MonitorsPublished on Dec 02, 2011
For almost two years now, or nearly two-third of the ruling UPA-II's time in power, the two Houses of Parliament have been witnessing logjams, walkouts and adjournments with very little legislative business being conducted.
India: Political class losing its credibility even more?
< class="heading1">Analysis

For almost two years now, or nearly two-third of the ruling UPA-II’s time in power, the two Houses of Parliament have been witnessing logjams, walkouts and adjournments with very little legislative business being conducted. Only urgent matters and issues could get the parliamentary nod and that too when the ruling establishment and the Opposition could arrive at last-minute understanding to avert a possible constitutional breakdown.

One issue or the other has been cropping up, giving enough ammunition to the Opposition parties to block the official business. The situation has worsened of late, or is rather worsening by the hour and the day, with every passing session of Parliament. Parliamentary dialogue seems to be lost and egos on both sides of parliamentary divide have been taking precedence over urgent and pressing issues facing the nation and society.

The winter session of Parliament began on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 and since then, nine working days have gone unproductive with an otherwise divided Opposition ranged against the UPA-II Government’s decision (on November 24) to permit foreign direct investment in single brand (100 percent) and multi-brand retail (51 percent) sectors. But even before the issue of FDI gave a handle to the Opposition to stall Parliament, the issues of price rise and Telangana had stalled parliamentary business for two days. The previous Monsoon session was equally washed out. The 2011 winter session was no different as the ruling party blocked the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G scam before finally yielding.

While a closer analysis of the situation tells that both the ruling and the Opposition is to be blamed for the present state of affairs, the outcome appears to be devastating as people’s trust in Parliament, parliamentary system and the political parties is eroding very fast. Some political leaders like Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, BJP MP Varun Gandhi, Independent member of the Rajya Sabha Vijay Mallya (a prominent industrialist) have even suggested "no work, no pay" idea if a minimum number of hours of business were not conducted.

The malady runs deeper. The political class, particularly the top leadership, seems to be becoming a hostage of the past. They continue to trust in the political tools that were invented in the 19th and early 20th century and were successfully used to achieve political goals and objectives. Very conveniently, political parties and their leaders try to stoke fears among the people to buttress their respective stand on any issue. In this context, return of ’East India Company’ , ’US domination’, ’job and occupation loss’ are the most favoured set of arguments that currently form the main core of political discourse.

A slap on the face of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday (November 25, 2011) by a young man was only a symptom of a dangerous disease. It was rightly condemned by the entire political class, but this outcry did not go beyond the political parties as people at large either expressed their satisfaction or voiced their dismay saying "Why only one?". Comments on Facebook and Twitter are evidences of this discontent.

Even the non-functioning of Parliament is evoking similar popular reactions with increasing number of people, particularly those from the civil society or from the lower middle and middle class, strongly disapproving this kind of behaviour of parliamentarians. Reports in the media on Thursday (December 1, 2011) that the Parliamentary Privileges Committee has recommended enhancing the status of members of Parliament has also not been received well by the people. A report of the committee tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday said that red light beacons be allowed on MPs’ cars across the country and called for moving MPs up on the Government’s Warrant of Protocol, or list of VIPs, from number 21 to 17.

If accepted, it would mean that MPs would be on par with Chief Justices of High Courts and chairpersons of CAT, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. At number 17, the MPs will be placed above Cabinet Ministers of State Governments who are now at number 18. The committee has further demanded issuing of official circulars that teach bureaucrats to extend due "courtesy" and "protocol" to MPs. Such demands coming at the present juncture have only poured fuel on the fire of popular discontentment with expression of disbelief and dismay in many civil circles. What is astonishing is the fact that why the political class which is believed to have ears to the ground or have a finger on the popular pulse are not reading the changing signs.

The political parties would have to go back to seek popular mandate. If such disconnect exists between the political parties and people at large, then what is in store for the society and nation does not evoke imageries of a very pleasing scenario. Popular expectations from the elected representatives are high. The nation wants legislations from them. Blaming it all on the ruling party or coalition partners is not helping the cause as it only adds to the prevailing cynicism in society.

The political leaders, irrespective of their ideological commitments, will have to accept that information levels among people are rising. It is high time that political leaders took a serious note of ground realities and read popular signals for making necessary course correction in their political journey.

