April 30, 2017

Uncertain Future of Myanmar’s Democratic Reforms

National League for Democracy (NLD) party supporters have their eyes fixed to a screen, showing results from vote counting in parliamentary by-elections, in Yangon, Myanmar, 01 April 2012. (Photo via East Asia Forum)

  John Blaxland recently acknowledged that return to military rule in Myanmar is becoming an increasingly marginal (but not impossible) prospect. The expected international and domestic retaliatory actions to a return to military rule in Myanmar are a major deterrent, as they could potentially derail Myanmar’s political stability, economic development and threaten important cease-fires. This, combined with an entrenched position in the ... Read More »

Thousands of Libyans in Militia Prisons

Former inmate on a return visit to his cell at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison where he was held for several years. (Photo by  Iason Athanasiadis/UNSMIL)

  TRIPOLI:  Thousands of people in Libya remain locked up in militia prisons, outside of state control, more than two years after the revolution, according to a new UN report presented to the Security Council. The report says many are suffering torture and mistreatment and calls the situation “unacceptable”. “We have a big problem. But it is a problem we are trying ... Read More »

Post-2014 Afghanistan

Afghan National Army recruits stand in formation during their graduation ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Center.  (Photo by US Army, Creative Commons License)

Pakistan’s pivot to Central Asia Without doubt, all major stakeholders are now worried about the post 2014 Afghanistan. As the date of US withdrawal approaches quickly, many of the variables connected to the smooth transition are far from resolved. Meanwhile, the attention of western nations is increasingly diverted towards the affairs of Syria and Iran. Some of the interconnected factors ... Read More »

Bangladesh’s Nuclear Plant — A Disaster in Waiting

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid being briefed about Rooppur nuclea power plant using a model of the project. (Photo via Dhaka Tribune)

The government is all set to get a nuclear power plant built, using Uranium 236 as the reactor fuel at Rooppur in Pabna. Of utmost concern is that Russia, which is due to supply the nuclear power plant, experienced the biggest number of civilian fatalities, injuries and related radiation sickness following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Officially, many hundreds were killed, ... Read More »

China’s Carrier-Based J-15 Enters Mass Production

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  A number of recent reports in Chinese state-run media indicate that the country’s carrier-based J-15 multirole fighter jets have entered mass production. The Shenyang J-15 (also called Flying Shark) is China’s carrier-based fighter aircraft. It was reversed engineered from a Russian Sukhoi Su-33 that China acquired from Ukraine, although it reportedly is equipped with some indigenous weapons, avionics and other features ... Read More »

Indian Politics — Memory Versus Forgetting

Gujarat pogrom started after the burning of a train at Godhra in 2002. (Photo by V. Malik, Creative Commons License)

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,’ novelist Milan Kundera wrote. Indeed, those who wield power often try to efface the imprints of their despicable past, recreating on the slate of a cleansed public memory an endearing image of themselves. Yet, their darkled past returns to haunt them because of individuals who want to ... Read More »

A Language That Built A Nation

(Photo by J.P. Esperança, Creative Commons License)

For newly independent nations, the choice of an official, national language was crucial, and often controversial, made especially so in the context of polyphonic and geographically diverse countries like China, India, and Indonesia. In China, the Communist Party, opted for Putonghua, or Mandarin, the language of the capital, Beijing. In India, the initial intention of the postcolonial state — to ... Read More »

Will Release of Top Taliban Leader Restore Peace?

(Photo by Helmand Blog, Creative Commons License)

As a remarkable sign of Pakistan’s new phase of cooperation with the Afghan peace process, Islamabad is to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a prominent Taliban leader who was in prison in Pakistan since he was captured in 2010. The Afghan government has long urged for release of Baradar as he is considered a moderate and pro-peace figure among the ... Read More »

Message from India’s Communal Riots

A bird-eye view of Muzaffarnagar, the scene of deadly Hindu-Muslim violence. (by Sun Pictures, Creative Commons License)

A series of riots that claims the lives of about 40 people (60% Muslim, 40% Hindu, according to a police source) may appear insignificant. After all, this is a country born in sectarian violence, where the main ruling and the Opposition parties have engineered and/or abetted pogroms against minorities. As Delhi’s authority slowly recedes and regional leaders grow more powerful, ... Read More »

The Anatomy of Radicalism

Co-founder of Indian Mujahideen Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in Pokhara on August 29. (Photo via Nepal Times)

  When the Indian Mujahideen’s bomb-maker, Yasin Bhatkal, was caught in Pokhara (in western Nepal) last week (August 29), there was justifiable jubilation in India. Yasin spilled the beans on interrogation, revealing that Nepal’s scenic lakeside resort has become a hideout of choice where Indian extremists can lie low. But few know that Yasin was radicalized by what he erroneously believed ... Read More »