MonitorsPublished on Jan 30, 2015
The euphoria of the new leadership in Sri Lanka towards the northern Indian neighbour may have set the right tone and tenor for further betterment of bilateral relations as in regional and international contexts.
India too has to walk the talk, and nearer home
< class="heading1">Analysis

The euphoria of the new leadership in Sri Lanka towards the northern Indian neighbour may have set the right tone and tenor for further betterment of bilateral relations as in regional and international contexts. The relationship had slackened, and strained up to a point, particularly in the last year of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 10-year regime and for specific reasons. The Indian media did not give enough space for the maiden overseas visit of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera for most part, but that should not belittle the hosts’ new-found enthusiasm in engaging with Sri Lanka as a nation, government and peoples.

That the wide-ranging talks between Samaraweera and Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj extended over three hours should speak volumes not only for the commonality of approaches but also the complexities of the issues involved, at some stage. There were serious Indian concerns on the China (submarine-berthing) and Pakistan (ISI basing cross-border terrorism out of Sri Lanka), which the previous government in Colombo seemed to have over-looked but the present one could address squarely, in its own larger national interests.

There are other issues on which both nations need to work with and on others, including existing and emerging stake-holders. Some of them are present, particularly on the Indian side by sheer default and neglect, and they - and their concerns -- need to be addressed too - and nearer home. There are yet others, where the solution lies elsewhere, either closer home in Sri Lanka or in faraway global capitals and institutions, starting with the UNHRC in Geneva. These are solutions that could address the Indian concerns and silence criticism from within, particularly southern Tamil Nadu State.

The Narendra Modi government in India inheriting all the pluses and minuses of the Sri Lanka relations from predecessor Manmohan Singh dispensation, yet could not do much about it, particularly in view of the successive speculation and reality of fresh presidential polls in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan presidential polls that followed in double-quick time and the change of leadership in that country meant that the two nations can now start off on a clean slate, so to say. The Samaraweera visit has thus laid the foundation for the two governments to move forward, on specific issues and very specifically.

Tamils in key positions

As was hoped for and promised, the Sri Lankan government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have begun well on the home front, particularly on the vexatious ethnic issue. It refuses to die down, despite the exit of LTTE terror, war and violence full five years back. The new government’s decision on the double-quick appointment of a civilian governor in the Northern Province is their commitment to the cause. H M G S Palihakkara, as the Northern Province Governor, brings to the task, his vast and varied diplomatic and negotiating experience as a former Foreign Secretary of the nation.

Palihakkara’s appointment has since been followed coincidentally by the appointment of Justice K Sripavan, only the second Tamil Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, have all augured well. Justice Sripavan as the second senior-most Judge after controversial Chief Justice Mohan Peiris -- who was replaced just for a day by predecessor, Shirani Bandanayake, whose ’impeachment’ under predecessor President Rajapaksa -- was the one who administered the oath of office to President Sirisena. A Tamil, K C Logeswaran, is also now the Governor of the Western Province, of which the capital city of Colombo is a part - and another, Arjuna Maheswaran, that of the all-important Central Bank.

Having contributed hugely to President Sirisena’s election, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), heading the elected Northern Province administration since late 2013, is meaningfully awaiting the conclusion of the parliamentary polls, promised to be called by 23 April, at the end of the new government’s 100 days in office. In the presidential polls, the TNA could mobilise the Tamil voters on the single promise of President Rajapaksa’s exit. They may contest the parliamentary polls on their own, and the TNA might flag their electoral concerns/views over military presence and UNHCR probe, and political concerns on power-devolution "within a united Sri Lanka".

India had urged President Rajapaksa to implement the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution on power-devolution in letter and spirit. Then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had facilitated it in 1987. President Rajapaksa volunteered 13-Plus, but did not move beyond the promise - or, so was it seen. The TNA too wanted 13-Plus, but of a different description. Though substantive progress was said to have been made on specifics, the talks got stalled, and aborted after a time, particularly when the nation’s collective and differential energies were dissipated in the UNHRC probe-related global politics.

Months before the January 8 presidential polls, later-day Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would declare that his United National Party (UNP) was not for going beyond 13-A. As Prime Minister later, he has said that finding a solution would not be difficult and there were already five government-commissioned reports (involving politicians as its members) over the decades that could provide answers to the TNA’s demands. The TNA had proposed the same to the previous government, but to no avail.

Be it as it may, a lot on the passage of constitutional amendments required for the purpose would depend on the composition of the post-poll parliament and the acceptance of such proposals by individual parties - and at times individual MPs and groups belonging to larger parties. How the TNA faces up to the emerging situation, and also faces off the traditional ’separatist groups’ within the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, who have not given up after losing the presidential poll game to the TNA on the ’boycott issue’, too remains to be seen. Where India could fit in, and how, is equally unclear just now.

’Accountability issues’

There is the related linkage to the ’accountability issues’ over ’allegations of war crimes’, where a UNHRC probe, ordered at the instance of the US and the rest, needs to be taken to its logical or illogical conclusion, if progress had to be made on a permanent political solution to the ethnic issue. The new government in Colombo cannot be seen, particularly by Sinhala-Buddhist constituencies - hardliners or not - and also by the TNA as wanting to hunt with the hound and run with the hare.

Prima facie, it’s for the new government in Sri Lanka to negotiate with the US and other prime-movers behind the UNHRC resolutions in the past three years. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with his vast and varied experience in the job on two earlier occasions and his known proclivity towards the West and its ’liberal’ models, has said that his government would not allow ’external probes’ into ’accountability issues’ but at the same time would not shy away from engaging the international community, unlike the predecessor Rajapaksa regime.

