MonitorsPublished on Jun 20, 2014
Whether Indians have great expectations from their new Prime Minister Narendra Modi or not, India's neighbours, who see in the emergence of Modi from a grassroots-level politician to become the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy, seem to have expectations and aspirations unmatched in the recent past.
Sri Lanka: 'Great expectations' from Modi's India
< class="heading1">Analysis

Whether Indians have great expectations from their new Prime Minister Narendra Modi or not, India’s neighbours, who see in the emergence of Modi from a grassroots-level politician to become the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, seem to have expectations and aspirations unmatched in the recent past.

It’s no different in southern Sri Lanka. Both the Tamil minority and the Sinhala majority have expectations, hopes and aspirations from the change-over of government in India. Each one has his or her own vision of what India can do for them, and what PM Modi would do for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans.

As can only be expected under the circumstances, the neighbourhood expectations from democracy and democratic elections have soared in the light of the recent Indian experience. It’s no different in the case of other neighbours of India. Their respect for India has grown much more than possibly the government and people in India are able to appreciate and accept.

This had happened earlier, too, particularly after the post-emergency polls of 1977. It was a different generation than the present. The new generation in these countries, like their counterparts in India, celebrate the Indian change-over, or precedent. They derive their democratic sustenance from India.

’Tough talking’

The average Sri Lankan expectations from Modi and India revolve around what they can do for finding a political solution to the ethnic issue in the island-nation. Here, expectations vary. The Sinhalas and the Tamils have different expectations, flowing from the very same ethnic issue.

The minority Tamils are greatly pleased from what they have concluded as Modi’s ’tough talking’ to President Mahinda Rajapaksa when they met in Delhi after the former’s inauguration. The fact that PM Modi had reiterated whatever shaped Government of India’s policy ahead of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 is not lost on them.

Their conscience feels comfort in ridiculing the predecessor Manmohan Singh Government for whatever was not done to make the Rajapaksa administration do their bidding, particularly in the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment, including Police powers for the provinces. There is great appreciation of PM Modi asking President Rajapaksa to ’go beyond’ 13-A.

Yet, there is little understanding on what could this ’going beyond 13-A’ entailed in the Indian perception. There is little still of appreciation about what the Sri Lankan Tamil community and polity wanted, first in the context of what until now used to be referred to as ’13-Plus’ and what India could do about it all.

’Tamil Nadu factor’

In the Sinhala eyes, a strong Central Government in India, not dependent particularly on southern Tamil Nadu’s competitive pan-Tamil polity, is a blessing in disguise. In the past, they had concluded that the Manmohan Singh administration was stymied by its dependence on political parties from Tamil Nadu for its parliamentary majority.

To them all, a single-party majority at the Centre, under a charismatic ’Hindu nationalist leader’ would be able to appreciate the political realities of Sri Lanka where competing ’nationalist’ forces are at work still. Personal attributes of the new Indian PM, derived from one’s own imagination and favourable Indian news reports during the long run-up to the parliamentary polls, have made a pen-picture that is easy for them to impose their ideas upon.

This is true of both the Tamils and the Sinhalas. Going a step further, the Tamils in general and the ruling TNA in the Tamil-majority Northern Province, have begun congratulating Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for her sweeping parliamentary poll victory. There is however a sulking acceptance that her victory has no bearing on government-formation at the Centre.

In particular, sections of the TNA and the larger Tamil society refer to Jayalalithaa’s continuing demand for a referendum for a ’separate Tamil State’ in Sri Lanka and for an international probe into ’accountability issues’ pertaining to ’Eelam War IV’. They note with appreciation Jayalalithaa’s ’courage’ and ’decisiveness’ in reiterating the AIADMK’s known position in her memorandum to PM Modi at their first meeting after he had assumed office.

In a way, the Tamil-Sinhala positions on the ’Tamil Nadu factor’ are contradictory and conflicting. So are their expectations from PM Modi. But they both happily hold on to their respective views. Sharing them from both sides are senior leaders, who had known governance issues and ’sovereignty’ concerns better.

For instance, there is little that the Tamils have to offer in terms of what India could do to make Sri Lanka implement 13-A in full, in the 21st century global order. The Sinhalas have no ideas to offer on what India could do to assuage the hurt Tamil feelings on the un-relenting Government position on the 13-Plus promises. The latter were/are voluntary and not as ’intimidating’ as they would like to believe 13-A was.

Preparing for polls

The entry of PM Modi as the new hope and expectation from neighbouring India is tempered only by the existing reality of possible poll to the nation’s presidency before it becomes due in late 2016. January 2015 is the favourite month among political speculators, but it may have to wait if early notification were not to interfere with a papal visit, now scheduled for 13 January.

Indications are that President Rajapaksa would want to contest for a third time in a row, on the strength of the facilitation provided by the Eighteenth Amendment to the nation’s Constitution that he had got passed after his second-term victory. The divided Sinhala Opposition is at sixes and sevens still on finding a credible common candidate, who alone that they are convinced would be able to give a substantive challenge to the charismatic incumbent.

The divided Opposition is once again veering to accept the abolition of Executive Presidency as the sole issue on which they could be seen as staying united. Should the nation address this issue squarely and at one go, they may not have another issue that could unite them ahead of each election and divide them afterward. They have got accustomed to such a practice over the past 30-odd years.

Speaking for the Tamils, the TNA has once again endorsed support for abolition of the Executive Presidency. The fact remains, with or without such endorsement, the Sinhala Opposition would feel as shy as ever to back the Tamils’ demand on power-devolution. Decisiveness ahead of the polls even in coming up with a stated position is also not what the Sinhala polity can be expected to come up with.

