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October 2008, Vol. 3, No. 9

The Impact of Global Financial Crisis

Propitiate the BullThe global financial crisis began to make its presence felt in South Asia in October. India is at greatest risk because of its dependence on U.S. and EU markets for its flagship IT exports. Initial complacency, born out of a perceived lack of exposure to US assets has given way to a more considered government response. Interest rates have been cut to infuse cash into the economy and encourage domestic businesses after the outflow of Foreign Institutional Investments (FIIs) led to a stock market crash. Pramit Pal Chaudhary blames the finance ministry for exacerbating the credit crunch with its irrational fear of inflation.

Pakistan's economic problems began well before the financial crisis. There is a real danger it will default on its debt payments unless it can secure significant monetary help, says Faisal Bari. Help from China and the ‘Friends of Pakistan' group has not been forthcoming, putting the country in an unenviable position of seeking loans from the IMF with strings attached. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh may emerge relatively unscathed because of their isolation from the global financial system, but a lengthy recession would impact their exports, argue K A S Murshid and Mandana Islmail Abeywickerama respectively. Nepal's dependence on remittances from migrant laborers in the West and Persian Gulf places the country at the mercy of the economic crisis, writes Arhan Sthapit .

Read more.



In this Issue:

  1. Feature: The Impact of Global Financial Crisis

  2. Carnegie Events and Analysis
    De facto, not de jure - India is World's Sixth Nuclear Power; NATO's Drug Problem

  3. Views from South Asia:

    INDIA
    Foreign and Domestic Politics

    Delhi Blasts - Legal Aid to Jamia Students; Nuclear Deal: Finally Done; Violence against Christian minorities; Tata pulls the plug; India-Pakistan relations; Booker Prize for Aravind Adiga

    Economics and Development
    Financial crisis - where now?

    PAKISTAN
    Zardari's U.S. visit; Counter-Insurgency: strategies and tactics; India Pakistan Water Dispute; A Bailout for Pakistan

    BANGLADESH
    Awami League to contest Elections; Destruction of Baul Statues

    NEPAL
    Will the real Prachanda please stand up?; Politics of Development Aid

    SRI LANKA
    LTTE, Ethnic Tamils and Indian Politics; Sinhala Nationalism
 

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Editor's Note

The ripples from the global financial tsunami reached South Asia last month. In this edition's feature, commentators from the region analyze the impact of this crisis and propose solutions—including some unique ideas, like Kuldip Nayar's idea of encouraging South Asian elites to bring back the ‘black' money from their Swiss Bank accounts.

Another significant event coincided with the financial crisis and went almost unnoticed in the U.S. media this month. President Bush signed the India–U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement after its strong, bipartisan approval by the US Congress. Discussions in the Indian media now center on potential locations for the new nuclear power plants. The front-running candidate is West Bengal, a state ruled by a coalition of Left parties which opposed the agreement but desperately want industrialization. Saubhadra Chatterjee explores the dilemma that the Indian Left is soon going to face because of its contradictory policies at national and state levels. Meanwhile, there is plenty of hand-wringing over whether Bengal really wants industrialization after Tatas abandoned their dream project when faced with unrelenting political opposition in the state. Rudrangshu Mukherjee and Swapan Dasgupta start with different assumptions but arrive at the conclusion that opposition to industry is deeply embedded in the state's culture.

Pakistan 's counter-insurgency strategy is using different tactics for different agencies in the tribal areas. It is utilizing the willingness of the local populace to fight militants in Bajaur and going ahead with negotiations in Swat. Nasim Zehra detects greater consensus for the use of force against militants in the NWFP by the ruling Awami National Party (ANP), which has traditionally shied away from violence against Pashtuns. Mosharraf Zaidi states emphatically that, despite claims by President Asif Zardari, last month's Marriott blasts were not Pakistan 's 9/11. He thinks Zardari was catering to an American establishment whose financial and military support he desperately needs.

Awami League, one of Bangladesh's two main political parties, agreed to democratize internal procedures as part of the Election Commission's preconditions for contesting the national elections—a move which will give greater credence to the electoral process. At the same time, the military regime's efficacy in controlling the increasing influence of Islamist parties, traditionally active only at the fringes, is questioned by Shameran Abed and Ashfaq Wares Khan.

