MonitorsPublished on May 12, 2020
South Asia Weekly Report | Volume XIII; 19

Nepal: Challenges of reviving economy, post-Covid

Sohini Nayak

Even as the Covid-19 crisis is escalating in the country, its economy too is facing the threat of vulnerability.  According to the  World Bank’s recently- published report, the ‘South Asia Economic Focus’, the economic structure of the entire region is moving towards a downward plunge. With the prevailing vacuum in trade along with the increasing strain on the financial and banking sectors, the forecast of regional trade falling within a range of 1.8-2.8 percent in 2020, down from 6.3 percent, as portrayed just six months back, will be the worst regional performance in the last 40 years. This situation is also likely to move into 2021 as well, with growth rate fixed somewhere between 3.1 and four percent.

Circumstantially, given Nepal’s landlocked and LDC status, its growth rate has been estimated to be around 1.5-2.8 percent (financial year 2020), as a manifestation of poor remittances, absolute losses faced by the tourism sector and trade, agriculture, small scale industries and the service sector (contributing to 57 percent to the country’s GDP), that have been worst hit by the pandemic.

Additionally, Nepal has to prepare itself to support the poorer sections of the society, with recovery packages owing to the already existing lacuna in the healthcare facility. There is not only shortage in the availability of testing kits, resulting in low rates of Covid19 tests but also inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the healthcare workers with no specialized hospitals in the rural areas.

Ambiguous days ahead

The Asian Development Bank has clearly mentioned that Nepal would have to pay attention to each and every sector of its economy in the post COVID recovery phase. With the decrease in the gross domestic product of the country with around 0.13 percent, 15,880 people are most likely to lose on their jobs.

It was hardly a few months back that Nepal was looking forward to the successful implementation of the 15th periodic plan of the country. This framework had been attempting to bring about a growth rate of 9.6 percent in the next five years. The agricultural sector was given utmost importance along with the industrial sector, with targets set at 5.6 per cent and 17.1 percent, respectively.

The tourism sector was also given much importance with the ‘Visit Nepal 2020’ campaign, where around two-million tourists from all over the world were counted in for visiting the Himalayan country. The government was forced to call it off in the critical situation. With the allocation of around Rs. 65 million for the campaign, most of it has not produced results. The tourism sector contributes to eight per cent of the country’s economy. Given this circumstances, there has been losses of 13000 tourist and trekking guides.

The achievement of the set parameters and stature according to the plan seems highly unlikely now. The country is becoming more and more dependent on the international aid from countries like India, China or the United States of America, an area from which Nepal was trying its best to move out from in the past few years.

Potential solution

In this situation, Nepal might remember its delay in addressing the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) fund that was offered by the United States of America and how that aid might refurnish its economy. Awaiting ratification for a long time, even though approved by the K. P Sharma Oli government and the Nepali Congress as well, this deal might provide Nepal with substantial grant to bounce back on track on the financial front.

However, though the offer seems to be lucrative and the need of the hour, it might lead Nepal to some serious troubles over the long run. There was a controversy regarding the relationship between the MCC and the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States of America. Nepal also had serious reservations when it was mentioned in the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report by the Department of Defense.

This strategy of the US is often viewed as a counteractive structure to contain China in the Indo-Pacific region. If Nepal signs the MCC compact and has relevant presence in the Indo-Pacific, siding with the US, it might not go down too well with the Chinese. This is a crucial point because Nepal and China are very close allies as well as partners in the Belt and Road Initiative with the One Belt One Road Structure.

As a small country requiring quick solution, it cannot afford to go into the bad books of the northern neighbour that has been helping in its development since the past few years. Thus, Nepal must calculate its steps very cautiously and not give into the ease that MCC offers. This might bring Nepal economic freedom, but might have geopolitical and geostrategic ramifications in the near future, having to survive right beside its immediate neighbour China.

The time is to remain steady and calm, waiting for the lockdown to be over and steer the country towards better financial decisions with the next budget’s announcement due at the end of the month in May.

