Tag Archives: Rohingya

Neighborhood News Digest – 24 February 2023

Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing shut after brief reopening – The Times of India

akistan shut down a key border crossing with Afghanistan just hours after it was reopened on Thursday, officials said, the latest twist in the controversial closure of the Torkham junction that started earlier this week. The issue of the crossing, a key trade route for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, has added to increasing tensions between the two countries, which share a troubled and volatile boundary. Click here to read…

Taliban gives major relief to Pakistan, promises action against TTP bases in Afghanistan – Firstpost

The Pakistan government informed in a statement that a delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif had discussed the threat posed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State (ISIS-K) during their dialogue with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in Kabul. Click here to read…

Two mysterious killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan bring a major setback to terrorism in Kashmir – Daiji World

The tottering ecosystem of anti-India militants and separatists in Kashmir has suffered two major setbacks, one after another, in the current week. Two of the most notable Kashmiri terrorists have been gunned down-one each in Afghanistan and Pakistan, raising speculations of group clashes and, as usual, whispers of an “Indian hand” by some politicians. Click here to read…

Adani Power promised to supply power in reduced price to Bangladesh: Report – TBS

India’s Adani Power on Thursday promised to supply electricity to Bangladesh at a reduced price keeping consistent with the generation cost in the country’s existing coal-fired plants. The Adani will import the coal for its plants at the same price the Bangladeshi coal-run plants do for themselves, the mass-circulation Prothom Alo newspaper reported quoting an Adani official. Click here to read…

Both AL, BNP wooing Islami Andolon – The Daily Star

Both the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP are out to get one religion-based party as an electoral ally, a gain which may help boost the vote bank ahead of the next general polls. For its performance in the recent elections, Islami Andolon Bangladesh (IAB), founded by “Charmonair Pir” Fazlul Karim, has become a factor in the country’s politics. And it led the two major parties to make one request to IAB: if it can’t join their electoral coalition, it should go it alone, said sources. Click here to read…

Pranay reaffirms India’s commitment to development partnership with Bangladesh – New Age

Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma on Thursday reaffirmed India.s commitment to development partnership and cooperation with Bangladesh to scale up bilateral trade and investment, and promote people-to-people exchanges. He underlined sustained ongoing efforts on both sides to strengthen connectivity and trade infrastructures at our land ports and to gradually decongest and facilitate smoother movement of goods and people across the border. Click here to read…

Bhutan FM talks about geopolitical tensions in Asia Economic Dialogue – Business Standard

Bhutan Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Tshering on Thursday said that three important aspects that linger around his mind are geopolitical tensions around the world, climate change and the widening trade aspect. In his remarks at the inaugural session of the Asia Economic Dialogue 2023 in Pune, he said that growth in India will directly or indirectly translate or have a cascading effect on a small country like Bhutan. Click here to read…

Bhutan launches self-sovereign biometric digital ID, crown prince first to enroll – Biometric update

Bhutan’s seven-year-old crown prince His Royal Highness Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck led the way as the first Bhutanese to be enrolled into the country’s new national digital ID system (NDI) in a recent ceremony that took place on his father’s birthday. According to reporting by the state-run Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS), the NDI is a digital wallet that uses state-of-the-art technologies to provide citizens with secure and verifiable ID credentials. Click here to read…

Maldives designs and tests its first satellite “Azum” – Edition

A team of Maldivian engineers has designed and tested the country’s first satellite, as part of the “Azum” space mission. According to the Institute for Global Success (IGS), the CubeSat-level satellite was created without any foreign assistance and can be easily modified to fit different missions. Click here to read…

Maldives FM lauds Indian assistance in developmental projects at Asia Economic Dialogue – The Print

Maldivian Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer on Thursday lauded Indian assistance in developmental projects carried out in Maldives. In his remarks at the inaugural session of the Asia Economic Dialogue 2023 here, he said that developmental projects in Maldives carried out by Indian assistance is geared towards future growth. “India and Maldives share a unique bond based on mutual respect, trust and understanding that goes beyond simple geographical, historical and cultural ties. And as the honourable minister Dr Jaishankar mentioned that there is a fundamental difference between the developmental projects that we are carrying with the Indian assistance. Click here to read…

NUG Rights Minister Demands Justice for Rohingya – Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government’s (NUG) human rights minister U Aung Myo Min says the crimes of genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar committed six years ago must be acknowledged and justice sought for the victims. The minister attended an event to mark the second anniversary of the launch of the Spring Revolution against the regime and the sixth anniversary of the Rohingya massacres, held at the United States Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Winds of Change: Changing Narratives for Rohingya Community in Myanmar – Geopolitics

