MonitorsPublished on Sep 09, 2011
Two years after the conclusion of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka, the nation is still confused over reactions from across the Palk Strait to the current developments - or, lack of them - on the prospects of power devolution and a political solution, also encompassing rehabilitation and reconstruction issues.
Post-war Sri Lanka and politics in India
< class="heading1">Analysis

Two years after the conclusion of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka, the nation is still confused over reactions from across the Palk Strait to the current developments - or, lack of them - on the prospects of power devolution and a political solution, also encompassing rehabilitation and reconstruction issues. Greater the number of voices in India, and larger the area from which these voices emerge, greater is the confusion, at times bordering on confrontationist posturing. Thankfully, the impact and effect of those shrill voices are less real than being made out in the two countries.

Significantly, political Sri Lanka is unconcerned about the ongoing Indian developments, where President Pratibha Patil has rejected the mercy petitions of the three Rajiv Gandhi killers. Even vocal sections of the national media have been reporting the protests and court cases in Tamil Nadu, without necessarily taking positions. It may be a way to keep India out of the Sri Lankan internal discourse. Such a course could also help a larger political position that India and Indians should likewise learn to allow Sri Lanka to address the post-war dimensions of the ethnic issue, without New Delhi getting involved any more than what Sri Lankans might consider necessary. By extension, it could imply that the Indian political class, particularly those from Tamil Nadu.

However, all sections of the Tamil media in the island-nation have given extra coverage to these developments, which also included Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa first expressing helplessness in the matter, and yet following it up with a ’unanimous resolution’ passed by the State Assembly at her instance, appealing to President Patil to review the rejection. The competitive media coverage in Tamil on the matter owes to the larger readership interest and identification, and also to an emerging commercial competition nearer home.

The ’national media’ (meaning, those in English and Sinhala languages), however, went overboard on a meeting of various Sri Lankan Tamil parties (as different from those of all Tamil-speaking people in the country) in New Delhi last fortnight. The speculation was that the either the Centre of the Congress Party was behind the initiative of party Rajaya Sabha member, Dr E M Sudarsan Natchiappan. Their pre and post-conference constructs were based on such a fallacious premise. As against this, the Tamil media in Sri Lanka, while wanting to believe that the Government of India was showing a fresh and contemporaneous interest in Sri Lankan ethnic affairs, went equally overboard on the expectations from the conference. When things did not go as well as expected, some shed tears. Others shed crocodile tears - these elements having concluded that the Government of India and/or the Congress Party were behind the independent initiative, its failure alone would render justice to the larger ’Tamil cause’ in the island-nation. In doing so, they were only reflecting the sentiments of sections of the Tamil polity that are antagonistic towards India, for a variety of reasons - most of them, neither genuine, nor justified.

Given to inadequate and consequent improper understanding of India, the average Sri Lankans are swayed by ’signals’ that they see have emerged from across the Strait, from time to time. This time round, they could not comprehend the rush with which individual political leaders and parties joining the traditional Tamil Nadu voice, in support of the post-war Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. The recent weeks in India have witnessed a fresh interest and concern in various parts of the country and their regional and national polity in the affairs of Sri Lankan Tamils, going beyond Tamil Nadu. This time round, it could not be dismissed as a part and product of ’competitive Dravidian political interest’ in Tamil Nadu, as the two communist parties and the BJP, among the national parties, and such other regional outfits as the Bahujan Samaj Party, Akali Dal and Asom Gana Parishad also showed interest.

That this had to do mostly with their perception of the conditions of the Tamils in a Sri Lanka without Prabhakaran and his LTTE was not lost on many in the island-nation. It also owed to the perception that the Sri Lankan Government and President Mahinda Rajapaksa were committed to offering an acceptable power-devolution and political package to the suffering Tamils in that country. Such a perception flowed from the belief that the Sri Lankan Government was committed to one (as was seen from various statements and interviews of Sri Lankan leaders during and immediately after the conclusion of the war). The ’Darusman Report’ of the expert panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the alleged ’war crimes’ in Sri Lanka and the Channel-4 production on the subject also made a difference.

