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The battle for States' rights in India
Feb 24, 2012

The battle for States' rights in India

Though it will be difficult for the Central Government and the States to agree upon certain foreign policy issues, they should work together on issues of national importance-such as terrorism and foreign policy-in order to enact policies that benefit its citizens.

The Bhutanese economic revival
Feb 07, 2022

The Bhutanese economic revival

To meet the economic growth estimations of 2022, Bhutan would have to adopt strong policy measures to revive its economy

The big-picture takeaways from China’s Taiwan drills
Sep 03, 2022

The big-picture takeaways from China’s Taiwan drills

The PLA has still to cover some gaps before it gains the confidence and warfare proficiency in any planned invasion.

The Bike-Taxi Alternative to Enhancing Urban Mobility in India
Aug 14, 2023

The Bike-Taxi Alternative to Enhancing Urban Mobility in India

Despite concerted efforts to improve urban public transport, the use of personal vehicles has increased across India. City administrations must consider promoting the use of paratransit vehicles, such as bike-taxis, that can provide ridership to more commuters than a private vehicle. While bike-taxis are prevalent in some Indian cities, their use is curtailed elsewhere in the country by state policy and statutes. Amid growing city congest

The Blue Economy: Charting a New Development Path in the Seychelles
Aug 13, 2020

The Blue Economy: Charting a New Development Path in the Seychelles

The Seychelles’ geographical advantages have given it economic gains from its main Blue Economy (BE) sectors—fisheries and tourism. However, overexploitation and unsustainable management practices have placed undue pressure on these resources. In 2018, the country conceived a sustainable ocean-based development pathway—the Seychelles’ Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap. Various socio-economic and environmental challenges threate

The borders that bind us
May 12, 2021

The borders that bind us

The greatest learning and empathy reveals itself only when walls are brought down.

The bottom line in Blinken’s foray into Southeast Asia
Jan 05, 2022

The bottom line in Blinken’s foray into Southeast Asia

The aim was to drive home the message that America’s Indo-Pacific policy is not just aimed at deterring China’s rise

The case against weaponising water
Feb 10, 2017

The case against weaponising water

With growing water scarcity across many parts of the world, competition over access to this vital resource has been known to spark conflict. Following the September 2016 Uri attack in India, the government made plans to retaliate against its neighbour by exercising its right to use water of the western rivers—allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty—by building dams, canals and reservoirs. This paper aims to address the legal, econ

The Case for a ‘Links, Not Dependencies’ Approach to EU Engagement in the Indo-Pacific
Aug 11, 2023

The Case for a ‘Links, Not Dependencies’ Approach to EU Engagement in the Indo-Pacific

Over the past year, the European Union (EU) increased its efforts to develop a more holistic approach to its engagement with the Indo-Pacific. Specifically, the EU has signalled a more concrete intention to integrate defence and security considerations into the policymaking process, with the publication of a regional strategy of engagement in September 2021. This brief aims to tie existing threads of EU diplomatic, developmental, and security pra

The Case for Agnipath
Aug 16, 2023

The Case for Agnipath

The Union Cabinet announced in June this year the Agnipath scheme, designed to recruit youths into the Other Ranks (ORs) of the Indian armed forces. The scheme, which came into effect immediately, will enable new recruits, or Agniveers, to serve in the military for four years. While the stated aim is to turn the Indian military into a younger and more tech-savvy force, this brief argues that there is also a strong financial imperative beh

The centrality of Qatar in the Israel–Hamas war
Dec 08, 2023

The centrality of Qatar in the Israel–Hamas war

Qatar aims to be a political power broker in the Middle East as witnessed by its efforts in brokering the temporary Israel-Hamas truce. However, with

The Challenges in Muizzu's Maldives: A Stocktaking
Apr 05, 2024

The Challenges in Muizzu's Maldives: A Stocktaking

Mohamed Muizzu was sworn in as the seventh president of the Maldives in November 2023 after intense electoral competition with seven other candidates and a highly competitive second round. However, his administration’s five-year term will not be without challenges. Muizzu’s rise to power comes at a time when the archipelago is experiencing significant domestic and strategic challenges. As the Maldives gears up for parliamentary elections in l

The changing face of Baloch activism
May 09, 2024

The changing face of Baloch activism

The harsh response by the Pakistani state towards the ongoing Baloch protests will only alienate people further and deepen the existing crisis

The Changing Global Trade Regime and Emergence of Mega FTAs: Strategy for India’s External Sector Sustainability
Jan 12, 2015

The Changing Global Trade Regime and Emergence of Mega FTAs: Strategy for India’s External Sector Sustainability

This study discusses three major mega free trade agreements (the TPP, TTIP and the RCEP) and attempts to develop a strategy for India to navigate the repercussions engendered by these groupings and thereby safeguard India?s trade and sustain its economic growth.

