MonitorsPublished on Jul 17, 2018
South Asia Weekly Report | Vol. XI Issue 29


Maldives: Under Yameen, India ties can only get worse?

N Sathiya Moorthy In what seems to be an unprecedented move, India recently asked the Maldivian Government of incumbent Abdulla Yameen to ‘restore the political process’ before going ahead with the presidential polls. The more recent statement, in what has become a series over the past several months, came long after the Maldivian Election Commission (EC) had declared that the first round of presidential polls would be held on 23 September. This is possibly the first time India has told any nation, when and how not to conduct elections in those countries – or, when and how to conduct them. It is even more so in the ‘sensitive neighbourhood’, where India has been careful not to be seen as ‘interfering in the internal affairs’ of the other country in any which way. "The announcement of elections in the Maldives at a time when the democratic institutions, including the Majlis and the judiciary, are not allowed to function in a free and transparent manner is indeed a matter of concern," Raveesh Kumar, official spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi last fortnight. If India had any follow-up action for non-compliance, he did not indicate what they could be. Kumar said India was closely following the evolving situation in the country. "We have urged the Government of Maldives to return to the path of democracy and ensure credible restoration of the political process and the rule of law, before the elections are conducted," he said further, adding, "It is important that a conducive atmosphere is created for holding free and fair elections in the Maldives."

Soul of Indian conduct

 The Indian statement came in the midst of two other issues impacting the bilateral relations even more. One pertained to New Delhi having to take back two helicopters donated to Maldives for sea-surveillance and also for emergency-relief. If anyone thought that such ties initiated under the pre-Yameen era would improve, it has not been so under the current regime. If anything, the unique Maldivian advice/direction for New Delhi to take back the ‘gifts’ of the kind has also impacted the Indian psyche, where South Asian nations and people are not culturally tuned to do so. Their culture and tradition, including in political and governmental relations, have only taught them to rush to the help of neighbours in need without expectations of any kind. At least in the immediate Indian context, modern governance and western diplomacy has not been able to take away the soul of Indian culture and national conduct. It was thus that India rushed military aid to Maldives, for instance, at the height of a coup attempt against the Government of then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, half-brother of Yameen, in 1988. As later-day disclosures showed, Indian Air Force (IAF) did not even have the required landing maps of the island-airport at Hulumale, off capital Male, yet risked landing men and military assets in the darkness of night. In a way, it was next only to the IAF achievement of landing troops at Srinagar Airport without maps and landing-aids, again at night, at the height of the raid by Pakistani ‘militias’ in 1947. At the height of Boxer Day tsunami in 2004, and more recently when Male city was hit by a drinking water crisis, India had again rushed help. It may be easy to dismiss the Indian initiatives of the times as driven by diplomatic compulsions, but then it’s far from the truth. Indian altruism in rushing aid to the neighbour, particularly the affected population, was beyond suspicions and reproach.

Open appeal

With the Maldives-set 30 June deadline for taking back the two choppers having gone, India is reported to have sought more time to follow up on the Male directive. At the same time, Maldives had reportedly refused to extend the visas of the Indian Navy/Coast Guard technicians, based there for the back-up support, and interim arrangements appeared to have been made. India has not sought to link the continuance of Indian choppers on Maldivian territory to the increasing tensions on the political front, pertaining to democracy and rule of law in the archipelago. However, some sections in the Maldivian establishment seem to have other ideas on this score. According to some, the Maldivian Government of President Abdulla Yameen seemed to have sought the chopper-withdrawal only as a way of protesting India’s ‘democracy statements’. However, it seemed to have taken a more serious turn after self-exiled Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) boss and former President Mohammed ‘Anni’ Nasheed made an open appeal for India to ‘intervene’ militarily, to secure ‘democracy’ in his country.