There is full realisation in Sri Lanka about India’s position on and during the conclusive ’Eelam War IV’. However, there is inadequate understanding in certain sections of the nation’s intellectual and political groupings about the more recent developments and statements emanating from India, on the need for a political solution early on. The focus still remains on Tamil Nadu, particularly the traditional pan-Tamil polity in the State identified with the LTTE in the past, and the pro-LTTE sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora since the conclusion of the war in Sri Lanka. Confusion still remains about establishing those linkages, and arguments often move away from political expectations.

Unsubstantiated and extra-territorial linkages are at times made with the recent visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Tamil Nadu and her meeting with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, where the Sri Lankan situation was discussed, nonetheless. It is then argued that any revival of pan-Tamil movement in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu now around the same time, unlike in the past, could jeopardise India even more than Sri Lanka. In the past, pan-Tamil politics, militant (relative to the times) or otherwise, had peaked alternatively in the two countries and not at the same time.

The suggestion is that they could now be manipulated to peak together, with the Diaspora facilitating the process, and funding and coordinating future militancy in the two countries. While Sri Lanka has acquired certain expertise in facing off LTTE type of terrorism and conventional wars, India, it is said, has limited capabilities in this matter, when it came to contemporary facets of pan-Tamil militancy, as different from other forms of insurgency and terrorism elsewhere in the country. More importantly, a prosperous State like Tamil Nadu could ill-afford the consequent stymying of growth and development, and possible retardation, it is claimed further, all of which the south Indian State could ill-afford, now or ever.

Little is acknowledged that if Sri Lanka wanted to help resolve a situation, which really would have greater consequences for the island-nation than its larger northern neighbour, it would have to do more on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation front - and not less. Such a realisation and consequent action could flag the beginning of the end to shared concerns that may revolve around the politics of the Tamils in the island-nation. The absence of the same could cause greater damage to Sri Lanka than to India, the latter too taken as a whole.

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

< class="heading1">Country Reports

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Blake visiting Colombo, New Delhi

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to Sri Lanka and India between September 12 and 16. He will meet with Government officials, civil society representatives, university students and political leaders while in Sri Lanka.

In India, Assistant Secretary Blake will meet with Government of India interlocutors and have internal consultations with staff at U.S. Embassy New Delhi.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, Colombo, September 09, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt defers Bill after protest

The controversial Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill that seeks to hold a suspect in custody for 48 hours instead of the 24 hours under the normal law without being produced before a magistrate was deferred in parliament yesterday after the main opposition challenged its legality.

The Bill was made a law in 2007 as a temporary provision to enable police officers to hold suspects for a longer period in custody so as to complete investigations against them. It had to be extended with approval from parliament every two years.

When the Bill was taken up for debate in the House, Opposition United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe argued that the UPFA Government had failed to seek such an extension for the implementation of the Bill in 2009 as required in terms of the law and as such the Bill had no validity today.

"In 2009, the then Deputy Justice Minister V. Puthirasigamony issued new regulations in a gazette notification. Yet, parliamentary approval was not sought. In the meantime, Parliament was dissolved in 2010. Then, the Bill ceased to exist. Today, you cannot bring new regulations under a bill which is nonexistent," he said.

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, however, said though it was required to issue new regulations for every two-year period, there was no specific time period stipulated for obtaining parliamentary approval.His arguments were countered by Rajapakse and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member M.A. Sumanthiran. Sumanthiran said the Act lapses after two years, and therefore, it was impossible to argue that no time period was specified to seek parliamentary endorsement.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, Colombo, September 09, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India bids to develop iron ore mines

A conglomerate of seven multinational companies that includes Steel Authority of India Ltd, JSW steel Ltd, NMDC Ltd, Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, Jinadal Steel and Power Ltd and JSW Ispat Ltd bid to develop Afghanistan’ iron ore mines that have an estimated reserve of 1.8 million tonnes. The final bidders will be short-listed by October 4.

The Indian steel companies are literally at the end of their tether to obtain supplies of iron ore and coking coal for two reasons. Firstly, being a new entrée into new reserves in India involves litigation and delays in environmental and other regulatory clearances. Secondly, cost of imported dry fuel continues to rise. According to the SAIL Chairman C.S Verma this could be a stepping-stone towards the larger objective of contributing to the much needed economic growth in the country.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 6 September, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">IMF defers aid

The International Monetary Fund and the Afghan Government are currently tied down to a dispute over how to resolve the crisis surrounding Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s biggest private lender. The bank is on the verge of bankruptcy after nearly collapsing last year over of mismanagement, cronyism, and questionable lending.