The new rulers in Colombo have indicated that the previous government could have handled the situation better and engaged the international community and the UNHRC, as well. Present-day President Sirisena, during poll campaigns, had offered/promised to defend the Rajapaksa family - and the 200,000- strong armed forces -- on ’accountability issues’. Dr Jayantha Dhanapala, a high-ranking former UN diplomat and at present Presidential Advisor, post-poll, has since concluded a series of ’exploratory meetings’ in Geneva, ahead of the bi-annual March session of the UNHRC.

India should be keenly watching the developments on this score. Having voted with the US on the UNHRC resolution twice, in 2012 and 2013, India boycotted the 2014 vote on principles, when the US draft threw its ’sovereignty’ concerns to winds and called for an ’international probe’. The US carried the vote at the time, but it’s unclear just now if either the US or its supporters from the previous three years would want to do it again without giving new government in Colombo enough time to take stock and return.

How President Sirisena keeps up the promise, and how Prime Minister Wickemesinghe ensures that there is no one-sided global inquiry, which overlooks the LTTE’s war-crimes of decades and fails to fix ’political responsibility’ in one case even while doing so in the case of the other, can have serious repercussions. The ruling Tamil National Alliance (TNA), ruling the Northern Province, is divided on this issue as on the larger political negotiations, with one section saying that they would not be satisfied with anything less than an international probe - thus also reflecting the views of a vociferous, ’separatist’ section of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora.

India, under such circumstances, could be seriously impeded in taking forward its expectations of an earlier political settlement to the ethnic issue - which could encourage a free flow of war-time Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, now staying in India (and elsewhere, too. In all this India may have greater influence on the Sri Lankan Government than on the TNA, which needs to demonstrate its ’independence’ from ’Diaspora separatists’ more than eclipsing the latter’s ’boycott call’ for the presidential poll.

Return of the natives

Linked also to the ethnic issue, to a greater or lesser extent, is the return of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to their native land. In New Delhi and back home in Colombo, Minister Mangala Samaraweera invited all Sri Lankans living outside the country during the period of war to return home. At the Indian Republic Day function in the Indian Consul-General’s office in Jaffna, Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran, representing the Tamil community and their Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party, too invited the refugees back home.

A lot needs to be done by the two governments in this regard, but when and how if the efforts are to produce desired results - and nothing else - are unclear as yet. Culturally and historically, India is not in the habit of turning back ’guests’, even if they ended up ’ruling’ them. In the case of Sri Lankan Tamils, they continued to get Indian hospitality and care even after the LTTE’s assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. And the sympathy and support for them have only increased in recent years. There is nothing to suggest that this trend should be discontinued - or, would be discontinued. India in particular would want to be convinced that the returnees would not have an occasion to rush back to India, particularly in the absence of any economic wherewithal back home. It would be even more so in the case of the refugees, who would not want to go back home without guarantees to their earning capacity and opportunities - which are just not there back from wherever they had left, in the war-torn North and the East of the island-nation.

Under the Indian constitutional scheme, the State Government in Tamil Nadu has got both rights and responsibilities towards the refugees, who add up to over 100,000 - over two-thirds of them in camps run by the State Government and funded by the Centre. State Chief Minister O Pannerselvam wrote to Prime Minister Modi as to why the State would not participate in a scheduled official meeting on refugee-repatriation at Delhi, citing ’apprehensions’ (?) about their safety when the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) was still present in their areas.

Near-simultaneously, former Union Minister and Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, Sudarshan Natchchiappan, heading a parliamentary advisory committee, claimed, based on studies, that over 70 percent of the refugees in Tamil Nadu camps wanted to return home. He too said that the refugees wanted safety, security and jobs with earning capacity, as and when they went back home. NGOs like OfERR, headed by S C Chandrahasan, son of the late Sri Lankan Tamil rights leader, S J V Chelvanayagam, working with the refugees in a very big way, have called for the governments concerned to facilitate their early return home, but have also indicated a long list of facilitating clauses on the ground.

Chief Minister Panneerselvam’s missive to Prime Minister Modi also contains what reads like the State Government’s belated, initial reaction to the presidential polls in Sri Lanka, when he said that "recent political developments in Sri Lanka are a cause for hope and have raised expectations of reconciliation". The Delhi consultations, in which the Sri Lankan Government too was represented, went off without a representative of the Tamil Nadu dispensation, and the expectation now is that the Chief Minister has not given up hope on political reconciliation and facilitating/consequent down-sizing of army presence and role in the war-affected areas in that country.

Yet, Tamil Nadu, the polity and the government, too need to learn - and are also encouraged thus -- to work with the elected representatives of the Tamil people in a ’neighbouring country’, and respect their views on all issues, ethnic. The elected TNA Government in the Northern Province continues to swear by a ’negotiated political settlement within a united Sri Lanka’, but the Tamil Nadu Assembly went ahead and passed a unanimous resolution for a referendum on the future status of the Tamil areas and people in that country, with voting rights for their Diaspora. It now seems to extend to refugee-repatriation, too. As and when the chips are down, it’s inevitable that the inherent differences between the two elected ’Tamil governments’ on the fishers’ issue could also get clearer expression.

In the post-poll scenario in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) elected administration in the North in particular would want to have its say on all matters ethnic - and are as constantly consulted as is required. Chief Minister Wigneswaran has already indicated as much on the political solution, provincial administration, military presence, ’accountability’ probe(s), and now also on refugee-rehabilitation. They need opportunities to experience and experiment with running a political administration. They also need to be given the opportunity to take ’responsibility’ for their people and (only) ’within a united Sri Lanka’, and not otherwise, as imagined elsewhere. The Sri Lankan Government should consider how to integrate the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in particular into the refugee-rehabilitation process. They should also be considering similar measures for the Eastern Province.

