Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Exit Afghanistan?

Photo
-

The opinions expressed are his own

In his victory speech to a rapturous crowd in Chicago following his re-election, President Barack Obama affirmed that America’s “decade-long conflict” in Afghanistan will now end. The line was greeted with prolonged applause — and understandably so. In fact, this ill-advised war — launched on the basis of a United Nations Security Council resolution — has been grinding on for 11 years, making it the longest in American history.

At the beginning, the war was aimed at eliminating Al Qaeda, vanquishing the Taliban, and transforming Afghanistan into something resembling a Western-style nation-state. With none of these goals fully achieved, America’s intervention — like every other intervention in Afghanistan’s history — is ending unsatisfactorily.

As the curtain drops, two developments will greatly influence the withdrawal process and the ultimate outcome. The first is the management of the transition to Afghan control, which depends on an orderly withdrawal of American and NATO forces by 2014. The second is the election, also to be held in 2014, of a new Afghan president — a process that needs to permit the United States and its NATO allies to claim plausibly that they are handing the country over to a legitimate government.

For Afghanistan, ravaged by war without respite since the “Saur Revolution” of 1978, the endgame will be even more nerve-wracking. As the U.S. military leaves, it will enter another period of political and strategic uncertainty, after almost a half-century of disorder and civil war.

US-India strategic partnership set to grow in second Obama administration

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The re-election of President Barack Obama is likely to be more promising and fruitful for the growing strategic partnership between India and the United States. During the second Obama administration, his India policies are expected to be upgraded further and there would possibly be more tangible outcomes from policy pronouncements made in the last four years.

India Market Weekahead: Trading subdued but markets back on track

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Last week was a volatile one with the stock market poised for a surge but the Nifty eventually closed in the red with a loss of 0.20 percent at 5686.

Higher growth can help lower deficit

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

India’s bloating budget deficit has been a matter of concern. It means more borrowing by the government which results in overcrowding of the debt market and consequently, a higher rate of interest for the private sector. It also raises the rate on borrowings from abroad due to the downgrading by rating agencies which is bound to follow.

India Market Weekahead: Buy on dips with no roadblocks till budget

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

There wasn’t much point-to-point movement on the Nifty but it was not a listless week by any standard.

Life insurance still struggling, non-life continues to grow

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The lean half of the financial year for insurance sales is behind us and the numbers for the life insurance vertical are not impressive. But the general insurance or non-life vertical has shown a healthy growth rate. Highlights are given below.

When will the repo rate be reduced?

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In his policy review on Oct. 30, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao stuck to his position that money cannot be made cheap when commodities are becoming expensive.

Why financial planning is important

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of either Quantum AMC or Reuters)

The unexpected sight of a familiar pair of shoes placed on the shoe rack at home evoked memories of my dad, who died a few months ago.

RBI policy review: Subbarao could have taken a calculated risk

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The Reserve Bank governor kept interest rates unchanged on Tuesday with a marginal 25 basis points decrease in cash reserve ratio (CRR), disappointing stock markets and  resulting in the Nifty going below 5640.

The crippling effect of QE3

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It was tried twice before and it is being tried once again. Whether quantitative easing (QE3) will increase employment in the United States is questionable. But it will certainly disturb currency exchange rates of emerging market economies with related consequences.

  • Editors & Key Contributors