South Asia Center

  • Trump and the Art of the [Iran Nuclear] Deal

    As expected, US President Donald J. Trump on October 13 announced that he will not certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of a multilateral nuclear deal, accusing the Islamic Republic of “not living up to the spirit” of the agreement.

    While Trump did not take the United States out of the deal, he asserted the right to do so and warned that he would if the US Congress does not make amendments to the agreement.

    At the top of the list of amendments Trump would like is for Congress to address the issue of the “sunset clauses” in the deal. These clauses lift certain restrictions placed on Iran ten to fifteen years after the agreement took effect in January of 2016. However, even at that...

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  • Dialogue with Congressman Ro Khanna

    On September 13th 2017, the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council hosted a dialogue with Congressman Ro Khanna on his proposed bill centered on reforming the H-1B and L-1 visas for high skilled workers in the U.S. In addition to the central topic, Congressman Khanna discussed his views on broader immigration trends, the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the D.A.C.A Act, the long-term strengths of the U.S as a hub for foreign talent and the US’ relations with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This discussion was moderated by Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the South Asia Center.
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  • Science Exchanges with Iran: Mutually Beneficial but Uncertain Future

    The United States’ cultural diplomacy programs and science exchanges with the Islamic Republic of Iran have brought benefits to both countries and to people around the world.

    Over the past two decades, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, in conjunction with several US universities, have identified key areas of mutual benefit, including seismic science and engineering, conservation and the effective use of water resources and resilient cities. Political developments in both countries, however, threaten the continuation of this important work, leading to an uncertain future.

    On September 8, 2017, the South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a discussion coinciding with the publication of a new book, US-Iran Engagement in Science Engineering, and Health (2010-2016): A Resilient Program but an Uncertain Future by Glenn Schweitzer of the National Academies.

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  • Iran, Turkey Key to Turkmenistan Realizing its Energy Potential

    Turkmenistan must invest in new infrastructure to export its vast energy resources if it is to become a substantial player in the global energy market. Achieving this objective would reduce Turkey and the European Union (EU)’s dependence on Russian gas.

    Turkmenistan boasts the sixth-largest natural gas reserves in the world, an estimated 617 trillion cubic feet (tcf), along with an estimated 600 million barrels of proven oil reserves. However, despite its vast energy resources, the Central Asian nation has thus far failed to become a major energy player. There are several potential pipeline interconnections that could help Turkmenistan achieve this status, yet none are without political complications.

    Through the proposed Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan could export gas across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to Europe, circumventing Russia and Iran. While this is considered a...

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  • Ahmad and Gopalaswamy in The Hill: India Has a Featured Role in Trump's New Afghan Plan


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  • Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy Turns Up the Heat on Pakistan

    US President Donald J. Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan effectively puts the onus on Pakistan to end its support for terrorists.

    If this strategy is to succeed, the United States must “adopt a very serious policy toward Pakistan,” said C. Christine Fair, the provost’s distinguished associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

    In an August 21 speech, Trump said Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations.”

    “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting... that will have to change,” Trump added.

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  • Trump Misses an Opportunity in Afghanistan

    US President Donald J. Trump should have stuck to his original line of questioning of his national security team before sharing his new “strategy” on Afghanistan and South Asia: what outcome are we seeking, and how will we get there?

    Trump’s August 21 speech, in which he outlined his policy on Afghanistan, exemplified the truth of Lewis Carroll’s quotation from Alice in Wonderland: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

    Long on assertions, but short on specifics, Trump’s speech failed to lay out a clear roadmap to “victory” that is based on history and regional ground realities. Indeed, Trump did not identify any benchmarks for actions to be taken by Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, or even the United States.

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  • Trump’s Commitment to Afghanistan

    US president’s policy will send a clear message to the region, said Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    US President Donald J. Trump’s approach to Afghanistan—marked by an indefinite US troop presence—sends a clear signal of the United States’ commitment to ending the war in that country, said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “This is the first time that it is clear that the United States and its international partners are in this for the long term, and that we are going to make our future decisions based on events that are happening on the ground and in the region and not against a timeline,” he said.

    Trump’s August 21 speech, in which he outlined his policy on Afghanistan, also sends an important message to Pakistan, which, by providing safe haven to terrorist groups like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, has been an impediment to ending the nearly...

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  • Nawaz Joins CGTN America to Discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan's Reaction to Trump's Speech


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  • ISIS in South Asia: Options and Ways to Respond

    On August 21st 2017, the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council hosted a panel discussion on the inroads made by The Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS) into South Asia. The panel discussed how ISIS operates as a group, how it impacts the states that make up South Asia internally, and how South Asian governments-and the United States-should respond to this growing phenomenon. Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the South Asia Center, moderated a discussion with Jasmine El-Gamal, resident Senior Fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, Javid Ahmad, nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, and Hagar Hajjar Chemali, former Middle East Policy Adviser at the US Department of the Treasury.

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