On May 16, 2014, the world’s biggest democracy and Asia’s rapidly rising power, India announced results of history’s longest and biggest multiparty democratic elections. Held in nine phases spreading across April-May 2014, the country chose to bring in power the government of Narendra Damodardas Modi, leader of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)- known for his unconventional but successful policies.
In an attempt to clip Pakistan’s terror charity Jamaat ud Dawa’s (JuD) financial wings further, the U.S. Department of the Treasury on 25 June (2014) has once again targeted the leadership and financial networks of the organization. The JuD (formerly Markaz Dawat-ul-Irshad-MDI) which is a social charily front for the deadly Jihad group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has been operating with impunity inside Pakistan since its inception.
In a remarkable display of faith in regional cooperation, the new Prime Minister in Delhi invited all the heads of governments and their representatives of SAARC and Mauritius to his swearing-in. Interestingly, except for a common dinner hosted by the President of India, the SAARC leaders never met as a group. Are we looking forward to a robust, frequent, effective, and efficient regional dialogue on a myriad of issues regarding South Asia, especially on the environment front? Too early to predict, but we shall be hopeful.
The existing bilateral ties between Myanmar and India have the capacity to grow much deeper provided they are calibrated in a manner that is beneficial to both countries. Energy and infrastructure could be the bedrock for such a strong relationship. The new government in India now has an opportunity to shape its relationship with Myanmar based on pragmatic projects’ implementation and strong linkages as this neighbour could act as a marker for geo-economic alliances.
Despite the fact that a large number of Bhutanese refugees are rehabilitated in seven countries– the US, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Canada– the issue still haunts the country. The seriousness of the issue came to the international community’s notice while the same was discussed again between the prime ministers of Nepal and Bhutan on the sidelines of BIMSTEC in March 2014.
Early this month, the resolution of Union Cabinet to constitute a special purpose vehicle- Polavaram Project Authority (PPA)- has caught Odisha government napping. Instead, the news has attracted cautious criticism from state government. With General election in full swing and Telengana Statehood is commencing- it is beyond obvious that political parties, , leader of oppositions including incumbent State and Union governments would left no stone unturned to gain political mileage of blame game. It is less important to read between the lines on timing of PPA.
The news of the Indonesian presidential elections have hit the headlines lately as the country prepares for ballots in the world’s third largest democracy. The elections, scheduled for 9 July, will see a host of presidential candidates contest elections to the prestigious post. The present incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been in power for two consecutive terms but is now constitutionally prohibited from contesting for the third five-year term.
Indian democracy witnessed multiple challenges. Disruption of elections by the rebel groups in the three conflict theatres – Jammu & Kashmir, central India and the north-eastern states of India – is one of them. Unlike the 2004 and 2009 Parliamentary elections, some Islamist extremist groups have planned to disrupt the 2014 elections. Some of them have even been preparing for the last six months or more to disrupt the elections.
Vehemently opposing the Human Rights violation report submitted by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navnanethem Pillay, the Sri Lankan (SL) government has recently rejected her call for establishing ‘an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged rights violations (both Human Rights and Humanitarian Law) and for monitoring any domestic accountability process in Sri Lanka.