Myanmar’s longest-running civil disobedience campaign against its military, the Tatmadaw, has created something that was never seen before: a unified Myanmar in the “burning state.” Not only that, but this solidarity has also changed Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic politics. After the coup, most parties have attempted to reconcile with the ethnic minority population, which has been living a life of indefinite banishment in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh since 2017 after being denied citizenship in Myanmar. Therefore, the question is: why are the winds of change now blowing for the Rohingya community? Click here to read…

Ex-Army Chiefs call for strong ties with Nepal – The Tribune

Military bond between India and Nepal remains the bedrock of ties between the two nations and there is a need to further strengthen the bond to enhance the bilateral relations. This was brought out at a conclave of chiefs of the two armies to mark 260 years of the Nepali Army. Click here to read…

Timing not suitable: Nepal barred visit by CIA chief William J Burns last week – Indian Express

In a rare move, the Nepal government last week withheld permission for a visit to the country by CIA Director William J Burns, ostensibly on the grounds that the timing of the trip was “not so conducive”. It is learnt Burns returned home from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his South Asia trip, after the Nepal government conveyed to the US Embassy in Kathmandu that given the political developments, including the impending Presidential election, permission for the visit was being withheld. Click here to read…

Pakistan’s FX reserves rise by $66m to $3.26bn, says central bank – Arab News

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank rose by $66 million to $3.258 billion in the week ending Feb. 17, it said on Thursday, while its total liquid foreign reserves stood at $8.726 billion. Pakistan, which is a $350 billion economy, is facing economic turmoil, with a balance of payment crisis and only enough foreign exchange reserves to cover three weeks of imports. Click here to read…

Will look at local public sentiment before taking call on helping crisis-hit Pakistan: Jaishankar – Times of India

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the Modi government will look at the local public sentiment before taking a call on whether to help crisis-hit Pakistan. Click here to read…

India slams Pakistan after it rakes up J&K during UNGA session on Ukraine – Indian Express

India slammed Pakistan after it referred to Jammu and Kashmir during a special session on Ukraine in the UN General Assembly, terming the provocation as “regrettable and misplaced” and calling out Islamabad’s track record of harbouring and providing safe havens to terrorists with impunity. Click here to read…

PTI leaders in KP ‘free to court arrest another day’ – Dawn

A day after at least 81 supporters in Lahore went to prison as part of the party’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’, PTI workers and leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not appear too keen to give up their freedom for the sake of ‘real freedom’, as the day ended without any arrests. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
LG polls not legally declared: President – Daily Mirror

Local government election has not been declared legally and therefore, there is no question of a postponement, President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated today. “An election has not been declared legally as there has not been a quorum when the election commission members decided on the date. “There has been only two members present when the decision has been made on the date while the two members present had decided on the date and then inquired the view of the remaining members who were not present. The quorum of the election commission meeting is three legally therefore no official declaration of the local government elections legally,” the President said. “Also the funds for the local polls has not been requested from the election commission. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka gives nod to $442-million wind project of Adani Group – The Hindu

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka has approved a $442-million wind power project of Adani Green Energy, barely a month since the Indian multinational conglomerate’s stocks plummeted following U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg’s damaging report on the Group. “Adani, a leading Indian company” received the project approval “to start two wind power plants in Mannar and Pooneryn areas of [northern] Sri Lanka,” the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka said on Wednesday. The project would likely create 2,000 jobs, and in two years, generate about 350 MW of power, the Board said in a statement. Click here to read…

Neighborhood News Digest – 23 January 2023

Afghanistan: Top UN delegation tells Taliban to end confinement, deprivation, abuse of women’s rights – UN News

Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, the Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, and the Assistant Secretary-General for UN political, peacebuilding and peace operations, Khaled Khiari, spend four days on a fact-finding mission in Afghanistan, to engage with Taliban leaders, and “underscore UN solidarity with the Afghan people”, according to a press release issued to correspondents on Friday. Click here to read…

China to provide modern weaponry to Taliban after terror attack on its nationals in Afghanistan: report – Times Now

China is supplying the Taliban with contemporary weapons in response to the Islamic State Khorasan Province’s (ISKP) recent attack on a hotel in Kabul that primarily housed Chinese nationals. The action is being taken at a time when China’s interests are threatened by Afghanistan’s instability and potential to be a barrier to the Belt and Road Initiative’s success (BRI). Click here to read…

