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  • Issue Brief posted August 20, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Sri Lankan Poll Results Augur Well for Relations with the U.S.

    Monday’s parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka will bring to power a coalition government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), which is expected to continue democratic reforms and efforts toward ethnic reconciliation that were started six months ago. This is welcome news for the U.S., which has been pressing Colombo to improve the human rights of…

  • Commentary posted August 17, 2015 by Lisa Curtis How Pakistan Is Tightening Its Grip on the Taliban

    The Taliban is in transition. Its leadership council in Quetta—in Pakistan’s Balochistan province—announced recently that Mullah Akhtar Mansour would replace Mullah Mohammed Omar as the leader of the insurgent movement. The appointment of Mullah Mansour to head the Taliban is an opportunity for Pakistan to solidify its control over the organization and finally help bring…

  • Issue Brief posted July 28, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Pakistan Must Release Asia Bibi to Demonstrate Protection for Its Religious Minorities

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court took an encouraging step forward last week when it decided to reconsider blasphemy charges against Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who is facing a death sentence. This decision provides an opportunity for Pakistan to acquit Bibi and show the world its commitment to protecting its religious minorities. The U.S. must prioritize the issue of…

  • Backgrounder posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Engagement Required: Afghanistan Must Avoid an Iraq-Style Breakdown

    This past year’s surprise success of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among U.S. policymakers that, as U.S. and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban. While Afghanistan does not face the same Sunni–Shia sectarian divisions that have fueled the fighting in Iraq, the…

  • Commentary posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Can Pakistan succeed in its quest to reconcile conflicting regional interests?

    Ahead of the inevitable withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan and the ensuing shift in the regional power balance, Pakistan is striving to position itself in an arena of conflicting interests. As well as consolidating historical ties with China, Islamabad wants to stay in with long-standing Gulf ally, Saudi Arabia and buddy up with new regional influencers,…

  • Commentary posted July 20, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Must Avoid an Iraq-Like Meltdown in Afghanistan

    Two years ago, while commanding U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford convinced President Barack Obama to slow the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from that still-beleaguered nation. Now, Obama has named Dunford to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If, as expected, Congress confirms the nomination, the general will have to continue making the case for…

  • Issue Brief posted July 8, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson, Lisa Curtis, James Phillips, Dean Cheng, Matthew Rolfes, Michaela Dodge Key Questions for General Dunford

    This week the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who has been nominated to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed, he would be the principal military adviser to the President. Currently the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Dunford has had a long and distinguished military…

  • Commentary posted June 5, 2015 by Lisa Curtis China, India and Pakistan - the power players in South Asia

    Relationship dynamics between China, India, and Pakistan will shape the future of the region's security, writes World Review expert Lisa Curtis. China’s increasing political, economic, and military influence in South Asia may have a negative impact on democratic development trends but could help stabilise the long-running Indo-Pakistani conflict. Indian Prime Minister…

  • Commentary posted May 29, 2015 by Lisa Curtis First Year: Modi Invigorates Indian Economy and Foreign Policy

    Marking one year in office this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets high marks for reviving India’s foundering economy and energizing foreign relations with global powers and regional neighbors. The government has experienced some setbacks in implementing its ambitious agenda, like failure (so far) to pass the land acquisition and GST bills, but overall the…

  • Testimony posted May 4, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Bangladesh’s Fracture: Political and Religious Extremism

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives April 30, 2015 Lisa Curtis Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center The Heritage Foundation My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow on South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Takeaways from the Obama visit

    The rain during the Republic Day parade apart, United States President Barack Obama’s visit to India was a near-perfect one. Indeed, his sojourn is likely to be viewed as one of the most important and defining moments in the history of India-U.S. relations. The pomp and symbolism of Mr. Obama being the first U.S. President to attend the parade was expected. But the…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Modi Must Commit to Religious Freedom in 2015

    As Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes over eight months in office, Lisa Curtis assesses his commitment to religious freedom during a period of unease amongst religious minorities. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed US President Barack Obama to India on 25 January 2015 as part of a historic visit, in which he served as Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade,…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Sri Lanka Is Ready to Take Center Stage

    Sri Lanka has rarely, if ever, topped any U.S. foreign-policy agenda. But after the surprising outcome of its presidential election earlier this month, it should get higher billing. In a stunning reversal, Sri Lankans ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa after 10 years of increasingly authoritarian and corrupt rule. By the time of the election, Mr. Rajapaksa had…

  • Commentary posted January 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Partners transcend the Pak Barrier

    US President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to India is likely to be a watershed moment for the India-US relationship. It marks the first time a US president will be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebration. It also represents an evolution in the Narendra Modi government's foreign policy orientation and reaffirms the US interest in India as a lynchpin in its…