MonitorsPublished on Apr 17, 2015
Last week Bangladesh celebrated the Bengali New Year, the biggest festival of the country with much fanfare. Celebration of Bengali New Year has special significance for the country as it marks the values for which Bangladesh fought for -- its culture and the liberal values.
Bangladesh: Testing time still ahead
< class="heading1">Analysis Last week Bangladesh celebrated the Bengali New Year, the biggest festival of the country with much fanfare. Celebration of Bengali New Year has special significance for the country as it marks the values for which Bangladesh fought for -- its culture and the liberal values. Considering the festivity in the New Year one would get the impression that the country has been successful in sustaining the spirit of liberation. Unfortunately, the liberal fabric of the country is facing severe threat from the increasing radicalisation of the society. The killing of two eminent bloggers, who were critical of religious fundamentalism, by activists of religious radical organisations within a month was a major reason behind this scepticism. These incidents highlight the rising intolerance in the society against those who question the established religious beliefs in the country. The country stands at the cross roads. Will it be able to maintain its liberal values or will it further slip into grip of radicals? The first spell of violence by the radical organisation was experienced in early 2000 when various secular organisations and institutions was attacked by religious radical militant organisations like the Jammatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (HujiB). They targeted various people who supported secularism and also institutions like courts. Initially, such incidents were perceived to be few organisations and did not impact on the society. Hence the State’s response to radicalism was more on controlling and dismantling the network of such organisations. Considering the goal, the government undertook strict measures like executing Bangle Bhai, chief of JMB, and six of his associates in 2007. The government’s measure did help to achieve few success also as there hardly been any major incidence of violence the religious radical militant organisations like the country wide bomb blast in 2005 when 500 bomb were detonated in a day. Slow transformation The authorities have failed understand the slow transformation which is taking place in the society. Analysing various postings in the popular social media after the killing of the bloggers revealed the some interesting trend of changing of the society. Although not all were supporting the killing of the bloggers but there were significant majority who were critical of the bloggers for criticising the religion. Some media reports claims radicals have prepared a list 84 names they plan to target for being critical of the religion. Radicals whether they will be able to achieve the target an issue, which only time can tell. Certainly, they have been able to create fear in the society and stopping space for any alternative view point that challenge their ideology. The problem of radicalisation also spiralled for the divisive politics of the country. The two major political parties, namely, the ruling Awami League and its rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have encouraged a culture of confrontational politics and parties often indulge in violence clashes and shutdowns overlooking aspiration of the people. The country was literally in standstill for almost three months beginning this year due to differences between the political parities over the parliamentary elections held in January 2014. People disgusted People had to face severe hardship owing to this continuous shutdown which caused around $ 2 billion worth of economic loss. People are disgusted with the popular political parties and are looking for alternate political space. The failure of the mainstream political parties to understand the mind of the people is also helping the radicals to gain ground in the country. Again, mainstream political parties hobnobbing with various religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islamic, the supported Pakistan during liberation war of 1971 are creating confusion in the mind of the people. Jamaat was a major coalition partner of BNP government from 2001-06. Even the Awami League, known from leading freedom movement and bearer of secularism took support of Jamaat in 1996. Also, increased connection of the people with countries in the Persian Gulf mainly Saudi Arabia, Wahabists and shalafist Islam followed by international radical organisations like Al Qaeda, is cause of rise of radicalism in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is heavily dependent of the remittances from Saudi Arabia. However, it is not yet late for the country and the lead should be taken by the mainstream political parties by addressing people aspirations by strengthening democracy, implementing de-radicalisation strategy and taking harsh action all groups indulging in violence. While, international community should provide all the support the country asks for in maintaining its liberal fabric of the society. (Dr. Joyeeta Bhattacharya is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi) < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maldives: Development, supplementing or substituting democracy? N Sathiya Moorthy Independent of factual veracity and institutional credibility, the fast-tracked legal and administrative actions against political opponents have led to speculation if President Abdulla Yameen is seeking to substitute democracy with development, rather than supplementing the same. If so, the success rate is likely to suffer over the medium and long-terms, that too in a nation replete with precedents, both under ’autocratic’ President Maummon Gayoom and his ’democratic-successor’ Mohammed Nasheed. Replacing incumbent Ibrahim Nasir in 1978, and building upon his plans, President Gayoom took healthcare and education to every inhabited island in the Indian Ocean archipelago, as part of a ’development agenda’ of the times. The coinciding change of governments in other South Asian nations - neighbouring India and Sri Lanka, apart from Pakistan included - around the time was heralded as the advent of a new era in ’elected’, democratic political administration in Maldives, too. Subsequent events proved that President Gayoom in his own way had substituted, and not supplemented, democracy with development. Through the next 30 years, his leadership forgot to grow with the new-generation Maldivians, and he had to pay a political and electoral price. The Gayoom generation did not notice/admit that they had allowed moss under their feet. Exposed to the new world’s tools and methods, thanks to Gayoom’s education and healthcare reforms and funded as they were by the unprecedented prosperity of his ’resort tourism’ revenues, GenNext had become politically enlightened, entitled and enabled. President Nasheed was better. To his generation of leadership and citizenry alike, democracy did come first, but it was not the modern, western democracy that he had imbibed and promised, but a cloth cut to suit his fit. Arbitrary arrests, though not trials of the kind that President Yameen is now being blamed for, did not cease with the advent of multi-party democracy or the arrival of President Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2008. President Nasheed’s present conviction and long jail-term (’disproportionate’ in the eyes of most and tied to an electoral disqualification at the end) relate to such an ’arbitrary’ arrest of an incumbent Judge, and was followed by his public defence of the same. It’s anybody’s guess now, why his defence does not want to agitate all the public statements issued on his behalf in appellate courts before looking up to President Yameen’s clemency powers and/or elsewhere for remedy, which would be through non-legal and non-judicial processes. ’Transitional justice’ Terms like ’transitional justice’ borrowed casually from western thought-processes on conflict-resolution and reconciliation acquired a local flavour under President Nasheed, and the flavour has only acquired strength, since. In the process, his leadership forgot that Justice would wait for their turn to knock at his door, too, under the democratic scheme that has come to be near-exclusively identified with him for inexplicable and at times unsustainable reasons. Maldives seems to have evolved into an ’elected sultanate’, with which the nation had experimented in the 20th century, without the West influencing it or the MDP enabling it. Between then and now, no one is talking about the possible end of electoral democracy at the turn of every five years, though some do now harp on the ’return of autocracy’. All efforts since the advent of multi-party democracy in 2008 have been aimed at shoring up one’s electoral popularity/acceptance, and also weakening and/or discrediting political opponents of every hue. Like in most infant/infantile democracy, the pace and face of Maldivian democracy has not reflected the hopes and aspirations that the change-over had promised. It’s a game that every Third World democracy, deriving from colonial and other western models, have played - and played out - over time. Maldives, despite it being proud about its non-colonial past through centuries (unlike much of the rest of South Asian) is not immune from the virus as the developments of the democracy era have shown. It may have owed to a hasty and improper understanding of western democracy and also to the latter’s inherent inadequacies in transplanting to new and varied historic and cultural milieus without adequate preparations and/or modifications. The complication of constitution-writing in 2008 also added to the prevailing confusion with everyone in a hurry to get it out of the Special Majlis, or Parliament and with near-no experience or exposure to what all awaited the nation. Demographic dividend At the commencement of his term, President Yameen’s New Foreign Policy that he unveiled in January 2014 promised economic self-sufficiency as a tool for protecting the nation’s sovereignty at all times. His economic policy in turn recognised the need for creating more jobs for the local youth, at times by replacing the under-paid and highly exploited immigrant labour, particularly from nations such as Bangladesh and India. Unsaid over the past decades and into the future, demographic dividend (in terms of age and ’imported’ cheap labour) demanded that Maldives cannot afford its youth to emigrate in droves for jobs elsewhere and settled down there, too. Joblessness, particularly against unacknowledged yet untested and unverifiable self-belief in capacity and capability have also added to ’education-based enlightenment’ as the corner-stone of Maldivian democratic experiment first and experience, since. Needed to facilitate President Yameen’s promises was big-time investments on big-time projects. Development in the Third World context (as in the First World, too) would have meant more jobs and more votes. President Gayoom practised it, but did not prioritise on democracy alike. President Nasheed identified the transformation early on, and also prioritised development and jobs-creation - and alongside democracy - even if it were for retaining his ’pro-democracy’ vote-bank, comprising youthful aspirants and their hopeful parents (particularly mothers). Despite the trial and imprisonment, the vote-bank still seems to be his - or, so it seems. For a South Asian nation, Maldives suffers from a problem of fewer local hands to work, and those that is available expect higher wages than the immigrants. Hence immigrant labour is also the investors’ preference even in as mundane a sector as hospitality industry to ’import’ cheap labour. The Maldivian youth, projected as being averse to hard work for long hours for weeks without end, would also find the prevailing across-the-board service conditions much less welcome. Independent of higher standards that the western governments expect nations like Maldives to set and observe on the labour reforms front, the less said about the overseas investor, the better. Among them, the Chinese, already in Maldives on other air-backed housing projects and the like, have universalised Chinese labour for all their overseas project, and are unlikely to make any exception now. This would all mean that President Yameen’s promise to find more and paying jobs to the youthful Maldivian voter could prove to be a non-starter after a point. ’Mixed’ yet socialist economy Like much of the rest of the 21st century Third World -- ’democratised’ or not -- Maldives under successive leaderships has counted on overseas investments for national prosperity through revenue-earnings and personal prosperity through jobs-creation at the same time. The resultant prosperity in the Gayoom era rested with a few traditionally affluent and politically connected people and families, as has also been the case with First World democracies still. Where they differed was in jobs-creation for the ’educated-class’. The size of the nation, population and inherent economic strengths may have offered a skewed justification to the self and the rest. With unprecedented prosperity on the one hand and expectations of economic growth for the individual on the other, and with only the relatively low-paying and mostly disorganised/unorganised hospitality industry at the helm, the Government had to become the single largest and at times highest paying employer in Gayooms’ convoluted form of ’mixed economy’ but with a ’socialist’ brand-image. Much of President Nasheed’s shortened term in office witnessed inevitable and inalienable passage through the birth-pangs of democratic and constitutional discourses that led to political instability, nonetheless. That too was an inheritance from the last years of the Gayoom presidency, the multi-hued pro-democracy movement having made street-protests an unceasing arrival statement, and continuing into the democracy era, possibly forgetting that their role and purpose had changed overnight but they were not yet prepared for it. ’Political due diligence’ The situation is no different now. President Nasheed is serving a 13-year jail-term in the ’Judge Abdulla abduction case’, and vowing not to appeal the trial court’s ruling under the anti-terror law, whose very application remains suspect but has not been contested legally. Consequently, the MDP-led Opposition’s street-protests have returned to capital Male and other islands, signalling the inevitable return of political instability. On Nasheed’s case, President Yameen has continuously claimed to have completely insulated himself from the judicial processes in a functional democracy, capable of