MonitorsPublished on Apr 02, 2018
South Asia weekly report | Vol. XI Issue 14


Bangladesh:  Not a ‘basket case’ any more

Joyeeta Bhattacharjee In an acknowledgment of Bangladesh’s economic development, the United Nations (UN) last month declared that the country is eligible for graduating from a ‘least developed country’ (LDC) to a ‘developing country’. The declaration has demystified US statesman Henry Kissinger's famous description of the country being a ‘basket case’. At the birth of the nation in 1971, Kissinger, who was then the US Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, defined Bangladesh as a ‘basket case’ because of the prevailing levels of abject poverty, owing largely to months-long war that had eroded all economic activities. Close to half a century on, the UN qualification for the nation claiming the status of a ‘developing country’ offers opportunities. To reap the benefits to its optimum, there are other challenges that the nation needs to address. Till date, only five LDCs, namely, Botswana, Cape Verde, Maldives, Samoa and Equatorial Guinea, could elevate themselves to the bloc of ‘developing countries’. Bangladesh is the first in the bloc which has fulfilled all the three criteria for the graduation, viz, GNI per capita, Human Access Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). The required bench-mark for   GNI was $1,230 or above, HAI 66 or above and EVI was 32 or above. Bangladesh’s current GNI of $ 1272, HAI of 72.8 and EVI of 25 mean that by UN calculations, it could assume the ‘developing country’ tag by 2024. For decades now, the nation’s economy has recorded steady growth of more than six percent. The country maintained this growth rate even during the global economic slowdown in the second half of the first decade of the new millennium. The contributing factors for this success include global remittances from migrant labour, robust readymade garments industry providing huge revenue-earning from exports and increase in agricultural output. Alongside, the emphasis on human development is largely driven by the non-governmental organisations. Based on the nation’s pace of growth, the country is listed the league of emerging economies after the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Youth pressure

Graduation from an LDC to a ‘developing nation’ not only help in boosting the national image but brings in opportunities like better credit ratings necessary for attracting international investments in the country. International investments are becoming more important to the country as it moves up the value-chain. With the increasing youth-population, human development issues are facing pressures from a need to diversify industry-base and improving employment opportunities. More than two-million youth enter the job-market each year. The government is under pressure of creating new job opportunities. Bangladesh not only faces the problem of unemployment but also the problem of underemployment.  Economic uplift of the all will be crucial for the attaining the ultimate goal of becoming a developing country in 2041. In spite of the economic progress, a significant section of the society still feels development has not been holistic. A large section of the population remains poor.  To observers of the Bangladesh economy, the trickling effect of the economy in the society has been limited. The social disparity still remains high in the country.  To Bangladesh Economic Association around 50 percent of the people are landless, while 6.2 percent families own 40 percent of the land in the country.

Restrictive factors

Factors that restrict the population to enjoy the fruits of the country’s development include a lack of good governance, corruption, inadequate skills of human resources.  To observers of the Bangladesh polity, society and economy, in spite of its many successes in improving the human development, the country needs to develop further. Emphasis should be given on improving the quality in areas of education and health. Still, access to medical facilities remains a challenge in Bangladesh. The standard of public education is not adequate.  Many in the country feel the country will be developed when it will be all-inclusive. However, Bangladesh's success is worthy of appreciation and its achievement has been phenomenal. To take the development to the next level, the country should work on delivering good governance, controlling corruption, improving the financial sector, and with all that the human development index. (The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

