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  • Bangladesh Remains Sensitive on the Issue of Connectivity

    Though the recent Indo-Bangladesh Foreign Secretary level talks held in New Delhi made significant progress on several issues, there was no forward movement on the issue of connectivity. Bangladesh remains reluctant to extend this facility to India, though bilateral relations have generally been trouble-free in the last two years.

    August 04, 2008

    Surging Energy and Food Prices will Accelerate Economic Downtrend in Bangladesh

    Rising food and oil prices worldwide have increased the misery of people in Bangladesh who have already been suffering the effects of near double digit inflation. The military backed caretaker government has been forced to increase the prices of oil products by 33 to 67 per cent with effect from July 1, 2008. Diesel and kerosene prices have been hiked by 37.5 per cent to 55 taka a litre (0.26 gallons) and petrol prices by 34 per cent to 87 taka a litre.

    July 30, 2008

    Will Bangladesh Address India’s Security Concerns?

    The spate of talks and meetings between India and Bangladesh is unmatched in recent times. This pace alone sets bilateral relations apart from the five long years when the BNP-led coalition government was in power (2000-05) in Bangladesh. The recent (July 17, 2008) Foreign Secretary level talks have once again brought home the fact of how the interim government in Bangladesh without having to pander to any particular constituency has been able to constructively engage with its largest neighbour.

    July 24, 2008

    Violations of Ceasefire on the Line of Control: Unravelling Pakistan’s Motive

    While addressing the customary press conference after the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan on July 21, 2008, the Indian Foreign Secretary stated that the India-Pakistan dialogue is “under stress” and Pakistan must address New Delhi’s concerns about cross-border terrorism. The talks were held in the shadow of the recent attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which, India alleges, had the involvement of “elements in Pakistan”. The Indian Foreign Secretary also admitted that the ongoing ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir has come under strain.

    July 23, 2008

    The July 7 Attack in Kabul and India’s Search for a Response

    The July 7 attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul which left 58 people dead including four Indians and more than 140 wounded was a highly provocative act. Those responsible for the attack are well known, and their objectives are also not a matter of speculation. It is understood that the Indian government should be taking far more stringent security measures to minimise the recurrence of such attacks on its embassy, consulates, and reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

    July 18, 2008

    Should India Continue Its Present Course in Afghanistan?

    The July 7 gruesome attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which resulted in the loss of over 40 lives including those of two senior diplomats, is clearly a high value symbolic attack directed at coercing India into scaling down its growing presence in rebuilding war ravaged Afghanistan. It is a clear reminder, following as it does a series of low and small scale attacks on Indians in previous months and years, that the Indian presence is continuing to hamper the interests of Pakistan which is bent upon regaining its lost ‘strategic depth’ in that country.

    July 09, 2008

    Should India Engage with NATO?

    On the face of it, India and NATO are poles apart. NATO is a military alliance. India is a non-aligned country with an independent foreign policy. Any engagement between India and NATO is, therefore, problematic.

    July 08, 2008

    Karzai Raises the Anti-Taliban Rhetoric

    Kabul has for long been wary of Pakistan’s idea of negotiating ‘peace’ deals with Taliban militants operating out of its north-western tribal areas. Pakistan’s earlier peace deals in 2004 and in 2006 were short-lived and had helped the Taliban emerge stronger. Moreover, the 2006 North Waziristan Pact had led to a notable surge in Taliban attacks west of the Durand Line.

    June 30, 2008

    Bangladesh: Fixing the Democratic Future

    The release of Sheikh Hasina on ‘parole’ for two months has generated hope for the stalled political dialogue and uncertainty over the scheduled Parliamentary elections in December 2008. The Awami League (AL) had earlier demanded the unconditional release of Hasina. But it appears that after hectic negotiations between some of the advisors of the Caretaker Government (CTG) and Hasina, a political understanding was worked out that ultimately saw her being freed. It has given hope to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) about the release of their leader as well from jail.

    June 16, 2008

    Imperative of PLA Integration into the Nepal Army

    Integration of Maoists combatants into the Nepal Army (NA) has become a contentious issue. Despite the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and the declaration of Nepal as a Republic, a new government has not been formed. The Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) have been demanding adjustments and rehabilitation of the combatants through a proper modality before the CPN-Maoist forms the new government. The Maoists, on other hand, demand ‘collective’ entry of UNMIN-verified armed cadres into the NA.

    June 13, 2008

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