addressing the nation’s legal concerns without being influenced by the political leadership. So with the midnight raid on and the equally fast-tracked trial of incumbent Defence Minister, Col Mohamed Nazim (retd), leading to a 11-year jail-term for possessing illegal weapons at home. Whether or not the MDP’s allegations on this front are true, President Yameen cannot claim to have distanced himself from the Government’s purported witch-hunting of business tycoon and Jumhooree Party (JP) founder Gasim Ibrahim. A one-time ally of Nasheed and Yameen at the time of their election as President, thanks mainly to the substantial ’transferrable vote-share’ at his command, Gasim’s Villa Group has been slapped with $ 90-m dues to the Government, only after he crossed over to the MDP-led Opposition side in the past weeks/months. Gasim Ibrahim has been crying foul over government’s revenue-recovery proceedings from the start, but with the Villa Group moving courts against the recovery-notices, President Yameen has said that the Executive would not negotiate on the subject as the matter was already before the Judiciary. Any possibility of Gasim’s Villa Group going bust, as already being mentioned in his Miadhu daily already can shatter investor-confidence in the government, considering Gasim’s very own rags-to-riches story. It is another matter that unacknowledged, Gasim’s politico-electoral constituency - 24 percent vote-share in 2013 presidential polls, up from 15 per cent, only five years earlier in 2008 - is also a reflection on the emergence of the nation’s socio-economic reality under the democratisation scheme, and comes with its consequence, too. While local big businesses would think twice, even overseas investors uninterested in Maldivian domestic politics would hesitate, particularly viz President Yameen’s flag-ship dream project of Special Economic Zones (SEZ). They would be compelled now to undertake the kind of ’political due diligence’ that President Yameen said India’s GMR Group did not do while putting big bucks on the Male airport upgrade project during President Nasheed’s time. Promises apart, they would want to wait until political stability and consequent clarity returned to the country, as they would not want to be caught in the same mould as GMR. Million-dollar question Whether or not the Yameen leadership is seeking to replace India in the latter’s ’traditional sphere of influence’ in political, investments and strategic terms with China, the latter would have become wiser after the problems it is facing just now in post-poll Sri Lanka - and on the investments front. Whether or not President Yameen’s Maldives is in a hurry or not, on his SEZ dreams and President Xi Jinping’s ambitious and possibly over-extended 21st century ’Maritime Silk Route’ (MSR), China might want to go slow after the current experience in and with Sri Lanka. Such a Chinese go-slow, thereby giving itself more time to study and understand South Asia better, would make better political, strategic and even investment sense. It could impact cash-strapped Maldives worse than the rest. Having identified itself with China a little too much, and possibly a little too early, President Yameen’s new and ’balanced’ foreign policy could backfire, possibly in the interim. Conversely, any reversal for China in Sri Lanka could mean that Maldives might have a better say and stake viz China. Yet, it’s a million-dollar question, and literally so in the case of Maldives. It does not stop there. Time used to be when Islamic nations like Maldives could count on the largesse of Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations in the Gulf-Arab region for aid and investment than from any other single or multiple sources. President Nasheed may have taken conscious efforts against such identification. At the height of the Nasheed trial and consequent nation-wide restlessness, President Yameen visited Saudi Arabia under a new King, maybe also to prove that he was in charge. There is a fall side however. If the aim of President Yameen’s visit, and even other expectations were for Saudi Arabia’s political backing viz the latter’s First World democratic friends and allies, and also for investments, it was not necessarily to be. In an increasingly IS-scared world, Saudi Arabia, which is already becoming a frontline State in bombing Yemen, could want to go-slow on the Maldives front. High-spending western tourists, who have remained the mainstay of the cash-rich local investors and political manipulators, could be drawn away from Maldives if the Gulf-Arab linkages, like their perceptions of anti-democratic Yameen initiatives, were to be flagged too much, too far. Incidentally, post-war Sri Lanka in the neighbourhood, from where tourists had diverted to Maldives in the past decades, might find the former still cheaper and safer. Thus after a point, Gulf-Arab nations, starting with Saudi Arabia, could have second-thoughts, like possibly China, and for exactly opposite reasons. If global assumptions and presumptions were to be the guiding factor, every pro-democracy protest that has been televised the world over (or, not) has a very large sprinkling of those that could be perceived as ’Wahabbis’, with which Saudi Arabia in particular is identified with. Global vigilance Religion and religious fundamentalism thus have no aversion to democracy and politics in Maldives. If not already, Saudi Arabia and the rest, too, would realise the inevitability and acknowledge what essentially remains a ’Sunni Islam’ State and nation. Considering also that more Maldivians per 1000 population may have migrated to Syria to fight the IS’ jihadi war compared to some neighbouring Islamic/non-Islamic nations, Maldives faces the fall-side in the form of fewer western tourists, international investments, including Chinese and Saudis’, and greater global vigilance (not necessarily of the traditional western kind) that the nation can do without. The situation could worsen should the Maldivian youth, numbering half the nation’s population of 350,000 and frustrated with the turn of the promises of democracy, begin looking inside rather than at Syria, for venting their ’impotent rage’. The kind of street-protests that the Nasheed imprisonment has been commanding and the youth-anger that it is said to be rekindling could be an avoidable source for eternal damage to the nation from now on, if not already. Contradiction in terms, expectations What could otherwise be dubbed President Yameen’s ’development for democracy’ project and his dream SEZ project could suffer. The Government has followed up on the SEZ proclamations in right earnest by fixing a minimum $25,000 application fee per project, if only to ensure that only serious investors/contenders are in the field. It has also notified a minimum investment of $ 150 m, and said the first of them, the famed Dubai Ports, would commence work at the earliest. There is also a mention of Indian investors, including diamond companies, wanting to invest on Maldivian SEZ scheme. In between, the Government has extended the existing island-lease period from 50 years to 90 years on a down payment of $ 5 million. It reflects the precarious nature of the nation’s economy just now, even as Minister after Minister has been declaring the expected success of the SEZ scheme. It has also come down heavily on power-subsidies on existing businesses, thus adding to the anticipated