Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts

18 April 2018

Who is Pushing Dalai Lama to Surrender to China?

Vijay Kranti

Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s attempt to present Dalai Lama’s return to a Chinese ruled Tibet as the monk’s “last unfulfilled dream”, and his call to Tibetan people for making this ‘dream’ of Dalai Lama a reality deserves a closer scrutiny by the Tibetan society, supporters of the Tibetan cause, and above all, the Government of India. This statement becomes extremely meaningful in light of the fact that it is the first ever official Tibetan endorsement of Beijing’s agenda which is seriously focused at bringing back Dalai Lama to Chinese ruled Tibet before he passes away and the search for his next (15th) reincarnation starts.

17 April 2018

The Importance of Seychelles

Pratap Heblikar

Seychelles is of vital geopolitical importance, and China is fighting to get an upper hand. India must not allow this. India’s relations with Seychelles have run into rough weather following the agreement to establish a military base on Assumption Islands. That exposed fault lines leading to racial tensions between the majority community and the minority comprising people of Indian origin and Indian nationals currently resident there. Political dissensions in the country between the ruling dispensation and the opposition, particularly anti-India elements on both sides of the political divide, have come to the fore.

16 April 2018

What was General Bajwa doing in Maldives?

Sanjay Kapoor

The recent trip of Pakistani Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to the Maldives has implications for India as it struggles to preserve its waning influence in the Indian subcontinent. Last week, the Maldivian capital city, Male, had an interesting visitor in Pakistan’s Army Chief, Qamar Bajwa. This was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief to Maldives in the last four years. It is also significant that General Bajwa is the first person of eminence to come to this Indian Ocean archipelago after a crisis erupted in early February resulting in the imposition of an internal emergency. His presence not only sought to lend legitimacy to a government that has been savaged globally for the manner in which it has smothered dissent, but also sent out a clear message to India that Maldives has other friends.

China and India’s geopolitical tug of war for Bangladesh

The Indian government sees Bangladesh as an important neighbour for political, national security and religious reasons. Bangladesh is a transport corridor to India’s northeastern states and a vital alternative route to the vulnerable Siliguri corridor that in the past has been threatened by China’s military, isolating all of northeast India. India also fears that Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism in Bangladesh may spill over the border. China’s broader program of developing influence throughout Asia through trade, finance, military cooperation and soft power includes Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the world’s seventh most populous country and the only one bordering India (except Bhutan) where Chinese influence is not dominant.

9 April 2018

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Maritime Silk Road Initiative

Major geopolitical shifts in the Asia-Pacific in the last decade have led to a revitalization of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between India, Japan, Australia, and the United States first established in 2007-2008. China’s expanding maritime strategy and increasing assertiveness in land reclamation and territorial claims have been a key driver of a strengthening alignment among the Quad members. China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) offers unique concerns to each member: India fears encroachment on its zone of strategic interest as well as encirclement from Chinese projects in Pakistan. Japan is wary of China’s ability to influence the energy supply chains on which East Asia depends. 

30 March 2018

Nepal Rewarded For Using ‘China Card’ – Analysis

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan.

In an earlier update we had referred to PM Oli’s statement on Indo-Nepal Relations. We had said that what was more troubling was the open, brazen and arrogant declaration of Oli that he would be able to get more leverage from India by getting closer to China. Though we criticised the statement, it looks that Oli was perhaps right in his assessment on relations with India. The Economic Times of 21st March reported that the Centre had decided to hike its aid to Nepal by 73 percent from previous allocation “while expressing concern over increasing Chinese presence in some of the neighbourhood countries.” The heading of the news item was more direct that said that India’s aid to Nepal is up by 73 percent to check China’s infra push. It is also said in the report that the reasons for the hike are because of security concerns on the India- Nepal border.

