delhi, in New Delhi on December 28, 2013. (Anindito Mukherjee/Courtesy: Reuters)

Monday’s news that the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government decided to opt out of a year-old policy opening India’s “multibrand” retail sector to foreign investment will give international businesses interested in India pause. Amidst the news of a promising and hopeful rise of a political party focused on accountability and governance for the common man, many people outside of India have wondered what the AAP’s stance would be on economic policy. This is as good a preview as any—and it’s troubling. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of January 10, 2014

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks during a media conference in Dhaka on January 6, 2014. (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters) Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks during a media conference in Dhaka on January 6, 2014. (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Charles McClean, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. Bangladesh’s governing party wins vote despite unrest. Bangladesh’s Awami League won 232 of 300 seats in the country’s new Parliament, with nearly half of the seats uncontested due to a boycott from the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which labeled the election a sham. The government declared the average turnout to be 39.8 percent, though the opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, said that the turnout was closer to 10 percent. Twenty-two protesters were killed on Sunday, and seven were killed on Monday; the government also arrested seven high-ranking BNP leaders this week, including a close aide to Zia. The government has also demanded that the BNP cut ties with the banned Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami. Read more »

Top 10 South Asia Stories of 2013

by Alyssa Ayres
southasia-topten-2013 Voters wait inside a polling station to cast their vote during the state assembly election in New Delhi on December 4, 2013 (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy: Reuters).

In a year of many tumultuous events, these ten developments stood out—in my personal view—as the most consequential stories for India and South Asia. It was a year of many elections, of protests, and of change. Herewith the list, with a few links for further reading: Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 20, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters) India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Fury erupts over Indian diplomat’s arrest in New York. Anti-American protests have erupted across India after Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was arrested for allegedly underpaying a domestic worker and lying about her wages to obtain a U.S. visa for the woman. Khobragade claimed that she paid the women $4,500 per month, but the worker in fact received less than $600 per month, or approximately $3.13 per hour in wages. Khobragade said that she was handcuffed and faced a cavity search despite her diplomatic immunity; U.S. officials countered that she received preferential treatment, was allowed to keep her mobile phone, and did not face a cavity search. India lodged a formal complaint with U.S. ambassador to India Nancy Powell, and Indian politicians have refused to meet with a congressional delegation. A senior Indian diplomat also said that the government could retaliate against gay partners of U.S. diplomats. Read more »

Some Background for the Khobragade Case

by Alyssa Ayres
Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi December 18, 2013 Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi December 18, 2013 (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters).

Since the arrest last Thursday of India’s acting consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, U.S.-India relations have hit turbulent waters. Dr. Khobragade has been charged in the Southern District of New York with visa fraud, specifically with falsifying a statement about wages in the contract for her domestic worker in order to successfully receive a visa to bring her to New York. This is considered a criminal matter, and U.S. attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement along with the unsealed complaint in which the allegations are detailed. Late Tuesday, press reports stated that the U.S. Marshals confirmed they had arrested her, taken her to a holding cell, and strip-searched her. She was released on bail later that day. The Government of India immediately expressed outrage, and took several steps on Tuesday to express extreme displeasure with the way Dr. Khobragade’s arrest was handled. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 13, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song-taek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013. (Kim Hong-ji/Courtesy Reuters) South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song-taek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013. (Kim Hong-ji/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. North Korea announces execution of top official. The Korean Central News Agency announced yesterday the execution of Jang Song-taek, a top North Korean official and uncle of leader Kim Jong-un. The announcement follows Jang’s highly publicized arrest, which was unprecedented in North Korea; at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, Jang was charged with “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” against the “unity and cohesion of the party.” Read more »

Indian State Elections Raise Questions About 2014

by Alyssa Ayres
Supporters of Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the newly formed Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, hold brooms, the party's symbol, after Kejriwal's election win against Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit, in New Delhi December 8, 2013 (Anindito Mukherjee/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the newly formed Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, hold brooms, the party's symbol, after Kejriwal's election win against Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit, in New Delhi December 8, 2013 (Anindito Mukherjee/Courtesy Reuters).

The results of four of the five state-level elections conducted in India over the past month were announced on Sunday, December 8. (Results from the smaller northeastern state of Mizoram were announced today, December 9, and Congress won). Since a series of pre-poll and exit poll surveys had predicted handsome gains for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the actual wins in the four states did not surprise as much as they might have absent the forecasting. But it was a rout for the Indian National Congress, the ruling party in the federal government, and many analysts are suggesting that a sense of BJP momentum will carry ahead to the national elections taking place by May 2014. Read more »

When Protests Halt Progress

by Alyssa Ayres
Smoke rises as a bus burns on a street after a nationwide strike was called, in Dhaka November 9, 2013 (Mahmud Opu/Courtesy Reuters). Smoke rises as a bus burns on a street after a nationwide strike was called, in Dhaka November 9, 2013 (Mahmud Opu/Courtesy Reuters).

If I were to describe a country that has achieved around 6 percent economic growth for much of the last decade, has the eighth largest population in the world, has delivered maternal and child health improvements on a scale comparable to the great Meiji restoration of 19th century Japan, is the world’s second largest exporter of ready-made garments after only China, and has achieved a 94 percent infant immunization rate, what place would come to mind? As much as it pains me to write this, I don’t believe the average Western reader would blurt out “Bangladesh, of course” after hearing that roster of accomplishments, as true as they are. Read more »

Women in India: Much More Than Recent Headlines

by Alyssa Ayres
All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday, a decision the judge said sent a message to society that there can be no tolerance for such a savage crime September 13, 2013, (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters). All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on September 13, 2013, a decision the judge said sent a message to society that there can be no tolerance for such a savage crime (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters).

Over the past week, the Indian media and social media have been seized with an unfolding scandal involving a news magazine, Tehelka, that made its reputation ferreting out truth and exposing wrongdoing. This time, it’s founding editor Tarun Tejpal who’s exposed. He has been accused, and a criminal investigation is now underway, of sexually assaulting a junior reporter at his own magazine. The story is unusual not only because of the profile of the accused, but also for the victim’s decision to step forward and not allow the assault to be forgotten or buried as a “misunderstanding.” And judging by the media coverage in recent days, both women and men in India are overwhelmingly supportive of that decision. Read more »

Framing Indian Power and Foreign Policy: State vs. Center? Or Rights vs. Realism?

by Alyssa Ayres
A man paints the logo of CHOGM 2013, ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, in Colombo, November 11, 2013 A man paints the logo of CHOGM 2013, ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 11, 2013 (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Courtesy Reuters).

On Friday, November 15, the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) convenes in Sri Lanka. This year’s gathering of fifty-three Commonwealth members has been anything but routine, however. A number of countries have had heated internal debates about their attendance and its intended signals; three have elected to send delegations below the “head of government” level as a way to highlight concerns about Sri Lanka’s limited progress on post-conflict reconciliation, human rights and democracy, and accountability for violations at the 2009 end of the nearly thirty-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Read more »