MonitorsPublished on Jul 18, 2016
South Asia Weekly Report | Volume IX; Issue 29


Afghanistan: What next on the NATO front?

By Kriti M. Shah

The recently-concluded NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, saw the United States and its allies pledge extended long term support for Afghanistan, stating the country risked collapse if troops pulled out of the insurgency- ravaged country. NATO member-states decided to continue ‘Operation Resolute Support’, its training, advisory and assistance counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan until 2020.

The Summit is a vital event whereby Afghanistan secures funding for its military forces and the outcomes from Warsaw are a victory for the Afghan Government that desperately needs NATO’s support. US President Barack Obama’s announcement that 8400 US troops would be staying in Afghanistan until 2017, a change from his earlier plan of having 4400 troops only, recognises that the ANDSF will require more and assistance to develop into a capable fighting force. The aim should be to ensure that by 2020, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF)- a term for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) are a sustainable, indigenous security force that is capable of dealing with existing and emerging insurgency threats.

Serious instability

At the Summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that while Afghan security forces were responsible for security across the country, the nation continued to face serious instability and violence and therefore “our continued political, military and financial engagement is of great importance.”  Despite public fatigue amongst NATO allies, the group pledged $4 billion to the Afghan armed forces until 2020. That includes $3 billion from the US and $1 billion from NATO allies. The Afghan government is expected to spend $420 million for its forces, ensuring over $4.5 billion in military aid and training. Such funding commitments allow the ANDSF to maintain its level of 350,000 troops until 2020.

While NATO’s commitments are vital to the lifeline of the Afghan state, the next four years in the run up to 2020, will be crucial for the country. The ANDSF remains heavily dependent on foreign assistance and aid over a decade after the war. While security forces have made progress, they continue to remain in a defensive posture limiting their ability to win back territory under insurgent control. Other serious challenges such as poor logistics, operation planning, gaps in aerial fires, deficiencies in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance have hampered the ability of the ANDSF to defeat the Taliban.

Restructuring ANDSF

It is integral for NATO and its allies to consider restructuring the ANDSF command structure that is highly centralised and bureaucratically heavy. Corruption and strong patronage systems within the Afghan Government and security forces have resulted in key appointments being made on political affiliation and nepotism. Donor aid is often used by high ranking commanders and politicians for personal enrichment. In addition, factional interests and ethnic and tribal affiliations affect sharing of information and intelligence amongst security forces. This greatly impedes the ability of the security forces to work as a coordinated team with NATO forces.

The Afghan Air Force continues to suffer for insufficient airlift capacity to move reinforcements into battle areas, mount airborne raids and conduct medical evacuations. The gaps in providing aerial support to ground troops reduce the effectiveness of the troops and inhibits their moral and confidence. The absence of air support in ground operations makes troop reluctant to attack insurgents and troops have heavy reliance on added air support. It is therefore important that in order to boost morale and confidence levels of troops on the ground, NATO and the US must commit to long term aviation support.

NATO troops must continue to work closely with the Afghan National Police and other local security institutions ensuring that Afghan police officers are well trained in local intelligence gathering and policing. The Taliban has demonstrated its strength in seizing villages and rural towns and a strong local security force is prudent in order to thwart such attacks. Another important aspect that needs serious redressal is the financial management system between donor aid and the receiving body. NATO must improve the monitoring of donor aid, making the system more transparent to ensure that the $4.5 billion is being used correctly and effectively.

Civilian protection

The US and its allies must also implement concrete civilian protection mechanisms to ensure that civilians are not killed or injured in the conflict.  In 2015, civilian casualties attributed to pro government forces jumped up 28 percent compared to the previous year. Government security forces have often put civilians in harm by occupying local schools as security bases and raiding medical facilities.

In 2015, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported an increase in the number of conflict related raids and attacks on hospitals and medical clinics by insurgent groups as well as by government forces. NATO must press the government to curtail such civilian killings and abuses by security forces and rein in those who flout the rules. Such wrongdoings undermine the legitimacy of the government, turning local populations against the security forces and fuelling support for the insurgents.

