MonitorsPublished on Jun 28, 2015
The relationship between the United States and Pakistan is one that grew exponentially in the first decade of the new millennia. However, following the post-US drawdown from Afghanistan, the United States' relationship with Pakistan has hit a roadblock of sorts.
Pakistan: Relationship with US deteriorating
< class="heading1">Analysis

The relationship between the United States and Pakistan is one that grew exponentially in the first decade of the new millennia. However, following the post-US drawdown from Afghanistan, the United States’ relationship with Pakistan has hit a roadblock of sorts. In order to clearly understand why the United States opted to slowly disconnect itself from Pakistan, we must understand the history of diplomatic relations between the two nations, their areas of cooperation, and their shifting areas of interest which force them to seek other allies.

The strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Pakistan began during the Afghan-Soviet War during the era of the Cold War. The US created a central military base in Pakistan to monitor South Asian activities and counter the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan.

Over the following years, the relationship grew immensely with the two nations being involved in counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and reviving the declined Sino-U.S. relations. However, a landmark spur came in during the Post-9/11 era when the Bush administration decided to increase its humanitarian and military aid to Pakistan from $187.7 million in 2001 to over $2 billion in 2002.

Subsequently, in 2009 the Congress’ approval of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (Otherwise known as the "Kerry-Lugar-Berman" or "KLB" cooperation) granted $1.5 billion in non-military aid to Pakistan. In the first decade of the new millennia, the US aid to Pakistan totalled $20 billion, showing the extent of their strategic partnership and their deep reliance on each other - Pakistan for military, economic, and humanitarian aid; the US for its military operations and oil hegemony in the region.

The United States’ support to Pakistan in recent years is second to only China, after the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor investment. The KLB Cooperation, has delivered results on domestic issues that are most important to the Pakistani government: energy, education, economic growth, and health. The US has committed over $5 billion to Pakistan in civilian assistance with an addition $1 billion for emergency humanitarian response for disaster and conflict, such as the series of floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan in 2010. The underlying idea behind the United States government’s support to Pakistan was in order to enhance the establishment of civilian led democratic institutions founded upon the rule of law.

Although China has assisted Pakistan numerous times in order to address the energy concerns of the Nawaz Sharif government, the US has provided over 1,400 megawatts of energy to Pakistan’s national power grid - enough energy for at least 16 million citizens. In addition to this, the United States has assisted the rehabilitation of vital dams across the nation and the Overseas Private Investment Cooperation (OPIC), aimed at increasing private funding in Pakistan, would fund the establishment of various wind powered energy plants that are aimed at providing 250 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

Bilateral Trade between the two nations surpassed $5 billion in 2013, one of the largest trade partnerships for Pakistan with the United States being its largest export market. As a result, a Joint Action Plan was put into action that would stimulate growth in Pakistan through Silicon Valley investments from the US. The main focus for the United States to invest into Pakistan had been due to the deteriorating regional security situation due to the rise of non-state military organisations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although the Obama administration has decreased its direct military involvement in the region, the US continues to support Pakistan’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts. The US security assistance programs provide vital support to the Pakistani army, including its efforts under Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The US continues to provide military equipment towards Pakistani operations along the Afghan border, along with targeted operations against the Al-Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Furthermore, the US plays a vital role in training Pakistani forces to successfully complete counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and fight against guerrilla tactics used by some militant groups.

The United States’ drawdown from its military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan has had a tremendous impact on Pakistan’s military, as well as, economic efforts. Pakistan’s "Good Taliban Bad Taliban" policy, as characterised by various critics, was one of the major reasons for the United States’ decision to decrease its support towards Pakistan. Pakistan maintained a bloated army, disproportionate to its size, with the unparalleled military assistance from the US. However, with current US assistance programs, such as the KLB Cooperation, mainly aimed at civilian assistance programs, Pakistan faces extreme costs to maintain the functionality of its army.

Furthermore, the increased bonhomie between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi has stirred up tensions between the two nations as the United States shifts towards India to become its vital ally in the region. This has led to a great decline in Indo-Pak as well as Pakistan-US Relations as the United States is set to become one of India’s largest military providers, second only to India’s long-term strategic ally, Russia.