Several high-profile bank officials, including the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, have been accused of taking out over $900 million in loans that were never repaid. The IMF has also said it will with-hold financial aid to Afghanistan until the issue is resolved.

Norway has halted $55 million aid to Afghanistan until the Kabul Bank scandal was resolved and considers it lack of good governance on the part of Afghan officials. The IMF and the Afghan Government are not in agreement about how to tackle the situation of the bank that is on the verge of bankruptcy. Many of the high profile officials which includes President Hamid Karzai’ brother are accused of procuring a large amount of money in loans and not repaying.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 6 September, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tribal elders negotiating with Taliban

Pakistani tribal elders from the north-western Bajaur tribal region are holding talks with Taliban militants for the liberating the 30 teenage boys who were kidnapped during an Eid-al-fitr outing.

The Pakistani Taliban who had fled the military assault in the region had kidnapped the boys in order to punish the tribe for supporting the military. Pakistan’s Cabinet also requested Kabul Government to secure the release of children.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 4 September, 2011-09-09


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian PM’s visit

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid a State visit to Bangladesh from 6-7 September 2011. During the visit, Dr. Singh met Md. Zillur Rahman, the President of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, the Leader of the Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia and President of Jatiya Party, one-time military leader, H M Ershad.

The visit failed to yield the expected outcome since two big-ticket deals - namely, the sharing of water of the Teesta River and Transit were not signed. Still, the visit was significant as the two countries signed some historic accords, the most prominent of them being the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development, and a. Protocol to the Agreement Concerning the Demarcation of the Land Boundary between India and Bangladesh and Related Matters. Besides, the following bilateral documents were also signed during the visit:

  i.  Addendum to the MoU between India and Bangladesh to Facilitate Overland Transit Traffic between Bangladesh and Nepal

  ii.  Memorandum of Understanding on Renewable Energy Cooperation

  iii.  Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation of the Sundeban

  iv.  Protocol on Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban

  v.  Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Fisheries

  vi.  Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Broadcast of Television Programmes

  vii.  Memorandum of Understanding between Jawaharlal Nehru University and Dhaka University

  viii.  Memorandum of Understanding on Academic Cooperation between National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), India and BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology (BIFT), Bangladesh.

Another important highlight of this visit was India declaring to allow 46 Bangladeshi apparel items duty-free access to the Indian market.

The Chief Ministers of four north-eastern Indian States, namely, Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Mukul Sangma (Meghalaya), Lal Thanhawla (Mizoram) and Manik Sharkar (Triupura). Other key members of the Indian delegation included External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, National Security Advisor Shri Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter, Secretary Ministry of Water Resources Dhruv Vijai Singh.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, September 07, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Teesta pact delayed after Mamata’s objections

The people of Bangladesh have to wait longer to see signing of the Teesta water sharing agreement between India and Bangladesh. The signing of the deal had to be suspended Paschimbanga (West Bengal) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the last moment decline to be part of the entourage of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka, objecting to the final draft of the deal. The deal was supposed to be inked during Dr. Singh’s visit.

Ms. Banerjee claimed that there was disparity between the draft that was shown to her and the final draft. She said the West Bengal Government had agreed to share up to 33,000 cusecs of water with Bangladesh, but the final draft had put the figure at 50,000 cusecs, an arrangement she found harmful to West Bengal. Despite the Centre’s bid to persuade her to change her stance, the Chief Minister remained adamant, and the Teesta deal could not be signed.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said that no agreement would be signed without consulting the West Bengal Government. "In our federal scheme of things, nothing is done or will be done without consultation with the State Government. Any agreement that we conclude will have to be acceptable to the State Government. At the same time, it would also have to be acceptable to Bangladesh," Mathai added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has claimed that India has none but itself to blame for failure to strike a deal on equitable sharing of Teesta waters. Foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said that India should bear responsibility for the failure. However, Bangladesh is still hopeful of a pact within three months. Interestingly, Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party opined it was "not unexpected" that the Indian side would oppose the proposed deal as India never cared for Bangladesh’s interests.