Nepal's President Prachanda's visits to China and India and his ability to woo different audiences by adopting different personas has prompted plenty of discussion about the ‘real' Prachanda and his motives. Aditya Adhikari and N.P. Upadhyaya reflect on the compulsions of the Maoist revolutionary turned pragmatic statesman.

The Sri Lankan army's inexorable march towards Kilinochhi, a LTTE stronghold, and the humanitarian crisis of civilian Tamils caught in the crossfire has generated political heat in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu (TN). Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK), the ruling party in TN, and a key coalition ally of the central government, is pressurizing Indian Prime Minister Singh to intervene in the conflict. A Sunday Leader editorial looks at India's options.

A new and informative BBC radio show, Evening Report: South Asian News, was launched this month and is being broadcast throughout the region. Click here to listen and subscribe to the podcast.

Ashesh Prasann
Editor, South Asian Perspectives

 

Feature

Propitiate the BullImpact of the Global Financial Crisis
The global financial crisis began to make its presence felt in South Asia last month. India faces the greatest risk because of its dependence on U.S. and EU markets for its flagship IT exports. Initial complacency, born out of a perceived lack of exposure to U.S. assets has given way to a more considered government response. Interest rates have been cut to infuse cash into the economy and encourage domestic businesses after the outflow of Foreign Institutional Investments (FIIs) led to a stock market crash. Pramit Pal Chaudhary blames the finance ministry for exacerbating the credit crunch with its excessive fear of inflation.

Pakistan 's economic problems began well before the financial crisis. There is a real danger it will default on its debt payments unless it can secure significant monetary help, says Faisal Bari . Help from China and the ‘Friends of Pakistan' group has not been forthcoming and puts the country in an unenviable position of seeking loans from the IMF—with strings attached. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh may emerge relatively unscathed because of their isolation from the global financial system, but a lengthy recession would impact their exports, argue K A S Murshid and Mandana Islmail Abeywickerama respectively. Nepal 's dependence on remittances from migrant laborers in the West and Persian Gulf places them at the mercy of the economic crisis, writes Arhan Sthapit .

A withdrawal of $10 billion dollar by FIIs should not be creating a credit crunch for a trillion dollar economy, asserts Pramit Pal Chaudhary, placing the blame squarely on India 's finance ministry. He criticizes the ministry for its excessive withdrawal of liquidity because of the fear of inflation and a run on the rupee. He further argues that prices of edible oil, petroleum and iron and steel – the main sources of price rises in the past – are headed southward and India has a huge foreign reserve of dollars, making such fears irrational. ( Hindustan Times, October 15, 2008 )

Kuldip Nayar has an innovative solution to the financial crisis: encourage South Asian elites to bring back the money they have stashed in Swiss bank accounts by legalizing it and allow one-third of it to be taxed. He estimates that Indians alone have $1.5 trillion in Swiss banks. ( Dawn, October 17, 2008 )

Meekly Aziz Ahmed believes that the global credit crunch might be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan 's economy suffering from the opposite problem – excess demand and credit. This exogenous shock will correct this trend, reduce inflation, and help Pakistan finance its external deficit. ( The Post, October 18, 2008 )

K A S Murshid is cautiously optimistic about the impact of the financial crisis for Bangladesh . Largely insulated because of its low level of integration with the world economy, Bangladesh 's key exports–low end garments–could be impacted if the recession lasts long and Western consumers begin to cut down on necessities. ( The Daily Star, October 22, 2008 )

A similar situation exists in Sri Lanka . It is protected by their financial sector's low exposure to world markets, but the impact on the real sector could be negative, writes Mandana Islmail Abeywickerama. Apparel and rubber, Sri Lanka 's main exports to the West, and tourism, its largest service sector industry, will definitely be impacted. (The Sunday Leader, October 12, 2008 )

Income from remittance comprised 16 percent of Nepal 's GDP in 2005 and 2006. The global economic crisis threatens Nepal 's economy as remittances could decrease if migrant labor from the country, usually employed in low-end jobs, is laid off in other countries. Arhan Sthapit urges Nepal to negotiate more economic agreements with labor importing countries. ( Gorkhapatra, October 17, 2008 )

Carnegie Events and Analysis

De facto, not de jure - India is World's Sixth Nuclear Power
Ashley J. Tellis The U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement is a recognition of India's rise as a global player, and its strategic importance to the United States. This is part of a transforming world order, which the U.S. wants to shape to its advantage, says Ashley J. Tellis in an interview with Mint - Wall Street Journal.
Click here for the full interview.