However, the resulting deteriorating relations between the US and Pakistan is not only due to the strengthening relationship between the United States and India, but because of Pakistan’s non-alignment with US interests in the region. Pakistan has shifted towards deeper economic and military ties with China, which is set to provide large scale military and economic aid to Pakistan, and Russia, which lift its longstanding embargo on military supply to Pakistan. Furthermore, Pakistan has failed to live up to the US interests of bringing stability to the region and improving its relations with its archenemy, India. The Pakistani army recently test fired its nuclear capable Shaheen III ballistic missiles, that boast a range of 1,700 miles - capable of targeting any location within Indian borders, and the Ghauri Ballistic Missiles with a range of 807 miles.

With many policy makers in the US questioning Pakistan’s willingness to align itself with the American order and continue its efforts to combat extremist militant groups, especially the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Al-Qaeda, the decreasing US assistance to Pakistan comes as no surprise and forces both nations to seek other allies in the region. For Pakistan, it can rely upon its "all-weather ally", China, to fulfil its economic and military needs while the United States turns towards India, a trusted ally with a suitable democratic structure able to absorb American investment and further its interests towards enhancing security in the region and fostering stability.

(The writer is a Research Intern at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India: Failure again to break deadlock with Pakistan?

Satish Misra

India and Pakistan have again failed to talk to talk, allowing bilateral tensions to persist and grow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif had principally agreed to resume the stalled bilateral dialogue on July 10 in the Russian town of Ufa during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit meeting.

The understanding reached between the two prime ministers at Ufa was that long stalled dialogue covering all outstanding issues between the two countries need to restart but before it could be done, the two NSAs should meet to talk on the issue of terror that was bedevilling relations between India and Pakistan.

The joint statement, issued after the meeting between the two prime ministers, talked about a meeting between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism and early meetings between DG BSF and DG Pakistan Ranger followed by that of DGMOs.

Accordingly, the two NSAs were scheduled to meet for two days in August in New Delhi but even before the ink could dry on the joint statement, ceasefire violations, terrorist attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur and verbal triumphalism from both sides created a negative environment that talks would have failed any way.

The two nuclear weapons’ neighbours in South Asia not on talking terms was a source of international concern and it is understood that both Russia and China had prevailed upon New Delhi and Islamabad to start the dialogue.

The meeting between the two NSAs to talk on all issues concerned with terror was interpreted as a concession to the Modi government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had stated that talks and terror can’t go together.

But the last straw on the proverbial camel’s back came when news about Pakistan High Commission’s invitation to separatist Hurriyat leader for a reception in the honour of Aziz broke out.

Exchange of verbal volleys, aggressive posturing and tough positioning from Ministers and political parties from both Pakistan and India that took place after the invitation to Hurriyat had left literally no scope for the talks to succeed. A formal announcement of cancellation came from Islamabad on August 22.

After the cancellation of talks between the national security advisors of the two countries, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor on August 24 said that Islamabad has "nukes" and "India can’t play the bully".

Before that, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on August 22 sought to up the stake by declaring at a press conference that the Pakistan’s NSA would have to give an assurance to India that he would not meet Hurriyat leaders and he would not discuss Kashmir when he met his counterpart for talks.

Their words sum up the prevailing state of relations between the two neighbours and represent a classic demonstration of conduct of diplomacy through media. It is worth probing as why the Prime Minister had not clarified the Hurriyat issue with his Pakistani counterpart at Ufa as this has been a major hurdle in the resumption of the stalled dialogue in the recent past.

In August 2014, Foreign Secretary level talks between two countries were called off by India after Pakistan High Commissioner had met a Hurriyat leader.

One of central problems of India-Pakistan relationship is and has been for the last two decades that the political establishment on both sides of the border is prisoner of its own words. Political parties, depending upon whether they are in government or in opposition, take stand or positions on issues to score on each other which puts lot of constraint on the when their roles reverse.

For small time political gains, political leaders when in the opposition take stand and formulate positions which are not only difficult to sustain but are impossible to follow when occupying ruling chair. As a matter of fact, these statements and positions of political leaders haunt them when they happen to be in government.

In the present case, the BJP had announced from roof tops that there can’t be any talk unless Pakistan stops acts of terror. The BJP had also bitterly opposed that either the Pakistani High Commissioner or any visiting Pakistani leader held a meeting with any of the separatist leader of the Hurriyat Conference.

