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  • The African Decade?
    May, 2010 By Ilmas Futehally

    I am just back to work after a weeklong workshop at the Bellagio Centre of the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy. Located on the banks of Lake Como, the Centre is a dream location for meeting people from all over the world and hearing different perspectives. Some of the things that I learnt there about Africa were very illuminating.

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  • The Energy Game
    May, 2010 By Ambika Vishwanath

    The global financial crisis, the long war, and the theory that water will be the next big cause of conflict, have all served to partially hide an extremely important, quietly waged, global energy game. This ‘game’ is a fierce struggle for control over the world’s greatest oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. With the discovery of new reserves to the tune of several trillion barrels of oil and gas in both Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, in addition to the existing known reserves in Azerbaijan, the region has become a great playing field for the energy hungry world. On the one hand there are the western powers spearheaded by America who are soon to be heavily dependent on others for oil and gas, and on the other hand is the new emerging contender on the block, China, with her old fair weather friend Russia, in the middle.  

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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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