MonitorsPublished on Nov 17, 2020
South Asia Weekly Report | Volume XIII-46

India: Dissecting the Bihar Assembly elections

Ambar Kumar Ghosh

Elections in India unfolds significant and unprecedented lessons for getting a grasp of the incessantly changing dynamics of democratic politics.  Given the multi-layered and overlapping nature of social bases, the impactful emotive appeals of identity and development and the all-pervasive influence of personalities, every election in India provides crucial political messages. The recently-concluded Assembly elections in the state of Bihar, which happens to be the first major election amidst the pandemic in India, is certainly one of them.

The Bihar elections have been extremely significant for understanding the larger dynamics of Indian politics in the coming times. This is mainly because this election provides an opportunity to understand and analyse how the Indian people have assessed the government’s handling of the health and economic crisis which has stemmed from the ongoing pandemic.

Results at a glance

This election was majorly a fight between two political coalitions. One is the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the State. Smaller parties like the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) also fought on NDA’s side in these elections.  The other alliance called the Mahagathbandhan is made up of opposing parties comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Indian National Congress (INC) and the left parties led by young chief ministerial candidate, Tejashwi Yadav, the son of jailed former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. Other smaller parties outside the alliances like the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the All- India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also had a major impact over the election results.

The election was an extremely tightly fought contest between the two major alliances and the NDA managed to retain power in the State despite a tough fight from the opposition forces. In a 243-member Bihar Vidhan Sabha, the NDA managed to win 125 seats and the Opposition alliance was able to garner 110 seats. While the LJP won one seat, the AIMIM was able to win five seats for the first time in the State.

While the RJD emerged as the single largest party (75 seats), it is the BJP which facilitated NDA’s win this time by bagging 74 seats after the poor performance of JD (U) partner, which could manage only 43 seats. The INC could win only 19 seats out of 70 while the left parties succeeded in winning  16 out of the 29 seats they contested.

Major determinants

However, a deeper analysis of this election verdict presents three major takeaways from this election. First, the rise of the BJP as the senior partner in the NDA coalition in the State, based on the electoral popularity of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- an issue of paramount importance. Second, not only the individual performance of the major parties but the dynamics of the coalition-building and its effective electoral functioning played an important role. Third, the issue of governance played out in this election is worth noting.

The trends from the Bihar elections reinforced the political invincibility of the personality of Prime Minister Modi. Despite the fact that his government has been in power for more than six years at the Centre and there has been considerable distress due to the ongoing pandemic, the Prime Minister’s personal appeal remains unassailable before the Indian electorate. A number of reports suggested that public anger over livelihood crisis caused by Covid-19, especially on the migrant labour front during the lockdown, has been largely attributed to the State governments and not the Central Government. So, Modi’s acceptance amongst the electorate remains largely high.

As anti-incumbency against the three-time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar jolted the JD (U)’s electoral prospects in this election, it is the BJP’s spectacular electoral performance led by Modi that catapulted the NDA back to power in Bihar. Most importantly, the BJP not only ensured the NDA’s victory but also succeeded in becoming the senior partner in the alliance. Though the BJP leadership has magnanimously maintained so far that despite the JD (U)’s lesser seats than BJP, Nitish Kumar would remain the Chief Minister of the NDA government in Bihar.

Nevertheless, a higher number of seats will invariably provide the BJP with greater political leverage over Nitish Kumar, who has since been elected Chief Minister for the fourth time..  Some of the state elections after 2019 parliamentary polls indicated the BJP’s growing weakness in capturing power in States, despite its national dominance. But Bihar seems to have once again witnessed a major consolidation of the BJP’s political power at the State level under the stewardship of Modi.

