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Abstract: This report gives a brief summary of each of the major conflicts occurring in South Asia, from intra-state conflicts (often multiple per country) in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, to inter-state disputes including India-China, India-Pakistan, India-Sri Lanka, India-Nepal, and India-Bangladesh. The report also describes the impact of the conflicts on regional stability, and an analysis of changes in the nature of the conflicts: Since the late 2001, South Asia, on the one hand has been facing a sudden growth in the intensity of
conflicts and on the other hand witnessing newly emerged conflicts with new dimensions. The post
9/11 era has also influenced the transformation process including the nature of conflicts and its
objectives in its peaceful culmination or violent escalation. Though in the recent past ( more
specifically post-9/11 era) all the governments of respective countries in South Asia have come up
with different peaceful ways of conflict resolution that have created an optimist approach to deal the
issues. But on the other side innovated trends and latest tactics have been introduced by the militant
organizations operating in the region. Different militant groups are forging new operational
coordination or strategic alliance in their separate fight for their cause.
Abstract: After the 6th border meeting in Thimphu on September 12, India and Bhutan have agreed to scale up efforts to secure their borders. India and Bhutan share a 669-km-long border, manned by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) from the Indian side and by the Royal Bhutanese Army on the Bhutan side. Most of the insurgent camps are located along the Bhutan-Assam border, which comprises of 267 km of the Indo-Bhutan border.
The border meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of reports suggesting that insurgents operating in India’s North-Eastern states such as United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFA) and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) have increased co-operation with the Bhutan Tiger Force, the Bhutan Maoist Party and the Communist Party of Bhutan. At the same time, there is a fear in the Bhutanese establishment that the Communist Party of Bhutan, with active co-operation from North Eastern insurgent groups, might acquire advanced weapons and attempt to topple the newly elected democratic government headed by Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley. This was emphasized by Home Secretary Penden Wangchuck who headed the Bhutanese delegation for the border talks. Wangchuk was reported by state-run newspaper Kuensel as saying that "The insurgents are linked to Maoists and militants of eastern Nepal and they can pose a threat to security”.
The Indian side headed by Secretary (border management) Vinay Kumar emphasized during the meeting that since the new Bangladesh government headed by Sheikh Hasina had increased the crack down on North-Eastern insurgent groups, these groups have set up bases in Bhutan. This was confirmed by the 48-page ‘restricted’ Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) report on the North-East states in September 2009. Reports note that the emergence of a “friendly” regime in Bangladesh has resulted in nervousness among the Indian insurgent groups operating from that country and “tentative” reports suggest movement of insurgent infrastructure towards Myanmar and Bhutan where the reach of the Government along the border areas is limited.
Abstract: India's neighbourhood is in considerable turmoil at the
present moment. The instability is likely to continue for the
foreseeable future. India has sought to improve its relations
with neighbouring countries. Regional cooperation is an
important instrument of India's policy towards its
neighbours. The neighbouring countries have also derived
considerable mileage from economic cooperation with India.
This is particularly true of countries like Nepal, Bhutan and
Sri Lanka. Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and
Bangladesh have held peaceful elections in the recent past.
The upsurge of democracy in South Asia should normally
provide a sound foundation for better relationship between
India and these countries.
However, several challenges remain. There are powerful anti-
India forces in many of our neighbouring countries. Regional
cooperation, particularly in the context of SAARC, has not
made visible difference to the life of the common person in
South Asia. The democratic institutions in India's
neighbourhood are fragile. China is making inroads into
South Asia. India's borders are porous and ill-regulated.
Terrorism, human and arms trafficking, smuggling and
organized crime are rampant. Pakistan uses Nepal and
Bangladesh to launch terrorists into India. Groups like LeT
have presence in even Sri Lanka and Maldives. Maritime
security is a matter of concern for India. It is in this
background that India needs to devise its South Asia policies.
Abstract: Bhutan made the first historic move towards democracy when on 31st December 2007, elections to the National Council were held for 15 of the 25 Dzongkhags ( districts). Electronic voting machines were used and the results were announced the very next day.
