MonitorsPublished on Aug 15, 2014
The South-east Asian country of Myanmar has now completed three years of political and economic reforms, but the journey has been "not so hunky dory" if US secretary of State John Kerry is to be believed.
Myanmar: 'Not so hunky-dory' transition
< class="heading1">Analysis

The South-east Asian country of Myanmar has now completed three years of political and economic reforms, but the journey has been "not so hunky dory" if US secretary of State John Kerry is to be believed. During a recent visit to Myanmar, Kerry signalled increasing dissatisfaction over Myanmar’s transition to democracy

The shift in the tone had occurred since December last year, from US President Barack Obama’s popular quip of Myanmar being the key to US’ rebalancing in Asia to the US extending limited economic sanctions on Myanmar.

In a letter to the US Congress, May this year, President Obama referred to the continuing violence against ethnic minorities and the role of the military in the country’s political and economic activities as the reason for the extension of sanctions.

But, the US engagement with Myanmar is set to increase owing to American strategic interests in the region. Myanmar’s promise of becoming a market for American companies has led the US to continue with Myanmar’s military-led government.

Fears of back-sliding on reforms

Eminent are the fears which the US has of the back-sliding of Myanmar’s reforms, from whatever little the latter has been able to achieve on economic and political fronts. The Thein Sein government has, however, claimed that the path of reforms taken by Myanmar is irreversible. However, the US is far from satisfied.

Since the introduction of reforms in 2010, the US has lifted sanctions on Myanmar on American investment and trade. The US companies as of April 2014 had plans to invest $243.6 million in the Burmese economy. The US has also initiated limited defence cooperation with Myanmar with Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel inviting Myanmar for the defence ministers’ retreat held in Hawaii islands last year.

However, in the same breath, Secretary Kerry, during his visit, made known the US’ annoyance with the curtailment of civil liberties in the country. He urged the government to stop human rights abuses and establish the rule of law in Myanmar. He remarked that the presidential elections scheduled next year would be a benchmark for the world to assess the direction of reforms in Myanmar.

Kerry’s visit to Myanmar was also watched closely by US Senators, some of whom even signed a petition asking the Obama Administration to snap military ties with Myanmar. The US, in April this year, also voted in favour of a resolution imposing sanctions on the country for its human rights abuses.

Good relations set to continue

The commentators on US-Myanmar relations feel that the US would not risk economic and strategic interests for pushing Myanmar towards democracy. Its bitterness on Myanmar’s human rights track-record would not make the US to continue moving ties ahead.

The military coup in Thailand has cast aspersions on the US continuing strategic ties with Thailand. This gives enough reason for the US to continue its military ties with Myanmar. Also, investors in the US have shown particular interest in the ASEAN economy. Kerry during his visit mentioned the American interest in giving a boost to investment and trade with Myanmar.

New Chinese investments in Myanmar are dwindling or facing resistance, making many believe that it is because of the deepening ties with the US. China has not taken the increasing US engagement kindly. It has wrestled all its muscles to protect its strategic and economic interests in Myanmar, but not without straining "Pauk-phaw" or fraternal relationship with Myanmar.

The military-led government in Myanmar has used the garb of non-alignment to deal with the conundrum which the US and China present. But with compulsions setting in, Myanmar is likely to go ahead with American support. Japan’s increasing role in Myanmar is another indication of the western powers making their influence felt over Myanmar.

Some commentators have also observed that an increasing American role in Myanmar has opened a window of opportunity for the US and China to work together for Myanmar’s stability and development. But it remains to be seen for its genuineness, scope and depth.

(The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata).

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepal: Importance of the 4-C’s for ties with India

Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ’historic’ visit to Nepal early this month has raised high hopes in both countries. The last Indian Prime Minister who visited Nepal was I. K. Gujaral in 1997. In 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the country, which was not exclusively for strengthening bilateral ties but for attending the SAARC Summit.

Against this backdrop, from touching the hearts of the people of Nepal to making big announcements, Modi’s visit has been described as a success in popular parlance. Experts, however, warn that delivering on his promises will remain a challenge when Modi visits the Himalayan country again in November this year for the SAARC summit.