Can cut both ways

Yet, in the context of the recent communal clashes between Sinhala-Buddhists and Muslims in Alutgama and Beriwala, where the Muslims, the political Opposition at the national-level and the international community, have all sought to blame the Government and the police, an element of ethnic-centric politics and decisions on the presidential polls cannot be avoided. It can cut both ways in electoral terms, and the Sinhala Opposition is shy of calling a spade a spade, if that is at all their intention.

Yet, it may still be confined to that aspect of ethnic politics, and not necessarily bring the nation’s ethnic minorities under a common political umbrella. The Tamils’ problems will have to wait, and so should their aspirations on the home front and expectations from the new leadership in neighbouring India.

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

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan: Karachi attack and its implications

Bhavya Pandey

The June 8 attack on the Karachi international airport by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan showed the growing strength of the terrorist group and the increasing inability of the state to counter such attacks aimed primarily at destabilising the country.

The Karachi attack, which followed months of protracted negotiations between the Nawaz Sharif government and TTP, presents a grave danger to the state already reeling under sectarian bloodletting, insurgency, economic crises and a politically destabilising civil-military tug of war for supremacy.

The attack on the Karachi airport was one of the most spectacular and audacious one by the TTP in the last few months. The last such attack was the Mehran naval base in Karachi in May 2011. It was followed by another one at the air force base at Kamra, once again near Karachi in August 2012. The last major attack was on December 15, 2012 at the Peshawar international airport.

Although these attacks were not as significant as the one on Mehran, they showed the growing capability and audacity of the terrorist group to strike at heavily guarded installations and that too far away from their operational base in north Waziristan. In attacking the Karachi airport, TTP has once again demonstrated their skill and reach and the weakness of the state security agencies.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, alternatively referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organisation of 13 or more militant groups active in the tribal areas running along the Afghan-Pak border. Formed in December 2007, the group has avowed to avenge the death of hundreds of Pasthun students in a military offensive launched against pro-Taliban Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July 2007.

The overall objective of the group is to establish sharia over Pakistan and convert it into an Islamic emirate, much like what the Afghan Taliban would like to achieve in Afghanistan. TTP enjoys patronage of Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. In the short of six years, TTP has become one of the most notorious terrorist groups in South Asia with ambitions of carrying out global attacks.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, since his return to power in June last year, has made several attempts to strike peace with TTP, but without much success. Pre-conditions set by TTP and the group’s refusal to stop attacks on the security forces are two of the reasons why the talks could not succeed. The Karachi attack has clearly blocked any possibility of a dialogue with TTP.

A close scrutiny of the attack indicates TTP’s plans to take on the state head on. The modus operandi of the attack suggest a new command and control structure and a clear plan of action to hit the state where the damage would be the hardest to bear. The fact that the group could carry out such a meticulously planned and executed attack despite recent reports of splits and heavy leadership attrition in the past showed the resilience of the group and its extended reach.

The attack in Karachi highlighted serious gaps in the Pakistani security apparatus as well. The government was caught oft guards despite being fully aware of the possibility of TTP taking revenge for the killing of its top leadership. TTP has always accused the army of siding with the US to target their leaders and the tribal people in general. TTP has time and again threatened to avenge the military offensives in the tribal areas which invariably displaces thousands of people and leave scores dead. The attack raises serious question marks on the State’s capacity to deal with terrorist groups like TTP.

Although the army has launched an all-out offensive against TTP in north Waziristan, its outcome remains to be seen.

(The writer is a Research Intern at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President urges restraint as communal violence spreads

There erupted a clash in the Southern coastal town of Aluthgama on Sunday between the Sinhala and Muslim communities in the town after the extremist Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) held a demonstration in the town to denounce the attack on a Buddhist monk.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged all parties concerned to act in restraint and announced an investigation into the communal violence that engulfed. The curfew imposed on Sunday evening has been extended indefinitely in the two areas. The mobs set fire to the houses and shops in the town even after the government imposed a curfew.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru Daily Mirror, 16 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Parliament votes against UNHRC probe

Parliament voted against the UNHRC-led investigation on Sri Lanka after two days of debate which saw both members of the Government and the Opposition expressing their views. The motion submitted to Parliament by Government members against the investigation on the war in Sri Lanka received 144 votes for and 10 against it.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was the only party to vote against the motion while the main opposition UNP abstained and the JVP was absent during the vote. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) boycotted Parliament today and so were not present.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President receives Award for Peace and Democracy

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Monday (June 16), was awarded the "Parliamentary Order Merit Democratic Rep. Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruza" by the Bolivian Government. The award, which is the highest honor presented by the Plurinational State of Bolivia, recognises contributions to peace and democracy.

Bolivia said President Rajapaksa was selected for this prestigious award for defeating terrorism and restoring peace and development in Sri Lanka. It also recognizes President Rajapaksa’s commitment to human rights and his initiative to improve and expand relations with South America, including Bolivia.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Asian Tribune, 18 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Lower turn-out in run-off poll

The second round of elections in Afghanistan saw runoff turnout of six million, a figure much lower than the first round, according to the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA). TEFA shared its findings about the elections at a press conference on 19 June.

Some issues were highlighted in the TEFA report including stuffed ballot boxes in 218 centres in 16 provinces, voting without using ink in 18 centres in 7 provinces, double voting in 337 centres in 13 provinces as well as armed and unarmed confrontations between supporters of candidates in 14 centres in seven provinces.