China Supports Inclusive Political Structure in Afghanistan: Qin – Tolo News

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in a phone call with the acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi expressed China’s support for the Afghan interim government to build a broad and inclusive political structure in the country. Global Times quoted the Chinese FM as saying that China never interferes in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, nor seeks any selfish gains in Afghanistan or the so-called sphere of influence. Click here to read…

Russia accuses US of sponsoring ISIS in Afghanistan– Pakistan Observer

The Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, confirmed that evidence exists of the US attempting to build ties with current Afghan authorities while secretly sponsoring (ISIS). Click here to read…

RAB arrests two members of extremist outfit at Rohingya camp – New Age

Rapid Action Battalion on Monday said that they had arrested two operatives of extremist outfit Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya after an ‘exchange of fire’ at Kutupalong Rohingya camp of Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar on early Monday. The RAB, in a text message, said that they had arrested the group’s policy maker and armed wing chief Ranbir and explosive expert Bashar with firearms and explosives. Click here to read…

UN expert lauds Bangladesh’s role in global discourse on safe, orderly migration – Daily Star

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights on Migrants Felipe Gonzalez Morales yesterday appreciated Bangladesh’s proactive role in the global discourse on safe, orderly and regular migration. The UN special rapporteur, who will be in Bangladesh till January 31, met Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and discussed issues of mutual interest. Click here to read…

Presidential election by February 23 – Daily Star

EC Secretary Jahangir Alam, after a meeting at the EC office, said the election process has already begun. “We will contact the Parliament Secretariat and fix the date of a meeting between the chief election commissioner and the Speaker. The election will be held sometime between January 23 and February 23.” Click here to read…

Govt. to rationalise import and borrow to save foreign currency reserves – Kuensel

Bhutan’s import bill as of September last year shows a estimated daily outflow of INR 233 million (M) and USD 1.35M, equivalent to Nu 105. 23M. The figures could be high if we consider the country’s debt obligations of INR 7 billion (B) and convertible currency debt. Soaring import bills and appreciating USD against the Ngultrum saw the country’s foreign currency reserve decrease. Click here to read…

India and Bhutan foreign secretaries inaugurate projects – Kuensel

The foreign ministry officials, during the inaugural ceremony, said that Digital Drukyul is the project initiated aimed at harnessing the power of ICT to transform Bhutan into an innovative and inclusive society. GoI made assistance of Nu 1066 Million (M). There are four critical projects under the initiative – Government-Initiated Network; Integrated Citizen Services; Digital School, and Enhancement of ICT Sector’s Capacity and Competency. Click here to read…

12th Plan talks fruitful, says PM – Kuensel

India has released almost 86 percent of the Nu 45 billion that it has committed to the 12th Plan, according to the Prime Minister. “Such a speedy and efficient release of funds has not happened in the earlier Plans. We thanked them and conveyed that we are looking forward to the same efficiency,” Lyonchhen said. Lyonchhen said that issues including the pending ones were resolved since the delegation was led by the foreign secretary who is an official with authority. Click here to read…

India-Maldives ties, and why New Delhi is concerned about Male’s upcoming presidential elections – Indian Express

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Maldives earlier this week, at a fraught time for the country’s president, Ibrahim Solih. The presidential election in Maldives is to be held on September 9 this year, with a runoff, if necessary, on September 30. Solih has announced he will run for a second term, but his candidature has been opposed within his party by former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed, who has thrown his hat in the ring. The two will face off in the party primary on January 28. Click here to read…

China Outmaneuvered In The Maldives As Construction Of India-Funded Airport Begins On Strategic Island – Swarajyamag

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was in the Maldives this week for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Hanimaadhoo international airport project. The $136.6 million development of the Hanimadhoo airport is being executed by Indian company JMC Projects Ltd, financed through a line of credit from India’s Exim Bank. Click here to read…

Myanmar Resistance Targets More Junta Election Offices – The Irrawaddy

Resistance groups have attacked six Myanmar junta offices in Yangon, Sagaing and Magwe regions in two days to disrupt plans for a general election later this year. The junta regime started updating voter lists on January 9, sparking attacks from resistance groups. Click here to read…

Dhaka requests Beijing to discuss border situation with Myanmar – Rising BD

Bangladesh has informed China about the fresh unrest at the Zero Line on the Myanmar border. Dhaka has requested Beijing to discuss the issue with the Myanmar government to resolve it. Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen on Sunday (January 22) made a courtesy call on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen. Click here to read…