Sri Lanka: Thus spake the Rajapaksas of India, now

N Sathiya Moorthy Three Press interviews of five politician-members of the clan in as many days, and the Rajapaksa clan have acknowledged what amounts to their perceptions of India’s hovering presence in Sri Lankan affairs, possibly now as when they were in power. Between them, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, brother and ex-Defence Secretary Gota R, and the former’s parliamentarian-son, Namal, have shared specifics in a serial interview to The Indian Express, as if they were taking turns responding, sitting around a drawing room tea-table or whatever. “Even though the present Indian government may have had reservations about his government in 2014, he believes they (India) will look at things differently now,” The Indian Express, quoted Mahinda Rajapaksa as saying in the first of the three interviews. “The year 2019 will be an election year in India as well as in Sri Lanka... Our aim will be to have cordial relations with both the Congress as well as BJP-led governments,” he said, possibly implying that the clan’s return to power should be taken for granted, and it was for Indians to decide whom they wanted to be ruled by. In this context, Mahinda said that they had “got on well with the Congress government... Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi was elected to power in 2014 and we did not have enough time to get to know each other better before I was voted out”. It was another matter that Modi did go out of the script and wished Mahinda the best in the presidential polls in his SAARC Summit speech at Kathmandu, only weeks earlier. In the weeks after losing the presidency, Mahinda had reportedly said that ‘Indian agencies’ had worked with counterparts from the US and the rest of the West for a ‘regime-change’ in Sri Lanka -- later denied on his behalf.  Gota made a different reference in the current interview: “In diplomatic relationships, you cannot replace empowered diplomats with intelligence officers,” he said. In an obvious reference to the three-member Indian team, headed by successive NSAs during the war-years, with which Sri Lanka was staying in touch under his personal care, Gota said, “We had a very good understanding with the Congress government in India, especially its bureaucrats. We were able to get their fullest support in defeating the LTTE. But the new government, especially the bureaucrats of the Narendra Modi government, look at Sri Lanka in a different way… Without understanding it properly, without knowing the real facts on reports about submarines being docked at a Sri Lankan port… even the Indian media played it up. Bureaucrats should have (talked to us).”

China factor

“There was no question of betraying India,” Mahinda said, elaborating on questions relating to China. “The relationship that my government had with China was purely economic. Some of the key projects that China did… like the Hambantota Port was first offered to India but was declined and it was then handed over to China.” He also reiterated how his Government was planning to lease out only the container terminal at Hambantota to private companies, as in Colombo, but the successor government had handed out the entire port and 5,000 acres of the precinct to a Chinese company. Mahinda mentioned references in this context made in former Indian NSA  Shivshankar Menon’s book, ‘Choices: Inside the making of India’s Foreign Policy’, but Gota was more specific. Menon “has categorically said that Sri Lanka had given India assurance and shown that it was concerned about any threats to Indian security concerns,” Gota said. “Our government never allowed Sri Lankan soil to be used by any foreign country against India.” Mahinda clarified that “Sri Lanka has always had close relations with India, China and Pakistan and these friendships will continue in the future as well.” According to him, “Pakistan is a valued friend which has helped us at crucial moments during the war and on the diplomatic front.” The reference possibly was to Pakistan, and also China supplying critical weapons and ammunition to the Sri Lankan armed forces, at the peak of the decisive ‘Eelam War IV’, when India had announced a decision not to supply lethal weapons to the Government troops, lest they should end up being used to target civilians.