TEFA findings show that the second runoff had more problems compared to the first round. This is contrary to a majority of election observer institutions that have said that the runoff was more transparent than the first round.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Tolo News, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Abdullah Abdullah alleges rigging

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has alleged fraud in the elections. He stated that on the day of elections, the Independent Election Commission’s (EIC) Secretariat Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail was caught by the police with ballots and without police escorts.

He has also said that any actions from the electoral commissions will be illegal and not acceptable as the legitimacy of the election process is under question as the IEC Secretariat has not been suspended.

According to him the figure announced by the IEC - more than seven million - was questionable and that a clear figure has not been announced. Dr. Abdullah has accused President Hamid Karzai stating that he is responsible for this crisis.

The IEC runoff election timeline states that preliminary results will be announced on July 2, 2014.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Tolo News, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Taliban targets NATO supplies

A number of suicide bombers attacked the parking lot of the NATO forces in Torkham Port border area in Nangarhar province on 19 June 2014.

According the Mohammad Hassan, Nangarhar police supply unit commander, the incident occurred around 5 am when four Taliban suicide bombers attacked the parking lot which was protected by the Afghan forces.

He said that there were four suicide bombers and one of them, who was driving a Corolla detonated his explosives and paved the way for three others to enter the parking area and begin clashing with Afghan forces. He added that roughly 37 vehicles caught fire and two civilian drivers were wounded.

All suicide bombers were gunned down by the Afghan forces. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released to the media. The Torkham-Jalalabad route was temporarily closed to the public for four hours.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Tolo News, 19 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Talks possible if BNP recognises Govt: Minister

Health minister Mohammad Nasim said that a dialogue between the ruling coalition and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is possible if the later recognises the legality of the present Sheikh Hasina government.

However, the minister made it clear that there is no scope to hold talks with the BNP before 2019. He further added that since BNP chief Begun Khaleda Zia express her desire for a talks with the government, she should make it clear first that her party will participate in the next general election under the present government.

BNP boycotted the parliamentary election held on January 5 as it demanded that the parliamentary election should be held under a non- partisan caretaker government. BNP’s absence in the election led many candidates to win uncontested and Awami League to won absolute majority in the parliament. BNP is now asking for a dialogue to hold fresh election.

Meanwhile, the BNP is planning to launch a country-wide movement against the present government after Eid-ul-Fitr.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Independent, 18 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China firm on Padma Bridge

The government has signed China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited for the construction of the main portion of the Padma Bridge. Under the deal signed the company will build the main bridge within four years for a budget of Tk 121.32 billion.

The Padma Bridge is a major infrastructure project of the Awami League government and the government claims the Padma bridge, when commissioned, will boost the GDP by as much as 1.2 percent.

It may be recalled that in 2012 the World Bank, which pledged $1.2 billion loan in the project, halted its fund raising graft allegations.

Bangladesh, finally, withdrew its funding request from the Washington-based global lender on Jan 31 last year and decided to go ahead with domestic funds.The government toyed with three foreign options afterwards - those proposed by Malaysia, India and China.

Malaysia sought to operate the bridge for 30 years and India was only prepared to provide $1 billion, diverting most of it from the line of credit it announced several years ago to fund infrastructure development in Bangladesh.

China, on the other hand, proposed building the bridge on the build-own-transfer (BOT) basis by investing $2 billion or 70 percent of the project cost.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, 17 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Joining new regional bank

Bangladesh is likely to become a member of the proposed China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Earlier in March, Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei announced that the proposed bank would have USD 50 billion as capital.

This amount would be paid by its members. The bank would have the mandate to fund infrastructure projects in the region, complementing the work of entities like the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The first convening meeting of the proposed bank is going to be held in Beijing on June 28-29. A number of investors from Bangladesh, including former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain, will take part in the meeting.

Mohammad Mejbahuddin, secretary to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), said the government will strongly support the initiative to set up the bank.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Independent, 17 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Boosting bilateral ties with Cambodia

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Bangladesh on a three-day State visit. Hun Sen was given a red-carpet welcome and two sides signed four instruments including three agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a bid to further boost bilateral ties especially in the fields of trade, industry, agriculture and culture.

The Four agreements comprise an Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission for Promoting Bilateral Cooperation between Bangladesh and Cambodia, Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between Bangladesh and Cambodia, and an MoU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture.

The Cambodian premier visited Bangladesh at the invitation of his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina who visited Cambodia in 2001. This is the highest-level visit from Cambodia to Bangladesh.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Independent, 17 July 2014; The Independent, 18 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM against ’one-child’ slogan

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Department of Family Planning should stop their one-child population control campaign. The department’s present campaign slogan is "Not more than two children, one better."

"I differ with the slogan. I wish to drop the second part of the slogan that stresses on one child," Sheikh Haisna opined.

Explaining the reason, she said, "The countries that had initiated the ’one child’ slogan have now turned into nations of old people. They don’t have young people now. Hasina said they were again trying to encourage families to take two or three children...."

Bangladesh is the world’s eighth-most populous country with 160 million people. The government has been trying to control population growth for the last several decades. At present the population growth rate is 1.32 percent, which is considered a successful effort.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Independent, 20 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Attack on Biharis

Violent clashes between ethnic Bengalis and Bihari refugees have caused nine deaths and left many injured in a camp in Dhaka. Emergency services claimed that eight persons had died at the refugee camp in Mirpur, a northern suburb of the capital, and another person had later died at hospital in central Dhaka from shotgun injuries.

Most of those who had died had burnt to death after their homes were torched during the clashes. Although investigations are on to pin down the culprits behind the incident, victims alleged that local cadres of the ruling Awami League had set fire on their houses.