The country has suffered from deadly Taliban attacks in recent months as the Afghan Army battles the Islamic State in the eastern provinces. The government continues to suffer from a legitimacy deficit as delayed elections, high corruption and allegations of nepotism plague it. It remains highly dependent on foreign aid to function and the sluggish economy has prevented the state from functioning as a self sufficient democratic country. It is important that both President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah harness considerable political will and pass popular electoral reform and hold parliamentary and district council elections soon. The absence of a strong government will reverse any headway made in strengthening of the security forces.

While NATO’s troop and aid support will provide a strong cushion for the weary Afghan Army and Government, Kabul must see the next four years, upto 2020, as most precious and crucial. The National Unity Government must show solidarity and resolve in making the best of NATO aid, advise and assistance. While simultaneously exerting pressure on the government to strengthen democratic institutions, NATO must ensure the ANDSF’s financial sustainability and operational effectiveness for the future of Afghanistan.

The author is Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Maldives: Joining with India to fight IS terror


By N. Sathiya Moorthy

Indian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter Terrorism and Extremism, Saeed Asif Ibrahim, was in Male, discussing IS-centric counter-terrorism cooperation with Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar. Ibrahim is a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Indian agency keeping tab also on external factors that impact on nation’s internal security.

Ibrahim’s Male visit is believed to be a follow-up to IB’s internal notes that Maldives stood the strongest chances of IS activities among Indian Ocean nations. Indian media reports, quoting IB sources, also referred to the IS using the social media, starting with the internet, to expand its network in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

“The local security agencies in Maldives are fully aware of the issue and have been taking corrective steps regarding the increasing influence and attempts being made by ISIS in the island country. But since the development is happening virtually in India’s own backyard, it means that our security agencies need to be extremely careful about it,” a senior Indian intelligence official was quoted by newspapers as saying.

The news reports, reproduced in a section of the Maldivian media, said that there were IS sympathisers among the youth of Maldives. However, they were quick to add that the terrorist organisation had not yet been able to establish a strong enough presence in the country to carry out any major subversive activities.

“We are in touch with our counterparts in Maldives and have been sharing information with them as this issue is not limited to just one country, but will ultimately impact the entire region. So we need a collective effort to curb this growing menace of ISIS,” the media reports said further, quoting Indian officials.

Focused approach

The low-profile visit by a high-power Indian official has come at a time when Maldives continues to be engaged in high-octane domestic political battles of one kind after the other. The more recent one has involved quarrels between President Abdulla Yameen and his ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) boss and half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the longest-serving President of the country.

On the international front, the Yameen leadership has been put on the defensive by the Maldives United Opposition (MUO), led by ‘jailed’ former President Mohammed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Nasheed and many other Opposition leaders are either overseas with him in London, where the British host has granted him ‘political asylum’. Those Opposition leaders that are in Maldives still are in prison.

In this background, the Indian official’s visit is believed to help Maldives re-prioritise its short, medium and long-term concerns. In the Indian perception, it would seem, the Maldivian concerns should be directed more at the IS brand of terrorism and its influence and impact on the nation than internal squabbles, just now.

This should also be a message for India’s international partners, especially of the Euro-American variety, who continued to be caught in the vortex of IS terrorism each passing day. Between them, the MUO and their western backers need to distinguish between their democracy-centric domestic political battles viz the Yameen Government and IS terrorism, whose consequences are more real, immediate and irreversible.

Neighbourhood policy

In the immediate South Asian context, India’s neighbourhood policy comprises two main components. Non-interference in internal affairs of a neighbouring nation is combined with Indian concerns over more immediate internal and external security concerns for the self. If there are exceptions over the past, that should be linked to India’s overwhelming internal security concerns flowing from neighbourhood factors that it could ignore at great peril.