In facilitating refugee-repatriation, India - and also Sri Lanka -- will also be ensuring - and/or should ensure - that any precedent of sorts that it might set in terms of the ’return of the natives’ is in no way used by third nations with considerable Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and/or asylum-seekers, to turn them out. This can cause political problems for some in those host-nations. For India, after three long decades of hospitality, neither the Centre, nor the Tamil Nadu government need to feel guilty for setting off a process that had possibilities other than intended, and elsewhere.

TN over-reaction

For bilateral relations to make real progress, and for India not to lose the initiative and drive of the new government in Sri Lanka, and the expected successor after parliamentary polls in that country, it needs to do its own part of the homework, quick and clear. The ’Tamil Nadu factor’ to bilateral issues covers not only ethnic issue and the fishers’ problem, but also trade and commerce, and the very movement of Sinhala-Buddhist pilgrims and training for Sri Lankan soldiers in Indian army schools and bases in the State.

Any over-reaction from across the Palk Strait, either from the Tamil Nadu Government or its ’competitive, pan-Tamil polity’, or both, could put under a more ’liberal’ dispensation in Colombo on the defensive even more than in the case of its predecessor. It goes beyond maintaining a stoic silence to attacks on aged pilgrims wanting to visit Bodhgaya, or on shoppers, or to protests against military training for their men in uniform. India cannot flag the ’China issue’ beyond a point if it’s not able to even offer training for Sri Lankan soldiers in the base/school of their government’s choice.

On the fishers’ issue, no solution could be found unless the Centre is able to talk the Tamil Nadu government and through them the fishers down south, to discontinuing vessels (bottom-trawlers) and gears (nets) that are banned under law in Sri Lanka, and which unlike in India, is enforced, too. There is also the larger question of the ’Katchchativu case’, filed by ruling AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in the Supreme Court, which in turn is linked to the IMBL and IMBL violations. On trade, ’double-taxation’ of the Indian kind, where the Centre and the States hurts Sri Lankan exporters, who also face non-tariff barriers of one kind or the other. Unless this is handled internally, India cannot expect cooperation from Sri Lankan businesses - hence their government - for upgrading the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) into a mutually even-more productive CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement), which despite initialling by both sides has remained a dead-letter for over five years now.

R-Day, first of a kind

For all this, however, bilateral relations, post-poll in Sri Lanka could not have begun better. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe accepted High Commissioner Y K Sinha’s initiative and invitation and was the honoured chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations at the Indian High Commissioner, Colombo - possibly a first one of the kind for any Indian embassy elsewhere, too. He was accompanied by nearly 30 incumbent ministers, not to leave out former ministers and other political bigwigs, as has been the norm on such occasions.

In the past, ministerial attendance was mostly sort of statutory, more for the sake of form and protocol, when designated persons would be present. There were exceptions when senior leaders, including ministers, would drop in as a matter of personal courtesy and as a display of their regard for the northern neighbour. This time round, it was a reflection of the ’yearning’ of the new leadership to build bridges with India and for real - the kind of ’yearning’ High Commissioner Sinha said in his address that Sri Lankans had displayed closer home for a change of leadership!

(The writer is a Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Afghanistan: Improving relations with Pakistan

Aryaman Bhatnagar

The visit of a high-ranking delegation of the Afghan Border Police Force to Rawalpindi this past week is the latest in a series of high level exchanges that have taken place between the two countries over the past few months. Since October 2014, there has been a sudden spurt in the number and frequency of such meetings. The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, Gen Raheel Sharif, Adviser to the PM on National Security & Foreign Affairs Sartaz Aziz and the ISI chief, Gen Rizwan Akhtar, have already visited Afghanistan. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made Pakistan his second official trip abroad - after China - where he, unprecedently, visited the Pakistan Army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The focus of all these meetings has more or less been the same. There has been a growing emphasis on improving bilateral ties, particularly trade and commercial relations and greater cooperation in tackling terrorism in the region.

Pakistan remains critical for Afghanistan’s future stability. Its links with Afghan insurgents - the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar -and their safe havens on Pakistani soil has given Pakistan, and especially its military establishment, a critical stake in determining the Afghan endgame. President Ghani’s relentless efforts to mend relations, which had deteriorated severely during Hamid Karzai’s tenure, should be seen in this light. Besides his own trip to Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the Pakistan factor also influenced his meetings in Beijing and Riyadh. Given the China and Saudi Arabia’s strong ties with Pakistan, it is hoped that these countries would be able to persuade Rawalpindi to play a more constructive role vis-a-vis Afghanistan. Moreover, his decision to review the Karzai government’s request for military equipment from India within days of assuming office was also interpreted as his effort to placate Pakistan.

Similarly, for Pakistan, better relations with Afghanistan have also become critical for addressing its own mounting security challenges. The massacre of school children by the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) militants in December 2014 has increased pressure on the Pakistan state to take action against this group. The bases of a number of TTP factions and leaders - including its chief Mullah Fazlullah - in eastern Afghanistan explains the urgency in Pakistan’s attempts to reach out to the new leaders in Kabul. In fact, General Sharif landed in Kabul for an emergency meeting with President Ghani just a day after the Peshawar massacre to urge Afghanistan to take action against the TTP bases on its soil.

Prospects for cooperation

The last few months have seen some progress in bilateral ties. Both countries have committed to share intelligence on militants, coordinate plans and explore avenues for collaboration to enhance border security. This is in addition to agreements between the two for improving trade relations. Kabul, for its part, has also launched military operations in its eastern provinces with the objective of targeting the TTP hideouts.

An enhanced role for China in the region could also be a potential game changer. China has shown signs of playing a bigger role in Afghanistan. During President Ghani’s visit to Beijing, the two governments signed various agreements that sought to enhance China’s involvement in different sectors of Afghanistan. Greater Chinese investments in the country could, in turn, induce Pakistan to play a more constructive role in the region.