The China Big Picture
Oct 15, 2011

The China Big Picture

India needs to take a broad approach to its foreign policy. One of the biggest mistakes Delhi could make would be to see the Indo-Vietnam relationship as simply a means for countering China.

The China challenge
Feb 18, 2017

The China challenge

As the new Donald Trump administration tries to get a grip on the multiple domestic and foreign policy challenges facing America, China’s rise will be front and centre as the most significant challenge facing Washington.

The China-India Defense Dialogue
Apr 20, 2015

The China-India Defense Dialogue

China is touting its vision of linking two Indian projects (Mausam and Spice Route) with its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. China's main goal is to coordinate regional policy so that each country's economic development plan becomes part of a larger regional vision.

The Chinese are coming
Apr 03, 2015

The Chinese are coming

While West Asia is volatile, the Chinese are beginning to get more active in Afghanistan, retain their pre-eminence in Pakistan and strengthen ties with Iran. In fact, Iran is the third leg of China?s policy in our immediate western neighbourhood. The Chinese are obviously making preparations for the time when peace returns to the Arab world, which might leave a stronger Iran.

The Chinese vaccine diplomacy in Southeast Asia
Jun 29, 2022

The Chinese vaccine diplomacy in Southeast Asia

In China’s attempt to project its soft power, it engaged in vaccine diplomacy in Southeast Asia to counter the narrative of the virus’ origins and

The consumers’ economy of India: What do the recent macro numbers tell us?
Mar 18, 2024

The consumers’ economy of India: What do the recent macro numbers tell us?

The Indian economy is at a defining moment where the future might show a reversal from the trend of the consumption-driven growth phenomenon

The contested world of deradicalization programs
Dec 14, 2022

The contested world of deradicalization programs

The legal systems in India lag when it comes to the fast-adapting formats of radicalisation. Policy can seldom keep up with technology.

The counterterror dimension to the planning of smart cities
Aug 21, 2023

The counterterror dimension to the planning of smart cities

The Indian government’s “Smart Cities Mission” aims to drive economic growth and improve quality of life through “smart” solutions for the delivery of infrastructure and services. This is expected to transform living spaces, enhance quality of life, and provide employment opportunities, in turn helping reduce crime rates and promoting law and order. Among the challenges to the “Smart Cities” programme is terrorism—especially in ur

The crisis-struck polity: Sri Lanka’s evolving structures
May 23, 2023

The crisis-struck polity: Sri Lanka’s evolving structures

The current Sri Lankan political environment is ripe for transformations in power structures, economic policy, and citizen involvement

The Dance of the Elephant and the Dragon: The Promise and Perils of Sino-Indian Relations
May 18, 2015

The Dance of the Elephant and the Dragon: The Promise and Perils of Sino-Indian Relations

Why is it that despite sharing significant commonalities, India and China remain trapped in a relationship that projects them as inevitable rivals? This paper examines the promise of these bilateral relations and attempts to sound the death knell to the old narrative.

The Decriminalisation Bill is a bullet train to prosperity
Oct 06, 2022

The Decriminalisation Bill is a bullet train to prosperity

The Inspector Raj, expressed through the colonial, corrupt, and rent-seeking policy infrastructure, must be disassembled

The Democracy Turning Its Back on Ukraine
Mar 15, 2022

The Democracy Turning Its Back on Ukraine

For reasons to do with history and strategy, India will not abandon Russia.

The diaspora and India’s growth story
Aug 20, 2023

The diaspora and India’s growth story

This brief sketches the growing interest of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the Indian diaspora. Over the last three years, the prime minister has repeatedly called attention to the role that the diaspora will play in India’s development process and in the promotion of its foreign policy goals. The brief gives an overview of the policies that the present government has rolled out and examines the benefits from, and pitf

The displacement challenge faced by Thailand, courtesy Myanmar
Jan 10, 2022

The displacement challenge faced by Thailand, courtesy Myanmar

The surge of Myanmarese refugees in Thailand has made the need to reform the latter’s national refugee policy more pronounced

The doctrine of "national interest"
Nov 05, 2005

The doctrine of "national interest"

In a perceptive essay written some years ago, Joseph Nye had observed that "national interest is a slippery concept used to describe as well as prescribe policy." Decades earlier, the philosopher Gilbert Ryle had cautioned against "systematically misleading expressions" couched in a syntactical form improper to the facts recorded.

