Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts

6 August 2018

Can Buddhist Values Overcome Nationalism in Sri Lanka?


Nine years since the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka continues to suffer from ethnic tensions that could derail its fragile transitional justice process and ignite new rounds of conflict. Despite the end of open hostilities, resentment continues to aggravate relations between the primarily Buddhist Sinhalese—Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority—and the minority community of Tamils. Tensions are also growing between Sinhalese Buddhists and the Muslim community, who constitute Sri Lanka’s second-largest ethnic minority. Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalism has been identified as a major driver of past conflicts and current tensions. Some attribute this nationalism to Sinhalese Buddhists’ insecurity about their lack of transnational networks of support, compared to their Tamil or Muslim compatriots. Such insecurity has been compounded by international criticism of the Sri Lankan state and expressions of sympathy toward Sri Lankan Tamils.

15 July 2018

Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi and the Cult of Personality

By David I. Steinberg

The Western world is inexorably witnessing the destruction of an international positive image: a cult of personality through which Aung San Suu Kyi achieved worldwide fame and acclamation. She had become known as the world’s ideal democratic symbol — a seemingly frail person but with iron determination, who had spent a decade and a half under house arrest for espousing and exemplifying democratic ideals against an authoritarian military dictatorship. She sacrificed her family for her perceived democratic role. Now, various international institutions have rescinded their prizes and awards to her; some media have unsympathetically called for the withdrawal of her Nobel Peace prize, and former illustrious supporters have been singularly silent.

20 June 2018

Avoiding World War III in Asia

Parag Khanna

World War II still hasn’t ended, yet World War III already looms. When China and Japan agreed to normalize relations in 1945, it was stipulated that the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (a string of uninhabited rocks equidistant from Japan, China and Taiwan) would not be militarized and the dispute would be put off for future generations. That future is here. The recent discovery of large oil and gas reserves under the islands has heated up the situation dramatically, with military budgets surging, and warships, coast guards and fighter jets scrambling to assert control over the commons.

26 May 2018

Rohingya militants massacred Hindus in Myanmar, says Amnesty

Hannah Ellis-Petersen 

The Rohingya military group Arsa carried out deadly massacres and abductions of the Hindu community in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last year, a new report by Amnesty International has revealed. Testimony collected by Amnesty from dozens of witnesses and survivors of the attacks in Rakhine in August have detailed how up to 99 Hindu men, women and children were killed by Arsa militants armed with knives, swords and sticks. Only those who agreed to convert to Islam were spared. According to the report, on 25 August last year, Arsa militants, aided by some local Rohingya, descended on the village of Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik, in the northern Maungdaw township in Rakhine.

18 May 2018

Cascades of Violence Across South Asia

By John Braithwaite and Bina D’Costa

Our new book, Cascades of Violence: War, Crime and Peacebuilding Across South Asia, argues that one of the hidden benefits of preventive diplomacy is that it can reduce various kinds of crime and the self-violence of suicide in one’s own country. Crime and armed conflict are both what we call “cascade phenomena.” With crime, for example, every mass shooting that occurs in the United States markedly increases the probability that there will be future mass shootings. The challenge for every society is to tackle gun culture whenever it has a first mass shooting to prevent the kind of spiral that American school children suffer.

9 May 2018

Conventional Deterrence in the Asia-Pacific Region

By Ankit Panda

The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) and Franz-Stefan Gady (@hoanssolo) discuss conventional deterrence and conventional military forces in the Asia-Pacific. Click the arrow to the right to listen. If you’re an iOS or Mac user, you can also subscribe to The Diplomat’s Asia Geopolitics podcast on iTunes here. If you use Android, you can subscribe on TuneIn or on Google Play Music. If you like the podcast and have suggestions for content, please leave a review and rating on iTunes and TuneIn.

