MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 16 FEBRUARY
PICTURE OF THE DAY
Rohingya refugees headed to the Bhasan Char island board navy vessels from the south eastern port. Authorities sent a fourth group of refugees to the newly developed island in the Bay of Bengal on Monday amid calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process.
Myanmar coup: Limits to US, Chinese influence over domestic developments
In the days following the Myanmar military's coup on Feb 1, several Western newspapers zeroed in on what the South-east Asian country's political crisis meant for America's rivalry with China. The Wall Street Journal reported on how the coup puts Myanmar in the centre of the clash between the United States and China. The New York Times explored China's edge over America in the geopolitical struggle over Myanmar. But regional experts caution against overstating the importance of US-China competition in understanding and responding to the coup, which was ultimately an organic result of a domestic power struggle between the civilian National League for Democracy political party and the military, which feared being sidelined.
Sri Lanka may ask UNHRC to set up data base on war time dead
The Sri Lankan government is discussing the possibility of asking the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to set up a data base on those who were killed, or were injured or had gone missing in the last phase of Eelam War IV, according to Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, Honorary Professor at the Sir John Kotelawala Defense University and Senior Advisor to its Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.
Delhi must take the long view on Dhaka
A tri-service military contingent from Bangladesh participated in India’s 72nd Republic Day parade. Given the importance of the occasion, and the fact that 2021 is the 50th anniversary year of Bangladesh’s liberation, the signal of an “irreversible partnership” is unmissable. When viewed in conjunction with the recent visual summit between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, sustained high-level visits by top diplomats, signing of seven Memorandums of Understanding, restoration of the Haldibari-Chilahati railway line that was severed in 1965, a joint celebration of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s legacy along with Mahatma Gandhi in a digital exhibition, and Modi’s planned visit to Dhaka in March, it becomes clear that this relationship is on stable ground. But with the historically cyclical nature of this relationship — on an upswing when Hasina’s Awami League is in power, and a downswing with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) — how long will this bonhomie last?
Pakistan favours US stay in Afghanistan till political deal
Pakistan is not averse to the idea of the US-led international forces extending their stay in Afghanistan till a political deal is reached through intra-Afghan talks, officials here said on Sunday as defence ministers of NATO prepare for a crucial meeting this week to decide whether to pull out of the war-torn country by May. NATO officials have already indicated that they may not withdraw troops by May 1 because of the ground situation while the Biden administration is currently reviewing the deal signed by the Trump administration with Afghan Taliban a year ago. But the Afghan Taliban in a statement on Saturday warned the US and NATO forces not to extend their "occupation." On Sunday, the Taliban put out another statement on the eve of 32nd anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal, threatening foreign forces with dire consequences if they prolonged their stay.
India a rogue terrorist state: Indian terrorism hits Pakistan
Since 2001, Pakistan has faced more than 19,000 terrorist attacks, suffered 83,000 casualties and faced direct loss of more than USD 126 billion. As per the dossier on Indian terrorism released by Pakistan, India established 87 training camps against the country and its interests. Of these, India has 66 training camps on the Afghan soil while 21 of these exist in India. India is also the patron and sponsor of TTP and exercises control over its splinter groups. In Aug 20, RAW facilitated the merger of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (both factions have strong presence in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan). Both terrorist organizations are banned by Pakistan. As such, India is violating international law, especially UNSC resolution 1372 (2001) by financing and strengthening the TTP. During the 1980s, RAW supported the Liberation Tamil Tigers Ealam (LTTE) to fight against the Sri Lankan government.
China wields most influence in South-east Asia but lags in trust factor: Survey
China is rated the most influential economic player in South-east Asia, although it is the United States that has ruled the roost as the region's top investor for decades. Japan can claim neither of the two titles, but it is no lightweight. It is consistently perceived as the most trusted partner in the region. India, despite New Delhi's attempted pivot through its Act East policy, barely creates a ripple.