Inevitable reference

In this context, Gota too made the inevitable reference to the ‘ethnic issue’ nearer home, saying there were concerns on this score in his country... among Sri Lankan patriots about India working against the interests of Sri Lanka. “For example, it is a known thing that (Indira) Gandhi supported and trained the LTTE in India. That created a huge anti-India feeling… The Sri Lankans feel there is unnecessary influence by Indian governments in its internal affairs. That was seen at the time of change in the last government too (in which Mahinda was defeated, and Maithripala Sirisena became President)… The Indian government has to be more concerned about this and study the situation, rather than act in haste.” Here again, Gota went beyond Mahinda’s mentioning his meeting with PM Modi at the ‘India House’ in Colombo during the latter’s Sri Lanka visit after coming to power. “They don’t talk to us,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying – laughing. “That’s the other problem. During our time, it was normal for diplomats to meet Opposition leaders here. Not only diplomats but even visitors from India would meet Opposition leaders. But now, even the Indian High Commission is frightened to meet us. I don’t understand why. I don’t know why the Sri Lankan government is also worried about them meeting us.” On the specific aspects of the ‘ethnic issue’, both sounded as conciliatory as they had been while in power. “Our aim was, and will be, to have a united Sri Lanka where members of all communities have equal rights and equal opportunities and are assured personal safety,” Mahinda said, in an obvious reference to the more recent anti-Muslim ‘racial riots’ in eastern Ampara and hill-country, Kandy, where majority Sinhala-Buddhist hard-liners were the suspected rioters. “Sri Lanka is a textbook case of how a problem arose in the 1950’s due to a series of misunderstandings and deliberate misrepresentations in a situation where there had been no problem earlier. This was started by opportunistic politicians who saw communal politics as an effortless way to win and retain popular support.” All of it “escalated into a war that shook not just Sri Lanka but also India and the whole world.” According to him, “Unfortunately, even after the war, certain foreign powers and interest groups operating from overseas have not allowed things to stabilise in this country. Today, the biggest obstacle to reconciliation between the various communities living in this country is interference by overseas-based interest groups and various foreign powers.” To a specific query on his ‘message to the minorities in the country’, Mahinda said that the “Tamil people of Sri Lanka ... should not be influenced by the propaganda of overseas-based organisations and various other interested parties....Even after the war ended, this attempt has not ceased because foreign parties are keeping alive the hope of incremental progression towards a separate state.” Gota, too, spoke on similar lines: “I consider the post-war developments in Sri Lanka a bigger victory than defeating the LTTE...that has not been recognised by international organisations as well as the international community. Within a short period of 2009-14, we achieved a lot -- not only infrastructure development, but political achievements, too. In this context, he claimed that the Government had disarmed ‘friendly groups’ like the EPDP, ex-LTTE commander, ‘Col’ Karuna, and others, but for which the “Tamil National Alliance wouldn’t have come to power. That means Mahinda Rajapaksa would have remained President...” Gota claimed, “By the end of 2013, about 90 per cent of houses and land had been released to the people. Massive development works such as roads, railway and electricity projects were completed. We also rehabilitated almost all the terrorists who surrendered…” As he elaborated further, “... peace doesn’t come overnight after three decades’ long war.” He “strongly believe that what is important is economic freedom for people, before talking about political freedom... But Tamil politicians put their political interests above these essential needs of people.”  Answering a specific question, Gota asserted that the clan “will continue to do what we were doing… To give them opportunities, to make them feel they are equal, like the rest of the country.” In the larger context of restoring normalcy in the Tamil areas, and more specific to his role in what is since described as war-crimes, Gota had this to say: “I know I haven’t done anything wrong... My conscience says that...war is not a rosy thing, whether it is in Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or India or Pakistan or Iraq... But in Sri Lanka, I didn’t create the war, I ended the war.... Our country is a better place without the LTTE. Today, the President of Sri Lanka can go to Jaffna and speak there…” The war-time Defence Secretary also side-stepped a question on ‘any last-minute negotiations with the LTTE’, saying, “I still believe it would have been a waste of time. Prabhakaran was not a wise (enough) man to call me, but look at KP....The rehabilitation of KP was a great thing. We still believe in that...” The reference is to Kumara Pathmanathan,once the LTTE’s arms-procurer, who was picked up from Thailand, post-war. “He was shivering when he came here”, believed that was his end, Gota said.

India-Pak dialogue

In his interview to the Indian Express, Namal Rajapaksa, seen in some circles as the ‘heir-apparent’ of the clan, added that “Sri Lanka needs national leaders to represent the Tamils and that the country lacks a second-generation of Tamil politicians. As may be recalled, Namal had undertaken development work in the war-ravaged Killinochchi district in the months and years after the war, but to no electoral advantage. As an emerging regional leader from his generation, Namal was asked about contemporary leaderships in India. “... in the last four or five years, India has had a global presence under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi...Now, Rahul is also making the same presence with his trips to the Middle-East, Malaysia and Singapore. But there is ... widespread criticism that the Sri Lankan President’s approach on issues such as corruption and the way he deals with Opposition leaders is similar to that of Modiji.” Namal also went on to add that “in a larger way, I strongly believe that Sri Lanka can play a major role, we can be a communicating point between India and Pakistan, whenever they want a dialogue”. It is the kind of attempt that many up and coming South Asian leaders, from both the two historic adversaries and others, have assumed – or, over-simplified to assume. This has also meant that without full appreciation of India-Pakistan bilateral problems to levels that may have clouded their comprehension on even matters relating to their own nation.

Can’t be ‘ignored’