 Chicken-and-egg situation

As much as the military assets, India’s concerns also continued to revolve around the safety and security of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel attending on the choppers. India seems to be clear that every nation has every right to decide whom to grant visa, and whom to deny. In a piquant situation as has developed now, India has to ensure that any rupture of the kind does not negatively impact on the bilateral ties more than already done. At the same time, there is also a realisation that the Maldivian directions for India to take back the choppers had preceded Nasheed’s appeal for ‘military intervention’. At the same time, India also has to ensure that these technicians are not used as pawns in what is evolving to be a full-fledged diplomatic game. If left unaddressed, it could lead to avoidable consequences, given especially the evolving domestic political situation in Maldives. The Indian dilemma is not without reason. Even as the Yameen leadership has been playing chicken-and-eggs on the Indian chopper front, it has had no hesitation in receiving Indian Navy vessels for joint patrolling of the shared seas. Last fortnight, Maldivian Coast Guard’s India-donated patrol vessel ‘Huravee’ sailed to Vishakapatnam, for a five-month re-fit and return. This has meant that the Yameen Government is sending out confusing signals to India, of wanting to continue with sea-based security ties but is averse to having Indian choppers that are only an extension of the same. After all, the Indian choppers were being used only for sea-surveillance of what essentially is an archipelago-nation. There are also reports that the Yameen leadership is keen on replacing the Indian choppers with Chinese offerings of the kind. Last week, China also donated a sea-ambulance bigger than those in the possession of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) as part of possible series. The much-publicised China-funded sea-bridge, officially named since as ‘Sinamale Bridge’, connecting capital Male and airport-island Hulhule, is due for inauguration in August, a month or so ahead of the presidential polls.


Another element on the ongoing bilateral diplomatic tussle should have involved the Indian decision to cut down on foodstuff exports to Maldives in the coming years. Though early Maldivian media reports had claimed that the Indian decision would adversely affect the food-supply to the local population, the Yameen Government too has stood steadfast, saying that it was not the case. Over the past weeks, there are no ‘food riots’ or anything of the kind, also because the Indian rationalisation scheme would come into force only later. The Indian announcement in this regard very clearly stated that the decision was based on the Maldivian consumption pattern over the past three years, and indicated that it all amounted only to rationalisation of supplies to the requirements. India has a concessional export-regime for Maldives and Bhutan, which allows supplies to these two countries even when an export-ban is in place for select items, from time to time, owing to domestic shortages. For Maldives, food item imports from India have been substantial. However, for years now there are reports that a part of the Indian supplies are being diverted to third-nations by a clique in Male, and the actual import and domestic consumption figures may not tally, if one were to take a closer look. Maybe because of the knowledge of the same, maybe because it did not want to create local panic in the run-up to local polls, the Yameen leadership has taken it in its stride.

Parallel to GMR times

However, issues may remain. One, some critics of India in Maldives draw a parallel to the current export-controls to the Indian decision to suspend ‘visa-on-arrival’ facility for Maldivians at the height of the ‘GMR controversy’ in late 2011. Some in Maldives draw a parallel to the confusion involving the public sector Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) stalling LPG supply to Bhutan only days before the last parliamentary elections in 2013. However, on the 2011 visa-issue, the Indian intentions were genuine, but the timing in that case might have been wrong. The immediate Indian concerns possibly flowed from security issues, as more and more Maldivians were known to be flying out of the country, to join the ISIS in Syria, at times with their young wives and infant children. India needed to ensure that such persons did not use the Indian airports for transit after neighbouring Sri Lanka and Malaysia possibly began tightening their procedures. As was also known, Indian expat workers in Maldives, including those working in Government-run schools and hospitals, as teachers, doctors and nurses, were facing a lot of trouble getting their leave-applications endorsed and their passports stamped. There had been genuine cases of Indian brides having to cancel their arranged wedding back home at the very last minute just because Maldivian officials above would not forward their travel papers in time.

Work permits and visas

In the context of the ongoing diplomatic-tussle, if it could be called so, many Indians with job-appointments in the Maldivian private sector, especially the lucrative resort-sector, have complained that they have not been issued work-permits by the host Government. At one point in time, their numbers totalled around 2000, with the prospective employers informing them that they cannot wait eternally for them to obtain work-permits, which used to be a casual formality until the other day – but not anymore. In this context, reports have also suggested that many Maldivian employers have openly declared in their employment advertisements that ‘Indians need not apply’, implying or saying explicitly that the host Government was unwilling to issue work permits for Indians. This has since become a major issue after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and many affected Keralities and rest took it up with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Indian and Maldivian authorities are engaged in addressing this avoidable concern, which has become a major pointer to the Yameen leadership’s attitude towards India. Needless to point out, Maldivian claims that they were not biased against Indians, and had actually issued 2,000 work-permits before the issue went public, has not many takers in India. At a rough estimate, there are around 30,000 Indian expat workers in Maldives, many of them doctors and nurses, teachers and managers. Unskilled Indian labour from southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala used to flood the Maldivian market earlier, but their place was taken first by brethren from across the country – and now, mostly Bangladeshi citizens.
The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter

Nepal: A military perspective to bilateral dynamics with India

Sohini Nayak Aspiring to move beyond its frequent illustration of being just the ‘small Himalayan nation’, Nepal has been upfront in carving out a niche for itself in the wider global South Asia. This notion especially holds true in the wake of the new government headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, who is being seen to be dynamic in concretising the country’s foreign and military policies. Surrounded by China in the north along with India in the east, west and south, Nepal as a ‘land-locked buffer state’ has had little opportunity to put forward its own negotiating clause of survival. Economic dependence has inevitably gained an upper hand in the entire process, often dismantling the eagerness to rise as an equal partner in development, primarily due to the ‘small-state syndrome’ that has held back the country in moving beyond its purview of being just the buffer. However, the situation has become more flexible, in recent times, thereby helping the country to draw better narratives for setting up negotiations. There is an ambition to escalate the nation’s position in stipulating an active participation in the South Asian consensus-building mechanism. All this has taken place in backdrop of China’s active role in Nepal’s development through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), making India sceptical and apprehensive at the same time. To India’s dismay, Nepal’s closeness with China is undoubtedly behind New Delhi adopting a more linear format of interaction with the Himalayan neighbour. With time, thus, Nepal is showing signs of non-dependence, with the China card at play. This is also true from the Nepalese military perspective and the security of border where a drift towards the Chinese side is noticeable as well.

Token defence

Best known as an apolitical and non-partisan institution, the Nepalese Army has been dedicated to the preservation of national sovereignty and vital national interests through the maintenance of peace and stability.  From anti-smuggling operations to the protection of the environment, the Army has also undertaken many development projects in the country as well along with its management of natural disasters like the 2015 earth-quake. Wedged between India and China, however, Nepal was clearly unable to mount anything more than a ‘token, conventional defence’ in the face of overwhelming odds. As necessity entailed, governments in Kathmandu had to build and bank upon the diplomacy and restraint of the neighbours, rather than its own military strength, to safeguard its national survival. Moreover, geography and hilly terrain have also contained the nation’s conventional capacity, with only possible token defence before intervention by way of international mediation. In such a scenario, Nepal had no other choice but to tread accordingly, “in keeping with the times”, as elaborated by Prime Minister Oli.

The India card

The Peace and Friendship Treaty that was signed between India and Nepal has kept on having its valuation till date. As a matter of fact, it was during the British period that the relationship had been witnessing a growing boost due to the open border after signing the Treaty of Sugauli in 1815. Two major reasons affecting this mindset involved the recruitment of the Gorkhas to the British Army and also to grasp Nepal as an important market for finished goods. With time, there have been several modifications in Indo-Nepal ties, with no stable and prolonged amicability. The relationship has been oscillating from one extreme to the other. To further look back in history, India has played a leading role in supporting the Nepalese Army with regard to its technological modernization, provision of equipment and also training. More than 250 slots are provided every year for training of NA personnel in various Indian Army training institutions. The Gorkha Regiment also plays an integral part of the Indian Army, with the men recruited mainly from the hill districts of Nepal. At present, an estimated 32,000 Gorkha soldiers are serving in the neighbouring land. During 2015-16, pensions in excess of INR 1974 crores was disbursed by the Indian Army to about 1,25,000 retired Gorkha soldiers and civilian pensioners, who had served in the Indian Army and other Central  and State Services. Furthermore, several joint exercises are undertaken by the two armies from time to time. For instance, the 10th Indo-Nepal Army Battalion-level Joint Exercise was conducted in Saljhandi (Nepal) from 31 October to 13 November 2016. Known as ‘Surya Kiran’, the 11th such exercise was conducted at Pithoragarh in India in March 2017. The Nepalese Needs Assessment Team also visited Indian Disaster Facilities from 28 November to 2 December 2016. The two sides exchanged information on existing disaster management structures, capabilities. They also discussed areas for future bilateral cooperation. However, all this assistance cannot move ahead as a ‘big-brotherly’ tendency of India or provide an added advantage to India, as viewed by Nepal primarily during the tenure of the present government.