Alliance politics

The dynamics of alliance building has heavily shaped the electoral outcome in Bihar where electoral mobilisation is largely based on caste-based social coalitions. As far as the NDA is concerned, the results indicate that the JD (U)’s vote-share has been successfully transferred to BJP but the BJP’s vote-bank didn’t get as smoothly transferred to the JD (U), leading to the loss of JD (U) in many constituencies. PM Modi’s popularity beyond the BJP’s traditional bases might have helped the party to easily procure JD (U)’s Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) and Dalit constituencies.

On the other hand, Nitish Kumar’s challenge of facing State-level anti-incumbency might have deterred smooth transfer of the BJP’s upper caste votes to the JD (U). Moreover, LJP’s decision of contesting the election outside the NDA fold but fielding candidates only against the JD (U) candidates, have severely daunted the electoral prospects of the latter  in many seats, facilitating the BJP’s rise as the senior coalition partner in the State. But, the smaller parties in the NDA like the HAM and the VIP won four seats each, helping the alliance to reach the majority mark of 123, in such a closely-fought election, where every seat mattered.

In the Opposition alliance, despite the RJD’s impressive electoral performance which made it the largest party in this election, the Mahagathbandhan fell short of the majority mark by 13 seats. This is largely attributed to the poor performance of the RJD’s alliance partner Congress, which garnered only 19 seats out of the contested 70. If the BJP’s electoral success pulled up the NDA to power, then the Congress’ conduct largely prevented the opposition alliance to capture power. The. INC’s lacklustre campaign, organisational weakness and the lack of effective leadership probably acted as impediments in the path of its electoral success.

Another smaller political formation, the AIMIM, which was able to bag five seats in Bihar this time, has led to a major erosion of the Congress party’s Muslim vote-share in certain regions of the States and to a lesser extent also adversely impacted the RJD’s vote share in some seats.

But the left parties that were also a part of the opposition alliance benefitted the electoral prospects of the alliance by its impressive electoral performance as it brought some political support from the marginalised castes and Mahadalits which are not the traditional vote base of the RJD and the Congress. Hence, the dynamics of successful alliance building by political accommodation and effective vote transfer between the constituent powers which is possible only by collective efforts by all alliance partners, is a key to electoral success.

Issues of governance

The economic justice became one of the major electoral planks in the Bihar political context. The challenges of economic distress and heath crisis due to the pandemic and the rampant livelihood problems was successfully brought to the centre-stage of the political discourse by the opposition alliance.

This was largely done by the young RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who was leading the opposition campaign against the NDA. He somewhat turned the electoral narrative from identity politics to governance issues by raising the five vital themes that are basic requisites of human development which are education, livelihood, health facilities, agriculture and price rise.

Available data show that Tejashwi’s spectacular and enthusiastic campaign centered on unemployment and the promise of jobs considerably swayed the youth in his favour. But his lack of experience in governance and satisfaction of a considerable section of voters with the Centre’s schemes seen as Modi’s personal achievement based on his development narrative prevented such enthusiasm to actually turn into electoral advantage.

Moreover, Nitish’s solid support base of women benefitted from his governance initiatives, also swayed the development narrative largely in the NDA’s favour. Thus, apart from emotive issues and caste loyalties, the narrative of governance played a major role in this election. Now it remains to be seen how much, if at all, the Bihar polls, will impact on a series of Assembly polls in other States that are due next year.

Maldives: India backs Shahid for UN post, firms up political ties

N Sathiya Moorthy

In a significant step forward in bilateral political relations, after cementing bilateral economic cooperation, visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has endorsed the candidature of Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid for the presidency of the UN General Assembly, in elections due late next year. During a three-day visit, Secretary Shringla also met leaders of all political parties, including the PPM-PNC combine identified with jailed former President, Abdulla Yameen, indicating that India had no preferences in the nation’s internal politics.

“With his vast diplomatic experience and leadership qualities, Foreign Minister Shahid has the best credentials to preside over the General Assembly in these tumultuous times. His presidency will also provide greater visibility to the Maldives,” Secretary Shringla said, in his brief opening remarks at talks in the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, during his three-day visit.