It is a well accepted principle of international relations that talks between even sworn enemies must take place. There is no alternative to bilateral talks and that is why Islamabad and New Delhi after few months of lull have been invariably returning to dialogue table. Often enough decision to talk takes place either under the advice of friends or international pressures but there is no escape.

That is precisely why Modi and Sharif agreed for talks but this effort too like many others met the same fate but there is a silver lining. If talks would have taken place, Indian media would have gone hammer and tong against Pakistan and the Pakistani delegation too would have spared no opportunity to attack India. Things would have gone from bad to worse and atmosphere would have been vitiated so much that the two neighbours would have taken months to recover from the setback.

But by cancelling the meeting between the two NSAs, India and Pakistan have left some space for picking up the broken thread to set the process again in motion. The meeting between the DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers seems to be taking place and if DGMOs also meet then it would be a positive development.

By holding the two meetings, the two governments could take a positive step by ensuring that the ceasefire on borders was held. This would mean a huge confidence building step. The two governments have to build a positive environment for bilateral talks. Other small steps for building mutual trust and confidence also need to follow.

An opportunity comes their way to find a way out, when both Modi and Sharif would be in New York to address annual general assembly of the United Nations. I hope they meet to pave the wayfor resumption of bilateral dialogue.

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

< class="heading1">Country Reports


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Refugees’ stay in Pak extended

As per an agreement signed between Afghan and Pakistani officials, Islamabad would allow registered Afghans to continue living within Pakistani territory for another two years. The agreement was signed in the presence of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Pakistan has also pledged to determine a suitable course of action for the unregistered Afghan refugees.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Pakistan Extends Welcome To Afghan Refugees For Two More Years", Tolo News, 22 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MoUs signed with Turkmenistan

During Turkmen President GurbangulyBerdimuhamedow’s visit to Afghanistan this week, the two countries inked five MoUs. As per these agreements, the two countries will work towards improving bilateral cooperation in areas of energy, sport, technology and trade.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Afghanistan signs 5 MoUs with Turkmenistan", Khaama Press, 27 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Salma Dam renamed

As an acknowledgment of India’s contribution towards the construction of the Salma Dam in Western Afghanistan, Kabul this week decided to rename the dam to the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Afghanistan renames Salma Dam to Afghan-India Friendship Dam", Khaama Press, 27 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trade talks with China

Chinese Commerce Minister GaoHucheng visit Bangladesh this week. During the two-day visit China and Bangladesh discussed issues concerning trade and investment. Finance Minister AMA Muhith informed that Chinese government expressed interest in investing $ 300m in Bangladesh’s textile industry.

Finance Minister and Chinese Commerce Minister signed two letters on behalf of their respective sides. The two letters signed are- a) letter to set up a permanent Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center in Purbachal area of Dhaka; b) letter to procure medical equipment and appliances for ministry of health and family planning from China.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Chinese Commerce Minister arrives Tuesday", The Daily Observer, 24 August 2015; "China interested to invest $300m in Bangladesh textile sector", Dhaka Tribune, 26 August 2015; "China promises continued support for Hasina government to facilitate Bangladesh’s development",, 26 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Women workers boost remittance

Remittance got a major boost due to rise in wages in the US and an increasing intake of women workers by the Middle Eastern countries. Bangladeshi migrant workers residing in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya and Iran together sent home $9.072 billion last fiscal year, up 8 percent year-on-year, claimed Bangladesh Bank.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Remittance gets boost from women workers", The Daily Star, 25 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">1,100 Bangladeshis died in sea

UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has claimed 1,100 people, mostly Bangladeshis and/or Rohingyas of Myanmar, died in the sea between January 2014 and June 2015 during their attempt to illegally migrating to other countries. Incident of death of these people in sea as mass grave were discovered in the May this year. The UNHCR claimed that between January 2014 and June 2015 approximately 94,000 refugees and migrants departed from Bangladesh and/or Myanmar. Of those, 31,000 left in six months of this year.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "1, 100 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas died in sea in 18 months", The Daily Star, 28 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Joint border survey with China

The 23rd round of boundary talks with China on 24 August. The two sides decided on carrying out the final phase of the joint technical field survey of disputed areas in Bhutan, in next month. A meeting of experts is also scheduled earlier next year before the 24th round of talks scheduled next year.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Joint survey of western disputed areas next month", Kuensel, 27 August 2015; "China respects Bhutan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence: Liu Zhenmin", Bhutan Broadcasting Service, 25 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bengaluru college retracts

