South Asia and Beyond

Parul Chandra

Professional newshound, have navigated through typewriters, computers and mobile phones during my over three-decade-long career working in some of India's finest newsrooms (The Times of India, Financial Express). Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan are my focus, also Sri Lanka (when boss permits). Age and arthritis (that's a joke) have not dimmed the thrill of chasing a story. Loves music, animals and pasta.

Temple Run Hits Breaker As Imran Khan Succumbs To Radicals

NEW DELHI: For all his promises of working to improve the lot of his country’s religious minorities, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has had to capitulate to the will of Muslim clerics, radical elements and political parties protesting against the plan to build a Hindu temple in the capital Islamabad and put the project on […]Read More

Nepal PM Oli Gets A Breather, Not Out Of Chokehold Yet

NEW DELHI: Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli lives to fight again! A meeting of the powerful standing committee of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, scheduled for Wednesday, has now been put off to Friday. It gives Oli some more time to try and win over or divide those against him, currently 30 of 44 […]Read More

China Tests Natuna Waters, Indonesia’s Patience

NEW DELHI: In an opinion piece in The Jakarta Post on April 14 this year, China’s ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian waxed eloquent about bilateral ties, where the two sides “have composed one piece after another of beautiful music about their exchanges and interactions over the centuries”. At celebrations marking 70 years of diplomatic ties, Ambassador Xiao grandly […]Read More

Colombo Terminal Trouble: Sri Lanka Buys Time, India Waits

NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a five-man committee to look into issues concerning Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal and the Jaya Container Terminal. These were to be developed under the terms of an MoC (Memorandum of Cooperation) signed last year by the previous Sirisena government, with India and Japan. But the […]Read More

Baloch Party’s Exit From Govt Pak Deep State’s Nudge To Imran Khan?

“We are ready to face any kind of punishment, even death, if our demands are illegal and unconstitutional. But all other people who signed the agreements should also face the same punishment.” —Sardar Akhtar Mengal, president, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) in The Express Tribune “[The government] is worried more about Kashmir than Balochistan. [The government] […]Read More

Map Row: India Lobs Dialogue Ball In Oli’s Court

NEW DELHI: India launched a broadside at Nepal on Monday, dismissing its efforts to claim Indian territory through a constitutional amendment. Sources said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s “actions are myopic and self-serving and meant only to further his political agenda,” a pointed reference to his internal political battles with other leaders of the NCP […]Read More

Polls Amid Pandemic: What Lies In Store For Sri Lanka?

NEW DELHI: It was the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the postponement of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections twice in recent months. And it’s Covid-19 that’s expected to hold centre stage when polls are held on August 5. The Election Commission carried out a trial run or mock poll to determine exactly how precautions will be implemented, […]Read More

India-Nepal Cartographic War: The Friction Points

NEW DELHI: A sliver of land over which India and Nepal have contesting claims has strained ties between the neighbours that share a long and porous border. Tension over territorial claims has been simmering since November last year after India showed Kalapani as part of a new map it issued that month and Nepal sought […]Read More

India, Australia Elevate Ties; Malabar To Go Quad?

NEW DELHI: Australia didn’t get an invitation from India to join the trilateral Malabar naval exercise due in July or August but Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison have taken the bilateral relationship to a whole new level by sealing a comprehensive strategic partnership during their virtual summit on Thursday. So Malabar may only be a […]Read More

China Looms Large Over India-Australia Virtual Summit

NEW DELHI: Until COVID-19 struck the world, who would’ve imagined that the prime ministers of India and Australia would be forced to hold a virtual summit? Or the two would discuss their tensions with China? Given that, it’s clear Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison will be hoping to further crank up their security cooperation in […]Read More

Modi, Oli Need To Pick Up The Phone and Talk: Kanak Mani Dixit

NEW DELHI: An approximately 1,700 km long porous border between India and Nepal has contributed to the deep and strong civilizational and people-to-people links between the two nations. But as often happens with close neighbours, the two are currently at loggerheads over contesting territorial claims. At stake are the territories of Kalapani, Lipu Lek and […]Read More

Nepal: Oli Battles His Demons & Baits India

NEW DELHI: What is the official view of the Nepali government on the Coronavirus? According to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, “Indian virus looks more lethal than Chinese and Italian. More are getting infected”! Usually prime ministers are circumspect, clearly not this one. It’s a pointer to how low the bilateral relationship has fallen. The […]Read More

China Bows To Pandemic Probe, With Caveats

NEW DELHI: At the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, which was virtual owing to the coronavirus, China’s President Xi Jinping agreed to an investigation into the pandemic with some caveats. “China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control to sum up […]Read More

China In Nepal: Is BFF Turning Master?

NEW DELHI: No diplomat can ignore the call of duty, which is why it is de rigueur for Asean diplomats to don colourful batik shirts if Indonesia is hosting an event; or for others to wear the Arab headdress if the host happens to be from the Arab world. In other words, it’s good optics […]Read More

Seeking To Win Friends In The Time of Covid-19

NEW DELHI: Not many people may know this: By May 14th, India had supplied nearly 3 million hydroxylchloroquine (HCQ) tablets (2.94 mn to be exact) to a staggering 24 countries! There’s more on the way, to 43 other countries. And India would have supplied 100 million of these tablets when the exercise is over. Of […]Read More