Maldives: Evacuation, yet another-milestone in bilateral ties

N Sathiya Moorthy

In a historic initiative, which also has elements of bilateral cooperation at all levels, Indian naval vessel, INS Jalashwa, an amphibious vessel, evacuated nearly 700 Indian nationals, stuck in the archipelago in the aftermath of the post-Covid global lock-down. India has been helping and coordinating with Maldivian authorities for the return of Maldivians also who were likewise stuck in India for the very same reason, and rushing a medical team and continuous medical supplies to face the pandemic-threat.

“Evacuation from the Maldives will be the  largest-ever in our history, to take place in two phases,” Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir said. “After the voyage of INS Jalashwa, we expect a voyage by INS Magar, also to Kochi on May 10. We expect voyages by the same ships to Thoothukudi on 12 and 14 May,” he added. Of the 27,000 Indians residing in Maldives at present, a total of 4,500 have registered to return home. The success of the current evacuation plans might encourage more people to register to return.

The mission is a part of the Indian Navy’s ‘Operation Samudra Setu’, to contribute to the national effort of bringing back home Indians stuck overseas because of the travel restrictions imposed the world over in the face of the pandemic threat. In turn, ‘Samdura Setu’ is a part of the larger ‘Vande Bharat’ mission, in which Air India flights have been pressed into service, to bring Indians back home from faraway nations in the West and elsewhere.

In terms of the number of evacuees overall, it is larger than the 1990 evacuation of 170,000 Indians caught in ‘Gulf War I’, which was fought over the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait under then President Saddam Hussein. The Operation at this time is the largest-ever peace-time evacuation of civilians, anytime, anywhere in the world. ‘Vande Bharat’ is expected to help bring back 200,000 Indians back home.

The current Operation is expected to be larger than the earlier one, for a variety of reasons. One, of course, is the numbers. Two, unlike the earlier occasion, the evacuees are spread across various countries across the world, both developed and developing ones. This makes both logistics and coordination a tougher task, as Indian diplomats have to work closely with counterparts and other field staff in multiple capitals and airport authorities in those countries.

The earlier Operation did not include Maldives, nor was there any other occasion for such an effort. Thus, the Jalashwa mission and those that are to follow the same in the following days is the largest Indian effort viz Maldives. The number of returnees on the maiden voyage totalled 698, comprising 595 men and 103 women, 19 of them pregnant.

Even in normal times, such an effort would have proved to be a challenge for the Indian Embassy in capital Male, and also Maldivian officials who coordinated from their end. With a population of around 400,000, Maldives employees around 100,000 migrant workers, in construction industry and in white-collar environments as doctors, nurses, teachers and office assistants and managers. Many Indians, both men and women, also work as chauffer, house-maid and cook in private homes in Male and interior islands.

Wonderful support

As Amb. Sudhir explained, it was a ‘complex operation’, as Indians work in most of the 200-plus habitable islands, spread across a 900-km length in the Indian Ocean. Given that Maldives is the first country in South Asia to be hit by coronavirus, and it is also spreading, there is a lockdown in many islands and atoll capitals. There is also restrictions on movement from one island to another. This comes in the way of Indian nationals working in some interior islands reaching the nearest population-centre with an airport to reach Male.

Amb Sudhir explained that “there is a lot of medical cases, including pregnant women, where ferrying them to Male is a challenge. There are lot of senior citizens with specific medical requirements. What made it challenging was the fact that Males is under lockdown and all offices and ministries are closed.”

The Indian diplomat was full of praise for the Government of Maldives and their officials, for the “wonderful support and helping hand”. As he pointed out, all of it came about when all Government offices in the capital was shut down, owing to Covid19. Thus, it may have been the first of its kind when sea-passengers had their customs and immigration clearances undertaken on arrival at the Velana International Airport in the capital, “Alongside, berthing for the ship was provided at Male Port, which made embarkation very easy for the passengers,” The Hindu quoted the envoy as saying.

Maldivian returnees

Almost simultaneously, the two nations and their diplomats have been working to bring back 200 Maldivians who are now in India, and could not return home, owing to the pandemic-lockdown. According to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, 200 Maldivian citizens will be repatriated from nine cities of India in the coming days.

According to the ministry, they will be evacuated on a chartered flight by the national airline Maldivian, scheduled to travel from Male' to Delhi to Trivandrum before returning to Male' again. Since the flight will only land in two cities, the Maldivian High Commission in Delhi and Maldivian Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram will aid in transporting locals from the five other cities, namely, Gurugram, Rishikesh, Vellore, Chennai and Kochi, and also States like Punjab, to the points of evacuation.