Bhutanese students studying in Indo-Asian Academy Degree College in Bengaluru are confused on the various demands imposed on them. About 5 months after the issue of 195 students was resolved, 25 students who are studying BSc Nursing were asked to pay a fee of Nu 8,200 each.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Bengaluru college retracts on agreement again", Kuensel, 27 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Lottery case probe in limbo

Indian agency Central Bureau of Investigation is yet to receive the documents and evidence it sought from Bhutan government, creating hassle for completion of the probe. The agency registered 32 cases in connection with the lottery scam, has filed charge sheets in cases involving sale of Sikkim lotteries in Kerala.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Apathy of Bhutan Government Puts Lottery Case Probe in Limbo", The New Indian Express, 28 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Street violence in Gujarat

The Gujarat bandh called by Hardik Patel, leader of an agitation by the Patel community demanding reservation, paralysed life in the State, with violence claiming eight lives - six being killed in police firing and two in rioting. The State government called in the Army to bring the situation under control.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Gujarat on the boil; Army, Central forces in", The Hindu, 26 August, 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Religion data released

India now has 966.3 million Hindus, who make up 79.8 per cent of its population, and 172.2 million Muslims, who make up 14.23 per cent. Among the other minorities, Christians make up 2.3 per cent of the population and Sikhs 2.16 per cent.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Muslim population growth slows", The Hindu, 25 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Stock markets recover

Markets closed on a cheerful note on Thursday as investors breathed a sigh of relief following the direction from the US Fed Reserve that the proposed interest rate hike for September is now looking like a distant possibility. The firmness in global markets uplifted the sentiment of the market participants.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Bulls charge up D-street as prospects of Fed rate hike wane", The Business Standard, 27 august 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sushma puts Pak on spot

SushmaSwaraj came up with a sterling performance at her press conference on Saturday evening when she cleverly drew the red lines for Pakistan over the NSA-level talks without unilaterally calling off the 23-24 August meeting between National Security Advisors of both the countries.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : Dump Hurriyat or NSA talks: SushmaSwaraj makes stellar comeback, puts Pakistan on the spot, Firstpost , 23 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Army called out in riot-hit Gujarat

Five persons were killed and over 100 injured as a state-wide shutdown in Gujarat called by the Patidar Arakshan Andolan Samiti turned violent, officials said. Riots, arson, stone-pelting and widespread damage to public and private property forced the authorities to call the army and paramilitary forces. At least 100 people were injured in violence, mainly in group clashes and stone-pelting incidents, in the state from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : Five killed, 100 wounded; army called out in riot-hit Gujarat, The Times of India, 26 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NSCN-K militants killed

Six suspected militants of the armed rebel group NSCN-K were killed by the Army in an encounter in Nagaland’s Tuensang district. Security forces had intensified their operation against the outfit, which abrogated the ceasefire agreement with the central government in March and attacked an Army convoy in Manipur in June, killing 18 soldiers and injuring 11 others.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : 6 NSCN-K Militants Killed by Indian Army in Nagaland’s Tuensang, NDTV, 28 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India, Australia to hold first-ever naval drills

India and Australia will hold their first ever joint naval drills in September, as the two countries seek to deepen defence ties and counter China’s growing sway in the Indian Ocean. The maritime exercises, to be held in the Bay of Bengal off India’s eastern coast next month, will include anti-submarine warfare and coordinated anti-submarine drills, the Australian High Commission in Delhi said in a statement

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : India, Australia to hold first-ever naval drills to counter China in Indian Ocean , The Economic Times, 26 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Police raid Nasheed’s home

