MonitorsPublished on Nov 13, 2018
South Asia Weekly XI 46


Sri Lanka: Is the Tamil polity heading for a crash at last?

N Sathiya Moorthy

Independent of the final outcome of the current constitutional crisis that has engulfed Sri Lanka, the ‘defection’ of a single parliamentarian, S Viyazhenthiriyan, from the multi-party ‘Tamil National Alliance’ (TNA) may have a strong message for ‘minority politics’ in the island-nation. Coupled with the more recent formation of a breakaway ‘Tamil People’s Alliance’ (TPA) by disgruntled former TNA Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority Northern Province, the ‘defection’ of an MP may have sounded the death-knell of the TNA, which might have otherwise out-lived its time and utility.

It may be a harsh observation/verdict, but the TNA does not seem to have changed with the post-war realities, nor has it been able to accept change and reposition itself to those changes. It continues to be moderate, yes, but continues to provide electoral shelter for erstwhile militant groups, barring the suicidal LTTE, which however had fathered the combine in its hay days. Yet, the jockeying for power and position continues in the Alliance and its constituent parties as with any other in the ‘Sinhala majority’ country, with the result, the real concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people has continued to get a short shrift at their hands through the 10-year-long post-war era.

Whatever the real reasons for his exit from the party, to back the short-lived Sinhala-led Government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom his successor Maithripala Sirisena anointed as Prime Minister in a surprise move only a fortnight ago, TNA parliamentarian S Viyazhenthiriyan had a point when he said that the Alliance had done precious little to address the immediate concerns of the larger Tamil population. The infighting between constituent parties and individual leaders have reached a new height with the result the TNA leadership with a majority in the parliamentary group, comprising 16 MPs originally, had stopped communicating with the mainline rebel group under Wigneswaran for most of his chief ministerial period in the North.

It is another matter that the TNA MPs seldom raised their voices on particular developmental initiatives for their people, either inside Parliament or outside. Either they were participating in debates that centred on one national political crisis or the other, but rubbing in only their hobby-horse of political power for the Tamils, or stayed away. Even on much-hyped Budget debates, they would either take a high moral ground or talk political solution, but without mentioning any constituency interests for funds allocation or proper execution of development and infrastructure projects.

Less said about the Wigneswaran and company the better. As the erstwhile Chief Minister, while in office, Wigneswaran continued to assert that the Tamil people wanted ‘devolution, and not development’. So much so, even as he was demanding more funds for development works in the North, and more powers for his leadership to choose those development projects, the provincial administration was sending back vast sums of money to the Centre, as ‘unspent’ allocations at the end of every fiscal over the past five years in office. This was when the war-weary Tamil people were seeking power, not of the political kind, jobs and incomes.

Early signals

It is not that the Tamil people, especially of the North, had not sent out clear signals to their political leadership(s) about their getting more frustrated than ever with regard to the latter’s conduct, if it was anything else Through the post-war years, they have continued to fire successive signals, reflecting in the form of poll percentages and vote-share of the TNA, in a series of elections since 2010 presidential polls. Even when the TNA thus accounted for 70-80 per cent of the vote-share in the North, for instance, the voter turn-out itself was nothing much to go by.

In the more recent local government polls of February 2018, the TNA’s vote-share in the North came down to around 35 percent. In some of the rural and urban local bodies, the TNA could bag the coveted mayoralty only with the support of traditional opponents like the ‘Eelam People’s Democratic Party’ (EPDP) of former Central Minister, Douglas Devananda, whom many pro-LTTE Tamils love to hate, otherwise.

Against this, Wigneswaran-backed candidates of the All-Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), the oldest of Tamil parties, originally going by the name, ‘Ceylon Tamil Congress’ (CTC), continued to fare worse than before. The Tamil people were/are looking for alternatives, and at least some of the elected members seemed to have concluded that they did not have an electoral future, whether under the TNA, ACTC or any other banner, as long as they lived in the past, together and in competition to one another.