(The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM defends FDI in retail

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has defended the Government’s decision to introduce FDI in the retail sector, saying it will be good for both "farmers and common man". He was reacting to opposition demands to reverse the decision.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) called a bharat vyapar bandh (all-India trade bandh) for Thursday (December 1) against the decision of the Centre to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, November 25, 2011,, November 30, 2011, The Hindu, December 1, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Border talks cancelled over Dalai Lama row

The reported Chinese demand for cancellation of the Dalai Lama’s speech at a Buddhist congregation in New Delhi is believed to have led to the postponement of the 15th round of India-China border talks scheduled for Monday.

The Dalai Lama was to address the valedictory function of the four-day Global Buddhist Congregation, co-organised by the Public Diplomacy division of the external affairs ministry, on Wednesday.

The Indian side is believed to have conveyed to China that the congregation was of a religious nature and not a political event and it cannot cancel the same. There was however no official word on the reasons for the cancellation of the talks from both sides.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Times of India, November 26, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nuclear capable Agni-I missile test-fired

India on Thursday successfully test-fired its nuclear capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile, with a strike range of 700 km, as part of the Army’s user trial from the test range at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. "The indigenously developed surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test fired from a mobile launcher at about 0925 hrs from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range," defence sources said.

Describing the trial as successful, a senior official said it met the mission objectives. The Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Army, as part of their training exercise, executed the trial with logistic support provided by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) at the ITR, a DRDO official said.

Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 1, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Australia denies backing India-US security pact

Australia denied on Friday it was pushing for a joint security pact with India and the US, a tie-up that would likely add to China’s fears that wary neighbours were trying to encircle it. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was quoted in an interview with the Australian Financial Review newspaper this week as backing the idea of a trilateral security pact.

But a Rudd spokeswoman said he had been misinterpreted and had been responding to a question on the likely overturning soon of an Australian ban on uranium exports to India. The question that was answered was what the Indian response had been to a shift on uranium policy. It had nothing to do with anything else," she said.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 2, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Court moved over GMR deal

Opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Vice President Imad Solih has moved the court against GMR.A verdict is expected soon. Solih contended that the Airport Development Charge (ADC, $25) and Insurance Charge ($ 2) to be collected from international passengers at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) is unconstitutional.

At the case hearing, Solih said that since the Insurance Charge is considered a tax, the ADC should be treated as such, reports Haveeru. The Government has claimed that the ADC is not a tax, as it was not a compulsory contribution by the people to the Government.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, December 1, 2001, Haveeru, December 2, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Growing beard a religious obligation, rules court

A Maldives court has ruled that growing beard is a religious obligation and the government servants can not be asked to shave off. This verdict was given by Kaaf atoll Maafushi Magistrate Court, which is believed to be the first of its kind issued in the Maldives, in the case filed by a group of prison officers over a Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) regulation that instructs its employees to shave their beards.

The ruling issued by Magistrate Ibrahim Hussein on March 2 states that a regulation, which contradicts with Islamic principles, cannot be made in a 100 percent Muslim country such as the Maldives.

The verdict prohibits authorities to order employees to shave their beards "to make them look like women" and notes that all the messengers and prophets of God, from Prophet Ibrahim to Mohamed, and their companions and adherents had their beards grown.

"As the practice of growing beard has a higher status than a prophetic tradition and is close to being an obligation and that some scholars have classified it as an obligation, Muslims employed in a 100 percent Muslim country like the Maldives cannot be asked to refrain from doing such an important practice in Islam," the verdict reads.

DPRS has appealed the verdict at High Court.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hillary in Myanmar, stresses reforms

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called upon the Myanmarese Government to pay greater attention to issues of human rights, democracy, political and economic reforms. In Myanmar for two days, Clinton met President Then Shaw and also pro-democracy leader Aung Sang SuuKyi. While adding that Myanmar should allow UN inspectors to inspect locations that are suspected by the West to be facilities for a clandestine nuclear programme, she asked Myanmar to become a signatory of the international nuclear regimes. In addition, Clinton emphasised that peaceful and political methods have to resolve the internal ethnic issues in the country.