Elections to the National Assembly were held on 24th of March for election of 47 candidates and shared by only two parties the DPT and the PDP. The Election Campaign was lively and devoid of law and order problems. There were no verbal abuses or personal accusations by the candidates and no complaints either, save some on infringement of election code of conduct.
The highlight of the campaign was two televised debates of the two parties conducted by none other than the elections commission itself.
There is no doubt that the conduct of the election was a bold step for Bhutan in moving ahead of times in introducing democracy. The election itself turned out to be a tame affair and it looked more like a friendly match between two contesting parties whose ideologies were not very different.
Abstract: 2008 has been a year of tremendous change in the small Kingdom of Bhutan and for its people. There has probably never been a case before, in which such contradictory events took place within a few months, while at the same time surprisingly in perfect line with the path on which Bhutan embarked decades ago. Having been called to the polls to choose their representatives for the National Council (Gyelyong Tshogde), the upper chamber of parliament, on a non-partisan basis, the first multiparty elections for the National Assembly (Tshogdu) took place on 24 March 2008. By achieving a turnout of almost 80 per cent, participation was extraordinary high, even for a founding election. Three months later the newly convened parliament in a joint sitting passed the country’s first ever written constitution, thus formally transforming the century old kingdom into a constitutional monarchy. Finally, on 6 November 2008 the fifth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, was enthroned and received the Raven Crown from the hands of his father, who abdicated in 2006. Bhutan had changed its face and at the same time once again found the middle path between progressive development and traditional preservation on which the fourth king guided his country without hesitation in recent decades.
The 35 articles of the constitution grant all major classical rights and liberties to the people and provide for a democratic form of government, though the structure of the new system is quite unique in its shape and configuration. Taking into consideration the people’s attitudes towards politics and the country’s unique culture and tradition, the result is an interesting combination of consensual and majoritarian elements of democracy, topped by the unique role of the monarch within the polity, which rather resembles the role of a president in presidential or semi-presidential system, instead that of a constitutional monarch in Western constitutional democracies. The coming years will have to show whether the system will work properly, or if further adjustments will need to be made.
Abstract: Since the beginning of the 19th century, Lhotshampas (people of Nepali origin) began immigrating to
southern regions of Bhutan in search of farmland and economic prosperity. Through the years, the
Lhotshampas retained their Nepali culture, language and religious traditions, which strongly differed
from that of the Drukpas, who were living in the North.
Until the mid 1980s, there was little contact between the Drukpas and the Lhotshampas. However,
tensions between the two groups emerged in 1985 with the passing of legislation which mandated
that Lhotshampas adopt Drukpa culture, language and religion. Protests arose and were followed by
violence and killings. Due to strict enforcement of citizenship and immigration laws by the
Bhutanese authorities, a series of arrests, atrocities and the forceful eviction of the Lhotshampas
started. As the violence escalated, even Lhotshampas who had lived in the country for generations
began to flee to save their lives. Thousands of Lhotshampas fled to India and Nepal. By the end of
1994, more than 100,000 have been sheltered in refugee camps in south‐eastern Nepal
administered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Abstract: Terrorism Monitor is a publication
of The Jamestown Foundation.
The Terrorism Monitor is
designed to be read by policymakers
and other specialists
yet be accessible to the general
public. The opinions expressed
within are solely those of the
authors and do not necessarily
reflect those of The Jamestown
Abstract: The banners, portraits and flags marking the Bhutanese monarchy's centenary in 2008, are slowly being taken down in Thimphu's main streets, as the country eases itself into the new year. But while the rest of the world braces itself for 2009, and the change an Obama presidency may usher in, for Bhutan, 2008 was already a year of change unlike any other. In March, two years after Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King of Bhutan, abdicated his throne, Bhutan became the world's youngest democracy. Wangchuck's 28-year-old son and heir, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, was later crowned the fifth king and head of state of Bhutan's constitutional monarchy in November. He vowed to shepherd democracy as it develops. For hardliners among Bhutan's ethnic Nepalese refugees, stranded in seven camps in eastern Nepal, the coronation represented the latest chapter in the continuing dominance of the country's Dzongkha-speaking Buddhist majority, known as Drukpas. It was Drukpa anxiety over the swelling Nepalese-speaking Hindu population in Bhutan that sparked their expulsion in the early 1990s. ut now, according to Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley, the arrival of democracy -- and its iron-clad constitution -- to Bhutan has made ethnic discrimination a thing of the past. Still, little is said about the ethnic Nepalese or about the sudden disappearance of over half of their population from Bhutan 18 years ago. The subject is divisive and taboo.