Break from the past

The current constitutional crisis may not help the TNA or the larger Tamil polity to address their inherent and inherited disabilities. Unwilling to break from the past and unable to think differently, they have been seeking out short-term adjustments and personal/political gains, be it in terms of seat-sharing for successive polls, or disgruntlement soon afterwards. If they talk about the ‘power devolution’ and ‘political solution’ to the decades-old ethnic issue, it owes more to a habit than to any new solution that anyone of them may have hit upon – a solution that is acceptable to the Sri Lankan State entities and the majority Sinhala polity, and also workable at the ground-level.

The available solution was obvious at the end of the war. President Rajapaksa at the time offered a negotiated settlement acceptable to all domestic stake-holders, but the TNA stoutly opposed the process even while continuing to talk to his team. Together, they at least identified the issues and possible solutions for some of them, when influenced by the international community, which in turn was using and was used by pro-LTTE sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, the TNA walked out of the talks, overnight taking up ‘accountability issues’ and ‘war-crimes’, which was a sure way to abort the negotiations.

Later, when the twin-leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to power, replacing President Rajapaksa in Elections-2015, the TNA readily agreed to a new Constitution Assembly, to address all ethnic issues, alongside greater concerns of the Sinhala polity – but knowing full well that it was a clever ploy, aimed at scuttling a solution to the Tamil woes than giving in any. The TNA could not protest as it had gone out of the way, and for inexplicable reasons, to back the Sirisena candidacy for the presidential polls – and also ensured his victory, along with the other ‘minorities’, namely, the Muslims and Upcountry Tamils of Indian origin, or ‘estate Tamils’.

Today, the Viyazhenthiriyan’s exit, along with the declaration of another TNA parliamentarian to stay neutral on any governmental vote in the House, meant that there were men ready to defy the Alliance leadership of R Sampanthan, who is both a unifying force and an assertive commander. That the Sampanthan camp’s love, much of it justified, for the parent ITAK (Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi) constituent of the TNA, has not helped matters as for as keeping the combine emotionally together. If they have been at sixes and sevens all through, they have met periodically, only to fight over non-existing spoils than for anything more beneficial to average Tamil on the streets.

That ‘defector’ Viyazhenthiriyan belonged to Sampanthan’s Eastern Province and to Batticaloa district bordering the latter’s Trincomallee electorate, should ring a bell, even otherwise. What is thus needed is a TNA revisit of its mandate and reading in the real meaning of that mandate – for the short, medium and long terms – going beyond their own political past, with no experience whatsoever in administrative matters, which they were/are unwilling to learn, either, using politics of power-devolution to bypass real hard work.

The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Chennai

Nepal: Understanding labour migration

Sohini Nayak

The very recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on ‘Recruitment, Employment and Repatriation of Workers’ signed between the Government of Nepal and the Government of Malaysia has evoked a fresh outlook at the issue of labour migration. Signed on 29 October, this MoU comes up as a further reminder of the flexible and congenial labour migration laws that have kept the Nepali workers, abroad, hopeful. Though the primary country of concern is Malaysia and the Nepali labour present there, the idea is indeed a reiteration of strengthening such areas of bilateral negotiations, in the wake of rising crisis concerning the labour population, who move abroad given the economic condition of the home country.

Nepal, as a small land-locked country, has been striving to improve its economic strongholds and trade scenario, since decades. Moreover, with short term governments, revolutionary uprisings and a series of natural disasters, an effort to recover from the politico- socio-economic forefronts is always well reflected. In this regard, the decreasing economic opportunities in the country cannot be ignored.

Under this circumstances, many Nepalis have sought employment abroad, thereby making international labour migration an accepted form of economic growth, both from the state centric and individual perspectives. From 2008 to 2017, Nepal has issued around 3.5 million labour permits to migrant workers, majorly travelling to countries like Malaysia, India and the Gulf countries (Gulf Cooperation Council). Nepal has also drawn remittances worth NPR 699 billion ($ 6.56 billion) from these migrant labourers, which has been estimated to be around one-quarter of the national GDP, the fourth-highest section in the world.

