Bangladesh

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  • The Neutral Caretaker Government Interregnum in Bangladesh

    The Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which came to power in 2001, completed its term on October 28, 2006 amidst violent protests that saw 24 people losing their lives. Rejecting the BNP's nominee for the post of Chief Adviser of the caretaker government, the 14 party opposition alliance led by the Awami League (AL) called for a strike to press for an alternate Chief Advisor as well as for electoral reforms. A political crisis has, however, been averted by the country's President, who assumed the additional responsibility of the Chief Advisor.

    November 09, 2006

    Bangladesh Prepares for the Next Elections

    Anxiety and uncertainty are perceptible even as Bangladesh prepares itself for the next elections scheduled for January 2007. As the incumbent BNP government prepares to transfer power to a caretaker government by the end of October 2006, there is a sense of visible unease about Bangladesh's political future, as many issues pertaining to these elections remain unresolved. It appears that a few issues need an amicable settlement before the ruling party hands over power to the caretaker government.

    September 14, 2006

    Bangladesh and the TATA Investment: Playing Politics with Economics

    The TATA investment of US$3 billion in Bangladesh, by far the largest foreign investment in the country, has run into rough weather over the pricing of gas. Dhaka rejected Tata's initial 2004 offer of $1.10 per unit of gas to be supplied over a twenty-year period, seemingly favouring the price to be at par with international prices. As per the new proposal submitted in April 2006, the price that Tata has offered is $3.10 for thousand cubic feet (MCF) of gas for its fertiliser plant and $2.60 per MCF for its proposed steel plant.

    May 11, 2006

    Illegal Migration in Assam: A Concern for India's National Security

    Assam, a strategic border state of India, witnessed the influx of migrants since the British period from then East Bengal, now Bangladesh. The influx was largely engineered by the British, given the economic rationale of cheap labour that the migrants provided for the sprawling tea estates in Assam. However, this issue of migration assumed political and communal overtones after independence, and continues to be an issue of concern.

    May 04, 2006

    Khaleda's Pakistan visit Shifts Focus to Economic Synergy

    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's state visit (February 12-14, 2006) to Pakistan after a gap of a decade signals subtle changes that are driving bilateral relations. Both sides are consciously moving away from the political issues that had undermined ties for long and are looking to economic cooperation as the engine of change. The composition of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister and the focus of the official dialogue reveal a focus on strengthening economic ties.

    February 27, 2006

    Islamist Extremism: Challenge to Security in South Asia

    Emergence of radical and extremist Islamist movements has proved to be a major source of instability in South and Central Asia. Radical Islamist groups emphasise that political power is indispensable to the establishment of an Islamic state. Though Muslims like non-Muslims have multiple identities – religious, ethnic, tribal, linguistic or territorial, the emphasis by the Islamists on the Islamic communal identity puts them in collision course with the state and other communities.

    January 2006

    Regional Implications of the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Pakistan

    Muslims comprise the second largest population after Hindus in South Asia. They are, however, not a monolithic community. The rise of religious fundamentalism in Pakistan and the official patronage it has got has an enormous political and security impact on the region. The terrorist campaign, sponsored by Pakistan and waged by Islamic fundamentalist groups in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan, has wide implications and poses a major threat to the region. Setting up an Islamic state and Jihad are the two objectives of all fundamentalist movements.

    January 2006

    34th Anniversary of Bangladesh Liberation - Cause for Concern

    The 34th anniversary of the liberation of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh on December 16 is an occasion for concern and deep introspection about the nature of the internal turbulence in that country and the related implications for India.

    It may be recalled that prior to December 16, 1971, what is now known as Bangladesh was East Pakistan and for almost 24 years from August 1947, the military leadership of Pakistan treated the eastern part of the country as a poor relative.

    December 14, 2005

    Dhaka SAARC Summit: Political Compulsions Blunt Economic Progress

    The 13th SAARC summit concluded in Dhaka on November 13 with a declaration, which notwithstanding its rhetorical flourish and ambitious objectives, reflected the structural constraints that have hobbled the organization for two decades and are likely to do so for the near future.

    December 08, 2005

    Bangladesh Blasts: Wake up call

    A series of 434 bomb blasts that rocked as many as 60 of 64 districts in Bangladesh on August 17 may have been 'mild' by way of the number killed – just two people – but the symbolism is very significant and perhaps inversely proportional to the damage caused.

    Leaflets recovered from some of the blast sites demanded that the country become more Islamic and the needle of suspicion points to the banned Islamic group, the Jamaat-ul- Mujahedin. And while investigations are continuing, the implications of this incident are of potentially grave import.

    August 24, 2005

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