MonitorsPublished on Apr 10, 2017
South Asia Weekly | Volume X; Issue 15

Country Reports


Durand Line not discussed in the London meeting

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shekib Mustaghni said on  April 6 that the Durand Line was not a subject of discussion during the recent meeting between Afghanistan and Pakistan in London. The spokesperson also added that any decision on the fate Durand Line would need to be made by the people living on both sides of the border. Addressing the media at a press conference in Kabul, Mustaghni said that incursions by the Pakistani army across the Durand Line were unacceptable and the security forces and the Afghan government are ready to defend the country's sovereignty with all means if action across the line continues. For more information, see: “Public to decide about fate of Durand Line”, Tolo News

Australia offers $ 320 million

Afghanistan and Australia signed a development agreement worth $320 million during President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Canberra on  April 4. It was signed by Afghanistan’s Minister of Economy and the Australian Foreign Secretary in the presence of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Australian Prime Minister. The aid is a part of Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan, promised during the Brussels conference last year. The countries also signed a bilateral cooperation agreement in the field of science and technical support. For more information, see: “Australia and Afghanistan sign development agreement worth $320 million”, Khamma Press

NATO pledges $ 2.7 million

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan has pledged $2.7 million to rebuid the military hospital in Kabul which witnessed a deadly attack last month. Spokesperson for the mission said that Mohammad Daud Khan hospital will be refurbished with new medical machinery such as x-ray machines, lab and radiology equipment. The budget for the hospital is $ 2.7 million and will soon be operational once again. For more information, see: “NATO pledges $2.7 million for Kabul military hospital reconstruction”,  Khamma Press


BNP opposes defence deal

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) expressed its reservations on signing a defence pact with India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit.  The party urged the government to share the details of the deals Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to sign with India during her visit. For more information, see: “BNP urges government to disclose details on possible deals with India”,, 4 April 2017; “Many in Bangladesh Oppose Proposed Defence Pact with India”, Voice of America

Delhi street named after Sheikh Mujib

Ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India, a prominent street of the Indian capital in New Delhi was named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first prime minister of Bangladesh and father of Sheikh Hasina. This was a gesture to mark the friendship between India and Bangladesh. For more information, see: “Delhi street named after Bangabandhu”, The Daily Star

Fight terrorism: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged Muslim countries to join hands to launch a concerted campaign to eliminate terrorism. She made this observation at a rally of Islamic religious leaders and scholars in Dhaka to mark the anniversary of the Islamic Foundation. For more information see: “Join hands to eliminate terrorism”, The Daily Star


Draft MoU on trilateral

India has sent its version of the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which aims to put in place an agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India to cooperate on trilateral hydropower cooperation. For more information, see: “India responds to trilateral hydro cooperation but with changes”, The Bhutanese

H1N1 virus alert

Health workers in Punakha are on alert after a Shedra and a few schools in the Dzongkhag reported increasing cases of viral fever and flu. For more information, see: “H1N1 outbreak in Punakha”, Kuensel

Varsity degree in limbo

Bhutan is estimated to have around 5,000-6,000 graduates, who over the years have graduated from the Sikkim Manipal University’s various affiliated study centres outside Sikkim. However, this very Graduation Certificate has come into question in Bhutan as Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) affiliated study centres as of 2016 have started mentioning ‘Directorate of Distance Education,’ on their graduation certificates. For more information, see: “Thousands of graduates at risk after Sikkim Manipal University graduation degree revealed to be Distance Learning degree”, The Bhutanese


Parliament heat over cow vigilantes

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed heated exchanges on the alleged killing of a man by ‘gau-rakshaks’ (cow vigilantes) at Alwar in Rajasthan, with Congress Rajya Sabha member Madhusudan Mistry demanding the dismissal of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State in view of the “breakdown of constitutional machinery”. For more information, see: Alwar violence sparks war of words in Parliament, The Hindu

RBI not for loan-waivers  

Against the backdrop of two state governments writing off farm loans and others considering similar steps, Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel cautioned about the moral consequences of loan waivers. For more information, see: RBI governor Urjit Patel says farm loan waiver a ‘moral hazard, Mint