Myanmar sees growth in contraband goods seizures in 2022 – Mizzima

Myanmar Vice-Senior General Soe Win said the Myanmar authorities managed to seize more contraband goods over the last year, than the year before, all told a 56 billion kyat value increase. Soe Win made the claims at the Anti-illegal Trade Leading Committee meeting held in Naypyidaw on 18 January. He said at this meeting that there were 2,240 such cases during the one-year period from January to December 2021 and the estimated value of these contraband goods was 8.4 billion kyat. Click here to read…

Myanmar Junta Airstrike Targets Ceasefire Signatory – The Irrawaddy

A Myanmar junta airstrike has targeted the house and office of a Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) commander in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, near the Thai border, according to the armed group. Click here to read…

Families of Nepal Plane Crash Likely To Miss Out Millions in Compensation: Report – NDTV

The grieving families of the victims of the Yeti Airlines plane crash are likely to lose out on millions in compensation because the Nepal government has not ratified the crucial air carriers’ liability and insurance draft bill, according to a media report on Friday. On January 15, a Yeti Airlines aircraft crashed into a gorge near the newly-built airport in Pokhara, killing all the 72 passengers on board, including five Indians, in the country’s worst air disaster in 30 years. Click here to read…

China builds new dam in Tibet near Indian border – The Hindu

In a development that is a matter of concern to both India and Nepal, China is constructing a new dam on the Mabja Zangbo river in Tibet, close to the tri-junction, satellite imagery has revealed. The new dam is located around 16 km north of the tri-junction and is opposite the Kalapani area of Uttarakhand, according to sources in the security establishment. Click here to read…

Pakistan, Russia to sign oil supply agreement in March – Dawn

Pakistan and Russia decided on Friday to address all technical issues — insurance, transportation and payment mechanism — to sign an agreement by late March this year for the supply of Russian oil and other petroleum products at discounted rates. “On crude products and future supply of oil products, we have already decided to draft an agreement and to sort out all issues that we have with regard to transportation, insurance, payments and volumes and we have already established the timelines for this agreement” for late March this year, said Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov at a joint news conference with Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq. Click here to read…

We want normal ties with Pakistan, says India – The Hindu

India desires “normal neighbourly relation” with Pakistan in an atmosphere that is free of violence, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated on Thursday. Responding to a question on Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s offer of holding “serious” dialogue with India on the Kashmir issue, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India’s position on talks with Pakistan has not changed. Click here to read…

No intentions to carry out military operations inside Afghanistan, clarifies FM Bilawal Bhutto – Daily Pakistan

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday shoots down reports of carrying out surgical strikes in Afghanistan, clarifying that Islamabad has no such intentions of carrying out a military operation in the neighboring country. In his recent interview with a foreign news outlet on the sidelines of the WEF summit in Davos, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan has no such intentions to launch a cross-border military operation in war-torn country, weeks after Kabul strongly responded to the comments of the Interior Minister. Click here to read…

Analysis: Why a financially stable Pakistan is in US interest – Dawn

In recent weeks and months, the US has made no secret of the fact that it is closely monitoring developments in Pakistan, both on the security and economic fronts. In the past three months, over a dozen statements have mentioned Pakistan specifically or in passing, and in each case, the tone and tenor reflects a level of concern seldom seen in the past. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
India to Hike Development Assistance To Sri Lanka – Outlook

India on Friday agreed to double its high-impact community development project in Sri Lanka with a new bilateral agreement signed during the much-anticipated visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He was on a two-day visit to the debt-trapped island nation, met top leaders to enhance bilateral ties and finalise a debt restructuring plan to help Colombo carve out a path from its economic crisis. Click here to read…

After India, China gives financing assurances to Sri Lanka for IMF bailout package – The Hindu

China has given debt-ridden Sri Lanka the financing assurances required by the IMF to unlock a $2.9 billion bailout package for the country, days after India strongly backed the island nation’s efforts to secure the loan from the global lender to recover from its worst-ever economic crisis. The Sunday Times newspaper reported that China’s Exim Bank delivered a letter on Saturday granting Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on repayment and agreeing with the International Monetary Fund’s extended fund facility (EFF). The report was confirmed by Sri Lankan officials who did not want to be named. Click here to read…

Economic Downturn and External Role – Daily News

For generations, our lament has been the absence of policies at national level. As Governments change, so do the policies adapted by the outgoing Government. It is this lacunae that has bitten us in the posterior end resulting in the ongoing economic crisis. As we struggle to navigate through this current challenge, one thing is clear – our economy and foreign relations have become spouses. Click here to read…

