MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 14 APRIL
PICTURE OF THE DAY
This picture taken on April 3, 2021 shows protesters holding homemade weapons during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon's Tamwe township. Meanwhile The United Nations rights chief warned on Tuesday of possible crimes against humanity in Myanmar and said it seemed to be heading towards a massive conflict like the one ravaging Syria.
How Russia successfully restored balance to its South Asian strategy
The historic, special, and privileged Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership (as it’s officially referred to by both Moscow and New Delhi) has been a mainstay of South Asian geopolitics for decades but resulted in Moscow being a partisan player in the region. While the aforementioned relationship was reaffirmed during Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to South Asia last week, Russia also made enormous strides in advancing its fast-moving rapprochement with Pakistan. The end result is that Russia successfully restored balance to its South Asian strategy, which helps stabilise Eurasia and could unlock many exciting opportunities for all.
Chinese Defense Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka in perspective
The visit to Sri Lanka of China's Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe later this month, may be described as a “routine ministerial visit”. But seen in light of the developing situation in Sri Lanka and the South Asian and Indian Ocean region, the visit is significant. China is keen on developing ties with India’s neighbors in South Asia to wean them away from New Delhi. Beijing is effectively using its infrastructural development program under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) towards this end. It is also strengthening its military ties albeit only incrementally so far. At present it is keen to project itself as a “benign” power only promoting joint prosperity unlike the Western powers whose aims are imperialistic.
UN fears Myanmar heading into ‘full-blown’ Syria-type conflict
The United Nations rights chief warned on Tuesday of possible crimes against humanity in Myanmar and said it seemed to be heading towards a massive conflict like the one ravaging Syria. In a statement, the UN rights office urged countries to take immediate and decisive action to push the military leaders behind a February 1 coup in Myanmar to stop their “campaign of repression and slaughter of its people”. “I fear the situation in Myanmar is heading towards a full-blown conflict,” said Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “States must not allow the deadly mistakes of the past in Syria and elsewhere to be repeated.”
Why Biden should be careful about courting India's Modi government
The United States is putting on a full-court press to deepen ties with India. President Joe Biden included India in the first-ever heads of state meeting of "The Quad," an exclusive group that also includes Japan and Australia, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Delhi as part of his first trip abroad. All in an effort to find friends in Asia to counter China. But while Beijing crushes dissent at home and flexes its muscle abroad, is India the right US partner to ensure stability, prosperity, and freedom in the region? Democratic India appears as a logical and natural ally. However, the regressive actions of Narendra Modi's government put the answer in doubt. Many human rights criticisms of China echo in India.
Afghanistan’s key role in re-boosting Pak-Russian relations
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday wrapped up his two-day visit to Pakistan as the first Russian foreign minister who visited Islamabad after almost a decade. The visit was quite successful specifically in the term of Pak-Russian bilateral relations. Lavrov met with the top leadership of Pakistan which includes Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He was leading a 13-member delegation that also included a Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several other senior officials.
Silence on Kumbh shows Indians think only Muslims spread Covid
There’s nothing more liberating than the truth. And currently, India’s truth is that when a minority community practises their religion, particularly in the time of Covid, it is seen as malicious. Muslims were labeled jihadis and super spreaders at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in India last year in March when over 3,000 of them, including foreign nationals who had visas and permission by the government of India to attend the Tablighi Jamaat, congregated at the Markaz in Delhi’s Nizamuddin. There’s indeed nothing more liberating than the truth. And the truth is that India has the fangs of communalism deeply dug into it. It should liberate those who still question whether communalism is a small town parochial minded phenomena that shouldn’t matter much. It is now a pan-India urban phenomena that is changing the soul of our country.
Face-to-face diplomacy gives China the edge in Southeast Asia
Calling China's pre-COVID-19 diplomacy in Southeast Asia sharp-elbowed is something of an understatement. But since the pandemic broke out, Beijing's top diplomats have combined their uncompromising stance with some more tactful body language, standing elbow to elbow with their Southeast Asian neighbors in a remarkable series of flying visits. With China's rivals for influence in Southeast Asia bogged down in domestic problems and reluctant to travel or receive visitors, Beijing has seized the opportunity to get face time when it counts. In one recent week alone, the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore were all invited to China to meet counterpart Wang Yi for talks about the pandemic, vaccine cooperation, the economic recovery and the Myanmar crisis. For Indonesia's Retno Marsudi, it was the third time she has met Wang since August 2020, when she became the first foreign minister to visit China since the outbreak of COVID-19.