Chinese support

The ever-growing friendship between China and Nepal is undeniable, which is somewhere responsible for the latter’s increasing of distance from India. The first joint military drill between these two countries, namely, the Sagarmatha Friendship 2017, conducted in Kathmandu, is proof of this. Similar to the Indian engagement, this is also a counter-terrorism and disaster management platform that has been envisioned to improve the Nepalese Army’s capabilities. Under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Programme, China has tried to deepen its military cooperation with the NA. The first cooperation dates back to 2008 with an assistance of $ 2.6 million. There is also a deep-seated Chinese constituency within the Nepalese Army. It gained ground during India’s silence over the border blockade by the Madhesi agitators. Thus, the pro-active nature of China in providing a holistic development of the Nepalese Army is more than a welcome step. As of now, the pro-Chinese government of PM Oli inadvertently portrays the its proximity with the Dragon country, leaving India wary of the situation. This definitely gives Nepal an upper-hand in India-centric negotiations. This is because keeping Nepal within the strategic umbrella of India’s friendly ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is a necessity, helping the small country in playing the role of the balancer therein. It is also benefitting Nepal in creating its own identity, reaping benefits from both the ends, for its own development. It seems to be fair, “in keeping with the times”.
The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation

Country Reports


Violence ‘un-Islamic’: religious scholars

The religious scholars of Afghanistan recently issued a declaration forbidding insurgency and violence in the country as un-Islamic. They further insisted that a national dialogue be arranged to end the ongoing conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban movement as peaceful negotiations is the only path to a solution. The Taliban however claimed that the efforts of the religious conference were directed at turning Afghanistan into a second Palestine and that it will not hinder their activities.

24 militants killed

A recent statement by the Ministry of Defence, Afghanistan has said that an airstrike at the Ghazni province of Afghanistan, targeting a high-level Taliban gathering, left 24 militants dead and 17 others wounded. Based on an intelligence tip off, the attack was carried out in the Langa village in the Nawa district. Senior Taliban leaders such as Mullah Khalifa and Mullah Amir Khan are reported to be severely injured. The Taliban have not yet commented on this matter.

Landslide claims five

A landslide in the Pishghor village in the northern Panjshir province of Afghanistan damaged the banks of the natural Paskanda dam causing heavy floods.  The Deputy State Minister for Natural Disasters, Mohammad Qasim Haidri, confirmed that the floods destroyed 500 houses and claimed six lives. In the aftermath, Afghan President Ghani has instructed the civilian and the military authority to take immediate steps to render assistance to the affected people and embark on search and rescue operations.

Knowhow from Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan President Elham Aliyev interacted with Afghn President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the NATO leaders’ meeting in Brussels. Both parties agreed upon expanded bilateral cooperation in development, fuel and military. President Ghani further urged Azerbaijan to invest in the Afghan mining sector and sought to use their experience in extraction of fuel and natural gas. It was proposed that a joint delegation of officials of both countries will prepare a plan in this regard.


Not in the name of Islam: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this week urged people to remain alert so that militant activities cannot be carried out in the name of Islam. Prime Minister observed that Islam believes in peace but some people in the name of this religion get involved in terrorist activities and puts the religion into question before the whole world. She further opined that all have to take steps so that Islam always remains on top.  Nobody has the right to malign Islam, she added. Prime Minister made these remarks during a function relating to Haj.

Border talks with India

A four-day meeting of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Guard Police (BGP), border-guarding forces of Bangladesh and Myanmar respectively, held in Dhaka this week. The two sides discussed issues including smuggling of narcotics, cross-border firing by Myanmar's Army and Border Guard Police (BGP) and illegal cross-border movement of the people in the meeting. Additionally, BGB and BGP agreed to operationalise the newly-constructed border liaison offices at Bangladesh's Teknaf and Myanmar's Longadu.   Apart from India, Myanmar is the only country with which Bangladesh share its borders


Plant-tariff by November

The tariff for Mangdechhu hydropower project will be finalised before November this year when the plant is expected to be commissioned. This was decided in the meeting between Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 8 July. The inauguration of the 720-mega watt project is planned as one of the major events of the 50th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Court upholds EC decision

Druk Gaki Tshogpa cannot be registered as a political party, the High Court has ruled. The court pointed out that the party (DGT) doesn’t have members from all 20 dzongkhags. The petition filed by DGT founder Chheku Dukpa,  submitted that the Election Commission had denied registration despite the party fulfilling all the requirements.


11 pacts signed with S Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae arrived in New Delhi on 8 July for a four-day visit to India. As an indication of strengthening ties between India and South Korea, the two sides signed 11 agreements ranging from technology to agriculture. While South Korean President stated New Delhi as an ‘Indispensable Partner’, India expressed its concerns over proliferation issues in the Korean peninsula.