Abstract: Meetings between Bhutan's separated ethnic Nepalese in Jaigon are frequently this brief. Though the Bhutanese government says that with democracy ethnic friction is a thing of the past, paranoia and fear still underlie reunions like this one between Giri and Gopal, whose memories of the expulsion and rights abuses of almost 20 years ago remain vivid. Giri plans to return to Jaigon, but many of the refugees are making the trip this year for the last time. In 2006, the U.S. and a few other Western countries offered to resettle many of the refugees, and their population is now projected to be reduced by almost 70 percent in the next four years.
Abstract: Sandwiched between Communist China and largely Hindu India, tiny Buddhist Bhutan, with its population of a mere 600,000, has been given to fits of ethnic and cultural protectionism throughout its history. An impressive necklace of cliff-perched fortresses -- or Dzongs -- that dot the country's mountainous perimeter testify to past efforts.
By the 1980s, when the ethnic Nepalese bloc mushroomed to represent one third of the kingdom's population, Bhutan responded with a "one nation, one people" policy that at once bolstered the majority Drukpa culture by mandating its traditional dress and language for all, and restricted the rights of the ethnic Nepalese population. After a series of civil rights protests by the ethnic Nepalese, many of whom were Bhutanese citizens, the state clamped down -- hard."We left because we were scared that they would imprison us, that they would beat us, that I would be raped," Matimya told World Politics Review. In the weeks leading up to her family's departure from Bhutan in 1991, she says, the army had begun to take women away from their houses.
This was just one tactic in what human rights groups say was a widespread campaign of ethnic cleansing of a minority population that claims to have arrived in Bhutan as early as the mid-1800s. Other tactics, say the refugees, included torture, beatings and the destruction of property.
Abstract: This brief analyzes the condition of statehood in South Asia. The author argues that apart from India, political instability and violent conflicts are frequent and that achieving monopoly of power poses problems for almost every country in South Asia.
In contrast to some other regions, the long-term trend
in South Asia – comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri
Lanka – since 1991 has not been towards more democracy.
The significant exception is India, where democratic
structures are holding their ground. Political instability
and violent conflicts are frequent; achieving a
complete monopoly of power poses problems for almost
every country. Democratic legitimation is demanded
by many people, but in fact democratic, religious and
ideological forms of legitimacy as well as clientelism
exist side by side. While competence for macroeconomic
regulation is growing nearly everywhere, there
are major deficiencies in the areas of security, the legal
system and social welfare in most countries. Economic
growth provides scope for policies of social adjustment
and sustainable development, but they have yet to be
Abstract: This paper quantifies the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth in Asia for 1970–2004. Our panel estimations show that transnational terrorist attacks had a significant growth-limiting effect. Transnational terrorism reduces growth by crowding in government expenditures. An internal conflict has the greatest growth concern, about twice that of transnational terrorism. For developing Asian countries, intrastate and interstate wars have a much greater impact than terrorism does on the crowding-in of government spending.
Policy recommendations indicate the need for rich Asian countries to assist their poorer neighbors in coping with the negative growth consequences of political violence. Failure to assist may result in region-wide repercussions. Conflict and terrorism in one country can create production bottlenecks with region-wide economic consequences. International and nongovernmental organizations as well as developed Western countries and regions could assist at-risk Asian countries with attack prevention and post-attack recovery.