The Teesta originates in Sikkim and flows through northern part of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh at Gajal Doba, where the river water is released to Bangladesh during the lean season. Analysts felt that India’s apparent pullout from the Teesta deal was an unexpected setback for Dhaka, especially for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who the opponents allege is conceding too much to India.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, September 6/, September 8, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Equitable solution proposed for IMBL with Myanmar

Bangladesh this week began submission of its case concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary with Myanmar at the International Tribunal for Law of the Seas (ITLOS) arguing for equitable solution of the long running dispute. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni as the agent of the case presented Bangladesh’s views on equitable sharing of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf in the Bay of Bengal against Myanmar’s method of equidistance.

Dr Moni claimed that since at least 1974, Bangladesh and Myanmar have engaged in extensive negotiations concerning their maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Over the course of 34 years, the two countries have conducted 13 rounds of talks and achieved some notable early success. In 1974, the Foreign Minister said, the two countries reached agreement concerning the maritime boundary in the territorial sea and that agreement was fully applied and respected by the both states over more than three decades. As a result of the agreement, she said there have never been any problems regarding the right of passage of ships of Myanmar through Bangladesh’s territorial sea around St Martin’s island.

The Minister told the tribunal that Myanmar is steadfast in its insistence that the boundary must be determined by reference to the equidistance method. But Bangladesh believes that equidistance does not yield an equitable solution given the geographic realities in the northern Bay of Bengal.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Bangladesh Today, September 9, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India increases export quota for marble

The Government of India on increased the import limit of marble from Bhutan by three-fold to 5,882 tonnes from 1,847 tonnes. On August 4, the gGvernment released the policy for issue of import licences of rough marble blocks for 2011-12.

The import policy of rough marble blocks for 2011-12 has increased the quota from three lakh tonnes to five lakh tonnes.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 03, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tourism to become expensive

Bhutan is one of the most expensive holiday destinations in the world and a haven for celebrities and the well-heeled. In 2012, it will become even more costly. The Himalayan Kingdom follows a policy of "high-end, low-impact tourism," so as to preserve its environment, which otherwise might be spoiled.

"It may not make economic sense now to be high end, but Bhutan will be preserved for future generations of visitors," the director general of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, Kesang Wangdi, told AFP in an interview. "If we opened up, our revenue would go through the roof, but at what price? We restrain ourselves from going wantonly along the economic development path without considering the social impact and the environment."

Bhutan famously follows an economic development doctrine known as "Gross National Happiness," which takes into account the mental wellbeing of its nearly 700,000 citizens instead of simply measuring financial gain.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 05, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Law suit against ex-King

In an attempt to initiate legal process against former King, Jigme Singye Wangchukek, Mr Tek Nath Rizal, human rights spokesman for Bhutanese exiles residing in Nepal, has come up with a personal information form fill-up campaign for a lawsuit back home.

Releasing the personal information form on Tuesday, Rizal writes, "In order to prepare this lawsuit we need as much accurate information as possible and we are attaching a blank form to be filled by all those that have been victims in the past or currently." The blank form seeks name of the person, address, current city, telephone, and last address in Bhutan, date of departure, date of departure from Bhutan, name of family members killed or imprisoned, among other details to be provided.

Earlier, Rizal, a one-time confidante of the erstwhile King who was jailed for years in Thimphu had held discussion with the Washington DC-based Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc, a law firm in the US, to explore lawsuits against Jigme Singye Wangchuk for torture meted out to thousands of people.

Not less than 100,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese citizens, known as Lhotsampas, were compelled to leave Bhutan due to State-imposed ethnic-cleansing through the late 1980’s to early 1990’s during Jigme’s absolute rule. Seeking refuge, the majority of them had entered eastern Nepal through India. More than 45,000 refugees have been resettled in eight first world countries, including the United States through the third country resettlement solution.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 06, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">13 killed in terror-strike outside Delhi High Court

Less than four months after a mysterious bomb went off in the parking lot, a powerful blast ripped through the reception counter of the Delhi High Court complex in the heart of the Capital on Wednesday (September 7, 2011), leaving at least 11 dead and more than 75 injured.

