Photo: UN Women/Bruno Demeocq

Photo: UN Women/Bruno Demeocq - Photo: 2020

Media Outlets Focusing on Perspectives of Peace and Security in South Asia

News briefs compiled by Suresh Jaura*

TORONTO | NEW DELHI (IDN) – The focus of media outlets on South Asia in the month of July has been on the perspectives of peace and human security in a region marked by skirmishes between India and the emerging global power China as well as nuclear rivals India and Pakistan and India and smaller neighbours. On the one hand, the ‘Kashmir issue’, COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. pull out of Afghanistan are casting a dark shadow over the region. On the other, Myanmar’s decisions to launch a satellite and artificial intelligence appear to be promise a light at the end of the tunnel.

World War 3: Kashmir dispute threatens peace in South Asia – a terrifying new warning

27 July (Daily Express) – KASHMIR’s Prime Minister has issued a warning that the dispute over the region could cost any hope for peace in South Asia.
The Kashmir dispute has been a major focus due to the unprecedented sacrifices offered by the Kashmiri people of the liberation of the region, said Mr Farooq Haider Khan. He said it is now the responsibility of the international community to play their role in coming forward to resolve the dispute.

India speeds up connectivity projects with Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh

17 July (WION) – India is working fast on regional connectivity projects in South Asian countries of Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh with the focus of generating employment and faster movement of people and goods. Enhancing connectivity through air, water, rail, road offers mutually beneficial opportunity for economic cooperation.India is already working on several other projects in the region. Last year saw Jaffna international airport being opened that connected it to Southern Indian metropolis of Chennai.

Coronavirus pushing millions more Afghans into poverty: US watchdog

31 July (WION / AFP) – The virus entered Afghanistan in February as thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, which at the time was the region’s worst-hit nation for the virus. The coronavirus is pushing millions more Afghans into poverty, overwhelming Afghanistan’s basic health care system and exacerbating food insecurity in one of the world’s poorest countries, a US watchdog said on 31st July.

Afghanistan faces ‘grim’ economic outlook as pandemic wipes out growth

16 July (WION) – The coronavirus pandemic is expected to severely weaken Afghanistan`s economy, The World Bank said it was forecasting gross domestic product to contract between 5.5 per cent and 7.4 per cent in 2020. This comes as donor governments struggle themselves and uncertainty over peace talks curb private investment.

US pulls out troops from five bases in Afghanistan  

15 July (WION) – The Pentagon announced that US has withdrawn troops from five bases in Afghanistan and reduced the size of its forces to 8,600 as part of the agreement it entered into with the Taliban earlier this year.

Myanmar to soon launch its first-ever satellite

24 July (WION)  – Myanmar will soon launch its first-ever satellite, joining an unlikely coalition of nascent space nations aiming to protect millions from environmental disasters. It is the first space venture for Myanmar, the least economically developed country in a consortium that includes the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

India aiding restoration of temples, pagodas in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam

3 July (WION)  – The new division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) — the Development Partnership Administration (DPA IV) has emerged as the nodal point when it comes to dealing with heritage restoration projects undertaken by the Indian Government across the globe. It hence plays an important role in the restoration of cultural heritage in several countries across the region from Sri Lanka to Myanmar to Vietnam to Bhutan.

Nepal: Losing bonhomie with India, the media commotion

29 July (Observer Research Foundation) – The K. P. Oli government in Nepal has taken a drastic step of banning or blacking out all Indian private TV channels. It has, however, spared the Doordarshan, or DD, which is owned by the Indian government. The decision came as a counter to alleged ‘offensive character assassination’ by the Indian media of Nepali citizens and leaders, thereby hurting their sentiments and being disrespectful of Nepalese sovereignty.

Review China policy or risk facing global isolation

4 July (Times Now) – Pakistan is under severe pressure to review its China policy or risk facing global condemnation and isolation along with Beijing. Amid violent clash with India in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, China has come under fire from all quarters due to its expansionism and misadventure in the Himalayas.