ADB projects 7.4 pc growth

India’s economy is set to grow at 7.4 percent in the current fiscal year 2017-18 against 7.1 percent in the previous year, on the back of pick-up in consumption demand and higher public investment, as per the Asian Development Bank (ADB). For more information, see: Indian economy to grow at 7.4% in FY18: ADB, Business Standard,

Missile defence from Israel

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in an announcement said that it has been awarded its largest defence contract of almost USD 2 billion for supplying advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (MRSAM) to India. For more information, see: India to Get Missile Defence System Worth $2 Billion From Israel, News 18


Gasim arrested

Days after inviting the Opposition parties for political negotiations all over again, the Government of President Abdulla Yameen has arrested Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim on the charge of bribing MPs to support the no-trust motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh. The Opposition lost the vote, but said that the constitutional mandate for electronic voting was violated. For more information, see: “Gasim arrested for bribery”, Maldives Independent, 7 April 2017; “Qasim Ibrahim has been arrested”, SunOnline, 6 April 2017; “Government denies unfairly targeting Gasim’s businesses”, Maldives Independent, 6 April 2017; “I can be jailed but the reform movement cannot be stopped : Qasim”, MIadhu, 6 April 2017; “Two former presidents calls for Qasim’s release”, SunOnline, 7 April 2017; “JP, MDP decides to take direct action following Qasim’s arrest”, SunOnline, 6 April 2017; “JP threatens to overthrow the government within the law”, SunOnline, 6 April 2017; “Raajje TV fined MVR1m over speech defaming Yameen”, Maldives Independent, 6 April 2017; “Official arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill judge’, Maldives Independent


President for China

President HtinKyaw and First Lady Su SuLwin left for China on Thursday morning on the invitation of his Chinese counterpart. Among other items on the agenda, HtinKyaw will discuss shared border issues with Chinese officials, Myanmar’s President’s Office announced, including ongoing conflict between the Burma Army and ethnic armed groups that has occasionally spilled over into China. For more information, see: “HtinKyaw departs on visit to China”, DVB

Rohingyas: Suu Kyi denies charge

Aung San Suu Kyi has denied that security forces have carried out ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. She was speaking to the BBC after the UN rights council agreed to investigate allegations of rape, murder and torture against the army. Rights groups say hundreds of the stateless group were killed in months-long army crackdown following deadly attacks on Burma border police posts. For more information, see: “In rare interview, SuuKyi denies ethnic cleansing of Rohingya”, DVB

Foreign ties up

Myanmar’s international relations have improved since the National League for Democracy-led government took power in 2016, U Kyaw Zeya, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said on April 6. For more information, see: “Myanmar’s international relations better, says foreign affairs ministry official”, Myanmar Times


Considering amending Constitution bill

A meeting of the party leaders held at Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s official residence in Baluwatar decided to come up with a new proposal to amend the constitutional bill further, by dropping the issue of redrawing the provincial boundaries. Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said the government would form a high-level commission to sort out the row over the provincial boundaries. For more information, see: “Maoist Centre in bid to withdraw amendment bill”, The Kathmandu Post, 7 April 2017; “CPN Maoist Centre tells govt to bring new amendment bill”, The Himalayan Times

Bickering continues

Nidhi and Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government have been bickering over seniority for long, which once again on March 6 resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled Cabinet meeting. At a meeting with ministers from the Nepali Congress that he had called, Nidhi said he would not delay “in tendering his resignation if Thapa is put above him,” according to Minister for Commerce Romi Gauchan Thakali. For more information see: “Nidhi ‘to quit if Thapa made senior DPM”, The Kathmandu Post

Changes mooted in India-Nepal treaty

The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India Relations has agreed, in principle, to recommend to the governments of both the countries to replace the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty with a new one in a meeting at Kathmandu on March 5-6. The next meeting in Dehradun will dwell on the contents of the new treat further for cooperation in water resources, trade and transit, boundary, political relations and confidence-building measures. For more information, see: “EPG members agree to work on new pact”, The Kathmandu Post, 7 April 2017; “EPG univocal on amendment, rewriting, review of 1950 Treaty, Republica


