MonitorsPublished on Oct 10, 2019
Assembly elections and the challenges before the Indian National Congress, developments in Maldives — and other news from South Asia.
South Asia Weekly Report | Volume XII; Issue 40

India: The challenges before the ‘Grand Old Party’

Ambar Kumar Ghosh The incessant crisis in the principal opposition party in India, namely, the Congress, seems to be unrelenting. The factionalism in the party once again came to the fore in the recent feud between the reinstated old guard of the Haryana Congress led by Shelja Kumari and former chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the one side, and the deposed State Congress chief, Dr. Ashok Tanwar, on the other. Coming as it did ahead of the assembly polls in the relatively small north Indian State, alongside those in the larger Maharashtra, the nation’s ‘Grand Old Party’, or GOP, seems only to be growing and expanding, vertically and horizontally. The schism between the two warring factions in Haryana catapulted into a full blown crisis as Dr. Tanwar launched a protest at the residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi for being cornered in the party. The rift within the Haryana State Congress is extremely worrisome for the party as Haryana gears up for the State elections later this month. But the fact remains that the crisis in Congress’s Haryana unit is not an isolated case of internal discord. The Congress Party, which has faced unprecedented political setbacks one after the other in the light of the continuous rise of the politically ascendant, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2014, appears to be besieged by internal rifts even in the States like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where it managed to wrest power from the BJP. Moreover, unabated defection of prominent Congress leaders into the ruling BJP all over the country, have severely dented the organisational apparatus and morale of the party workers. What probably might have weakened the party most is the perennial leadership crisis that the party is suffering from at the highest level. After the electoral debacle of the party in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019, then Congress President Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post owning responsibility of the defeat. After vacillating for two months, despite demand for fresh young leadership from some of the notable leaders, the party once again fell back to the former party President Sonia Gandhi, who is reportedly not in very good health, for holding the reins of the party at this moment of crisis. As the grand old party of India, which dominated and shaped the discourse of Indian politics for a considerable period of time since independence, is drifting into an abysmal political crisis, it is crucial to ponder over some of the major fault lines that has grappled the Congress party. Two major factors that can be attributed to the ensuing crisis in the party can be viewed as generational and ideological.

Shadow of old-guard

History bears testimony to the fact that the Congress has always been vitiated by the schisms between the old status quo leadership and the new young leadership clamouring for transformational overhaul. However, in the contemporary times, a consensual reconciliation between the two factions seems more and more difficult with every passing day. Rahul Gandhi, who is largely viewed as the torch bearer of the new vibrant young leadership of the Congress, have repeatedly expressed his inability to chart his own way of restructuring the party as he was continuously held back by the deeply entrenched influence of the old guard within the party. The recent cases in point can be anointment of Congress veterans like Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath as Chief Ministers of Congress ruled States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh instead of young leaders like Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Rahul Gandhi’s bickering regarding his inability to have a free hand in running the party found more explicit expression in his statements in the party meeting and his subsequent resignation letter in the aftermath of the party’s Lok Sabha drubbing. Despite Rahul’s request to find a Congress president outside the Gandhi family, Sonia Gandhi’s return to the helm of affairs in the party after much speculation, is also seen as a handiwork of the Congress old guard. It is an absolute no brainer to understand that the reluctance of the Congress veterans to usher in radical changes in the party stems from their understanding that their personal as well as party’s interest can be best secured under the leadership of the Gandhi family. This conviction of theirs can be partly viewed as an insecurity regarding any major change that can challenge their dominance within the party and partly due to their habitual obedience towards the Gandhi family as they have seen the party being controlled and made to win elections under the leadership of the members of the Gandhi family for most of their lifetime. Therefore, insecurity coupled with unquestioning obedience have contributed to the stubbornness of the party’s old leadership that is restraining any major, much needed, transformation that is pivotal for the political rejuvenation of the Congress.