Neighborhood News Digest – 20 January 2023

India’s assistance to Afghanistan came at a very critical time: Envoy Farid

Mamundzayjan19v30 – The Times of India

Hailing India’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as the country goes through a critical time, Ambassador of Afghanistan to India, Farid Mamundzay said that India’s aid came at a very critical time, but at the same time, the country needs more help in form of development and humanitarian assistance. “India has supported Afghanistan in a very difficult time. We are grateful for India’s generous contribution by giving us 40,000 metric tonnes of Wheat, by giving us more than 30 metric tonnes of life-saving medicine and half a million COVID vaccines. Click here to read…

Pakistan begs before Afghan Taliban, urges action against TTP bases in Afghanistan – Firstpost

With the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) creating widespread havoc with almost daily attacks against the security forces, Pakistan has been begging the Afghan Taliban to prevent the banned group from using Afghanistan as their safe haven. In recent months, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has stepped up attacks against security forces across Pakistan. While most of the attacks have taken place in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Punjab – the heartland of Pakistan – has also been targeted. Click here to read…

UN Seeks Afghanistan’s Active Role in Int’l Community: Spokesman – Tolo News

A spokesman for the prime minister’s office said on Thursday that the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, who met with officials in Kabul this week, said they seek Afghanistan’s active role in the international community. Mullah Hassan Akhund’s spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi, said the UN top official assured of the continuation of aid to Afghanistan. Click here to read…

US Launches Private Refugee Sponsorship Prgram – The Khaama Press

The U.S. State Department announced Thursday, 19 January, the creation of a new Welcome Corps program that will allow private sponsorship of refugees to help them resettle in the United States, read the statement. The state department said the program would build on America’s generosity of spirit by creating a durable program for Americans in communities nationwide to privately sponsor refugees from unstable countries, including Afghanistan, Ukraine and Venezuela. Click here to read…

Bangladesh universal health coverage indicators better than Pakistan – The Print

In a recent article in the Dawn, Professor Zafar Mirza of Shifa Tameer-i-Millat University, Islamabad and WHO adviser on Universal health coverage made some shocking revelations regarding the healthcare status in Pakistan. For instance on neonatal mortality rate (NMR), Pakistan ranks second highest in the world, i.e. out of every 1,000 live births, 40 newborns die within 28 days of life. Click here to read…

China prioritises friendship with Bangladesh in South Asia – Bangladesh Live News

The small but significant non-aligned South Asian nation of Bangladesh is caught between China and the United States both of whom want a strategic alliance with the country as they spar over superpower status in the region. The US is worried that its recent tensions with the country could turn into an opportunity for China to come closer to it. It was a mighty diplomatic challenge the other Week when the newly appointed Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang had an airport layover in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on way to an African tour. Click here to read…

Fakhrul vows to continue BNP’s anti-government movement – Dhaka Tribune

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday said that they are determined to make their movement successful by fighting against imprisonment and oppression. He was speaking at a discussion meeting of BNP marking the party’s founder Ziaur Rahman’s birth anniversary in the capital’s Ramna. He also vowed to fulfill their 10-point demand. Click here to read…

Indian apprehensions soar as Bhutan, China talk border – The Week

Besides underlining Indian curiosity, the ongoing January 18-20 visit of India’s foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra in Bhutan, among other things, is also one of apprehension.
Though pre-scheduled, as Kwatra will also co-chair the 4th India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks, the visit will try to look at the implications of the latest Bhutan-China talks. Click here to read…

Govt. can not lift observation period: Finance minister – Kuensel Online

The government cannot lift the observation period for loan accounts once it is under non-performing loans (NPL), Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said during the meeting with the members of the private sector yesterday. As per the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), the NPL that have become performing through repayments made by the borrowers have to undergo six months observation period with no bank guarantee and letter of credit. Click here to read…

India extends $40 million for bolstering sports infrastructure in Maldives: EAM Jaishankar – The Times of India

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said India has extended a concessional $40 million Line of Credit for developing sporting infrastructure in the Maldives, as part of New Delhi’s efforts to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship projects such as “Fit India” and “Khelo India” into the ambit of the Neighbourhood First Policy. Click here to read…

Maldives polls, India’s concerns – The Indian Express

The presidential election in Maldives is to be held on September 9 this year, with a runoff, if necessary, on September 30. Solih has announced he will run for a second term, but his candidature has been opposed within his party by former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed, who has thrown his hat in the ring. The two will face off in the party primary on January 28. Click here to read…

Myanmar’s junta chief meets Thai counterpart at beach resort to discuss military ties – Radio Free Asia