As coincidence would have it, Namal was interviewed by TV channel TNM around the same time. In it, he was more forthright, about India: “India’s influence in Sri Lankan elections cannot be ignored. India is important in regional politics,” and several sectors see mutual involvement of both India and Sri Lanka. We cannot ignore India’s influence. We cannot ignore India,” Namal R said, adding, however, his father did not mention India as among the nations that toppled his regime through Elections-2015. In the same vein, Namal, too, referred to the Congress Government sending Indian troops (IPKF) to broker peace between the local administration and the LTTE, in the late eighties. He also mentioned China as the possible elephant in the room, when he elaborated: “This time around, however, it is reported that the ‘influence’ asserted was to counter another regional rival that has increasingly threatened the country’s stronghold in South Asia - China.” However, Namal would not dub the Chinese investments in Sri Lanka as a ‘debt-trap’, and seemingly moved away from the ‘core issue’ in this regard: “All investors will come negotiate for their benefit. But the receiving end should negotiate for our benefit... The Sri Lankan government will not come to a position to not say no. It is about how we handle and negotiate them,” he claimed, adding, however, that China’s economic interests will not gain military colours. The TNM report also mentioned the “stepping up the academic work on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, but (which) India sees it as a threat. China is reportedly going to set up a radar station at Ruhuna University for oceanographic studies. India believes that ship tracking is going be part of this ‘studies’. Namal R begged to differ: “Our government will not allow monitoring of Indian ships or compromise of their interests. Not sure how the current government will handle this geo-politically.” But ask about Sri Lanka’s continuing relations with Pakistan which has been constantly accused of sponsoring terror in India and Namal says, “We believe in non-alignment policy. We are being close to Pakistan in fighting terrorism. Pakistan has always been very close to Sri Lanka. We have close alliances with them.” (The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter)

Country Reports


Raids against terrorists

Efforts are in full swing in Afghanistan to secure the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections against apprehended attacks from insurgent groups. In that regard the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) gave its full support to the ground forces as 69 special operations were carried out within twenty-four hours, in many terrorist strongholds all over the country. As a result, 23 terrorists were killed out of whom sixteen were recognised as Taliban, reports the Afghan Ministry of Defence.

‘Empowering’ contracts

A contract worth $ 50.8 million has been awarded to Fuzing and Ordnance System Inc, in support of the Afghan and Bahrain forces by the Pentagon. It is aimed at procuring motor fuses. The estimated completion date is 31 January 2022. Another contract worth $ 47 m has been announced under the Building Partnership Capacity Initiative for securing ScanEagle unmanned aerial systems and drones for the Afghan military. It is expected to be completed by March 2019.

Uncertain fate of fatwa

Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has full support of the Pakistan based Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, if he issues a fatwa against the militant attacks in Kabul, said the group’s founder, Fazlur Rehman Khalil. He further urged the Afghan government to call upon the country’s Islamic scholars to issue a fatwa and offered his help to craft the same. However the Afghanistan Ulema Council holds that the Shariat explicitly deems such atrocities upon lives as forbidden, therefore a fatwa is unnecessary.


End terror for peace: PM

Addressing the second meeting of the national security chiefs of the Bay of Bengal countries held in Dhaka, host Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged all the countries to work together for establishing a secure and prosperous region by uprooting all sorts of terrorism. At the meeting, the  national security chiefs of the of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) discussed  security cooperation in the Bay region.

BNP wants ‘neutral govt’

In a rally to commemorate the 48th year of Independence, the Opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has urged the government to dissolve parliament before the next parliamentary election and also demanded to hold the elections under a non-partisan neutral government. This follows the Awami League government’s decision to stay on in power during polls, after the Supreme Court had upturned an earlier BNP regime’s initiative in this regard, years ago.


IMF help on GST

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed its support for Bhutan’s efforts to reform its tax system and implementing Goods and Services Tax in the country. IMF’s deputy managing director, Tao Zhang who visited the country, met Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, RMA governor, executives of financial institutions and members from the private sector in Thimphu.

Chartered flights to HK

The national carrier Drukair will begin chartered flights to Hong Kong from this year. The airline has already flown to Hong Kong from 12 February onwards and is likely to continue doing so till October. Earlier, it has flown to Kuala Lumpur earlier and has also received interests from agents to fly to Vietnam, Indonesia, Taipei and Penang in Malaysia.

MDR-TB cases on the rise

The border town of Phuentsholing has recorded about 20 percent of the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) cases in the country. It was reported on the occasion of World TB Day on 24 March, that Bhutan recorded 55 MDR-TB cases in 2016, which in turn increased to 70 in 2017.


Strategic talks with Japan

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono discussed a wide range of bilateral issues during the ninth India-Japan Strategic dialogue in Tokyo. The strategic dialogue is largely being seen as a precursor to the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

SC ruling on SC/ST Act: Centre to move review petition

The government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the court’s decision to ban automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases for suspected offences against SC-ST community. The Supreme Court had banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, a legislation meant to protect the marginalised communities from abuse and discrimination.

