MonitorsPublished on May 25, 2015
After seemingly winning the earlier rounds in the ongoing political tug-of-war since the New Year commenced, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen seems to have got his political detractors on the wrong foot again,
Maldives: Stake-holders must go beyond checkmate and stalemate on Yameen's initiative
< class="heading1">Analysis After seemingly winning the earlier rounds in the ongoing political tug-of-war since the New Year commenced, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen seems to have got his political detractors on the wrong foot again, by inviting them for official negotiations when their morale is low and their unity, threatened. Not to be outsmarted too much, too far, and too early, all three partners in the Opposition combine have put the ball back in the Government’s court, without granting Yameen an ’ace’ in tennis parlance. The MDP has thus named imprisoned former President Mohammed ’Anni’ Nasheed in the team, the AP has its detained leader, Sheikh Imran. The JP has named deputy leader, Ameen Ibrahim, whose freedom from detention has been challenged by the authorities in the Supreme Court. It’s thus for the Yameen leadership now to decide on how to proceed from there - and take the credit or blame for the same, as the case may be. Possibly anticipated by the collective Opposition as a ’honourable way-out’ of their political predicament ahead of the ’May Day’ protest rally in capital Male, President Yameen’s unexpected invitation for negotiations still has the potential to divide them, instead - and have them where he wanted them, separately. Or, so does it seem just now. At least the MDP, which had earlier given up a common Opposition response to President Yameen’s invite in favour of individual communication, has since changed tack. The MDP has now proposed combined negotiations, which is not in the Yameen scheme. Instead, it provides for two government delegations, one to negotiate with the MDP and another with the JP and the AP - together or separately is unclear as yet. Incidentally, the MDP’s 43-member national council resolution also proposes that President Yameen’s PPM too may participate in the political negotiations. There is another hitch already. The implied demand of the MDP and the AP to have their leaders freed before they could commence any serious negotiations with the government could prove to be a defining moment - or, a setback - for President Yameen’s initiative. The government has freed MDP Chairperson, Ali Waheed, also a member of the party delegation, after he was named in the three-member team, along with parliamentary group leader, Ibrahim ’Ibu’ Solih. AP’s Sheikh Imran’s case too may be likewise but President Nasheed’s is a different kettle of fish. Nasheed was spending his days in prison as a part of the 13-year jail-term in the ’Judge Abdulla abduction case’. Almost from the start, the Yameen leadership has reiterated that Nasheed would have to find a judicial way out of his current troubles, and that he could step in only after the processes are completed. It is unclear if the MDP’s official response to President Yameen referred to Nasheed as the party chief. After the imprisonment, which Nasheed refused to challenge in the High Court - and may be the Supreme Court, later - Parliament has passed a law to bar jailed persons from leading registered political parties. According to news reports, a lone voice in the MDP national council had voted against naming Nasheed on the negotiations panel, precisely for the same reason. With this, the Opposition has served the ball back to Yameen’s court. What could be their reaction if the government allows the jailed leaders to participate in the negotiations and also allow them to communicate with the rest would remain to be seen. For the Opposition, absolute freedom for their jailed leaders could be the best possible scenario, the government could still consider ’house arrest’ as an option for them, and in capital Male, to facilitate and render seriousness to the promised proceedings of the kind. Commendable standards In separate letters to the three parties constituting the Opposition ’Maldivians against tyranny’ campaign, President Yameen had proposed three specific areas for negotiations. One is to "address the current political tension between the government and the opposition, and discuss ways in which said tension can be eased, via legal means, if necessary". Two is for "upholding democratic values and developing Maldives’ all three estates of State to an internationally commendable standard". The third, explore "ways in which all parties can work together in order to develop the country, society and economy". Prima facie, no one can have any complaints. If anything, President Yameen seemed to have climbed down a bit on the Nasheed front, by expressing readiness to "discuss ways in which... tension can be eased via legal means, if necessary". Earlier, he had said that there was no way he could interfere with the judicial process in Nasheed’s case. At every turn, instead, he would swear by the constitutional process, and declare that the Executive cannot interfere with the freedom and functioning of the Legislature and Judiciary. By inviting the Opposition for talk, Yameen has been more forthright, or that is how he would want the world to see him. He has said that the government could not get involved (as the Executive) until Nasheed had exhausted all options before the Judiciary. It could (also) be read to mean that he would not be able to consider ’clemency’ for Nasheed until he had moved the High Court and later the Supreme Court, if it came to that. Yet, there is silence on Yameen’s part on ways to re-confer electoral rights on Nasheed after any such clemency. Divide and discuss? The invitation to the three political adversaries for talk by President Yameen is, in a way, weakening the potential collective Opposition, so it would seem to some of them. Faced with financial difficulties forced on him by the government slapping a $90-m recovery notice on his Villa Group, JP’s Gasim Ibrahim has little choice but to commence negotiations. The AP too cannot expect to have its fiery leader in prison and expect to share/adopt MDP’s ideologies in the process that are at total variance from its own on many fronts. Yet, the fact remains that the AP in particular would need Sheikh Imran at the negotiations table if it had to make any progress. Ahead of his opting for the Opposition campaign, Imran had held talks with a government delegation first and President Yameen, later. The party may want to begin where it had left. It’s thus the MDP that may come unstuck unless it thinks afresh and comes up with a set of demands that is wholly acceptable to its Opposition allies - the government could and would have to wait. Today, its immediate demand has to centre round President Nasheed’s freedom and electoral rights. Under the existing constitutional scheme, the latter could be done only through an amendment to the Constitution and the relevant election laws, unless the appeal court(s) were to quash his conviction and sentencing by the trial court. Another rally on June 12 Possibly believing that President Yameen had been forced to yield on the negotiations front, owing to international pressure brought upon the government by them, MDP leaders in particular seem to have concluded that increasing the pressure could yield the expected results. With the result, pending the stand-alone MDP response to President