The announcement of Joe Biden to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, starting May 1, 2021 has given rise to uncertainties in the region. This analysis by Ayush S Shankar and Arpita Basu Roy attempts a scenario-building of a post-withdrawal situation in Afghanistan and suggests policy options for India.
New Delhi: The Prime Minister addressed a workshop on "Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” with health leaders, experts and officials of 10 neighbouring countries viz Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka along with Indian officials and experts, on Thursday.
On January 30, 2021, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed two civilians in the Belghar area of Kandhamal District. In a handwritten note found near the bodies of the slain villagers, the Maoists of the ‘Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagabali (BGN) Division’ claimed that the two were among those who had tipped off the Security Forces (SFs) about the presence of rebels in the Belghar area, which had resulted in the September 9, 2020, encounter in which five Maoists were killed. The Maoists warned other ‘informers’ to surrender before their ‘Jan Adalat’ (People’s/ Kangaroo Court organized by the Maoists) within 15 days or else, they would be sentenced to death. They also warned that the State Government, Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay, and Inspector General of Police (IGP), Intelligence, R.K. Sharma. would be held responsible for the loss of lives.
Terrorism has emerged as one of the key features defining national and regional security discourses and practices in recent decades, reflecting the shift from ‘traditional’ security issues such as inter-State conflict and nuclear war to ‘non-traditional’ threats embodied by non-State actors, the impact of climate change and issues connected to economic and human development.
On January 20, 2021, militants released a video of two abducted employees, Pranab Kumar Gogoi and Ram Kumar, of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, an oil drilling company, appeared, in which the duo appealed to the Chief Ministers of Assam and Bihar to secure their release. On December 21, 2020, the duo was abducted by the terrorists of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K), from the company’s drilling location in Diyun in the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh. The militants have demanded INR 200 million for their release.
Almost 31 months after the merger, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) suffered a vertical split on December 22, 2020, with the rival factions of the party led by the two Co-Chairmen claiming their faction to be the authentic NCP in two separate Central Committee meetings held in the capital, Kathmandu. The faction led by Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal removed K.P. Sharma Oli from the post of party Co-chair and unanimously nominated senior party leader Madhav Kumar Nepal as the new party Co-chair. On the other hand, Oli told his faction leaders that his faction was the authentic NCP and Dahal faction had no authority to call party meetings.
The untimely and unexplained death this week of Karima Baloch, the 37-year-old Baloch activist who had fled to Canada to escape persecution at the hands of Pakistani security agencies and was living as a refugee there, has sent shock waves across the sizeable community of Pakistani refugees who have been forced out of their hearths and homes with little option other than to seek shelter in perceptibly safer lands.
On December 22, 2020, an ‘area commander’ of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), identified as Punai Oran, was killed in an exchange of fire with the Security Forces (SFs) at Chete village near Lodhma under Nagri Police Station limits in Ranchi District. Punai, carrying a reward of INR 200,000 on his head, was active in Ranchi, Gumla and Khunti, and had about 14 cases pending against him in Ranchi and other Districts. PLFI ‘chief’ Dinesh Gope had reportedly given one AK-47 rifle to Oraon, who used to extort money from businessmen and estate traders.
On December 4, 2020, a Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadre was killed in an exchange of fire with the Security Forces (SFs) in a forested area near Hakwa village under Gangaloor Police Station limits in Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh. The body of the Maoist, identified as Arjun, a ‘platoon commander’ of the Gangaloor ‘area committee’ of the Maoists, was recovered along with a firearm and explosives.
The just concluded 15th anniversary of the East Asia Summit (EAS), a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with issues relating to security and defence and shaping a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia, was held in the backdrop of geo-political turmoil caused by China’s extraordinary assertiveness on territorial claims, and a deadly virus wreaking havoc all over the region.
Decades-old inter-state border disputes, which have the potential to provide new spaces to terrorist formations, threatening the tenuous peace in India’s troubled Northeast, have once again come to the fore.
No single event has shaped the uncertainty of the future that the people of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) uncomfortably and hesitantly peek out towards than those that unfolded on 22 October 1947.
On September 20, 2020, Khango Konyak ‘president’ of his own faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K2) revoked the expulsion of Isak Sumi. A ‘deed of reconciliation’ was signed between the two leaders – Khango Konyak and Isak Sumi.
On August 22, 2020, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel shot dead five unidentified armed Pakistani intruders in the Tarn Taran District of Punjab. A BSF spokesperson said that after suspicious activity was noticed near the India-Pakistan International Border (IB) in the region, the troopers “cordoned the area and challenged the intruders to stop and surrender. The Pakistani armed intruders did not pay any heed to the challenge and opened fire on the BSF troops resulting in a gun-battle.” Later, the troopers recovered dead bodies of five slain intruders along with nine packets containing 9.92 kilograms heroin, an AK-47 rifle, four 9mm Beretta pistols, and some ammunition.
Tucked away in a small by-lane in Changklan Road in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai is a nondescript restaurant called ‘Al Hussein’ that sells the typical Indian fare of naan bread and curry.