However, given the historical context of the mutual Afghanistan-Pakistan rivalry and bitterness and various long-standing issues between the two, it may be too premature to see this progress as the beginning of a new phase in the bilateral ties. A number of obstacles still exist that would have to be navigated for there to be significant progress in bilateral ties.

For one, the support for non-state actors from both Afghanistan and Pakistan could continue to cast a shadow over the bilateral relations. This has been a common occurrence in this bilateral equation. For much of the 1950s and 1960s, Afghanistan had extended support to Baloch and Pashtun nationalists in Pakistan. It was only from the mid-1970s onwards that Pakistan sought to counter this threat by adopting a more offensive strategy to influence developments within Afghanistan to suit its own strategic interests. Since then there has been a marked shift in the balance of power between the two states, with Pakistan being in a far greater position to play the spoiler in the region.

While the onus definitely rests with both countries to take measures to tackle the terror infrastructure existing on their soil, given the shift in balance it is imperative for Pakistan to take the initial steps. A more genuine effort on their part could go a long way in garnering goodwill among the Afghan political elite. A start seems to have been made in that direction. The decision of the state to ban the Haqqani Network, along with a number of other groups including the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), is a welcome move, which has been demanded for long by both the US and the Afghan government.

However, Pakistan has a long and unsuccessful experience of banning groups. The Lashkar-e-Tayyeba is a clear case in point. Although the group was banned in 2003, it quickly resurfaced as JuD, which was then able to entrench itself firmly within the Pakistan society as a highly influential group. Moreover, the state, especially the military establishment, developed strong linkages with JuD and continued to use the LeT to pursue its interests in the region. Such precedence has raised questions about the effectiveness of this latest ban against the Haqqani Network, considered to be Rawalpindi’s "strategic asset".

Engagement with India

Afghanistan’s future engagement with India is yet another factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Pakistan has always been wary of India’s involvement in Afghanistan and has sought to limit its engagement. It has restricted its access to Afghanistan by denying transit to its goods bound for the country and has also been responsible for the attacks on Indian missions in the country.

Hamid Karzai viewed India as a strategic ally and was pushing New Delhi to play a much larger role in Afghanistan, especially in its security sector. While President Ghani is yet to show the same level of enthusiasm towards India, it is unlikely that he would seek to marginalise India for too long. Given the military drawdown and the resultant decrease in international aid and interest in Afghanistan post-2014, India - responsible for one of the most effective aid programmes in Afghanistan - is going to remain a critical regional player.

Given Pakistan’s persistent apprehension of any enhanced role for India in Afghanistan post-2014, it is going to be critical for President Ghani to balance Afghanistan’s relations with both India and Pakistan. Any perceived tilt in India’s favour, as was the case during Mr Karzai’s tenure, could once again provoke Rawalpindi. Increased in cross-border terrorism or attacks against Indian missions or development projects will not only intensify bilateral tensions but also worsen relations between India and Pakistan further undermining the prospects for regional integration. The possible impact of the India-Pakistan rivalry on Afghanistan-Pakistan relations was revealed earlier this month when Afghanistan threatened to ban Pakistani trucks from entering its territory unless its trucks were given access to India via Pakistan.

There is no doubt that for stability in Afghanistan, better relations with Pakistan are the need of the hour. Both countries, especially President Ghani, seem to have taken the correct initial steps in this direction. However, given the mammoth challenges in this bilateral relationship it is best to view the work of the past few months with "cautious optimism".

(The writes is an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi)

< class="heading1">Country Reports


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nine cabinet nominees approved

The lower house of the Afghan Parliament approved only nine out of the total of 19 Cabinet nominees, whose names were put before it. This included the nominees for the ministries of Finance, Mines, Hajj and Religious Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Interior Affairs, and Rural Rehabilitation and Development. The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah expressed frustration at the decision of the Parliament but gave assurances that they would respect the decision.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Abdullah Voices Frustration With Lower House Rejection of Top Cabinet Nominees", Tolo News, 29 January 2015; "Abdullah Voices Frustration With Lower House Rejection of Top Cabinet Nominees", , Tolo News, 28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Four changes to poll law

The lower house of Parliament approved the proposed amendments to four articles in the electoral law. These amendments concern the eligibility criteria, counting of ballots, and the duration of the complaint registration.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Wolesi Jirga Approves Four Amendments in Election Law",, Tolo News, 28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Af-Pak trade ties up

Pakistan this week offered a number of incentives that are likely to provide a huge boost to Afghanistan-Pakistan trade ties. These incentives focus on reducing the cost and time of goods movement.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Pakistan offers incentives to Afghan importers",, Dawn, 28 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">No end to political chaos

Bangladesh witnessed another week of political violence and chaos. 48 hours long shutdown was witness in the capital Dhaka and other parts of the country. Since 5th January Bangladesh facing political violence as the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP) launched agitation movement to oust the present Awami League government.