Even as a red alert was sounded in the city, an e-mail sent to various media organisations claimed responsibility for the blast on behalf of the ’Harkat-ul-Jihadi’.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, September 8, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM discloses ministers’ assets

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office has disclosed the financial assets of India’s ministers online after public outrage at corruption sparked protests by tens of thousands in support of an anti-graft hunger striker.

Singh declared personal assets of Rs 50 million ($1.1 million) on his official website. The man who as Finance Minister 20 years ago launched reforms that liberalized the nation’s economy listed 32 million rupees in savings and term deposits and a 1996 Maruti car valued at 24,745 rupees. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee declared his net worth at 12.6 million rupees and his wife’s at 17.8 million rupees.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 04, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Seeking to remove LAC wrinkles with China

Even as media focus on last month’s alleged confrontation between Chinese and Indian naval ships, dismissed by diplomats in New Delhi as a non-event, both the Governments are quietly working on removing the occasional wrinkles that affect the largely tranquil Line of Actual Control (LAC) which serves as the boundary.

China and India have an agreement ensuring that heavy military equipment stay away from the border. Also in place in a pact prohibiting military exercises very close to LAC to avoid misinterpretations in case a large body of troops suddenly descends for war games. India and China will soon open talks on a mechanism that would solve issues arising out of military patrols coming face to face on the LAC.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, September 03, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China told to stop work in PoK

India has asked China to stop its infrastructure development activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, even as it keeps a close watch on Beijing’s "rapid" development of strategic roads, railway lines and airfields in Tibet as well as along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Defence mnister A K Antony, in a written reply to Lok Sabha on Monday to a question posed by 18 MPs, said, "Government is aware that China is undertaking infrastructure projects in PoK. We have conveyed our concerns to China about its activities in PoK and asked them to cease such activities."
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, September 06, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Solution to K-problem was in sight: WikiLeaks

India and Pakistan had through "back channels" agreed to a non-territorial solution to the Kashmir issue under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, reveals a latest WikiLeaks cable. According to the US Embassy cable - dated April 21, 2009, Singh confirmed this to a visiting US delegation, led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman, saying that the solution included free trade and movement across LoC.

Singh told the US delegation that Delhi and Islamabad and made great progress prior to February 2007, when President Musharraf ran into trouble. "We had reached an understanding in back channels," he related, says the cable, in which Musharraf had agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir. Singh went on to add that India wanted a strong, stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan and makes no claim on "even an inch" of Pakistani territory.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, September 03, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NATO offers missile defence cooperation

In a move that holds great strategic significance, NATO has offered to share its missile defence technology with India to build its capability to shoot down incoming enemy missiles, realising the commonality of threats faced by the 28-nation grouping and South Asia’s pre-eminent power. India, thus, becomes the only nation, apart from Russia, outside of the NATO that the US-led military alliance is willing to work in the critical missile defence technology sector.

The NATO missile defence project, launched in May 2001, aims at working with member-countries to meet the group’s responsibility of defending itself from missile attacks. India too is in the process of developing its own ballistic missile defence system based on its Prithvi Ballistic missile platform considering the missile threats it faces from rivals in the region.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, September 4, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">New Delhi aid for Libya, to participate in Paris meet

With the National Transitional Council (NTC) taking control of Tripoli, New Delhi has sent a powerful signal by sending a ministerial-level representation to the international community’s Paris convention.

The delegation was led by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, who is understood to have made substantive intervention and offered India’s assistance in the process of rebuilding Libya as per the "wishes and aspirations of the Libyan people".

overnment sources said that New Delhi conveyed to NTC that Libya needed to create a polity taking into consideration the aspirations of its people. Political institutions, New Delhi said, need to be "inclusive and representative in nature".
< class="text11verdana">Source: India Express, September 04, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">SC reprimands Presidential aide

The Supreme Court has reprimanded President’s Advisor Ibrahim ’Ibra’ Ismail for reportedly calling on the public to "rise up and sort out the judges" at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally Friday night in Kaafu Thulusdhoo. A Press statement by the Supreme Court yesterday claimed that Ibra’s remarks "encouraging the illegal curtailment of the tasks of the judiciary" could lead to "the loss of peace and security of the Maldivian state and plunge the nation into chaos and unrest".