In Nepal, PM Modi stressed the importance of the 4 Cs — cooperation, connectivity, culture and Constitution — to enhance bilateral ties. On cooperation, Modi announced $1 billion line of credit (LoC) for Nepal’s infrastructure development while addressing the Constituent Assembly and Parliament of Nepal. It was also decided that the Pancheswar Development Authority will be set up to implement large-scale Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on the Mahakali River and a detailed project report (DPR) will be finalised within a year.

The two sides also agreed to conclude a Power Trade Agreement (PTA) — a framework pact for the commerce and power sector within 45 days. The two Prime Ministers directed the concerned authorities to conclude negotiations within 45 days on the Project Development Agreement (PDA) between the Investment Board of Nepal and GMR Group of India for the development of Upper Karnali hydropower project.

It may be recalled in this context that few years ago, New Delhi had decided to set up a Pancheshwar Development Authority for the implementation of the project, estimated to cost Rs 15,000-20,000 crore. The Uttarakhand government had also approved the proposed project as the State was to get 13 per cent of power free from the project.

The Kali river divides Nepal and India at Pithoragarh and Champawat districts. The project planned as a joint venture, was proposed in two parts -- the 5,600 MW Pacheshwar dam and the 1,060 MW Purnagiri re-regulating irrigation project. But no significant progress has been made.

Modi’s visit was the first time when discussions on the project took place at the highest level. Experts argue that during the past few years, Nepal had not shown any interest in building the dam, apparently due to Naxalite activities. However, there is a significant change in the perception of the Nepalese leadership on the Pancheshwar dam now.

Multi-lane motorable bridge

On connectivity, Modi assured Nepal to assist in the construction of a multi-lane motorable bridge over Mahakali river at Mahendranagar, which will allow traffic along the East-West Highway to cross over the Mahakali river and establish a vital trade and transit linkage of far western region of Nepal with Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi. The Indian side also conveyed to consider construction of motorable bridges at the border points at Jhulaghat and Darchula.

To enhance cultural activities between the two, PM Modi also expressed commitment to further consolidate exchanges and interactions between the people of the two countries. In this context Nepal’w Foreign Ministry also highlighted the progress made during the visit to Nepal by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj between July 25-27 and the meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission at that time.

No interference: Modi

Both the countries also agreed that Nepal should be left on its own whether it wants to revise the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950. During his visit Modi, assured Nepal that India has no intent to interfere in its internal affairs. On the issue of Nepal creating its own Constitution, the Nepali experts argued though it remains an internal matter, India should guide them accordingly.

To them India has adopted the ’sensible’ course of offering support for broad principles - a federal, democratic, republican Constitution, an inclusive Constitution. On the one hand, by hailing the Maoist transformation, Modi reached out and acknowledged the initiatives that Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai have taken in accepting the peaceful, constitutional, democratic path forward. On the other hand, Modi also had a candid discussion with Madhesis to support inclusion keeping their interests in mind.

In a nutshell, during his visit Modi discussed various facets of mutual relations and issues of common interest with Nepalese Prime Minister Satish Koirala. After the talks, Modi and Koirala witnessed the signing of three agreements: under the first agreement, India will provide a grant assistance worth NR 69 million to supply iodated salt to curb goitre and other diseases related with iodine deficiency. The second agreement was regarding the amendment of Articles 17 and 18 of the Pancheswar Multiple Project. The third agreement was about cooperation between Nepal Television and Doordarshan.

It is indeed true that with no Indian PM visiting Nepal in 17 years, the lack of reciprocity was glaring. Modi corrected this perception - and showed to Nepal how important the country is to India. On the Nepali side, what changed was the overwhelmingly warm reception offered to Modi. Now time has come to change the common, and almost clichéd, Nepali perception that - New Delhi promises but does not deliver. It is to be seen if what India has committed to doing in Nepal gets translated into reality.

