South Asia: Concerns over Political Stability
Last month compared to the despots of West Asia we paid a tribute to democracies in South Asia, but political stability has been a key concern for the region and will remain so in the future as well. Pakistan and Nepal are the main challenges. While Mr. Jhalanath Khanal of Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN UML) has been elected as the Prime Minister and has formed a government in Nepal supported by the Unified CPN M or the Maoists, revelations of a secret seven point deal between Mr Khanal and Maoist leader Prachanda which includes award of Home Ministry to the former rebels have led to a stalemate in the formation of a full fledged ministry. This in turn impacts the peace process including drafting of the Constitution and integration of the PLA cadres in the army which are required to be completed by 28 May.
Pakistan ever a problem case is also likely to find the going tough for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led government even though its chairman Mr Zardari is the President. Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader and former Prime Minister Mian Mohammed Nawaz Sharif has shown the door to the PPP’s ministers in coalition in Punjab and declared intent of forcing mid term elections. Meanwhile US Pakistan relations are at an all time low with suspension of strategic dialogue over the Raymond Davis affair.
In neighbouring Afghanistan the parliament finally elected a speaker an ethnic Uzbek after factional divisions had prevented two main ethnic communities, Pashtuns and Tajiks from putting their chosen representative in the chair. The eternal tug of war replicating differences between ethnic groups in the country is likely to haunt politics in the days ahead. But there are some hopes at reconciliation with the Hizb E Islami likely to be the first to join the process as indicated by political posturing in recent months.
In Bangladesh the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is attempting to desperately come back into the limelight and is raising even conspiracy theories involving the Army and the Bangladesh Rifles now renamed as Border Guards Bangladesh. In neighbouring Indian states of Assam and West Bengal State elections are being held in April and May. Both states have been on the cusp of vulnerability in terms of internal security. In Assam the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has been engaged by the centre and the state in talks after a prolonged insurgency going back to the early 1990’s, the ruling Congress party is hoping to cash in on the reconciliation process. West Bengal has a festering Naxal problem in three western districts centered on the forested area known as Jangal Mahal. The State has a history of violence during elections, thus it is anticipated that the trend will continue. Other states going for hustings are Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Elections in these states will have reverberations on politics at the national level impacting coalition at the centre led by the Congress which is under pressure to show results.
Given that politics dictates security, continued instability in some countries in South Asia is no doubt weakening the fight against terrorism amongst other challenging security issues, how various governments will meet the same remains to be seen.
A preview of the Contents is as given below-
Lead 1 – India: An “Out of Area Contingency,” in Libya
Lead 2 - Eastern SAARC: A New Paradigm in Regional Relations
Lead 3 - Naxalism: Rebels Regain Initiative
Lead 4 – Kashmir: Changing the Discourse in Summer
- Afghanistan: The Ides of Spring 12
- Bangladesh: Resolving Land and Maritime Boundary 20
- Bhutan: A Base for Assam Rebels Again? 23
- China: Key Challenges in Sino Indian Relations 25
- Maldives: Piracy Fears? 31
- Myanmar: World’s Youngest Elected Parliament! 33
- Nepal: The Seven Point Stalemate 36
- Pakistan: Beginning of Political Change? 40
- Sri Lanka: Familiar Political Squabbles 48
- India: Aero India Success, Modernisation Woes 53
- Eastern SAARC: A New Paradigm in Regional Relations 53
- India: An “Out of Area Contingency,” in Libya 56
- India Terrorism: PM Highlights Capacity Building 79
- Kashmir: Changing the Discourse in Summer 82
- North East: Multiple Talks Strategy 86
- Naxalism: Rebels Regain Initiative 93
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