25 March 2018

Quad: The way ahead and the key challenges

Source Link

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) consisting of India, Australia, Japan, and the US has been pitching in favor of a ‘Free and Fair Indo-Pacific’ ever since the first meeting between representatives of member states in November 2017. Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan, actually proposed this arrangement about a decade ago. Diplomatic engagement began, and joint military exercises were even held, but a change in guard in Australia, as well as Chinese complaints to member states, resulted in the end of the arrangement. Given the increasing focus on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region and the strengthening of strategic ties between all four countries, reticence was finally shed and representatives of the four countries met in November 2017, on the eve of the East Asia Summit in Manila. The main aim of the alliance, thus in other ways, has been to check China’s assertiveness, especially in the South China Sea, and democracy has been one of the key binding factors between the Quad. The U.S. State Department, after the meeting in November 2017, issued a statement that the United States is “committed to deepening cooperation, which rests on a foundation of shared democratic values and principles.”

20 March 2018

The 'Resource War' in Kachin State

By Eugene Mark

Myanmar’s Tatmadaw has been launching air strikes in the gold and mining region inside Kachin state’s Tanai township in recent months. The area is controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its armed group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The aim is to clear out the illegal mines in the area that provide a lucrative source of income for the KIO. But underneath this military operation is actually a “resource war” between the Tatmadaw and the KIO in Kachin state. Indeed, control of not only gold and amber but also jade, copper, and ruby mines in the area is important for both the Tatmadaw and the KIO. This competition for natural resources can be viewed as an obstacle to implementing lasting peace in the Kachin state, as it precipitates or worsens the socioeconomic crisis faced by the rest of the Kachin community.

18 March 2018

Why This Is The Right Time For India To Restore Close Ties With Nepal

by Jaideep Mazumdar

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Khagda Prasad Sharma Oli, who assumed office for the second time in mid-February, is on a very strong wicket this time. Having won the mandatory motion of confidence by a three-fourth majority in the new House of Representatives after taking over as Prime Minister, Oli is sure-footed and confident this time, unlike the last when he headed an unstable coalition and was voted out after 10 months in office. In fact, Oli’s is the first stable government in Nepal after 60 long years – the last was B P Koirala-led Nepali Congress government that won the elections decisively in 1959. Since then, Nepal has seen 40 governments in 60 years.

15 March 2018

The Trouble With Bangladesh's Military

By Ryan Smith

The armed forces account for 6 percent of Bangladesh’s annual budget, totaling $3.2 billion in the year 2017-2018, according to official statistics. Yet Bangladesh’s military has proved to be incapable of showing strength in the face of repeated violations of its land, sea, and airspace by neighboring Myanmar.  Bangladesh’s military has failed to restore public confidence that it can defend the country’s territorial sovereignty. If there is an overriding message from these debacles, it is that the military is ill-equipped to defend the state because it has been practically unaccountable since the very foundation of Bangladesh. Instead, the military has captured much of the bedrock of the state it is supposed to defend.

5 March 2018

Bhutan, China to hold boundary talks next month

by Jyoti Malhotra 

Bhutan and China will hold the 25th round of their boundary talks in Thimphu next month. The teams will be led by Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou. The boundary talks were cancelled last year in the wake of the Doklam crisis, when Indian and Chinese troops faced off in the remote Himalayan plateau for 73 days in territory claimed by both Bhutan and China. The standoff ended in August with troops from both sides withdrawing to their previous positions and China removing road-building equipment.

2 March 2018

America Needs to Reorient Its South Asia Policy

By Akhilesh Pillalamarri

South Asia is at the center of global geopolitical and economic trends. It is a rapidly developing region, containing a quarter of the world’s people. India, soon to be the world’s most populous country, is the fastest growing major economy in the world, having surpassed China last year. It also possesses nuclear weapons, as does neighboring Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country. The region is situated between China and the Middle East, and between Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. A prime geopolitical location, if there is one.

26 February 2018

Maldives crisis: China sends a naval task force to muscle India, Australia out of power game

Jamie Seidel

CHINESE warships have entered the Indian Ocean, marking a significant shift in regional power. They’re there to keep India away from Beijing’s interests in the strife-torn Maldive Islands.

And their presence has implications for Australia.