Following his being sent back to prison from an interim two-month in house-arrest, the police raided the house of former President Mohammed Nasheed after his legal team persisted with the claim about a ’conversion letter’ in context. Police also summoned Nasheed’s wife Laila Ali for questioning in this regard even as the UN, the US and the rest of the West condemned the reversal in his prisoner-status.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Maldives ex-president taken back to prison", Haveeru Online, 23 August 2015; "Correctional Service: President Nasheed would remain in prison now", SunOnline, 23 August 2015; "Police quiz Nasheed’s lawyer over alleged commutation document", Haveeru Online, 26 August 2015; "Police search Nasheed’s residence in ’commutation document’ probe", Haveeru Online, August 26, 2015; "Police summon Maldives ex-president’s wife for questioning", Haveeru Online, 27 August 2015; "Police: Nasheed’s family is not cooperating with the investigation", SunOnline, 27 August 2015; "’Document’ sent abroad for analysis by Nasheed’s family, police say", Haveeru Online, 27 August 2015; "Maldives opposition warns protests after ending govt talk", Haveeru Online, 26 August 2015; "UN rights chief urges Maldives govt to release ex-president", Haveeru Online, 25 August 2015’; "International pressure mounts as US joins calls to free Maldives ex-president", Haveeru Online, 27 August 2015; "UK’s Swire concerned over Nasheed’s re-imprisonment", Haveeru Online, 26 August 2015; "Will not negotiate at the expense of the nation’s independence: President Yameen", Miadhu, 26 August 2015; "Maldives govt rebuffs international censure over ex-president’s re-imprisonment", Haveeru Online, 26 August 2015; "Dunya: Small states have a fundamental role in international arena", SunOnline, 28 August 2015; "Nazim receives treatment at IGMH", SunOnline, 27 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gayoom to be sent out?

Possibly aimed at strengthening President Abdulla Yameen’s hand even more, this time against half-brother and ruling PPM chief, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 77, a party MP has proposed an amendment to the nation’s law on political parties, to curtail the age-limit for positions of the kind to 65 years. The PPM central council is expected to discuss the draft ahead.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Amendment looks to bar Maldives ex-president from party leadership", Haveeru Online, 27 August 2015; "No PPM role in Pres Yameen re-election convention, campaign office says", Haveeru Online, 23 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Arakan Army fights Bangladesh

Fighting erupted between Arakan Army and Border Guards Bangladesh on 26 August, resulting in the injury of the one Bangladeshi border guard. The Arakanese rebel group attributed the fighting to the theft of horses by the BGB, and called on the Bangladesh government to recognise that his group was not an enemy of their country.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Fighting erupts between Bangladesh, Arakan Army", Myanmar Times, 28 August 2015; "Bangladesh launches raid on Myanmar separatists", Mizzima, 28 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Suu Kyi calls for ’meaningful’ peace pact

Opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi called for a prompt but meaningful peace pact on 27 August. A day earlier, the National League of Democracy, Win Htein was quoted in Associated Press conveying that Suu Kyi had cautioned ethnic groups against a rushed agreement.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Suu Kyi Calls for Prompt but ’Meaningful’ Peace Pact", The Irrawaddy, 27 August 2015 "Suu Kyi warns ethnic armed organizations not to quickly sign the NCA", Eleven Myanmar, 27 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Army chief meets Thai top brass

Commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on his visit to Thailand met Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and influential nonagenarian PremTinsulanonda, head of the country’s privy council. Hlaing discussed recent flooding in Burma and progress on the Special Economic Zones along the Thai border.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Burma Army Chief Meets Thai Top Brass in Bangkok", The Irrawaddy, 28 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Protests continue

Protests against the seven-state federal model continued in different Tarai districts on Thursday as well. The Bijay Kumar Gachhadar-led MadhesiJanadhikar Forum-Loktantrik also joined the protest in several districts. Meanwhile, the leaders of SamyuktaLoktantrikMadhesiMorcha have said that they cannot sit for dialogue with the government unless the past agreements are implemented.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Protests continue in Tarai", The Kathmandu Post, 28 August 2015; "Writ petition against army mobilization", Republica, 27 August 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">SAARC oil pipeline with India

Nepal is set to sign anMoU with India tomorrow for the construction of a 41-km-long petroleum pipeline to import petroleum products from India, a key agreement that will ensure unhindered supply of oil and gas to the land-locked Himalayan nation. The pipeline from Raxaul in Bihar to Amlekhgunj in Nepal is estimated to cost Rs 275 crore and is expected to be completed in three years.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal, India to ink deal to construct petroleum pipeline", The Economic Times, 23 August 2015;

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Everest opened for climbers

Nepal is reopening Mt. Everest for mountaineers after a massive earthquake hit the country in April. NobukazuKuriki, a Japanese climber, will begin his ascent Tuesday as the first mountaineer since the devastating earthquake-turned-avalanche killed 19 mountaineers. On Sunday, Nepal’s tourism minister, Kripasur Sherpa, handed over Kuriki’s climbing permit in a ceremony.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal Opens Everest to Climbers for First Time Since Earthquake", TIME, 23 August 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">"Only external threat, India"