Biharis, who are mostly Urdu-speaking Muslim group migrated to what was then East Pakistan from India after partition. Anti-Bihari sentiment runs high in Bangladesh because most Biharis supported Pakistan during Bangladesh’s war of independence.

Many Biharis are denied Bangladeshi citizenship, and Pakistan, where many Biharis would like to move to, has avoided talks on repatriation despite repeated requests by Dhaka for a settlement. Half a million Bihari Muslims have since lived in slum-like refugee camps

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, 16 July 2014; Aljazeera, 14 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">10,000 MW yes, but perhaps not by 2020

Achieving the 10,000MW (megawatt) target is ambitious and challenging but doable, according to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. However, it may not be within the 2020 target. Lyonchhoen said, after discussing the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both sides reiterated their commitment to achieving the target.

"I’m not really sure whether the projects can be completed within 2020, but both governments are committed to giving it everything," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the foundation stone for the 600MW Kholongchu hydroelectric project, at the National Assembly courtyard on 16 June. Kholongchu project in Trashiyangtse is the first of the four joint ventures of Druk Green Power Corporation with public sector undertakings of India.

The other three projects of DGPC are 570MW Wangchu with SJVNL, which is also the partner for Kholongchu, 180MW Bunakha with THDC, and 770MW Chamkharchu-I with NHPC.

"We expect them to be completed well in time," Lyonchhoen said. In April this year, the two governments signed an agreement for the implementation of these projects.

"Hydropower development forms the centrepiece of our bilateral cooperation," Lyonchhoen said. "Your personal presence symbolises the personal commitment and that of the Indian government to the partnership in hydropower development."

Kholongchu is the second major project in eastern Bhutan.

"People in eastern Bhutan have been eagerly waiting for this to commence as they’re aware of the immense benefits the project will bring," lyonchhoen said during the unveiling of the plaque ceremony.

In his address to Parliament on 16 June, Prime Minister Modi said hydropower remains a priority for the two countries.

"Our hydropower cooperation with Bhutan is a classic example of win-win cooperation and a model for the entire region," Modi said, in his statement before coming to Bhutan. Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said the new government in India will continue to support programs of the previous government and there would not be any impacts on the development activities.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Kuenselonline, 17 June, 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">16th most peaceful country

Bhutan has been ranked the 16th most peaceful country in the world in the latest Global Peace Index (GPI), an improvement of 91 places since 2012.A total of 162 countries were ranked.

The Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank attempting to build greater understanding of the relationship between economics, business, and peace produces the GPI. The GPI is collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.

The index is made up of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators and covers 99.6 percent of the world’s population.

While the European countries of Iceland, Denmark, and Austria made up the top three most peaceful countries globally, Bhutan is the second most peaceful Asian nation after Japan (ranked eighth). The first 28 countries are ranked as having a "very high" state of peace.

In this region, Nepal comes in at 76, Bangladesh at 98, China at 108 and India at 143. However despite improvements in their scores, South Asia still remains at the bottom of regional rankings.

In the GPI report, Bhutan is one of 20 countries selected for an analysis based on its relative peaceful state despite its institutional strengths.

"Bhutan has succeeded in establishing a long-standing internal peace and its transition from monarchy to a full-fledged democracy, although recent, has been remarkable," it is pointed out in the GPI report. "Bhutan’s firm move to democracy in 2008 is commendable, particularly if its transition is compared to that of Nepal," it stated.

"Although the new administration seems to be focusing less on the gross national happiness index, there is little to indicate that the tiny nation’s largely peaceful history will change," it is added.

"The country has experienced very few instances of internal and external conflict-a largely smooth transition of power from monarchy to democracy and good relations with its neighbours are at the crux of its peaceful existence," it is said.

The peaceful nature of the Bhutanese, as a result of Buddhism, combined with a policy focus on happiness and wellbeing should ensure that Bhutan remains on a stable path in its first years as a democracy, it is pointed out.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Kuenselonline, 16 June, 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Modi reconstitutes key Cabinet panels

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reconstituted six important Cabinet committees, including the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

Since the decision of the Prime Minister to scrap all the Group of Ministers (GoMs) and Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs) and the subsequent announcement that all Cabinet committees will be revamped, there has been a lot of speculation on how exactly he intends to go about the job.

One of the key Cabinet committees, the CCS, is headed by the Prime Minister and has Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also holding additional charge of the Defence Ministry, as members.

All the three Ministers are senior BJP leaders. It is evident that once there is a new Defence Minister, the CCS would have five Ministers. The CCS deals with all defence-related issues and those concerning internal security, economy and national security. Allies of the BJP have representation on political, parliamentary and economic affairs committees.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, 20 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India caught in Iraqi crossfire

Forty Indians working in a construction company in Iraq were abducted by gunmen while they were reportedly trying to flee from Mosul, a city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on June 18.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured the families of the missing men, most of them from Punjab, of the government’s efforts to bring them back safely. Officials in the Indian Embassy in Baghdad are also in touch with the construction company, Tariq Noor Al Huda, which has been telling the families that they had not been kidnapped but taken to a safe a location in northern Iraq.

New Delhi is helping to facilitate the return of other Indians working in Iraq who wish to return home. But a complex set of factors, including the mushrooming of checkpoints set up by the Sunni tribesmen in tactical alliance with the militants, may hamper the rescue and evacuation operations. Baghdad asked Washington to carry out air strikes on militants in the north. Official sources said those who had taken over the Tikrit General Hospital, where around 46 Indian nurses, mostly from Kerala, are working, were persuading the trapped health workers to continue their work, though at less wages.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Modi’s push for Hindi worries some States

Since taking office as India’s prime minister last month, Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has taken a clear stand in support of Hindi, pushing for it to replace English as the preferred language of the capital’s urbane and golf-playing bureaucrats. Hindi and English are India’s two official languages for federal government business, although India’s constitution recognizes a total of 22 languages.