Naval posturing is nothing new. Gunboat diplomacy has been a major player in great power games of thrones for centuries.

But it is odd for it to be played out so close to home.

In the South China Sea, US and UK Navy Deployments Won’t Change Anything

By Phillip Orchard

The turbulent waters of the South China Sea will get a bit more crowded over the next month. This week, a U.S. carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson docked in Manila – the first visit by a U.S. carrier to the Philippines since 2014. In mid-March, the Vinson will head to Da Nang for the first such visit to Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War. This comes a week after the U.K. Defense Ministry announced that a British frigate, the HMS Sutherland, would swing through the South China Sea in the coming weeks to assert the right of freedom of navigation in the contested waters.

19 February 2018

Is This the End of the Two-Party System in Bangladesh?

By K.S. Venkatachalam

Less than a year ahead of national polls, the leader of Bangladesh’s opposition party has been convicted of corruption.

Bangladesh’s democracy stands at a crossroads with the arrest and conviction of Khaleda Zia, chairman of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the main opposition party. Zia, twice prime minister, was recently convicted by a Bangladeshi court and sentenced to five years in prison in a corruption case. Zia was accused of transferring 21 million taka($252,200) from the Zia Orphanage Trust to her personal account from 2006 to 2008.

18 February 2018

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Following attacks on police posts by an armed Rohingya militia in August 2017, reprisals by the Burmese government have precipitated a humanitarian crisis. More than six hundred thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they face an uncertain future. Publicly stating that the root cause of conflict in Rakhine is economic underdevelopment, China—Burma’s largest neighbor and closest trading partner—has put itself in a position to promote its large-scale infrastructure investments as a means of conflict resolution. This Special Report examines the reason why Chinese engagement is likely to continue to prioritize a narrow range of issues in Rakhine that reinforce its own economic and diplomatic interests, but fail to influence the complex drivers of the current humanitarian conflict or the Burmese government’s involvement in human rights abuses. 

14 February 2018

Religion and Violence in Myanmar

By Matthew J. Walton

Since late August, more than 600,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar, fleeing a state-led campaign of violence against them. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority and predominantly live in Rakhine State, in Myanmar’s west. They have experienced persistent, institutionalized discrimination for years. (The members of the state’s Rakhine Buddhist majority believe that they, too, have been discriminated against, mostly by the central government.)

12 February 2018

India's New Gateway to Bhutan Northeast India could be Bhutan’s new gateway to the world.

By Nihar R. Nayak

India's New Gateway to Bhutan
Northeast India could be Bhutan’s new gateway to the world. 

Adding another feather to 50 years of diplomatic relations, Bhutan opened its second consulate office in eastern India on February 2, 2018 at Panjabari in Guwahati, Assam. Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay, who attended the Global Investors Summit 2018 hosted by Assam, was present at the inaugural ceremony. The office was inaugurated jointly by Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji and Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal. Later, in the opening session of the investment summit, Tobgay said, in The Shillong Times’ words, that “Bhutan stands to benefit from a prosperous Assam and the country was looking forward to capitalize on the Global Investors Summit.”

21 December 2017

What Caused the Left Alliance's Landslide Victory in Nepal?

By Kamal Dev Bhattarai

In the recently concluded elections for the House of Representatives (Nepal’s lower house) and provincial assemblies of Nepal, the two communist parties, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) and CPN (Maoist Center) — which joined forces for the elections under the banner of a left alliance — won a landslide victory. The left alliance has now secured overwhelming majorities in both the federal bicameral legislature (the House of Representatives and National Assembly) and the provincial assemblies. The left alliance is also likely to form governments in six out of seven provinces.

14 December 2017

Maldives downgraded to ‘fragile state’ by IMF

The Maldives has been downgraded to a “fragile state” by the IMF because of the tense political situation, the way business is regulated and how the country’s finances and budgets have been run in recent years. The new classification is the latest blow to the Maldivian economy from the institution, which has repeatedly spoken of the high levels of debt being driven by the current administration’s ambitious infrastructure scale-up.