Government officials told the Senate Defence Committee, that the only external threat that Pakistan faces, is India. Officials believe that India’s plans of purchasing military equipment of over $100 billion over the next five years come as a sign of a direct threat towards Pakistan, which requires continuous evaluation and upgradation of response mechanisms.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India is the only external threat, says military", Dawn, 28 August 2015.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sialkot firing continues

As per Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reports, India resorted to unprovoked firing on the Sialkot sector once again. The exchange of firings between the BSF and Pakistani Rangers resulted in 6 people dead and 46 injured. Although both nations continue to play a blame-game of sorts regarding who initiated the firing, there have been ceasefire violations from both nations.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Six killed, 46 injured in Indian firing along Working Boundary in Sialkot", The Express Tribune, 28 August 2015.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">"Dawood Ibrahim not here"

The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah denied continued allegations from India regarding the whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim, claiming that he is not within Pakistani borders. Pakistan reviewed the list of nine addresses delivered by India where Dawood Ibrahim might be present, but the Pakistani media has reviewed them as incorrect.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Dawood Ibrahim not in Pakistan, FO tells India", Dawn, 28 August 2015.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MoU for stock exchange

Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar stated that the nation’s foreign exchange reserves will increase by $21 billion by the end of year, following the signing of a MoU to establish the Pakistan Stock Exchange by merging the Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad stock exchange’s. Dar is committed towards aligning the Pakistan Stock Exchange to meet international standards, and regard the nation as one of the fast developing markets of the world.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "MoU for Pakistan Stock Exchange signed", The Express Tribune, 28 August 2015.

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maithri to pick SLFP team

Following the signing of an MoU with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP on the formation of a ’national government’, the SLFP has authorised President Maithripala Sirisena, as party chief, to nominate party ministers in the post-poll government, whose members are now expected to be sworn in on 4 September.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see :

"SLFP CC empowers Maithri to appoint ministers", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015; "UGGNF awaits EC approval to change name and symbol", Daily Mirror Online, 29 August 2015; "Offshoot achieved better results than JVP at Aug. 17 polls - Muzammil", The Island, 29 August 2015; "Petitions against MR, Cabraal, Mahendran withdrawn", Daily Mirror Online, 27 August 2015 "Enjoining order on Anura, Susil dismissed", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015; "Lawyer challenges enjoining orders issued on eve of election", The Island, 29 August 2015; "TNA throws it hat in the ring for opposition leader’s job", The Island, 29 August 2015; "TNA consolidates with strong Diaspora backing", The Island, 26 Augu8st 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US now backs ’domestic probe’

With the UN HRC’s September session set to take up the report of the ’independent probe’ ordered in 2014, visiting US officials have promised to move a resolution, supporting a ’domestic probe’ under UN guidance, saying that the ’changed attitude’ of the nation’s new rulers need to be acknowledged.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "US to obtain UN backing for Sri Lanka’s domestic war crimes investigation * Says SL’s changed attitude needs to be acknowledged", The Island, 26 August 2015; "Honest approach swung international opinion in Sri Lanka’s favour - US...War Crimes Probe * Govt. in power irrelevant", The Island, 29 August 2015; "UK says fully committed to UN process, follow-up action...War crimes probe", The Island, 29 August 2015; "Samarasinghe says Rajapaksa govt. failed to implement UNHRC resolution of 2009", The Island, 29 August 2015; "Army optimistic of more opportunities to serve on UN missions overseas- Lt. Gen. Crisanthe De Silva", The Island, 29 August 2015; "US expected to accept SLA’s invitation", The Island, 26 August 2015; "No repeal of PTA at present", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015; "Omanthai check point removed", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015; "MoD issues detention order on suspects", Daily Mirror Online, 27 August 2015; "Karunanidhi condemns U.S. stand on Sri Lanka", Daily Mirror Online/The Hindu, 28 August 2015; "India gifts ship ’Varaha’ to SL Navy", Daily Mirror Online, 27 August 2015

Primary Documentation


Press Release

Agreement of Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 August 2015


Press Release

Press Release of 23rd Round of Boundary Talks between Bhutan and China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 August 2015