Fabrice PothierNATO's Drug Problem
The idea that ISAF troops can engage in 'surgical interdiction strikes' and eliminate the drug economy in Afghanistan is more rhetoric than realistic. Drug production is an economic and law enforcement problem and attempts to solve it militarily are flawed strategic thinking, argues Fabrice Pothier in an article in National Interest
( Click here to read the full text )

Views from South Asia

INDIA - Foreign and Domestic PoliticsJamia students peace march

Delhi Blasts - Legal Aid to Jamia Students
The Delhi police claimed that they shot the mastermind of the bomb blasts which rocked Delhi in September. Public perception that the Jamia Nagar encounter was faked is indicative of the government's lost credibility, argues Malvika Singh . She links the government's general fear of “rocking the boat” to the Jammu & Kashmir crisis, its refusal to counter parades led by Raj Thakeray, and the violence against Christians in Karnataka and Orissa. (The Telegraph, September 23, 2008 )

Recreating the events of the day, Praveen Swami rebuts the notion that the Jamia Nagar shootout was staged. (The Hindu, October 10, 2008 )

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) criticized Jamia Milia Islamia, a government-funded university, for offering legal aid to its students who are suspects in the investigation of Delhi bomb blasts. An editorial in the Hindu criticizes the BJP's position, arguing that offering legal aid does not equal moral justification for a heinous crime. The editorial also disputes the BJP claim that taxpayer money will be used for the defense. ( The Hindu, September 26, 2008 )

Ayesha Siddiqua thinks Mushirul Hasan, Jamia Milia's vice-chancellor, represents Gandhi's legacy better than most in modern India and argues that his actions soothed tensions in the university and the Jamia Nagar locality. ( Dawn, October 17, 2008 )

Meanwhile, Mayank Austen Soofi visits a hostel in Jamia and reports on the absurd ways students are trying to protect themselves from being targeted. ( Hindustan Times, September 29, 2008 )

Questioning what he terms ‘liberal perceptions of terrorism,” Swapan Dasgupta asserts that seeking socioeconomic causes rather than punishing perpetrators has led to absurd explanations of the attack on the Indian Parliament and the burning of the Godhra train. He points to the state's forceful handling of Sikh secessionism in the 1980s as an example to be followed today. Finally, he claims that Mushirul Hasan's defense of Jamia Milia students has led to victimization of the Muslim community. ( The Telegraph, October 3, 2008 )

Nuclear Deal: Finally Done Bush signs deal
The India-U.S. civil nuclear deal was approved this month by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bush. The passage of the agreement has been credited in large part to the personal initiative of President Bush. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his gratitude during a private dinner, proclaiming that “India loves Bush”. Indu Prakash Singh ascribes the sweeping statement to Singh's relative inexperience in foreign policy and argues that the idea that no other foreign leader has done as much for India is inaccurate. The absence of institutional memory of the Soviets' warm relationship with India is partly to blame. ( Daily Excelsior, October 9, 2008 )

An editorial in the Asian Age comments on the irony that France, and not the United States, was the first country to finalize and sign a nuclear commerce agreement with India. India's agreement with France contradicts claims by the Left that India will become a junior partner in American imperialism and puts to rest questions of infringed sovereignty being put forward by the BJP. ( Asian Age, October 3, 2008 )

The Indian government should have brought the final version of the nuclear deal before Parliament before signing it, asserts Brahma Chellaney . He accuses Singh of forgoing domestic political consensus on the agreement and reasons that this is primarily because the deal fails to legally guarantee fuel-supply assurance, reprocessing rights, permission to build strategic fuel reserves, and does not offer entitlement to corrective measures. ( Asian Age, September 25, 2008 )

The lack of subsidies for nuclear power will ensure competitive pricing, asserted S. K. Jain, chairman of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), in an interview with Business Standard . He conceded that NPCIL could not continue to be the only company authorized to make nuclear power plants in India and welcomed the idea of foreign sector competition, but with checks and balances. He also identified land acquisition for setting up plants as the biggest challenge for his company. ( Business Standard, October 10, 2008 )

The challenge of land acquisition for nuclear power plants poses a particular dilemma for Left-ruled West Bengal - a state in desperate need of industrial development but still reeling from the recent Tata decision to abandon its Nano project in the face of political opposition. Saubhadra Chatterjee writes that the Center would likely grant land to West Bengal, but an American company would build the plant, an anathema to Left parties who bitterly opposed the nuclear deal on grounds of mistrust of U.S. motives. ( Business Standard, October 15, 2008 )