heartburns if/as and when overseas SEZ promoters arrive on possible governmental promises for flexible terms and ’conducive’ atmosphere for investments. It’s contradiction in terms, if not approach. Those in the government at present had criticised the Nasheed regime when it extended the lease period from 25 years to 40/50 years for an additional cash-down payment. They had also chided the Nasheed government for cutting down on power-subsidies, at the instance of the ’West-driven’ International Monetary Fund (IMF). The lesson for the Yameen leadership was/is obvious. Even before the Islam-centric protests against President Nasheed had begun in December 2011, his three-year-old government could not avoid losing popularity over power tariff-hike, job and pay-cuts in government and higher dollar-rates, again under IMF directive. Even as his pro-democracy crusaders stayed put with him - or, mostly so - ordinary people who had wanted ’change’ after three decades of ’one-man’ rule had felt alienated. Pledging family jewellery Hurried and possibly harried extension of resort-islands’ lease-period for a down payment, from 50 to 99 years, for a lowly down payment of $ 5 million, is symptomatic of an inherent problem that the SEZ scheme was expected to help overcome, rather permanently. It is thus unclear if the government has any doubts, recent or inherent on the success or the success ratio of the SEZ scheme, per se. At least for now, it is the licence-extension scheme that seems to be gaining both longevity and near-permanency. Needless to recall that the Nasheed presidency, blaming the nation’s poor and precarious economy entirely to its inheritance, found immediate economic relief and release in the GMR deal, also for the $ 78-million down payment that it promised. This was apart from the lease-extension licence fee, introduction of general sales tax, increase in resort bed-tax, power subsidy-cut, and also jobs and pay-cuts in the Government. If the island-licence extension for down payment is like pledging the family jewellery to pay for daily living expenses and pledging even more to make interest payment for the borrowed money, it is already here and is only growing under President Yameen, too. Instantly, it also reflects poorly on the hopes and promises whipped up by his SEZ programme - which in turn could have massive political fallout, too, though not just now. At the same time, projects like handing over the nation’s one and only Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) in capital Male to China’s Sinohydro Corporation for renovation work after taking it back from India’s GMR, can have socio-political consequences that the Chinese might not understand just now. Citing Islam and nationalism, sovereignty and security, political parties barring the MDP now arraigned against President Yameen, had used those very cards against President Nasheed and GMR, in their time, and to devastating success. Despite holding back the airport’s management control with the State sector unlike in GMR’s case, contracts of the Sinohydro kind could revive memories for present-day Maldivians above the age of 50 or so indulging in ’child labour’ when in school to help expand the only runway of the time as a British Protectorate and defying them at it, to gain independence in 1965, should still be fresh. Such imagery had also influenced vociferous sections of polity and population to oppose the GMR deal when they hit the streets together, against the Nasheed leadership in 2011-12, that too in the name of Islam. It’s all still a possibility unless the Chinese have done ’political due diligence’ of the kind President Yameen had said, GMR did not. It could also be a possibility in the case of SEZ’s unless the overseas investors too have done ’due diligence’ of the same kind -including in it all, the current and future courses of politics and political stability in the country, possibilities for and of elections and electoral results, whenever and however. Going back on democracy is not an option for Maldives. Hinging on to ’development’ alone is neither. (The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter) < class="heading1">Country Reports < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Afghanistan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Security cooperation with Russia Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a meeting with the Afghan National Security Advisor Muhammad Hanif Atmar, this week claimed that Russia was keen to increase its cooperation with Afghanistan to combat terrorism and narcotics trafficking. Mr Lavrov also expressed Russia’s interest in stepping up cooperation with other regional countries that are also undertaking counter-terrorism and anti-drug trafficking measures in the region. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Russian Foreign Minister Promises Support for Afghanistan", Tolo News, 5 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">IS, Taliban joint attack The Afghan Taliban and foreign militants waving the flag of IS are said to be responsible for an attack on an Afghan Army outpost in northern Badakhshan province that resulted in 20 casualties. 800-900 insurgents are said to have attacked the outpost and after capturing it, raised the flag of IS. A number of Afghan Army officers are reportedly still being held hostage by the militants. Military officials have also claimed that as many as 20 Afghan Army posts are under the control of the Taliban in north-eastern Badakhshan province. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Daesh, Taliban United Behind Attack on ANA in Badakhshan", Tolo News, 13 April 2015; "About 20 ANA Posts Under Taliban Control: Officials", Tolo News, 14 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">ISIS, a ’psychological warfare’ The former chief of the National Directorate of Security, Amrullah Saleh, has said in an interview this week that the ’Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’ is just "psychological warfare". Pointing to the contrasting ideological inclination of ISIS as compared to the prevalent ideology in the region, Saleh claimed that the group would not succeed in recruiting too many Afghans to its cause. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : Amrullah Saleh: ISIS in Afghanistan "Psychological Warfare"" Khaama Press, 15 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Bangladesh < class="heading12boldGeorgia">’War criminal’ executed Kamaruzzaman, assistant secretary of influential political party Jamaat-e-Islami, convicted of war crime was executed this week. Kamarruzzaman was second to walk gallows for war crimes committed 44 years back during the liberation war in 1971.Execution followed after Supreme Court rejected his appeal against the death sentence given to him by a International War Crime Tribunal in May 2013. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Al Badr organiser Kamaruzzaman executed", The Daily Star, 12 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Growth rate put at 6.5 pc Bangladesh Bank this week projected minimum 6.5 per cent growth for 2015 financial year. The central bank ha revised the country’s growth target for the FY15 considering the political disturbance and domestic odds. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "BB projects 6.5pc growth for FY15", The Independent, 14 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">India evacuates 272 As a friendly and neighbourly gesture India evacuated 272 Bangladeshis from strife-torn Yemen as it has called off rescue operations for its nationals. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka has tweeted that the ship INS Sumitra has rescued those Bangladeshis from Al Hudaydah. However, Bangladesh government did not give any figure. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India evacuates 272 Bangladesh nationals from Yemen",, 10 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Bhutan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Two in Indian custody Two Bhutanese men have been taken into custody in Indian border town of Dathgari, India for allegedly possessing 136 capsules of spasmo-proxyvon on 13 April. Both men in their early youth, one is a 25-year old university graduate and the other is an 18-year old teenager from Thimphu. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Two Bhutanese held in India on possession charges" Kuensel, 17 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Manipuri held with fake currency A 27-year old man from Manipur state in India was arrested in Phuentsholing for using fake Indian currency. The accused had INR 10,000 when he was arrested on 5 April. He was able to exchange the fake notes at 4 shops in a day. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Manipur man arrested with fake INR notes", Kuensel, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gewog merger The government would be able to save up to Nu 200 million annually in recurrent expenditure by axing 57 gewogs, according to the department of local governance. Bhutan has at present 205 gewog, considered too many for a country of its size. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Govt. to save millions via gewog merger", Kuensel, 17 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">India < class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM secures n-deal in Canada Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Canada where the two countries continued negotiations towards a nuclear energy deal. Canada will supply 3.2 million kg of Uranium over a of five years. Modi also addressed a gathering or more than 10,000 Indian-Canadians and spoke about development, demographic dividend, and investment. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Modi reaches Canada; to focus on energy, investments", The Hindu, 15 April 2015; "’Barriers Have Turned into Bridges’ Says PM Modi in Canada", NDTV, 17 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Strategic cooperation with Germany During the second leg of his three-nation tour, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Hannover Messe Fair of 2015, with India being the official country partner. A joint statement issued by the Prime Minister and the Federal Chancellor of Germany centred on strategic collaborative efforts between the two nations. Partnership has been proposed in areas of manufacturing, urban development, language and science and technology. In addition, the two countries hope to work together on meeting global challenges of climate-change, energy and food security. During the visit, Modi also addressed German CEOs to boost the ’Make in India’ initiative and unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the city hall of Hannover. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : Modi’s op-ed in German newspaper" Rediff, 13 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Retail inflation down Retail inflation slowed down to 5.17 percent in March from 5.37 percent in the previous month. While many expect an unscheduled repo rate cut by the RBI, it will advisable to wait longer due to unseasonable rains resulting in extensive crop damage. A normal monsoon and continued lower crude oil prices will significantly push down the average retail inflation in 2015. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Retail inflation eases to a 3-month low despite hike in vegetable prices", The Economic Times, 14 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">’India to grow faster than China’ As per the World Economic Outlook, 2015 published by the IMF, India is expected to outpace China to become the fastest growing major economy. In 2015, India’s growth rate will rise to 7.5 percent while China’s is expected to drop to 6.8 percent from 7.4 percent last year. Policy reforms introduced by the Modi government, higher investment and lower oil prices have been cited as reasons for India’s increased growth rate. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India’s economic growth likely to outpace China in 2016 too, predict IMF and World Bank", The Economic Times, 15 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Masarat Alam arrested Hurriyat activist Masarat Alam was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir state police on April for raising Pakistan’s flag in Srinagar. Alam, who was recently released after a four and a half year-long detention for his role in the 2010 mass protests, denied the charge, a defence supported by the police. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Masarat Alam arrested over Pakistan flag hoisting row", The Hindu, 17 April 2015; "Waving of Pakistani flags: Separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat arrested", The Times of India, 17 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Naxals kill 7 commandos Seven police commandos of the Special Task Force were killed and 11 injured in an ambush in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on April 11. According to the police, a large group of 300 insurgents attacked the 70-member patrol in the same region where 76 CRPF troops were killed in 2010. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Naxals kill 7 of elite force in Sukma", "Naxals kill 7 of elite force in Sukma", 12 April 2015; "Maoists gun down seven STF men in Chhattisgarh", Hindustan Times, 12 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Agni-III test-fired The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) launched the nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha on 16 April. The missile, which has a range of more than 3000 km and payload of 1.5 tonnes, was picked randomly from the production lot of Defence Research and Development Organisation. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India successfully test fires nuclear-capable Agni III ballistic missile", The Indian Express 16 April 2015; "Agni-III missile test-fired successfully by SFC", The Hindu, 16 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Maldives < class="heading12boldGeorgia">10 years for Nasheed’s co-accused The three-judge Criminal Court Bench that jailed former President Mohammed Nasheed to 13 years in prison in the ’Judge Abdulla abduction case’ has since sentenced then Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan to a 10-year jail-term. At the same time, the court acquitted MNDF’s Col Mohammed Ziyad, holding that the charges against them had not been proved. Earlier, the court had freed then army chief, Lt-Gen Mohammed Jameel (retd), now Defence Minister. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Tholhath gets 10 years jail-term", SunOnline, 10 April 2015; "Ziyad found innocent of terrorism", SunOnline, 11 April 2015; "Ziyad praises Criminal Court for fair trial", SunOnline, 14 April, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nazim flown out Jailed ex-Defence Minister Col Mohamed Nazim (retd) was flown out from prison to Singapore for treatment of an undisclosed, life-threatening ailment, even as his defence team prepared the appeal papers, challenging his trial court conviction for ’weapons smuggling’ while in office, and saying the trial records given to them for the purpose was incomplete. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Ex-Minister Nazim departs to Singapore for medical treatment", SunOnline, 10 April, 2015; "Colonel Nazim from jail to a plane", Miadhu, 11 April 2015; "Ex-defence minister appeals weapons smuggling sentence", Minivan News, 13 April 2015; "Many information missing from the report- Colonel Nazim’s Legal team", Miadhu, 14 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maumoon calls for justice Speaking at a PPM-MDA rally, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called upon the government of half-brother, Abdulla Yameen, fuelling the speculation about his equations with half-brother and President, Abdulla Yameen. Gayoom also tweeted, however, to silence critics, denying any rift between the two, and also met with President Yameen. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Gayoom calls govt to establish justice and stability", Miadhu, 11 April 2015; "VP calls police to remain steadfast", Miadhu, 17 April 2015; "Opposition’s claim of leadership rift angers Gayoom", Minivan News, 13 April 2015; "Don’t use my name for politics: Maumoon", Haveeru Online, 13 April 2015; "Gayoom: Former MP Nazim’s services should be recognised", SunOnline, 10 April 2015; "Maumoon meets with Colonel Nasheed", Haveeru Online, 15 April 2015; "Gassan Maumoon changed to President Office’s State Minister", Miadhu, 15 April 2015; "Appeal hearing against President’s brother, cancelled", Haveeru Online, 14 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gasim in quandary With the High Court declining to stay the Government orders for recovery of revenue dues totalling $ 100 m and time running out on his Villa Group, Jumhooree Party founder and business tycoon, Gasim Ibrahim finds himself in a quandary. The Gasim camp has been sending out various feelers, saying he was willing to negotiate with the Government, was keeping quiet viz the Government politically only owing to the thousands of jobs that the Villa had created, and could sent out wrong signals to international investors. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "JP leader Qasim Ibrahim willing to negotiate", Haveeru Online, 11 April 2015; "Gasim is silent for the sake of thousands of people- Ameen", Miadhu, 14 April 2015; "Gasim’s Villa group bankruptcy imminent", Minivan News, 15 April 2015; "Villa accounts freeze will ’send shockwaves’ through Maldives economy", Minivan News, 16 April 2015; ""Adeeb: Gasim hiding from public again", SunOnline, 10 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Opposition sets deadline At a hall meeting of Opposition parties, Adhaalath Party leader, Sheikh Imran, has cautioned government that they would hold a protest rally on 1 May, and stay put until the Government agreed to commence ’peace talks’ with them. For his part, jailed former President Mohammed Nasheed, whose cause the combined Opposition declined a Commonwealth review of the judicial system in the country, saying they were aware of ground realities and did not need any further study. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "We will not return home on May 1 until the govt initiates peace talks- Sheikh Imran", Miadhu, 10 April 2015; "People are now obliged to stay "Stop" to Yameen: Ameen", Miadhu, 10 April 2015; "No one will be safe if the constitution is localized according to the whims of PPM- Sheikh Mohamed Didi", Miadhu, 10 April 2015; "More people participate in the opposition rally than the govt’s rally", Miadhu, 10 April 2015; "Nasheed says no to Commonwealth investigation", Haveeru Online, 16 April 2015; "Nasheed denied access to international lawyers", Minivan News, 16 April 2015; "Religious scholars warn of God’s wrath over corruption and injustice", Minivan News, 15 April 2015; "Athiya fired to guard against ’damage’", Haveeru Online, 14 April 2015; "All members of PPM from Feeali Island resigns", Miadhu, 14 April 2015; "Dhiggaru by-election moved forward, to 6 June", SunOnline, 14 April 2015; "Opposition to field single candidate for vacant Majlis seat", Minivan News, 9 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Power-tariff concerns Businessmen have protested the change in the power-tariff pattern and demanded a return to the old scheme. Conceding public demands and long queues for registration for claiming domestic subsidies on power-tariff, the Government for its part, has extended by one month, up to 9 May, the time-limit set for the purpose. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "We will save the people from the oppression of the electricity bills- parties", Miadhu, 10 March 2015; "Changing electricity usage charges is not allowed by law- Rozaina", Miadhu, 10 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Coup leader’s son dies in Syria Ahmed Jalal, son of India-aborted 1988 coup’s leader, Ibrahim Luthufee, has died fighting in the Syrian civil war. He had left to join the IS along with wife and six-month-old child in December. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Luthufee’s son dies in Syria", Haveeru Online, 15 April 2015; "CP: The youth leaving to take part in wars needs to be better guided", Haveeru Online, 15 April 2015; "CP: We should not hesitate to bleed to protect our nationality", SunOnline, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian aid shoots up Going by Budget figures presented to Indian Parliament, the country has increased aid for Maldives from $ 4 m to 30 m, even as the latter continues to blame infrastructure major GMR and their bankers for the "Indian sanctions’ in the past. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India steeply increases aid to Maldives", Minivan News, 8 April 2015; "Maldives faces second crippling payout in airport dispute", Minivan News, 15 April 2015; "Maldives blames GMR, Axis Bank for sanctions by India after airport takeover", Minivan News, 16 April 2015 ; "Maldives faces second crippling payout in airport dispute", Minivan News, 15 April 2015; "China follows up on agreements made ýduring President Xi Jinping’s visit", Miadhu, 14 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Myanmar < class="heading12boldGeorgia">21 die in Kokang fighting Reports of ferocious fighting in restive Kokang region this week have claimed 21 lives and 110 injured the state-owned media has carried the figures, which read that 16 Burma a110 injured. The government continued airstrikes against the Myanmar Nationalities Alliance Army (MNDAA), as well as tanks and heavy weapons. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Reports detail fresh Kokang fighting ahead of ethnic summit", Democratic Voice of Burma, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">More talks on statute The six-party talks agreed to hold more talks on amending the constitution. In the meeting held on 10 April, the six parties who met were President Thein Sein, Union Parliamentary Speaker, Thura Shwe Mann, Upper House speaker, Khin Aung Myint, Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, NLD Chairperson, Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minorities’ representative, Aye Maung. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Six parties agree to amend the constitution", Eleven Myanmar, April 2015; "At High-Level Dialogue, Six Parties Agree to More Talks", The Irrawaddy, 10 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Abe pledges support Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged his support for the country’s peace process as Nay Pyi Taw officials visitied Tokyo. Abe conveyed to a minister from President’s office that he desired that peace deal be brokered soon. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Shinzo Abe pledges support for Burma’s peace process", Democratic Voice of Burma, 16 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Nepal < class="heading12boldGeorgia">EX-PM dies in Delhi Former Prime Minister and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa, 88, died in the course of treatment at a private hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday night. Thapa had served as the prime minister for five terms in a political career ning more than 50 years. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Ex-PM Thapa, 88, dies in Delhi hospital", eKantipur, 16 April 2015; " Govt declares nat’l holiday on Friday eKantipur, 16 April 2015; "Former PM Thapa’s body at party office for tribute", Republica, 17 April, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Five pc growth predicted The World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have projected the economy to grow just under five percent until fiscal year 2019-20 which will hold it back from achieving the target of graduating to a developing country by 2022. Nepal technically met the LDC graduation criteria in 2015 according to the National Planning Commission (NPC). < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal faces tough task to attain high growth", eKantipur, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">India gifts vehicles The Government of India has gifted 35 vehicles to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae handed over the keys of the vehicles to CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki amid a programme organised at CIAA Office on Friday. The vehicles include 15 jeeps, 15 pick-up vans and five cars. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India provides 35 vehicles to CIAA", eKantipur, 16 April 2015; "Good governance key to Nepal’s overall development: India", The Economic Times, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">$1.6-b hydro project with China Nepal’s investment board on Monday cleared China’s Three Gorges International Corp to build a long-delayed $1.6-billion hydropower project, the single biggest foreign investment in the Himalayan country. The dam, to be built on the West Seti river in northwest Nepal, will generate 750 megawatts (MW) of power when complete. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal clears $1.6 bln hydropower project by China’s Three Gorges", Reuters, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: large;">Primary Documentation Press Release issued by Embassy of Nepal, Dhaka, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 Press Release Issued by Embassy of Nepal, Doha, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Hon’ble Bamdev Gautam addresssed to the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Pakistan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nod for Yemen resolution Pakistan has assured the Saudi leadership that it would fully participate inand contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution on Yemen and help bring peace to the country under the aegis of the United Nations. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Pakistan to help implement UNSC resolution on Yemen", The Nation, 17 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Xi Jinping on two-day visit Chinese President Xi Jinping is due on a two-day visit on April 20. During the visit, he will address parliament and witness the signing of a number of agreements between Islamabad and Beijing for Chinese investment in Pakistan through energy and infrastructure projects. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : : "President Xi due on Monday" The Nation, 17 April 2015; "Chinese president to visit Pakistan on April 20, hammer out $46-billion deal: FO", The Express Tribune, 16 April 2015; "Chinese president to visit Pakistan next week: FO" The News International, 16 April 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">US national shot 55 year old Debra Lobo, Vice-Principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC) was shot at by four unidentified assailants on two motorcycles as she left the college. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken notice of the attack on the US national who was critically injured. The US State Department has said that an investigation into the attack is being carried out. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "PM takes notice of targeted attack on US national in Karachi", The Express Tribune, 17 April 2015; "PM takes notice of attack on US citizen", Dawn, 17 April 2015; "Gunmen shoot vice-principal of Karachi college", Dawn, 17 April 2015; "Investigation launched into attack on US citizen in Khi: State Dept", The News International, 17 April 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Sri Lanka < class="heading12boldGeorgia">UPFA ticket for Mahinda Rajapaksa? Ruling out one-to-one meeting with predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa pending various allegations and investigations against him, President Maithiripala Sirisena, has said that the former could still contest the parliamentary polls, expected soon, on the ticket of the SLFP-UPFA combine that the latter now heads - but would not commit to making him the combine’s prime ministerial nominee. Even while talking peace with Rajapaksa through party intermediaries, President Sirisena acted on another front, removing five of the former’s loyalists from the SLFP central committee and replacing them with men of his choice - and indicated that MPs not backing the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution could lose party nomination to contest again. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "MS offers olive branch to dissidents, rules out one-on-one with MR", The Island, 12 April 2015; "No barrier for MR to contest election from UPFA-MS", Daily Mirror Online, `12 April 2015; "Moves to heal rift between MS and MR", Sunday Times, 12 April 2015; "No room for family rule in future: Maithri", Daily Mirror Online, 16 April 2015; "Probes into five mega deals over; AG can act now - Presidential aide", The Island, 16 April 2015; "Weliamuna Report severely raps purchase of two Chinese aircraft", The Island, 12 April 2015; "Five MPs removed from SLFP CC", Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2015; "SLFP and UPFA to deny nominations to MPs who oppose proposed 19A", The Island, 11 April, 2015; "Fate of 19A in the balance. President appoints electoral reform committee", The Island, 11 April 2015; "Electoral reforms require more than one year - Justice Minister. ’JHU can no longer oppose 19A’", The Island, 11 April 2015; "SLFP argument no longer valid: DM", The Island, 11 April 2015; "Pack your bags and leave: BBS tells President", Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2015; "TNA stakes its claim to post of Opposition Leader", The Island, 11 April 2015; "TNA, SLMC want delimitation put off for ten years", The Sunday Times, 12 April 2015; "Full implementation of 13 A never realistic - Mahinda", The Island, 16 April 2015; "SA style Reconciliation Commission would have helped avert UN resolutions - Govt.", The Island, 16 April 2015; "Somawansa leaves JVP lambasting new leader for deviating from Marxist path", The Island, April 16, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Central Bank chief questioned Officials of the anti-corruption bureau questioned Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, now on forced leave, over ’insider trading’ on the SL-Rs 2 b treasury bond issue involving a firm associated with his son-in-law. Simultaneously, Singapore authorities are also reportedly probing how their citizen could apply for obtaining permanent residency and accepting the Central Bank Governor’s post without prior clearance under Singapore emigration laws. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Mahendran grilled over sale of CB Bonds", Daily Mirror Online, 16 April 2015; "CB Governor to face legal action in Singapore", Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2015; "Central Bank rejects all bids at 50-month t-bond auction", Ceylon Today, 16 April 2015; "Bond scam has damaged investor confidence - State Minister Samarasinghe", The Island, 16 April 2015; "SL economic growth may drop - WB", Daily Mirror Online, 17 April 2015 < style="font-size: large;">Primary Documentation < style="font-size: medium;">Bhutan Press Release of Prime Minister Tshering Togbay’s Visit to Sri Lanka, Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">India Prime Minister’s address to UNESCO, Ministry of External Affairs, 10 April 2015 Prime Minister’s remarks at the Inaugural Session of Hannover Messe, Ministry of External Affairs, 12 April 2015 Prime Minister’s address at the Joint Inauguration of the Indo-German Business Summit, Ministry of External Affairs, 13 April 2015 "Consumer price index numbers on base 2012=100 for rural, urban and combined for the month of March 2015",Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 13 April 2015 Remarks by the Prime Minister to the Media during his visit to Germany, Ministry of External Affairs, 14 April 2015 Remarks by External Affairs Minister at dinner in honour of Mrs Rula Ghani, First Lady of Afghanistan, Ministry of External Affairs, 14 April 2015 D Raja (National Secretary, CPI, and Rajya Sabha MP), "Ambedkar for our time", The Indian Express, 14 April 2015 "Joint Statement during the visit of PM to Germany", The Prime Minister’s official website, 14 April 2015; "English rendering of the Text of PM’s remarks to the media during the Joint Press Statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Berlin", The Prime Minister’s official website, 14 April 2015 "World Economic Outlook: Uneven Growth- Short-and Long-Term Factors", International Monetary Fund, 14 April 2015 Prime Minister’s Media Statement during Joint Press Interaction in Ottawa, Canada, Ministry of External Affairs, 15 April 2015 Barack Obama, "Narendra Modi", Time, 16 April 2015 Interview with Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, "Trying to bridge gaps with Centre: Rajan", The Hindu, 17 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Myanmar Six-way talks tackle country’s pressing political issues, Myanmar President’s Office, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Nepal Press Release issued by Embassy of Nepal, Dhaka, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 Press Release Issued by Embassy of Nepal, Doha, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Hon’ble Bamdev Gautam addresssed to the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Ministry of External Affairs, Nepal, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: large;">Bibliography < style="font-size: medium;">Afghanistan Reports Sudarsan Raghavan, "Foreign fighters are spilling into Afghanistan, helping the Taliban", The Washington Post, 14 April 2015 Opinion Pieces Christophe Jaffrelot, "Not a Zero Sum Game", The Indian Express, 16 April 2015 Asma-Khan Lone, "For a Robust Economy in Afghanistan", , The Hindu, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Bhutan Opinion Pieces Kuensel, "A good reform", Kuensel, 16 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">India Reports Rakesh Ankit, "India, 1952", Himal, 10 April 2015 Harsh Mander, "Harsh Mander on His Stance on the Riots of 2002 And the Hostility That Followed", Caravan, 13 April 2015 Vasundhara Sirnate, "Kashmir’s Crossroads: Self Rule, Indian Integration, and Party Politics", Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2015 Opinion Pieces "India’s retail inflation hits three-month low, scope for rate cut", Reuters, 13 April 2015 Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "How we failed Ambedkar", The Indian Express, 15 April 2015 "This Country Looks Like It Will Grow Faster Than China This Year", Time, 15 April 2015 Shiv Visvanathan, "A house that Modi built", The Asian Age, 16 April 2015 Upinder Singh, "Decline by degrees", The Hindu, 17 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Maldives Opinion Pieces Anders Henriksen and Lykke Friss, "Comment: International community must not ignore the plight of ’Mandela of the Maldives’ " Minivan News, 16 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Myanmar Opinion Pieces Bertil Lintner, "History Lessons", The Irrawaddy, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Nepal Opinion Pieces Suman Adhikari, "Out in the Cold" eKantipur, 17 April 2015 Pramod Mishra,"The Saffron and the Black" eKantipur, 16 April 2015 Kristen Geelan and Kjell Tormod Pettersen, "Nordic Lessons", Republica, 13 April 2015 Ganesh Paudel, "Warped Logic", Republica, 14 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Pakistan Opinion Pieces Baker Atyani, "Pakistan and the Gulf: Brothers but not allies?", Al Arabiya News, 17 April 2015 Faisal J. Abbas, "Et tu, Pakistan?", Al Arabiya News, 14 April 2015 Tom Hussain, "Pakistan is right to rethink its Yemen misstep", The National, 13 April 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Sri Lanka Jayampathy Wickremeratne, "Points of interest in SC decision on 19-A", The Island, 17 April 2015 Jehan Perera, "Best time to pass 19-A is now", The Island, 17 April 2015 Rajan Philips, "Supreme Court throws a lifeline to save Yahapalanaya", The Island, 12 April 2015 Gomin Dayasiri, "Hodpodge Constitution: The last laugh is for JR & MR", The Island, 12 April 2015 N Sathiya Moorthy, "Confounding the confusion, or confronting the same?", The Sunday Leader, 12 April 2015 Rajeeva Jayaweera, "And Indian Ocean Region shared by India and China", The Island, 12 April 2015 Senaka Weeraratna, "Constitutional reforms and the protection of Buddhism in Sri Lanka", Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2015 Gnana Moonesinghe, "Hither and thither moves the reconciliation process", The Island, 11 April 2015 < class="brown12verdana">Contributors: Afghanistan : Aryaman Bhatnagar; Bangladesh : Joyeeta Bhattacharjee; Bhutan & Myanmar : Mihir Bhonsale; India: Kaustav Dhar Chakrabarti and Shruti Gupta; Maldives & Sri Lanka : N Sathiya Moorthy; Nepal : Pratnashree Basu ; Pakistan : Taruni Kumar
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