Apart from the people who travel to other countries, this idea has also become a source of business to people who run such employment centres. There are a number of stakeholders involved here including government agencies, employment entrepreneurs and also employers in destination countries, who are well versed with the prevalent situation of the sender country.

It is regulated directly by the Foreign Employment Act of 2007 and Foreign Employment Rules of 2008 along with other national and bilateral laws and international conventions. However, despite the prevailing framework, the condition of the migrant workers are failing with each passing day and are in dire need of improvement and check from the governmental front as well as the awareness of the labourers themselves.

Conditions of concern

The migrant workers are often faced with unhealthy situations in the destination country, like potential abuse, low wages, recruitment fraud, wage theft and also human trafficking, to name a few. The female workers, who move out to work as domestic workers, often end up in prostitution and sometimes lose their chance of returning back home. A vital part of this migration process is also un-documented. Not only does it brings the violation of human rights but also increases the risk of exploitation. All this calls for a structured intervention, which though present, is often overlooked, requiring re-negotiations and further inclusion of clauses, suited to the need of the hour.

Also, better mobility has to be ensured as many fear of being barred from returning. There must not be any legal consequences, which are generally feared the most, especially for the trapped workers with no formalized status. The maximum number of complaints has been filed by workers in Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It must be mentioned here that United States of America, China, Russia and Australia are also among the top ten countries, where migrant workers from Nepal did not feel safe enough.

MoU with Malaysia

Nepali workers to Malaysia have been exempted from paying any fees while moving on to work along with promises of better security measures. This landmark agreement between the two countries is first of its kind, since labour from the former country started going eastwards. The employer companies will be in charge of the recruitment service charge, two – way airfare, charges for VISA, health check- ups and the other levy charges that are in need.

The accommodation facilities will also be overviewed. The contract period has also been reduced from three to two years. An emergency leave of fifteen days have also been granted. In short, there has been an attempt to make the regulations as easy as possible. This labour migration to Malaysia from Nepal had been on halt since May of this year, as the governments were on a lookout for the illegal companies and the other important bottlenecks. The Malaysian Human Resources Minister, M Kulasegaran, also declared that this is the final call for the illegal workers to either leave the country or accept the legal proceedings.

Whatever may be the adopted policies and laws, success lies in their effective implementation. A Joint Working Group must be active enough to re-assess the conditions from time to time. Along with this, other measures have also been suggested like diplomatic missions to Malaysia from Nepal, association of the civil society organizations, proper review of the laws, a constant tab on the workers and also help to the families back home in hour of crisis.

The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata

Country Reports


Reconstruction in process

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for the reconstruction of Dahla Dam in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. It has been signed in the presence of the Afghanistan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghnai between the acting Afghanistan Finance Minster Dr. Humayoun Qayoumi, the Country Director of the World Bank Shubham Chaudhuri and the Country Director of the Asian Development Bank Samuel Tumiwa. The project is estimated to be completed by 31 August 2019 with a total cost of $400 million.

Presidential polls

The former presidential adviser and the member of the Grand National Coalition Ahmad Zia Massoud unveiled the decision of the coalition about upcoming presidential elections. He revealed that the coalition has prepared a potential list of presidential election candidates and would pick a candidate from the leadership council of the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan. Further three candidates would be nominated for Vice Presidential post and three others would be introduced as deputies for the Prime Ministerial post.

Killed in clash

The Taliban militants and army soldiers have suffered heavy casualties during a clash in the northeeastern Takhar province of Afghanistan. A group of Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on an army base and left at least 12 Afghan soldiers dead and eight wounded. Gen Bashir, the provincial police chief, has further commented that twenty militants have lost their lives in the skirmish. Takhar has been one of the relatively calm provinces in the Northeastern parts of the country.