(The writer is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata)

< class="heading1">Country Reports


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Abdullah, Ghani vow to cooperate

The two candidates in the Afghan Presidential Elections, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Dr Ashraf Ghani issued a joint statement on 8 August once again reiterating their commitment to abide by the final electoral result and form a unity government. Despite such claims differences between the teo candidates regarding the nature of power sharing continue to persist. A joint committee consisting of the representatives of the two candidates have already started negotiations to finalise the details of such an arrangement.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Efforts to Iron Out Unity Government Details Underway", , Tolo News, 10 August 2014; ; "Afghan rivals Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah differ on deal", BBC News, 9 August 2014;"Afghan Rivals Back a Deal, Once More, For President", The New York Times, 8 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NATO future role depends on elections

NATO Secretary General Andres Fog Rasmussen issued a warning this week that if the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is not signed before the NATO summit begins on 4 September, the international coalition will not be able to provide military and financial support to the country post-2014. The BSA can be signed only by the new Afghan president.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "NATO Says Future Role Depends on Election Ending Soon", Tolo News, 12 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Afghanistan rejects claims of ANSF infiltration

The Ministry of Defence of Afghanistan issued a statement rejecting the recently voiced US concerns that 25 percent of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were infiltrated by the Taliban and al Qaeda operatives. Such American concerns were voiced following the recent ’green-on-blue’ attack last week, which had resulted in the death of a high ranking US military official.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Afghanistan rejects 25% of Afghan forces are Taliban operatives",Khaama Press, 11 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">More US visas for Afghans

US President Barack Obama approved a bill that authorises an additional 1000 Special Immigration Visas (SIV) for Afghan nationals. In the 2014 Financial Year, the US has already reached its maximum cap of 3000 SIVs for Afghans, who were employed by or on behalf of the US government.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : ""President Obama signs bill allowing visas for Afghans"The Nation, 9 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bangladesh urges India to ratify Land Boundary Agreement

Bangladesh is all set to press India for ratifying the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LDA) and the Land Boundary Protocol of 2011, which remained pending for a long time. The demand will be put forth during the 15th home secretaries’ meeting likely to be held in Dhaka in September. Issues such as security, cross-border crimes, border disputes, and border management will be discussed in the meeting.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Dhaka wants India to ratify Land Boundary Agreement", New Age, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">BNP yet to decide on movement

Contrary to speculation, the political situation in the country remained calm as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) backtracked from launching a strong anti-government movement. BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia said that her party will complete the reorganisation process before going for a tough movement. Earlier, the party announced that it will wage a vigorous anti-government movement after Eid-ul-Fitr.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "BNP backtracks from tough movement strategy",Dhaka Tribune, 13 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Focus on Dzhokhang economy’

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay urged dzongdas for development of Dzhokhang economy by framing economic developmental plans and policies. Tobgay spoke about the five jewels- economy, hydropower, agriculture, tourism, cottage industries and mining.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "The five jewels of economy- the dzhongda’s role", Kuensel Online, 12 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India to assist Bhutan

Indian envoy to Bhutan, Gautam Bambawale said India would help Bhutan in whatever ways it can within its capacity and according to the priorities set by Bhutan. He highlighted the role of cooperation in hydropower as one of the areas for economic development and social progress of both countries.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Indian ambassador visits Chukha hydropower project", Kuensel Online, 13 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Education links Bhutan and Australia

Australia’s Ambassador to Bhutan Patrick Suckling has said that education is the principal link between Australia and Bhutan referring to the 245 percent increase from last year of Bhutanese aspirants wanting to study in Australia.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Education links Bhutan and Australia", Kuensel Online, 11 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Seven Indian nationals sentenced for smuggling gold

The Paro district court on 13 August sentenced 7 Indian nationals for smuggling gold. In February this year the convicts were arrested for smuggling 8 KG gold.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Seven Indian nationals sentenced for smuggling gold" Bhutan Broadcasting Service, 13 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Modi delivers his maiden Independence Day address extempore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his maiden Independence Day address on 15 August. In a sixty-five minute long extempore, Modi announced the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, a financial inclusion scheme to provide bank accounts to the poor along with insurance worth INR one lakh. He alluded to the gradual replacement of the Planning Commission with alternate mechanisms for centre-state coordination. Turning to global audiences, Modi called for foreign investors to set up manufacturing hubs in India. He suggested a ’ten years moratorium’ on communal violence without offering any policy measure to achieve this. He also announced the Swachch Bharat campaign which aims to build toilets in all schools, especially for girls.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Highlights of Prime Minister’s Address on Independence Day", Press Information Bureau, August 15; "In extempore Independence Day address, Modi calls himself Pradhan Sevak who wants to rule via consensus", The Indian Express, 15 August 2014; "’Come, make in India,’ Modi tells global investors", The Hindu, 15 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Amit Shah made BJP President