More than 35 people died and hundreds injured in the political violence. Government has urged the security agencies to take harsh measures to control incidences of violence. Month political violence greatly disturbed the daily lives of the people. The country’s economy is likely to be affected. Political turmoil could cause a delay in shipments by the country’s $24-billion garment industry. United Nations have expressed concern over the situation in Bangladesh.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Thirty-four die in Bangladesh vote protest violence", Reuters, 24 January 2015; "48-hour "hartal" shutdown hits Bangladesh capital", World Bulletin, 21 January 2015; "Blockade raises cost of business", The Daily Star, 27 January 2015; "Do whatever needed to stop violence: PM asks police, says she will take responsibility for their actions ", The Daily Star, 29 January 2015; "Truck attacked, helper killed in Chandpur", The Daily Star, 29 January 2015, "Situation disturbing: UN", The Independent, 30 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pak-trained IS militants held

Four alleged Islamic State militants have been arrested by the security agencies for plotting to attack key installations and turn Bangladesh into a Caliphate State. All the four arrested were trained in Pakistan. These arrests highlighted expansion of IS’s network in the region which increases concern about security and stability of the country and South Asia.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "4 Pak-trained IS militants held in Bangladesh", The Tribune, 20 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Debt on the rise

Bhutan’s outstanding external debt grew at 9.5 percent between June 2013-14 with hydro-power loans from India forming major chuck of Himalayan country’s borrowings. The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in its annual report said that Bhutan’s debt swelled to $1.8 billion in 2014 from $1.6 billion in June 2013.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : : "Bhutan’s debt increasing at 9.5 per cent, India largest creditor", The Economic Times, 29 January 2015; "External debt growing at 9.5 per cent", Kuensel Online, 28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">FDI policy to benefit investors

The new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy would allow investors to take dividends or profits in convertible currencies. Economic Affairs minister, Norbu Wanchuck said the policy was created to help FDI’s grow in the country.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Revised FDI allows foreign investors to take profits in convertible currencies", Bhutan Broadcasting Service, 28 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Obama concludes landmark visit

US President Barack Obama concluded a hectic three-day visit to India where he finalised the stalled nuclear deal, presided over the Republic Day parade as the Guest of Honour, spoke with key industry leaders, addressed a ’town hall’, and hosted a radio talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The negotiations make it feasible for US companies to invest in nuclear energy in India without having to dilute the country’s liability laws. The two states also signed a Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region, signalling towards greater congruence of views about perceived Chinese expansion. Obama concluded his visit by delivering a stark reminder to India to pursue religious and gender tolerance.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Nuclear deal among five key takeaways from Obama visit", The Times of India, January 29, 2015; "Obama in India: 10 major takeaways for India & US from American President’s visit", The Economic Times, 27 January 2015; "Why Obama’s India visit charts new course", BBC, 27 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Jaishankar, new Foreign Secretary

The government appointed Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Ambassador to the United States, the new Foreign Secretary. Jaishankar was part of the core team that negotiated the Nuclear Deal and more recently was responsible for making arrangements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) which is headed by Modi himself decided to curtail the tenure of outgoing Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh by seven months. Incidentally, Singh is the daughter of T V Rajeswar, former Director of the Intelligence Bureau and Governor of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim, and known Congress loyalist.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Jaishankar takes charge as Foreign Secretary", The Hindu, 29 January 2015; "Jaishankar’s appointment sets a healthy precedent", Rediff, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">TN leader quits Congress

Jayanthi Natarajan, senior Congress leader and former minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, quit the Congress party. She conveyed her resignation to party President Sonia Gandhi in a letter that severely criticised the lack of inner-party democracy in Congress, and questioned the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

Natarajan was removed from the ministry, ostensibly to devote more time towards the 2014 General Elections. In her resignation letter, however, she alleged that news reports attributing her removal to inefficiency in granting clearances for industrial projects were planted by Rahul Gandhi.

She also blamed the senior leadership for their insularity from the rest of the party. Natarajan cast off rumours that she will join any other party.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Jayanthi Natarajan quits Congress after letter attacking Rahul, says not joining any party", The Indian Express, 29 January 2015; "Jayanthi Natarajan writes explosive letter to Sonia, quits Congress", The Times of India, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Talks with Russia over advanced fighter

Indian and Russian officials, including respective Defence Ministers Manohar Parrikar and Sergei Shoigu, met to discuss ways to expedite the development of an advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft that the two countries agreed to manufacture jointly in 2010.

This is the 14th meeting of the Indian-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation. Progress on the project has stalled over disagreements on technical issues as well the relative sharing of costs.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India, Russia Agree to Move Faster On Stealth Jet For Their Militaries", NDTV, 22 January 2015; "India, Russia to fast-track joint military programmes", The Times of India, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maoist attacks in Kerala

The Kochi office of the National Highway Authority of India was vandalised by suspected Maoist rebels on January 29. The attackers left pamphlets identifying them as Maoists, according to the police. This is the second such attack in the state.

Earlier, the communist rebel group targeted a tourist resort in the northern town of Wayanad on 25 January and wrote slogans against US President Barack Obama’s India visit. Both incidents reveal insurgent decision against targeting police officials and causing lethal injury, suggesting the probing nature of Maoist activity in the hitherto peaceful state.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Maoists strike again; vandalise National Highway Authority of India office in Kochi", Daily News and Analysis, 29 January 2015; "Maoists attack NHAI office near Kochi", The Times of India, 30 January 2015; "NHAI office in Kochi attacked, Maoist hand suspected", Manorama Online (Kerala), 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Coal India stakes for sale

The Indian government is expected to sell up to 10 percent of its stake in Coal India Ltd., the state-controlled mining company, for approximately $4 billion on Friday, according to news reports on Wednesday. The central government presently owns 89.65 percent of the monopoly coal producer in India, and the sale is expected to be the government’s largest share sale transaction.

This disinvestment is a part of the government’s plan to raise revenue of about $10 billion in the fiscal year ending in March. In response to the announcement of the share sale, Coal India Ltd. slipped 5 percent in trade on Thursday.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : Coal India to sell 10% stake on Friday", Livemint, 28 January 2015; "Coal India slips over 5% ahead of 10% stake sale by govt on Friday", Economic Times, 29 January 2015; "India to Sell Stake in Coal India", The Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Funds to meet over-runs

The roads ministry has proposed to infuse funds in projects stuck due to cost overruns. In a cabinet note, the ministry has proposed to allow developers to borrow additional funds from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) required to complete stalled projects at a rate lower than that offered by banks.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Government to infuse funds into projects stalled due to cost overruns", Livemint, 30 January 2015; "PMO steps in to push stalled infrastructure projects", The Times of India, 30 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China ’no’ to bases

A Chinese Embassy press release in Male has denied former President Mohammed Nasheed’s (MDP) claim that the Yameen government had planned to hand over Laamu atoll for developing a military base.