Two to die for War crimes

The International Crimes Tribunal this week sentenced two to death for crimes during country’s 1971 Liberation War. The two convicts are Md Liakat Ali, a former president of Habiganj’s Lakhaiupazila unit of Awami League, and Aminul Islam. The two convicts are now on the run.  Liakatis alleged to be an activist of the Muslim League prior to 1971 while Aminul was a member of its student organisation. Liakat and Animulare accused of supporting Pakistani soldiers and was involved in mass killings and looting of the people of Bangladesh during the Liberation War. The International Crimes Tribunal was established in 2009 to investigate and prosecute suspects involved in the genocide during the 1971 Liberation War.

JMB leader killed

The security forces this week claimed to have killed the chief of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the infamous militant organisation mastermind behind the countrywide bomb blasts in August 2005. The group is accused of inspiring a cafe siege that killed 22 people in July 2016.   Khorshed Alam, Amir of JMB was gunned down by the security agencies. Bangladesh runs active counterterrorism programme and has undertaken strict measures in curbing terror. 7 of the JMB leaders were executed in 2007, which weakened the group in the country.


Honours for PM

The Dakyen conferring and oath taking ceremony of the Prime Minister, Speaker and cabinet ministers were held on 7 November. King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck conferred Dakyen on Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel and the Cabinet ministers following which they were sworn in. Prime Minister, Tshering said that for the next five years, he will deal heart to heart and not face to face. The King also conferred the Orange Scarf onthe Leader of the Opposition, Pema Gyamtsho.

Foreign workers barred

The labour ministry starting from this month will not issue or renew work permits for foreign workers in four occupations. The move is in line with the Regulation on Recruitment and Management of Foreign Workers, 2012. Carpenters in furniture units, architects, construction supervisors and Early Childhood and Care Development (ECCD) Manager and staff have been listed in the closed occupation category.

Two caught with dried marijuana

The Jomotshangkha police in Samdrupjongkhar, nabbed two men in connection to illicit trafficking of dried marijuana on 31 October. The men were arrested from Jampani near Jomotshangkha and seized 83kgs of dried marijuana. One among the two suspects, 29-year-old told the police that they brought the marijuana products that were kept at his home without the knowledge of his parents.


PM celebrates Diwali in Kedarnath

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Kedarnath in Uttarakhand and offered his prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. On his way there, he also extended Diwali greetings to soldiers posted on the India-China border at Harsil. According to a statement from his office, the Prime Minister told soldiers that doing duty in the remote icy heights is enabling the strength of the nation, and securing the future and the dreams of 125 crore Indians.

Worst air quality in Delhi

Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped Delhi-NCR as the air quality Thursday morning plunged to ‘hazardous’ — AnandVihar and areas around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium recorded 999 AQI and Chanakyapuri 459 — exposing people to major health risks. The Supreme Court had fixed a two-hour time-frame, from 8pm to 10pm, for bursting firecrackers on Diwali. People, however, remained unmindful of the deadline and continued bursting firecrackers till late leading to severe deterioration in air quality.According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality was 302 AQI –‘very poor’ category — at 11 pm in Delhi-NCR. It began deteriorating rapidly 7 pm onward when the AQI was recorded 281. It was 291 at 8 pm, 294 at 9 pm and 296 at 10 pm, according to the CPCB.

US waiver for Chabahar port

The US, which has allowed India to continue importing oil from Iran, has granted a waiver from sanctions for New Delhi’s role in the Chabahar port and the construction of a railway line from the Iranian port city to the Afghan border. This after the Modi government dug its heels in and decided to continue with its engagement in Chabahar even in the absence of a waiver by the Trump administration for the project.


Modi for inauguration

In a maiden visit to Maldives, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the inauguration of Ibrahim Mohamed ‘Ibu’ Solih, on Saturday, 17 November. Indian officials have clarified that it was not a ‘bilateral visit’ in the official sense of the term, and that Modi would be leaving the same day. An advance team of Indian officials are already in Male to prepare for the visit.