The BJP national council ratified the party’s decision to appoint Amit Shah as its new president on 9 August. The announcement was made in the presence of Narendra Modi and other senior party members in New Delhi. Mr Shah, at 49, is the youngest BJP President, indicating a gradual transition from the old guard. He worked closely with Mr Modi in Gujarat where he held important ministerial berths before running the party’s election campaign in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh last year. One of Mr Shah’s first assignments after assuming the leadership position was to announce BJP’s ’Vijay Sankalp Yatra’ election campaign in Haryana on 14 August.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "’Man of the Match’ Amit Shah occupies centre stage", The Times of India, 10 August 2014; "BJP chief Amit Shah flags off poll rallies in Haryana", Hindustan Times, 14 August 2014; "Amit Shah suited for BJP chief’s position: Rajnath" The Economic Times, 9 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sushma Swaraj visits Myanmar for ASEAN, EAS meets

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was on a four day visit to Myanmar for the India-ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting, the East Asia Summit besides bilateral talks with her counterparts from China, Australia and other nations. The ASEAN meet was to push for taking the relationship to next level by expanding trade and investment and exploring new areas of cooperation. The EAS meeting was to focus on cooperation in the areas of energy, education, disaster management, food security and improving connectivity.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Sushma Swaraj in Myanmar for ASEAN meet, East Asia Summit", Indian Express, 15 August 2014; and "Sushma Swaraj describes Myanmar visit as ’very successful’", NDTV, 12 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel visits India, calls for stronger ties

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel met with top government officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He pressed for broader cooperation in development of defence including a pilot plan for the two nations to jointly develop a next-generation anti-tank missile. He also called for a reduction in red tape in order to ease trade ties between both countries. The US is eager to boost weapons sales to India which is looking to modernise its military.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Hagel in India to boost defence ties, trade; meets PM", The Hindustan Times, 8 August 2014; "Hagel: US, India must improve defence cooperation", The Washington Post, 9 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Three attacks against security forces in Kashmir ahead of Modi visit

Security forces were targeted in three separate rebel attacks over the week in Kashmir. All incidents occurred in Pampore, the saffron producing region of the Valley located 14 kilometres from Srinagar. On 10 August, a BSF convoy was ambushed, injuring eight troops. The following day, a Railway Protection Force (PRF) constable was killed. In the third incident, a local police official was targeted in which two policemen and a civilian were killed. The timing of the attacks coincided with Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to the state since assuming office; on 12 August, he had visited Ladakh to inaugurate two power projects. Yet, that all the incidents occurred in Pampore, a separatist stronghold, suggests that local factors might have played a role too.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "2 cops, one civilian killed in militant attack in Kashmir", The Times of India, 13 August 2014; "In J&K, Modi’s first salvo at Pakistan", The Hindu, 13 August 2014;"Three killed in militant attack in Kashmir", The Hindu, 14 August 2014; 8 BSF men injured in Pampore attack", Kashmir Times, 12 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">BASIC countries ask developed nations to walk the talk

Environment Ministers of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) met at the 18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on 7-8 August to discuss climate change under the UNFCCC framework. Ministers’ urged developed countries to take the lead in addressing climate change and facilitate provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "BASIC countries ask developed nations to walk the talk for climate change", The Economic Times, 8 August 2014; "Only a balanced 2015 climate agreement acceptable: BASIC countries", Business Standard, 9 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India, US agree to jointly produce defence hardware