Press Release

Myanmar handed over 159 verified Bangladesh nationals among those rescued by Myanmar, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 August 2015


Press Release

Briefing to the Diplomatic Community, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 27 August 2015

Press Release on Membership of Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24 August 2015



Opinion pieces

Mujib Mashaland Taimoor Shah, "Two Setbacks for Coalition in Afghanistan", The New York Times, 26 August 2015

Jeff Eggers, "Afghanistan, Choose Your Enemies Wisely", Foreign Policy, 24 August 2015

SudarsanRaghavan, "With U.S. withdrawal looming, a nascent Afghan press is in peril", The Washington Post, 22 August 2015



AJM ShafiulAlamBhuiyan, "Social media, freedom of expression and the ICT Act", The Daily Star, 25 August 2015

Samuel Baid, "Bloggers’ Cause: Bangladesh Should Not Abandon Secularism", Eurasia Review, 23 August 2015

Masudul Karim Siddique, "Increasing our maritime awareness", The Daily Star, 26 August 2015


Opinion Pieces

TsheringTashi, "High Value, Low Volume", Kuensel, 21 August 2015

Kuensel, "Ensuring quality works", Kuensel, 26 August 2015


Opinion Pieces

AbheekBarua, "Another global crisis?" The Indian Express, 25 August 2015

Christophe Jaffrelot, "Patels and the neo-middle class syndrome", The Indian Express, 27 August 2015

ShubhSoni, "BRICS New Development Bank: Glass is half full", Swarajya Magazine, 24 August 2015

AasimSajjad Akhtar, "Our Afghan problem", Dawn, 28 August 2015

MehrTarar, "Pakistan & India: the inevitability of dialogue", The Express Tribune, 28 August 2015

KhurramHussain, "Talking stocks", Dawn, 27 August 2015

C. Raja Mohan Not with you, nor without you, The Indian Express, 25 August 2015

C. Raja Mohan, NSA-level talks: Why Delhi is playing hardball and what’s the risk, The Indian Express, 22 August 2015


Opinion Pieces

Mohammed Nisham, "Maldives capital: Small city, even smaller people", Haveeru Online, 29 August 2015

Ahmed Hamdhoon, "Nasheed’s shuttling: will the real Home Minister please stand up?", Haveeru Online, 25 August 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Will Nasheed’s ’re-imprisonment’ now hamper prospects of an early Modi visit?",, 23 August 2015


Opinion Pieces

Sithu Aung Myint, "Why was Thura U Shwe Mann fired?",Myanmar Times, 26 August 2015

KyawZwa Moe, "Burma’s last man standing", The Irrawaddy, 26 August 2015


Opinion Pieces

Kanak Mani Dixit, "Edge of the precipice", The Kathmandu Post, 28 August 2015

Biswas Boral, "Improbable country", Republica, 26 August 2015

Hari Bansh Jha, "Abort the draft", Republica, 25 August 2015

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Dayan Jayatilleka, "The Mahinda movement and future of Sinhala nationalism", The Island, 28 August 2015

M S M Ayub, "Controversy over national list nominations", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015

Ameen Izzadeen, "Diplomatic victory: Lanka can now close Geneva file", Daily Mirror Online, 28 August 2015

Chris Dharmakirti, "UNHRC process needs open-minded approach", Daily Mirror Online, 26 August 2015

K K S Perera, "President must emulate PM", Daily Mirror Online, 25 August 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Return of Ranil, what it means for India?" India Writes, 26 August 2015

C A Chandraprema, "The strange MoU between the UNP and the SLFP", The Island, 24 August 2015

Jehan Perera, "Second victory offers unique opportunity for problem solving", The Island, 25 August 2015

Sudath Gunasekara, "National List hijacked", The Island, 25 August 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "National govt in SL tamps down Tamil bargaining power", Times of India, 24 August 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Where from here, Sri Lanka!", The Sunday Leader, 23 August 2015

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan : Aryaman Bhatnagar;
Bangladesh : Joyeeta Bhattacharjee;
Bhutan & Myanmar : Mihir Bhonsale;
India: : Shubh Soni and Pushan Das;
Maldives & Sri Lanka : N Sathiya Moorthy;
Nepal : Pratnashree Basu and Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhuri ;
Pakistan : Zuber Singh

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