Despite the significance of Secretary Clinton’s visit, the event was relatively downplayed by the Government. But the on the other hand the welcome Prime Minister Mikhail V. Myasnikovich of Belarus who received greater attention and media coverage.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 30 November 2011; 1, 2 December 2011;, 30 November 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Law to permit public dissent

Parliament has enacted a law guaranteeing the right to protest, which is one of the reforms under the new elected Government. This law is significant as protest and public decent was not entertained by the state in the past.

The protest law states that the would-be participants must seek permission five days before the event and provide details about slogans and speakers. Protests are however prohibited at factories, hospitals and government offices. Staging a protest without permission would carry a penalty of one year in prison.

Despite reservation, internationally this move is perceived as a testimony of Myanmar’s commitments on political reforms.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, November 25, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">KIO, Govt and peace talks

On 29 November 2011, the leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and a Government delegation, met at the Chinese border town of Ruili, Yunnan Province, which lies opposite to the Myanmarese town of Muse, aimed at reaching a political.

The KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military regime in 1994, becoming one of the first ethnic armed groups to agree to terms with the ex-junta. Clashes between the Government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of the KIO, erupted in June and soon spread to northern Shan State, where KIA Brigade-4 is based.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Japan to resume economic aid

The Japanese Foreign Ministry has said that the country will resume its developmental aid to Myanmar. Tokyo had suspended its economic assistance to Myanmar after the arrest and subsequent detention of Aung San SuuKyi in 2003, though continuing to provide humanitarian and emergency aid and assistance.

The two sides are also expected to discuss the reasonability of resuming the construction work on hydropower plant.

Unlike major Western nations, Japan has maintained trade ties and dialogue with Myanmar, warning that a hard line approach could push it closer to neighbouringChina, its main political supporter and commercial partner.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, November 24, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Double-taxation avoidance pact with India

Nepal and India signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) replacing the old one signed between the two countries in 1987. The agreement is aimed at facilitating exchange of information on banking between the two countries and helping them prevent tax evasion.

Finance Minister Barsaman Pun and his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, , signed the agreement that was already discussed and agreed upon during Prime Minister BaburamBhattarai’s official visit to India a month ago. The agreement, among other things, will end the need for Indian investors to pay taxes back home on repatriation of income once they pay taxes in Nepal.

The special provision in the agreement on exchange of banking information is expected to help Nepal deal with capital flights and take action against tax evaders who have fled to India.

After the signing, Mukherjee held talks with Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala and met NC leaders Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Poudel, Prakash Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Sitaula and expressed concern over the intra-party rift in the NC. In the meeting, NC leaders is said to have claimed that the party would lead the new government after completion of the peace process.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda also held one-on-one talks with Mukherjee but the details of the meeting were not divulged. UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, however, did not meet Mukherjee despite a schedule. Media reports said that while Nepal was unwell, Khanal was busy in a three-party meeting.

Mukherjee also held talks with leaders from Madhes-based parties, who are important coalition partners in Baburam Bhattarai Government. During the meeting, the Madhesi leaders expressed their opinions on current state of politics. They told Mukherjee that the peace process was moving towards a positive direction but a section of the Maoists had been opposing the move of returning the seized property. Mukherjee has advised the Madhesi parties to come together on issues of Madhes and hailed that Madhesi and other three major parties were coming closer on Madhes issues.
< class="text11verdana">Source:,, November 28, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Court puts brake on bilateral investment promotion

The Supreme Court has stayed all diplomatic correspondence between India and Nepal in relation to the enforcement of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India until parliamentary approval under Article 156 of Interim Constitution. A Bench of the court was responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Bal Krishna Neupane.

The BIPPA was signed between Nepal and India on October 21 during Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s sojourn to India.
< class="text11verdana">Source: thehimalayantimes,com, November 29, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">CA term extended for six months

Parliament has extended the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) for another six months. This is the fourth time Parliament has renewed the CA’s term, which was originally given two-year tenure for writing a new constitution.

A meeting of the top leaders from the major political parties earlier had struck a six-point agreement with regard to addressing the issue of CA term extension, the peace process and other knotty issues. Though the matter of CA term extension had been made a matter of heated debates in the past, it was not the case this time as the Supreme Court recently issued a verdict in favour of one more final extension. The CA tenure has been extended once for a year and twice for three months each in the past. Interim Constitution underwent amendment by two-thirds majority of parliament for each extension of the CA tenure.
< class="text11verdana">Source:,, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US asked to quit air base after NATO attack kills 24 soldiers

Pakistan shut down US military supply-routes to Afghanistan and asked the US to vacate the Shamsi air-base within 15 days after NATO helicopters and fighter aircraft hit two combat outposts on the border with Afghanistan, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26. According to reports a US-Afghan Special Forces mission had been ongoing in the area, where they believed a Taliban training camp was operating. The mission came under fire from a position within Pakistan, and they received permission from the headquarters of NATO’s Isaf mission to fire back.