Teething troubles

The MDP-led four-party coalition is facing anticipated teething troubles ahead of President-elect Ibu Solih’s Inauguration on 17 November. On matters of Cabinet formation on the one hand and advance seat-sharing for the March 2019 parliamentary polls, there are claims and counter-claims from individual parties and aspirants, for a ministerial berth on the one hand and specific portfolios on the other. On parliamentary poll seat-sharing, for instance, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for instance, reportedly wants all 12 ‘rebel MPs’ of outgoing President and half-brother Abdulla Yameen to be accommodated after the Supreme Court had held their ‘disqualification’ invalid under the law. This too has created a piquant situation as other partners, especially the MDP and the Jumhooree Party’s share in the bargain could be scaled up, ahead of the polls for the 90-seat Assembly, up from the previous 85.


Deal for Kyaukpyu port

China and Myanmar signed an agreement on 8 November to move forward a multi-billion dollar deep sea port project in Kyaukpyu. Under the framework agreement, China will fund 70 percent of the investment for the project and Myanmar will pitch in the remaining 30 percent. The initial phase of the project will include two berths with a total investment of $1.3 billion, according to the agreement. A joint venture will be set up to construct and operate the port. The signing of the framework agreement marks a significant step for the port project, which has been stalled since 2015.

Suu Kyi for ASEAN summit

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may meet with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) regional forum. Deputy Permanent Secretary of the International Cooperation Office U Aung Kyaw Zan said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to fly to Singapore on 12 November for a four-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings, and the APEC forum. The State Counsellor will speak with global leaders about increased cooperation, trade and investment, defence and security, among other issues.


Deuba on ‘defeat’

While attending the ‘Jaya Nepal’ souvenir publication, organised by the Nepali Congress Bhaktapur district committee, former Prime Minister of Nepal spoke on the electoral defeat of their party. While addressing the issue, he blamed the internal squabbles and disharmony within the party which led to its final fall. In this regard, he spoke of the need to re-instill mutual respect.

Oli greets Bhutan PM

Dr. Lotay Tshering has assumed office as the new Prime Minister of Bhutan. After wishing his Bhutanese counterpart, success, Prime Minister Oli expressed his desire to work closely with Bhutan and also identify areas of mutual interest along with trust and greater partnership.


Powers segregated

The Pakistan federal cabinet recently decided to separate revenue collection administration from tax policy formulation. This decision is aimed towards promoting equity and transparency in the tax machinery. At the helm of this decision is Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who has directed all economic divisions to keep the executive body in the process of the ongoing reforms. Following this decision the role of the Federal Board of Revenue’s will be confined to tax administration and collection only.

KPC violated

Twelve gunmen dressed in plain clothes entered the Karachi Press Club (KPC) recently and harassed journalists examined several rooms including the kitchen and the sports hall. They also made videos and took photos with their mobile cameras. The KPC office bearers immediately informed Additional IG Karachi Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh and in turn they have been assured of an urgent inquiry. The Governor and Chief Minister of Sindh have also been requested to take action against the intruders.

Autopsy ‘mandatory’

The absence of an autopsy of the body of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief, Maulana Samiul Haq, is likely to weaken the case against the assassins once they are captured. Police officers engaged in the case have opined that a post mortem examination is mandatory under the circumstances to know the cause of death and put the case on trial. This is the second high profile case in Rawalipindi after the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto where an autopsy was avoided.

Sri Lanka

Parliament dissolved

Taking off from his surprise replacement of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksas, incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena has since dissolve Parliament, directing the Election Commission (EC) to conduct fresh elections on 5 February, followed by the first session of the new House, on 17 January. However, the EC is faced with a piquant situation, which hopes to be resolved one way or the other in the coming week, after the United National Party (UNP) of ‘sacked’ Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and others, declaring their decision to challenge the dissolution of Parliament in the nation’s Supreme Court.