The ministry clarified that more flights will be chartered in the future to rescue and bring back more Maldivians stranded in foreign countries. Prior to this, repatriation efforts were carried out to bring back Maldivians stranded in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Kingdom as well.

Unprecedented coverage

Before the Maldivian leg of ‘Operation Samurdra Setu’, the Indian armed forces have been involved in the archipelago-nation at least on two major operations. ‘Operation Cactus’ in 1988 was out and out a commando operation undertaken in cooperation with the Indian Air Force (IAF), in what was still a daring operation, landing massive transporter aircraft on an unfamiliar Male runway jutting out into the sea, and in darkness, without landing aids.

The Operation was undertaken to neutralise Sri Lankan Tamil mercenaries, working for Maldivian dissidents to topple then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in the tenth of his 30-year rule. The greatness of the Indian operation then, and the overshadowing IPKF presence in neighbouring Sri Lanka, flows from their withdrawal without overstaying the limited welcome. This helped end speculation and motivated rumours that the Indian armed forces were there to stay.

This was followed by the Indian armed forces rushing to the aid of both nations and others affected by the Boxer Day tsunami in end-December 2004. More recently, viz Maldives, India undertook another unprecedented humanitarian operation when fire damaged Male city’s desalination plant, in December 2014. While IAF rushed in drinking water cans and bottles in large numbers, the Navy vessels with massive on-board desalination plants were pressed into service without loss of time.

One difference between the current Operation and the earlier ones is the wide media coverage it has got in India. ‘Operation Cactus’ may have had a parallel only in the Indian armed forces landing in Srinagar airport after Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, post-Independence. But very little is known of it in India, other than within tri-Services academy and academics studying the nation’s geo-strategic priorities in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It is not even as a stand-alone study of Maldives, whose closest neighbour India is.

In the past, including post-tsunami rescue, rehabilitation and reconstruction work, and more so the 2014 drinking water crisis, either there was not enough of governmental initiative, or was there seeming enthusiasm in the Indian media, or both, to carry it to fellow-Indians back home. This trend should continue and should also be institutionalised as with the humanitarian operations launched by the US Marines, among other American forces, nearer home and overseas. This has changed, and for good, but the trend in the news coverage of India’s smaller neighbours has to continue, independent of their US connections in the Cold War era and China at present.

Proximity and more

All of it goes on to reiterate the proximity of the two nations, going beyond what geography and even history dictate. The mutual inter-dependence without the smaller of the two having to compromise its sovereignty and territorial integrity in any which way. This is unlike what the West earlier and China particularly so now have been insisting upon, while extending developmental aid. They tie the aid to massive purchases for the funded-projects only from their countries.

China has also gotten away by bringing in its own labour, denying hundreds of jobs to the locals in all projects they are involved in aid-recipient nations. In Maldives, the Male-Hulhule Sinimale sea-bridge airport, and post-tsunami housing projects witnessed this China-only uniqueness in project-funding. In the case of India, whether it is about development funding for projects in Maldives or elsewhere, from consultancy to construction contracts, the Government of India does not interfere.

Considering that Maldives need to import the project material from overseas, New Delhi encourages Indian firms to supply them at competitive prices. There is also a huge saving on the cost of transporting those material from India’s Thoothukudi port in southern Tamil Nadu. But the greatest attraction for aid-recipient nations, starting with Maldives but not excluding any other, is that unlike China, they actually create jobs and opportunities for the locals, and thus generate family incomes, as Indian experts are there only for overall supervision and/or coordination, nothing more.

Country Reports


World Bank grant for recovery

On 8 May, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors gave assent to a $400 million grant to help Afghanistan deal with social and economic vulnerabilities that have been compounded by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The ‘Incentive Program Development Policy Grant’ includes $240 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, and $160 million from the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for reconstruction efforts in the poorest countries.

US envoy meets Indian Foreign Minister, NSA

In the first visit to India post the signing of the US-Taliban deal late February, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, met with S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, and Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor, on 7 May 2020. Some of the key issues discussed at the meeting included that of Pakistan-sponsored terror, targeting of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, and the important role India could play in sustaining peace in Afghanistan.