Myanmar’s junta chief met with his Thai counterpart at a Myanmar beach resort on Thursday for talks that will likely focus on military relations and stability issues along their 1,500-mile (2,415-kilometer) border, according to sources in the country. The three-day meeting between Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and a delegation led by Gen. Chalermpol Srisawat, Thailand’s military chief of staff, in Ngapali in Rakhine state’s Thandwe township is the eighth annual gathering for the two nations’ military leaders. Click here to read…

Myanmar bomb did fall in India but no air space violation: MEA – The Tribune

Ten days after a bomb fell on the Indian side during Myanmar air force’s operations against a rebel settlement near the Indian border, the government acknowledged the incident but maintained there was no violation of the air space. The Union Home Ministry has kept silent on the issue despite testimonies by eyewitnesses and an admission by the local police chief that such an incident had taken place. Click here to read…

UNHCR Reports Sharp Spike in Dangerous Rohingya Boat Voyages – The Diplomat

Earlier this week, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) released new statistics about the number of Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar or Bangladesh by sea in search of sanctuary abroad. According to the new data, some 3,545 people undertook perilous sea voyages in 2022, a fivefold increase on 2021, when around 700 people made similar journeys, UNHCR said in a statement Tuesday. Click here to read…

Congress on ‘Mission President’ after its futile Speaker bid – The Kathmandu Post

With its eyes on top state posts—President and Speaker—Congress has tried to cosy up to Dahal again in order to create a rift in the ruling coalition. The largest party gave a vote of trust to the prime minister on January 10. In return, Dahal said he would try his best to accommodate Congress’ concerns in the elections for the top posts. Congress’ attempt yielded no result in the Speaker election after UML’s Ghimire won the coveted post on Thursday. But Congress leaders have said they are now focused on presidential elections in what they label ‘Mission President’. Click here to read…

‘China building dam near border with India, Nepal,’ New satellite images – Mint

China is building a new on the Mabja Zangbo river, near north of the trijunction border with India and Nepal, according to the new satellite images a geospatial intelligence researcher, Damien Symon on his official Twitter handle on Thursday. Symon stated that the project will raise concerns regarding China’s future control on water in the entire region. He said that construction is still incomplete at the site. Click here to read…

Why India Should Be Concerned Over Chinese-Built Airport At Nepal’s Pokhara Becoming A White Elephant And A Chinese Outpost – Swarajya

An air crash in its vicinity is not the most auspicious start to a new international airport. The new Chinese-built ‘international’ airport at Nepal’s lake city — Pokhara — will have to live with this blot of a disaster within days of its inauguration. But more than this ‘jinx’ which it will find difficult to shake off, the Pokhara airport may end up being a white elephant and a huge drain on Nepal’s sparse resources, much like Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port. Click here to read…

US wants Pakistan to be ‘economically sustainable’ – The Khaama Press

The United States wants to see Pakistan in an ‘economically sustainable’ position, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing on Wednesday. During the press briefing, Ned Price was asked to share his view about Pakistan’s economy as the country has less than $5 billion left in its foreign exchange reserves. He answered that this is a challenge the US was attuned to, and they know that Pakistan has been working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International financial institutions. Click here to read…

Want good ties with Pak but there should be no terror: India – Hindustan Times

India on Thursday responded to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s conditional offer of talks by saying an atmosphere free from terror and violence is a prerequisite for normal neighbourly ties. Asked about Sharif’s comments at a weekly media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said talks could be held only in the absence of terrorism and hostility. “We have said that we have always wanted normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. But there should be a conducive atmosphere in which there is no terror, hostility or violence. That remains our position,” he said. Click here to read…

Pakistan doesn’t see a partner in PM Modi: Pakistan Minister Hina Rabbani Khar – The Hindu

Pakistan Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on January 19 said her country does not see a “partner” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi for working towards peace between the two countries, but it saw a partner in his predecessors Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Her comments come days after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sought “serious” and “sincere” talks with his Indian counterpart for the resolution of the “burning” issues, including Kashmir. Click here to read…

Govt ready to meet all IMF demands to revive loan programme – Dawn

Conveying its willingness to accept all the four major conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government on Thursday requested the lender to send its mission to Pakistan at the earliest, preferably next week, to conclude a long-awaited agreement to revive the loan programme. Another official said that the government had told the IMF that it was ready to implement decisions in line with Geneva discussions, when the Fund visited Pakistan to conclude a staff-level agreement. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Jaishankar conveys India’s commitment to increase investment flows to Sri Lanka to hasten economic recovery – The Economic Times

