The power of Bollywood

It is the perfect medium for India to win the hearts and minds of millions, including in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia The India-Pakistan conflict has sadly spilled into the cultural realm, attenuating forces that provide the little glimmer of hope for an integrated, peaceful and prosperous South Asia: culture, arts, music, movies,… Read More

Cancelled SAARC summit exposes Pakistan’s foreign policy failure, whose root cause is its obsession with India

With five out of seven neighbours of Pakistan withdrawing from the SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad next month, the dismal failure of Pakistan’s diplomacy has been exposed. SAARC’s mechanism dictates that non-participation of any one member will result in cancellation of the summit. Yet five member nations officiated their withdrawal, showing how… Read More

Why ‘love thy neighbour’ is still great advice for China and India

Mr. Syed Munir Khasru says given the significant influence of the two countries over the entire Asia-Pacific, they could learn from the EU and find ways to come together for greater regional prosperity Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s (王毅) meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on… Read More

Nice to Singapore to Dhaka: Joining the dots on terrorism

Radical ideologies are spreading faster than before, and appealing to vastly different cross-sections of people. How can this be tackled? In Bangladesh, a popular cafe in the capital, Dhaka, is attacked on July 1 by youngsters from well-educated, wealthy backgrounds who kill the cafe’s Italian, Japanese, Indian and local patrons. In Singapore, on July 12,… Read More

Take Dhaka tragedy as a wake-up call: No country is immune from such terror attacks

The terrifying attack on a calm Friday evening, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, has perplexed the world. The gruesome killing of innocent civilians has prompted many theories. For the first time in the history of Bangladesh, a popular socialising place had more than 30 people taken hostage for a gut-wrenching 12 hours of… Read More

Nailing the neighbourly dividend

A year since Mr. Modi’s visit to Dhaka, progress has been made on many fronts but greater issues remain at bay. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka last year raised hopes for the settlement of old issues between India and Bangladesh. “We are not just neighbours. We are two nations bound by the threads… Read More

Reflections on Modi’s two years as Indian PM

When The Straits Times declared Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “The Asian of the Year” in 2014, I wrote: “Your promise of ‘Acchhe Din’ or ‘Better Days’, which electrified Indian voters, needs to be backed by solid performance” (“An open letter to Modi, ST’s Asian of the Year”; Dec 12, 2014 ). With the… Read More

The real face of Bangladesh – moderate, secular

The arrests of 27 Bangladeshi workers under the Internal Security Act is the first instance that a radical militant terror cell comprising foreigners has been uncovered in Singapore. The Ministry of Home Affairs said last Wednesday that the authorities had arrested the Bangladeshis between Nov 16 and Dec 1 last year for supporting the armed… Read More

Letter from a possible climate-change migrant

Dear Global Leaders and Activists, As you continue efforts in Paris to produce a meaningful deal over climate change, the future of vulnerable countries hangs in the balance. Against such a background, this letter comes from a potential climate-change migrant seeking shelter in other countries in a future that may not be as distant as… Read More

Rise of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank reinforces need for World Bank/IMF reform

Mr. Syed Munir Khasru says the emergence of two multilateral development banks should lead to an opportunity to push the reform process forward The annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund held in Lima, Peru earlier this month failed to come up with meaningful takeaways on the agenda of reform. Meanwhile,… Read More