MonitorsPublished on Apr 18, 2016
South Asia Weekly | Volume IX; Issue 16

< style="color: #0180b3">ANALYSES

Pakistan: Lahore blast and Nawaz Sharif’s diminishing space

By Kriti M. Shah

The March 27 suicide-bomb attack in Lahore’s Gulashan-e-Iqbal park has set off a series of familiar events. The blast killed 72 people, most of whom were women and children, and has caused a common uproar and anger amongst Pakistani citizens. In the days following the blast, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen Raheel Sharif, announced that the army would begin military operations in Punjab province with the mandate to root out militant groups and purge the province of extremist elements.

While such a mission seems noble and necessary, the COAS’s Punjab mission tells a tale that Pakistanis have long grown accustomed to -- that the army can easily wrestle with the government, and come out on top. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s native base, Lahore and Punjab are at the centre of it all. Gen Sharif has acquired the necessary ‘special powers’ to conduct his military operations, pushing the civilian government into a tight corner.

Punjab, home to over half of the nation’s nearly 200 million people, is the heartland of Nawaz Sharif’s political party, PML-N, with his brother Shahbaz Sharif at chief minister. Both the provincial and central governments held out for a few days after the park-blast, not allowing the Pakistani Rangers any special policing powers to conduct operations in the province.

The government felt that the situation in the province was vastly different from that of Karachi and the tribal areas where the Rangers have carried out operations earlier.  They argued that the blast in Lahore was a result of an intelligence failure, and therefore only intelligence-based operations conducted by the Counter-terrorism Department would be effective, not a military operation.

In addition to this, what the Sharif brothers truly feared was that Gen Sharif’s operations could expose criminal elements within their own party and that the military operations would undermine the PML-N government in the province, like they had with the PPP and MQM in Sindh.  Nonetheless, on 6 April, the army launched its security operations in Punjab, after it had “addressed the concerns” of the civilian government at meetings between high-level civilian and military leaders.

Army spokesperson Asim Bajwa, soon disclosed that the army had already conducted five operations in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan and had rounded up large number of suspected militants. The central and provincial governments had not been involved in the operations.

Long overdue

The crackdown in Punjab is necessary and is long overdue. The province is home to over sixty Islamic extremist groups and over 20,000 madrassas some of which produce extremist militants. There are also several banned militant groups and ultra religious organisations. They provide ideological directions for extremist groups and serve as a recruitment base for multiple domestic and international terror organisations such as the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Many of the groups are small sleeper-cells for international terror organisations.  The Nawaz Sharif government and the military have been accused in the past of being soft on groups operating in the prime minister’s homes state, unlike in Sindh and North Waziristan.

While it may be argued that the Sharif brothers are boxed into a tight corner by Raheel Sharif, there are still ways in which Nawaz Sharif can exercise his political clout, not by ‘countering’, but balancing the civilian democratic government against the military. They must see the Lahore blast as a moment of clarity that the war should not be between the government and its military.

If the civilian leaders truly want to purge the country of extremist ideologies, and regain any lost political influence, they would do well to work together, with the military. While the military operations in the province will take down the militant groups and sleeper cells that support regional and international terrorist organisations, the civilian government has the power to initiate legislative reform that would tackle hate speech, madrassa reform, strengthen the National Counter-Terrorism Authority and intelligence sharing operations.


They can also work to support capacity building in all aspects of criminal justice system, including the judiciary and the police. In addition, they should strongly deny safe spaces to banned militant organisations such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that allows them to function in the country.

By resolving to strengthen the National Action Plan (NAP) and ban space for terrorists in electronic and print media, and cut down the financial infrastructure of the militant organisations, the Sharif government can demonstrate strong political will and tighten the noose of the workings of extremist groups. The civilian government must therefore not retreat and assume they have lost.

The PML-N can prove a political point and show that their resolve for cleaning up the country can work effectively within a form of ‘cooperative governance’ with the military. The party and the government must continue to stand its ground and cooperate in making the military’s counterterrorism gains effective and sustainable, with democratic political strength.