Shringla noted how Shahid’s term “will coincide with our membership of the UN Security Council for 2021-22”, and how India looked “forward to working closely with Maldives in the United Nations”. In this regard, Secretary Shringla was reiterating through a publicised statement the Indian commitment made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker during a recent webinar with counterpart Shahid.

In back-to-back meetings, Shringla called on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Parliament Speaker and ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chief, Mohammed Nasheed, and met with a host of ministers, some separately and others in a group. The Indian intention seemed to be for the top diplomat to meet with as many Maldivian leaders as possible through his tight schedule.

Holds no grudge

In this regard, Secretary Shringla, with his past diplomatic experience in handling Maldives, also met with leaders of most political parties in the Indian Ocean archipelago-nation. The Yameen-centric alliance of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC), was represented, among others, by former President, Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik, ex-Vice-President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, whom Yameen got impeached after he fled for his life and who is now leading Yameen’s legal team in pending court cases.

The Indian official also met with retired army colonel Mohammed Nazim, whom Yameen had sacked as Defence Minister and arrested for a purported plot to eliminate him. At the talks, Nazim represented his Jumhooree Party’s founder, Gasim Ibrahim, who was in self-quarantine after overseas travel. Secretary Shringla also called on former Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Maldivian President for 30 long years (1978-2008), and now leading a truncated Maumoon Reforms Movement (MRM), a political party, and acknowledged the latter’s contributions to bilateral ties.

Through the meetings, the Indian message was clear. That India worked closely with the government that the Maldivian people elected and will keep an open door for all shades of political opinion in the country. In this context, the meeting with Team Yameen was significant as it came about even after the group’s recent ‘India Out’ campaign. In turn, this underlined the point that New Delhi held no grudges against domestic adversaries of ruling parties in friendly nations and their governments.

Incidentally, the ‘India Out’ campaign seems to have fizzled out, especially after the PPM-PNC combine’s strident silence on the Solih Government signing the ‘Framework Agreement’ for military cooperation with the US and commending positively on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to the country. This has exposed to their own cadres, the Yameen camp’s duplicity in foreign and security matters, by targeting only the Indian neighbour for no justifiable reason.

Likewise, India’s ‘open door’ policy became clearer in the context of Shringla meeting with Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail and Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, two of the Ministers in President Solih’s team, whom Speaker Nasheed wanted removed for alleged corruption.  The message was that it was not India’s job to evaluate the functioning of local Ministers, which was the job of President Solih and the Maldivian people.

Mutual reciprocation

According to an official statement, in talks with President Solih, Secretary Shringla briefed him on the satisfactory status of implementation of decisions at the former’s high-level interactions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2018 and June 2019. The President expressed deep appreciation for the Indian assistance for dealing with COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the $-250 million budget support, extended in September 2020.

“We deeply appreciate the government of President Solih for its ‘India First’ foreign policy,” Shringla said in his statement at the Foreign Ministry meeting. “This is reciprocated in full measure by our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy in which Maldives enjoys a very special and central place,” he added on the occasion. With regard to Covid management, he also complimented recently-inducted Tourism Minister, Dr Abdullah Mausoom, on increased tourist arrivals in the midst of global recovery.

During his meeting with Speaker Nasheed, the Foreign Secretary also acknowledged his long-standing support to the strengthening bilateral ties. Calling on Defence Minister Mariya Didi, Secretary Shringla recalled the excellent state of bilateral defence cooperation including joint EEZ surveillance, joint military exercises, and HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief). He also met with Interior Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla, who also heads the religion-centric Adhaalath Party.

Secretary Shringla reviewed bilateral relations with his counterpart Abdul Ghafoor, where they discussed respective national approaches to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19- pandemic. Ghafoor conveyed his Government's appreciation for India's substantial assistance to Maldives to his country for tiding over the epidemic’s effects. They also positively assessed the robust growth in the diverse planks of our bilateral ties, including development partnership, health cooperation, connectivity, trade, and economic relations.

