MonitorsPublished on Aug 19, 2011
Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal on Sunday stepped down from his post, a day after his self-imposed deadline to resign ended on Saturday, August 13. He admitted to have failed in bringing major political parties on-board to advance the peace process.
PM Khanal resigns
< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM Khanal resigns

Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal on Sunday stepped down from his post, a day after his self-imposed deadline to resign ended on Saturday, August 13. He admitted to have failed in bringing major political parties on-board to advance the peace process. Opposition parties and sections within his party were demanding his resignation. "The Prime Minister resigned after he could not achieve desired progress in the peace process, constitution-writing and consensus-making," Prime Minister’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa said.

The Prime Minister’s resignation has once again led national politics to uncertainty as it is not yet clear at kind of government will come to power ? whether one based on majority or political understanding. The last time round, the country had to wait for six months to see a new prime minister when the incumbent Madhav Kumar Nepal stepped down even though there was no clear alternative was in sight.

The two major political parties, namely the UCPN (Maoist) and the Nepali Congress have staked claim to the leadership of the new government. The CPN-UML, which led two successive governments in the last 23 months, is yet to make its position clear on the future government.

The peace process remained largely stalled over the last six months. The Special Committee under Khanals’ leadership had announced a time-table in June to complete the peace process by August 10. The promise fell apart after the parties failed to agree on key issues of the peace process.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Republica, August 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bhattarai Maoists’ choice for PM

Providing well-defined roles to the three vice-chairmen -- Mohan Baidya, Baburam and Narayan Kaji -- and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa, the Unified Maoists Party leadership has come to an agreement to allow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to lead the parliamentary party.

Baburam Bhattarai is, however, proposed as the party’s prime ministerial candidate to lead a national unity government.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 16, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Twin-track approach by NC

Top Nepali Congress leaders have reached a "gentlemen’s agreement" that Parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Paudel will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate if there is to be a majority government. The decision was reached among party President Sushil Koirala, Vice-president Paudel and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba at the party office on last Wednesday.

Earlier, Deuba was named as the party’s prime ministerial candidate for leading a consensual government. As per the understanding among the top three leaders, Koirala proposed Deuba´s name at the meeting as prime ministerial candidate to lead a consensual government and Paudel seconded the proposal. The meeting endorsed the proposal unanimously.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Republica, August 18, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US demands safe recovery of kidnapped American

The US asked Pakistan authorities on Thursday to ensure the safe and early recovery of abducted US development specialist Warren Weinstein. According to diplomatic sources, the demand was made in a telephone call by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar.

Even as the Foreign Office release said the conversation between the two leaders was about "carrying forward the trajectory of bilateral relations", Ms Khar’s meeting with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani after Clinton’s call followed by Interior Minister Rahman Malik’s meeting, also with the Prime Minister, added to speculations that Washington was pressuring Islamabad for getting Weinstein released.

The flurry of meetings on Thursday was preceded by Ambassador Cameron Munter’s meeting with Khar a day earlier. The meetings coincided with a statement by Punjab Home Minister Rana Sanaullah that Weinstein had engaged in mysterious activities like those of CIA contractor Raymond Davis. The statement is said to have sent alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Police also released a sketch on Thursday, 18 August 2011, of Weinstein’s possible abductor. The American was abducted from his residence in Lahore last weekend by gunmen. So far there has been no lead in the case as abductors haven’t made any demands as yet.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 19, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Karachi Violence

Thirty eight people were killed in torture and firing incidents in different parts of the southern Sindh metropolis, Karachi, on Thursday (18 Aug). A body was also found from Lyari Nadi bearing torture marks while unknown men opened fire in Landhi Sherpao Colony that killed one man and injured 11 others, including a child.

Police and Pakistan Rangers conducted a combined operation after violent exchange of fire between two groups in Godhra area and arrested several people. Additional forces have also been deployed owing to tense situation in the area. The fresh spate of violence started on Wednesday 17 August 2011, with killing of former MNA along with 15 others.