Yameen’s invitation for talks, the three parties called for yet another public rally in Male, on 12 June. The party has since taken up on itself the organisation of the rally, after the JP and the AP had been entrusted with the task for the two earlier rallies, on 27 February and May Day, respectively. Despite the violence that erupted on May Day, for which the police too was blamed, the two rallies had been more peaceful than anticipated. The organisers also stuck to a pattern and time-schedule, with repeated announcements that the rally would end - and had ended - at the pre-fixed time. They had also obtained prior police clearance under a 2012 law, after the 2008 Constitution had given street-protestors of the kind unbridled freedom in the matter. The pressure is thus now on the MDP leadership to stick to the proven methodology of their fellow-travellers in the Opposition, on 12 June. Expectations were that in the absence of Nasheed and Ali Waheed - the latter since freed -- the de facto leadership of the MDP might guide the protest rally with care and extreme caution. The continued detention for nearly 30 of the 200 arrested on allegations of May Day violence may prove to be a dampener if the June 12 protest organisers are not able to check against a repeat of the same. In the two earlier rallies, most arrests came to be made hours after the organisers had officially declared them as closed, and had left the scene - and involved those who had been brought from interior islands, who were also forced to spend the night on the streets of Male, before returning home the next morning. Yet, the organisers would still have to own up legal responsibility for the alleged violent behaviour of their men, and the moral responsibility to the families of those arrested and likely to be charged even with ’terrorism’ charges. Checks and balances In this background, President Yameen’s publicised invitation for negotiations to re-orient the three arms of the State - namely, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary - requires serious and sincere consideration by all stake-holders. Even while proposing imprisoned Nasheed as the head of its negotiation team, the MDP has acknowledged that the issues require the Opposition to sit with the government and find out solutions to the inherent problems nagging the democratised system since inception. As is known, the 2008 democracy Constitution was adopted without many changes from the first draft’s focus on Westminster form of parliamentary democracy after the nation had voted for continuing with the presidential form in a referendum. Over-zealous to the point of being impractical, the Special Majlis tasked with Constitution-making also created one too many watch-dog ’Independent Institutions’, with overlapping and at times over-bearing authority. Created to enforce ’accountability’ across the board, some of them became ’non-accountable’ themselves almost from the start. The polarised state of the nation’s polity and society, from which members to these institutions have been picked over the past seven years too has not helped matters. Almost from the start, there were also the confusions and contradictions over the relative authority and responsibility viz the three Estates of the State, which has remained wantonly un-rectified. There may also be other flaws in a hastily-drafted governance system, which again needs to be addressed in full. While no ’template models’ in the name of ’international standards’ might work in Maldivian circumstances, there are fine-points and finer-prints that the nation can now visit and/or borrow from elsewhere. Independent of being a neighbour and a nation interested in Maldives’ stability and growth, India, for instance, is one democracy that has managed both transition and co-existence successfully. For a transitional Maldives, India is also the only nation that has done the fine-balance between modern ’civil law’ practices and personalised religious laws of the Shariat kind. For any attempt of President Yameen’s initiative even to take off, leave alone succeed, the stake-holders have to think beyond individuals and individualised circumstances. The required constitutional processes for change also dictate the same. They have also provided for the required checks and balances, as may be possible under the circumstances. While the PPM has a parliamentary majority closer to two-thirds, to see constitutional changes through, the Opposition alone has proven voter-support to see through a nation-wide referendum, where required. Qualitative difference There’s a qualitative difference between the ’successful’ 2011-12 campaign for the exit of President Nasheed and the present one against President Yameen. Divided as they were over personalities and politics, not to leave out their relative cadre-strengths and inherent weaknesses, the Opposition’s decision to let the religious NGOs to take the lead in their anti-Nasheed campaign seemed to be both deliberate and well thought-out. Religion-centric AP played more of a social puritanical role than a political one at the time, acting as a catalyst and amalgam at the same time. The present campaign was launched by the MDP, possibly without enough thought going into it. The leadership seemed to have become euphoric after the democratic change-over in neighbouring India on the one hand and what awaited Sri Lanka, the other neighbour, in the days and weeks after the party called upon President Yameen to quit. The MDP’s ’unconstitutional’ call for President Yameen to hand over power to JP’s Gasim Ibrahim - who was not anywhere in the order of constitutional precedence for the purpose - continues to remain an MDP call, still. The party too seems to have been going slow on it, in preference to more immediate demands, like Nasheed’s freedom. Should the talks with the government commences now, it would be interesting to know what specific demands they have on the ’reforms’ front. If the MDP strategists (possibly) thought that they would be able to push the JP and the AP into a corner, leaving them with no choice but to swell the Opposition ranks, then that’s precisely what seemed to have happened. But unlike during the anti-Nasheed campaign, their heart does not seem to be in it. The AP, as a reluctant and late entrant, has also not been able to inject ’religious fervour’ of the kind that made the difference to the anti-Nasheed protests when he was in office. Also, the MDP is not cut out to play second-fiddle. Today, by agreeing to negotiations with the Government on the first available opportunity that President Yameen has since offered the JP and AP may have already shown that they may be ready to exit, if an honourable way out could be offered. The MDP cannot be seen as doing that - both for its own sake, and possibly for the sake of the ’international community’, which has placed excessive reliance on its versions of events and demands over the past weeks and months. Among them, the EU however has balanced its criticism of the Yameen leadership with an open call for negotiations by domestic stake-holders. The differences do not end there. Knowingly or otherwise, the anti-Nasheed ’December 23 movement’ was a non-stop affair. When it reached an unanticipated zenith on 6-8 February 2012, it had already strained the nerves of the limited number of police personnel enough and more, over the preceding one-and-half months. So when the push came to shove, they gave in. The 2004 bifurcation of the National Security Service (NSS) and the consequent