The MDP promptly accepted the Chinese statement, and said they were happy for it.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "China dismisses Nasheed’s claim of military base in Laamu Atoll", Minivan News, 25 January 2015; "MDP welcomes China’s denial of military plans for Laamu Atoll", Minivan News, 26 January 2015: "Chinese survey says Maldives fifth most popular destination", Minivan News, 28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MDP, JP to work together

In the backdrop of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) earlier asking President Abdulla Yameen to hand over power to Jumhooree Party leader, Gasim Ibrahim, the two Opposition parties have decided to work together in ’defence of the Constitution’.

Gasim has since said that the Yameen government has lost its ’legitimacy’ following the withdrawal of support by the JP, which also announced that the two parties would announce a joint plan of action, soon.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution", Minivan News, 27 January 2015; "A joint plan will revealed next week- Ameen", Haveeru Online, 29 January 2015; "JP council officially declares exit from Progressive Coalition", Minivan News, 25 January 2015; "’Government has lost legitimacy’ says Qasim", Haveeru Online, 29 January 2015; "Adhaalath mulls over joining MDP and JP", Haveeru Online, 27 January 2015; "We will cooperate if amendment are brought to real issues in constitution- Abdulla Riyaz", Miadhu, 29 January 2015; "Elections Commission says MDP cannot force Moosa to follow party whip", Minivan News, 26 January 2015; "MP Yameen to join PPM", SunOnline, 28 January 2015; "Former presidents Gayoom and Waheed meet with President Yameen", SunOnline, 25 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">HC reopens Nasheed case

The High Court has reopened hearing on former President Mohammed Nasheed’s appeal against the three-judge trial court proceedings on trying him for the ’illegal detention’ of Criminal Court Chief Judge, Abdulla Mohammed, when he was in power.

The High Court suspended the hearing during the long run-up to the 2013 presidential polls. Any clearance for reviving the trial, leading to a prison term upward of one year could lead to Nasheed being disqualified from the contesting elections for an additional three years, too.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Hearing on President Nasheed lawsuit on Feb 3", Haveeru Online, 28 January 2015; "High Court rejects Nasheed’s request to delay Hulhumalé court bench trial", Minivan News, 26 January 2015; "Nasheed asks High Court to postpone case against Hulhumalé Court", Haveeru Online, 26 January 2015; "Supreme Court has removed right of appeal, claim legal experts", Minivan News, 28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Passport seized

Based on a court order, authorities have seized the passport of ousted Defence Minister, Col Mohamed Nazim.

The police said that they had seized a pistol and three bullets during a raid on Nazim’s house, leading to his sacking, even as former Attorney-General Azima Shukhoor said that she would not be arguing Nazim’s case, owing to personal reasons - adding that another lawyer would however be doing so.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Nazim’s passport seized", SunOnline, 28 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt agrees for four-party talks

The union government has agreed to hold four party talks between delegates from the government, parliament, National Network for Education Reform and students. The decision was taken after a government delegation met students in Nay Pyi Taw.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Govt. accepts student’s call for four-party talks", Eleven Myanmar, 29 January 2015; "Quadripartite meeting planned over National Education Law", Mizzima, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Defence Ministry warns against blame

The defence ministry has issued a warning, threatening legal action against anyone smearing the army with claims that soldiers raped and murdered two school teachers in Shan state. The military run newspaper Myawaddy published a defence ministry statement on 28 January that warned against the smear campaign.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Defence ministry warns against blaming army for murders", Mizzima, 30 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Military for more minority representation in talks

Myanmar’s military M.Ps have suggested more representation of ethnic minorities and minority political parties. The M.Ps have sent their suggestions to the speaker of the House of Nationalities.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Military M.Ps suggest including more minorities in political dialogues", Eleven Myanmar, 30 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Switching to solar power

Sales of solar power systems have grown significantly in the past few years with load-shedding hours ever increasing. The government has helped to boost the business further by providing subsidies to promote renewable energy in the country.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Energy-starved Nepal turns to solar power", eKantipur, 23 January 2015;

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Differences persist

The intra-party rift within the 30-party alliance, led by UCPN-Maoists, have started to surface after the Maoists announced a series of protests against the voting process started by the ruling parties for bringing in a new constitution.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Differences surface within opposition", Republica, 29 January 2015; "No talks unless ruling parties rectify mistake: Bhattarai", Republica, 30 January 2015; "UML for talks without halting CA procedures", Republica, 30 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Investment Summit 2015

In a first of its kind, Nepal has made a strong pitch for foreign investments at a high-profile international forum, ’Nepal Investment Summit 2015’, organised outside the country.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal makes pitch for energy, connectivity", , eKantipur,28 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">HRW calls for justice

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the Nepali political parties have failed to address the long overdue promise of justice and accountability in war crimes. In its World Report 2015, the New York-based human rights body said that the new coalition government of Nepali Congress and CPN-UML made no progress in these areas.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "HRW concerned by Nepal’s lack of progress in war crimes prosecution", eKantipur, 29 January 2015; "HRW calls for speedy justice to Nepal’s conflict-era victims", The Hindu, 29 January 2015; "Human Rights Watch flays govt over failed promises", Republica, 30 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Border meet with India