Violence Against Christian Minorities
An editorial in the Telegraph chronicles the political and administrative delay between a mob's violent attack on missionaries and the rape of a nun in Kandhamal, and the action taken by the state government in Orissa.(The Telegraph, October 6, 2008)

Michael Pinto takes on the argument that the recent violence against Christians was provoked by aggressive conversion practices. He asserts that only use of force and fraud during religious conversion can be opposed legally and morally in India 's secular society. While acknowledging the difficulty of judging whether such means were used, he concludes that in the absence of objective and easily verifiable criteria there are obvious red lines which cannot be crossed. ( Times of India, October 8, 2008 )

The fragmented nature of Christian churches in India, absence of information sharing databases, and lack of lobbyists in the political establishment are the primary causes of the vulnerability of Christian missionaries in India. George Menezes insists that despite these shortcomings, a violent response is not an option for the Christian community. ( Hindustan Times, September 29, 2008 )

Singur - Tata Pulls Out Ratan Tata and Narendra Modi
An editorial in the Hindu denounces the Mamata Bannerjee-led coalition of political parties for opposing a final compromise package, offered by the West Bengal government to landowners holding out against the Tata project. The package offered compensation to sharecroppers and manual workers, and recognized the future increase in land value after industrialization. Bannerjee could have profitably claimed credit for the changes in the government's offer, which were the result of her successful negotiation, but reason eluded her; the people of West Bengal will respond by voting against her party. ( The Hindu, October 8, 2008 )

A Business Standard editorial seeks lessons from the Singur fiasco and concludes that the West Bengal government created all the right incentives for industry and landowners but a small minority of landowners blocked the project. In the future, companies like Tata should seek to minimize the land requirements for their projects, while the government should use wasteland, not agricultural land, for such a purpose. ( Business Standard, October 6, 2008 )

Bengalis oppose industrialization. Rudrangshu Mukherjee arrives at this sweeping conclusion on the basis of evidence from the past and present. He points to the absence of industrialization as a political platform for Communists and opposition leader Mamata Bannerjee for thirty years. Even when the Left reversed its stance in the 21 st century, the political culture of bandhs and rallies remained, dissuading any potential investors. Apart from the November protests against violence by Communist cadres, civil society has not raised its voice for industrialization. ( The Telegraph, October 5, 2008 )

Swapan Dasgupta makes a similar case but traces Bengali “rebelliousness and silly bravado” to their reaction when India 's capital was moved from Calcutta to Delhi 97 years back. He compares Bengali culture to Gujarat, where the Nano project has been moved, and argues that Chief Minister Narendra Modi's initiatives deserve credit for Gujarat 's civic culture. ( The Telegraph, October 17, 2008 )

India-Pakistan Relations

A Times of India editorial welcomes president Zardari's statement that India is not a threat to Pakistan and that militants in Kashmir are terrorists. It argues India , Pakistan , and Afghanistan should cooperate in the fight against terrorism, and that India should support the $100 billion bailout being planned by the Friends of Pakistan group. ( Times of India, October 7, 2008 )

Booker Prize for Aravind Adiga

Chennai born writer, Aravind Adiga won the Booker Prize for The White Tiger, his debut novel. In an interview with the Guardian, he talks about why he wrote a novel centered on the Indian poor, a socio-economic class he is far removed from. ( The Guardian, October 16, 2008 )


INDIA - Economics and Development

Financial Crisis - Where Now?

An editorial in the Business Standard argues that the Indian stock market has not reached its bottom despite the recent crash. Pointing out that only $9 billion of $105 billion FII-owned stocks have been sold in the current crisis, it asserts that the bear market will last well into 2009. The editorial also warns that real estate prices and corporate spending will have to drop significantly to reflect the wealth destruction currently taking place, and recommends banning short sales to stabilize the bear market. ( Business Standard, October 9, 2008 )

S Anklesariya Aiyer believes that even a 2 percent drop in growth will cause the Indian economy enormous pain. Recalling the 1990s, when a similar decrease led to a crash in manufacturing, decreased tax revenues and increased unemployment, he predicts bankruptcy of small companies, reversal in the boom sectors, and a decrease of the stock market index to below 10,000. ( Times of India, October 5, 2008 )