While Article 299(a) of the constitution demands "obedience to the constitution" and compliance with all its provisions, the statement noted, Article 144(c) states that, "No officials performing public functions, or any other persons, shall interfere with and influence the functions of the courts." Moreover, Article 144(d) states that, "Persons or bodies performing public functions, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, eminence, dignity, impartiality, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts."

The Supreme Court asserted that "making such statements in a free, democratic society under lawful governance goes against the principles of civilisation" and "the constitution of the Republic of the Maldives does not allow any such illegal activity". The court’s statement concluded by assuring the public that the highest court of appeal "as the parent of the constitution and laws of the country" would not tolerate "any action that could undermine established democratic institutions and the rights of the Maldivian state and the Maldivian people."

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) - oversight body for the judiciary - meanwhile conducted an "emergency meeting" Sunday night prompted by Ibra’s remarks and decided to request "relevant authorities" to carry out an official investigation. Ibra’s remarks came after the Criminal Court barred journalists from observing the corruption trial of Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim on August 25.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, September 03, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Adhaalath Party raises alarm over Israeli team

Deputy Leader of the Adhaalath Party Dr Mauroof Hussein has called for alarm after alleging that a delegation from an Israeli company, Teshuva Agricultural Products, was due to arrive in the Maldives to assess the country’s agricultural potential.

The delegation was scheduled to visit Fihladhoo and Maafahi in Haa Alifu Atoll and Addu City, and would be hosted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. On its website the company claims its advanced agricultural methods "allow for fresh culinary herbs to be grown in soil-less hydroponic systems."

Dr Hussein said the relationship between the Maldives and Israel "is dangerous" and that it was "a threat to the national security of the Maldives". Due to the close relationship with Israel, this delegation is not required to have a work visa, which is usually necessary for these type of delegations to have," Dr Hussein claimed.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, September 07, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Cabinet gets 13 ministers

A week after being elected Prime Minister, Dr Baburam Bhattarai expanded his two-member cabinet, inducting 13 ministers, including a deputy prime minister. As the Mohan Baidya faction of the Maoist party did not join the Government, Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Baidya faction is likely not to join the gGvernment until the party’s central committee resolves the dispute over the handover of the keys of arm containers to the Special Committee. However, all the major ministries have already been taken in the Cabinet expansion on Sunday.

Three newly-appointed Ministers Post Bahadur Bogart, Barshaman Pun and Kamal Roka are close to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal while Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Prabhu Sah are from the Bhattarai faction. The Prime Minister administered the oath office and secrecy to six ministers from the UCPN (Maoist) and eight ministers from the United Democratic Madhesi Front in the presence of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav amid a function at Shital Niwas.

Meanwhile, two minister-nominees from Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic skipped the swearing-in ceremony following criticism in the party over their nomination.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 05, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NC accepts expert panel with riders

The Nepali Congress has reviewed its position on the state restructuring commission and officially decided to accept formation of an expert panel on federalism, a development that paves the way for consensus among the political parties on state restructuring mechanism.

But the main opposition party has attached riders for the formation of such a panel, saying that there should be progress on the key contentious issues of the peace process such as modality of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, numbers, standard integration norms and relief and compensation to those affected by the Maoist armed conflict, according to NC General Secretary Prakash Man Singh.

With this development, the major parties in the Constituent Assembly are closer to an agreement on formation of an expert panel for state restructuring and for ending differences over state restructuring mechanism, as the other major parties are already in favor of the panel.

Earlier, the NC had taken the position that a state restructuring commission should be formed as per constitutional provisions, something opposed by the Maoist and Madhes-based parties.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 09 September 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">DRI uncovers new cases of Indian currency abuse

The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has found two firms of misappropriating an additional Rs 207 million worth of Indian currency (IC) by producing fake customs declaration forms and demand drafts without actually importing the goods.