Hegemonic Designs in the Middle East Clash

Western media are preoccupied by limited airstrikes from the United States, Britain and France in the Damascus area, in response to a chemical attack, as well as Russia’s “hybrid warfare” strategy against the West. Amidst many distractions, Vladimir Putin’s own fixation with his country’s emergence as a major player in the Middle East and its implications for regional stability do not receive ample attention. Russia is striving to increase its strategic visibility and sphere of influence in the Middle East, and US President Donald Trump, by pursuing his transactional foreign policy, is unwittingly presiding over the demise of traditional US strategic dominance in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

4 May 2018

The China - India - Nepal Triangle

By Kamal Dev Bhattarai

While Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali was in China from April 16-21, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked India to be a part of new development projects in Nepal. “Whether it’s China or India, our two countries shall be happy to see Nepal’s new development after its political transition,” Wang said. China wants to invest in big connectivity projects in Nepal but prefers to bring its Asian competitor, India, on board. Some Nepali and Chinese scholars see this as an opportunity for trilateral cooperation between Nepal, India, and China, but Indian policymakers and academics have not shown much interest.

29 April 2018

Why Colombo remains a challenge for New Delhi


Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resounding performance at the local-council elections in early February has prompted the observation that Rajapaksa is back in politics and poised to regain political power. This is a blow to the “unity” government that replaced the Rajapaksa regime in January 2015. The regime change that resulted in the formation of a “unity” government came about when former Rajapaksa loyalists joined the opposition right-leaning United National Party (UNP). The “unity” government suffered its first setback when a Rajapaksa-backed no-confidence motion was made against Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe on April 4, and 16 members of the “unity” government voted for the motion.

27 April 2018

Bangladesh Set to Reach Economic Par With India

By Sajeeb Wazed

The United Nations Committee for Development Policy announced in March that Bangladesh had successfully met the criteria to graduate from a “least developed country” (LDC) to a “developing country” (DC). That sounds like a lot of bureaucratese. But it isn’t. The UN’s low-key proclamation has led to celebration in Bangladesh and for good reason.  This once famously impoverished nation – regularly crushed by famine and floods – will soon have the same economic status as Mexico, Turkey, and its neighbor India. And it achieved that ranking fast; Bangladesh has been an independent nation for just 47 years.

18 April 2018

Who is Pushing Dalai Lama to Surrender to China?

Vijay Kranti

Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s attempt to present Dalai Lama’s return to a Chinese ruled Tibet as the monk’s “last unfulfilled dream”, and his call to Tibetan people for making this ‘dream’ of Dalai Lama a reality deserves a closer scrutiny by the Tibetan society, supporters of the Tibetan cause, and above all, the Government of India. This statement becomes extremely meaningful in light of the fact that it is the first ever official Tibetan endorsement of Beijing’s agenda which is seriously focused at bringing back Dalai Lama to Chinese ruled Tibet before he passes away and the search for his next (15th) reincarnation starts.

17 April 2018

The Importance of Seychelles

Pratap Heblikar

Seychelles is of vital geopolitical importance, and China is fighting to get an upper hand. India must not allow this. India’s relations with Seychelles have run into rough weather following the agreement to establish a military base on Assumption Islands. That exposed fault lines leading to racial tensions between the majority community and the minority comprising people of Indian origin and Indian nationals currently resident there. Political dissensions in the country between the ruling dispensation and the opposition, particularly anti-India elements on both sides of the political divide, have come to the fore.

16 April 2018

What was General Bajwa doing in Maldives?

Sanjay Kapoor

The recent trip of Pakistani Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to the Maldives has implications for India as it struggles to preserve its waning influence in the Indian subcontinent. Last week, the Maldivian capital city, Male, had an interesting visitor in Pakistan’s Army Chief, Qamar Bajwa. This was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief to Maldives in the last four years. It is also significant that General Bajwa is the first person of eminence to come to this Indian Ocean archipelago after a crisis erupted in early February resulting in the imposition of an internal emergency. His presence not only sought to lend legitimacy to a government that has been savaged globally for the manner in which it has smothered dissent, but also sent out a clear message to India that Maldives has other friends.

China and India’s geopolitical tug of war for Bangladesh

The Indian government sees Bangladesh as an important neighbour for political, national security and religious reasons. Bangladesh is a transport corridor to India’s northeastern states and a vital alternative route to the vulnerable Siliguri corridor that in the past has been threatened by China’s military, isolating all of northeast India. India also fears that Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism in Bangladesh may spill over the border. China’s broader program of developing influence throughout Asia through trade, finance, military cooperation and soft power includes Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the world’s seventh most populous country and the only one bordering India (except Bhutan) where Chinese influence is not dominant.