Four MoUs signed

During the visit, the two sides signed four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), including the $ 100-million grant for the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project (GMCP), considered the largest development project in Maldives till date, featuring a 6.7-km long Thil-Male Bridge, connecting capital Male’, Villimale’, Gulhifalhu international port and Thilaffushi islands. India is also extending another $ 400-m credit for the project, on easy and transparent terms.

The two nations also signed an MoU on cooperation in sports and youth affairs, aimed at facilitating training and experience for athletes and coaches. In an outdoor event, at the capital’s National Stadium, Secretary Shringla formally handed over children’s parks in 67 islands, as chosen by the Maldivian Government. According to reports, as many as 70 local parliamentarians participated in the event.

The other two MoUs in the total of four related two projects planned under the High Impact Community Development Scheme, namely, the setting up of an agricultural research centre in Haa Dhaalu Atoll’s Hanimaadhoo and developing a drug detoxification centre in Addu City’s Hulhudhoo. The MoUs grant MVR 1.7 million for the agricultural centre project and MVR 7.9 million for the detox centre.

Demand-driven, transparent

“Honouring the democratic traditions cherished by both countries, the underlying principles of India’s development cooperation of transparency, competitive pricing and ownership of the host country will be adhered to in implementation of the GMCP project,” Shringla said, speaking at the stadium function. “India’s development projects in Maldives are demand-driven and will involve the Maldivian government at all stages. The tendering process and award of contract will also be done by the Government of Maldives,” he reiterated, without naming nations (read: China) that acted unilaterally sans transparency in such matters.

Even the choice of the agriculture and detox centres are of great importance to the nation’s population, underscoring the Indian point that the host-government alone should choose the projects for which overseas aid is needed. In his term as President (2008-12), Speaker Nasheed had sought Israeli technical assistance for saline water agriculture. Given the traditional anti-Israeli stance of the Islamic world at the time, and also the domestic Opposition to his leadership otherwise, the invitation for Israelis became one more of the several ‘religion-centred’ charges against his Government, leading to his exit, one-and-half years before his five-year term ended.

Likewise, the detoxication centre has a great social appeal in Maldives, as drug menace is huge in the country, starting with the capital, thanks also owing to lack of housing space, broken marriages and families and other developmental pressures. If the Thila-Male Bridge aims at decongesting capital Male, which accounts for 40 per cent of the nation’s half-a-million population (2020 figures), the detox centre will be of help to drug-addicts and parents, who travel to Sri Lanka and India (Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai) for professional help.

Needless to say, when the physical infrastructure is  ready, New Delhi will have to support human infrastructure needs of the two centres, through training Maldivian professionals, both in India and more so on the ground. Simultaneously, the Maldivian government should also consider setting up counselling centres for married persons especially, given the high rate of divorce in the country. In turn, this is also among the major reasons for teenage youth, both boys and girls, hitting the streets for want of space and care in their broken homes, and hitting drugs, too – and becoming members of infamous ‘Male gangs’, alongside – all for want of choice and care. India, if approached, can provide both financial and technical assistance in such matters, too.

Country Reports


Stress on anti-graft steps

The sixth annual Anti-Corruption Conference was held at the Presidential Palace on 12 November 2020, organised by the EU delegation to Afghanistan. At the conference, the EU Ambassador Andreas von Brandt emphasised on the need to strengthen anti-corruption efforts as a means to build trust between the Afghan people and the government, and instil a sense of confidence among the international donor community. In his remarks at the conference, President Ashraf Ghani announced the formation of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission that would work in accordance with the lessons learnt in the past.