Modi’s government has ordered its officials to use Hindi on social media accounts and in government letters. Modi spoke in Hindi and used interpreters in meetings with South Asian leaders last month, and addressed the Bhutanese Parliament in Hindi during his first official overseas trip last week.

But with more than half of India’s 1.2 billion people using another language as their mother tongue, the push for Hindi risks widening communication divides in a highly diverse country, especially in the southern and eastern states, where local languages or English are preferred.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Reuters India, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">U.S. push to tag India as ’emerging economy’

The crisis at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Geneva has deepened with the US demanding India and China be categorised as ’emerging’ rather than as ’developing economies’.

India is resisting the move which, if it materialises, will halve WTO caps applicable to India’s food subsidies. It will also require India to grant market access to the U.S. The U.S. is insisting that India meet its food security law obligations with American imports, Commerce Ministry sources told The Hindu.

The U.S. has also tabled a study in Geneva, produced by its allies Pakistan and Canada that claims food subsidies in India and China exceed those in the U.S. and the EU, sources said. India has countered the study, the sources added, with data to show that the U.S. farm subsidies to its corporate sector are to the tune of $20,000 to $30,000 per capita per year against India’s mere $200.

At the Geneva talks, the U.S. has so far successfully thwarted India’s efforts aimed at finding a permanent protection against even the WTO’s agriculture caps currently applicable to its food subsidies. America’s own agenda of an agreement on Trade Facilitation, however, is well on track for the July 31 deadline as laid down at the Bali Ministerial.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, 18 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Work on Bangladesh railway link from 2015

The Indian and Bangladeshi governments will start work early next year on a new rail link to ease surface transport, officials said on June 17. India will build a 15km railway tracks linking Tripura’s capital Agartala with Bangladesh’s south-eastern city of Akhaurah, an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.

An Indian delegation and a Bangladeshi team attended the third meeting of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway link project steering committee here Tuesday. They will go for a field inspection on the Indian side on Wednesday. An agreement to implement the railway project was signed between India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in January 2010.

Of the 15-km rail-line 5 km falls within India. An official said: "With the establishment of the new railway link, northeast India will be connected to the Chittagong international sea port by rail."

Surface connectivity is an important factor as India’s north-eastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China. The only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But it passes through over 70 per cent hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, 17 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Termination of GMR agreement unlawful, rules arbitrator

GMR Infrastructure has said that it has won the arbitration proceedings in a Singapore tribunal against the Government of Maldives over the premature termination of the contract to develop and manage Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), GMR Infrastructure said the tribunal has declared that the concession agreement between Government of Maldives and GMR Male’ International Airport (GMIAL, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure) was valid and binding and "was not void for any mistake of law or discharged by frustration".

After 18 months of detailed proceedings, the tribunal’s verdict stated that the "Government of Maldives and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) are jointly and severally liable in demands to GMIAL for loss caused by wrongful repudiation of the agreement as per the concession agreement," said GMR Infrastructure in its filing with BSE.

The tribunal has directed the Government of Maldives and MACL to pay $4 million to GMIAL as compensation for legal costs within 42 days. However, the tribunal has yet to declare compensation amount for the unlawful termination of the contract. GMR is seeking $1.4 billion in damages from the Maldives government.

The contract to develop and manage INIA was terminated by the Maldives government on 29 November 2012 after declaring that the concession agreement was void ab initio (invalid from the outset) due to irregularities in the bidding process.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt will not have to pay $1.4 b: AG

The verdict by international arbitration tribunal in Singapore on Wednesday also proves that the Maldives government will not have to pay the full compensation claim of $1.4 billion to GMR Infrastructure, Maldives Attorney- General Mohamed Anil has said.

GMR Infrastructure said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that it has won the arbitration proceedings in a Singapore tribunal against the Government of Maldives over the premature termination of the contract to develop and manage Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

"It is clear now that we won’t have to pay the $1.4 million in compensation claimed by GMR. This has also decided that we won’t have to pay anything close to the amount they demand," said Attorney-General Anil.

The compensation payable to GMR by the Maldivian government will be decided in the second phase of the arbitration process, which will take about a year to begin, Anil said.

The Attorney-General also said that the arbitration tribunal in Singapore has decided on a formula to calculate the compensation amount and said that the amount will heavily depend on grounds that the agreement was cancelled with regard to the best interests of the public.

The arbitration tribunal’s decision was a win for the Maldives government because it had aimed to reduce the compensation amount, during the first phase of the arbitration process, Anil said.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Main gates’ should be safe-guarded: Gasim

Jumhooree Party leader, Gasim Ibrahim has said that the main gates of Maldives should be safeguarded at any cost.

Gasim Ibrahim said that the he has raised concern previously when President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom stated that the Maldivian government will have to compensate for GMR Infrastructure for annulling the agreement between the Maldivian government and GMR.

Some of the media of India noted that the President stated this while the Maldivian government was advocating against giving any compensation whatsoever.

Gasim said that even if the compensation is 1 billion US dollars, what is most important is to protect and safeguard the main gate of Maldives at any cost.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Miadhu 20 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President dissolves Transport Ministry

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has, with reference to Article 116 of the Constitution, dissolved Ministry of Transport and Communication.