The military on the other hand, should be satisfied with the powers it has been given and conduct a quick crackdown along with civilian law enforcement agencies. While Punjab underwent a similar operation in 2011 in the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur, the relief was only temporary as criminal gangs began to re-emerge due to police and the government’s lack of resources in monitoring the area.

The government must ensure that once the military’s operations are over, it has set up a strong counter terrorism infrastructure in Punjab. They must monitor the military’s operations around the country and set up effective barriers that prevent terrorists from using Punjab as a base for the effective functioning of militant extremist groups.  Therefore while it may seem that the same-old-story of military dominance is playing out in Pakistan, the strength of a democratic civilian government in initiate change and reform must not be forgotten.

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

Myanmar: New era of relations with Singapore

By Mihir Bhonsale

Bilateral relations between Myanmar and Singapore completed 50 years on April 12. This landmark year in relations between two countries comes at a time when in Nay Pyi Taw, a civilian government has taken over power, breaking away from the over six decades of military rule.

The Lion-city of Singapore has a task beforehand to emerge out of its cosy ties with the military rulers in Myanmar and engage with the civilian government formed by the National League for Democracy.

Singapore-Myanmar relations flourished even when Nay Pyi Taw was facing sanctions from the West for crushing the 1988 civilian protests in the country. It was during the time of Lee Kuan Yew’s prime that Singapore unfurled formal diplomatic relations with General Ne Win’s Myanmar.

Arms, drugs and generals

The city-state of Singapore has remained a supplier of arms and a wellness and leisure destination for the Myanmar’s generals, besides the lion-city’s banks being tainted for acting as money laundering vehicles for narcotics traffickers.

The first major consignment of weaponry sent to Myanmar was in October 1988 when Singapore shipped hundreds of boxes, believed to contain mortars, ammunition and raw materials. Since, then firms in Singapore have continued to supply weapons directly to Burma and Singaporean brokers have facilitated arms sales from other sources including Belgium and Israel.

Singapore is also believed to have provided the Junta in Myanmar with a state-of-the-art cyber warfare unit. Her doors have always remained opened to former dictators, business tycoons and cronies. Military ruler’s General Ne Win and Senior General Than She have sought medical treatment at Singapore’s first-rate facilities.

Singaporean banks have been repeatedly accused of serving as money laundering vehicles for Myanmarese narcotics-traffickers as well. Robert Gelbard, former US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, had said famously said that, “since 1988, over half of (the investments from) Singapore have been tied to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han,” a Burmese drug kingpin known as the “Godfather of Heroin.”

Ties during transition

Singapore-Myanmar relations that had dovetailed promised much under the political and economic transition in Myanmar since 2010. Then President Thein Sein visited Singapore in 2012 and signed a number of agreements for close cooperation in the areas of technical, education and tourism cooperation.

Pro-democracy NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi also visited Singapore after her release from house-arrest in 2013, where she addressed the Burmese migrant workers. The iconic Burmese leader had got an emphatic support from Burmese disapora in April 1996, Lee Kuan Yew had said the Burmese Army was the only institution capable of “keeping the country stable and preventing civil war,” and questioned the ability of Suu Kyi “to govern if ever she came to power.”

Suu Kyi took a soft jibe at Singapore saying, “One gets used to thinking of Singapore as a financial, a commercial city, where people are more intent on business and money than human relations,” said Suu Kyi in her opening remarks. “But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that there is a lot of human warmth going around this place.”

Her remarks were clearly aimed at the want of equal relations between the two countries, Myanmar could learn from the financial and commercial success of Singapore and Singapore could take a leaf from Myanmar’s philosophical humanism.

Way forward

Singapore has become the second largest investor in Myanmar with a total reaching US $12.02 billion. In 2015, the trade volume amounted to US $3.5 billion, which makes Singapore the third largest trading partner of Myanmar.