In most cases, especially in the post Cold War era, India’s neighbours too seem more wary of extra-regional powers muddying the shared Indian Ocean waters than of India. On internal security concerns of individual nations in the regions, they are all ready to share intelligence and initiatives with all nations, starting with India. The reverse is true, equally and at times more. Often, extra-regional powers get it all wrong, leading to avoidable tensions in regional equations and bilateral relations in the region.

Where gaps exist, it owes to India’s inability to take dependent neighbours into confidence while launching out on security-related arrangements and agreements with extra-regional powers. It used to be the erstwhile Soviet Union during the Cold War era and the US, post-Cold War. India-centric neighbourhood nations, especially in the shared Indian Ocean, are unable to adapt themselves to the seamless Indian transformation in ways India perceives without adequate preparation by India.

In matters of external security, India is not seen as initiating the required moves and providing the required momentum for seeking and holding regional leadership to external security requirements of neighbourhood nations. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s declaration that India will be the ‘net-provider’ of security in the region is yet to be translated into tangible action. But internal security concerns of individual nations and those of India, too often coalesce even more. Hence there is relatively greater coordination and collaboration, especially when it concerns extra-regional non-State actors.


The self-contradictions in Maldivian polity are also showing up from time to time. On the one hand, the Yameen presidency is reintroducing ‘death penalty’ after decades, without reference to the Islamic laws, which enshrines the same. At the other end of the socio-political spectrum, the Government has banned women in the civil service wearing nijab, as if to address the concerns of modernity and religious moderation.

From the political Opposition, religion-centric Adhaalath Party is silent on the re-introduction of death penalty, but is strongly opposed to the nijab ban, but arguing in modern and moderate terms of ensuring women’s rights to do what they want in ways they want it. The opposition of President Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) — which has stuck to the constitutional tradition of keeping Maldives a Sunni-Islamic nation — to death penalty seems more technical than ideological.

After a point, the so-called party politics in Maldives has boiled down to personality clashes than any ideological perception, which different stake-holders are mouthing otherwise. This has consequences for internal security threats of the IS variety. Maldives is a youthful nation, whose GenNext voters reposed great hopes and faith for the self and the nation, in the 2008 brand of democracy.

The politicos of every hue have failed them since. In a nation bereft of internal left-leaning political course, which too provides for extremism and militancy, elsewhere, it’s not unnatural for frustrated sections of the youth in the country to move far-right, and take to religion. In the post Cold War global order, there are men and means to exploit the religious sentiments of faraway people as used to be the case in terms of non-religious ideology during the Cold War.

The divided Maldivian polity and their international partners on either side of the political divide are missing the woods for trees. It’s at the bottom of internal security issues haunting Maldives just now. India seems to comprehend the Maldivian dilemma well, but it’s too close to the events and developments that it’s perceptions of non-interference scores over security concerns of the self and the other. That seems to be the Indian dilemma, in turn.

The author is Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Chennai.



NATO support until 2020

NATO promised to continue Operation Resolution Support in Afghanistan until the 2020 during the Warsaw Summit in Poland on July 9. The military group agreed to help fund Afghan security forces upto $ 1 billion annually. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that is was too early to determine what NATO troops level would be in 2017 and that a decision on that would be made later. NATO currently has over 13,000 troops in Afghanistan. Speaking at the summit US President Barack Obama said that "We have an option of.. pulling out and potentially then seeing a country crumble under the strains of continued terrorist activity or insurgencies."

For more information, see: Despite fatigue, NATO commits to fund Afghan forces to 2020

US official visits Kabul

On a surprise visit to Kabul after the Warsaw Summit, US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter praised the strength and courageousness of the Afghan security forces and expressed the US’ confidence in them. Speaking at a news conference along with President Ashraf Ghani, Carter said that the new powers given to General John Nicholson, who commands both the NATO-led Resolute Support mission and a separate US counterterrorism mission, would allow "much more efficient and effective use of the forces we have here as well as the Afghan forces." Carter also highlighted the importance of the government’s anti-corruption drive and urged leaders of the National Unity Government to work together.