India and the US have agreed to go in for co-development and co-production of indigenous military hardware, equipment and advanced weapon systems. Having decided to increase the FDI cap in defence sector to 49 percent, India now aims to encourage domestic defence production and reduce its import dependence, currently at 70 percent.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India, US agree to cooperate in joint production of defence hardware", The Indian Express, 8 August 2014; "Chuck Hagel visits India seeking to remove barriers on weapons sales", Livemint, 7 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Foreign investments pose no threat to Islam or sovereignty’

Foreign investments pose no threat to either Islam or Maldivian independence and sovereignty, President Abdulla Yameen has said, assuring that the creation of special economic zones (SEZs) was no cause for concern, even as Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) threatened to launch protests if Parliament passed the SEZ Bill without the amendments proposed by it.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Foreign investments pose no threat to Islam or sovereignty, insists President Yameen", Minivan News, 12 August 2014; "MDP to protest against "dangerous" SEZ bill", Minivan News, 14 August 2014; Minivan News, 12 August 2014; "Fear, intimidation aimed at stalling development, says Nasheed", Minivan News, 14 August 2014

Minivan News, 14 August 2014

The government has terminated an agreement with Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Air to develop and manage the regional airport on Gaaf Dhaal Kaadehdhoo, claiming that the latter had breached the contractual terms.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Government takes back Kaadedhoo airport, uninhabited island from Gasim’s Villa Group", Minivan News, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President to discuss trade during visit to China

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will hold discussions on trade with the Government of China during his visit to the attend the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province on 16 August, the President’s Office has said.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "President to discuss trade during visit to China", Sun, 14 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt. eases some restrictions on ceasefire deal

The government of Myanmar is said to have eased some restrictions on the nationwide ceasefire which is jointly being done by Union Peace-making working committee and National ceasefire coordination team. The government has dropped clauses that called for the ceasefire deal being bound by the 2008 constitution and existing laws.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Govt eases some restrictions on ceasefire deal", Eleven Myamar, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Myanmar’s Parliament Speaker to visit U.S.

Speaker of parliament’s lower house in Myanmar, Thura Shwe Mann will visit Washington D.C. in November on an invitation from John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state. Kerry extended this invitation when he was on a two-day visit to Myanmar for attending ASEAN regional forum meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw in August.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Parliamentary Speaker to visit Washington", Eleven Myanmar, 13 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Army clashes with ethnic group, leaves 200 displaced in Kachin state

Around 200 people living in Hpakant Township in Kachin state were displaced in last few days because of the clashes between Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), according to local leaders and KIA sources. According to them, the Fighting erupted after the government forces entered a ruby-mining area controlled by the KIA.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "200 Kachin Civilians Flee Fighting Near Hpakant", The Irrawaddy, 13 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM Modi asks India to learn from Nepal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded Nepal for shunning the path of violence to settle the internal conflict. The Indian PM openly appreciated Nepal’s peace process during his speech on the occasion of 68th Independence Day of India which is marked on 15th of August. He said the international community can learn peaceful means opted by the people of Nepal.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "India should learn peace from Nepal: Modi", Ekantipur, 15 August 2014; "Modi lauds Nepalis’ for choosing peace over violence" Republica,15 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepal-China trade halted

The Sunkoshi flood has cut off Araniko Highway, the lifeline of Nepal-China trade. With about 1.5 km of the Jure segment of the highway badly damaged by the landslide of 2 August, the supply of Chinese goods via Tatopani remains halted. Of the total import from China that comes through this border, 30-40 percent happens during this time, targeting the biggest festival of Dashain. Importers estimate the daily losses caused by the transport disruption at Rs 150 million.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Flood cuts off Nepal-China trade lifeline", Ekantipur, 14 August 2014; "Heavy rainfall causes flooding, landslides in Nepal", The Hindustan Times, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepal under-prepared for Ebola outbreak

Nepal is vulnerable to Ebola epidemic as hundreds of its security officers and personnel are deployed under the UN peacekeeping missions in West African nations affected by the deadly virus. On top of that Nepal is also one of the top destinations for foreign tourists. But how prepared is the country to contain any possible Ebola outbreak? Ill prepared, said health experts. They went on to warn of a catastrophe if the virus enters in the country.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal ill-prepared for possible Ebola outbreak", Republica, 13 August 2014;"Nepal: no quarantine system for Ebola", The Hindu, 11 August 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan FO refutes Modi’s "proxy war" accusations

The Pakistan Foreign Office on 13 August 2014 rejected the accusations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Pakistan during his visit to Kashmir. Tasneem Aslam, spokesperson of the Foreign Office has said that press reports of Modi’s accusations about a proxy war against India are "most unfortunate." She added that instead of engaging in a blame game, the two countries should focus on resolving all issues through dialogue."