SC to hear law on LGBTQ

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, has commenced the hearing on the legality of Section 277 of the Indian Penal Code (concerning the LGBTQ community). The Bench observed that they would not go by an earlier verdict, but would be governed by constitutional morality.

No deportation 

Declaring that “we do not easily follow the demands of others”, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that the Government would consider all factors before deporting fugitive Indian preacher Zakir Naik, wanted back home in different cases.  Mahathir’s comments have not been well received in India, which was hoping to strengthen ties with the new regime in Malaysia.


VP nominee from South

As has become the norm in presidential elections since the first multi-party, democratic polls of 2008, the Jumhooree Party (JP) ally of the leading MDP candidate Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Solih has nominated parliamentarian Faisal Naseem as the running-mate for the 23 September contest.  Born in Fuvahmulah in the South, Naseem is a successful businessman and philanthropist and was a member of the Special Majlis that drafted the current, ‘democratic Constitution’. Soon after being named running-mate to Ibu, the two leaders launched their campaign in Addu, the main southern city, which along with Fuvahmulah, have the largest electorate after capital Male.


Peace talks go astray

Myanmar military officials on 11 July said stalled peace talks were "drowning" the country, blaming ethnic armed groups for the fighting that continues to rage in the country's northern borderlands. Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that making peace is a top priority for her administration, but she shares power with the military, which has fought ethnic insurgencies for decades. Ten groups are now signed up but at least seven, including some of the largest and most influential, are holding out.

UN office opens

The United Nations opened its first office in Nay Pyi Taw on 11 July to facilitate a close working relationship with the government, said the UN information department. According to the department, the new office comes at a significant moment as the General Assembly recently approved a UN reform that aims to strengthen the organisation’s ability to effectively support governments and people in need. This office is also aimed for the people of Myanmar to achieve the peaceful and prosperous future they deserve.

China eyes cotton

China, the world’s largest importer of cotton, has been eyeing Myanmar-produced cotton with much greater interest in the wake of its trade war with the US. China has imported cotton from the US for the past 10 years. Last month though, US President Donald Trump imposed $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, which includes agriculture. That sparked the ongoing trade war between the two countries, with China retaliating by slapping tariffs on agriculture imports from the US.


Medical Bill on hold

Opposed by the Nepali Congress (NC), the National Medical Education Bill has been stalled for endorsement. The initial plan was to table the bill in the meeting of the House of Representatives. However, the backdrop of ‘medical sector crusader’, Dr. Govinda K C’s ongoing fast-unto-death with regard to certain provisions in the bill has been one of the main oppositions in the process. The civil society organizations have also been active in demonstrating protests. Finally, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had to remove the tabling of the bill.

The ‘Rhino-effect’

As a gesture of bonhomie and mutual trust, Prime Minister K. P Sharma Oli has handed over two rhinos to the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Yu Hong, in the capital city of Kathmandu. With the hope of garnering future collaborations and partnerships, the gift is a reflection of the country’s biological and geographical variation. A special cargo shall also be arranged to send the animals to China where they would be released in the Chimelong Safari Park.

Micro-insurance on cards

The government has decided to provide license micro-insurance companies that will aim at bringing about coverage to the people belonging to the low income groups along with rural individuals and groups and low valued assets. The insurance regulatory authority shall be responsible for the entire procedure in concern.


Campaign picks up

In the final moments when elections are just a few weeks away, the leaders have intensified their campaign efforts. The heads of some big parties are busy addressing gatherings at different places across the country, reiterating their priorities to the electorate and highlighting the reforms they would make if brought to power.

Symbolic show

The issue of women’s representation is still a matter of formality for most political parties. In pure show of allegiance to election laws which made five percent women ticket quota mandatory, most parties have provided ticket to their women candidates for seats the party cannot win. However, this election will see increase in women’s participation who have had little experience before. Data on women candidates contesting separately is yet to be compiled.

Sri Lanka

India projects this year

In Colombo for the first time after taking over earlier in the year, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who promised that India-funded projects for Sri Lanka would be launched this year. This included India taking over the loss-making Matara airport, funded by China earlier, Indian housing projects for the war-affected Tamils in the North and also the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA).

