The South Asia Section of IR Insider publishes breaking news reports and analysis from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other South Asian nations. Topics covered in the South Asia section may range from Sino-Indian Relations to the political crisis in the Maldives and beyond. Our section editor is Lara Dreux.
Protests were held outside India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 7. Dozens of demonstrators gathered to protest the court’s decision to dismiss a complaint of sexual harassment against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
A powerful and rare summer cyclone tore through parts of India and Bangladesh this past weekend, killing at least 34 people in India and 15 in Bangladesh. 2.7 million people were evacuated from their homes in anticipation of Cyclone Fani.
A bomb attack on two vehicles in Maharashtra led to the death of 15 paramilitary officers and a civilian driver on Wednesday, May 1. The state police suspect leftist Maoist rebels are behind the attack.
Pakistan recently announced its decision to bring 30,000 madrasas, or religious schools, under state control, demonstrating its mounting efforts to “mainstream” Islamic schools and curb religious extremism. As stated by Major General Asif Ghafoor to reporters at the military headquarters of Rawalpindi: “An Islamic education will continue to be provided but there will be no hate speech.”
The American food and beverage multinational corporation, Pepsico, offered an out-of-court settlement to the four Indian farmers it had accused of patent infringement on Friday, April 26 during a hearing in the district court of Ahmedabad in India’s western state of Gujarat.
In the past week, 19 students have committed suicide after failing to clear their intermediate examinations in Telangana. The Telangana Board of Intermediate Education, the TBIE, announced that of the 974,000 students that took the exams, over 300,000 students failed the exam.
On Wednesday, the United Nations reported that more Afghani civilians have been killed by the Afghan government and American forces than the Taliban in the first three months of 2019. This marks the first time in the history of UN reports on Afghanistan’s civilian casualties that pro-government forces have killed more civilians than insurgent groups.
A series of coordinated explosions killed 321 people and injured 500 individuals in the cities of Colombo (the national capital), Negombo and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21. The blasts targeted hotels and churches across the country.
Asad Umar, Pakistan’s Finance Minister, announced his resignation on Thursday, April 18. The minister stepped down after Prime Minister Imran Khan attempted to shift Umar to lead the energy sector instead. The former CEO has resigned just weeks before Pakistan was set to finalize its deal with the IMF.
The Supreme Court (SC) of India delivered a unanimous verdict to dismiss the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's preliminary objection to the admissibility of three documents as evidence of the “controversial” Rafale Jet Deal review pleas on Wednesday, April 10.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former Defense Secretary during the nation’s tumultuous civil war a decade ago, is being sued in two cases in a United States federal court in the Central District of California over his involvement in incidents of murder and torture during his tenure.
On Monday, Facebook publicly announced that it had removed hundreds of accounts linked to India and Pakistan that had been disseminating politically charged messages. Facebook’s statement, written by Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of cybersecurity policy, expressed that the accounts had violated Facebook’s policies on “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and spam.
Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Vice President of Afghanistan, survived a second assassination attempt after the Taliban attacked a convoy escorting the general on Sunday, March 30. According to officials, the attack killed one of Dostum’s bodyguards and injured two others.
The Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India successfully conducted the country’s first Anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) missile test on Wednesday, March 27. The ASAT missile test makes India the fourth country, after the United States, Russia, and China, to possess “demonstrated anti-satellite capabilities.”
On Monday, China gifted its long-time ally, Pakistan, with a loan of $2.2 billion. China’s loan will help Pakistan avoid defaulting on its debt payments. A Tweet posted on Monday by Pakistan’s central bank stated: “The State Bank of Pakistan has received RMB 15 billion value equivalent to USD 2.2 billion as proceeds of the loan obtains by the government of Pakistan from China.”
The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for the 2019 Indian General Elections to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha, or the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament, on Sunday, March 10.
India and the United States have reached an agreement to build six new US nuclear reactors across India. Vijay Gokhale, the Indian Foreign Secretary, and Andrea Thompson, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, met on Wednesday, March 13, to finalize the deal.
The United States and the Taliban have concluded more than two weeks of talks without deciding upon a formal peace deal. Despite no concrete agreement, representatives of both parties assure that the talks made significant progress in the issue of curbing violence within Afghanistan.
The US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s statement announced Trump administration's intent to end the preferential trade status of India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on Monday, March 4. In justifying the decision, Lighthizer stated that India no longer meets the GSP’s statutory eligibility criteria.
In response to mounting international pressure, Pakistan has carried out an intense crackdown on Islamist militant groups. On Thursday, March 7, over 100 people linked to militant groups were detained and over 182 religious schools, or madrasahs, were taken over by the government.
An attack in Afghanistan’s eastern city of Jalalabad in the province of Nangarhar killed 16 people on Wednesday. No specific group has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, the start of the attack was marked by two suicide bombers detonating explosives outside a construction company.
Two Indian Air Force planes were shot down by Pakistani military on Wednesday, February 27. Major General Asif Ghafoor of Pakistan confirmed the action in a tweet, in which he also confirmed that one plane crashed in Pakistan-held Kashmir and the other fell beyond the Line of Control, the LoC. One of the planes’ pilots, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured by the Pakistani military. No such reports have been released regarding the second pilot.
For the first time since 1971, the Indian Air Force launched an airstrike on Tuesday that directly targeted Pakistani territory, spurring a retaliatory attack from Pakistan the following day that took down two Indian air jets. Despite warnings from international powers to “exercise restraint,” India and Pakistan have committed to escalating a conflict initially catapulted by a suicide bombing organized by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based militant group, that killed 46 Indian paramilitary police officers in India-administered Kashmir on Feb. 14.
Last week, an estimated 114 people succumbed to alcohol poisoning in the Golaghat and Jorhat districts in India’s Northeastern state of Assam. The majority of the individuals poisoned were tea estate workers in the two districts. The poisoning was reportedly caused by the consumption of illegally produced and procured country liquor named Hooch.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to invest approximately $100 billion in trade and infrastructure projects in India over the next two years. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Wednesday to finalize agreements on such projects. The investments will also go towards housing, broadcasting and tourism projects.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited India for two days, where he met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss a vast array of issues, including trade, infrastructure, and terrorism. Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in Pakistan earlier this week, and he is set to depart India for China after completing his stay in New Delhi.
Over 40 personnel of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in a suicide terror attack in Pulwama district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, Feb.14.
Multiple criminal charges have been made against Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, including allegedly siphoning $1 million from public funds to his own private accounts.
Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, recently announced his intention to continue utilizing capital punishment in drug trafficking cases in the next two months. Sirisena’s new hardline approach is inspired by the Philippines’ war on drugs, led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
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