Two Singaporean banks, the OCBC and United Overseas Bank have won licences to operate as institutional and corporate banks in Myanmar. Besides, Singapore has heavily invested in sectors like tourism and hospitality industry and pre-schooling.

As Myanmar has set its eyes to become an important political and economic player in the region, Singapore is set to be its ally in this path of development. Longstanding relations between the two ASEAN nations would be the fulcrum for intensifying economic cooperation between the two countries.

The author is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata.

< style="color: #0180b3">COUNTRY REPORTS

< style="color: #0180b3">Afghanistan

US strikes at ISIS

The United States has carried out 70 to 80 air strikes against the Islamic State in Afghanistan since January, when U.S. forces were given broader authority to target the militants. Before the expansion of the rules, the U.S. military could only strike at the Middle East-based group in Afghanistan under limited circumstances like self-defence.

For more information, see: Air Strikes Hit Islamic State in Afghanistan Under New Rules: US

Karzai contests Kerry statement

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai remarked negatively on the foreign influence in Afghanistan in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to the country on 9 April. During his trip, Kerry asserted that the political agreement signed by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in 2014 is a five-year mandate and will not expire this year. "The remarks of John Kerry and setting up a period for NUG agreement is a major violation of Afghanistan's national sovereignty, no foreigner can represent our national determination," Karzai said.

For more information, see: Karzai Lashes Out Over Kerry’s NUG Remarks, Calls for Loya Jirga

Al Qaeda expanding

Al Qaeda’s network in Afghanistan is slowly expanding, according to a CNN report on April 13. Acting Defence Minister Masoom Stanikzai told CNN, "They are working behind other networks, giving them support and the experience they had in different places. And double their resources and recruitment and other things. That is how -- they are not talking too much. They are not making press statements. It is a big threat."

For more information, see: Al Qaeda very active in Afghanistan: US Commander

Chabahar draft okayed

On 11 April, officials from Afghanistan, India, and Iran met to finalize the draft of the Chabahar agreement, according to a press release from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For more information, see: Afghanistan, India, Iran Finalise Draft for Chabahar Agreement

< style="color: #0180b3">Bangladesh

Big leap on energy

According to Global energy index, prepared and released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ,Bangladesh has made significant progress in energy management. The Bangladesh has been place in 106, up from 112th position of last year.

For more information see: Global Energy Index: Big leap for Bangladesh and No load shedding in Bangladesh despite heat wave

US shelter for bloggers

Following repeated incidences of attack on the bloggers the United States America has officer to provide shelter for Bangladeshi bloggers and secular activists. Expressing concern over the attack on bloggers and supporters of secularism State Department official has urged Bangladeshi authorities to take them very seriously and to fully investigate these attacks and to support the families of the victims.

For more information, see: US reaffirms shelter for bloggers, secular activists

< style="color: #0180b3">Bhutan

6500 jobs in hydro-power

Between 2015 and 2020, at least 6,500 people are expected to be required by the hydropower sector in Bhutan, according to the Druk Green Power Corporation and Bhutan Power Corporation. This was revealed by Labour Minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo during the consecration ceremony of the Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute (JWPTI) in Dekiling, Sarpang April 14.

For more information, see: Hydropower sector will need 6,500 people by 2020

BBS drafts broadcaster bill

Having drafted a public service broadcaster (PSB) bill, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBSC) is a step closer towards becoming a PSB. The BBSC is already a PSB in principle. But the bill will guarantee the company’s status as a “true PSB”.

For more information, see: BBS drafts public service broadcaster bill

Duke calls on king

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received an audience with Their Majesties The King and The Gyaltsuen on April 14 after arriving in the country on their first visit to the country. Their Majesties and Royal Highnesses offered butter lamps at the Kuenrey of Trashichhodzong after the audience.