No info to army: CM

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wignewswaran is reported to have directed all Government officials in the Northern Province not to provide any information to the army without seeking his advice. “If the army requested for any information, you tell them that I had requested you not to give them any information without my approval,” he said at an event held in Kilinochchi. The Chief Minister said people in the North had been inconvenienced due to the three form of administration by the central government, Provincial Council and also by administration of the Governor. “That is why we request for federal governance from the beginning. Apart from that we should request for self-governance for the nine provinces,” he said.



Opinion Pieces

Pippa Crerar, “Number of UK troops in Afghanistan to rise ahead of Nato summit”, The Guardian, 10 July 2018 Mohammad Zahir Akbari, “Drought grips large parts of Afghanistan”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 9 July 2018 Memphis Barker, “US service member killed in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan”, The Guardian, 8 July 2018


Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Tall Wall of Mistrust between State and Nation”, 12 July 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Opening New chapter of relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan”, 11 July 2018 Afghanistan Times, “In quest for peace” 11 July 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Conflict Recurrence: Strategies to prevent it”, 10 July 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “IEC Integrity Is the Corner Stone for Credible & Transparent Elections”, 9 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

Suvojit Chattopadhyay, “Role of foreign aid in Bangladesh”, The Daily Star, 12 July 21018 Paul Sorrell, “Bangladesh diversifies”, The Daily Star, 11 July 2018 Mamun Rashid, Jishan Rahman, “Drawing a strategic map for Bangladesh”, Dhaka Tribune, 7th July 2018


Nazmul Ahasan talks to Shaiful Hasan, the head of BRAC's migration programme on “Why women migrant workers are compelled to come back”, The Daily Star, 12 July 2018



Kuensel, “Make roads safer”, 6 July 2018 Kuensel, “The fear of being politically linked”, 9 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

K V Kesavan, “How Moon Jae-in’s visit can provide a new impetus to India-Korea relations”, DailyO, 11 July 2018 Mehal Jain, “Homosexuality Not Unsoundness, But A Variation Of Sexuality- Justice Indu Malhotra...”, LiveLaw, 12 July 2018 Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty,” ZakirNaik’s ‘High Net Worth’ a low for India-Malaysia ties”, Observer Research Foundation, 10 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

Natasha Naushad, “Mohammed Nasheed, the Maldives and the MDP”, Maldives Independent, 11 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

Tony Waters, “Quick Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees is Not a Durable Solution”, The Irrawaddy, 11 July 2018 Debby Chan Sze Wan, “New Yangon City Challenges Regional Govt Transparency”, The Irrawaddy, 9 July 2018


The Irrawaddy, “Charges Against Reporters Meant to Muzzle Press”, 10 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

Mukesh Baral, “Endangering democracy”, Republica, 12 July 2018 Ram Kumar Bhandari, “Leave no one behind”,The Kathmandu Post, 13 July 2018 Raj Kumar KC, “Bungling on budget”, Republica, 12 July 2018


Republica, “Height of cruelty”, 9 July 2018 The Kathmandu Post, “Bridge the gap”, 12 July 2018 The Kathmandu Post, “On liberty”, 3 July 2018


Opinion Pieces

Muhammad Hamid Zaman, “Let us hear”, The Express Tribune, 10 July 2018 F.S. Aijazuddin, “Shape of Parliament”, Dawn, 12 July 2018


The Express Tribune, “Female candidates in election”, 9 July 2018 Dawn, “Back to the IMF”, 11 July 2018

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Merril Gunaratne, “Vijayakala’s rhetoric and ‘Real Politik’”, The Island, 15 July 2018 N Sathiya Moorthy, “From Cold War to ‘cash war’”, The Sunday Leader, 15 July 2018 Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, “New York Times’ selective focus on China”, Daily Mirror Online, 14 July 2018 M S M Ayub, “Defusing pro-LTTE mindset Take a cue from Rathnapriya Bandu”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 July 2018 Kusal Perera, “A question never asked”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 July 2018 Malinda Seveniretne, “Sushma Swaraj’s gumption and India’s abiding arrogance”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 July 2018 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Scientific rigging”, Ceylon Today, 1 July 2018 Jehan Perera, “The cry behind the provocative call for the returns of the LTTE”, The Island, 10 July 2018


Afghanistan: Sohini Bose Bangladesh: Dr Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale India: Ketan Mehta & Rishabh Tiwari Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee Nepal: Sohini Nayak Pakistan: Mayuri Banerjee
The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.