ISRO launches GSAT-6A

Satellite GSAT-6A was launched by India’s space agency, the ISRO on 29 March. It intends to provide mobile communication through hand-held ground terminals. "The launch vehicle demonstrated the capability of GSLV as an operational launcher. It has evolved as a workhorse," said P Kunhikrishnan, director at Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


Tourism hurt?

German Ambassador to Maldives Jörn Rohde has tweeted that following a fall in tourist-bookings owing to the ‘political situation’, a large airline from Europe plans to halt their summer season flights to Maldives. He said that the solution is to return to the path of democracy and to work to earn back the good name of Maldives. European airlines with scheduled flights to Maldives include British Airways, Air France, Air Italia and Luftsana Airways.

Pak army chief lands

Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in the Maldives on Friday for a three-day official visit on the invitation of his Maldivian counterpart, Maj-Gen Ahmed Shiyam. Bajwa is the highest-ranking foreign dignitary to visit the country since President Abdulla Yameen imposed and lifted Emergency after 45 days, and comes  amid frayed India-Maldives ties over the issue.


Rohingyas may return

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to repatriate three-quarters of a million Rohingya but the deal has stalled indefinitely, with each side blaming the other for a lack of preparation. Myanmar has so far approved fewer than 600 names from a list of more than 8,000 refugees provided by Bangladesh. The impoverished South Asian nation is housing nearly a million Rohingya in squalid camps along its south-eastern border with Myanmar.

Chinese support

Business communities of Myanmar and China exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in economic, trade and investment on 26 March. The exchange was jointly-organized for the first time by the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (CECCM). About 200 entrepreneurs from different sectors of the two countries attended the event, aimed at exchanging ideas between the two countries' business communities.

Bulk terminal at Thilawa

A bulk terminal is in the pipeline near Thilawa Special Economic Zone in southern Yangon. The US$65 million project is partly funded by the International Finance Corporation and will be among the first providers of bulk cargo handling for the country. The bulk terminal will be one of the first bulk terminals for the country, with a capacity of more than one million metric tonnes. It will lower transport and logistics costs and improve the competitiveness of Myanmar’s supply chains by making it cheaper and more efficient to transport goods.


President hails ‘new era’

President Bidya Devi Bhandari addressed both the houses of the Parliament and hailed the successful culmination of the elections in the country. She reiterated the new era of stability and economic prosperity that Nepal has entered in and advocated better bilateral ties and diplomatic relations. She also insisted upon moving out of corruption and hostility so that a new instance of substantiality can be set from a small ‘buffer state’ like Nepal.

China funds hydro project

The Trishuli- Galchhi hydro-power project shall be financed by China with the Donfang Electric Corporation. This new collaboration yet again strengthens the Sino-Nepal ties and the increase in investments as a part of the Belt and Road project. This is all the more important for the latter because it will prosper home-grown economic security, primarily after the rise in price of electricity from India.

Beijing favours India ties

Much contrary to the general speculations, China has recently made statements that underpin a stable India-Nepal relationship. Focusing on the overall development of the region and how the three countries can come together as supportive neighbours, such an idea was put forward by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang. This remark was much in parity with the assurances made by Prime Minister K. P Oli, while forwarding his foreign policy that contains ‘enmity with none’.


Malala home-coming

Malala, the youngest Nobel laureate, has returned to Pakistan after five long years. Addressing the media at PM Shahid Khaqan Abassi’s residence in Islamabad, she broke down as she recounted how badly she missed Pakistan since moving abroad for her treatment and studies. Malala’s visit was kept a secret due to security reasons but according to officials she is scheduled to stay in the country till 2 April.

$ 188-m loan from IDA

The International Development Association, soft loan window of the World Bank, will be providing $188-million loan to modernise the national hydrological and meteorological services of the country. A World Bank research paper pertaining to the project emphasised that information and delivery systems in the country needs to be improved for increasing vulnerable communities’ resilience to natural hazards, which in turn will contribute to greater economic development.

Energy security

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on 27 March inaugurated the Tolanj Gas processing plant. The gas plant which is $ 150-million worth is expected to be a major step towards making Pakistan an energy-driven country. Terming it as one the largest gas projects, the PM invited private sector and foreign investors to invest in the country’s untapped energy resources.

Sri Lanka

Confidence lacking? Even as Parliament is set to debate and vote on the Joint Opposition’s no-trust vote against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on 4 April, the Government leadership seems to be a divided house, with the major UNP partner lacking in confidence about defeating the vote after President Maithiripala Sirisena’s SLFP members have started openly talking about voting for the motion. Simultaneously, some UNP members have talked about the vote affecting the presidency, if not, while others have mentioned a parallel impeachment motion against Sirisena.



