Smruti S. Pattanaik

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  • Smruti S. Pattanaik is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile

    The imperative of a national government in Nepal

    Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who heads a twenty-two party coalition government, chose India for his first official foreign visit after assuming office two months back. This ‘goodwill’ visit was undertaken against the background of Nepal’s increasingly fragile peace process. The bilateral agenda was just a pretext. What brought him to New Delhi were several domestic factors. While this is not to say that there are no urgent bilateral issues between the two countries, the most crucial factor today is India’s support for Nepal’s coalition government.

    August 24, 2009

    Ascendancy of the Religious Right in Bangladesh Politics: A Study of Jamaat Islami

    The ascendancy of Jamaat Islami to power in a country that was born on the basis of secularism indicates the changing political dynamics in Bangladesh. Its syncretic tradition rooted in its language and culture limited Jamaat's success. Nevertheless, given the role the party played during the liberation war, its political ascendancy speaks of the changing political landscape. This article argues that though the party has exhibited some political success, it faces challenges from the secularists in the socio-cultural sphere, thereby limiting its growth and expansion.

    March 2009

    Is the BDR Mutiny a Conspiracy?

    The mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soldiers which started on February 25, 2009 with the brutal killing of army officers has sent shock waves through Dhaka. Even though many in Bangladesh empathize with their demands and genuine grievances, none have been able to fathom the reason for the brutality with which Army officers were killed. The officers were shot, bayoneted and dumped in mass graves and sewerage. The massacre also included the killing of family members, ransacking their houses and in some cases looting valuables.

    March 05, 2009

    Imperative of Exercising Control over the ISI

    The deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai is set to derail India-Pakistan bilateral relations. With all the evidence pointing towards Pakistan, it has become difficult to advocate that India must go ahead with the composite dialogue. The Indian government is understandably frustrated with Pakistan’s reluctance and/or inability to act against radical groups within its territory. In spite of repeated Pakistani assurances, radical groups are still operating openly in Pakistan, raising funds for jihad, and imparting armed training to jihadists.

    December 11, 2008

    Kashmir has nothing to do with stability in Afghanistan

    The contention that stability in Afghanistan is linked to the resolution of the Kashmir issue is fallacious. It only serves the interests of a particular interest group, which has consistently tried to link stability in the subcontinent to the Kashmir issue, and which is now illogically stretching this argument to include stability in Afghanistan. This argument gives the impression that the dynamics in the two cases are interlinked, when they clearly are not.

    November 18, 2008

    Re-emergence of the Military and the Future of Democracy in Bangladesh

    A military-backed caretaker government supported by the international community assumed power in Bangladesh on January 11, 2007, promising a corruption-free and clean democratic environment to usher in a new era in politics. It has introduced a series of electoral reforms and has taken action against the 'corrupt'. As Bangladesh is poised for parliamentary elections by the end of December, doubts remain about whether politics in Bangladesh will change for the better, however.

    November 2008

    Can SAARC hold the Regional Dream?

    SAARC has in recent years attracted wide international attention and generated much interest among countries that now hold Observer status. The 15th Summit held in Colombo on August 2 – 3, 2008 renewed its pledge to take SAARC from a declaratory to the implementation stage. Four agreements were signed at the Summit on mutual assistance to address criminal activities, trade, combating terrorism and climate change. The theme of the 41-point Colombo Declaration announced at the end of the Summit was “Partnership for Growth for Our People.”

    August 07, 2008

    Bangladesh: Fixing the Democratic Future

    The release of Sheikh Hasina on ‘parole’ for two months has generated hope for the stalled political dialogue and uncertainty over the scheduled Parliamentary elections in December 2008. The Awami League (AL) had earlier demanded the unconditional release of Hasina. But it appears that after hectic negotiations between some of the advisors of the Caretaker Government (CTG) and Hasina, a political understanding was worked out that ultimately saw her being freed. It has given hope to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) about the release of their leader as well from jail.

    June 16, 2008

    The India-Pakistan Bonhomie Continues

    The review of the composite bilateral dialogue process by the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan on May 22 at Islamabad was significant in many ways. This was the first ever review, that too during the course of the first ever high level visit by an Indian minister after the new government took power in Pakistan. Both countries have accepted a gradual process of resolving the outstanding issues between them. Pakistan has said that it is important to raise awareness among the people about their stake in the peace process.

    May 30, 2008

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