creation of the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), also meant relatively greater amount of legal and judicial accountability of the former, particularly under the democratic scheme of 2008. This, in a way, came in the way the MPS executed the political orders of the administrative hierarchy, unlike the MNDF, which obeyed their Commander-in-Chief without question, as has to be the case. Tactician and strategist Between them, Nasheed and Yameen have respectively proved to be an ingenious tactician and medium-term strategist, fighting for a longer term, where possible. It would still be interesting to find out (possibly on a much later day) as to when President Yameen had strategized his current moves and decisions. It needs to be acknowledged that he has got his political adversaries nearer home and international critics where he wanted them. President Nasheed’s 48th birthday passed by, on 17 May - his fifth in prison in about two decades. Four days later, his party, PPM celebrated President Yameen’s 56th birthday on 21 May. Having taken on an entrenched and possibly over-confident President Gayoom in his time, the pro-democracy elements of those days now comprising the MDP, JP and even the AP up to a point, may have realised by now that President Yameen is still an ’unknown quantity’ in power, and they may have under-estimated him. In comparison, Nasheed’s every next move has been tracked over the past decade and more. Today, when President Nasheed is immobilised and by the judicial process, he needs the party as much as the party needs him. It’s reminiscent of President Gayoom’s early days after losing the 2008 elections. The MDP leadership’s off-again-on-again talks of ’transitional justice’ at the time meant that Gayoom stayed back to fight and win his battle another day, and through another front(s). Long-term advantage In the course of the current protests, the short-term has not borne fruit for the Opposition, collective or otherwise. President Yameen has won it, instead - and at every turn. Over the long-term however, the MDP in general and President Nasheed in particular, have the advantage, given that they are the most popular party and leader, respectively, with a proven, stand-alone popularity rating closer to 50 per cent. The government can restore the confidence of the people and the polity in democracy, which has suffered owing to some of the decisions and actions of the Yameen government. The slapping of terrorism charges and consequent conviction against Nasheed, based on a 1989 law drafted with the India-aborted coup-bid of 1987, is a case in point. Having committed in the negotiations’ invite to work towards improving the standards of the three arms of government, President Yameen could also be expected to have a full re-look at not only the Constitution but also such mindless application of archaic laws from a different time and age. A new constitutional process could keep them all busy for some years. Together, they could also thus create the right climate for improving investments, industrialisation and job-creation, which is also at the bottom of President Yameen’s socio-economic agenda, and which would also continue to suffer, thanks to the current, unsettled state of affairs. No one is quarrelling as to where Maldives and Maldivians should go in the future. Instead, the quarrel is about how to reach there, and who should lead them there - and, ’why’. (The writer is a Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter) < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Myanmar: The Rohingya Imbroglio Mihir Bhonsale In the recent weeks, Myanmar has been embroiled over the crisis of Rohingya migrants who are desperately seeking entry into two other ASEAN countries, namely, Thailand and Malaysia. Loaded in rickety boats, they entered Thai waters only to be rebuffed by the Navy and sent back to sea. As the crisis unfolded, criticisms are mounting on Myanmar for continued prosecution of Rohingyas, forcing them to flee their homeland and seek refuge elsewhere. Naypyidaw, under growing pressure, initially tried to fend-off the argument, but has consequently had to own responsibility. Even so, the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar military has instead accused the migrants of pretending to be Rohingya Muslims to receive UN aid. Myanmar officials have also hinted that it would first ascertain whether the migrants stranded at sea or reaching Thai and Malaysian shores are Burmese citizens or not. Myanmar has in April this year scrapped identity cards of the Rohingyas. Migration via sea The Rohingyas have taken to the sea to migrate to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia by crossing over to the Andaman Sea and also as far as the Malacca Strait in vessels that often do not have enough arrangements for sustaining people on board during the long journey. Often such perilous journeys, cost sea-fearers their lives. According to UNHCR, such irregular maritime movements in Southeast Asia originate from the Bay of Bengal. Tens of thousands of people leave Bangladesh and Myanmar by sea hoping to reach Malaysia. Passage along this route takes place round the year but increases in following the end of rainy season in October. However, the first quarter of 2015, compared to last two years, the number of migrants has doubled. In the first quarter of 2015 itself 25,000 people are said to have departed, approximately double of what the departure rate was in 2013 and 2014. UNHCR reports that out of the 25,000, around 300 died at sea and 620 since October 2014, primarily because of starvation, dehydration, and beatings of crew members or even sinking of vessels. There operates a transnational trafficking syndicate that ferry’s across people to distant shores. This syndicate has its network not just in countries of origin of the migrants, but also in destination. UNHCR found migrants being put into camps run by the traffickers after they reach foreign shores to evade the immigration authorities. The international refugee agency found that since October 2014, disembarkation in or around Ranong (Thailand), followed by a daylong overland transfer to smuggler’s camps in forests and plantations surrounding Padang Besar and Thailand-Malaysia border has continued to be the experience of majority who have migrated from the Bay of Bengal. Official response The Thai and Malaysian authorities initially refused to allow the 300 Rohingya who were stranded on the vessel which was deserted by the crew. The vessel was adrift and the people on board including women and children desperately calling for help. The vessel was turned away and Thai Navy said the vessel left for Indonesia. Malaysia’s initial response was that it has already taken 120,000 illegal migrants from Myanmar and would accept no more. Malaysia also made it clear that Myanmar must own responsibility and ASEAN must not be burdened for solving the migrant crisis. After coming under heavy criticism for refusing to rescue the migrants from US and United Nations and media columns calling for quick response to the crisis, Malaysia has agreed to take-in the migrants. Malaysia has also sent an emissary to Myanmar to address the Rohingya migration from Sittwe and Rakhine state. U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was among the first country to agree to take-in the migrants stranded at sea. Under heavy criticism Myanmar had promised to help, but continue to deny that the Rohingyas are Burmese citizens. It is to be seen how