NATO described the killings as a "tragic, unintended incident". However, Islamabad termed the incident as an "unprovoked attack" and demanded an apology from President Obama as matters continued to worsen. Islamabad instead upped the ante, and threatened to boycott the multi-lateral Bonn conference on rehabilitation in Afghanistan, but relented after President Karzai spoke with Pakistani leadership. However, on the air base issue, Islamabad has since refused to relent,
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Times, November 26-29 2011, Dawn, November 27, 28, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Al Qaida claims kidnapping of Weinstein

Al Qaida claimed responsibility for kidnapping a US aid contractor working in Pakistan, the group’s leader Aymanal-Zawahiri has said.

In a 31-minute audio message released on jihadi forums, Zawahiri claimed that Al Qaida had on August 13 abducted the elderly USAID contractor Warren Weinstein, who was "neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan," the SITE Intelligence Group said.

He said that the White House could secure the 70-year-old Weinstein’s release if it halts air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and releases the 1993 World Trade Center bombers including relatives of Osama bin-Laden. Among the list of eight demands for Weinstein’s release, Al Qaeda also called for the release of ’Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdul Rahman, RamziYousef and Sayyid Nosair.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Express Tribune, December 2, 2011; Dawn, December 2, 2011.

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hambantota rock blasted

The rock in the Hambantota International Harbour (HIH) that prevented the berthing of large ships had been blasted at a cost of $ 35-40 million and the pieces are being removed, a senior harbour official said today.

Chief Engineer Ajil Hewageegana said the removal of the pieces of the blasted rock and clearing operation would be concluded in three weeks enabling large ships, container carriers and mammoth oil tankers to enter the Hambantota Harbour.

"The blasting was carried out by the China Harbour Engineering Company. The rock did not affect the activities of the harbour but there has been some disturbance to the central canal," he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror Online, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Heroin seized from international gang

In the wake of a simmering controversy over the Indian Coast Guard proposing a ’no fishing zone’ to prevent the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the SLN on Monday, close to midnight, zeroed-in-on an Indian trawler carrying 2 kg of heroin.

The SLN also took five Indians and their three Sri Lankan smuggling counterparts into custody along with a fibre glass dinghy.

Responding to a query by The Island, SLN spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that the arrest was made seven nautical miles west off Iranativu Island.

The official said that a US-built Fast Attack Craft (P 480) and Inshore Patrol Craft (P 157) acted swiftly after seeing the dinghy moving alongside the trawler.

"We recovered four parcels containing heroin, each weighing half a kilo," Warnakulasuriya said, adding that all eight suspects were handed over to the KKS police for further investigations.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, Colombo, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Japan asks Govt to improve human rights

Yasushi Akashi, Special Representative of the Japanese Government for Peace Building and Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka, addressing a news conference in Colombo, at the conclusion of a five-day official visit, said that during his meetings with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ministers G. L. Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa, Mahinda Samarasinghe and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, he had emphasised on the importance of improving and strengthening the human rights situation and national reconciliation in the post war era.

President Rajapaksa explained how his Government was tackling civil issues, rehabilitation of the internally displaced, the reintegration of ex LTTE combatants and reconstruction of the North and East, he said adding that Rajapaksa had also pledged to implement the recommendations of the LLRC Report. Akashi said that Japan would continue to closely follow the developments in Sri Lanka, while participating in its development process.

Asked if there was a need for international involvement in the accountability process, he said that it should be addressed by a local national body and if need be with the participation of international judicial personalities, as in the case of Cambodia and some African States, including the Truth Commission of post-apartheid South Africa.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, Colombo, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian consortium wins Hajigak mine bid

An Indian consortium of seven companies led by the state owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL), has won the $10.3 billion deal to mine three sites in central Afghanistan. The contracts are to be signed early in the New Year; this has the potential of becoming the single largest foreign investment project in the country. Exploitation of the Hajikag mines in Bamiyan province would commence by 2015, these mines are said to have $2 billion worth of iron ore, with an iron concentration of 64%.