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "FO rejects Modi’s proxy war claims", The Nation, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day

Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day celebrations on 14 August 2014 started at the President House where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain, Army Chief Raheel Sharif, Speaker National Assembly SardarAyazSadiq and other prominent leaders attended a ceremony.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Pakistan celebrates 68th Independence Day", The Express Tribune, 14 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Azadi March on Islamabad begins

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) much talked about march on Islamabad began on 15 August 2014. The PTI chief, Imran Khan reiterated his demand that the Prime Minister resign and called upon the members of the Election Commission to quit.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "PTI kicks off Azadi March",, 15 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Militants will be eliminated’

Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani has said that complete peace will be restores under the Zarb-e-Azb operation in North Waziristan and that militants will be "eliminated once and for all".

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Complete peace will be restored in N Waziristan: Rabbani", The Express Tribune, 14 August 2014;"Zarb-e-Azb updates: Militants will be eliminated once and for all, says Rabbani", The Express Tribune, 15 June 2014 (last updated 14 August 2014)

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian activist to join probe advisory panel

Lesser-known Indian human rights activist Avdash Kaushal, based in Dehradun, has accepted Sri Lankan President MahindaRajapaksa’s personal invitation to join the experts panel to advise the Presidential Commission investigating war-time disappearances and ’war crimes’. Kasuhal has clarified that the Government of India did not have any role to play in the matter.

"Indian activist gets Rajapaksa invite to war crimes panel", The New Indian Express, 11 August 2014; "No Role for India in My Nomination to SL Panel: Kaushal", The New Indian Express, 13 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pillay influencing UN probe

The outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. NavanethamPillay was seeking to influence the OHCHR investigation process, the Ministry of External Affairs charged. In a statement, the Ministry took exception to Pillay’s e-mail interview to Reuters news agency that the "United Nations could conduct an effective investigation into reports of war crimes in Sri Lanka without visiting the country".

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Pillay trying to influence OHCHR investigations: EAM", Daily Mirror Online, 14 August 2014; "U.N. chief says access not a must for Sri Lanka war crimes probe", Reuters, 11 August 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India thanks President for freeing all fishers

As a gesture of goodwill on India’s Independence Day, President MahindaRajapaksa has ordered the release of all 94 Indian fishers held in Sri Lankan prisons. The announcement did not mention releasing their trawlers, even as Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Y K Sinha, expressed happiness over the gesture.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India’s Independence Day: All Indian Fishers Released", The Island, 14 August 2014

Primary Documentation


Transcript of ISAF Press Conference Report, International Security Assistance Force, 12 August 2014

Transcript of the Press Briefing by Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani and John Kerry, The US Department of State, 8 August 2014


"Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, held a meeting with the Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi", Press Release Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bangladesh, Dhaka 12 August 2014


Press Release on the visit of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Minister of Al-Diwan Al-Amiri of the State of Kuwait to Bhutan, Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 August 2014


Transcript of Prime Minister Modi’s Independence Day address, Office of the Prime Minister of India, 15 August 2014

Transcript of President Pranab Mukherjee’s address on the eve of Independence Day, Office of the the President of India, 14 August 2014

Transcript of PM Modi’s address to armed forces at Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 12 August, 2014

Extract from Chairman’s statement on the Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10 + 1 Sessions (9-10 August 2014), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India 11 August 2014

Resolution passed by the BJP National Council Meeting, BJP, 9 August 2014

Joint Statement issued at the 18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 8 August 2014


Vice President holds discussions with delegation of Mizuho Bank, Myanmar President’s Office, 15 August 2014


Response to Indian Prime Minister’s statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 13 August 2014