For more information, see: Ash Carter: More powers for US military commanders in Afghanistan

Sixty two militants killed

Afghan security forces conducted military operations in nine provinces killing at least 62 militants on July 15. The clearing operation was conducted in the provinces of Nangarhar, Paktika, Wardak, Ghazni, Kandahar, Farah, Badakhshan, Takhar and Helmand wounding over 28 insurgents. Seven Afghan army personnel were killed, with the security forces seizing weapons in these areas.

For more information, see: 62 militants killed in a day in Afghanistan


Create awareness: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed minister to take measures to tackle militancy, prevent misuse of religion. She has urged her colleagues to take measures to create social awareness for resisting terrorism in the country.  Opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) claimed government failed to check the rise of militancy.

For more information see:  Create awareness to resist terrorBNP for united resistance against militancyBNP for united resistance against militancy

US support in fighting terror

The US pledged strong support for Bangladesh in its battle against terrorism and extremism. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nish Desai Biswal informed this during her visit to Bangladesh this week.  Meanwhile, US informed that it believes there are links between Bangladeshi militants and international terror networks.

For more information, see: Strong US support in fighting terror; US sees links with int'l networks

Inflation low, export up

Inflation has recorded a decade law as it stood at 5.92%, down from 6.35% recorded in the same period last year as per data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Continuing the good news, export also registered an increase of 10% and the country eared over $34 billion in the fiscal year 2015-16.

For more information, see: Annual inflation falls to decade low; Exports cross $34bn in FY16

Mega quake in waiting 

 A study of Global Positioning System (GPS) predicted that Bangladesh might be heading towards a major earthquake. According to the study, there is there a risk of a major earthquake in the north-eastern region of the Indian subcontinent.

For more information, see: Mega thrust quake waiting beneath us


Ten percent growth ‘unachievable’

Prime Minister TsheringTobgay said that the government will not be able to achieve an annual economic growth of 10 percent by 2018 as promised during its election campaign in 2013. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook has projected the country’s real GDP to grow at 8.4 percent this year. When the government came to power in 2013, the country’s GDP growth was 2.05 percent.

For more information, see: 10 percent GDP growth unachievable: PM

BBIN on bumpy road

Bhutan’s gross national happiness philosophy seems to have put the ambitious sub-regional road connectivity plan involving Bangladesh, India and Nepal on a bumpy turf. Concerns over a large number of vehicles entering Bhutan after it ratifies the pact have given rise to many stakeholders protesting against the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative.

For more information, see: Bhutan’s happiness index puts BBIN initiative on bumpy turf

Indian workers missing

At least 100 individuals combed the banks of the Amochhu in search of the seven non-Bhutanese labourers who were washed away when the Denchukha-Dophuchenbridge located in Pultar, Dorokhadungkhag in Samtse collapsed on July 11. The workers are from Malda district of West Bengal who were working in Bhutan.

For more information, see: Search continues for missing workers; 8 Maldalabourers missing in Bhutan, 1 body arrives


War ships in Malaysia

Indian Navy's ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kirch under the Command of Rear Admiral S. V. Bhokare on Friday arrived at Port Kelang, Malaysia as part of deployment of the Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea and Western Pacific. The four-day visit is demonstration of India's 'Act East' policy and Indian Navy's increasing footprint and operational reach. The visiting Indian Navy ships are also likely to conduct exercises with the Royal Malaysian Navy, aimed at enhancing interoperability.

For more information, see: Indian Navy warships visit Malaysia to boost geostrategic relations

Evacuated from South Sudan

The two Indian Air Force C-17 Globe Masters that the government has sent to evacuate Indians stranded in South Sudan, which has been hit by violence that has claimed hundreds of lives, will be back in India on Friday, first stopping at Thiruvananthapuram and then proceeding to New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry stated on Thursday. Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh reached South Sudan on Thursday, leading the government's 'Operation SankatMochan' to evacuate Indians from the African country.