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday met Sri Lanka’s top leadership and conveyed India’s commitment to increase investment flows to hasten the debt-ridden island nation’s economic recovery. Sri Lanka, which is trying to secure a USD 2.9 billion bridge loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was negotiating to get financial assurances from its major creditors – China, Japan and India – which is the requisite for Colombo to get the bailout package. Click here to read…

The inevitable geopolitical lens in Sri Lanka – The Hindu

If it’s a conversation on Sri Lanka’s economy, talking points on China and India are inevitable. ‘What about China?, What will India do?’ are questions that invariably come up in casual chats, as well as official meetings and briefings. Watching the escalating China-India contest in Sri Lanka is a preoccupation for Sri Lankan columnists and diplomats stationed in Colombo. With the crisis-plagued island’s imminent debt restructuring programme in focus, the interest in the two big powers’ responses has only grown. Click here to read…

Ashok Leyland to supply 500 buses to Sri Lanka Govt – Business Standard

The Hinduja Group company on Thursday (19 January 2023) announced that it will supply 500 buses to Sri Lankan Transport Board (SLTB). Sri Lanka Transport Board is the state owned single largest bus transport provider with 110 depots throughout the Sri Lankan island, and operates buses in city routes, hilly & rural routes and also long distance inter-city routes. These buses will help combat the heavily crowded public transport in the island nation, supporting mobility and accessibility in Sri Lanka. Click here to read…

UN human rights office urges Sri Lanka to provide full reparations to victims of 2019 attack – Jurist

Following a decision of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka last week ordering top former authorities, including former president Mathripala Sirisena, to compensate the victims of the Easter Sunday Attack in 2019, spokesperson Jeremy Laurence of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged the Sri Lankan government to provide full compensation to all victims, establish an independent investigation to hold responsible persons to account, and release complete findings of previous inquiries into the attack. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – January 05, 2023

Islamic Emirate Rejects US Official’s Remarks on Its Commitments: Tolo News

The Islamic Emirate rejected the remarks by US State Department spokesman Ned Price and said that the Islamic Emirate is committed to all its promises.The deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said there is no evidence to show that Afghan soil will be used against any other count“All territory of the country is controlled by the Islamic Emirate and there is no evidence to show that there is any action from our country towards other countries and their activities,” Karimi said. Click here to read…

TTP Threatens Top Pakistani Leadership Weeks after Ending Ceasefire: The Khaama Press

Pakistani Taliban warned the country’s main ruling parties of “concrete action” for “declaring war” against it, according to sources, months after the group ended ceasefire. A statement released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban, on Wednesday explicitly named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Sharif is the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which along with Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are the main coalition partners in the government. Click here to read…

High Commissioner Pranay Verma calls on Bangladesh I&B Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud – NewsOnAIR

Talking to the media after the meeting, High Commissioner Pranay Verma said that they discussed a wide range of issues including those related to the Information and Broadcasting sector. He said that Information and Broadcasting Ministries of both sides play a very important role through the exchange of media including film and television. Click here to read…

Bangladesh: Hindu activist Rakesh Roy sentenced to 7 years in jail over ‘blasphemy’ case, Roy says he was framed – OpIndia

Rakesh Roy, a Bangladeshi Hindu and the organising secretary of Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote, was sentenced to a rigorous seven-year prison term by Sylhet Cyber Tribunal judge Abu Kashem. In addition to serving a prison sentence, a fine of Taka 1 Lakh has also been imposed on him. Click here to read…

Bangladesh reiterates call for Rohingya repatriation – New Age

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said the next election would be held as per country’s constitution and there was no problem if foreign observers came to monitor elections. ‘The next election will be held as per the constitution,’ prime minister’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted her as saying while briefing reporters after four MPs of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group called on her at Prime Minister’s Office. Click here to read…

NBR allows imports from Bhutan through Akhaura land port – The Business Standard

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has released a new list of importable products which allows the import of all products from Bhutan (except potatoes and yarn) through Akhaura land port in Brahmanbaria. A few new products have been added to the list published on Wednesday. The newly added products include marble chips, sesame, fly ash and a few other things. Click here to read…

India-Bhutan relationship: A testimony of friendship and camaraderie – The Print

The relationship between India and Bhutan is based on the pillars of trust, goodwill and mutual understanding. The two neighbours have a close civilisational, cultural and economic relationship that dates back centuries. Bhutan considers India as gyagar, meaning the holy land, as Buddhism originated in India, which is the religion followed by the majority of BhutaneseClick here to read…