The President’s Office said that the departments and operations of the ministry have been transferred to other government institutions.

This includes the transfer of Regional Airports to Ministry of Tourism, Transport Authority to Ministry of Economic Development, and Communication Authority of Maldives to Ministry of Home Affairs.

Other operations of Transport Ministry have been transferred to Ministry of Environment and Energy, and the National Centre for Information Technology run under National Bureau of Statistics of Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 20 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bill requires referendum to change presidential term

A bill has been proposed toPparliament seeking to require a public referendum prior to the amendment of a number of clauses in the Constitution, including the five-year presidential term and consecutive terms of the President.

Article 107 (a) of the Constitution states that the President shall hold office for a term of five years and no person elected as President shall serve for more than two terms in office, whether consecutive or otherwise.

The Vote on Common Consensus Bill proposed on behalf of the government by Nilandhoo MP Abdulla Khaleel also seeks to require a public referendum to amend Article 108 of the Constitution, which states that the President shall be elected directly by the people by universal and secret suffrage.

The bill further seeks to impose public referendums prior to ratification of amendments to the constitutional clause defining the term of the parliament, and for amendments to any clause under the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

Article 79 of the Constitution states that, "The People’s Majlis shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting, and shall then stand dissolved. The first sitting of the newly elected People’s Majlis shall be held immediately after the dissolution of the previous People’s Majlis."

The Vote on Common Consensus Bill also gives the parliament the power to call for public referendums and vests the responsibility of conducting the referendums in the Elections Commission.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Women exceed men by 12 pc in civil service

The number of women working in Maldives civil service is 12 percent more than men, the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) numbers have shown.

According to statistics published by CSC, 13,088 or 53 percent of civil servants in Maldives are women, whereas the number of male employees are 11,654. Maldives has a total of 24,742 civil servants.

A majority of public servants, 16,102 or 65 percent, are employed in the atolls, and the most number of the total number of public servants are between 25 and 29 years of age.

A total of 13 percent employees are expatriate. With a total of 2,880 employees, Indians hold the majority and Bangladeshis are in second place.

About 40 percent or 6,803 the civil servants receive a salary of less than MVR 5,000 per month, of which 40 percent are employed in the capital Male’. A total of 373 civil service employees receive between MVR 10,000 and 15,000 per month and 75 employees receive over MVR 15,000 per month.

The majority of civil servants, 7,036 or 28 percent, are teachers. Administrative staff are second largest in number, a total of 7,495 employees.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Wide disparity between atolls and Male

A wide disparity exists between capital Male’ and the atolls, mostly in income levels and education choices, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has said in its Maldives Human Development Report 2014 has said.

According to the report, a person living in Male’ is likely to complete three years more of schooling than a person living in the atolls, largely due to the lack of higher secondary and tertiary education facilities in the islands. It also notes that the average income of a person living in Male’ is likely to be more than one and a half times as that of a person living in the atolls.

The Maldives Human Development Report 2014 was launched by Minister of Health and Gender Dr Mariyam Shakeela at an event at Ameenee Building Auditorium today. Speaking at the event, Dr Shakeela noted that Maldives has met five of the eight Millennium Development Goals ahead of the agreed timeline of 2015, and assured that the government will make every effort to meet the remaining targets.

A workshop was also held today on implementation of a framework provided in the Human Development Report, focused on equality and vulnerability that can guide the development of inclusive policies and measures for action.

The Human Development Report notes that the most influential driving factor in the Maldives is spatial setting or location and that where one is born within the Maldives determines many of the opportunities and choices available to a person.

"A second tier of vulnerability arises from income, wealth and employment status and stability. Income status determines the ability to better services through enhanced capability to move and seek quality services where they are available."

It also highlights the risk of joblessness and exposure to substance abuse and related crimes faced by young people, and notes that the elderly face health risks, neglect from families and low social status.

"Similarly, women face extreme vulnerability due to multiple risks — acutely so if they do not hold jobs and are not financially independent or are single mothers," read the National Human Development Report.

Meemu, Faafu and Dhaalu atolls top the Human Development Index performance, followed by Gnaviyani (Fuvahmulah) and Seenu atolls (Addu City). Kaafu, Alif Alif, Alif Dhaalu and Vaavu atolls are in third place.

The 2014 report is the second Human Development Report published by UNDP in the Maldives. The first report was released in 2001.

< class="text11verdana">Source: SunOnline 18 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Foreign Minister calls for Muslim self-assessment

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon has called for a thorough self-assessment to identify the reason Islam is being associated with intolerance, terrorism, violence, and backwardness.

Speaking at the 41st session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dunya suggested that although Muslims could blame the West and Western media, Muslim societies must make a self-assessment as to why Islam is being tarnished by images linked to terrorism.

"Muslims were once the pioneers of science and technology. Today, we have to accept the reality that Muslim societies are on the brink of falling into an abyss for creativity," said the Foreign Minister minister in Jeddah.

"It is beyond imagination, or within the realm of belief, to think that we can overcome these dark times? Let us recommit ourselves to work together to overcome our challenges. United and strong we can once again become the standard bearers of tolerance and innovation," she said.

Condemning Islamophobia, Dunya also argued that the chaos seen in the Muslim world today is a result of not exercising true Islamic ideals. "Islamic principles and values of justice and equality of all humans, and the right of citizens in having a say and a stake in their governments is well in line with modern democratic values," she said. Urging the OIC to unite in support for democratic change around the world and in Islamic societies, Dunya said Maldives was an emerging democracy that is striving to advance its democratic institutions and to cherish the values of Islam.

