MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 15 APRIL
PICTURE OF THE DAY
Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party disperse after police fired teargas during a protest against the arrest of their leader. Pakistan’s government will move to ban the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which has held days of violent countrywide protests resulting in the deaths of at least two police officers.
Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images
India should welcome the end of US occupation of Afghanistan
The spectre haunting India today is that its worst case scenario in Afghanistan is becoming reality — a Taliban takeover. Delhi watches with disquiet the United States unceremoniously dumping its “conditions-based” troop withdrawal agenda, cutting loose and quitting the war. What are India’s options in these gloomy circumstances? Alas, the US is in no position to give any assurances to India. After years of diligent coordination with the US policies in Afghanistan, India finds itself stranded. India faces acute isolation regionally too insofar as all major regional states — Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan — have put in place the underpinnings of security to cope with a future Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
Bangladesh cards rule West Bengal polls
From slogans to smear campaigns, election pledges to blame games, Bangladesh has featured heavily in the discourse of rival parties in India's ongoing West Bengal assembly polls. Bangladesh has always been an important factor for the eastern region of India, and West Bengal in particular. The fourth-most populous Indian state not only shares around 2,216 kilometres of border with Bangladesh, it also shares culture, language, climate and blood bonding with the country. Against this backdrop, it is natural that Bangladesh comes up in political campaigns during the West Bengal polls. This time around, however, Bangladesh is coming up more prominently than ever before and many of the political talking points portrayed the neighbouring country negatively, said political analysts. Political analysts, however, blamed the absence of ideology-based politics behind this deeply disturbing trend.
India, Russia diverge on Indo-Pacific strategy
India and Russia are “committed” to completing their contract for the S-400 missile system, due to be delivered to India at the end of the year, confirmed Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev, who said both countries oppose U.S. sanctions on the issue. The public comments made by both Mr. Kudashev and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Wednesday, however, made it clear that there are deep differences over America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
‘Intrusion’ of US warship in Indian EEZ highlights Quad's dilemma
The words on Quad solidarity from the Biden administration during the March video summit was still warm to India, but India only found itself alarmed by the US USS John Paul Jones's assertion of navigational rights and freedoms on April 7 inside its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without requesting its prior consent. Despite the humiliation, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs only conveyed its concerns to the US two days later over the incident, which observers deemed as unsubstantial. This has angered nationalistic sentiment toward US imperialism among the Indian public and some criticized the Indian government's weakness in the face of a superpower, and others questioned the necessity of India to take part in the US-led Quad grouping. The US Navy's intrusion into India's EEZ, as the Indian media called, will strengthen India's strategic doubt toward the US and make it believe that its firm refusal to let Quad evolve into a NATO-like military alliance in Asia is a wise choice.
Pakistan ‘to ban’ far-right religious party after violent protest
Pakistan’s government will move to ban the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which has held days of violent countrywide protests resulting in the deaths of at least two police officers, the country’s interior minister says. Protests by the TLP continued in pockets across the country on Wednesday, with Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed confirming that at least two policemen had been killed and more than 340 wounded by demonstrators in the past 48 hours. “Today we have decided to ban TLP, and this file is going to cabinet for the approval from today,” said Rasheed at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad. In a later tweet, he said the ban would be issued under Pakistani anti-terrorism legislation.
Is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal’s former guerilla chief, headed for shedding the Maoist tag for good?
Last year, at Kantipur Conclave, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, tongue-in-cheek, talked about how he over the years had “dissolved” the parties that he led. Responding to a question by Kantipur Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma as to at what point of time he realised that he had had enough of Maoism, Dahal briefly went back to history. “When I became the general secretary of the party, the first thing I did was I dissolved the [Communist Party of Nepal] Mashal party. I became the first leader to dissolve my own party,” he said. “When we prepared for the people’s war, [there was this party called Unity Centre], I dissolved the Unity Centre and formed the [Communist Party of Nepal] (Maoist). One can understand this in this series... that I dissolved the Maoist [party]... and also the CPN-UML, I would rather say.”
Understanding the dynamics that led to Jordan’s royal crisis
Jordan, currently led by King Abdullah II, has long been perceived as an oasis of peace and stability in a volatile region, and for good reason. Indeed, unlike those of its neighbours, Jordan’s governing institutions proved to be robust and reliable in the face of myriad domestic and external challenges over the years. The Jordanian regime survived even the Arab Spring, thanks to the Jordanian people’s trust in and loyalty to the monarchy. And yet, events of this month demonstrated that Jordan, too, is not immune to domestic instability. But what was behind this unprecedented upheaval in the royal family that carried Jordan to international headlines and gave rise to fears that this oasis of stability may soon descent into chaos?