In this regard the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain telephoned Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and discussed the escalating violence in Karachi. The MQM chief informed the Prime Minister that members of Lyari gangs were targeting employees of private companies who were going to work. He added that these people were being kidnapped and killed. Altaf Hussain appealed to the Prime Minister to protect innocent civilians and take strict action against criminals involved in the violence in Karachi. The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the violence and had said that certain elements did not want the PPP and MQM to work together in Sindh.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 19, 2011

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">LLRC won’t bow down to pressure

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has said that neither the UN nor the Sri Lankan Government could pressure the LLRC to complete the commission’s report in time to present it to the UN General Assembly in September.

LLRC spokesman Lakshman Wickremasinghe, responding to reports that certain members of the international community had requested Sri Lanka to submit a report on war crimes allegations before the start of the UN General Assembly’s next sessions on September 20 -- said it was not possible for the LLRC report to be completed by next month.

"The due date for the commission to present its report is November 15 and that is when we intend submitting the report as mandated. No one can tell us what to do or when we have to do it," he said, adding that the LLRC had never come under pressure from the Government and was unlikely to be asked to hurry up with its report.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, Colombo, August 19, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">UNHRC won’t take up Darusman report

Sri Lanka would strongly oppose on-going moves to take up the controversial ’Darusman report’ at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris said. Taking up of such an unofficial document at the Geneva conference would be grossly inappropriate, he said. The next UNHRC sessions are scheduled for September.

Delivering the key note address at the inauguration of two-day Kotelawela Defence University symposium 2011, Prof Peiris said that Sri Lanka’s case couldn’t be different from any other country fighting terrorism. In spite of being asked to function in an advisory capacity to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the three-member Darusman panel had gone to the extent of recommending that its report be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council session, Prof Peiris said. The Darusman panel had also declared that its report had been prepared in a way to make its release possible, though it was only asked to advise the UNSG, he said.

Welcoming the rejection by the US of the ’Goldstone report’, which dealt with accountability issues in the Gaza conflict, Prof Peiris said that the international community couldn’t adopt a different approach as regards Sri Lanka. Referring to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress, Prof. Peiris said that she had articulated that if the international community had accepted rules as compulsory standards binding upon governments grappling with terrorism, it would be impossible for legitimate and established governments to prevail over the forces of terror in circumstances where the insurgents mingle with civilian populations
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, Colombo, August 18, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Russian military choppers for tourism

Two years after winning a three-decade war against separatists, Sri Lanka has bought 14 Russian military Mi-171 helicopters, Russia’s State-run arms exporter said on Wednesday. The announcement comes as Sri Lanka this week discussed exploration and purchasing of natural gas with Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom, in what may herald the return of Russian oil explorers to the island’s waters.

Anatoly Isaykin, the General Dilrector at Russia’s State-run arm exporter Rosoboronexport, told Reuters that there had been "delivery of the helicopters to Sri Lanka. It is a good transport vehicle and it fulfils its function."

In Colombo, Cabinet spokesperson and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Russian choppers were meant to protect the nation’s territorial waters, post-war. The Sri Lanka Air Force clarified that negotiations were continuing and that no decision had been taken on the purchase of the Russian choppers.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, Colombo, August 16, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Taliban attacks British Council office

Suicide-bombers have attacked the British Council office in Kabul, killing eight people. Heavily armed men broke into the office after a car bomb destroyed the compound wall.

Taking responsibility of the attacks, the Taliban said the attack marked the anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence from the UK in 1919.The eight victims of the attack were all thought to be Afghan policemen, authorities said, adding that four attackers have also died.

It was a three-phase attack. First, a suicide attacker detonated his explosive vest at a main square in western Kabul where police were guarding a key intersection. Ten minutes later, a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle outside the front gate of the British Council.

As the area was evacuated, local shopkeepers say as many as nine suicide attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and AK 47s started firing as they ran towards the British Council building. They exchanged fire with police for hours and sporadic gunfire can still be heard in the area, residents say, with one gunman still believed be holding out.
< class="text11verdana">Source: BBC, August 19, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">British troops’ supply-chain could fail, say MPs

According to the British House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, front-line troops in Afghanistan could be hit by shortages of vital equipment within 30 days if the system responsible for sending supplies to them breaks down.

The supply-chain for British troops is at "critical risk of failure", said the committee. The Ministry of Defence has admitted that Information Technology (IT) systems managing supplies were "not adequate", the report said.

The British Government was investing £800 million to upgrade the supply chain. This would help in ensuring that the supplies are "as efficient and cost-effective as possible", said Peter Luff, Defence Equipment Minister.