Opinion Pieces

Hujjatullah Zia, “Peaceful Life – A Dream that Will Come True”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 29 March 2018 Mohammad Zahir Akbari, “New year Starts with Successive attacks”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 26 March 2018 Ajmal Rahimi, “India’s role in economic development of Afghanistan”, Afghanistan Times, 25 March 2018


Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Withdrawal of Foreign Troops: Not Path to Peace, Sustaining Conflict”, 29 March 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Regional Unity Can Support Peace in Afghanistan”, 28 March 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Afghan WOMEN AND GOVERNANCE: Main gender inclusion barriers”, 27 March 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Peaceful resolution of Government-Noor rift: A successful pattern for Win-Win Strategy”, 26 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

Mostafiz Uddin, “How Bangladesh should respond to global apparel industry changes”, The Daily Star, 29 March 2018 Saqib Sarker, “How Bangladesh is making the world a safer place”, The Dhaka Tribune, 26 March 2018 Syeda Naushin Parnini,”The Rohingya crisis a test for Bangladesh–Myanmar relations”, East Asia Forum, 24 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

  1. Levin and Kiernan P. Schmitt, “Building a better Bhutan- Land of Happiness to Shangri-La”, 19 March 2018


Kuensel, “Elections should be people centric”, 26 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

Mihir Sharma, “Short Of Cash, India Is Starving Its Military”, NDTV, 29 March 2018 Amitabh Tiwari, “With UP Rajya Sabha Win, BJP May Have Pushed SP, BSP Closer”, Quint, 24 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Will Russian imbroglio deflect the West off Maldives?”,, 30 March 2018 Sharza Aishath, “After Ibthihaal”, Maldives Independent, 30 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

Bidhayak Das, “For India, a Myanmar Policy Minus its Northeast is Incomplete”, The Irrawaddy, 27 March 2018 Joe Kumbun, “Can A New President Pull Myanmar Out of the Quagmire of Conflict?”, The Irrawaddy, 28 March 2018 Bloomberg, “Thai tycoon gets death threat in challenge to ruling elites”, The Myanmar Times, 30 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

Bamdev Paudel, “Nepal’s railway dream”, Republica, 29 March 2018 Surendra Regmi, “Keeping the balance”, The Kathmandu Post, 30 March 2018 Aditya Man Shrestha, “Two of a kind”, Republica, 29 March 2018


The Himalayan Times, “Oli’s priorities”, 29 March 2018 The Kathmandu Post, “Clipped wings”, 30 March 2018 Republica, “Just cause”, 27 March 2018


Opinion Pieces

Huma Yusuf, “Left high and dry”, Dawn, 26 March 2018 Rasul Baksh Rais, “The Bajwa Doctrine”, The Express Tribune, 29 March 2018 Naeem-ul-Haque, “The last hope”, The Express Tribune, 30 March 2018


The Express Tribune, “Human trafficking in Pakistan”, 28 March 2018 The Express Tribune, “Dams, treaties, India and water”, 29 March 2018 Dawn, “Malala returns home”, 30 March 2018

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

N Sathiya Moorthy, “TNA, trust-vote and the third option”, The Sunday Leader, 1 April 2018 Lucien Rajakarunanayake, “No confidence in who or what?”, The Island, 31 March 2018 Kusal Perera, “Three who dare not face presidential poll”, Daily Mirror Online, 30 March 2018 Neville Ladduwahetti, “Indian Ocean geo-politics and its impact on Sri Lanka”, The Island, 30 March 2018 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, “Reform & reality”, The Island, 29 March 2018 Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan, “Tamil politics: Need for new focus”, The Island, 30 March 2018 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Reconciliation, reparations and domestic compulsions”, The Island, 30 March 2018 Jayadeva Uyangoda, “Reform resistance in Sri Lankan politics”, The Island, 28 March 2018  Ranga Jayasuriya, “PM’s no-confiidence vote and yahapalanaya’s divided loyalties”, Daily Mirror Online, 27 March 2018 C A Chandraprema, “Inbuilt resistance in presently constituted local authorities”, The Island, 26 March 2018

Contributors Afghanistan: Sohini Bose Bangladesh: Dr Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale India: Ketan Mehta Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee Nepal: Sohini Nayak Pakistan: Mayuri Banerjee
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