In another insightful article, he analyzes why microfinance institutions in India survived the global financial crisis and what they can teach Wall Street. ( Times of India, October 12, 2008 )

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PAKISTAN


Asif Zardari and BushZardari's U.S. Trip

The Marriott blasts were not Pakistan 's 9/11, asserts Mosharraf Zaidi . He argues that the claim, made by Zardari in a Boston Globe opinion editorial, was purely for an American audience. Though Pakistan remains shaken by the blasts, the response hardly matches the public outrage and determination 9/11 evoked. Zardari's comments only alienate him from the public legitimacy needed for continuing counter-insurgency operations. ( The News, October 20, 2008 )

Shireen M. Mazari accuses President Zardari of committing a series of blunders in his visit to the United States . She writes that his agreement to open up land trade across the Skardu-Kargil route and across the international border with India, without any quid pro quo , displays sheer naïveté. She also criticizes the president's readiness to normalize relations without any mention of conflict resolution in Kashmir . ( The News, October 20, 2008 )

The de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan in American eyes implies that U.S. aid to Pakistan will be absorbed by military forces to make them an efficient, well-trained, and well-equipped border militia. F.S. Aijazuddin writes that before demands for parity with India are made, Pakistan should consider the efficacy of its nuclear deterrence, which is monitored by a super-secret ECHELON monitoring system. ( Dawn, October 11, 2008 )

India–Pakistan Water Dispute

An editorial in Daily Mail makes the case that the Indian construction of Baglighar hydropower project over the river Chenab is illegal and a violation of the 1960 Water Treaty between India and Pakistan. It contends that the Indian position of the construction being a barrage and not a water storage facility is fallacious and the diversion of 200,000 cusecs of water present ecological and security problems for Pakistan. ( Daily Mail, October 12, 2008 )

Khurram Shahzad accuses India of hydrological warfare and exploiting Pakistan's agricultural dependence on water for geo-strategic objectives. He asserts that Pakistan needs to reduce its dependence by constructing more dams as a potential famine is more serious threat than India 's nuclear capability. ( Pakistan Observer, October 18, 2008 )

In the same vein, Ali Mohammad argues for rainwater harvesting, conservation, drip irrigation and desalination to increase the productive usage of water. ( Pakistan Observer, October 17, 2008 )

Counter-insurgency: Strategies and Tactics

Militants capturedNothing is better for militant recruiters than bombing by foreign forces. Sayeed Hassan Khan and Kurt Jacobsen argue that if Pashtun moderate forces lose people to extremism, a de-facto Pashtun nation will arise. It further claims that even if withdrawal of U.S. forces leads to inevitable chaos, it is still desirable. The only countries which should be involved in a future peace settlement should be China, Iran, and Russia. ( Dawn, October 20, 2008 )

I.A. Rehman questions the premise of negotiations that militants are the only group with a stake in the tribal areas (FATA) and Frontier province. He argues that many people in tribal areas fear losing economic opportunities in the event of a merger with NWFP. Also, since religious parties of NWFP were defeated in recently concluded elections, it would be imprudent to bypass secular and tribal leaders in any negotiations. ( Dawn, October 16, 2008 )

Pakistan has adopted different counter-insurgency strategies in Bajaur and Swat, writes Nasim Zehra . He points to local support and tribes like Salarzai actively fighting the militants in Bajaur. In contrast, Swat locals are not natural fighters and the elected party, ANP, has promoted political engagement in the past. Now, there is greater consensus around use of force in the area; all trends indicate that local support for the militants is drying up. ( The News, October 1, 2008 )

A Pakistan Observer editorial wonders how any consensus on counter-insurgency strategy can emerge given the low attendance of elected leaders in parliament for an on-camera briefing on the ongoing military operations against terrorism. (Pakistan Observer, October 18, 2008)

Barack Obama has said that he would authorize military strikes against Pakistan if the United States had actionable intelligence on top al Qaeda operatives and the Pakistani government would not or could not act. Cyril Almeida highlights the danger of this policy, citing the Damadola strike the U.S. carried out in January 2006. After initially reporting that four key al-Qaeda operatives had been eliminated, the United States was forced to admit that the strike had failed. (Dawn, October 8, 2008)

