Today, Sunday August 11, I’m leaving for a visit to India, returning September 1. Fortunately, we’ve built up such a robust team that even in my absence Via Meadia will continue to highlight important news for our readers. And just as we did last year, I’ve recruited some guest bloggers to put their two cents in while I’m away.With the Internet and Skype, India isn’t as far away as it used to be, and I will be staying involved with the site from the road. India is 9.5 hours ahead of New York time; that’s an advantage in the blogging world where I can get a look at a day’s news while the folks back home are asleep.This year’s visit to India is similar to what I did last year. I’ll be traveling across India, stopping at important cities north and south to talk about American foreign policy and hear what Indian experts, academics and students have to say. I’ll be meeting a variety of people reflecting many different points of view in India, and for me it’s a great opportunity to learn about the region from the people who really know.Jeremy Stern, one of the VM writers, will be flying out to Delhi to join me for some of the trip. With his help I hope to be able to share some of what happens with our readers.India remains a critical country in world politics and the US-India bilateral relationship is one of the most important in the world. As the US draws down from Afghanistan and the Middle East is in turmoil, Indians and Americans need to talk to each other about the problems in the region. At the same time, India’s growing role in Southeast Asia and beyond and its relationship with countries like China and Japan matter enormously both to America’s Asia policy and to the future of world peace and development. Meanwhile, as readers of this blog know, India’s economy has slowed recently and there are signs as the country prepares for a general election that some economic policy changes will have to be made. That will be tough in India, as governments increasingly have to include many local and regional coalition partners, all of whom bring their red lines to the table whenever economic reforms are discussed.This will be my third substantive trip to India (not counting a tourist jaunt); these trips and the two I’ve taken to Pakistan don’t make me an expert on South Asia or anything like it, but as I slowly come up the learning curve I hope the blog can continue to deliver more interesting and insightful coverage.As I finish the last minute packing and organizing for the trip, I’m also dusting off my (thin) knowledge of cricket and trying to remember the difference between lakhs, crores, and lakh crores. We’ve had almost two crore hits on Via Meadia since it began to appear back in late 2009; a growing India audience is an important part of that success.
A Note From WRM
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