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  • Water – Shaping Civilizations of the Past and Future
    May, 2010 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    Water was the prime element responsible for the rise of the Akkad civilization in Iraq. Dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE, Akkad thrived along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It is considered the predecessor of the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations. Akkad had the highest recorded population densities in the world at this time due to its massive agricultural system. Southern Iraq was extremely fertile and had a yield of 30 grains returned for one grain sewn, which is more productive than present day yields aided by modern farming technology. However, the blossoming of this civilization was short-lived due to a massive drought. The rivers experienced a sudden drop in water levels, while improper farming methods led to a progressive salinization of the soil. Trade seems to have collapsed, cattle starved and ultimately there was forced migration. The affluent civilization, it seems, fell prey to the devastating effects of the very water that once supported its lavish existence. 

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  • Stepping Back: Technology and the State
    May, 2010 By Anumita Raj

    In the last ten years, the interaction between human beings and technology has veered off the path of familiarity, and increasingly into the unknown. As virtual societies replace physical ones, computers control every aspect of human movement from traffic lights to flights and all human activity can be logged and catalogued into a cyber-database, the inexorable march towards ceding all control to technology is already underway. Given this fact, securing the safety of the state, as well securing the interactions between governments has now firmly entrenched itself entirely in technology. This reliance on technology can be looked at from two separate angles, from the point of view of inter-state interactions, and from the point of view of state security. 

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  • The Greek Tragedy – A Look into the Future
    May, 2010 By Joyanto Mukherjee

    The recent set of dire economic problems in Greece clearly spelled out the fact that countries are still not completely out from the clutches of recession. This is true especially for the European countries, where most of them are counting the problems which are now arising since they have a singular currency. Despite the Greek woes, the European countries are better off learning from the mistakes they make rather than sticking with their old plan and continuing on the path they are following now.

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  • India and Bangladesh: Teesta River Agreement
    May, 2010 By Sowmya Suryanarayanan

    The India-Bangladesh 37th ministerial-level Joint River Commission meeting was held in March 2010. A major breakthrough achieved during the meeting was the decision to sign an agreement within a year on the Teesta River water sharing, which provides key support to agricultural production in the northwest region of Bangladesh. During the meeting, India and Bangladesh exchanged draft accords on Teesta water sharing however, no information was disclosed on the percentage of river water likely to be shared between the countries. 

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  • Pakistan’s Spin Doctors
    April, 2010 By Rohit Honawar

    Democratic societies across the world pride themselves on the existence of a free press, with Pakistan being no different. The country’s civil society has historically looked towards the media as an institution or symbol, representative of their democratic values and ideals. Yet the relationship has not been so simple. 

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  • ‘Engaging the Muslim World’ – A Book Review
    April, 2010 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    One of the pivotal factors driving global politics in the post 9/11 world has been the growing rift between the West and Islamic countries. This new wave of geo-political conflict, coined by Samuel Huntington as the ‘Clash of Civilizations’, has gripped the minds and interest of political analysts and aficionados around the world and has made topics like Iraq and Islamic fundamentalism part of common discourse. What are some of the main issues that stand at the center of West-Islam relations today?

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  • India and Afghanistan: The Way Forward
    April, 2010 By Anumita Raj

    India’s historic ties with Afghanistan are now under a scanner as a whole litany of pressures, some old and some new, some external and some internal, have come into play in the politics of the region. India’s involvement in the country has begun to be moulded by aspects other than its own interests in the country, and the interests of the Afghan people. In the near future, due to the increasing attacks in Indian targets in Afghanistan, India will, in essence, be forced to shape its policy in the country more as a reaction to external events, rather than as a way to achieve its own ends. 

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  • Pakistan’s Power Struggle – The Real Movers and Shakers
    April, 2010 By Joyanto Mukherjee

    The first quarter of 2010 has already seen the situation in Pakistan take several turns.  The recent Pakistani Delegation visit to the US which saw COAS General Kayani lead the delegation, the statements by Pakistan with regards to Afghanistan and its call for an ‘active’ role in the country and the recent U-turn by PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif with regards to the 18TH Amendment have been a few highlights over the past three months. Other developments over the same period have now effectively highlighted the major players in the struggle for power, those who will determine the overall future of the country.

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