• India’s Data Localization Efforts Could Do More Harm Than Good

    In April 2018, India’s central bank—the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)—issued a new rule for payment systems providers operating in the country. Under the rule, all user data collected within the borders of the country needed to be localized within six months. The RBI said it was motivated by the need to have “unfettered supervisory accesses” to such data, given the fast-growing and increasingly technology dependent payments ecosystem in India. This new data protection rule is just one part of a larger set of multi-sectoral data protection and privacy measures being considered by India, put forth in a contentious draft Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill in July 2018. The draft PDP Bill is expexted to be introduced to Parliament this summer after the Lok Sabha elections in India in May 2019.

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  • 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.  

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  • 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.

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  • As Sanctions Return, India Caught between Iran and the United States

    As the first set of US sanctions against Iran went back into effect Aug. 7, India is applying its negotiations skills—effectively, so far—toward managing relations with both sides. 

    The United States and its Persian Gulf Arab allies may be able to provide India with enough crude to offset any reduction in India’s oil imports from Iran. But will Delhi give in to the Trump administration’s pressure to cut Iranian oil imports completely by Nov. 4, thereby endangering a long-standing relationship with Tehran that goes beyond energy?

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

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    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.

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  • Gopalaswamy Quoted in the Times of India on the Postponement of the '2+2 Dialogue'

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  • Gopalswamy in the Hill: Friendly Fire: The Curious Case of Sanctions on India

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  • Great Power Competition in Iran as the US Exits the Arena

    US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, and thus re-impose broad sanctions against the Islamic Republic, sends a clear signal that Washington has reverted to a full containment policy against Tehran. But, lacking a clear overarching Middle East strategy, US policymakers do not appear to be weighing the merits of this pursuit in the context of the United States’ long-term rivalries with China and Russia. While Tehran’s contentious relations with its neighbors to the west are the subject of intense focus, inadequate attention is being paid to the geostrategic implications of transformations to Iran’s east. A new “Great Game” for political and economic dominance is being waged in Eurasia that will impact the lives of almost two-thirds of the world’s population, and could lead to a further weakening of Western influence over the international system. China and India are currently in the lead, with Russia following closely in the hopes of shaping any outcome to its advantage. The Europeans lag behind, and Trump’s Iran containment strategy risks further holding them back.

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  • The US-India Defense Partnership: Trending Upward

    In August 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill designed in part to sanction countries doing business with Russia’s defense industry. Like some other US partners, India is at risk of CAATSA sanctions because the bulk of its defense inventory is from the former Soviet Union and it maintains substantial defense ties with Russia.

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  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living

    Compassion and cooperation are key to dealing with global conflict, one of India’s renowned spiritual leaders, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 19.

    “The value of compassion, of cooperation…should be emphasized more than aggression,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.

    “When we speak to people, we make them understand that we understand them,” said Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. He called for world leaders to apply this principle to their politics. According to Shankar, in the midst of conflict, opposing parties must be made “to feel they are part of [a] dialogue. You cannot accuse someone and expect them to come forward.”

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