For more information, see: A historic visit and His Majesty The King grants audience to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

< style="color: #0180b3">India

NIA probes Lashkar link

Years after the NIA arrested leaders of extremist Hindu groups in connection with the Samjhauta train blasts of 2007, its Director-General Sharad Kumar says the agency has requested the U.S. for information on a key financier of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the case.

For more information, see: NIA probes Lashkar link to Samjhauta blasts, seeks US help

New leader      

The former Karnataka Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, has taken charge as the president of the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and with elections due in mid-2018, he has set his sights on heading the next government in the State.

For more information, see: With BSY as chief, BJP stands to gain

Rate-cuts on rain?

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has reiterated that future rate cuts will depend on a moderation in price rises and a good monsoon. “We’re looking at inflation,” he said in an interview to The Wall Street Journal. “If it continues on a downward path, that would create room.”

For more information, see: Will watch monsoon before cut: Rajan

< style="color: #0180b3">Maldives

President seeks ‘Indian protection’

In New Delhi on a two-day visit, President Abdulla Yameen called on counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and had a luncheon with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanked India for support on the ‘democracy front’ and sought protection from ‘unfair punitive action’ by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. He also reiterated his ‘India First’ policy, as the two nations signed six agreements, including one on defence cooperation.

For more information, see: Maldives seeks Indian protection from ‘unfair punitive action by CMAG’, Maldives Independent, 12 April 2016; “Maldives thanks India for support”, The Hindu, 12 April 2016; President: Will ask for India’s assistance if CMAG takes unfair action against Maldives, SunOnline, 11 April  2016; Maldives assures `India first' policy, agrees to boost defence cooperation”, Times of India, 12 April 2016; SAARC can play pivotal role in international field: President Yameen”, Miadhu, 12 April 2016; “Modi: Will remain steadfast in protecting Maldives”, SunOnline, 11 April 2016; “President Yameen holds high level discussions with Indian PM”, Miadhu, 12 April 2016; “Indian External Affairs Minister meets with Maldivian President, SunOnline, 11 April 2016; “Agreements, MOUs signed between Maldives-India, SunOnline, 11 April 2016; “As he meets PM Modi, Maldives president accused of shifting balance of power in favour of China”, Times of India, 11 April 2016; “Nasheed calls for reforms to the Commonwealth”, Maldives Independent, 14 April 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Myanmar

Quake hits north

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Myanmar on April 13, causing tremors around the region, including in neighbouring Bangladesh where scores were reported injured in stampedes and buildings were damaged. The quake hit some 400 kilometres northwest of Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), and was also felt in parts of India and China.

For more information, see: Strong quake hits northern Myanmar, shakes neighbouring countries and Earthquake hits Burma, no immediate reports of major damage

Japanese plant in SEZ

Myanmar has approved a $11-million foreign investment by Japan’s Yakult Honsha Co Ltd for the manufacturing and wholesale of fermented milk drinks in the country, reported on April 14.

For more information, see: Yakult to open manufacturing plant in Thilwa SEZ

‘Golden’ ties with Singapore

Singapore and Myanmar will mark 50 years of diplomatic relations today and both countries have lined up an array of activities to commemorate the event, Channel News Asia reported on April 12.

For more information, see: Singapore and Myanmar mark 50 years of diplomatic relations

< style="color: #0180b3">Nepal

Bihar CM invited to Buddha function

The Nepal government has invited Bihar CM Nitish Kumar as a special guest to the 2560th Buddha Jayanti celebrations on the theme 'Lumbini, Nepal: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha and the Fountain of Buddhism."

For more information, see: Nepal invites Nitish on Buddha Jayanti and Nepal Invites Nitish Kumar For Buddha's 2,560th Birth Anniversary

Envoy injured in knife-attack

Nepal’s Acting Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ananda Prasad Sharma, was attacked with a knife at his office on April 14 by a fellow citizen. According to the Embassy of Nepal in Riyadh, Laxman Bahadur Rai of Sunsari, who was taking refuge at the embassy, barged into Sharma’s office at around 11am and attacked him with a knife for the “delay caused in his return to Nepal”.