Spotlight on Doha talks

The ninth Herat Security Dialogue took place on 12 November, organised by the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies in Kabul, brought together  regional security analysts, scholars and former and incumbent officials, to facilitate a constructive exchange on the ongoing peace negotiations with the Taliban, in Doha. Arguing against the utility of the ongoing peace process for Afghans at large, former National Security Advisor Rangin Dadafar Spanta said that the Doha talks had in fact been imposed on Afghans by the US, given that the Afghan government was not party to it.


Arson in Dhaka

At least nine buses were burnt by miscreants across Dhaka on 12 November. The buses were put on fire within a few hours.  Law-enforcement agencies are suspecting anti-government forces are behind these incidents and believe that the motive behind these incidents was to destabilise the country.

Cost-cutting on China projects

The government in a major decision has ordered the reduction of the cost of two China-funded railway connectivity projects. The projects  comprises the conversion the metre-gauge line into dual gauge between Akhaura and Sylhet, and the upgradation of the dual gauge into double line between Joydebpur. The Prime Minister’s office has directed the railway ministry to slash the cost of the projects by around 20.8 percent and 12.91 percent, respectively.


Trade Information Portal launched

The country has got a Bhutan Trade Information Portal (TIP), a new resource for exporters and importers. The TIP is believed to have information on export development, market information, trade facilitation and export promotion. The information is drawn from the databases updated and maintained by the International Trade Centre (ITC) at Geneva. Local data will be updated and maintained by the economic affairs ministry. The portal that has been set up in collaboration between Department of Trade, ITC and the European Union, will provide entrepreneurs with instant access to essential and strategic trade information needed to secure deals in the international markets. TIP is a collaboration between the Department of Trade under the economic affairs ministry, the ITC and the European Union (EU).

Test-kits from Switzerland

Switzerland has donated Covid-19 test-kits worth Nu 4 million to the health ministry. Switzerland handed over 3,500 RT-PCR and 5,000 lab-based antibody test kits. It has been agreed that Switzerland will provide 7,000 RT-PCR and 10,000 lab-based antibody test kits worth Nu 8.10 million to combat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The second consignment of medical supplies will be received after three months.


NDA retains Bihar

In a neck-and-neck fight, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), comprising the BJP and the JD(U), the latter led by three-term Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has won the Assembly elections in Bihar, winning 125 seats against the required minimum of 123. The opposition alliance gave a considerable fight by winning 110 seats. The RJD emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats, followed by the BJP with 74, making the latter the senior partner in the ruling front, against the JD(U)’s 43.  Both fronts had other allies, whose numbers added up the victory margin for the NDA. Against claims and some expectations, the one-time LJP partner in the NDA, contesting alone, won a lone seat.

BJP sweeps by-polls

The BJP swept the recently-held by-polls that were held across 11 States, winning 40 out of 59 Assembly seats in question. The party won 19 out of the 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh, all eight seats in Gujarat, six out of seven in Uttar Pradesh, three of four in Manipur, both the seats in Karnataka and one seat in Telangana. Congress managed to win  a total of 12 seats in MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana. Regional parties like the BJD in Odhisa, the JMM in Jharkhand and the NDPP in Nagaland and the SP in UP won too won seats.


Indian FS comes calling

In his first visit to Maldives after taking over in January, and the first Indian VIP to visit the country post-Covid, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called on President Solih, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Defence Minister Mariya Didi, a host of other Ministers, apart from Parliament Speaker Mohammed Nasheed and leaders of all major Opposition parties, including representatives of jailed former President Abdulla Yameen’s PPM-PNC combine. The two nations reviewed their bilateral relations and discussed future plans and projects, and also signed four MoUs, including gone for $ 100-million grant for the $ 500-m, 6.7-km Male-Thilaffushi sea-bridge, the largest single infra project in the country. Secretary Shringla also handed over India-funded children’s parks in 57 islands at a common function, attended by parliamentarians cutting across party lines.