As per the sources, Pakistan’s Foreign Office has told the PMO that unless Pakistan did a quick course correction on its relationship with China, it would incur the wrath of the world’s major economic powers that are determined to isolate China after its clash with

Changing Contours of South Asia – Analysis

July 18 (Eurasia Review) – The South Asian balance of power is in transition due to the changing contours of US policy in South Asia and the growing relationship between India and the US. The response is to strengthen ties between Pakistan and China. Russia’s role in the region will play as a catalyst to further shape the regional power configuration as the world moves towards multi-polarity.

Artificial Intelligence without Cyber Resilience in South Asia

17 July (Modern Diplomacy) – Artificial intelligence is becoming one of the defining technologies of 21st century. Today AI is being deployed in health care systems, financial trading, translation and transportation and military technology massively. The technology and terminology “artificial intelligence” are not the product of 21st century, rather the term was coined in 1956 at Dartmouth summer workshop organized to develop thinking machines. However, there is no single definition of this technology, thus is quite difficult to define.

Can India shake off the dragon’s growing tentacles in South Asia?

16 July (India Post) – China is doubling down on a range of its territorial disputes with South Asian neighbors like India to the South China Sea. During the last three months, there has been a tense face-off on its border with India in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh. High-level military and diplomatic parleys have resulted in gradual de-escalation of hostilities. But there is unlikely to be any return to status quo ante as the consensus that guided bilateral relations for several decades has broken down. India, for its part, has upped the ante by regulating Chinese investments and reducing its dependence on imports and technology from the mainland, among other measures.

South Asia can’t work together 

14 July (Dhaka Tribune) – Several research studies about South Asia have led to various estimates about the potential growth in the region. Much of these suggested numbers have been surpassed when it comes to the growth story of individual states, but remains unrealized vis-à-vis the regional growth and the intra-trade within South Asia. South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) was essentially meant to facilitate a free trade agreement to capture the unrealized economic potential. This, unfortunately, for a variety of factors, never materialized.

As China eyes Sri Lanka, India’s Quad alliance can push back the Dragon

30 July (WION) – According to recent reports, the Colombo port deal is on a sticky wicket. Colombo is yet to green light the agreement leading many to believe that the Chinese influence is holding Indian investments back.
Three years ago, India’s Prime minister Narendra Modi had paid a special visit to Colombo. He was the chief guest for the International Vesak Day celebrations which is another name for Buddha Purnima – the biggest festival for Buddhists.
India’s Buddhist legacy gives it a big advantage in Sri Lanka. The cultural connection is something that India’s prime minister has tried to leverage on more occasions than one.

The Chinese trishul in South Asia

July 12 (Hindustan Times) – For a country with 14 neighbours, China remained a regional power without a regional policy for a long time. But a new China has, in recent years, adopted a sophisticated trishul (trident) approach at the local, national and regional level, especially in South Asia.

At the local level, the Khunjerab Pass on the Karakoram highway in Pakistan; Tatopani and Kerung-Rasuwagadhi in Nepal; the Wakhan Corridor in northeast of Afghanistan; and Nathu la, Shipki la and Lipulekh in India are signs of integration, aimed at the borderland geography and communities. These instruments are likely to be mainstreamed and transformed into national and cross-regional grids.

The Roots of the Conflict in South Asia and the Escalation of Tensions

Territorial wars have always existed in the world, and sometimes the resolution of disputes has lasted for centuries, millions of people have been killed, and great civilizations have perished. Despite all the progress, humanity is still pursuing a war strategy for land ownership. These days, there are strange puzzles in South Asia that may be confusing. Nepal has border tensions with India and is publishing a new map! India has border tensions with China, leading to war between the two sides.

Almost all countries in the region are involved, and the very high population density of countries such as China, India, and Pakistan has made the competition very complicated. But if we look for the culprit of this whole conflict with a deep look at the history of this part of Asia, we can say that Britain is the main cause of the current conflicts in South Asia.

Journalists continue to be targeted in South Asia

4 July (Counterview) – As the pandemic year 2020 rolls on, Indian subcontinent sets to improve in its journo-murder index with only two casualties this year till date. First half of the year witnessed the murder of one scribe each in Pakistan and India for their journalistic works. Pakistan reported the first murder of journalists in the subcontinent in 2020 where Aziz Memon (50) was found dead on 16 February in an irrigation channel near to his Mehrabpur locality residence. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 August 2020]

Image: China Nepal Pakistan India Globe Map South Asia

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