Skip NavigationMenu

Sagar Prasai

Customers stand in designated spots to keep social distance in Nepal 

Back-to-Back Spikes of Covid Wrack India, Nepal

April 28, 2021


In the three years before the pandemic, South Asia registered the world’s highest rate of economic growth. Now, as a ruinous second wave of Covid-19 sweeps through the region, all of that appears to be undone.


The Best InAsia Podcasts and Posts of 2020

January 7, 2021


The year of the pandemic was a long, discontented winter that the glorious sun forgot. But it was a year we dug deep into the voices and ideas of our colleagues across Asia in our new InAsia Podcast.

construction equipment and half-built structures in Nepal mountains 

The Day the Workers Started Walking Home

May 13, 2020


When Nepal abruptly shut down in late March, it triggered an exodus of Nepali workers from the cities. A rapid assessment survey shows that Nepal can still put its once-promising economy back together, but only if things are handled right.


The Price of Power: The Political Economy of Electricity Trade and Hydropower in Eastern South Asia

August 15, 2018


Grand experiments in geopolitics often begin by cautiously testing new ways of doing things. Sovereign states calibrate and then recalibrate their visions by expanding and aligning interests with their neighbors, with the hope that the sum of what is achieved is greater than its parts. Recent actions indicate that this is underway in South Asia’s n… Read more


The Price of Power: The Political Economy of Electricity Trade and Hydropower in Eastern South Asia

July 31, 2018

South Asia, generally described as “the least integrated region in the world,” has made remarkable progress in power trading and cooperation on resources over the last two decades. Regional power cooperation has come a long way from exchanges of power between small border towns and early ideas for an energy ring. By 2025, trade could be powered by… Read more


Expanding the Benefits of Trade to Women in the BBIN Region

March 6, 2018

This report scopes out key programming challenges and opportunities in expanding the benefits of trade to women in the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal) region. The analyses and recommendations of this report focus on trade facilitation measures and do not extend to general provisions of the regional trade agreements and country-level tra… Read more

Commuters travel through one of New Delhi's 146 metro stations. 

Eye on South Asia: Challenges to Development and Democracy

Berkeley, Wednesday, March 22, 2017


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm University of California Berkeley Faculty Club, Seaborg Room Home to 1.7 billion people, South Asia was the world’s fastest growing economic region in 2016, and is expected to hold this spot in 2017. However, South Asian countries continue to face daunting challenges of persistent poverty, widening inequality, and growing instabil… Read more

ATM lines in India 

Q&A: Understanding India’s Cash Crisis

February 1, 2017


Nearly three months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a ban on its highest-denomination currency to curb corruption and tax evasion, the country is still reeling from the move, with millions struggling from a cash shortage in an overwhelmingly cash-dependent economy. In Asia editor Alma Freeman spoke with The Asia Foundation’s cou… Read more

Delhi Train station 

South Asian Regionalism: What Hopes After SAARC Meltdown?

November 2, 2016


According to a new World Bank report, South Asia has solidified its rank as the world’s fastest growing economic region in 2016, and is expected to hold this spot at least through to 2017. With growth in the offing, a young population of 1.6 billion people, and a burgeoning consuming class, every global producer is eager to trade with South Asia no… Read more


World Water Forum Publication Features Commentary by Sagar Prasai and Mandakini Devasher Surie

April 22, 2015

Media Coverage

The 7th World Water Forum’s flagship publication publishes a piece by The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in India Sagar Prasai and Senior Program Officer Mandakini Devasher Surie on South Asia’s regional cooperation on water. Read more: “Regional Cooperation on Water in South Asia: Challenges and Opportunities.”


From the World Water Forum: A Look at South Asia’s Regional Cooperation on Water

April 15, 2015


South Asia has witnessed rapid social and economic transformation over the last two decades. Undeterred by a global slowdown, the region’s economic growth rate is expected to remain at a respectable 6 and 6.4 percent for 2015 and 2016….


Modi’s U.S. Visit Highlights Need to Energize Indo-U.S. Relations to Tackle Big Issues

September 24, 2014


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his highly anticipated U.S. visit later this week. While the first-half of the visit revolves around UN events, it is the second-half that involves meetings with President Obama, the India Caucus in U.S. Congress, and a select group of celebrity CEOs…


Business Standard Quotes Sagar Prasai on the Burgeoning Relationship Between Nepal and India

August 6, 2014

Media Coverage

Business Standard (India) quotes The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative for India Sagar Prasai in a piece on the burgeoning relationship between Nepal and India. Read more: “India and Nepal: A burgeoning friendship.”


Transparency Needed for South Asia Transboundary Water Cooperation

March 19, 2014


In 2008, Nepal and India experienced one of the worst river disasters in their modern history, when the Kosi River breached an embankment flooding vast areas of terai Nepal and northeastern parts of Bihar, India. The floods caused tremendous loss of human life and property, affecting an estimated 50,000 Nepalis and 3.5 million Indians. A tributary of the Ganges and a transboundary river that flows through Tibet, Nepal, and India, the Kosi River is prone to seasonal variations in river flow and sediment discharge, resulting in frequent downstream floods.


