South Asia Brief

News and analysis from India and its neighboring countries in South Asia, a region home to one-fourth of the world’s population. Delivered Wednesday.

Supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party take part in a rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Dec. 10, 2022.
Supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party take part in a rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Dec. 10, 2022.

The U.S. Ups the Ante in Bangladesh

A coercive visa policy aims to bolster democracy ahead of the country’s elections next January.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers opening remarks during the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers opening remarks during the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Modi Visits Papua New Guinea as Biden Skips

Amid a flurry of diplomacy, the trip gave India a chance to advance key foreign-policy goals.

People holding banners and Pakistani flags march down a street during a rally to show solidarity with the Pakistan Army in Peshawar, Pakistan.
People holding banners and Pakistani flags march down a street during a rally to show solidarity with the Pakistan Army in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Military Goes Full Throttle Against Imran Khan

The crisis spurred by the opposition leader’s arrest shows no signs of de-escalation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prior to a meeting in New Delhi on Feb. 20, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prior to a meeting in New Delhi on Feb. 20, 2019.

India and the Gulf Are Getting Cozy—to Counter China

A new project aims to link New Delhi to the Middle East through roads, rails, and seaports.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari delivers a speech during a conference in Geneva on Jan. 9.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari delivers a speech during a conference in Geneva on Jan. 9.

Why Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Is Visiting India

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in Goa to meet regional counterparts—not to patch up bilateral ties.

People attend an award ceremony in Navi Mumbai, India, on April 16.
People attend an award ceremony in Navi Mumbai, India, on April 16.

Heatstroke Is India’s Latest Climate Calamity

South Asia is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and its deadly knock-on effects.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha walks during the inauguration of the tulip garden in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir, on March 19.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha walks during the inauguration of the tulip garden in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir, on March 19.

India Projects Image of Normalcy From Kashmir

The region will host a G-20 meeting next month, but repression persists since New Delhi revoked its semi-autonomy in 2019.

Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan participate in a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, on March 25.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan participate in a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, on March 25.

With Supreme Court Ruling, Pakistan’s Political Crisis Flares Again

Rescheduled provincial elections mark a win for Imran Khan, but the government seems determined to thwart him.

U.S. State Department Counselor Derek Chollet speaks at a joint press conference with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Feb. 15.
U.S. State Department Counselor Derek Chollet speaks at a joint press conference with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Feb. 15.

Bangladesh Tilts Toward the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific

Dhaka’s recent moves suggest it is testing the limits of its nonalignment in the region.

A member of the Taliban forces stands guard at the gate of the provincial intelligence compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Dec. 12, 2021.
A member of the Taliban forces stands guard at the gate of the provincial intelligence compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Dec. 12, 2021.

How Dangerous Is the Islamic State-Khorasan?

As a top U.S. military official warns of a growing transnational threat, the group is already wreaking havoc in Taliban-led Afghanistan.

Iranians work on a section of a pipeline linking Iran and Pakistan after the project was launched during a ceremony in the Iranian city of Chah Bahar on March 11, 2013.
Iranians work on a section of a pipeline linking Iran and Pakistan after the project was launched during a ceremony in the Iranian city of Chah Bahar on March 11, 2013.

What the China-Brokered Saudi-Iran Deal Means for South Asia

India and Pakistan have a strong interest in seeing the accord succeed.

People look for their belongings after a fire in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on March 5.
People look for their belongings after a fire in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on March 5.

Bangladesh Refugee Camp Fire Compounds Rohingya’s Hardships

The tragedy is just the latest to strike the community, underscoring Dhaka’s challenge in hosting so many refugees.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to his supporters in New Delhi on Jan. 16.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to his supporters in New Delhi on Jan. 16.

Democratic Backsliding Hasn’t Stopped India’s Rise

New Delhi plays host to foreign officials this week, and its guests’ silence on the government’s crackdowns against critics is striking.

An  aerial view shows the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, India, on Oct. 11, 2021.
An aerial view shows the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, India, on Oct. 11, 2021.

Lithium Reserves Will Give India a Boost—Eventually

The find will help fuel Indian manufacturing and clean energy, but it could take years to pay dividends.

Laborers work at the Karot Hydropower project in eastern Punjab province, Pakistan, on Nov. 19, 2021.
Laborers work at the Karot Hydropower project in eastern Punjab province, Pakistan, on Nov. 19, 2021.

Have China and Pakistan Hit a Roadblock?

Beijing-funded infrastructure projects have slowed, but their longtime partnership remains inevitable.

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Are America and Europe Aligned on China?

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The war in Ukraine has propelled the United States and Europe closer on a variety of foreign-policy issues. But do Washington and Brussels agree on how to deal with Beijing’s growing clout...Show more

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Inside the U.S.-China Tech War

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Over the last few years, the United States has moved to limit China’s technological rise. U.S.-led sanctions have imposed unprecedented limits on Beijing’s access to advanced computing c...Show more

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participate in a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden is hosting a Quad Leaders Summit later today with Prime Minister Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. (Photo by Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participate in a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden is hosting a Quad Leaders Summit later today with Prime Minister Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. (Photo by Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images)

Is America Making a Bad Bet on India?

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For decades, the U.S. foreign-policy establishment has made the assumption that India could serve as a partner as the United States jostles with China for power in the Indo-Pacific region. B...Show more