For more information, see: Nepal’s envoy to Saudi injured in knife attack

Quake-recovery study

UNESCO Director General Irina Gueorguieva Bokova is scheduled to arrive in Nepal for monitoring the post-earthquake recovery process and to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. She was invited by the government of Nepal.

For more information, see: UNESCO Director General Bokova to visit Nepal

< style="color: #0180b3">Pakistan

PM for London

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif departed for London on 13 April from Lahore for ‘personal and medical reasons’. Before departing, the PM held a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif among other senior aides to discuss the implications of the Panama Papers scandal and the current political situation in the country, according to sources.

For more information, see: PM Nawaz departs for London, holds meeting with top aides at Lahore airport

‘No role’ in CIA bombing

A declassified State Department suggests a connection between Pakistan’s intelligence service and the 2009 suicide attacks on a CIA base in Afghanistan. It claims the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISIS), Pakistan’s top military spy agency, facilitated the attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, with $200,000 paid to the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group allied to the Afghan Taliban, following a meeting with two Haqqani representatives. Islamabad dismissed the claims as “preposterous”.

For more information, see: Pakistan dismisses claims of ties to 2009 suicide bombing targeting CIA officers

Gang kills six, takes 24 hostage

Pakistani gang members killed six policemen and took 24 hostages on 14 April during a police raid in Punjab province. Security officials had entered the ninth day of an operation to flush out the gangsters on an island hideout in Punjab. 1,600 security officials, including police officials and paramilitary Rangers, reportedly battled for control of the island. "The gang has held 24 persons hostage, including police officials. We are not sure how many civilian and police officials are among the hostages," Punjab police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar told Reuters.

For more information, see: Pakistani Gang Kills Six Policemen, Takes 24 Hostages

Army chief accuses India

Pakistan’s army chief  Gen Raheel Sharif hasaccused regional rival India  of attempting to undermine the $ 46 billion Gwadar port project with China. “I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative…I would like to make a special reference to Indian intelligence agency RAW that is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan,” he said.

For more information, see: Expanded Chinese-operated Pakistani port on $46bn economic corridor ‘almost ready

< style="color: #0180b3">Sri Lanka

Port City to finance city

On return from a three-day China visit, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the controversial Colombo Port City project from the days of the predecessor Rajapakasa regime would now be revived, but as a financial and business centre for international players, including Indians. While Mahinda Rajapaksa has welcomed Ranil’s visit, in an unrelated observation Indian Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that Sri Lanka too was interested in a sea-bridge connecting the two countries.

For more information, see: “Port City to resume as Spl. Financial and Business Centre”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2016; “China grants 500mn Yuan symbolizing Sino-Lanka friendship”, The Island, 12 April 2016;  “PM to prevent ministers making contradictory statements: Economic policy and agreements”, The Island, 11 April 2016; “Ravi predicts enhanced economic growth this year”, The Island, 11 April 2016;  “Port City project to commence in May”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2016; “Mahinda commends PM’s China visit”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2016; “DEW: Suspension of Port City caused loss of USD 125 mn to SL”, The Island, 12 April 2016; “Govt. bows down to reality: Wimal”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2016; “PM's China visit helps boost economy: Sajith”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2016; “ Sri Lanka to make path for China to access Indian Ocean despite India's concerns”, Times of India, 9 April 2016; “Sri Lanka also interested in Sea Bridge: Gadkari”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2016; “Centre firm on bridge across Palk Strait connecting SL”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2016

US, UK differ?

The US and trans-Atlantic ally in the UK seem to be differing on their current assessment of the present Sri Lankan government’s commitment to the promised post-war, post-polls reconciliation process. Wishing the Sri Lankan people on the occasion of the twin New Year celebrations of the Sinhalas and the Tamils, US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed Sri Lanka’s ‘commitment’ to reconciliation. British Minister of State in Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, in his greetings said, ‘much needs to be done’ in Sri Lanka and the UK was looking UNHRC chief’s assessment at the June session.