11 booked for spreading rumours

Authorities have booked 11 people on charges of spreading rumours and misinformation on Covid-19 pandemic in the social media. Amongst the people booked included a cartoonist, activists, writer and bloggers. Four have been arrested already. The right groups have been critical of these arrests and accused the government of supressing freedom of expression.  The authorities have slapped charges against them because they were vocal about the anomalies of handling the pandemic by government, argued the right groups.  The authorities, however, claimed that the people were booked because they posted rumours against the coronavirus pandemic to negatively affect the nation’s image and to disrupt law and order situation in the country.

Easing of lockdown

In an attempt to move towards normalcy, the government is easing up lockdown restriction imposed on 26 March.  Under this process curb on the congregation in masjids has been lifted. The devotees will be allowed to offer prayers. However, the government suggested the mosques to adopt strict hygiene measures for prayers. With the number of Covid-19 infected people rising, (which has surpassed 10,000), this move has raised concern among people about the possible spread of the disease.

India sends testing-kits

India donated 30000 Covid-19 testing kit to address the pandemic in the country. Indian envoy Ms Riva Ganguly Das handed over the assignment to Foreign Minister Abdul Momen in Dhaka this week. Indian assistance came as a part of the SAARC Covid19 emergency fund initiated by that country for a integrated regional response against the pandemic. This is the third tranche of medical emergency assistance from India. In the first tranche, India had donated 30,000 surgical masks and 15000 caps and in the second, 50,000 sterile surgical gloves and 100,000 hydroxychloroquine tablets.


Normalcy returning

Following fears of a possible Covid-19 case in Jomotshangkha, the dungkhag was put under strict restrictions for a week. Depending on the result of the third test, restrictions will be lifted. On April 30, a 55-year-old shopkeeper in the dungkhag tested positive on the rapid diagnostic test (IgM positive). However, two confirmatory tests, conducted on the reliable reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), turned out to be negative, giving a relief to the suspect and the nation. With the highest preventive approach put in place two months after the detection of the first Covid-19 case, the country has so far prevented local or community transmission.

Concern over lockdown-lift

Relaxation of lockdown starting 4 May in the bordering Indian town of Jaigaon has raised fears among residents of Phuentsholing owing to the porous nature of border that is shared with India. The border gate remains sealed and vigilance and surveillance for the prevention of the coronavirus strengthened, nothing seems to have changed in Phuentsholing.However, Phuentsholing residents fear that enforcement personnel willbe subjected tremendous pressure having to increase vigilance.Before the relaxation,Indianpolice on the Jaigaon side strictly restricted movement across the border, which maynot happen after the lifting of lockdown and could leave adverse impact on Phuentsholing.

Construction sector hit

Labour-intensive sectors like construction and real estate are facing problems due to shortage of labour and disruption in raw material supply. The flow of new expatriate labourers from the neighbouring States of India could not be brought in while those who left during the break are stranded. The sector is short of skilled and semi-skilled workers and construction materials are running out. As of now, there are 28,363 foreign workers in the country.


Eight killed in gas-leak

A gas leakage in one of the industrial plants located in the outskirts of the Vishakapatnam city of Andhra Pradesh led to a major accident in the early hours of 7 May. At least eight persons were dead and many have fallen sick due to the gas accident. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed to manage the crisis. LG Polymers, who owns the plant, has been fined Rs 50 crores for violating the green norms which might have caused the leakage. 

Migrant workers run over

Sixteen migrant labourers, who were on their way back home on foot, in the midst of the nationwide lockdown, were run over by a goods train on 8 May. The accident took place near Satana village in Aurangabad. The migrant workers worked in a steel plant at Jalana in Maharastra and they were walking back to their native place, as they lost their job due to the lockdown. They walked for 36 km and then fell asleep on the railway track weary and tired when the incident happened. The Indian railways have decided to adopt effective stronger measures to avoid such accidents and ensure safety for all.