The security officials of Nepal and India on Saturday held a meeting at Tapoban of Darchula district discussing the strengthening of border security in face of growing cross-border crimes.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal, India hold border consultation meet"," eKantipur, 24 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bombing kills 61

A powerful bomb explosion during Friday prayers at a crowded imambargah in Shikarpur city of Sindh province killed at least 61 people and seriously injured around 50. The bombing was targeted at the Shia community and terrorist group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Shikarpur imambargah bombing kills 61", The Nation, 31 January 2015; "Black Friday: Shikarpur bleeds", The Express Tribune, 31 January 2015; "At least 60 killed in blast at Shikarpur imambargah", Dawn, 31 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Two injured in border shelling

In what new reports claim to be heavy mortar shelling by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on border villages along the Sialkot Working Boundary, at least two women were critically injured.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Indian firing injures 2 women in Sialkot", The Nation, 31 January 2015; "Two women injured in border shelling by India", Dawn, 31 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Afghan Taliban not terrorists: US

The White House termed the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan a terrorist organisation while maintaining that the Afghan Taliban is not a terrorist outfit.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Pak Taliban terrorists, Afghan Taliban not: US", , The Nation, 31 January 2015;

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US: Strategic partnership with Pak still on

State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki has said that the United States’ relationship with Islamabad is strong and vital for its strategic needs and that the US would continue to have a close strategic partnership with Pakistan.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Close strategic partnership with Pakistan will continue: US", , The Express Tribune, 31 January 2015

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Shirani returns as CJ, retires

In a much-anticipated move aimed at fulfilling an election promise, the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena restored ’impeached’ Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, after holding that her replacement by then Attorney-General Mohan Peiris was ab initio void.

Holding that justice had been done in her case, CJ Shirani took retirement the same evening, following which the senior-most serving Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice K Sripavan was named to succeed her.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Shirani Bandaranayake resumes work as CJ", The Island, January 28, 2015; "Shirani retires; Sripavan to be appointed CJ today", The Island, 29 January 2015; "Ranil claims Constitution not violated", The Island, 29 January 2015; "Mohan Peiris pleaded with President not to remove him as CJ - Rajitha", The Island, 29 January 2015; "CJ Peiris treated worse than a labourer", The Island, 29 January 2015; "Nimal raises threat made to CJ Peiris", The Island, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Fonseka’s honours, rights back

Fulfilling yet another election promise, President Maithripala Sirisena granted amnesty to war-time army commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka and restored him military rank and honours and also civic rights, after courts found him guilty in a few cases and sentenced him to imprisonment.

Gen Fonseka, who was a Parliament member at the time of conviction, lost it, and the present government was awaiting the Attorney-General’s advice on if he could return to the House, as and when his Democratic Party replacement vacated the seat to facilitate the process.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "SF’s ranks, civic rights restored", Daily Mirror Online, 28 January 2015; "Fonseka’s return to Parliament hinges on Attorney General’s opinion - Senaratne", The Island, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Mini-budget promises more

In a possible post-election take-off from where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had left, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented a mini-budget to meet the pre-poll, 100-day commitments of the coalition that saw President Maithripala Sirisena assuming office.

The budget, revised at times owing to favourable international oil prices, has proposed deficits and inflation figures from the one presented by President Rajapaksa as his own Finance Minister.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Govt presents welfare budget", The Island, January 29, 2015; "MR’s budget proposals revised", The Island, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sirisena to lead SLFP in polls

The SLFP Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva has told the party’s parliamentary group meeting that incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena would be their lead campaigner for the parliamentary polls, when held, and that they would come victorious.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "General election: President will lead SLFP campaign; victory assured-Nimal", The Island, 29 January 2015; "Nimal praises ITN, lashes out at govt.", The Island, 29 January 2015; "President Sirisena agrees to SLFP participation at Constitutional amendments", The Sunday Times, 25 January 2015; "President consolidates hold; NCP CM, six Governors including Nanda Mathew replaced...consequent to six CMs seeking MS intervention", The Island, January 28, 2015; "Nimal asks SLFPers to be patient till next general election", The Island, 28 January 2015; "Senaratne accuses Opposition Leader of playing double game", The Island, 27 January 2015; "President Sirisena: ’I would have been tortured if...", The Island, January 27, 2015; "MR to return for general election?", Ceylon Today, 25 January 2015; "Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks out...acknowledges his failure to counter ’baseless allegations’", The Island, 27 January 2015; "Attack me or my father but not other family members", Daily Mirror Online, 27 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Exploratory visit’ to UNHCR

With the Geneva-based UNHCR scheduled to take up the war-time ’accountability issues’ in Sri Lanka, based on an expected probe report, in March, President Maithripala Sirisena’s Advisor, Dr Jayantha Dhanapala, the organisation’s chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and others at Geneva, to discuss the way forward, based on the new government’s perception on the issue.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Dhanapala briefs UNHR Chief", Daily Mirror Online, 29 January 2015; "Dhanapala to hold talks with UN Human Rights Chief", The Sunday Times, 25 January 2015; "Accountability issues: New govt. won’t depend on foreign experts -Dy. FM", The Island, 27 January 2015; "’This is Sri Lanka’s Burma moment, everyone should help us’", The Sunday Times, 25 January, 2015; "Rift In TNA Over Maithri Policy", The Sunday Leader, 25 January 2015; "UK MP hopes press freedom will be boosted under new govt.", Daily Mirror Online, 29 January 2015; "Military camps stoned: Two army officers to be prosecuted...400 persons trained to create public disorder - Rajitha", The Island, 29 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ranil at IHC R-Day fete