This study has six purposes. First, and foremost, we present panel estimates for a sample of 42 Asian countries to quantify the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth for 1970–2004. Panel estimation methods control for country-specific and timespecific unobserved heterogeneity. Second, we distinguish the influence of terrorism on economic growth from that of internal and external conflicts. Third, these influences are investigated for cohorts of developed and developing countries to ascertain whether development can better allow a country to absorb the impact of political violence. Fourth, econometric estimations relate violence-induced growth reductions to two pathways— reduced investment and increased government expenditures. Fifth, a host of diagnostic and sensitivity tests to support our empirical specifications. Last, we draw some policy conclusions.
Abstract: Acute and chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies have been found in refugee camp populations (1). In southeastern Nepal, despite consistent access by refugees to general rations,* certain micronutrient deficiencies have posed a substantial health burden to the approximately 100,000 Bhutanese residing in seven refugee camps (2). Limited food diversity, frequent illness, and poor feeding practices have been cited as underlying causes of poor nutritional status in this population. Annual surveys to assess levels of acute malnutrition (i.e., wasting) and chronic malnutrition (i.e., stunting) have been conducted in these camps by the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); however, the capacity to reliably evaluate micronutrient deficiencies has not existed locally in the camps (3). In January 2007, AMDA and CDC, at the request of UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP), conducted a nutritional survey of children aged 6--59 months, assessing 1) the prevalence of acute malnutrition, chronic malnutrition, underweight, anemia, and angular stomatitis (i.e., riboflavin deficiency); 2) the cumulative incidence of diarrhea and acute respiratory illness (ARI); and 3) the feeding practices of the children's mothers. This report describes the results of that survey, which indicated that, although acute malnutrition was found in only 4.2% of the children, chronic malnutrition was found in 26.9% and anemia in 43.3%. These findings underscore the importance of monitoring both malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies and addressing the underlying causes of nutritional deficits.
Abstract: Un printemps sous le signe du scrutin. Il n’est pas qu’en France (municipales) ou en Espagne (législatives) que cette fin d’hiver inspire l’électeur épris de devoir civique. A l’instar des élections législatives du weekend dernier en Malaisie (tout en demeurant majoritaire à l’Assemblée, le parti au pouvoir… depuis l’indépendance en 1957, affiche son plus mauvais résultat en un demi-siècle), du scrutin local se déroulant ce jour dans les provinces orientales du Sri Lanka (« libérées » l’été dernier du joug de la guérilla sécessionniste tamoule du LTTE), les semaines, les mois à venir vont voir défiler, en cette lointaine Asie, un florilège de rendez-vous politiques et électoraux . Si la majorité de ces scrutins n’emportera de conséquences qu’au niveau local ou national, il en est en revanche une poignée qui, de part l’importance ou la sensibilité de « l’enjeu », dépassent pourtant le stade
strictement national, ainsi que le suggère le cas taïwanais ci-après.
Abstract: According to Bhutan’s State media on 21 February 2008, the Bhutanese security forces arrested eight people from the Nepali speaking minority in Bhutan. They were detained in connection with a series of bombings apparently aimed at disrupting the forthcoming elections. The Bhutanese security forces claimed that the detained persons are members of the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) — a group blamed for 4 February 2008 explosion in Bhutan's southwest and four other blasts across the country in January 2008. The Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) on the other hand claimed that the Bhutanese security forces also brutally killed four persons belonging to Nepali minority and the whereabouts of the eight arrested persons are not known. The Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) (BCP) and the Bhutan Tiger Force (BTF) are two increasingly visible armed groups. Both group’s primary political goal is the return to Bhutan of the more than 100,000 refugees from Bhutan who have lived in refugee camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s. Bhutan will hold the first elections on 24 March 2008 and the members of the Nepali community will be disenfranchised and further marginalized as a result.
Abstract: In the early 1990s tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalis were arbitrarily deprived of their Bhutanese citizenship. Some were then expelled from Bhutan, while others fled the country to escape from a campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention directed against the ethnic Nepalis. For sixteen years these Bhutanese refugees have languished in seven refugee camps in Nepal with no resolution to their plight. In October 2006, however, the United States announced its willingness to resettle up to 60,000 of the refugees.