Ideological ambiguity

Apart from the rigid grip of the Congress old guard, the ideological ambiguity of the Congress Party came to the forefront more vividly in the recent years. The foundational principles of the party that were laid down by the party stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many others, that moulded the ideological bulwark of the party and the idea of India, seems to have not been communicated clearly to the younger leadership of the Congress Party. The broader ideological narrative that is crucial for driving the political project of every political party appears to have become ambivalent in the Congress. The present Congress leadership’s lack of clarity on some of its foundational concepts like secularism, minority protection and very recently the party’s ambivalent take on the question of special status for Kashmir and Article 370, are emblematic of the ideological erosion that the party is suffering from. As a national party that spearheaded the freedom movement against colonial rule and the most prominent opposition party in India, it is incumbent upon the Congress leadership to carve out a distinct ideological edifice for itself which will serve as a guiding light for the party to politically resurrect itself. As the strength and efficiency of the Opposition is integral for ensuring the robustness of a vibrant democracy, immediate redress of the shortcomings of the Congress party is the need of the hour. The insurmountable challenge before the Congress Party is not only to keep the inner factionalism at bay but also to rejuvenate itself in order to emerge as a credible political alternative that can effectively take on the powerful political machinery of the ruling the BJP.

Maldives: In Male, Gen. Rawat talks security, in Delhi, Nasheed joins issue with China

N. Sathiya Moorthy India, Maldives, Nasheed, South Asia Getty Images Underscoring the increased importance India is attaching to Ocean-neighbour Maldives, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat undertook a five-day visit to the archipelago-nation earlier this month. Meanwhile, as if coinciding with the event, Maldives Parliament speaker and former President Mohammed Nasheed reiterated in New Delhi that India ties were very important for his country, and also reiterated the archipelago-nation’s position that Kashmir is an ‘internal matter of India.’ It was Gen. Rawat’s first overseas visit after taking over as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. His decision to spend five days in the host-nation together indicate the growing geostrategic importance of Maldives in New Delhi’s Indian Ocean scheme of things. It is equally important to note the kind of welcome response that President Ibrahim Solih has been sending out to India, unlike under predecessor Abdulla Yameen’s five years in office. “Pleasure to meet Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and #COAS of India Gen. Bipin Rawat today. India plays a vital role in capacity building for Maldivian armed forces and is a close partner in keeping the Indian Ocean a conflict-free region,” Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid tweeted about his meeting the visiting General. According to reports, the two discussed ways to keep the shared Ocean neighbourhood a ‘conflict-free zone.’ Given his vast experience in the Government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, starting off as a career diplomat and ending as Foreign Secretary and later as Foreign Minister Shahid is emerging as the chief interlocutor of President Solih in the larger scheme of foreign and security policy-matters, which are anyway getting increasingly intertwined. According to reports, Minister Shahid and Gen Rawat discussed the importance of taking into account the evolving nature of threats and the “multi-faceted nature of the Maldives-India relationship.” Gen Rawat further highlighted the contributions made by the Indian armed forces to train and strengthen the capacity of Maldivian security forces. Apart from calling on President Solih and Minister Mariya Didi, Gen. Rawat also met with his counterpart, Maj-Gen. Abdulla Shahid. He handed over a fleet of transport vehicles and equipment to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) in order to strengthen its operational capability. As is known, India extends full support to enhance capacity and capability development of Maldives armed forces as an equal partner Given its central location in the Indian Ocean, Maldives has always been a high point in India’s geo-strategic map for the region and beyond. The dominant presence of the US after the end of the Cold War and the increasing ‘intrusion’ of China has made New Delhi alert to possibilities and developments in the region, through the short, medium and long terms.

Net security-provider

Asked about Gen. Rawat’s long, five-day visit in New Delhi, Maldives Speaker Nasheed referred to India as the ‘net-provider’ of security in the Indian Ocean region, an American geo-strategic phraseology popularised by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “We have always seen India as a net security provider for the Indian Ocean, and India has always provided us assistance in our time of need, whether it was a mercenary attack or a natural disaster. The close military cooperation that we have must be strengthened and none of our parliament members would oppose that. I think that’s the kind of confidence our people want,” he told The Hindu in an interview. Nasheed, who was in Delhi to address the World Economic Forum India Summit, responded to Maldivian position on the ‘Kashmir issue’, over which the Foreign Ministers of 57-member Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) took what was perceived as an ‘anti-India’ stand. “We have always seen India as a net security provider for the India ocean, and India has always provided us assistance in our time of need, whether it was a mercenary attack or a natural disaster. The close military cooperation that we have must be strengthened and none of our parliament members would oppose that. I think that’s the kind of confidence our people want,” he said.