For more information, see: Indians evacuated from South Sudan to reach home early Friday morning

Pakistan targets Modi

Taking its already high-decibel rhetoric on J&K to another level altogether, Pakistan's defence minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif put the blame for violence in the state on PM Narendra Modi's shoulders, saying Kashmir was witnessing an extension of ethnic cleansing initiated by Modi in Gujarat. "Massacre and genocide in Indian Occupied Kashmir is extension and re-enactment of ethnic cleansing started by Modi in Gujarat (sic)," he tweeted. The comment came after PM Nawaz Sharif announced on Friday that Pakistan would observe a Black Day on July 19 to express solidarity with Kashmiris over the violence in the Valley. Sharif also described slain Hizbul commander BurhanWani as a martyr.

For more information, see: Pakistan targets PM Modi directly, blames him for J&K violence

Zakir Naik denies charges

Rejecting allegations that his sermons “inspired” terror activity, controversial Islamic preacher ZakirNaik claimed he never encouraged anyone to kill innocents and said he will cooperate with any probe agency if it approaches him. “I did not inspire any terrorist... suicide bombings targeting innocent people are condemnable,” Dr.Naik said

For more information, see: ZakirNaik says he did not inspire any terrorist

Congress names Shiela Dikshit for UP

Ahead of Assembly polls in UP, the Congress named Sheila Dikshit as its Chief Ministerial candidate. She will be up against Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. The BJP is yet to name a CM candidate. The announcement is a departure from Congress’s past and comes at the behest of Prashant Kishore.

For more information, see: Sheila Dikshit is Congress' UP chief minister candidate


Indian official meets MoD

Indian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter-Terrorism and Extremism, Saeed Asif Ibrahim, met with Minister of Defence (MoD), Adam Shareef Umar, and discussed issues relating to the terrorism group. IS. The visit comes in the wake of recent media reports, quoting Intelligence Bureau (IB) assessments that Maldives had the strongest chance of being the IS’s target among the nations of the Indian Ocean.

For more information, see: “Indian Counter-Terror Envoy meets Maldivian Defense Minister”, SunOnline, 15 July 2016; “India, Maldives discuss counter terror efforts”, Miadhu, 15 July 2016; “Adhaalath Party expresses concern over niqab ban in Civil Service”, Miadhu, 15 July 2016

New Foreign Minister

President Abdulla Yameen has appointed Dr. Mohamed Asim, a career diplomat, as the new Foreign Minister, in the place of niece Dunya Maumoon, who quit office, purportedly protesting the re-introduction of death sentence in the country. Holding a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from the Australian National University (ANU) and a PG degree in International Affairs from California State University in the US, Asim had most recently served as Maldivian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, and earlier in Sri Lanka, the UK and Pakistan, apart from the European Union (EU).

For more information, see: “Dr Mohamed Asim new Foreign Minister”, SunOnline, 10 July 2016; “New Foreign Minister appointed”, Miadhu, 11 July 2016


Extremism condemned

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the defence services, said that everyone should respect different ethnicities, religions and cultures, while avoiding extremism. The military chief met officers, other ranks and their families at Maha Bandoola Hall at the Sittwe battalion on July 12.

For more information, see: Military chief condemns extremism; Min AungHlaing Asks Soldiers in Arakan Not to Be Extreme

Monks ban ultra-nationalism

Myanmar’s leading state-backed cleric organisation, Ma Ba Tha, has announced that the ultra-nationalist group Ma Ba Tha is not a “lawful monks’ association” as “it was not formed in accordance with the country’s monastic rules.” The SanghaMahaNayaka, a government-appointed council of monks which oversees Buddhist monastic discipline in the country also denied Ma Ba Tha’s claim last week that it was formed as an “offshoot” of a 2013 conference of Buddhist clerics attended by multiple orders within the Sangha.

