Shankari Sundararaman

Shankari Sundararaman

Shankari Sundararaman

Shankari Sundararaman

Real change looks good in Burma

Last week’s release of 200 political prisoners in Burma by the government of President Thein Sein was a first step in the promise to free more than 2,000 political prisoners in that c

Make autonomy a reality, not rhetoric

Last week in the Philippines the debate around the on-and-off negotiations between the government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), resumed after fighting broke out in certain regions of southern Philippines. In this 40-year-old conflict — one of the longest-running insurgencies in the world — the layers of factionalism that have emerged within the rebel entities in the south make attempts at finding a linear solution very difficult. At the core of the conflict is the issue of severe marginalisation and deprivation which Moro Muslims feel and see as part of the state policy against them. Since the Philippines is staunchly Catholic, the divide between the Centre and this region is unmistakable.

Rice, rights and nuclear dreams

In early August two important developments took place in Burma, which at first glance seem unconnected but are, in fact, intrinsically linked to where Burma may be headed in the years to come. The first was US’ appointment of a special envoy to Burma who would have the rank of ambassador, and the second was Burma’s rice agreement with North Korea, which is based on a barter deal. Both these incidents signal a clear shift in terms of how the international community views and will engage with Burma.

Good luck to Yingluck

On July 3, 2011, the Thai elections resulted in a resounding victory for the Puea Thai Party, headed by the youngest sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Yingluck Shinawatra, born in 1967, is the youngest sibling of the former Prime Minister and will be the first woman Prime Minister of Thailand.

Muzzled in Malaysia

Those who have been following the developments on the Lokpal Bill and the debates in the camps of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev believe that these are intrinsic to the traditions of political participation, which most Indians have taken almost for granted.
However, it is a privilege not enjoyed by many countries even in our own extended neighbourhood.

In search of home

During the recently concluded Asean Summit on May 7 and 8, 2011, there was little emphasis on how to deal with the issue of human rights, particularly the plight of the Burmese Rohingya community. Even as Burma stated its preparedness to be the chair of the Asean in 2014, the unresolved problem of the ethnic Muslim Rohingyas

Whose line is it anyway?

On April 7, 2011, Cambodia and Thailand are scheduled to meet in Bogor, Indonesia, to try and resolve the long-standing dispute over the Preah Vihear temple complex. This will be the first time that the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will mediate in resolving a border dispute between two of its member states. For more than two weeks in February, there was renewed fighting along the Thai-Cambodian border that left 11 dead and several thousand villagers displaced in the worst exchange of fire since tensions began in July 2008.

New Parliament, same story

After more than two decades, Burma convened its new Parliament on January 31, 2011, led by former Prime Minister Thein Sein as President. Though Mr Sein retired from the military in April 2010 to contest elections as a “civilian”, he is still strongly backed by the military, and his party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), is backed by the military junta.

India & Indonesia: A shared future

The forthcoming visit of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono as the chief guest on Republic Day, January 26, 2011, should go beyond the ceremonial state-level visits of other dignitaries. Given that two decades have progressed since the initiation of India’s “Look East” policy in the early 1990s, our bilateral ties with the most

The dragon’s teeth

Even as the applause at the Nobel awards ceremony begins to fade, one major question that it has triggered will continue to be debated and discussed for a while — where does China find itself vis-à-vi

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.