Statement by Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs - Expanded Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the Level of Foreign Ministers on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 12 August 2014 Jeddah, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 12 August 2014

Message of Felicitations from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to His Excellency Mr. RecepTayyip Erdogan on his election as the President of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 11 August 2014

Message of Felicitations from President Mamnoon Hussain to His Excellency Mr. RecepTayyip Erdogan on his election as the President of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 11 August 2014

Pakistan lodges protest over firing by Indian troops across the Working Boundary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 11 August 2014




Bruce Riedel, What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2014


Martine van Bijlert, "Key documents underwriting the electoral agreement", Afghanistan Analysts Network, 13 August 2014

Opinion Pieces

BayramBalci and Didier Chaudet, "Jihadism in Central Asia: A Credible Threat After the Western Withdrawal From Afghanistan?",Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 13 August 2014

Thomas Ruttig, "Trying to Stop the Bases: Another opposition block in the making?",Afghanistan Analysts Network, 12 August 2014

Omar Samad, "How to Fix the Afghan Political Logjam", Foreign Policy, 12 August 2014

Mohammad H. Qayoumi, "A Checklist for a New Afghanistan", Foreign Policy, 9 August 2014

"Afghan Elections and a Farce Elections", Voice of Jihad, 9 August 2014


Opinion Pieces

Syed Badrul Ahsan, "Our adivasis, our constitution", The Daily Star, 13 August 2014

Saman Kelegama, "BIMSTEC: Dhaka secretariat can play a vital role", The Daily Star, 13 August 2014


Opinion Pieces

"A national malady: at what cost?", Kuensel Online, 14 August 2014

"A drug blight", Kuensel Online, 12 August 2014



The G-20 in Transition: Priorities for Brisbane, Brookings India, 12 August 2014

Opinion Pieces

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "Needed, PEST control", The Indian Express, 12 August, 2014

Parvathy Binoy "Mr. Modi’s river disconnect", The Hindu, 14 August 2014

Rahul Pandita, "My neighbour, the environmentalist", The Hindu, 8 August 2014

Christophe Jaffrelot, "Misunderstanding secularism", The Indian Express, 11 August 2014

Hugh White, "Can Modi rise to India’s challenge?", East Asia Forum, 13 August 2014

Wasbir Hussain, "Raising the bars on India-Myanmar ties", Gateway House, 13 August 2014


Opinion Pieces

Sithu Aung Myint, "U Shwe Mann directs PR drama", Myanmar Times, 11 August 2014

U ThetShein, "The Rakhine Checkmate", Mizzima, 11 August 2014


Opinion Pieces

Gardiner Harris, "In Nepal, a Better Life With a Steep Price", The New York Times, 13 August 2014

Prashant Jha, "After Modi’s Nepal visit, what changed and what did not", The Hindustan Times, 13 August 2014

Avinash Celestine, "Will a PTA really give the boost needed for India-Nepal hydropower trade?", The Economic Times, 10 August 2014

Madhav Ghimire, "A Case for Redesigning Nepal’s National Security Council", Foreign Policy, 12 August 2014


Opinion Pieces

Frederic Grare, "After Modi’s Big Win: Can India and Pakistan Enhance Relations?", The National Interest, 11 August 2014

Ishaan Tharoor, "Why Pakistan is a mess, again", The Washington Post, 13 August 2014

Imtiaz Ahmad, "From Pakistan, hope and expectations", The Hindustan Times, 14 August 2014

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Jehan Perera, "Govt. actions need to be consistent locally and internationally", The Island, 11 August 2014

N Sathiya Moorthy, "SC Verdict can revive devolution discourse", The Sunday Leader, 10 August 2014

"Fish and Tamil Nadu CM’s chips", The Sunday Times, 10 August 2014

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:
Afghanistan: Aryaman Bhatnagar;
Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee;
Bhutan & Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale
India: Kaustav Dhar Chakrabarti, ManmathGoel and Niharika Betkerur;
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.


Mihir Bhonsale

Mihir Bhonsale

Mihir Bhonsale was a Junior Fellow in the Strategic Studies Programme and Indian Neighbourhood Initiative of ORF.

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