For more information, see: “Kerry hails SL’s commitment for reconciliation”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2015; “Much to be done in Sri Lanka – UK”, Daily Mirror Online, 14 April 2016; “New Year strengthens reconciliation among communities – President”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2016; “Sri Lankans come together to celebrate New Year as a nation-PM”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2016; “New year symbolising national unity-MR”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">PRIMARY DOCUMENTATION

< style="color: #0180b3">Bhutan

Press Releases

Consecration of Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute (JWPTI), Cabinet Secretariat, April 13, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">BIBLIOGRAPHY

< style="color: #0180b3">Afghanistan

Opinion pieces

Dr. Qaisar Rashid, “Pak-Afghan relations: the fear of strategic repulsion”, The Daily Times, April 14, 2016

Emran Feroz, “Afghanistan’s Angels of Death”, TeleSur, April 1, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Bangladesh 


Political Conflict, Extremism and Criminal Justice in Bangladesh, International  Crisis Group Asia Report N°277, 11 April 2016


Selim Raihan, Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where does Bangladesh stand in South Asia?, The Daily Star, April 12, 2016

Syed Badrul Ahsan, Dictators’ legacies in Pakistan and Bangladesh,, April 11, 2016

Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Will Bangladesh lose out?, April 9, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Bhutan


Kuensel, Treating the cause, not the symptom, Kuensel, April 12, 2016

Kuensel, Face of a changing nation, Kuensel, April 14, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">India

Opinion Pieces

T. N. Ninan, Maritime failures, Business Standard, April 16, 2016

Sunanda K Datta-Ray, What lies beneath the gloss, Business Standard, April 16, 2016

Praveen Swami, Prospect of a larger crisis in Kashmir is very real, Indian Express, April 16, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Maldives

Opinion Pieces

N. Sathiya Moorthy, “Maldives President’s Delhi visit: A test for Modi’s neighbourhood diplomacy”,, April 14, 2016

N. Sathiya Moorthy, “India and Maldives: A make or break visit”, South Asia Monitor, April 9, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Myanmar

K. Yhome, “Why Aung San Suu Kyi will not abandon China for the US,, April 12, 2016

Niranjan Sahoo, Civil-military relations critical for success of Myanmar’s new govt”,, April 15, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Nepal

Opinion Pieces

Navin Singh Khadka, Environment unfriendly, The Kathmandu Post, April 15, 2016

Prem Shankar Jha, India’s Big Brother Approach will not work with Nepal Anymore,, April 14, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Pakistan

Ayesha Siddiqa, The scent of death, The Express Tribune, April 13, 2016

Pervez Hoodbhoy, Can Pakistan’s F-16s fight terror?Dawn, April 16, 2016

Sakib Sherani, Offshore tax havens, Dawn, April 15, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, “The return to China and the Government’s constitutional agenda”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2016

Lacille de Silva, “Getting heavier on top”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2016

Ranga Jayasuriya, “Where is the TNA-led main Opposition?”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2016

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Sri Lanka: ‘Re-defining’, or reiterating China-India equations”,, 11 April 2016

Gomin Dayasiri, “Leaderless nation that lives in hope”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2016

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, “Red carpet in Beijing, blue ridge in Colombo”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2016

Jehan Perera, “Five necessary transformations and the legacy of Madam Bandaranaike”, The Island, 11 April 2016

N Sathiya Moorthy, “It’s all about governance and credibility, yet...”, The Sunday Leader, 10 April 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">Contributors:

Afghanistan and Pakistan: Kriti M. Shah

Bangladesh: Dr. Joyeeta Bhattacharjee

Bhutan and Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale

India: Shubh Soni and Pushan Das

Maldives and Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy

Nepal: Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury and Sreeparna Banerjee

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