‘Sagar Setu’ for Indian expats

Even as the Covid-19 victims’ number in Maldives rose to 700, the Indian Navy (IN) moved in, as a part of ‘Operation Sagar Setu’, to repatriate Indian nationals who could not return home, owing to the pandemic-centric global lockdown. ‘Operation Sagar Setu’ is in turn a part of the larger ‘Vande Bharat’ mission aimed at repatriating the highest-ever number of 200,000 Indians from various parts of the world, by Air India flights and naval vessels. Around 4,500 of the total 27,000 Indians residing in Maldives have registered with the Indian High Commission to return home. The first batch, who travelled by IN Jalwasha, from Male to Kochi comprised 698 persons, and more voyages have been scheduled for the coming days, to Kochi and Thoothukudi.


No aid from govt

About 200 Christian refugees displaced by fighting in Buthidaung township in Rakhine State have received no aid from the government, or local and international aid groups. The secretary of the ethnic rights has stated that the refugees do not want to stay at monasteries and camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) because they are Christian, so they rent land near a Christian community in the town. According to a survey by the ethnic congress, there are about 3700 such displaced families in Rakhine State.

China trains medicos

Medical experts from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on 7 May are providing necessary training to Myanmar's military medical staff who will be assigned to work at a Covid19 treatment centre soon. A total of 40 Myanmar's military medical staff were trained on the infection control management of COVID-19 to be applied at the COVID-19 treatment center (Phaung Gyi) in Yangon. The Central Institute of Civil Services, Phaung Gyi, was recently transformed into a treatment centre to accommodate confirmed patients as part of the efforts to boost fight against COVID-19.

133 nationals return

Myanmar authorities have brought back 135 nationals from Thailand and 38 from Bangladesh to home by a relief flight on 6 May. In order to bring back Myanmar nationals from Thailand and Bangladesh, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with the nation’s embassies in Bangkok and Dhaka as well as their local government ministries. The returnees will be put under quarantine at designated facilities or hotels for 21 days in line with the directives issued by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the Ministry of Health and Sports.


Budget session amidst pandemic

Amidst the lockdown, the country is all set to commence the budget session of the Federal Parliament. Members of both the House of Representatives (HoR) as well as the National Assembly have met to discuss the budget. Given the present economic distress that country is going through, the entire nation and the world at large are looking into the new plan that might help Nepal in recovering from the pandemic and move towards newer heights.

Economy hits a new low

The government has indicated that the economic growth forecast has been the lowest in the last four years. All the important sectors like agriculture, the service sector like construction and tourism, just to name a few have been on a stand still. This is one of the worst phases since the 2015 earthquake that had hit Nepal.


Furore over relaxation

The decision of easing the lockdown in the state of Punjab has been severely condemned by the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) during the ongoing session of the Punjab Assembly (PA).  The opposition drew attention to the the growing number of positive coronavirus cases as well as the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advisory against the relaxation in order to protest against the decision of the Punjab government. 

One-lakh stuck overseas

A sizeable number of Pakistani nationals, which is round one- lakh, are stuck in different parts of the world due to the pandemic and they want to return back to their own country. The Foreign office informed that the expatriation of their people from around the world can only be initiated once adequate quarantine facilities of the returnee nationals can be ensured by the respective provincial governments.

Sri Lanka

SC to hear ‘Parliament case’

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear this week a batch of petitions seeking directions for President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to reconvene the dissolved Parliament, pending fresh date for elections to the successor. The Elections Commission (EC), which fixed 25 April for the polls, postponed it without giving a new date, but has since fixed it now for 20 June. However, petitioners have argued that the notification in this regard suffers from constitutional infirmities. Some have also submitted that the new date fixed by the EC was also impractical in the light of continuing Covid19 threat and spread, despite the Government up opening up more areas and sectors, pending more testing and treatment.