The country has in total Iron ore worth $421bn, Copper worth $274bn, Niobium worth $81bn, Cobalt worth $51bn, Gold worth $25bn; these figures are from a survey carried out in the 1960s. The country has vast amounts of natural resource but without adequate security it is extremely unlikely that investors would invest huge sums of money to build the necessary infrastructure to exploit such resources. The country also has vast reserves of oil and gas.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Surgar, November 30, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Afghan Elvis ’rock’ concert in Kabul

An all-woman exclusive concert was organized in Kabul by Farhad Darya; dubbed the Afghan Elvis. The concert was held in complete secrecy amidst tight security arrangements, to prevent any Taliban attacks. Some 700 people attended, they were both students and middle aged women, who enjoyed the live music.

Fahrad Darya is a role model to millions of young Afghans and is also the United Nations goodwill ambassador. His 35 albums comprise of songs that have a very profound pro- peace ideal. On the day Kabul was liberated from Taliban in 2001, Kabul Radio played his song, Kabul Jaan (Beloved Kabul).

In Herat last year Darya narrowly escaped when a bomb exploded at the gate he was supposed to leave from, injuring 13 persons. Darya left the country in 1990 and currently lives in the US, and refuses to use bodyguards.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Jakarta Globe, November 27, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Least corrupt nation in South Asia

In a recent Corruption Perception Index-2011 released by Berlin-based Transparency International Bhutan has been ranked as the least corrupt country in South Asia. The list also ranks Afghanistan at the lowest making it the most corrupt country in the region. According to TI Bhutan has scored 5.7 followed by Sri Lanka 3.3, India 3.1, Bangladesh 2.7, Maldives 2.5, Pakistan 2.5, Nepal 2.2 and Afghanistan 1.5.

Bishnu Bahadur KC, chairperson of TI-Nepal, in a press release said that a score below three showed that a corruption was all-pervasive in the country concerned. The index is based on the data collected from six international surveys conducted by six different institutions, and covers issues such as access to information, enforcement of anti- corruption laws and their outcomes, etc.

In the list, New Zealand ranks first with a score of 9.5, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea have gained the last score in the same list. TI adds that anti-corruption protests around the world show that the citizens feel that their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent, nor accountable enough.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 2, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">AIDS gains public face

For the first time in the history of Bhutan the victims of AIDS showed the courage to come up in public. On December 1 five people living with AIDS appeared live on BBS TV to share their experience. Many viewers described their appearance as a bold and heroic one.

Their decision was a result of conscious determination to open up in public and face the reality. They also wanted to create awareness about the deadly disease and reduce discrimination that the victims face each day.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 2, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sufficient rice stocks

With a burgeoning increase in the levels of food production, the much touted ’zero import’ level has been achieved in Bangladesh. The country, according to reports, has stocked up enough on rice to last it for the next year. With next year’s supply thus guaranteed, the South Asian nation does not need any import for the whole of next year.

It is being attributed to the bumper crop productions in the last few seasons. No Letters of Credit were opened for import of rice in the first half of November. In October, LCs worth $3.3 million were opened with bank to import 9,000 tonnes of rice while $72.1 worth of LCs million had been opened in the same month last year to import 150,000 tonnes of rice.

There has been a constant increase of the price of rise which led to a lot of farmers and traders indulging in hoarding goods expecting such trends to continue. Since prices fell due to the abundance in supply this scheme did not pay off and people had to finally sell off the stocks. However natural disasters are the only thing to worry about for the country.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 1, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">More than 26,000 people to be charged for post-poll violence

Investigators have found some 26,352 persons involved in the post-election disturbances of 2001 that led to the persecution of minorities, especially Hindus. The Government has taken steps to frame charges and soon the process of trials will begin, assured Home Minister Sahara Khatun.

The accused include 25 top-level leaders of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, including a few former ministers and MPs.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 2, 2011.

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan: Haripal Brar;
Bangladesh & Bhutan: Shraddha Bhattarai;
India: Satish Misra;
Myanmar: Sripathi Narayan;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Pakistan: Astik Sinha;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy;

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.