For more information see: State-Backed Monks’ Council Decries Ma Ba Tha as Unlawful

No more dams

No new irrigation dams will be built during the tenure of the current government, and spending on existing facilities will be halved, says Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Tun Win.Burma now has more than 100 irrigation dams, and the ministry has questioned the benefits they provide to agricultural production and farmer’s welfare.

For more information, see: No New Irrigation Dams DuringGovt’s Term


Oli won’t quit

Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli has claimed that a new government cannot be formed during the transitional period. Oli said so a day after a no-confidence motion was filed against him in Parliament, hinting that the country is likely to plunge into a constitutional crisis. Congratulating opposition law-makers for bringing a no-confidence motion against him, Oli clarified that he would not resign from his post.

For more information see: New govt cannot be formed: PM Oli; Youths extend support to PM Oli; Cabinet says government to move ahead as per constitution provision

Barrage at Chatara crucial

The construction of Barrage in Chatara has been essential to ease water flow to the main canal of Sunsari-Morang Irrigation Project built for irrigating 68,000 hectares of agriculture land in Sunsari and Morang districts.  The Project officials have been insisting on the construction of barrage in the southern part of the Chatara Bridge under the national pride project to channelize the river water flow to eastern direction.

For more information, see: Barrage to be constructed in Chatara area

Flight again to Dubai

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on July 14 announced resumption of its flights on the Kathmandu-Dubai route starting August 18, four years after it was suspended due to the lack of aircraft. NAC Spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma said they would be conducting three flights per week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) on the sector. The Kathmandu-Dubai operation was ceased in 2012. The UAE is the fourth largest destination for Nepali migrant workers.

For more information, see: Nepal Airlines announces resumption of Kathmandu-Dubai flight


Call for ‘black day’

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet condemned the killing of HizbulMujahideen commander BurhanWani in Kashmir by Indian security forces stating it was incorrect to call him a terrorist. The Prime Minister said that “Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support for Kashmiris in their just struggle for right to self-determination” and called for Pakistan to observe 19 July as a “black day” against ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’. India said it was dismayed in Pakistan’s interference in its internal matters and expressed hope that Islamabad would desist from further interference.

For more information, see: Cabinet meeting condemns Indian govt for calling BurhanWani a terrorist; Pakistan announces black day over Kashmir, don’t interfere in our issue, India hits back

‘Duplicity’ exposed

Former Afghan intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil who stepped down from the National Directorate of Security last year, released documents that he said proved that Pakistani intelligence services had helped the Taliban and the Haqqani Network in 2014 and 2015. Nabil has been strongly critical of Pakistan, which is routinely accused by Afghanistan of sponsoring the Afghan Taliban.

For more information, see: Former Afghan spy chief says letters show Pakistan supports militants

APS mastermind killed

Pakistani Taliban leader Umar Narai was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, security officials confirmed on July 12. Narai is accused of being the mastermind behind the 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed over 150 children and teachers. The Pentagon said that Naraiwas killed along with four other enemy combatants in a US Forces-Afghanistan air strike targeting Islamic State-Khorasan Province members. US General John Nicholson called Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif to confirm the killing.

For more information, see: Pakistan school attack mastermind killed in US strike

Sri Lanka

Namal held for graft

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa became the third Rajapaksa to be arrested, again on graft charge, after paternal uncle Basil and younger brother Yoshita, and was sent to court-ordered custody. After visiting Namal in prison, his father and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa criticised the Government, for being selective in its actions on allegations of graft.

For more information, see: “Namal Rajapaksa arrested”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 July 2016; “Namal arrest: MR asks if govt. happy now?”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 July 2016; “Rohitha says brother’s arrest a Govt. witch-hunt”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 July 2016; “Local judicial system politically biased: Dulles”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 July 2016   

US talks development

On an unpublicised visit of sorts, senior US State Department official, Nisha Biswal, said in Colombo that they would work closely with the current Sri Lankan Government on economic development issues, saying that it was the key to reconciliation. She came after a three-day visit of Chinese Foreign Minister, after which China reiterated that Sri Lanka can ‘count on China”.

