ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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States of Insecurity

After the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the United States is an irretrievably changed nation. Its relations with the rest of the world are defined solely in terms of its own security and strategic self-interest. South Asia, for the US, is a region of 'geopolitical significance'. While relations between the Bush administration and the governments of India and Pakistan veer between caution and an enforced bonhomie, the south Asian diaspora in the US, still small compared to other ethnic communities, is today among the richest and most influential in that country. Emigration to the US, first a trickle in the initial decades of the 20th century, rose to a flood by the late 1960s and 1970s. At present, apart from Silicon Valley, US citizens of south Asian origin are prominent in academia, administration and business. 'Letter from America', a column that we inaugurate with this issue, will be in the nature of an occasional colloquium, where, from their unique vantage point as insiders, writers and academics based in the US present a perspective of that country as well as of the others in the two continents that constitute the Americas. In an attempt that will also highlight aspects largely missed by the wider south Asian media, the hope also is, in some manner, to build an understanding between peoples of the two regions. In the first column, Zia Mian describes the fearsome ring of security that is today a characteristic of present day Washington DC, capital of the world's most powerful nation.

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