South Asia | Wilson Center

South Asia

AfPak File: What's Next For The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?

On November 21, Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, delivered an address at the Wilson Center on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that was strikingly sharp and direct in its criticism of a sensitive and high-stakes project for both Beijing and Islamabad.

Both capitals rejected the speech's criticism and reasserted their commitment to CPEC.

AfPak File: What's Next As Anti-Government Protests Expand Across Pakistan

Recent weeks in Pakistan have seen the emergence of a new anti-government movement demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Led by politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the movement, known as the Azadi March, arrived in Islamabad late last month.

Rehman has recently announced that the movement will end its sit-in in Islamabad and focus its efforts outside of the capital. What is the Azadi March all about, what are its implications for Pakistani politics, how much of a threat does it pose to the Pakistani government, and what might be coming next?

The Speech Heard Round the World

On November 21, Ambassador Alice Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, delivered an address on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—the most expensive and operationalized component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)—at the Wilson Center.

Eighteen Years and $132 Billion: Taking Stock of U.S. Reconstruction Efforts in Afghanistan

This event will provide an assessment of the latest challenges facing the $132 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), recently returned from a visit to Kabul and will share his thoughts on what a potential peace settlement may mean for the future of the reconstruction mission. He will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat corruption in Afghanistan, and he will speak about SIGAR’S new assessment of Afghanistan’s anti-corruption activities.

How Free Is the Fourth Estate? A Discussion about India’s Media Environment

India’s large and dynamic media market boasts thousands of newspapers, several hundred news channels, and innumerable news websites. Yet it also ranks 40th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index -- and journalists, activists, and researchers express increasing concerns its independence. This event convened experts to explore the challenges within India’s robust media environment and the implications for democracy in that country, while also placing India’s press in a  a broader global context.

AfPak File: US Leaders Travel To Afghanistan Amid Uncertainty Over Troop Deployments Overseas

In recent days, there has been a flurry of high-level U.S. diplomatic activity in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Mark Esper traveled to Kabul, and while he was there he was joined by a senior bipartisan congressional delegation.

Meanwhile, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has met with leaders in Europe and in Pakistan about peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

What is behind all these activities, and why is it happening now, less than two months after President Trump called off talks with the Taliban?

Elections, Peace Talks, and U.S. Policy: What’s Next for Afghanistan?

Eighteen years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, the country is not only still at war—it is also in a state of flux. Its political future is uncertain, with the final results of a September 28 presidential election not expected until November. The fate of a fledgling peace and reconciliation process has been unclear since U.S. President Donald Trump called off talks with the Taliban. The direction of U.S. policy, and particularly the future American military presence, is also a major question.

AfPak File: Previewing Afghanistan’s Upcoming Presidential Election

On September 28, Afghans will go to the polls for a presidential election amid serious security risks and concerns about election technology, among other issues.

What can we expect from this election? What do Afghans think about it, and what playout in terms of turnout? What is the risk of a contested result and a post-election political crisis, as was the case after the last presidential election in September 2014?

The latest episode of the AfPak File, the joint podcast series of the Wilson Center and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, explores these questions and more.

Democracy and Human Rights in South Asia: The Inaugural Asma Jahangir Memorial Lecture featuring Ayesha Jalal

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program, and South Asia Democracy Watch (SDW), Present the Inaugural Asma Jahangir Lecture Series


The Triumph of the Indian Right: Reasons and Ramifications

In 2019, Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) achieved an overwhelming victory in India’s national election. It marked the second such election in a row that resulted in such a resounding triumph for the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party.