Stating that Islam emphasises the equal rights and responsibilities of men and women, she called on the OIC to work to protect, safeguard, and guarantee the rights of Muslim women around the world.

Concern over the ’tarnished image of Islam’ was also highlighted in OIC Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani’s statement. He called upon ’European leaders’ to reflect internally "before accusing Islam of racism, Nazism and committing massacres against others" and called for the rights of Muslim minorities around the world.

"The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation condemns terrorism wherever it is and confirms, as in all international agreements and resolutions in this regard, that terrorism has no religion, nationality, doctrine, colour, or race," said Madani.

"It is rather a phenomenon that should be combatted and addressed wherever it is and whatever its source may be. Accordingly, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation rejects and condemns any attempt to render terrorism equivalent to Islam, a religion espoused by more than two billion people throughout the world."

Madani noted that terrorism, religious, and sectarian extremism, and the rights of Muslim minorities outside the Muslim World were primary concerns of the OIC. Concepts of human rights, the rights of women and children, and religious practice were also listed a key interests of the group.

A statement from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also delivered yesterday at the conference, in which he commented on issues faced by Muslim communities around the world, particularly in Myanmar, Mali, Central African Republic, Syria, Palestine and Iraq.

Stating that a humanitarian crisis is quickly unfolding in Iraq, Ban Ki-moon called for a national security plan against terrorist threats, saying that OIC members can play a key role in creating a positive and enabling environment for a national dialogue in Iraq.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News 19 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President ’retires’ troubled Rakhine State’s CM

The Chief Minister of Myanmar’s Rakhine State that has been embroiled in sectarian violence has retired and the country’s Religious Affairs Minister has been fired. An announcement signed by President Thein Sein gave no explanation for Hla Maung Tin’s retirement or for the sacking of Hsan Sint.

Several official sources said Hsan Sint is facing an investigation on corruption charges. His removal coincides with the arrest of five Buddhist monks last week after a well-known Buddhist monastery was raided in a late-night operation. The sources would not give their names are they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Mr. Thein Sein has pledged to create a clean government since he assumed power in 2011 and has seen a series of Cabinet reshuffles though no reasons have been given.

The announcement published in local newspapers on Friday said that Hla Maung Tin was permitted to retire, which is a common euphemism for a firing. Saying someone has been fired implies a more serious legal matter.

< class="text11Verdana">Source: The Hindu, 20 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Deal on section 436 could rule out Suu Kyi presidency

Members of the Constitutional Amendment Implementation Committee say they are close to a deal with military MPs that would remove the Tatmadaw’s veto on constitutional change - on the proviso that they do not amend section 59(f), which bars Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency.

Under section 436 any change to the constitution requires the approval of 75 percent of hluttaw members, and in some cases a national referendum. As one-quarter of seats are allocated to serving military personnel, this effectively gives the military a veto over amendments.

But some civilian committee members, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they are close to a deal with their military counterparts that would see the threshold reduced to two-thirds of all MPs in exchange for not touching section 59(f). They say that only three committee members are still resisting the proposal.

"If we can bring round the remaining three members, it will be okay," said an unnamed committee member. Section 59(f) of the constitution bans from the presidency citizens whose families include foreign nationals, a provision widely regarded as being aimed at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Myanmar Times, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Arrests of migrants continue

Arbitrary arrests of Burmese migrant workers continue happening in Chiang Mai, with many saying that the Thai police would only release them after a "protection fee" was paid.

Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand, has been home for many years to thousands of Burmese migrants. Since the military coup earlier this month, Thai security police have been conducting random raids around the city and detaining people without identification cards. Despite these reports, the new ruling junta has denied that any "crackdown" against undocumented migrants is taking place.

On 16 June, eight Burmese migrants in Chiang Mai’s night bazaar were nabbed by plainclothes policemen. Making up a large percentage of the workforce at the popular Chiang Mai market, Burmese migrants are often subjected to arrest by the police due to irregularities in their documents or work permits.

Thein Dan, who was among those detained, said he was freed shortly after he was taken to the Central Police Station because he has been paying a daily protection fee to a man with alleged police connections who came to secure his release.

"We were taken to the police station in the old city where the man who I have been paying the ’protection fee’ came to get me out," Thein Dan said, adding that three more were bailed out by their employer on Tuesday.

In a separate case on Monday, more than 40 Burmese migrants were rounded up in a police raid at the Pratunam Wholesale Market in Bangkok. Ko Naing, one of the workers detained, said that he and a few others were released after paying the police 2,500 baht each (US$77). He also said that the hotline numbers provided by the Burmese embassy for these types of situations were unhelpful.

"After getting arrested, I phoned the Burmese embassy and they asked me to come over to them," Ko Naing said. "But how am I supposed to do that if I am under arrest?" In an attempt to "clarify" three raids conducted last week in the border town of Mae Sot, Thai military, police and government officials on Tuesday called a meeting with local migrant rights organisations. They said that the raids were not an effort to crack down on migrant workers, but were, in fact, to target human trafficking and drug smuggling.

More than 1,000 Burmese migrants have been arrested since 10 June. The arrests, as well as the rumours of a violent crackdown on migrants, have also caused a mass exodus of more than 170,000 Cambodian migrant workers as of Tuesday.

Rights groups said that workers in southern Thailand’s Phuket, Ranong and Phang Nga provinces have all been advised by their employers to go into hiding in the woods or rubber plantations to avoid arrests.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, 19 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">CA divided still on form of government

Constituent Assembly (CA) members have expressed differing voices on the would-be-adopted form of governance at the CA meeting on June 19. Most of the lawmakers have echoed their respective political parties´ stances, dividing themselves for and against the parliamentary system.