Malaysia would work out a solution with Myanmar for ending the migrant crisis. Prosecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar has been at the root of the migrant crisis and unless addressed, the exodus from Bay of Bengal would continue, putting more pressure on the countries of the region. (The writer is Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata) < class="heading1">Country Reports < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Afghanistan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">ISI, NDS sign MoU Reports of the National Directorate for Security (NDS) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the two external intelligence agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively, signing an MoU for enhanced security cooperation surfaced this week. This enhanced cooperation will include joint probe of terror suspects, intelligence sharing and the training of NDS personnel by the ISI. The MoU is said to have been signed during the visit of the ISI chief to Afghanistan last week. This MoU has been severely criticised in Afghanistan, and President Ashraf Ghani was denounced for putting in so much trust in Pakistan. The critics included former government officials like Hamid Karzai, President Ghani’s predecessor, Afghan Parliamentarians and members of civil society. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: ISI, Afghan intelligence in landmark deal", Dawn,19 May 2015; "NDS and ISI Sign MoU", Tolo News, 17 May 2015; "Muslimyar Denounces NDS-ISI Agreement", Tolo News, 19 May 2015; "Wary Analysts, Political Leaders Cast Shadow on NDS-ISI Agreement", Tolo News, 21 May 2015; "Karzai calls for nullification of ISI, NDS agreement", Daily Times, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Masoum for defence minister Masoum Stanikzai was chosen as the nominee for the post of Defence Minister this week by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. His nomination now has to be cleared by the Afghan Parliament. Mr Stanikzai served as the Minister for Communications from 2002 to 2004 and subsequently as Mr Karzai’s security advisor. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Ghani Names Stanekzai as Defense Minister Nominee", Tolo News, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Taliban delegation visits Iran A Taliban delegation lead by Mohammad Taib Agha, head of the Taliban’s political office, visited Iran this week. This was confirmed by the Taliban’s spokesman, who claimed that the talks focused on the current situation in Afghanistan and the state of Afghan refugees in Iran. According to the Taliban the visit to Iran is the latest in a series of foreign visits - China, France and Japan - undertaken by the group. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, however, rejected the claim stating that no such visit had taken place. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Iran Rejects Claims Taliban Visited Tehran", Tolo News, 21 May 2015; "Taliban Delegation Visits Iran", Tolo News, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Cops jailed in Farkhunda case As many as 11 out of 19 policemen in trial for their role in the mob killing of Farkhunda were sentenced to prison for a year. They were found guilty for negligence but the remaining suspects were freed on account of lack of evidence. However, this decision drew sharp criticisms in Afghanistan with many claiming that the judgement was politically motivated. Policemen with strong political connections were let off, while those who had no such connections were punished. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "11 Policemen Get One Year In Prison In Farkhunda Case", Tolo News, 19 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Bangladesh < class="heading12boldGeorgia">100 ’boat-people’ die over food Around 100 people died in the sea after a fight broke out over food among people illegally trafficked to Indonesia from Bangladesh. The incident was revealed after hundreds of people from Bangladesh and Myanmar destined for Indonesia was rescued from the sea. A large number of people from Bangladesh and Myanmar often illegally travel to the Southeast Asian countries braving the sea for better future. The situation has turned grim after Indonesia denied entry to these people. The issue has attracted wide international attention following the tragic fate of these migrants. Meanwhile, to combat human trafficking Bangladesh is working on strengthen the coast guard. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "100 ’killed in fight for food", The Independent, 18 May 2015; "Govt takes up project to strengthen coast guards", The Daily Star, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Khaleda booked for subversion Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and 37 others, mostly her party men, has been charged of subversive activities. Zia is accused of being involved in an incident of a petrol bomb attack on a passenger bus in the capital Dhaka in January. The attack -- one of many the country witnessed during the BNP-led three months’ blockade -- killed one person and injured 30 others on the night of January 23. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Bangladesh’s former prime minister Khaleda Zia charged with sabotage now", The Daily Star, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM for exporting arms, ammo Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the Bangladesh Ordnance Factories (BOF) to manufacture arms, ammunition, weapons and explosives for various forces to reduce dependence on import. She also said that BOF should increase its production with aim of future export. The ordnance factories are now producing 7.62 millimetre auto rifle, cartridges of various calibre and hand grenades for the Bangladesh Army. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "PM for exporting arms, ammo", The Daily Star, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">New company to import power The government is planning to set up a hydro-power company in Bangladesh which will not only generate but also import this kind of pro-environment electricity from the neighbouring countries. It is likely to be named the Hydro Power Generation Company Limited and will look to import electricity from the hydro-power plants in high altitude countries like Nepal and Bhutan. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Government planning new hydro-power company", Dhaka Tribune, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bus-routes deal with India Bangladesh and India are likely to finalise an agreement on bus services between the two neighbouring countries for five new routes including Agartala - Kolkata via Dhaka. The decision on a deal for bus services was taken at a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s (PM) Office with Economic Affairs adviser to PM, Dr Mashiur Rahman in the chair on May 15. Officials of the Road Transport and Bridge ministry informed that both sides are eager to ink the deal during Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi’s visit to Dhaka next month. The five new routes include those proposed by both sides. While India has proposed the Shillong-Dhaka-Guwahati and the Agartala-Akhaura-Kolkata routes, Bangladesh wants to operationalise the Khulna-Jessore-Kolkata, Rajshahi/Chapainawabganj-Maldah/Murshidabad and the Dinajpur/Panchagarh-Shiliguri routes. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Deal on 5 bus routes with India likely", The Independent, 18 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Bhutan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">EU to release 20 million euros The Himalayan kingdom would receive 20 million euros, as the European Union (EU) is working on releasing the amount of the 42 million that it had promised by this year end. An EU delegation touring the country stated the release of the amount on 20 May. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "EU to release 20M euros", Kuensel, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Quake team returns The 78-member earthquake relief team returned from Nepal on 19 May. The team treated 2,000 victims of the 25 April Nepal earthquake, after Bhutan sent first of its kind relief team to Nepal. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Medical relief team returns from Nepal", Kuensel, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">’No’ to slaughter house The Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, Lyonpo Damcho Dorji issued a statement denying any plans for setting up a slaughter house within the country. The government also clarified that the Serbithang plant is not a slaughterhouse but a facility to import raw meat and process it in a clean and hygienic way since the meat available now was not processed well. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Lyonchhen, Home Minister And Agriculture Minister Clarify That There Are No Plans For A Slaughter House In Bhutan", The Bhutanese, 19 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">India < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Prime Minister ’Looking East’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured China, Mongolia and South Korea to boost bilateral ties. India and China signed 24 key agreements amounting to $22 billion. India and Mongolia discussed corporation in border security, civil nuclear sector, mining, healthcare and other sectors. India also announced a USD One billion credit line to fund Mongolia’s infrastructure development. India and South Korea signed seven agreements and Seoul announced the provision of USD 10 billion to fulfil India’s infrastructural needs. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "PM Modi in China: 24 key agreements signed between India-China", The Economic Times, 15 May 2015; "Narendra Modi announces $1 bn credit line to Mongolia", The Financial Express, 22 May 2015;"PM Modi visits South Korea, signs 7 agreements including DTAA revision", The Indian Express, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tehran’s changing stance With increasing prospects of US-Iran nuclear deal coming through, Iran has adopted an "assertive" stance in trade negotiations with India. The signing of the deal will result in international sanctions relief for Iran. Indian negotiators were surprised as India was one of the few countries that was willing to trade with Iran despite western sanctions. Push back has been seen on the railway tracks deal between the two countries. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "With nuclear deal in sight, Iran drives harder bargain in Indian trade talks", Reuters, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Jaya set to return as CM AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, following her acquittal in a disproportionate assets case, was invited by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosiah on 22 May to form government. She is expected to be reinstated as Chief Minister the following day. O Panneerselvam, who was CM in her absence, will resume the mandate of Finance Minister. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Jayalalithaa to be sworn-in at 11 a.m. on Saturday", The Hindu, 22 May 2015; "Tamil Nadu governor invites AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa to form government", The Times of India, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Passport for Gilani on ’merit’ The Home Ministry said that Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s request for passport will be treated on ’merit’ and depend on him furnishing requisite information. While the Peoples Democratic Party urged granting Geelani passport on humanitarian grounds, its coalition partner, BJP, demanded that he first apologise for this ’anti-India’ remarks. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Geelani’s passport application will be processed on merit: MHA", The Hindu, 21 May 2015; "Follow the law of the land to get passport, BJP tells Geelani", The Hindu, 18 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">FDI norms relaxed for NRIs The Union cabinet approved amendments in the Foreign Direct Investment policy on investments by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). The changes expand the definition of NRI to include PIOs and OCIs and makes investments made by NRIs at par with investments made by residents. The move is expected to increase investment across all sectors. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Investments by overseas Indians won’t count as FDI", Live Mint, 21 May 2015; "Investments by overseas Indians won’t count as FDI", The Economic Times, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">RBI to manage debt The government is reworking its proposal for setting up the PDMA which will shift the responsibility of the government’s borrowings from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to the Finance Ministry. As per the new proposal, the task of public debt and regulation of government bonds will henceforth be shared by the Finance Ministry and the RBI. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "RBI wins battle to keep debt management role", The Hindu, , 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">SU-30 crashes in Assam A Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft crashed soon after taking off in Assam on 19 May due to a technical fault. Even as both pilots ejected safely, the debris caused injuries to three civilians. While the aging MiG-21 has gained notoriety for frequent mishaps, accidents of the state-of-the-art Su-30 have been rare. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Sukhoi-30 crashes in Assam, pilots eject safely", Hindustan Times, 19 May 2015; "Sukhoi-30 jet crashes in Assam, pilots eject safely", The Indian Express, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">13 killed in dust storm Unexpected dust storms caused 20 deaths and almost 100 injuries in Rajasthan on 19 May. Winds reaching 100 km per hour damaged up to 1000 electricity towers and transformers, and its effects were felt as far as Delhi. The state government announced compensation of Rs 4 lakhs each for family of the deceased. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Rajasthan dust storm toll touches 20", The Hindu, 22 May 2015; "9 Die in Rajasthan Dust Storm, Government Announces Rs. 4 lakh as Compensation for The Families", NDTV, 19 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Maldives < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Yameen calls Oppn for talks President Abdulla Yameen has written to the three main Opposition parties, namely, the MDP, JP and AP, inviting them for political negotiations, as being sought by them for months now. In doing so, he has set out three broad areas that the negotiations could cover, and followed it up with naming two teams of ministers, one to hold talks with the MDP and the other with the JP and AP. While the JP readily named a four-member group for the talks, the AP wanted jailed party chief, Sheikh Imran, to be released for heading its five-man negotiations team. The MDP was taking time, responding. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "President sets agenda and reps. for negotiations", Haveeru Online, 18 May 2015 "Government ready for dialogue on three issues", Minivan News, 18 May 2015; "President sets terms for negotiations, rules out ex-president’s release", Minivan News, 18 May 2015; "President urges opposition to commence dialogue instead of making excuses", Miadhu, 21 May 2015; "Jumhooree Party accepts president’s invitation for talks", Minivan News, 18 May 2015; "Four members appointed to represent JP during discussions with govt", Miadhu, 19 May 2015; "Sheikh Imran appointed as the head of APs five member team to attend talks of govt", Miadhu, 21 May 2015; "Ibrahim Mohamed Solih: Government should facilitate an environment conducive for dialogue", Sun Online, 21 May 2015; "The case of Imran, Ali Waheed, Ameen and Sobah goes to PG", Sun Online, 20 May 2015; "Youth minister dismissed", Minivan News, 20 May 2015; "Sheikh Imran’s remand extended with 10 days and Ali Waheed’s with 7 days", Miadhu, 18 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">New protest on 12 June Even as Opposition alliance partners were discussing and deciding upon accepting the Government’s invitation for talks, they have resolved to hold a third mass protest rally in Male on 12 June. According to the decision, announced at a joint news conference, the MDP was designated the rally organiser after the JP and the AP had done so regarding the rallies of 27 February and the May Day. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Opposition announces mass protest for June 12", Minivan News, 20 May 2015; "Opposition alliance opens meeting hall in Malé", Minivan News, 19 May 2015; "Prosecutor General to file charges against 30 protestsors", Minivan News, 17 May 2015; "All but 25 opposition protesters released", Haveeru Online, 17 May 2015; "Police cleared of wrongdoing in manhandling ex-president", Minivan News, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gasim group cash-strapped Faced with the freezing of its bank accounts and revenue recovery proceedings for $ 90 million, JP founder Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa group has reportedly told its employees to ’find other ways’ for a livelihood, promising to pay up their salary dues once its financial situation improved. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Villa asks employees to ’find other ways’ amid salary delays", SunOnline, 21 May 2015; "Ameen resigns as chairman of Vmedia", Minivan News, 17 May 2015; "Villa Air aircraft skids off Gan runway", Haveeru Online, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Now, Chinese-friendly hotels Reviving an earlier proposal before previous administrations, the Government has leased out the island of Kalhufahalufushi in Thaa Atoll for resort development to the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), to serve Chinese tourists. The Government has said that the existing resorts served mostly western tourists and their preferences. < class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Maldives to build Chinese-friendly hotels and resorts", Minivan News, 21 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Myanmar < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Talks over migrant crisis Malaysia sent Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman to Myanmar to discuss Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis, a day after Indonesia and Malaysia offered to temporarily take in thousands of Rohingya migrants stranded at sea. Malaysia sent its envoy after an official statement Naypyitaw shared concerns over the refugee crisis. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : As Crisis over Migrants Grows, Malaysia and Burma to Talk", The Irrawaddy, 21 May 2015; "Boat people crisis: envoys head to Naypyidaw", Democratic Voice of Burma, 21 May 2015; "Malaysian Foreign Minister to visit Myanmar for crisis talks", Mizzima, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">China protests shelling China lodged a protest with Myanmar for the artillery shelling that the latter has inflicted on its Yunnan province last week, injuring five persons. China has asked Myanmar for a responsible explanation and has urged the latter to take effective measures to prevent such incidents, the foreign ministry spokesperson statement read. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "China Lodges Protest With Burma After Artillery Shells Injure Five", The Irrawaddy, 20 May 2015; < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ceasefire treaty soon: Govt President’s office minister and Vice-chairperson of the Union Peacemaking Working Committee, Aung Min has said the government is making efforts to sign the National Ceasefire Agreement in June. The 16 armed ethnic groups would meet in Chiang Mai on 26 and 27 May for reaching an agreement at the summit. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Government to sign national ceasefire treaty in June, says Aung Min", Eleven Myanmar, 20 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Nepal < class="heading12boldGeorgia">National govt likely During a meeting held late this evening at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar, the top leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN (UML), UCPN (Maoist), Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic) agreed to form a national unity government, face the crisis and write the new constitution together, Nepali Congress assistant general secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka said after the meeting. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Major four parties agree to form national unity govt", Republica, 22 May 2015; "Parties start talks on nat’l unity govt" eKantipur, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Quake toll crosses 8,635 The death toll caused by the April 25 devastating earthquake has reached 8,635 while as many as 21,844 people have been injured as of Friday. According to Nepal Police, 1,728 people were killed in the Kathmandu Valley, 6,396 in the central region, 450 in the western region, 57 in the eastern region and 2 in the mid-western region. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Quake death toll reaches 8,635", Republica, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trilateral with India, China Heads of the governments of India and China have recently agreed to work jointly with Nepal for its reconstruction, rehabilitation and development endeavours, respecting the country’s sovereignty and independence. This was agreed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in Beijing during the former’s recent visit to China. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India, China for trilateral co-op with Nepal", eKantipur, 22 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Housing loans for victims Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has readied draft of the guidelines for home reconstruction refinance to bank and finance institutions (BFIs) to be extended to people who lost their homes in the earth quake. The draft guidelines state that such loans would be floated only to people who or whose family do not have a home fit for living. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "NRB readies draft guidelines for home reconstruction loan", Republica, 22 May 2015; "Subsidised loans only for quake-resistant buildings", eKantipur, 22 May 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Pakistan < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trade MoU with Turkmenistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif began his two day visit to Central Asia beginning with Turkmenistan where he said Pakistan’s priority is to expand its trade and economic relations with Central Asian countries. During the visit a number of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) pertaining to trade, bilateral cooperation and economy are expected to be signed. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : Seymour M. Hersh, "Pakistan,Turkmenistan to sign four MoUs as Nawaz begins Ashgabat visit", Dawn, 20 May, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">NWA airstrikes kill 13 militants Nearly 13 militants were killed after military fighter jets targeted their hideouts in North Waziristan. The fresh air strikes took place two days after a US drone strike in Shawal valley in which at least 5 militants were killed. The airstrike is a continuation of the ongoing armed offensive "Operation Zarb-e-Azb" launched by Pakistan army. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "NWA airstrikes kill 13 militants", The Nation, 21 May, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">US declassifies Osama documents The US intelligence officials released documents which they said were recovered from the compound in Pakistan during the raid on Osama Bin Laden in which he was killed. The declassified documents showed the mindset of the founder of Al Qaeda, debate over tactics, anxiety over western spying. < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "US declassifies documents recovered in Bin Laden raid", Dawn, 21 May, 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">FATA reforms rejected Tribal parliamentarians and other stakeholders from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA) outrighly rejected the recommendations of the commission, one of which included the creation of tribal councils to tackle two sticking points of the future constitutional status of Fata and amendment in Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "FRC recommendations: Proposals on Fata status ’not the final word’", The Express Tribune, 22 May, 2015 < style="color: #a52a2a; font-size: medium;">Sri Lanka < class="heading12boldGeorgia">’No’ to terror: President Addressing the sixth ’Victory Day’ parade on the defeat of LTTE at a function in the southern district-town of Matara, President Maithripala Sirisena declared that terrorism would not be allowed to rear its head. Though the government had said that it would be observed as a ’Remembrance Day’, implying that (Tamil) citizen-victims of the ethnic war too might be remembered, President Sirisena said that it was a "war heroes’ remembrance day". < class="text11verdana">For information more see : "President vows never to allow terrorism to raise its head again...... promises to bring about reconciliation",The Island, 20 May 2015; "Military displays prowess",The Island, 19 May 2015; "MR not invited for Remembrance Day", Daily Mirror Online, 17 May 2015; "Mahinda wants war heroes remembered", Colombo Gazette, 18 May 2015; "Road renamed FM Sarath Fonseka Mawatha", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015; "Govt. will launch war crimes probe next month-President", The Island, 20 May 2015; "HRW faults govt for appointing Gen Dias as Chief of Staff", The Island, 17 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Protests add to Tamil demands The ruling TNA administration in the Northern Province marked the sixth anniversary of the end of ethnic war with a memorial at the last scene, Mullivaikkal, with Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran leading them. Elsewhere, the rape-and-murder of a Tamil school-girl in the Province led to street protests, leading to stone-pelting on a police station, where the suspects were being held for interrogation, raising cause for concern among the security agencies. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Recalling 2009 war Wiggy pays respects at Mullivaikkal", Ceylon Today, 19 May 2015; "Northern PC to pay tribute to war dead", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015; "Wigneswaran calls for maximum devolution", The Hindu, 18 May 2015; "Wigneswaran seeks maximum devolution for Tamils", Colombo Gazette, 18 May 2015; "LTTE Leader unfolds final 72 hours of the war", Ceylon Today, 17 May 2015; "NFF asks govt. to get tough with Wigneswaran", The Island, 17 May 2015; "Rampage in Jaffna over rape and killing of schoolgirl", The Island, 20 May 2015; "Business community stages hartal in North", Daily Mirror Online, 21 May 2015; "Jaffna protesters remanded",The Island, 21 May 2015; "Northern Governor praises sensible police action in Jaffna",The Island, 21 May 2015; "Police should act urgently on Jaffna incidents: MR", Daily Mirror Online, 21 May 2015; "Probe the real motive of the Jaffna protest: JHU", Daily Mirror Online, 20 May 2015; "Not even a hint of racial violence: TNA", Daily Mirror Online, 21 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Four Ministers quit Four SLFP Ministers, including all-important Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, have quit the Government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and have sent in their resignation directly to President Maithripala Sirisena. The four blamed it on the UNP Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, otherwise facing tough time on the ’treasury bonds scam’ involving Central Bank’s Singaporean Governor, Arjunan Mahendran, saying their ministries were not being allotted funds. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Four SLFP ministers quit in high dudgeon ... claim more will resign shortly", The Island, 21 May 2015; "Prez confirms PM’s assertion new govt. in place by Sept.", The Island, 21 May 2015; "Prime Minister defends ’acharu’ government", Colombo Gazette, 17 May 2015; "Govt. reaction to SC order a threat to judiciary - Nimal", The Island, 17 May 2015; "Previous govt mulled curfew, suspension of release of prez poll results, but it couldn’t be called a conspiracy - President...Udaya plans to exploit 19A to seek status report on CID probe", The Island, May 21, 2015; "Ravi rejects Mahinda’s allegations as baseless", The Island, 20 May 2015; "Forex case: Ravi K. Acquitted", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015; "No confidence motion against Ravi handed over", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015; "PM responsible for Mahendran’s bond issue: Champika", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015; "No faith motion brings an abrupt end to Parliament sittings", Ceylon Today, 19 May 2015; "Ranil, Vasu cross swords over controversial bond issue", The Island, 22 May 2015; "Former Defence Secy. grilled by FCID", The Island, 20 May 2015; "Basil, three former top officials further remanded", The Island, 20 May 2015; "Basil suffers a stroke", Daily Mirror Online, 20 May 2015 < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Chinese envoy meets PM Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and followed it up with a meeting President Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP General Secretary, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, in what is seen as a possible bid to revive the deadlocked negotiations over the Colombo Port City Project. < class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Ranil, China