June 29, 2017

Maldives Election Fiasco: ‘Betrayal of Democracy’

(Photo via The Diplomat)

  An Indian Ocean archipelago of more than 1,992 coral islands scattered across the Equator, the Maldives is known for its emerald green waters and pristine beaches. Visiting tourists usually view it as a tranquil paradise. Maldivian politics, though, have rarely been peaceful. A British protectorate until 1965, the Maldives has been under authoritarian rule for most of its post-Independence ... Read More »

What’s With The Skullcaps?

(Photo by Hindustan Times Via Nepali Times)

  Nepal has two months to go for polls, India’s general elections are six months away, and bizarre things are happening as campaigning picks up. But even by subcontinental standards, nothing can quite surpass the spectacle of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) bringing to its rallies people sporting skullcaps and burqas and shepherding them into a reserved enclosure as happened ... Read More »

Iran to Unveil New Submarine, UAVs, Fighter Jets

(Photo via The Diplomat)

  Over the last few days Iranian defense and military leaders have announced that they will soon unveil a slew of new domestically built weapon systems, including submarines, advanced torpedoes, surveillance and possibly combat UAVs, fighter jets and various kinds of missiles. Shortly after taking over the Defense Ministry, for instance, Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran would be unveiling a ... Read More »

US and Chinese Interests Align in Pakistan

(Photo via The Diplomat)

  Although Barack Obama and Xi Jinping sported wide grins and open collars at a June summit in California, the forced collegial atmosphere didn’t pass the smell test. “There is enormous scope for future cooperation between China and the U.S.” President Xi told skeptical reporters at a press conference following the bilateral meeting. The cordial rhetoric proved unconvincing to the assembled press corps, ... Read More »

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

J-151-400x285

  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 »