Opinion Pieces

Shokrullah Amiri, “Afghanistan-Turkey Relationship Yet to Deliver in Covid19 Crisis, Eurasia Review, 5 May 2020

Ajmal Shams, “Afghan Political Stability a Must During This Critical Period”, Arab News, 5 May 2020


Afghanistan Times, “Destruction of Power Infrastructure”, 5 May2020

Afghanistan Times, “Looming Human Catastrophe”, 2 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Selim Raihan, “Four key areas that need urgent attention”, The Daily Star, 7 May 2020

Anneysha Zafrin, “How COVID-19 has affected agriculture”, Dhaka Tribune, 6 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Dophu Tshering, “Consumer Protection in Bhutan in the challenging times of Covid-19 Pandemic”, Kuensel, 4 May 2020


Kuensel, “Thinking beyond subsistence agriculture”, 8 May 2020

Kuensel, “The Jomotsangkha Lesson”, 5 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Ramachandra Guha, “Brothers with bats”, The Telegraph, 9 May 2020

C Ranjarajan & DK Srivastava,  "COVID-19 Slower growth and a tighter fiscal", The Hindu, 9 May 2020

S.Y. Quriashi, “Conducting elections during a pandemic”, The Hindu, 8 May 2020

Manuraj Shunmugasundaram, “India needs to enact a COVID-19 law”, The Hindu, 8 May 2020

Prabhat Patnaik, “Crossroads ahead”, The Telegraph, 8 May 2020


The Telegraph, “Hidden picture: Pulitzer Prize for 3 Indian photojournalists calls for celebration”, 9 May 2020

The Hindu, "Contempt for labour: On dilution of labour laws", 9 May 2020

The Hindu, "Toxic disaster: On Visakhapatnam gas leak", 8 May 2020

The Telegraph, “critical care: Concerns plaguing the economy”, 7 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Kristian Schmidt, “The Closer and Better the World Cooperates, the Faster We’ll Overcome COVID-19”, The Irrawaddy, 8 May 2020

Kyaw Phyo Tha, “Generosity Comes Naturally to Myanmar People, but Don’t Take It for Granted”, The Irrawaddy, 8 May 2020

Sreeparna Banerjee, “Myanmar: Shadow of COVID-19 over upcoming elections”, Observer Research Foundation, 6 May 2020

European Union Diplomats in Myanmar, “On World Press Freedom Day, a Nod to the Role of Journalists in a Time of Crisis”, The Irrawaddy, 3 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Ram Prasad Neupane, “The scary global recession will impact us badly”, Republica, 8 May 2020

Pramod Mishra, “The treason of KP Oli and civil society leaders”, The Kathmandu Post, 6 May 2020


The Kathmandu Post, “Poorly implemented”, 6 May 2020


Opinion Pieces

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, “Climate-smart stimulus”, Dawn, 9 May 2020

Fahd Hussain, “Defying DNA”, Dawn, 9 May 2020

Arif Hasan, “Post-Covid Planning”, Dawn, 9 May 2020 


Dawn, “Minorities’ Plight”, 9 May 2020

The Express Tribune, “Frigid Unconcern”, 9 May 2020

The Express Tribune, “Misogynistic Cowardice”, 9 May 2020 

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Kumar David, “A politically unified approach is imperative”, The Island, 10 May 2020

D B S Jeyaraj, “Will President gazette a fresh date for convening ‘new’ Parliament if elections are delayed again?”, The Island, 9 My 2020

Adm Ravindra Wijegunaratne (Retd), ex-CDS, “Country before self”, The Island, 9 May 2020

M S M Ayub, “Govt legitimises call to convene the old Parliament”, Daily Mirror Online, 8 May 2020

Kiusal Perera, “Post-Covid19: Do we know where we are heading to?”, Daily Mirror Online, 8 May 2020

Malinda Seneviratne, “Sovereignty cannot reside in a dead Parliament”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 May 2020

Prof Savitri Goonesekere, “Why understanding the Constitution and electoral law matters”, The Island, 7 May 2020

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Critical poll caught between Covid and Constitution”,, 6 May 2020

Jehan Perera, “President can decide without burdening the courts”, The Island, 5 May 2020

N Sathiya Moorthy, “National problem as none else, but…”, Colombo Gazette, 5 May 2020

N Sathiya Moorthy, “TNA taking the centre-stage, or will it?”, Ceylon Today, 5 May 2020

Neville Laduwahetty, “Constitutional crisis or bureaucratic bungling?”, The Island, 5 May 2020


Afghanistan: Shubhangi Pandey

Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee

Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale

India: Ambar Kumar Ghosh

Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy

Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee

Nepal: Sohini Nayak

Pakistan: Ayjaz Wani

The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.