Military might

Addressing the Summit session on ‘Development in the Indo-Pacific Region,’ Nasheed claimed that India holds a “Hindu lotus position” that makes projecting its power difficult. When asked to explain, he told NDTV: “India is such a peaceful and non-violent country that it's locked in a peaceful lotus position. The country is finding it difficult to project its military might. India is currently winning through smart power.” Talking to NDTV on the summit-sidelines, Nasheed reiterated that his country's ties with India were important for its economic growth and security. “Given our long relationship with your country, we have always had an India-first policy. We can achieve rapid development only by plugging into India's development. Our defence ties with India are very important too. The Indian Army Chief often visits Maldives, and he is very welcome there. Our ties with India are important for our economic growth as well as our security and stability,” he said. In an obvious to the expanding areas of bilateral cooperation, going beyond economy and security, Nasheed was “appreciative of the Indian Government's efforts to train Maldivians in cricket, so as to promote the games” in Maldives. Last month, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had announced that Maldives, otherwise madly engaged with football as a ‘national game’, had requested India's help for training its sportspersons in cricket. The Centre agreed to the request, and the training session is set to begin this month. “Indian cricketers have always visited Maldives. In fact, former Indian cricket team captain Ajit Wadekar taught me the game. We've always had Indian captains coming to Maldives. The Maldivian government lost focus in developing the game in the last decade, but we are restarting that. The Indian government is also helping us build a cricket stadium in Maldives. We are hoping this leads to something positive,” Nasheed said.

China trust ‘restored’

As coincidence would have it the two high-profile ‘exchange visits’, one military and the other political, coincided with China’s Maldives envoy Zhang Lizhong declaring that they have ‘restore(d) the trust’ between the two countries. At China’s 70th National Day celebrations off Male, Amb. Zhang also said that bilateral ties were “now standing at a new starting-point”. “This visit has deepened the political trust and Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides which will promote the China-Maldives future-oriented all-round fraternity with cooperative partnership to a whole new level.” Amb Zhang said further: “China-Maldives relationship is now standing at a new starting point.” Amb Zhang was only reiterating a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Shahid’s July visit to Beijing, when his counterpart Wang Yi in July, the latter assured him that the development partnership “transcends party differences.” The reference was to the change of political leadership following the presidential and parliamentary polls since October last year.  After his Beijing visit, Minister Shahid too had praised Sino-Maldives ties and backed the “mutually beneficial” partnership to grow. But the conciliatory stance was at odds with persistent criticism from Speaker Nasheed against China, especially on the investment front. Through the twin-elections, before and after, Nasheed also engaged in a twitter-spat with the Chinese envoy about the scale of the debt owed to China. Interestingly, at the China National Day celebrations, incumbent Maldivies Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Mohamed Aslam, too echoed Minister Shahid’s earlier view. Minister Aslam said Maldives was “proud to be one of the first partners in the joint initiative to develop the 21st-century maritime silk route envisioned by President Xi Jinping of China.” It is another matter that alongside Minister Shahid’s China visit, Beijing also committed funds for the renovation of the Maldivian Foreign Ministry building, which they had earlier donated.

Not out-of-line

In his Summit speech at Delhi, Speaker Nasheed, however, continued to target China, saying, Beijing was “more exploitative than East India Company. Lest someone should have missed out this part of Nasheed’s speech, China’s Maldives envoy, Zhang tweeted to argue that the comments were ‘irresponsible’. He also accused Nasheed of trying to play India against China, saying such attempts would be ‘futile’. He claimed that “better relation with China and India simultaneously is in the best interest of Maldives.” In his interview to The Hindu later, Nasheed denied his Summit observations on China were ‘out-of-line with the Solih Government’s foreign policy’. However, he conceded the question that his MDP-led Government had not revoked any of the China contracts of the predecessor Yameen presidency even close to a year after the Solih leadership taking over, despite Nasheed’s consistent criticism on the issue, throughout. “In Government, it is harder to effect the changes one advocates for while in opposition, of course. I have always felt that sticking to principles is more important than trying to find arrangements,” Nasheed said, adding: “I do hope the MDP Government is not looking for arrangements with China... China should reduce the debt to an actual and factual level, not the inflated prices they have given.” As The Hindu quoted Nasheed as saying. “I don’t think our Parliament will want to go ahead with the Free Trade Agreement as well. We have a good relationship with China, but their terms of debt financing must be reconsidered,” he added, not specifying whom he was addressing — China, or his own party Government of President Solih, a friend from their shared childhood.”