The supply chain includes "every single thing that is needed to support our forces overseas", a spokesman for the committee said. This includes ammunition, medical supplies and clothing transported to troops by air.
< class="text11verdana">Source: BBC, August 18, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">ANSF needs help after pull-out: NATO

Lieutenant-General William Caldwell, commander of NATO’s mission to train Afghanistan’s security forces, has warned it will need years of support from foreign powers and the Afghan Government to be a long-term success. He said that several thousand international trainers could be needed to support the mission until at least 2020.

All combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 in a process that started last month and will require the Afghan army and police to play an ever-greater role in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

Caldwell also said that President Hamid Karzai’s Government needs to make progress on governance and justice in Afghanistan to help sustain the efforts of the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A)."I’m very confident that the Afghans can in fact take the lead for security by December 2014 -- there’s no question they can do it," Caldwell said.

"But it will require two things in order to make sure that happens. One is the international community has to remain committed to this mission. And the second thing is the Afghan government has to be committed to this," he added.
< class="text11verdana">Source: AFP, August 18, 2011


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">New gas field discovered

Bangladesh Petroleum and Exploration Company Limited (BEPAX), the country’s lone gas and oil Exploration Company, discovered gas at Sundalpur in the South-eastern Noakhali district. Petrobangla Chairman Dr. Hossain Monsur said the company will need time to provide further details about the reserve.

BEPAX began seismic work at Sundalpur in 2008 and found a potential zone there. To add fresh reserve, the company is now all set to start onshore exploration in more areas inside the country. The Petrobangla Chairman claimed that Srikail, Sundalpur, Kapasia, Mobarakpur and Netrakona are the onshore areas, which has huge prospects for gas.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Bangladesh Today, August 18, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">JMB neutralized

Members of law enforcement agencies feel that the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which shoot in to prominence for its synchronised country wide bombing in August 2005, has almost lost its capability to carry out any subversive activities.

The network of the militant outfit has totally collapsed with the arrests of its members of all tiers in massive crackdowns and its strength has almost waned, claimed officials of police and Rapid Action Battalion. They however believe that JMB still has its roots, but there is hardly any chance of rearing their heads since the group is under strong vigilance.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, August 17, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Huji chief arrested

Moulana Yahiya, new ameer of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (Huji), was arrested along with his two accomplices. Yahiya who fought in Afghanistan and also fought against Myanmar forces for the Arakan Muslims.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, August 18, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Transit fee fixation unlikely before Indian PM’s visit

Finance Minister AMA Muhith this week said that the transit fee or charge is unlikely to be finalised before Indian Prime Minister Dr Manhoman Singh’s visit to Bangladesh scheduled next month. The Minister claimed that prior to Dr. Singh’s visit the government may finalise the principal agreement or framework agreement.

Meanwhile, country’s political and foreign policy analysts opined that the government should consider costs for the environment and land use while fixing the fees on transit to India.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Bangladesh Today, August 18, 2011/The Daily Star, August 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">The rupee Crunch

In the past 32 months, the Bhutanese economy borrowed Rs.10 billion (INR) from India to meet domestic requirements. The rupee crunch the Bhutanese economy is facing has now become a permanent feature that is starting to swell like anything.

As an import-driven economy, the demand for the rupee goes hand in hand with growing imports, most of which are from India, Bhutan’s largest trading partner. It means Bhutan is spending more, consuming more, building more, and buying more.

From essential items like rice, fuel to construction material, everything comes from India that has to be paid in the rupee. Economists have said that this borrowing, which is a short-term debt, could be risky for the economy if it continues to grow. It is not only growing, it is ballooning.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 17 August 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian Foreign Secretary in Thimphu, Highlights special ties

New Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, made his first overseas trip since assuming charge over a fortnight ago to Thimphu. He called upon the Bhutan’s Monarch Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley. He also called upon the Minister of Economic Affairs and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk. The visiting Foreign Secretary has conveyed India’s desire to further develop special ties between the two countries.

The Foreign Secretary discussed a range of issues including ways to expand economic and energy cooperation. The discussions also focused on SAARC, regional and multilateral issues. Bhutan raised it concerns of seeking additional trade routes through India for trade with other countries.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 18 August 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Parliament moves to impeach sitting High Court judge

The Rajya Sabha (Upper House) on Thursday (August 18) passed an impeachment motion with an overwhelming majority ( 189 votes in favour and 17 against) against Calcutta High Court Justice Soumitra Sen on charges of misappropriation of large sums of money and making false statements and misrepresenting facts of that misappropriation.