Real-World Problems of South Asian Integration

February 26, 2014


Regional integration in South Asia has remained weak on all fronts. Even in the face of pressing needs, regional cooperation on water and energy, for instance, barely gets the kind of attention that it deserves. On trade, the story is even worse. Intra-regional trade in Asia (as a geographic block) constitutes around 56 percent of the total trade…


Civic Complacency in Political Accountability Holds Nepal Back

January 22, 2014


The November 2013 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in Nepal revealed very strong anti-incumbency sentiments among the voting public. So too did the 2008 CA elections, when Nepali voters turned to the newly above-ground Maoists (CPN-M), rejecting the more “seasoned” parties…


Using Better Evidence to Reform Nepal’s Hydropower Policy

December 11, 2013


Using evidence for planning and evaluation of policies and development interventions considerably enhances the capacity of organizations working for socioeconomic change of state and society, and their change interventions…


Deutsche Welle Interviews Asia Foundation’s Sagar Prasai on Elections in Nepal

November 14, 2013

Media Coverage

Deutsche Welle interviews Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative in Nepal Sagar Prasai on the upcoming elections in Nepal. Read the full article here: “Elections are the only way forward in Nepal.”


Transboundary Water Cooperation Key to Easing South Asia’s Water Woes

March 20, 2013


More than 75 percent of Asia-Pacific countries lack water security, according to a new report released last week by the Asian Development Bank. Compared to other regions, South Asia is a hot spot where inequity of access to water is the highest. The region supports more than 21 percent of the world’s population, but has access to just over 8 percent of global water resources. As rapid population growth and urbanization increase demand, water is increasingly a scarce and precious resource in South Asia. Even as the complex environmental consequences of climate change, deteriorating river ecology, and growing urbanization continue to unfold new challenges for the region, South Asia’s water woes could be significantly mitigated through improved water governance…


Is Nepali Political Transition Getting Back on Track?

February 20, 2013


The dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) in May 2012 has left Nepali politics in a deep impasse over the formation of an “election government.” The opposition has been refusing to go into an election until a broad-based government is formed under the leadership of Nepali Congress (NC), but the current prime minister…


Nepal’s Constitutional Transition and Uncertain Political Future

May 30, 2012


Around midnight on May 27, when most Nepalis were waiting for the new constitution to be unveiled, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced a fresh election for Nov. 22, 2012, from a hurriedly put-together press conference at his residence.


Will Conflicts Over Water Scarcity Shape South Asia’s Future?

March 21, 2012


Climate change combined with rapid population growth and urbanization is placing intense pressure on South Asia’s most precious resource: water. Per capita water availability in the region has decreased by 70 percent since 1950, according to the Asian Development Bank.


Are Maoists Changing Tune Ahead of Nepal’s May 28 Constitutional Deadline?

May 11, 2011


On May 28, 2011, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) will end its tenure, for the second time, without having completed even a first draft of the constitution. In the lead-up to the deadline, a strike by ethnic and indigenous groups nearly shut down the nation’s capital Kathmandu late last month…


Can the UN Mission’s Exit Do Some Good for Nepal?

January 19, 2011


A general nervousness around the exit last week of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which monitored Nepal’s struggling peace process since 2007, was evident in political commentaries as early as last November. Perhaps because political pundits expect more from politicians than most of us do, most commentators were hoping that Nepal’s political parties would defy their history of brinkmanship…


Nepal’s Constituent Assembly Gets New Lease, But Politics Go Back to Square One

June 2, 2010


On May 28, 2010, three major political parties of Nepal, including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), signed a three-point agreement pushing the deadline for promulgating a new constitution to May 28, 2011. Without that amendment, the Assembly’s constitutional tenure would have ended without having produced even a first draft of the new constit… Read more


Nepal: The Maoists are Gone but the Country Can’t do Without Them for Long

May 13, 2009


Just nine months after taking office, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known as Prachanda) resigned on May 4, 2009, citing the president’s lack of cooperation on his efforts to establish “civilian supremacy” over the Nepali Army. The events that led to his resignation unfolded quickly and predictably. On April 20, the Maoist government as… Read more


In Nepal: The Constituent Assembly has Nowhere to Run and Not Much to Move

March 18, 2009


Think about the difficulties of writing a constitution for a country like Nepal. There are 103 ethnic groups, 17 officially recognized languages, and 19,000 former combatants still in cantonments. In the Constituent Assembly (CA), there are 25 political parties with no one in a clear majority, 601 members who disagree on most everything, 11 constit… Read more


In Nepal: Making Sense of a Maoist Win

May 7, 2008


When the first set of results started pouring in after the April 10 polls, it looked as if the Maoists were heading for a landslide victory. But when the counting came to an end, the Maoists ended up with 240 seats, or 39.9 percent of the Constituent Assembly, followed by the Nepali Congress (NC) at 120 seats, the Communist Party of Nepal (United M… Read more


In Nepal: Holding Constituent Assembly Elections, Attempt #3

February 20, 2008


After canceling elections in June, and again in November 2007, the ruling coalition in Nepal is trying to assure the Nepali people that there will be a Constituent Assembly (CA) election on April 10, 2008. According to a recent poll, only 22 percent of Nepalis believe them. Although this election date is surrounded by as much uncertainty as the ear… Read more