Country Reports


Abdullah claims victory

In a recent press conference, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, a presidential candidate and the leader of the “Stability and Convergence” electoral team, has claimed victory in the Presidential elections. He has stated that their two day survey clearly indicates that he has received the highest number of votes in the 2019 Presidential Elections. As there will be no second round of voting Abdullah claims that his party will form the new government in Afghanistan.

Reviving peace process

In a recent meeting between the Taliban Political Commission and the Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi both parties have agreed on the earliest resumption of the peace process. Qureshi has reiterated Pakistan’s commitment in this regard. It has also been discussed that reduction of violence by all parties involved in the conflict is necessary to create an enabling environment for the peace talks. This comes almost a month after US President Donald Trump called of the talks.


Call to Indian investors

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the global and Indian investors to invest in her country. She opined that it is time for global investors, especially, the Indian entrepreneurs, to look beyond the tradition areas for investment. She emphasised the entrepreneur should invest in Bangladesh in areas including education, light engineering, electronics, automotive industry, artificial intelligence. Prime Minister Hasina said this while delivering her address as the chief guest in the Country Strategy Dialogue on Bangladesh at the India Economic Summit 2019 organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New Delhi. Prime Minister was on a four-day visit of India beginning 3rd of this month.

Huji-B being revived?

Officials of security agencies have claimed that the banned militant organisation Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islam Bangladesh (Huji-B) was attempting to reorganise. Security agencies gained this information following the arrest of a top leader of the militant outfit who returned from Dubai in March this year. The Huji-B militants who were absconding claimed to have been returning to the country to regroup. Huji-B formed by the Afghan Jihad returnee in 1992 and there has been a surge in groups activity in 2000. Huji faced challenges after Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009 and adopted a stringent counter-terror drive in the country.


Faith in UN ‘strong’: PM

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has reiterated his country’s faith in multilateralism during his address to the UN in New York on 28 September. He said that at a time when multilateralism is often questioned, Bhutan’s faith in the United Nations remain unwavering. The Prime Minister also said that he returns with renewed confidence that Bhutan continues to enjoy goodwill and support from the international community. However, he said challenges confronting the global community are numerous and multifaceted for individual states to tackle on their own. To keep pace with the changing times, Lyonchhen said the UN must also evolve.

Chopper-crash claims two pilots

Two pilots, Royal Bhutan Army officer Captain Kelzang Wangdi and Indian army officer Lt. Colonel Rajneesh Parmar, were killed when the Cheetah helicopter they were flying crashed near Khengthongmani in Yonphula, Trashigang on 26 September afternoon. Bad weather, which reduced visibility, is said to have caused the accident. They were approaching the Yonphula airport to land when the accident occurred. It flew from Khirmu in Arunachal Pradesh.


Call for collective action

Prime Minister addressed the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly on 27 September. In his address, Modi urged for collective efforts to tackle serious global challenges like terrorism and climate change. He further emphasised that in a new era of technological advances, the international community can give new direction to multilateralism to confront the emerging problems.


While commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India to be open-defecation free. Invoking Gandhiji’s emphasis on cleanliness, Modi emphasised his government’s successful implementation of the scheme that apparently guarantees access to a toilet to every India household. He informed that in 60 months, 600 million people have been given access to toilets and 110 million toilets have been built. The Prime Minister expressed happiness regarding the nationwide positive response to the government’s Swachch Bharat campaign. Modi also announced that his government is committed to make the country free of plastics by 2022.

Manmohan for Kartarpur fete

The Kartarpur Corridor, which is to connect the Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s side, which is a holy shrine for the Sikh community, with the Dera Nanak Sahib on the Indian side, is likely to be inaugurated in November. The Punjab government has confirmed the presence of President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi in the opening ceremony to be held in November. Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has agreed to be a part of the first “jatha” (batch) of pilgrims to the Kartarpur Sahib across the border in Pakistan.


Indian army chief in Male

In Male on a five-day visit, India’s army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, discussed bilateral security issues, including their mutual interest in keeping the neighbourhood Indian Ocean a ‘conflict-free zone’, with President Ibrahim Solih, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Defence Minister Mariya Didi. He also handed over an Indian gift of vehicles for Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) transport fleet.