Landslide for NLD

As per the electorates, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's ruling party has secured an absolute majority in Myanmar's election.  The National League for Democracy (NLD) had already declared for the second time landslide victory based on its own tallies, prompting street celebrations by supporters. But official figures were still being returned five days after the ballot, only the second such polls since the nation emerged from outright military rule in 2011. Results announced by the election commission on 13 November showed the NLD had won 346 seats more than 50 percent of parliament, even taking into account the quarter of seats reserved for the military under the constitution. The party is on track to improve on its landslide win in 2015, despite widespread disappointment in many ethnic-minority areas.


Road-work by China

One of the most ambitious connectivity projects of the country- the Galchhi- Mairung- Syaphrubesi- Rasuwagadi Road is nearing completion. Around 32 new bridges have been planned on this road. Even though the project was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is picking up pace yet again and is being carried forward by a China-based construction company. A major part of the already existing road framework will be enhanced. This is a great leap for the landlocked nation towards better road infrastructure.

New check-post

India has funded yet another Integrated Check Post at Nepalgunj for the seamless movement of cargo across border. A virtual ceremony was also hosted jointly by Nepalese Minister of Urban Development, Krishna Gopal Sreshtha and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal. The aim is to enhance trade and commerce between the two neighbours. The project cost has been estimated to be around INR 147. 12 crore and the construction period shall be two years. Given the recently cold relationship between the two countries, this new development is one of hope and congeniality.


Imran sees India’s hand

With the opposition turning on the heat on the Imran Khan-led PTI government and the all-powerful army establishment, the Prime Minister has accused opposition leader Nawaz Sharif of working at the behest of India to target state institutions. Nawaz Sharif has committed high treason by targeting the army leadership which is tantamount to inciting mutiny in the armed forces, Imran Khan said, adding that according to the intelligence agencies, the former prime minister was in close links with India and Indian media is portraying him as a champion of democracy. Imran’s accusations come in the wake of the nation-wide Opposition protests against the PTI government and the military establishment since past two months, in which Nawaz Sharif has been most vocal.  

Hails OIC’s support on Kashmir

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a telephonic conversation with Secretary-General Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and discussed a range of issues including Kashmir. Qureshi highlighted the humanitarian situation in Kashmir, new domicile rules and landownership rules imposed by India in the newly-carved Union Territory. He appreciated the constant support of OIC on the Kashmir issue.

Sri Lanka

It’s for Basil to decide: PM

Though ruling SLPP parliamentarians have been urging party strategist and brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to re-enter Parliament, it is entirely for him to decide, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, another brother, has said. Media reports have mentioned names of some SLPP National List MPs, who have offered to vacate their seats for the purpose, but Basil, who was Economic Development Minister under the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency in its second term (2010-15), has not made up his mind, the Prime Minister said.

Turmeric tussle?

With the government imposing instantaneous ban on turmeric imports months ago, at least 50 container-loads of the cooking spice with medicinal applications, has been lying in the Colombo Port, without a clear-cut decision on its future.  Industry sources said that the stocks had arrived from India, where southern Tamil Nadu’s Erode is the main supplier. But with the Government yet to decide, they are unable to either clear the imports or even return the same to the Indian traders, meaning heavy losses for the local trade and loss of face with importers from other countries, too.



Opinion Pieces

Shereena Qazi, “Will Biden Stay on the Course Set By Trump in Afghanistan?”, Al Jazeera, 11 November 2020

Shubhangi Pandey, “No Tolerance for Terror: Biden on South Asia”, Observer Research Foundation, 10 November 2020


Afghanistan Times, “Coronavirus and Afghanistan”, 11 November 2020

The Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Afghans Likely to Prefer Biden to Trump”, 9 November 2020


Opinion Pieces

Ajay Srivastava, “Lessons from Vietnam and Bangladesh”, The Hindu, 10 November 2020

Mahfuz Anam, “Stealing From The Poor”,  The Daily Star, 13 November 2020

Mostafiz Uddin, “What does the second wave of Covid-19 mean for the apparel industry?”, The Daily Star, 12 November 2020



