Shashi Tharoor (Continuación)

The recent India-Africa summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which India’s government pledged $5 billion in aid to African countries, drew attention to a largely overlooked phenomenon – India’s emergence as a source, rather than a recipient, of foreign aid.

For decades after independence – when Britain left the subcontinent one of the poorest and most ravaged regions on earth, with an effective growth rate of 0% over the preceding two centuries – India was seen as an impoverished land of destitute people, desperately in need of international handouts. Many developed countries showcased their aid to India; Norway, for example, established in 1959 its first-ever aid program there.…  Seguir leyendo »

India-Pakistan relations – a challenge at the best of times, and in the doldrums since the terrorist attacks on Mumbai of November 2008 – received an unexpected boost last month from an unlikely source: cricket. When the two countries became semi-finalists in the game’s quadrennial World Cup, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his Pakistani counterpart, Yusuf Reza Gilani, to watch the game with him in Mohali, with talks over dinner. Though the resulting thaw has involved no substantive policy decisions, Singh has nonetheless changed the narrative of the countries’ relations, and seized control of a stalemated process.

Some Indian critics are less than enthused.…  Seguir leyendo »

The recent ouster of the Nobel Prize-winning Bangladeshi economist Mohammed Yunus as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, which blazed a trail for microfinance in developing countries, has thrown a spotlight on the crisis engulfing a business that was once seen as a harbinger of hope for millions.

Yunus’s tussle with the government of Bangladesh, which had tried to retire him on grounds of age (he is 70) before firing him from his own board, is entangled in his country’s complicated politics. But Bangladeshi President Hasina Wajed’s remark that Yunus had “spent years sucking the blood of the poor” echoes similar charges being made in neighboring India against companies and banks that sought to emulate Grameen.…  Seguir leyendo »

Egypt’s fate has had the world riveted in recent days to newspapers and televisions, as the unfolding consequences of Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” seem to portend a wave like the liberal revolutions of 1848 for the Arab world. Amateur historians ask breathlessly whether this could be the year of decisive change in the Middle East, the year when regime after regime falls prey to rising discontent with authoritarian rulers who have failed to deliver decent lives to their people. Who could be next: Yemen? Libya? Sudan? Even Jordan?

Watching these events from afar, I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that it is not authoritarian rule per se that is being challenged in the streets, much as we democrats would like to believe otherwise; rather, authoritarian rule has simply failed to deliver the goods.…  Seguir leyendo »

La diplomacia india comenzó 2011 con las elecciones a la presidencia del Comité de las Naciones Unidas contra el Terrorismo, un cuerpo de cierta importancia para el país (y uno que muchos pensaron que la India no podría presidir, teniendo en cuenta sus fuertes sentimientos sobre el tema ). Viniendo tras el margen récord de victoria de la India en la carrera por un puesto no permanente en el Consejo de Seguridad, esta noticia confirma la posición de la India en el mundo y la contribución que es capaz de hacer en el Consejo. Sin embargo, con tales apoyos las expectativas son altas y el gobierno de la India tendrá que pensar sobre la mejor manera de cumplirlas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los horrores que se cometieron en Mumbai a finales de noviembre han causado un impacto duradero en todos los indios. Hoy, el país está recuperándose y anotando el coste en vidas humanas y daños materiales y, sobre todo, en la psique herida de una nación devastada.

Yo crecí en Bombay, como se llamaba entonces, por lo que sentí tremenda empatía al observar esos espantosos acontecimientos. Existe una ironía brutal en el hecho de que los ataques de Mumbai comenzaran con los terroristas atracando su nave junto a la Puerta de India. El grandioso arco, construido en 1911, ha sido siempre un símbolo de la apertura de la ciudad.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary general and author of The Elephant, the Tiger & the Cell Phone (THE GUARDIAN, 28/11/08):

There is a savage irony to the fact that the unfolding horror in Mumbai began with terrorists docking near the Gateway of India. The magnificent arch, built in 1911 to welcome the King-Emperor, has ever since stood as a symbol of the openness of the city. Crowds flock around it, made up of foreign tourists and local yokels; touts hawk their wares; boats bob in the waters, offering cruises out to the open sea. The teeming throngs around it daily reflect India’s diversity, with Parsi gentlemen out for their evening constitutionals, Muslim women in burkas taking the sea air, Goan Catholic waiters enjoying a break from their duties at the stately Taj Mahal hotel, Hindus from every corner of the country chatting in a multitude of tongues.…  Seguir leyendo »