UN wants net-ban to go

The United Nations in Myanmar has urged the government to end the shutdown of mobile internet services in Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, and Minbya Townships in Rakhine state. While welcoming steps taken to restore service to five out of the nine townships affected by the shutdown, the United Nations also noted that for those townships which remain cut off, the shut-down will have reached its 101st day on 30 September 2019. Uninterrupted availability of the internet remains the key and is indispensable and mobile internet services are a key enabler of the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations in Myanmar, according to the UN.

Onion shortage

A ban on onion exports by India has caused shortages, soaring prices and widespread anger in neighbouring Bangladesh, where the pungent bulb is used in almost all the national cuisine. The price of onions is a sensitive subject in South Asia, where shortages can trigger widespread discontent with political ramifications. About two-thirds of the demand for onions which remains an essential ingredient in Bangladeshi cuisine is grown locally by farmers, with the rest mostly imported from neighbouring India, where heavy monsoon rains have reduced the crop. Amid a public outcry, Dhaka quickly took steps to import the vegetable from Myanmar, Turkey, China and Egypt.


New Zealand for investor-meet

Nepal and New Zealand recently held their first bilateral meeting. While interacting, they identified several areas of mutual interest as well as cooperation. New Zealand is all set to participate in the ‘Sagarmatha Sambad’- a flagship global conference hosted by Nepal concerning areas like tourism and foreign investment. The future looks prospective for the two countries.

Energy self-reliant

Kulman Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority, has been very vocal about the country becoming ‘self-reliant’ in the energy sector. The goal has been for the nation to generate 15000 MW of electricity within a of ten years. Given Nepal’s landlocked geographical position, it has been more or less dependent on its neighbours. If this idea is manifested in reality, this small nation would be growing beyond its limits and economic bottlenecks.


Talks with Afghan Taliban

According to a press release issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recently received a high-level Afghan Taliban delegation in Islamabad. In the meeting, the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) deliberated on the current regional situation, the Afghan peace process and other issue which were of interest to both the parties. This is the first Taliban delegation to visit Pakistan ever since the establishment of the TPC in Doha.

Imran for China

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit China on 7-8 October, primarily to revive the stalled projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Removal of all bottlenecks and their timely completion is now the top priority of the Pakistani government. Khan also wants to strengthen Pakistan’s friendship with China. Reportedly most CPEC projects have been stalled sue to the government’s financial crunch and non-cooperation of the bureaucracy for fear of the National Accountability Bureau.

Sri Lanka

Court clears Gota

With nominations for the 16 November presidential polls due on 7 October, a three-judge Bench of the Appeal Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed the petitions on the citizenship issue pertaining to Opposition SLPP-JO nominee and war-time Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. It, however, remains to be seen if an appeal could lie in the Supreme Court, now that the Election Commission has set the poll process in motion. Pending the CA verdict, the SLPP had fielded an alternate candidate the oldest of the Rajapaksa brothers, former Parliament Speaker Chamal, as among the total of 33 intended candidates who had paid the deposit money ahead of filing the nominations. Among the other important candidates are Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led UNP-UNF’s Sajith Premadasa, now Housing Minister, JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissnayake and recently-retired Army chief, Gen Mahesh Senanayake, as a nominee of an Independent group.



Opinion Pieces

Hujjatullah Zia, “Afghans Lost their Trust in Democracy”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 3 October 2019 Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Najim Rahim, “To Disrupt Elections, Taliban Turn to an Old Tactic: Destroying Cell Towers”, The New York Times, 2 October 2019


Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Why Afghan Leaders Shall Act Responsibly after the Elections”, 30 September 2019 Afghanistan Times, “Afghans voted”, 29 September 2019


Opinion Pieces

Pallab Bhattacharya , “NRC: The way ahead for India and Bangladesh”, The Daily Star, 3 October 2019 Zunaid Ahmed Palak, “By 2030, Bangladesh will be the 24th largest economy”, World Economic Forum, 2 October 2019 Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, “Time to put salve on wounds”, The Pioneer, 3 October 2019



Kuensel, “In public interest”, 1 October 2019 The Bhutanese, “Keeping an eye on the economy”, 28 September 2019