The Nepali Congress lawmakers said that the parliamentary system should not be rejected though it has some shortcomings while the UML lawmakers said that a directly-elected prime ministerial system was suitable as an option to the parliamentary system.

However, lawmakers of the UCPN (Maoist), Madhesi People´s Rights Forum, Nepal, Federal Socialist Party argued that a presidential system would be appropriate for the country for political stability. The lawmakers said that reform in the parliamentary system was needed for political stability citing that massive horse trading was carried out in the past for the formation and toppling of governments.

The NC lawmakers said that the parliamentary system has been proved efficient and effective and searching an alternative to this would be an attempt to invite totalitarianism in the country.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Offer to host panel meet with India

The Foreign Ministry has offered to host the second meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission at the ministerial level in mid-July. Though the Indian side is yet to respond positively to Nepal’s request, the ministry officials said initial signals from India are ’positive’.

If the Indian side does agree to Nepal’s proposal to hold the long-awaited meeting that has not taken place since 1991, it will set the stage for a high-profile Indian delegation to Kathmandu under Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

The respective Foreign Ministers of the two countries, head the commission—an apex bilateral body formed to explore and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has already extended an invitation to his Indian counterpart Swaraj to visit Nepal in his congratulatory message on her appointment as Indian Minister for External Affairs.

After agreeing on a date and completing the formal process of extending the invitation, the two sides will start deliberating on the main agendas of the meeting. The meeting is expected to review entire gamut of the bilateral relations between the two countries, from economic cooperation, trade, transit, industries, to security and water resources, among others.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Ekantipur, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">ADB adopts new strategic priorities

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has emphasised on economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration by incorporating all stakeholders in its strategic priorities for socio-economic development for Nepal.

At a news conference organised on June 19 to make public its strategic priorities and six year Mid-Term Review of Strategy-2020 implemented from this year, ADB Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama said it has included infrastructure, environment, regional cooperation and integration, financial sector development and education as ADB’s core operational areas in the strategy.

The six year strategic priority has stressed on infrastructure, health, education, social security, purchase simplification, investment atmosphere, public-private partnership, clean energy, sustainable transport system and natural resource management for reducing poverty.

The ADB has suggested the government for being sensitive on high and sustainable growth, social inclusion, creation of employment opportunities, institutional capacity development, risk management, agriculture sector transformation, and policy, regulatory and institutional reform. The bank has made commitment for continual cooperation to Nepal in its socio-economic development.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Himalayan Times, 19 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China schools a threat, says Indian agency

The Shashastra Seema Bal (SSB), manning the sensitive 550-km India-Nepal Border in the two Indian States of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, has informed the Centre about a rise in number of Chinese Learning Centres (CLCs) operating in schools in Nepal’s border villages.

The SSB feels that the mushrooming CLCs — which are linked to providing employment in major projects in highways, railways and airports undertaken by China in Nepal — could be part of a larger Chinese plan to unleash a perception war against India.

SSB sources say from a handful of CLCs, the number has risen many times in the last three-four years. They say they have learnt about a trend of holding anti-India discussions on private FM channels on the UP side of Indo-Nepal Border. The sources say these CLCs are concentrated mainly in border districts like Kanchepuru, Kailalo, Bardiya, Bankey, Daang and Kapilavastu, rather than mainland Nepal.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, 14 June 2014


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Anti-terror operation in North Waziristan

The Pakistan Army launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who were hiding in North Waziristan tribal region, a week after the horrifying insurgent attack on the busiest Karachi airport premises.

Using North Waziristan as a base, these terrorists had waged a war against the state of Pakistan and had been disrupting the national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property. At least 120 suspected militants were killed in North Waziristan tribal region during the military operation named ’Zarb-e-Azb’.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, 16 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM seeks nation’s backing on terror

Showing concern over the last week attack on the Karachi airport premises, Prime Minister is determine on eliminating terrorism from Pakistan and the military operation launched in North Waziristan tribal region a day earlier would continue until terrorist safe havens are destroyed in the country.

Sharif said he was forced to order the operation after the Taliban did not reciprocate his sincere efforts to pursue peace talks with the Taliban. Security across the whole country has been stepped up.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Express Tribune, 17 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Eight killed in raid on Qudari’s Lahore HQ

Eight members of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik were shot dead Tuesday in clashes with police in Model Town, Lahore, while policemen were seen displaying sheer brutality by baton-charging.

Two women were among those killed in the fierce clashes between riot police and PAT activists. It comes as Canada-based PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri plans to return to Pakistan on June 23 to lead a countrywide anti-government campaign he brands revolution.

Heavy police contingents were called in before dawn to control the activists but the situation went out of control as police fired shots and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Nation, 18 June 2014

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Four killed in drone attack

At least four militants were killed in a US drone strike early Wednesday in the Miramshah tehsil of North Waziristan tribal region where a comprehensive military operation launched by the Pakistani army against foreign and local terrorists is also under way.

A total of at least 187 suspected militants and eight soldiers have been reported killed since Saturday night when the operation was launched. Intelligence sources said six missiles fired by a drone hit a compound and a vehicle in Dargah Mandi village in Miramshah.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, 19 June 2014

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:
Pakistan & Sri Lanka : Bhavya Pandey;
Afghanistan:Taruni Kumar;
Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharje;
Bhutan & Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale;
India & Nepal: Pratnashree Basu;
Maldives: N Sathiya Moorthy;

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.


N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy is a policy analyst and commentator based in Chennai.

Read More +