9 April 2018

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Maritime Silk Road Initiative

Major geopolitical shifts in the Asia-Pacific in the last decade have led to a revitalization of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between India, Japan, Australia, and the United States first established in 2007-2008. China’s expanding maritime strategy and increasing assertiveness in land reclamation and territorial claims have been a key driver of a strengthening alignment among the Quad members. China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) offers unique concerns to each member: India fears encroachment on its zone of strategic interest as well as encirclement from Chinese projects in Pakistan. Japan is wary of China’s ability to influence the energy supply chains on which East Asia depends. 

30 March 2018

Nepal Rewarded For Using ‘China Card’ – Analysis

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan.

In an earlier update we had referred to PM Oli’s statement on Indo-Nepal Relations. We had said that what was more troubling was the open, brazen and arrogant declaration of Oli that he would be able to get more leverage from India by getting closer to China. Though we criticised the statement, it looks that Oli was perhaps right in his assessment on relations with India. The Economic Times of 21st March reported that the Centre had decided to hike its aid to Nepal by 73 percent from previous allocation “while expressing concern over increasing Chinese presence in some of the neighbourhood countries.” The heading of the news item was more direct that said that India’s aid to Nepal is up by 73 percent to check China’s infra push. It is also said in the report that the reasons for the hike are because of security concerns on the India- Nepal border.

25 March 2018

Quad: The way ahead and the key challenges

Source Link

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) consisting of India, Australia, Japan, and the US has been pitching in favor of a ‘Free and Fair Indo-Pacific’ ever since the first meeting between representatives of member states in November 2017. Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan, actually proposed this arrangement about a decade ago. Diplomatic engagement began, and joint military exercises were even held, but a change in guard in Australia, as well as Chinese complaints to member states, resulted in the end of the arrangement. Given the increasing focus on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region and the strengthening of strategic ties between all four countries, reticence was finally shed and representatives of the four countries met in November 2017, on the eve of the East Asia Summit in Manila. The main aim of the alliance, thus in other ways, has been to check China’s assertiveness, especially in the South China Sea, and democracy has been one of the key binding factors between the Quad. The U.S. State Department, after the meeting in November 2017, issued a statement that the United States is “committed to deepening cooperation, which rests on a foundation of shared democratic values and principles.”

20 March 2018

The 'Resource War' in Kachin State

By Eugene Mark

Myanmar’s Tatmadaw has been launching air strikes in the gold and mining region inside Kachin state’s Tanai township in recent months. The area is controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its armed group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The aim is to clear out the illegal mines in the area that provide a lucrative source of income for the KIO. But underneath this military operation is actually a “resource war” between the Tatmadaw and the KIO in Kachin state. Indeed, control of not only gold and amber but also jade, copper, and ruby mines in the area is important for both the Tatmadaw and the KIO. This competition for natural resources can be viewed as an obstacle to implementing lasting peace in the Kachin state, as it precipitates or worsens the socioeconomic crisis faced by the rest of the Kachin community.

18 March 2018

Why This Is The Right Time For India To Restore Close Ties With Nepal

by Jaideep Mazumdar

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Khagda Prasad Sharma Oli, who assumed office for the second time in mid-February, is on a very strong wicket this time. Having won the mandatory motion of confidence by a three-fourth majority in the new House of Representatives after taking over as Prime Minister, Oli is sure-footed and confident this time, unlike the last when he headed an unstable coalition and was voted out after 10 months in office. In fact, Oli’s is the first stable government in Nepal after 60 long years – the last was B P Koirala-led Nepali Congress government that won the elections decisively in 1959. Since then, Nepal has seen 40 governments in 60 years.

15 March 2018

The Trouble With Bangladesh's Military

By Ryan Smith

The armed forces account for 6 percent of Bangladesh’s annual budget, totaling $3.2 billion in the year 2017-2018, according to official statistics. Yet Bangladesh’s military has proved to be incapable of showing strength in the face of repeated violations of its land, sea, and airspace by neighboring Myanmar.  Bangladesh’s military has failed to restore public confidence that it can defend the country’s territorial sovereignty. If there is an overriding message from these debacles, it is that the military is ill-equipped to defend the state because it has been practically unaccountable since the very foundation of Bangladesh. Instead, the military has captured much of the bedrock of the state it is supposed to defend.