For more information, see: “US will continue to support SL in economic development: Bishwal”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 July 2016; “War Crimes Probe: U.S. officials arrive amidst conflicting signals on foreign judges”, The Island, 12 July 2016; “War crimes: TNA’s claim at Congressional hearing irrelevant – minister”, The Island, 12 July 2016;  “‘SL can count on China’”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 July 2016



Press Releases

Joint Statement of the Fith US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 10, 2016


Press Releases

High Level Inter Agency Task Force for The UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 12, 2016


Press Releases

Statement on the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea under Annexure VII of UNCLOS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 13, 2016



Opinion Pieces

Abdullah Sharif, Afghanistan Situation: Mission Resolute Support or Operation Everlasting, Huffington Post, July 13, 2016

Rachel Reid, Afghan forces should learn from NATO’s mistakes, Al Jazeera, July 12, 2016

RanaJawad, NATO, new Afghan commitment and us, The News International, July 10, 2016

Paul D. Shinkman, As Obama’s Tenure Ends, U.S Wars  Drag On, US News, July 14, 2016


Opinion Pieces

Asif Kabir, An attack on vibrant Bangladesh, The India Express, July 14, 2016


Time for a 360-degree anti-terror strategy, Dhaka Tribune, July 13, 2016


Opinion Pieces

Phuntsho Namgyel, Defining the constitutional provision of 60 percent minimum forest cover, Kuensel, July 10, 2016


Opinion Pieces

c. Raja Mohan, Raja-Mandala: Drawing a line in the sea, The Indian Express, July 12, 2016

Praveen Swami, The new language of rage, Indian Express, July 15, 2016

Shailaja Chandra, Three states hold the key, Indian Express, July 15, 2016


Opinion Pieces

Shahindha Ismail, “An eye for an eye, or save the lives of mankind?”, Maldives Independent, 16 July 2016

Omkar Khandekar, “The chaos island”, Maldives Independent, 13 July 2016


Opinion Pieces

Moe Gyo, Panglong II: What’s in it for Burma’s ethnic minorities, The Irrawaddy, July 13, 2016


Burma’s 100 days, The Irrawaddy, July 11, 2016


Opinion Pieces

Mandira Singh Shrestha and Arun Bhakta Shrestha, After Bhotekoshi, Republica, July 13, 2016

Radha Paudel, Toilet talkThe Kathmandu Post, July 14, 2016


Danger zones', Republica, July 14, 2016

Insulate the budget, The Kathmandu Post, July 15, 2016



An uphill battle, The Express Tribune, July 15, 2016

Opinion Pieces

Prashant Jha, Bad strategy: Why Pakistan won’t gain by playing the Kashmir card, Hindustan Times, July 14, 2016

Asha’ Ar Rehman, Under the banner, Dawn, July 15, 2016

Haroon Khalid, As the world wakes up to educated Islamic militants, Pakistan needs to secularise learning,, July 15, 2016

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Fr Vimal Trimanna, “Western hypocrisy and UN call for accountability in Sri Lanka”, The Island, 14 July 2016

Malinda Seneviratne, “Stepping out of the (main) stream of hatred”, Daily Mirror Online, 14 July 2016

Jehan Perera, “International pressure cannot be seen as overbearing”, The Island, 12 July 2016

Ranga Jayasuriya, “Shadow cabinet flops before ink on the appointment letters dries up”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 July 2016

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Governing banks and banking on governors”, The Sunday Leader, 10 July 2016


Afghanistan and Pakistan: Kriti M. Shah

Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee

Bhutan and Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale

India: Shubh Soni and Pushan Das

Maldives & Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy

Nepal: Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury and Sreeparna Banerjee

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