The elusive promise: Stability challenges in the world of stablecoins
Nov 29, 2023

The elusive promise: Stability challenges in the world of stablecoins

The stablecoins have not achieved full price stability, thus raising concerns about their credibility. Continued monitoring and proactive policymaking

The Enduring Problem of Illegal Constructions in India’s Cities
Jul 14, 2021

The Enduring Problem of Illegal Constructions in India’s Cities

India’s rising urbanisation in recent years has triggered unbridled construction activities to meet the needs of the growing populations in these cities. Not all of these constructions abide by existing laws, however, leading to adverse consequences on governance systems, the environment, people’s health, transportation services, and overall citizen well-being. In extreme cases, illegal constructions have resulted in loss of lives and propert

The Energy Challenge
Sep 21, 2011

The Energy Challenge

First let me say how pleased I am to be here. The Observer Research Foundation has a strong track record of building partnerships between business and policy makers, and generating innovative thinking on how to tackle the major challenges of our times.

The expanding universe of biosafety and space
Feb 26, 2024

The expanding universe of biosafety and space

The year 2023 has witnessed significant advancements in space exploration. With these remarkable achievements come evolving guidelines to safeguard Ea

The facade cracks for China
Dec 28, 2020

The facade cracks for China

The more pushback Xi Jinping faces globally, the more aggressive his domestic and foreign policy agenda is likely to become.

The fall of a dictator and rising Chinese clout in Zimbabwe
Nov 22, 2017

The fall of a dictator and rising Chinese clout in Zimbabwe

China and Zimbabwe got closer ever since Mugabe started pursuing his ‘Look East’ policy after the imposition of sanctions by western countries because of human right concerns.

The fallacy of Govt's tobacco taxation
Jul 09, 2014

The fallacy of Govt's tobacco taxation

The skewed tobacco taxation policy, far removed from a reality based understanding of the tobacco consumption and economics, is not helping the government achieve any goals. It is perhaps due to either a strong lobby, or the desire to protect 36 million beedi workers or just bad strategy.

The faraway neighbour
Jul 17, 2013

The faraway neighbour

Recent developments in Bhutan reflect India's growing foreign policy challenges in the Neighbourhood. They are a reminder that many of the traditional assumptions of India's regional policy are no longer sustainable.

The Fintech Landscape in India and Africa: A Primer
Aug 16, 2023

The Fintech Landscape in India and Africa: A Primer

The adoption of digital payments has risen exponentially over the past decade in many countries including India and those in the African continent. In India, the growth has run parallel to rapid mobile penetration, aided by initiatives like Aadhaar, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and IndiaStack, as well as the unintended push factor created by demonetisation in November 2016. This brief discusses the landscape of fintech—‘finan

The forgotten history of Indian international relations
Nov 16, 2017

The forgotten history of Indian international relations

What does it mean to speak of an ‘Indian’ approach to international affairs? Indian International Relations (IR) is commonly presented as merely a derivative of ‘western’ disciplinary traditions in Europe and North America. This obscures the vast body of work on political science and international thought that emerged from the beginning of the 20th century amongst South Asian intellectuals, scholars, and activists. This forgotten history

The future of the Indian workforce: A new approach for the new economy
Mar 21, 2018

The future of the Indian workforce: A new approach for the new economy

India is at a crossroads. It has the largest young workforce anywhere in the world, and is the fastest growing economy today. At the same time, the economy is not creating enough jobs, and therefore not fully harnessing its “demographic dividend” in preparation for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. To create more and better jobs, certain fundamental realities need to be recognised – the untapped opportunities in the services sector, t

The gender dimensions of global value chains
Jul 16, 2022

The gender dimensions of global value chains

Research suggests that higher women’s participation in global value chains will prove to be economically beneficial for the world.

The Global Dividend
Aug 19, 2023

The Global Dividend

A survey shows wide youth support for the Modi government’s foreign policy.

The Global War Against Terrorism: A Progress Report
Feb 23, 2005

The Global War Against Terrorism: A Progress Report

The idea was to capture the different dimensions of the war on terror as has been perceived and to locate the war in the larger geo political context in order to appreciate and understand the consequences, according to Dr Ashley Tellis, a well-known senior US policy analyst.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Germany’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
May 21, 2020

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Germany’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Germany’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has earned it almost all-round approval. This special report argues that there is indeed much that German policy has gotten right. But it is also important to keep an eye on the limitations and failings, for which Germany – and other countries that seek to emulate it – might end up paying a very dear price. In contrast, a timely correction of some aspects of German policy could help pre-empt bo