India blamed on Afghan ties

Pakistan defense minister Khwaja Asif, blamed India for sour relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Asif, who was speaking at a press conference said that India’s relationship and influence in Afghanistan was the cause for a deterioration of relations between Kabul and Islamabad. He spoke of the sacrifices of the Pakistan armed forces in the country’s “war on terror” adding that every possible step would be taken to flush out militants and the menace of “terrorism” from the country. For more information, see: “Pak-Afghan relations strained due to India: Khawaja Asif”, The Express Tribune

Pakistan sends back 1200 Afghan refugees

Pakistan continued its repatriation of Afghan refugees sending nearly 1,200 refugees back to Afghanistan on 3 April. The repatriation of refugees had temporarily stopped after relations between the two countries deteriorated after a series of attacks in Pakistan. Human rights groups have criticized Pakistan’s treatment and harassment of refugees, most of whom have lived in Pakistan for decades. For more information, see: “Pakistan resumes repatriation of Afghan refugees”, VOA

Ahmadi doctor shot dead

An Ahmadi veterinary doctor was shot dead on 7 April in a targeted attack. Ashfaq Ahmad was shot in his car in Lahore. spokesperson for the Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Pakistan, condemned the attack and protested that the doctor was targeted because of his faith saying, "In a of 10 days, this has been the second killing of an Ahmadi. There is a campaign of hate against the Ahmediya community and as a cost, innocent people are killed.” For more information, see: “Ahmadi veterinary doctor shot dead in Lahore”, Dawn

Sri Lanka 

Mahinda will weep: Ranil

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be weeping by the time of the annual Buddhist festival of Vesak next year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said. He was responding to Rajapaksa’s statement that he would topple the incumbent Government by Vesak. For more information, see: “MR will have to weep by Vesak next year: PM”, Daily Mirror Online, 3 April 2017; “It is a dangerous piece of legislation: GL”, Daily Mirror Online

Amnesty International on IPKF culpability

Amnesty International (AI) would take it up with India any culpability on the part of IPKF in Sri Lanka, the organisation’s General Secretary Salil Shetty said in Colombo. At the same time, he said that the number of civilian casualty in the last phase of the war needed to be ascertained, yet. For more information, see: “Will take it up with India if IPKF culpable: AI”, Daily Mirror Online, 5 April 2017; “It’s time to act in Sri Lanka: Amnesty Sec. Gen. Salil Shetty”, The Hindu, 6 April 2017; “Amnesty urges govt. to repeal Prevention of Terrorism Act”, The Hindu, 6 April 2017; “Now, AI says credible investigation needed to ascertain numbers: Alleged killings and disappearances during war”, The Island, 6 April 2017; “No agreement on power devolution: JO”, Daily Mirror Online, 5 April 2017; “Talks on to make JO members join forces with SLFP – Dilan”, The Island, 7 April 2017; “Malwatu and Asgiri chapters send 21 point letter to MS”, Daily Mirror Online

Oil tanks farm for India

Apart from the 14 Second World War vintage oil tanks in the lower farm already under Lanka IOC, the Government will be leasing out 74 of the 84 in the upper farm to the same joint sector company involving the Indian public sector, Petroleum Minister, Chandima Weerakkody has said. This, even as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sought to explain away common but continuing Indian concerns about increasing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka. For more information, see: “Trinco oil tanks to be leased out to India”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 April 2017; “PM to visit India to finalise ECTA”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 April 2017; “Chinese presence in Sri Lanka worries Tharoor”, The Hindu, 6 April 2017; “Chinese top political advisor to visit SL”, Daily Mirror Online, 5 April 2017; “PM insists govt. has got better terms from China”, The Island, 6 April 2017; “No draft on MoU with China: Ranil”, Daily Mirror Online