Opinion Pieces

Harsh Mander, “Citizenship Amendment Bill will result in untold fear and dislocation of Muslim citizens”, The Indian Express, 3 October 2019 Peter Cook, “Remembering Gandhi means working for the poorest communities”, The Indian Express, 3 October 2019 Prabhat Patnaik, “Decoding the corporate-Hindutva alliance”, The Hindu, 3 October 2019 Rajeev Bhargava, “Mahatma Gandhi 150 birth anniversary: Recovering Gandhi’s religious vision”, The Hindu, 2 October 2019 Swapan Dasgupta, “Opposition in full retreat”, The Telegraph, 2 October 2019 Gopalkrishna Gandhi, “Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Mahatma Gandhi: The Pulse of an legacy in the age of heroics”, The Hindu, 2 October 2019 Ramin Jahanbegloo “How Gandhian idea of non-violence is shaping political struggle in Spain”, The Indian Express, 2 October 2019
  1. Raghuramaraju, “From no-violence to non-violence: understanding Gandhi, The Telegraph, 3 October 2019
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “South Asia needs a culture of commitment to human rights”, The Indian Express, 1 October 2019


The Hindu, “Aimless in Haryana: On a Congress in crisis”, 4 October 2019 The Hindu, “Toilet targets: On ending open defecation”, 4 October 2019 The Indian Express, “Making Amends”, 3 October 2019 The Telegraph, “The faltering Indian economy”, 3 October 2019 The Indian Express, “States at centre”, 2 October 2019 The Telegraph, “Hindi-Urdu: Inseparable Identity”, 2 October 2019 The Indian Express, “Election, restriction”, 1 October 2019 The Telegraph, “Modi-Trump: The show of friendship”, 1 October 2019 The Hindu, “Home and abroad: On India’s rightful place in the world”, 30 September 2019 The Indian Express, “Monsoon bounty”, 30 September 2019


Opinion Pieces

Nan Lwin, “Myanmar’s NLD Presides Over Sharp Rise in Cost of Living”, The Irrawaddy, 2 October 2019 Joe Kumbun, “Myanmar’s Peace Process Is A Puzzling Phenomenon”, The Irrawaddy, 30 September 2019 Joe Kumbun, “Under China’s Direction, Myanmar’s Peace Process Goes Nowhere”, The Irrawaddy, 27 September 2019


The Irrawaddy, “Govt Resists Myanmar Military’s Push to Boost National Security Council Role”, 30 September 2019


Opinion Pieces

Randy William Berry, “Proven partnership: US and Nepal”, Republica, 3 October 2019 Prem Singh Basnyat, “Conflict with the north”, Republica, 2 October 2019


The Kathmandu Post, “The government and the ruling party must dial down on the authoritarian behavior”, 1 October 2019


Opinion Pieces

Khurram Husain, “Adjustment and its anxieties”, Dawn, 3 October 2019 Nazeem Sadiq, “Pakistan’s population predicament”, The Express Tribune, 3 October 2019


Dawn, “Our plastic problem”, 3 October 2019 The Express Tribune, “Tax shortfall”, 3 October 2019

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Rajan Philips, “What was dual for Gota would have been deadly for Ranil”, The Island, 6 October 2019 Lasantha Kurukulasuriya, “UNP presidential candidate: A shackled elephant”, The Island, 5 October 2019 Kusal Perera, “From crisis to crisis, through presidential elections”, Daily Mirror Online, 4 October 2019 Kelum Bandara, “SLFP struggling to retain identify in the wake of elections”, Daily Mirror Online 3 October 2019 N Sathiya Moorthy, “It’s the Battle of the South”, Ceylon Today, 1 October 2019 Jehan Perera, “Civil society can play a decisive role in the forthcoming elections”, The Island, 1 October 2019 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Has TNA out-lived its shelf-life?”, Colombo Gazette, 30 September 2019


Kelum Bandara, “There is universal clamouring for strong leadership: G L Peiris”, Daily Mirror Online, 4 October 2019


Daily Mirror Online, “Public servants seeking to be served, rather than to serve”, 3 October 2019


Afghanistan & Pakistan: Sohini Bose Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale India: Ambar Kumar Ghosh Maldives & Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee Nepal: Sohini Nayak
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