South Asia

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  • Bangladesh Factor in the Indo-Myanmarese Gas Deal

    With the discovery of substantial gas in Myanmar's Sittwe region in the Rakhine state, India was keen to acquire gas from some of the new finds in the Shwe gas field, divided in several blocks, of which A-1 and A-2 blocks were closer to India and also estimated to have the best recoverable reserves. Given the geographical location, overland pipelines transiting through Bangladesh are the most cost-effective way of getting gas from Myanmar to India. Despite its initial enthusiasm, Bangladesh backtracked from its earlier willingness to be a partner to the tripartite pipeline.

    January 2008

    Sects Within Sect: The Case of Deobandi-Barelvi Encounter in Pakistan

    The Sunni Muslims of South Asia are divided into two major sub-sects, i.e. Deobandi and Barelvi, named after their places of origin in India in the 19th century. Because of abiding differences between them, these two sub-sects have built up walls of hatred and mistrust between them over time. The faultline between them has erupted violently in Pakistan since the late 1970s. While there are some pioneering works available on their separate worldviews, no study has yet been attempted to critically analyse the nature of their interaction at the political level.

    January 2008

    The Politics of Disaster Relief

    Muslim countries and Islamic relief organisations along with the rest of the world have shown unprecedented solidarity with the people of Bangladesh after the devastating impact of cyclone Sidr in mid-November. Ironically, many of these Islamic charitable organizations have been involved in fuelling fundamentalism in Bangladesh. The extremist forces, and not surprisingly, are once again trying to capitalize on the miseries of the people and the inadequacies of the state machinery.

    December 27, 2007

    Generally speaking…

    General Asfaq Pervez Kayani’s elevation as the 14th Pakistan Army Chief of Staff in November has been treated in the Indian media as a relatively low key affair. The General has been projected as a Musharraf ‘loyalist’ positioned primarily to retain Musharraf’s influence and hold on the Army. But transitions, particularly in Pakistan’s military etablishment, have rarely followed any given pattern and it can be expected of Gen Kiyani to initiate some new policy direction.

    December 27, 2007

    LTTE has to change its strategy

    The annual “Heroes’ Day” speech delivered by LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran on November 27, amid continuing attacks by the government forces, brought out in no uncertain terms his dissatisfaction with the international community’s approach towards the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The LTTE supremo came down heavily on the international community for displaying, what he called, “partisan and unjust conduct”, which “severely undermined the confidence” of Tamil people on them.

    December 13, 2007

    TAR brings benefits for Bangladesh

    After dilly-dallying for a long period Bangladesh finally signed the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network agreement on November 9, 2007 at the UN headquarters in New York. With this 20 of the 28 countries under the network have joined the agreement. India signed the agreement on June 29, 2007. The remaining eight countries have yet to sign citing "procedural" and "technical" reasons, rather than disagreement about the project. Bangladesh failed to sign the agreement earlier as the previous BNP-Jamaat alliance government was undecided on the issue.

    November 28, 2007

    Political Crisis and the ‘Coming’ Election in Pakistan

    The imposition of emergency in Pakistan on November 3, 2007 highlights two significant points: the crisis of political legitimacy for Musharraf and the raging war in the tribal areas which has affected the morale of the Pakistan army. Musharraf highlighted the reason for emergency to save Pakistan from greater crises. He did not hesitate to name the judiciary as one of the problems that triggered the present action.

    November 27, 2007

    Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Imbroglio

    The visit of Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the subsequent resignation of four prominent civil right activists including Human Rights Watch award winner Sunila Abeysekera from an advisory committee of the Ministry of Human Rights, have highlighted the alarming state of human rights in Sri Lanka.

    November 06, 2007

    A Blow to Dynastic Politics in Bangladesh

    The struggle for control over the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) took a new turn after the reformist faction appointed former finance minister Saifur Rahman as the acting chairman. This decision was taken by the highest policy making standing committee in a five hour meeting on October 29. The committee also made former water resource minister and dissident leader Hafizuddin Ahmed the new Secretary General. However, the meeting allowed Khaleda Zia to remain as the party's chairperson.

    November 06, 2007

    The Maoist Movement in Nepal and Its Tactical Digressions: A Study of Strategic Revolutionary Phases, and Future Implications

    King Gyanendra's takeover of absolute political power in February 2005 paved the way for the Maoists of Nepal and the political parties to fight together for democracy. In signing the 12-point agreement with the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), the Maoists even changed their strategy from a revolutionary agenda to a democratic one. The paper argues that the Maoist departure from the classical resistance model to the path of negotiation was tactical, to overcome the constraints on their way forward.

    November 2007

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