Bharath Gopalaswamy

  • A Step Closer to Peace in Afghanistan?

    There is renewed hope for a settlement to the seventeen-year-old war in Afghanistan—although significant questions remain.

    US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is reported to be making headway in his talks this week with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. Although Khalilzad has consulted with most of the relevant Afghan and regional actors since last September, details of the full range of discussions are still sketchy as they may arouse undue suspicions or misunderstandings in Kabul and in other concerned capitals.


    Read More
  • Atlantic Council South Asia Center Ten Year Anniversary Reception

    On Wednesday, January 9th, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a reception commemorating the Ten-Year anniversary of the Center. The occasion was marked by a ceremony honoring Shuja Nawaz, founding director of the South Asia Center and current Distinguished Fellow. 

    Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the South Asia Center, began the ceremony with welcoming remarks. Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council, then offered his comments commemorating the tenth anniversary of the center and honoring Mr. Nawaz. The pair presented Mr. Nawaz with a token of appreciation for his substantial contributions to the South Asia Center as both a former director and current Distinguished Fellow.  

    The ceremony closed with a brief address by Shuja Nawaz, who expressed his continued optimism in the future of South Asia. As Mr. Nawaz reflected on the work of the South Asia Center, he noted the extensive track record of the Center facilitating Track-II Diplomacy between countries of the greater South Asia region, creating ground breaking scholarship, and fostering new initiatives to promote interconnectivity between the U.S. and South Asia. In a region so often defined by uncertainty, Mr. Nawaz praised the South Asia Center’s efforts to change this narrative and expressed his continued confidence in the Center’s ability to carry on the mission of “waging peace.”


    Read More
  • Reforming US' High-Skilled Guestworker Program

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    The H-1B visa program is one of more than twenty US guest worker programs, but it has arguably been in the spotlight more than any other. While the H1-B was originally intended to attract foreign workers to satisfy unmet demand for skilled labor, the current system undercuts opportunities for US workers and enables the exploitation of H-1B workers, many of whom who are underpaid, vulnerable to abuse, and frequently placed in poor working conditions. Adopting safeguards to ensure H-1B workers are provided fair working conditions and given greater employment rights would both improve the lives of visa holders and better protect US workers. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Reforming US’ High-Skilled Guestworker Program, Dr. Ron Hira, Associate Professor at Howard University, and Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, explore the current flaws of the H-1B visa system and discuss potential policy measures for reform.

    Read More
  • A Path Forward in Afghanistan

    One year on, there appears to be little to show for US President Donald J. Trump’s strategy for Afghanistan. The administration needs to implement this strategy in a way that creates an opportunity to end the war in Afghanistan while advancing core US interests of defeating terrorism and demonstrating that a moderate Islamic state, aligned with the international community, can succeed.

    The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center convened policymakers, analysts, and diplomats to assess the gaps in and imminent challenges facing the US strategy in Afghanistan. In a resulting report, “A Review of President Trump’s South Asia Strategy: The Way Ahead, One Year In,” these experts provide some important recommendations to the administration. Here’s a look at those recommendations.

    Read More
  • Review of President Trump's South Asia Strategy

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    Over one year after the announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, significant opportunity remains to improve efforts to achieve peace. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Review of President Trump’s South Asia Strategy: The Way Ahead, One Year In, authors Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; Ambassador James Cunningham, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; General David Petraeus, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute; Mr. Manish Tewari, Distinguished Fellow, Atlantic Council; and Ms. Anita McBride, Executive in Residence, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University offer a list of recommendations to bolster the administration’s strategy and move toward a successful peace process in Afghanistan.

    Read More
  • How Will the Outcome of the Midterms Affect Trump's Policy Options?

    Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Republicans strengthened their Senate majority in the US midterm elections on November 6.

    We asked our analysts what they believe are the policy implications of this outcome. Here’s what they had to say*:

    Read More
  • Gopalaswamy Quoted in AP on China and India Closely Watching Sri Lankan Crisis


    Read More
  • An Inflection Point in the Maldives?

    Over the past five years, the Maldives steadily transitioned from democratic to authoritarian rule under President Abdulla Yameen. Despite all odds, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) achieved a stunning electoral victory on September 23 that provides the Indian Ocean nation with an opportunity to reverse the erosion of rights and freedoms that occurred during Yameen’s tenure. The new government must now secure the loyalty of its institutions, including political factions within the MDP and the military, to ensure a peaceful and stable transition of power from Yameen to President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his new ruling coalition in November.  

    Read More
  • 2+2 Dialogue Offers the United States and India an Opportunity

    Differences over Iran sanctions and trade are holding back the relationship

    On September 6, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will participate in the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi—a symbolically powerful reminder of growing ties between the United States and India. The relationship has, however, become beset by major challenges that should be addressed to ensure the upward trajectory of the strategic partnership.

    Read More
  • Outside-the-Box Sino-Indian and Indo-Russian Cooperation on Afghanistan

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    Recent Sino-Indian and Indo-Russian informal agreements to undertake joint projects in Afghanistan mark a geographical paradigm shift in the strategic ambitions of the region’s largest stakeholders. Partnerships in economic and regional connectivity offer the potential to reinvigorate interest in the Afghan peace process and to initiate shifts in regional alignments. But challenges to cooperation remain, including uncertainties regarding US policy in South Asia and Iranian sanctions, the threat of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran spilling over into the region, the role of Pakistan, and questions regarding the ultimate agenda of the Taliban. Despite these challenges, the opportunity for cooperation between India, China and Russia in the region signals new thinking regarding the Afghan War, and the potential beginning of enhanced cooperation between key stakeholders of an increasingly volatile and unpredictable international system.

    Read More