MPs cutting across the party lines criticised what they called the growing tendency of the higher judiciary to step into the domain of the executive and legislature.

If the LokSabha, the Lower House, also passes the impeachment motion against Justice Sen with two-thirds majority, then the resolution of the two Houses would go to President Pratibha Patil who will order the removal of the judge from office.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, The Asian Age, The Hindu, August 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Anti-graft movement gathers support

A movement against corruption, led by civil society activists, gathered momentum across the country. Movement leader Anna Hazare’s arrest by the Delhi Police on Wednesday (August 17, 2011) became the rallying point for his supporters as the government stood politically isolated.

The opposition attacked the government for its alleged role in denying Hazare the right to protest. Hazare is continuing his fast at the historic Ramlila maidan along with his supporters.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Asian Age, The Times of India, August 17-19, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Furious over US advice on Anna’s fast

Anna Hazare’s movement has now caused an Indo-US diplomatic row as US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that it is counting on India to exercise appropriate democratic restraint in the same way that the US deals with peaceful protest.

This advice, which the government thinks is ’unsolicited and needless’, has drawn sharp official rebuff with the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash saying, "We have seen the needless comments by the US State Department spokesperson. Freedom of speech and expression, as well as, of peaceful assembly, are enshrined in the Constitution of India and exercised by the country’s 1.2 billion people."
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">FDI may shoot up to $ 35 b

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India may cross $35 billion in 2011-12 as against $19.4 billion in the last fiscal, on account of major deals such as RIL-BP and Posco.

"I would expect the FDI to cross $35 billion... big investment projects such as RIL-BP deal and Posco would help in pushing the numbers," a senior official said.

Foreign investors are confident of India’s economic growth as even during the peak of the global economic crisis, the country’s GDP registered a healthy growth rate, the official said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu Business Line, August 16, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$ 5.6 trillion economy by 2020

India will become a $5.6 trillion economy by 2020, according to research firm Dun & Bradstreet, which has predicted a three-fold jump in the country’s GDP from $1.7 trillion last fiscal on the back of rapid investment and growing consumer expenditure.

"Indian economy will become a $5.6 trillion economy by fiscal 2020, at current market price, from the $1.73 trillion in fiscal 2010-11," Dun & Bradstreet India Senior Economist Arun Singh said.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 17, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bilateral cooperation with Denmark frozen

Denmark’s foreign minister confirmed on Tuesday that India has decided to freeze all cooperation with Denmark following a weapons smuggling case involving a Danish national.

"The Danish Ambassador in New Delhi has been told that all cooperation with Denmark is frozen," Lene Espersen told Danish news agency Ritzau.

A report carried Tuesday by Indian daily the Indian Express said India’s Ministry of Finance has said that all projects and discussions with Denmark will now require "prior consultation" with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ritzau added.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 17, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$40-m credit-line from India

An agreement has been signed with the Indian Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) for a US$40 million line of credit for 500 housing units to be built with assistance from the Indian government.

According to the Maldives High Commission in New Delhi, India, the agreement was signed Friday with the High Commission’s Councillor AishathAzima signing on behalf of the Maldives and Chairman T C ARanganadhan on behalf of the bank.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, August 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Contract with GMR denied

Local fire and security technology firm Alarms Pty Ltd, owned by prominent Opposition politician Umar Naseer, has refuted media reports that it won a contract to supply equipment for GMR’s development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.

MNBC and Haveeru quoted an unnamed GMR official as confirming that Alarms had been contracted to supply fire and security services to the airport. However a press statement from Umar Naseer’s company denounced the "false media reports", stating that it was "regrettable that such a false report could be made public by two of the largest media outlets in the country."

Umar Naseer was among the most vocal opponents of the decision to hand the upgrade and management of the international airport to the Indian infrastructure giant, variously accusing the Government, GMR, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid of corruption in the deal.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, August 14, 2011

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan: Avinash Paliwal;
Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharje;
Bhutan and Pakistan: Sripathi Narayanan;
India: Satish Misra;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N SathiyaMoorthy;

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