Opinion Pieces

Ahmad Shah Karimi, “Advancing the Role of Women in Politics and Civil Society“, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 8 November 2018

Mohammad Zahir Akbari, “Role of Russia in Afghanistan’s Peace Process”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 6 November 2018

Fahim Abed, “Utah Mayor Brent Taylor Is Killed in Afghan Attack”, The New York Times, 3 November 2018


Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Parliamentary Election Observers’ Report”, 7 November 2018

Afghanistan Times, “Ghani intends to remain in power”, 6 November 2018

Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Invitations of Peace Talks to Taliban”, 6 November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Badiul Alam Majumdar, “Who is ahead in electoral politics?”,The Daily Star, 5 November 2018

Momtaj Monwara, “Economic trends in Indo-Bangla relations”, Dhaka Tribune, 5November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Wangchuck Dema, “A Call for the #Me Too Movement in Bhutan”, Kuensel, 3 November 2018

Vikram Sood, “Bhutan matures as a democracy”, ANI, 5 November 2018


The Bhutanese, “Sharing the pie”, 7 November 2018

Kuensel, “The cabinet”, 6 November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Arun Kumar Singh, ”INS Arihant may be ready, but India shouldn’t pop the champagne bottle yet”, The Print, 8 November 2018

Kenji Hiramatsu, ”Building long-term trust between India and Japan”, The Hindustan Times, 5 November 2018

A Surya Prakash, ”Patel deserves the statue, and much more”, The New Indian Express, 6 November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Saw Wai, “Our children, our future”, The Myanmar Times, 09 November 2018


The Myanmar Times, “Letter: Tech will make private education inclusive”, 08 November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Nishan Kafle, “Vision for Nepal”, Republica, 7 November 2018

Sujeev Shakya, “Tihar musings”, The Kathmandu Post, 6 November 2018

Khilendra Basnyat, “Wrong model”, The Kathmandu Post, 4 November 2018


The Kathmandu Post, Let them in”, 8 November 2018

The Himalayan Times, “Sparing the rod”, 7 November 2018

The Kathmandu Post, “Chugging along”, 6 November 2018


Opinion Pieces

Sikander Ahmed Shah and Abid Rizvi, “Diplomatic killings”, Dawn, 9 November 2018

Nabeel Qadeer, “Education ‘emergency’!”, The Express Tribune, 9 November 2018

Asha’ar Rehman, “One escape too many”, Dawn, 9 November 2018


The Express Tribune, “Scourge of degree fraud”, 9 November 2018

Pakistan Today, “A naïve approach to economy”, 9 November 2018

The Express Tribune, “Implications of random additions”, 8 November 2018

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne, “On dissolution of Parliament”, The Island, 11 November 2018

Sanjana Hattotuwa, “New beginnings”, The Island, 11 November 2018

Gnana Moonasinghe, “The ‘puppet’ flounders on centre-stage”, The Island, 11 November 2018

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Sri Lanka’s clash of civilisations”, Deccan Chronicle, 11 November 2018

M S M Ayub, “The winner is... President Sirisena”, Daily Mirror Online, 9 November 2018

Kelum Bandara, “President mulls over referendum to dissolve Parliament”, Daily Mirror Online, 8 November 2018

Malinda Seneviratne, “Hypocrisy thy name is democracy”, Daily Mirror Online, 8 November 2018

Amb Palitha Kohono, “The ‘crisis’ in Sri Lanka, discovered by western media”, The Island, 7 November 2018

P K Balachandran, “Pros and cons of crossovers”, Daily Mirror Online, 6 November 2018

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Sri Lanka: Importance of anti-defection laws”, Ceylon Today, 6 November 2018

Jehan Perera, “President Sirisena needed to be reached sooner than later”, The Island, 5 November 2018

N Sathiya Moorthy, “Which vote are you talking about?”, Colombo Gazette, 5 November 2018


Afghanistan & Pakistan: Sohini Bose

Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee

Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale

India: Ketan Mehta and T.N. Suhas 

Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy

Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee

Nepal: Sohini Nayak

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.