Rivers Run through Modi’s Regional Agenda

Image: Al Jazeera English/Flickr

This article was originally published by the EastAsiaForum on 22 August, 2014.

Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Kathmandu in early August, the first visit to Nepal by an Indian premier in 17 years, was his third trip abroad since his inauguration on 26 May. In mid-June, only weeks after taking charge in New Delhi, he had made his first official foreign excursion — a two-day visit to nearby Bhutan. These upfront state visits to the two Himalayan countries were a clear indication that Modi was determined to put flesh on his campaign pledge to give priority in his foreign policy to bolstering relations with India’s South Asian neighbours. » More

Mediation Perspectives: Innovative Approaches in the Colombian Peace Process

Photo: flickr/Lucho Molina

The Colombian peace process has advanced steadily without major interruption since it was formally launched in Norway and peace talks between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) began in Cuba in late 2012. As with most peace processes, the Colombian process has evolved over time and in stages, with adjustments to the methodologies, focus, and engagement of the stakeholders. A number of these modifications are breaking new ground, particularly with regard to the roles of civil society and the design of strategies for dealing with the past. » More

Central American Blow-Back

Image: Amnesty International/Flickr

They are usually given the choice to leave immediately or stay, and be killed. Central America´s desperate, or deseperados, are fleeing their homes in record numbers. This year alone more than 60,000 undocumented children have already made the perilous trek from the northern triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – to the United States.

The scale of the displacement crisis is staggering. U.S. customs officials picked-up 17,500 unaccompanied children from Honduras, 15,700 from Guatemala and 14,500 from El Salvador this year. There were just 3,000 from all three countries combined in 2009.

Many of these children are now in limbo, interned in 100 shelters scattered along the US-Mexico border. They join an estimated 11.7 million pool of “illegals” that negotiated extreme hardship in pursuit of a better life. » More

The Hillary Doctrine: Are Women’s Rights a National Security Issue?

Image: Pete Souza/Wikimedia

The linking of women’s rights to national security became a defining feature of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as US Secretary of State.  The core of what became known as the “Hillary Doctrine” can best be described as follows: when women are given equal rights “nations are more stable and secure,” while when they are not, national instability “is almost certain.” Clinton additionally argued that the subjugation of women was “a threat to the common security of our world and to the national security of [the United States].” Or to break this second assertion down further, states that deny rights to women and tacitly accept violence against them tend to be more fragile, politically divided and economically underdeveloped, which means they then pose greater threats to international security, due to the increased terrorism and internal conflict that they invariably invite upon themselves and others.  Well, as powerful as these claims may be, are they actually true? To be fair, Clinton’s claims have undeniably advanced the interests of women and girls around the world, but one can argue that by blending policy with advocacy, they have proven to be politically influential, but also too broad and inaccurate to facilitate the development of reliable government policies. » More

The BRICS Are Back, With a Bank

Image: Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 2 August 2014.

The BRICS countries met for their sixth annual summit in Brazil this month, setting out to establish a counterweight to Western-dominated global financial institutions.

The summit’s key achievement was the establishment of the long-awaited BRICS New Development Bank. The bank will press for a bigger say in the global financial order — which is centred on the IMF and the World Bank. While China won the race for the bank’s headquarters, set to be located in Shanghai, India secured the presidency. The bank is a sign of the growing influence of the BRICS which together account for 18 per cent of world trade, 40 per cent of the global population and a combined GDP of US$24 trillion. » More

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