Kuensel, “The consultancy business”, 13 November 2020

The Bhutanese, “The second wave and what is at stake”, 7 November 2020


Opinion Piece

Atanu Biswas, “Myths and the reality of election forecasts”, The Hindu, 12 November 2020

Suhas Palshikar, “BJP’s Bihar performance sets template for its expansion in states”, The Indian Express, 11 November 2020

Jacob Koshy. “The cost of clearing the air”, The Hindu, 10 November 2020


The Indian Express, “Opening in valley”, 10 November 2020

The Hindu, “Walk the talk: On India as investment destination”, 9 November 2020

The Indian Express, “Mixed signals” 9 November 2020

The Telegraph, “Why Amit Shah's focus on Bengal is telling”, 8 November 2020


Opinion Pieces

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Strategic comfort with Maldives”, The Hindu, 9 November 2020


Opinion Pieces

Nyein Nyein, “NLD Reaches Out to Myanmar’s Ethnic Parties Seeking Federal Union and an End to Civil War”, The Irrawaddy, 13 November 2020

San Yamin Aung, “Military-Backed USDP Leaders Defeated by NLD in Myanmar Election”, The Irrawaddy, 12 November 2020


The Irrawaddy, “Myanmar Votes for a Continued Peaceful Transition”, 12 November 2020

The Irrawaddy, “In Myanmar, the NLD’s Main Rival Finds It Hard to Accept Electoral Defeat”, 12 November 2020

The Irrawaddy, “Myanmar Court Jails Leader of Defunct Political Party for Prison Escape”, 12 November 2020


Opinion Pieces

Mahabir Paudyal, “What is Nepali Congress thinking about China?Republica, 14 November 2020

Deepak Thapa, “Good riddance,” The Kathmandu Post, 12 November 2020

Achyut Wagle, “What the Biden win means for Nepal,” The Kathmandu Post, 9 November 2020


The Kathmandu Post, “Limit exposure,” 13 November 2020

The Himalayan Times, “Encouraging signs,” 13 November 2020


Opinion Pieces

Ashaar Rehman, “In Biden’s reign, Dawn, 13 November 2020

I.A Rehman, “Journalists under threat, Dawn, 12 November 2020

Dr Moonis Ahmer, “From divided to united states — of America?”, The Express Tribune, 12 November 2020

Aneela Shazad, “Macron, France and liberté”, The Express Tribune, 12 November 2020


Dawn, Iranian FM’s visit, 13 November 2020.

Dawn, Status of CPEC Authority, 12 November 2020.

The Express Tribune, Billionaires in parliament, 12 November 2020.

The Express Tribune, Timely Action, 11 November 2020

Dawn, Pilgrimage politics, 11 November 2020

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Nihal Seneviratne, “Constitutional changes in Sri Lanka”, The Island, 15 November 2020

M S M Ayub, “Burial or cremation: Where’s the experts’ opinion?”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 November 2020

Austin Fernando, “Crisscrossing 13-A abolition”, The Island, 13 November 2020

Malinda Seneviratne, “The 19th, 20th and judicial appointments”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 November 2020

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Need to find jobs, here and now”, Ceylon Today, 10 November 2020

P K Balachandran, “SL could look forward to fruitful ties with the US under Biden”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 November 2020

N Sathiya Moorthy, “How far ‘forward-looking’ is Biden for Sri Lanka?”, Colombo Gazette, 9 November 2020


Sanath Nanayakkare, “Tomorrow’s international order will be decided in Sri Lanka’s immediate neighbourhood: German Ambassador”, The Island, 9 November 2020


Afghanistan: Shubhangi Pandey

Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee

Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale

India: Ambar Kumar Ghosh

Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy

Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee

Pakistan: Ayjaz Ahmad Wani

Nepal: Sohini Nayak

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