Modi: Breaking the Mold of Indian Politics (Part 1 of 2)

Memo #296

Narendra Modi’s Historic Electoral Victory.

By John Harriss – jharriss [at]


That Narendra Modi should have won India’s 16th General Election is no great surprise.

But the scale of his triumph is.

Together with most other commentators I expected Modi to win, but thought it likely that he would be… Continue reading

Coalitional Constraints in India: Why we shouldn’t fear Modi

Memo #292

By  Geoffrey Macdonald – GPMacdonald [at]

Polling indicates that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be announced next week as the clear winner of India’s scheduled parliamentary elections. With this result, the worst fears of many Indians and international observers will be realized: Narendra Modi, who is banned from entering the United States for his… Continue reading

The Paradox of Women Leaders in Asian Democracies

Memo #277

By   Timothy S. Rich – [at]

Political life in Asian countries is often characterized as a man’s world, especially compared to its Western counterparts. Yet we have also seen increasing political leadership opportunities for women in the region. Since 2000 alone, women have been elected prime minister in Bangladesh and Thailand, and elected president… Continue reading

At the Frontier of the Middle Income Trap: Remarkable Parallels between India’s and Indonesia’s Elections

Memo #274

By  Yves Tiberghien – yves.tiberghien [at]

India and Indonesia are both facing crucial elections this year: May for India and July for Indonesia (April for parliament). Although contexts are different and their ties are rarely explored, they face remarkably similar economic issues. Both are seen as successful emerging powers of the 2000s and powerful members of the G20. Yet, in both cases, the public… Continue reading

Saving Lives in Odisha: Disaster Mitigation Comes of Age in India

Memo #250

By Asim Arun – asimarun [at]

The recent typhoon in the Philippines, and growing threat of climate change it may represent, has once again taught us the necessity of disaster preparedness. It was just over a month ago, on October 12, 2013, that the category-five Cyclone Phailin slammed into India’s eastern coastal states… Continue reading

Keeping Neighbours Closer: Beijing’s Geopolitical Pitch

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #249

By Jargalsaikhan Mendee – mendee [at]

Lately, Chinese leaders have been busy bolstering relations with their immediate neighbours.  As evidence, the Prime Ministers of India, Mongolia, and Russia arrived in Beijing for bilateral meetings with China’s President Xin Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on the… Continue reading

India-Bangladesh Border Issue Unresolved

Memo #231

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

By Glen Hamburg – glenhamburg [at]

An international enclave is a piece of one state’s sovereign territory entirely surrounded by the territory of just one other state. Nearly 200 such land-locked islands lie along India’s border with northern Bangladesh.  The obscure remnants of… Continue reading

India: Problems and Promise (Video Interview with M.J. Akbar)

Modern India, which emerged out of British colonial rule in 1947 bloodied but unbowed by partition, had two massive challenges: the protection of its unity, and the elimination of poverty. More than six decades later, after surviving serious insurrections both in its North East and North West, India has largely resolved the threat from sectarian secessionism. But it still struggles under the weight of one third of the world’s poor. In 1947 this poverty was stark: in the last years of British rule, an estimated three million died of famine in Bengal alone. Such horrors are a thing of the past, but the tragedy of under-nourishment and subsistence-level existence remains a reality for 30% of the population. Continue reading