Abstract: In this submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Human Rights Watch provided information to the Committee on violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Bhutanese government against ethnic Nepali children in Bhutan and Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.
Abstract: While the US Government is getting ready to follow up with its promise of absorbing over 60,000 refugees over a five-year period, the Nepal Government continues to be in a denial mode. For the first time in the last sixteen years, the locals and the refugees in the Sanischare camp had a serious clash on 22n and 23rd February resulting in casualties on both sides and the Police had to open fire to maintain order. Curfew had to be imposed on the main stretches of the national highway and the injured could not even be brought back from the hospitals. On the official side, the India-Bhutan friendship treaty came into force on 3rd March. Preparations for the elections under the new constitution are taking place in a systematic manner. Finally, the Tala project has proved its# worth with earnings of over 130.66 Crores of rupees in six months. ( Are the Nepalese listening?).
Abstract: Bhutan did not witness any significant terrorist activity during the year 2006, and is the only South Asian nation to have almost entirely escaped the shadow of terror. The decision it took in December 2003 to evict militant outfits from Bhutanese soil, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) operating in the neighbouring Indian State of Assam, and the North Bengal-based Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), continues to pay rich dividends for the mountain kingdom, although there are some indications that the ULFA may be resurfacing in the country.
Abstract: With the offer of USA, Canada and other well meaning countries to take the bulk of the refugees for settlement abroad, it was thought that the poor refugees now nearly 106,000 and languishing in the camps for the last sixteen years would finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. But surprisingly both Nepal and Bhutan are taking a very rigid stand. Even the high level meeting between the two governments on the refugees has not taken place.
Abstract: Just when the refugee issue is getting sorted out with many countries offering to resettle them, the hard-line leadership is back to their earlier antics in politicizing the issue. The Nepal Government which hardly took any initiative till now is suddenly discovering that the refugee issue is a serious one and that a firm stand is nec#essary at a time when a more flexible approach would be necessary. The refugee leaders have often bemoaned the helplessness of Nepal government who were then beset with their own internal problems. Now Nepal is taking a stand that the refugees should not be allowed to go in for third country settlement and that they should all be repatriated to Bhutan at any cost. This is hardly going to bring any relief to the refugees.
Abstract: It looks that the sixteenth ministerial talks between Nepal and Bhutan to be held at Thimpu on November 21-21 are likely to end in failure and what is more it will end in further deterioration of relations between the two countries. This much was evident from the statement of Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister K.P.Oli made recently at an interactive session conducted by the Centre for Alternate Media (CAM) recently on November 3.
Abstract: South Asia Analysis Group is a non profit non commercial think tank. The objective of the group is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding. In so doing, the SAAG seeks to address the decision makers, strategic planners, academics and the media in South Asia and the world at large. The group holds the concept of strategy in its broadest meaning-including mobilization and application of all resources to understand national and international security. The articles in this site are provided by scholars with many years of experience in political and strategic analysis. The aim of the group is not to compete with Governments, Academics, NGOs or other institutions dealing with strategic analysis and national security but to provide another point of view for the decision makers and other national/international think tanks.
Abstract: In covering the developments of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, we had always maintained that it is a humanitarian issue and not a political one and that the political leaders who are active both inside and outside the camps should eschew politics in dealing with the refugees. After all, it is the very same political parties which brought the issue to the fore in 1990 in mobilising innocent people for demonstrations which resulted in a large number of genuine citizens being forced to leave their homes and settle for a miserable life in the camps in eastern Nepal. Sixteen years later not a single refugee has returned to his/her home despite 15 high level ministerial meetings between Bhutan and Nepal. When a solution to the problem is in sightwith a chance to dismantle the camps in due course, we find that the political parties are again gearing up to mislead the refugees from making their choice for third country settlement after the recent US offer to take 50 to 60 thousand refugees for settlement. (Update 56 refers).