In an unprecedented demonstration of improvement in bilateral relations, Prime Minister Ranil Wickrememesinghe accepted the invitation and was present as the chief guest at the customary Republic Day celebrations at the Indian High Commission (IHC), at the day’s evening ceremonies.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "India to take bilateral ties with SL to new level: Envoy", Daily Mirror Online, 27 January 2015

Primary Documentation


Press Release of the presentation of credentials of Bhutan’s Ambassador, Pema Choden to President of the Republic of Korea Park Guen-hye, Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 January 2015


PM’s remarks at the NCC Rally, website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 28 January 2015

English rendering of transcript of the special episode of Mann ki Baat: PM and US President share their thoughts on Radio, website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 27 January 2015

Remarks by Prime Minister at the India-U.S. Business Summit, New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs, 26 January 2015

P Chidambaram, "Across the Aisle: Will the campaign end after R-Day?", The Indian Express, 25 January 2015

Address by the President on the eve of the 66th Republic Day, website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 25 January 2015

Media Statement by President Barack Obama of United States of America during Joint Media Interaction with Prime Minister, Ministry of External Affairs, 25 January 2015

Prime Minister’s Media Statement during Joint Press Interaction with President of United States of America, Ministry of External Affairs, 25 January 2015

English rendering of PM’s response to questions during Joint press interaction with President of United States of America, website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 25 January 2015

US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 25 January 2015

Joint Statement during the visit of President of USA to India- "Shared Effort; Progress for All", website of the Prime Minister’s Office, 25 January 2015

India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, Ministry of External Affairs, 25 January 2015


President U Thein Sein congratulatory message to Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of Republic Day, Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 January 2015


Foreign Secretary briefs P-5 and EU Envoys on Regional Developments and Kashmir, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 29 January 2015

Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 29th January 2015, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 29 January 2015

Text of the Statement by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs at the Seminar on "US President Obama’s Visit to India on 26 January 2015 and its Implications", organised by Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 29 January 2015

The Adviser Felicitates the New Afghan Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Government of Pakistan, 28 January 2015

Statement of the Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 27 January 2015



Opinion Pieces

Kate Clark, "Winnowing the Cabinet List: MPs vote, nine of 27 ministers endorsed", Afghanistan Analysts Network, 28 January 2015

"After vote, Afghanistan still can’t form working government. Why?", Christian Science Monitor, 28 January 2015

"Fears of Islamic State in Afghanistan", DW, 26 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Enamul Hague, "Long road to real democracy", The Daily Star, 29 January 2015

Curtis S. Chin and Jose B. Collazo, "America Pivots South, to India: Could Bangladesh be next?", The Daily Star, 29 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Kuensel, "The elephant in the room", Kuensel Online, 29 January 2015

Kuensel, "Subjective justice", Kuensel Online, 28 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

M. K. Bhadrakumar, "India’s foreign policy at the crossroad", The Hindu, 26 January 2015

Rudra Chaudhuri, "Beyond the immediate present", The Hindu, 26 January 2015

Daniel Markey, "Peace through strength, Indian-style", The Indian Express, 26 January 2015

Stephen P Cohen and Michael Ohanlon, "A new moment in India-US defence ties", The Indian Express, 24 January 2015

Robert M. Hathaway, "The useful friendship", The Indian Express, 24 January 2015

Rajdeep Sardesai, "Kejriwal vs Bedi: fascinating window in Indian politics", Hindustan Times, 23 January 2015

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, "Keep the Republic’s taper burning bright and tall", Hindustan Times, 23 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Eleven Myanmar, "To oppress students is to oppress future of the country", Eleven Myanmar, 28 January 2015

Kwaw Hsu Mon, "We will have to do more, practically and mentally", The Irrawaddy, 26 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Bimal Pratap Shah, "Digital Identities", eKantipur, 30 January 2015

Kanak Mani Dixit, "By Nepalis, For Nepalis", eKantipur, 30 January 2015

Deepak Thapa, "Crisis of Faith", eKantipur, 29 January 2015

Trailokya Raj Aryal, "Missing skepticism", Republica, 28 January 2015

Shambhu Ram Simkhada, "Long wait", Republica, 28 January 2015

Prakash Bhattarai, "Road to constitution", Republica, 28 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Khaled Ahmed, "The rise of religious rage", The Indian Express, 31 January 2015

Mehr Tarar, "What Pakistan Makes of Obama-Modi Chemistry", NDTV, 27 January 2015

Shashank Bengali, Christi Parsons and Aoun Sahi, "Obama’s visit to India gives Pakistan pause", Los Angeles Times, 27 January 2015

Tom Hussain, "Change is coming: Pakistan’s middle classes are angry", The National, 26 January 2015

Raza Rumi, "The Art of US-Pakistan Relations", Foreign Policy, 26 January 2015

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Prof G L Peiris, "Independent Commissions: Necessary Improvements of the 17th Amendment", The Island, 29 January 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "A bridge across Palk Strait", The Hindu Business Line, 28 January 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Sri Lanka: Re-balancing the India-China act and more", South Asia Monitor, 28 January 2015

Carlo Fonseka, "Politicians and astrology", The Island, 28 January 2015

M H M Salman, "Democracy without Opposition, and the NUA", Daily Mirror Online, 27 January 2015

Jehan Perera, "Team work and measured approach to meet challenge of 100- day programme", The Island, 26 January 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Beginning a new beginning", The Sunday Leader, 25 January 2015

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan : Aryaman Bhatnagar;
Bangladesh : Joyeeta Bhattacharjee;
Myanmar & Bhutan : Mihir Bhonsale;
India: Kaustav Dhar Chakrabarti and Manmath Goel;
Maldives & Sri Lanka : N Sathiya Moorthy;
Nepal : Pratnashree Basu;
Pakistan : Taruni Kumar

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.


N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy is a policy analyst and commentator based in Chennai.

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