What are the implications of Brexit for democracy? Arguably, Brexit represents the first major casualty of the ascent of digital democracy -- the ability to receive information in almost real time through mass media and to make one's voice heard through social media -- over representative democracy. This claim deserves an explanation.
Despite its healthy growth in recent years, the Indian think tank sector today suffers from certain shortcomings. These have prevented them from competing for talent with academia, the private sector, and competitors abroad. They have also been inhibited from being fully effective. However, a few measures, if taken, could rapidly revitalize the Indian think tank industry, to the benefit of these institutions, government policy and public discourse.
India-Pakistan (or, for that matter, India-Bangladesh or India-Nepal) summits must begin to resemble meetings between, say, two European or two Southeast Asian leaders, barely making news even in their home countries rather than being intensely debated or held hostage to domestic pressure groups. This, Modi seems to believe, is the only way forward for the region as a whole.
Academics are academics, and public intellectuals are public intellectuals, and sometimes the twain shall meet. Yet many who have crossed the divide have resorted to methods or arguments as public intellectuals that their academic avatars might never have tolerated. The same presumably applies to the 125 US-based university professors who last week released an open letter decrying the "uncritical fanfare" surrounding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forthcoming visit to Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, their statement is astonishingly ill-informed and poorly argued.
Visas were traditionally meant to serve several purposes. They had to easily communicate necessary information to authorities, such as validity and the terms of stay. They were often designed to prevent easy forgery. And they were occasionally used to convey aspects of a country's national character through visual symbolism and imagery. For all these reasons, the visa, in its brief heyday, was a little-appreciated masterpiece of modern design.
The extension of the invitation by Modi to India's national celebration, and its acceptance by Obama ensured that the president's second visit to India would be a groundbreaking one. Symbolically, it sidelines the anti-American sentiments that had come to dominate the Indian political sphere (regardless of favourable public opinion of the United States). And when he finally arrived in New Delhi this week, Obama received a rock star's welcome, years after some of the shine had begun to wear off his presidency.