"Digital World and Maxwell Computer have been suspected of misappropriating an additional Rs 130 million and Rs 77.6 million from NIC Bank between February 24 - September 2 and May 15- September 2 respectively, producing fake documents," Shanta Bahadur Shrestha, Director-Generral of DRI confirmed. He said traders were using clandestine ways to siphon off the hard earned IC amid the tight policy of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

Police has already sent Kul Bhusan Mishra, Suresh Mishra, Sandeep Sah, Arabinda Kumar Sah and Ramesh Kumar Sah, suspected of involvement in the misappropriation of IC, to judicial custody after arresting them in possession of IRs 7.5 million. Preliminary investigation shows that the firms they represent have not imported goods as claimed in the customs declaration forms.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 05 September 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Karachi: politics, army and the judiciary

Jamat-e-Islami (JI) leader Syed Munawar Hassan, addressing an Eid Milan party, said that any military operation to quell the violence in Karachi would be similar to what had happened in Dhaka in 1971, adding that the Government seemed to be paving way for the same. He said that military operation would result in extra-judicial killings, which could result in a situation similar to what was witnessed in erstwhile East Pakistan before its separation.

On the other hand Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that the Pakistan army felt concerned about the poor law and order situation in Karachi. His statement is the come under the backdrop when the military as an institution has kept away from commenting on the on-going situation in the port city. At the same time former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg had said that the army need not be deployed in Karachi to quell violence. He also said that the political process and the administrative mechanism need are to play their part in arresting the on-going violence in the city. to this end he had states the example of military operation that were conducted in Baluchistan and Waziristan where the military had restored the rule of law but needed the civilian agencies to do their bit.

At the same time the ISI is expected to brief the Supreme Court which is hearing a suo motu case on the situation in Karachi. Incidentally the court informed by the Sindh Advocate General Abdul Fatah Malik told the Supreme Court that the reports of intelligence agencies regarding 1992 Operation on a similar situation are missing from Government records.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 05,08 September 2011,, 05 September 2011.

Note: The Aamy was credited with restoring law and order in Lahore following the anti-Ahmadiyya riots in 1953. This was the first time that the army made its foray into civilian sphere in the country. The military operation could be said to be the trigger for the first military coup in 1958 because the army was held in high esteem vis-a-vis the civilian government. It was the lawlessness in the 1990’s that had seen the suspension of civilian governments by the President and the military coup in 1999.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Train to Xinjiang

Pakistan and China have started discussion on building a cross-border railway linking northern areas of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK) with Kashgar, an old Chinese Silk road town in the restive northwestern Xinjiang province. Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, said that a feasibility study of the railway had been conducted but there was still no time-table for starting the construction.

"By using this option, you can shorten China’s trading routes from the Gulf to Shanghai by about 5,000 miles. It is very short," Pakistan state-run APP news agency quoted Khan as telling the Chinese media. He said talks about a cross border pipeline that can carry oil and gas to China via inland Eurasia have also begun.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 04 September 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">FM reviews ties with Iran

The Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Iran held the 18th session of Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission Islamabad that focused upon increasing the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of industry, banking, oil and gas, communications, manpower, agriculture, education, culture and science and technology. Both sides also discussed the feasibility of the setting up of a branch of a Bank Melli, Iran’s largest commercial in Pakistan. The bank in under the scrutiny of the international community for it is suspected to be a conduit transferring fund that is meant for the support of Iran’s nuclear programme. Despite the being under the UN watch list since 2008 the bank has opened new branches recently in both Iraq and Azerbaijan.

It is believed that the Bank Melli will help in improving the bilateral trade between the two countries has been in decline since 2008. Bilateral trade went down from $1,170 million in 2009-10 to a paltry $586 million during July-March 2011.This apart the two leaders also discussed the Iranian help for construction of Quetta-Taftan railway track and harmonisation of customs regulations for enhancing trade. The Iranians were exploring the possibility of seeking passage for its goods to India through Pakistani territory.

The two sides also reviewed the progress on a pipeline to provide Iranian gas to Pakistan. Physical work on the Pakistan section is yet to start, but surveys and planning for the project have already been initiated. The pipeline, which is tentatively scheduled to be completed by 2014, would be used to import 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Iran. The two leaders said that the law and order situation in Balochistan would not have any serious impact on the project.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 08 September 2011.

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

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

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N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy

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

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