A Bailout for Pakistan

Why did Pakistan 's “strong fundamentals and robust growth” story unravel within a year? Faisal Bari explains that previous growth was consumption-driven, fueled by foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, accompanied by low employment elasticity, and concentrated in sectors where Pakistan did not have competitive advantages. He believes the short-tem solution is to raise $10 billion from abroad to ease the exchange rate crisis; in the medium term, Pakistan has to increase production, exports, and undertake long-shelved institutional reforms.(The Nation, October 20, 2008)

Shahid Javed Burki warns against the danger of banking on the Pakistani diaspora to shore up the economy. He believes that most workers' remittances are actually the investment of savings accumulated by wealthy elite outside the country. This source of money is sensitive to both recessions in Western economies and the investment climate in Pakistan. He thinks China and Middle East oil exporters are the best options for bailing out Pakistan. ( Dawn, October 21, 2008 )

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BANGLADESH


Sheikh Hasina waves

Awami League to Contest Elections

A New Age editorial welcomes the Awami League's decision to contest the elections after accepting the Election Commission's prerequisite of internal democratization of political parties. ( New Age, October 12, 2008 )

The dialogue and negotiation process with political parties should not be secretive and drawn out, asserts Kamal Hussain , a senior parliamentarian, in an interview with Daily Times . He is also in favor of a national unity government after the elections. ( Daily Times, October 22, 2008

Destruction of Baul Statues

Shameran Abed bemoans the current regime's weakness in confronting Islamic bigots. Rather than confront their brand of religious politics, the government took down a monument dedicated to Lalon Fakir, a progressive poet and philosopher. Islamic bigots have escaped the regime's anti-corruption drive, led processions without fear of their being broken unlike other parties and have used violent means to silence freedom fighters. The tragedy is that mainstream political parties are not likely to reverse this trend even after democracy is restored. ( New Age, October 21, 2008 )

Ashfaq Wares Khan detects the return of a false choice between Bengali culture and Islam in the appeasement of Islamic bigots. He outlines the contradiction between the Election Commission insisting on secular constitutions even for Islamic parties and a constant acquiescence to Islamists despite their lack of numbers in parliament. An attack on inclusive baul philosophy and musical traditions is an indicator of bigger national threats. ( The Daily Star, October 20, 2008 )

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NEPAL


Will the Real President Please Stand Up?

Prachanda gesturesPresident Prachanda is a shrewd political operator who molds his personality to suit his audience, writes Aditya Adhikari. He has managed to appear as a rebel leader to the masses, conciliator to competitor political parties, liberal to Indian businessmen, and a revolutionary to foreign audiences. Adhikari believes that this indicates the absence of an ideological core and a lack of belief in the Marxist tenets he espouses. (The Kathmandu Post, October 14, 2008 )

N. P. Upadhyaya thinks Prachanda's proclivity to play to the gallery, especially abroad, reflects his desire to have good ties with both India and China. This is especially dangerous as it could intensify tensions between hardliner nationalists and pragmatists within his own party. (Telegraph Nepal, October 21, 2008 )

Politics of Development Aid

Foreign aid to Nepal is very Kathmandu-centric, said Robert Piper, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal . He also refuted the charge that the UN paid Maoists while they were engaged in armed struggle against the government. He opined that conflict in the Terai was not just a result of absence of development, but also a lack of conflict management systems. ( Kathmandu Post, October 17, 2008 )

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SRI LANKA


SL forces in KilinochhiLTTE, Ethnic Tamils and Indian politics

An editorial in the Sunday Leader examines the Indian government's options, when pressured by its Tamil Nadu ally, DMK, to intervene on behalf of ethnic Tamils in the war between the Sri Lankan army and LTTE . The newspaper believes that India can impose a no-fly zone and naval blockade to assuage the DMK and yet not send troops to Sri Lanka . ( The Sunday Leader, October 19, 2008 )

Kesara Abeywardena detects the desperation of LTTE in the DMK-created political storm in India. He believes that the fall of Kilinochhi – which displayed LTTE's ability to create a separate administrative body within the state of Sri Lanka – highlights the group's weakening. ( Daily Mirror, October 22, 2008 )

Sinhala Nationalism

General Fonseka is possibly the only serving military commander in the world who has applied for and taken residence in another country – the United States . The irony of a proud Sinhala chauvinist, dismissive of minorities, being accepted on a “diversity visa” is not lost on the editorial team of the Sunday Leader . ( The Sunday Leader, October 5, 2008 )


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Editorial Staff

Editor:
Ashesh Prasann, Junior Fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment

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