Primary Documentation


Press statement, “First Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue held in Dhaka< style="font-size: 16px">”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs< style="font-size: 16px">, 28 March 2017


Press Release issued by Embassy of Nepal, Paris on Nepal Promotion Event in Gap and Briancon< style="font-size: 16px">”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal< style="font-size: 16px">, 4 April 2017

Press Release issued by Embassy of Nepal, Islamabad regarding Nepal Musical Evening 2017”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, 2 April 2017



Opinion Pieces

Mir Abed Joyenda, “Afghan refugees in Pakistan ‘losing interest’ in going home”, 7 April 2017 Mudassir Ali Shah, “View from Pakistan: Af-Pak border fence could revive fissures”, Deccan Chronicle, 7 April 2017


Opinion Pieces

Tariq A Karim, “Sheikh Hasina's visit: Will India meet her more than half way?”,South Asia Monitor, 4 April 2017 Afsan Chowdhury, “Indo-Bangla treaty: Who needs it more than Bangladesh?”,, 7 April 2017


Teesta remains a litmus test for India, Bangladesh”,   interview of Tariq Karim, former High Commissioner of Bangladeshi to India, published in The Hindu, 5 April 2017 Bangladesh has much to gain from road connectivity with India” interview of Prof LailufarYasmin, professor of international relations Dhaka University, Dhaka Tribune, 3 April 2017



Fake education”, The Bhutanese, 1 April 2017


Opinion Pieces

Peter Ronald DeSouza, “The banality of evil, Indian Express, 7 April 2017 Shalini Rudra, “Immunisation coverage: India far away from meeting targets”,, 6 April 2017 Manoj Joshi, “UP: “Ban the problem” style governance does not bode well”,, 1 April, 2017


Opinion Pieces

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Little over a year away from presidential polls, Maldives politics hotting up”,, 6 April 2017


Opinion Pieces

Kyaw Zwa Moe, “The path to a new country: Looking back on One year NLD rule”, The Irrawaddy, 7 April 2017


Opinion Pieces

Pawan Roy, Saurav Raj Pant, “Silk Road, here we come”, The Kathmandu Post, 7 April 2017 Sanjeev Dahal, “Young and helping”, Republica, 5 April 2017


The Kathmandu Post,“An unquiet mind”,The Kathmandu Post, 7 April 2017 Republica,“Tragedy of errors”,Republica, 6 April 2017


Opinion Pieces

Faisal Bari, “In service of power”, Dawn, 7 April 2017 Yasir Masood, “Pakistan-India impasse”, The Express Tribune, 5 April 2017 Raacikh Asghar, “Its about time Pakistan gave India a taste of her own medicine”, The Express Tribune, 6 April 2017

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Anuara Gunasekara, “Yahapalanaya: Lunacy, idiocy or plain hubris?”, The Island, 9 April 2017 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, “The Joint Opposition’s dilemma – who is the main enemy?”, The Island, 9 April 2017 Fr Augustine Fernando, Diocese of Badulla, “The new Constiution prioritise people”, The Island, 7 April 2017 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, “The Avurudu sale of Sri Lanka: Who will stop it?” The Island, 7 April 2017 Kelum Bandara, “After Hambantota Port project...Govt bound to face differences in Trinco oil tank farm project”, Daily Mirror Online, 6 April 2017 Malinda Seneviratne, “Repeating the ginger for chillies error...”, Daily Mirror Online, 6 April 2017 Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, “Geneva resolution is about prosecutions, not reconciliation”, Daily Mirror Online, 5 April 2017 Jehan Perera, “Joint decision-making to overcome sense of drift that harms country’s prospects”, The Island, 5 April 2017 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Fishing issue should not be allowed to impact on India-Sri Lanka ties”, South Asia Monitor, 2 April 2017 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Muslim matters...”, The Sunday Leader, 2 April 2017


Afghanistan & Pakistan: Kriti M. Shah Bangladesh: Dr Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan & Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale India: Shubh Soni & Pushan Das Maldives & Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy Nepal: Sreeparna Banerjee Coordinator: Mihir Bhonsale
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