patch up * Specific Problems to be resolved through friendly discussions", The Island, 21 May 2015; "Chinese envoy meets SLFP after powwow with Ranil * Thanks SLFP for strengthening bilateral relations", The Island, 22 May 2015 < style="font-size: large;">Primary Documentation < style="font-size: medium;">Afghanistan Remarks of spokesman of Islamic Emirate regarding visit by high-ranking delegation to Iran, Voice of Jihad, 20 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Bhutan Green Bhutan Initiative and biking trail inaugurated in Thimphu, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 21 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">India Address by Prime Minister at the Tsinghua University Beijing, Ministry of External Affairs, 15 May 2015 Keynote Address by Prime Minister at India-China Business Forum in Shanghai, Ministry of External Affairs, 16 May 2015 Joint Statement for India-Mongolia Strategic Partnership, Ministry of External Affairs, 17 May 2015 Press Statement by Prime Minister during his visit to Mongolia, Ministry of External Affairs, 17 May 2015 Remarks by Prime Minister in the Mongolian Parliament, Ministry of External Affairs, 17 May 2015 Prime Minister’s Banquet speech in Ulaanbaatar, Ministry of External Affairs, 17 May 2015 List of Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister to Republic of Korea, Minister of External Affairs, 18 May 2015 India - Republic of Korea Joint Statement for Special Strategic Partnership, Ministry of External Affairs, 18 May 2015 Media Statement by Prime Minister during his visit to Seoul, Republic of Korea, Ministry of External Affairs, 18 May 2015 Remarks by Prime Minister at the Banquet hosted by President of the Republic of Korea, Ministry of External Affairs, 18 May 2015 Prime Minister’s remarks at the Asian Leadership Forum at Seoul, Ministry of External Affairs, 19 May 2015 Prime Minister’s statement at India-Republic of Korea CEOs Forum in Seoul, Ministry of External Affairs, 19 May 2015 "Review of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy on investments by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs)",The Prime Minister’s official website, 21 May Interviews with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, "Army making targeted kills of terrorists in J&K, Manohar Parrikar says", The Times of India, 22 May 2015; "Minor issues have stalled big defence acquisitions: Manohar Parrikar", The Economic Times, 21 May 2015 Interview with Farooq Abdullah (former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and President of the National Conference), "’The Line (of Control) will never change... Don’t fool people’", The Asian Age, 17 May 2015 "Changing times: When the BJP said the UPA land Bill does not do enough for the poor and the farmers",The Caravan, 21 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Myanmar President H. E. U TheinSein sends a commemorative message to Her Excellency Madame Park Geun-Hye, President of the Republic of Korea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Nepal Press Release on the visit of H.E. Mr. Liu Jianchao, Assistant Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 May 2015 Press Release on the Interaction Programme, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 20 May 2015 Press Release on the meeting between Hon. Foreign Minister and the British State Secretary Rt. Hon. Ms. Justine Greening on 19 May 2015, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 May 2015 Press Release on Embassy of Nepal, Tokyo receives contribution from AEON Group, Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 May 2015 < style="font-size: large;">Bibliography < style="font-size: medium;">Afghanistan Reports Praveen Swami, "In Taliban peace bid, Ashraf Ghani orders spies to end war on ISI", The Indian Express, 19 May 2015 "Afghan backlash over security deal with Pakistan", The Guardian, 19 May 2015 Bilal Sarwary, "Afghanistan peace talks: Taliban flexes its muscles with deadly spate of attacks ahead of meeting with government officials", The Independent, 19 May 2015 Opinion Pieces Sharing intelligence", The Express Tribune, 21 May 2015 Kate Clark and Ehsan Qaane, "Police Treated With Kid Gloves: The many flaws of the Farkhunda trial", Afghanistan Analysts Network David Loyn, "Farkhunda mob death trial exposes Afghanistan justice failures", BBC News, 19 May 2015 Jonathan Broder and Sami Yousafzai, "Arming the Enemy in Afghanistan", The Newsweek, 18 May 2015 Ali Reza Sarwar, "Afghanistan: Not Another Proxy Battleground", The Diplomat, 18 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Bangladesh Opinion Pieces Muhammad Quamrul Islam, "Does BNP have a future?", Dhaka Tribune, 22 May 2015 Armin Zaman Khan "Ground zero for climate change", Dhaka Tribune, 22 May 2015 Interviews Interview of Martin A Keeley, ’The Sundarbans is a natural, unique gift’, Bangladesh Observer, 21 May 2015 Book Reviews Decoding Rooppur... by Abdul Matin’ s reviewed by Shahriar Feroze, The Daily Star, 18 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Bhutan Opinion Pieces The Bhutanese, "A Meaty Issue", The Bhutanese, 18 May 2015 Passang Tshering, "What Can Bhutan Learn From The Nepal Earthquake?", The Bhutanese, 18 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">India Opinion Pieces Anita Joshua, "The one-man show", The Hindu, 22 May 2015 K C Singh, "Modi begins containment of China", The Asian Age, 22 May 2015 Dhiraj Nayyar, "The strategy behind the inaction", The Hindu, 21 May 2015 Kailash Satyarthi, "Time For School", The Indian Express, 21 May 2015 C Raja Mohan, "A new manual for diplomats", The Indian Express, 21 May 2015 Praveen Davar, "Remembering Rajiv, the soldier’s PM", The Asian Age, 21 May 2015 Pradip Phanjoubam, "How McMahon Drew His Line, and Why China Wants It Changed", The Wire, 20 May 2015 Neil Bhatiya, "Put Climate Change on the Agenda for India-Pakistan Relations", Foreign Policy, 20 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Myanmar Opinion Pieces Aung Zaw, "Saving the Spirit of Shwedagon", The Irrawaddy, 19 May 2015 Fiona Macgregor, "Discrimination at home and abroad", Myanmar Times, 22 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Nepal Opinion Pieces Navin Singh Khadka, "Mountains to move", eKantipur, 22 May 2015 Rajeev Thapa, "Independent and capable", eKantipur, 22 May 2015 Aidan Warlow, "Transforming Schools", Republica, 19 May 2015 Bindesh Dahal, "Aid Anomalies", Republica, 18 May 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Pakistan Opinion Pieces Ali Salman Alvi, "Karachi Bloodbath", The Nation, 20 May, 2015 Satyabrata Pal, "There’s no free Chinese lunch", The Hindu, 21 May, 2015 < style="font-size: medium;">Sri Lanka Opinion Pieces Neville Ladduwahetty, "Distorted perspectives of governance", The Island, 22 May 2015 Shanmugan Murugavel & Gavitha Subramanian, "Recognising factors behind the Jaffna hartal", Daily Mirror Online, 22 May 2015 Harim Peiris, "A tale of two Presidents, six years after the war",The Island, 21 May 2015 K K S Perera, "From triumphalism to commemoration",Daily Mirror Online, 21 May 2015 Dayan Jayatilleka, "Parliamentary elections: What should President Sirisena do?", The Island, 19 May 2015 Ranga Jayasuriya, "Many flaws that squandered the military victory", Daily Mirror Online, 18 May 2015 N Sathiya Moorthy, "End this impasse, and for good", The Sunday Leader, 17 May 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 : Sridhar Ramaswamy
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