Research conducted on connecting India and Maldives to a single grid – Avas

India’s Power Ministry said in its annual summary published on December 27 that a team from India had visited the Maldives to conduct research under the ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’ initiative to interconnect India’s power grid with other countries’ power grids. The team researched ways to link India and the Maldives in one grid via the islands of Lakshadweep. Click here to read…

Maldives welcomes 1.67 million tourists in 2022 – Raajje

Maldives Immigration has disclosed that the Maldives welcomed 1.67 million tourist in 2022. According to the statistics publicized by Maldives Immigration, 184،051 tourists were welcomed to the Maldives in December 2022. Looking at the monthly statistics publicized by the Ministry of Tourism, 131,764 tourists were welcomed during January, 149,008 tourist arrivals during February, 150,739 tourists welcomed during March and 145,280 tourists welcomed during April. 125,522 tourists were welcomed during May followed by 110,889 tourists in June and 133,561 tourists welcomed during July. In August, Maldives welcomed 131,862 tourists, followed by 111,986 in September. Click here to read…

Myanmar allocates 170 billion kyat for small and medium enterprises – Mizzima

Military junta’s Deputy Union Minister of Planning and Finance Maung Maung Win said that his government granted allocation of 170 billion kyat for establishing a MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Development Fund from its supplementary budget for 2022-23 financial year. Click here to read…

Myanmar’s Military Junta Takes Step Toward Controversial Election – The Diplomat

Speaking during a ceremony in Naypyidaw yesterday marking the 75th anniversary of Myanmar’s independence from Great Britain, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing urged the Myanmar people and the wider world to support the election. He described it as an important step toward what the military establishment refers to as “the genuine, discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system.” Click here to read…

Myanmar junta marks 75th year of independence with show of force in Naypyitaw – Mizzima

Myanmar troops and weaponry paraded through the military-built capital Naypyidaw to mark the country’s Independence Day Wednesday, days after the junta jailed democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi for 33 years. Swathes of the Southeast Asian country have been engulfed by fighting between junta troops and anti-coup rebels since the military seized power almost two years ago. The junta, which recently wrapped up a series of closed-court trials of Aung San Suu Kyi, says it is preparing for fresh elections later this year that the United States has said would be a “sham.” Click here to read…

Dahal meets Nepal seeking support for vote of confidence – The Kathmandu Post

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a meeting with CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal on Wednesday. During the meeting the prime minister sought the support of the Unified Socialist for the upcoming vote of confidence. The party has 10 members in the 275-member House of Representatives. Earlier, the Unified Socialist, which had decided to unify the party with Dahal’s CPN (Maoist Centre) after the elections, had remained undecided on whether to join the Dahal-led ruling coalition. But Dahal had been insisting that the party come on board. Click here to read…

Nepal villagers again pelt stones on Indian side of Kali river in Uttarakhand – Hindustan Times

Villagers from Nepal have again pelted stones on the Indian side at the Indo-Nepal border in the Dharchula area of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, officials said on Wednesday. The incident occurred when labourers on the Indian side were building an embankment on the Indian side of Kali river, which acts as the border between Nepal and India, on Tuesday evening. Click here to read…

Nepal to receive 1.5 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – The Himalayan

Nepal is all set to receive 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines (for booster dose) from the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) next month. According to the government, the GAVI has confirmed dispense of such quantity of vaccine to Nepal on February 2. The vaccine will be arriving in the Himalayan Nation in the first week of February. Click here to read…

Sources: China-Nepal to meet on belt and road initiative– Wion News

China is keenly looking at increasing its stakes in South Asia and now Nepal is on its radar. Sources say a high-level Chinese delegation will be visiting Kathmandu next week, and the focus of their visit will be the belt and road initiative. Click here to read…

Pakistan banks on Saudi Arabia to avoid default: The Express Tribune

At a joint press conference with the government’s economic team, Dar showed his commitment to the IMF programme but at the same time stressed that he would not take any steps that would put a burden on the people. At the presser, Dar did not say categorically that the National Security Committee (NSC) clearly backed the IMF programme plan. Click here to read…

PTI’s white paper paints ‘bleak’ economic picture: The Express Tribune

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has painted a bleak picture of the economy as it released a white paper on the economic situation of the country, blaming the PML-N led coalition government of pushing the economy into a tailspin.The white paper, which was unveiled on Tuesday at a ceremony in Lahore, said inflation had increased by 45 per cent during the last eight months under the coalition government.The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation monitor, rose by 24.5% in December compared to the same period of last year, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Monday. Click here to read…

PMLN MPAs told to be in Lahore for assembly session: The News

These directions were passed to the party MPAs in a meeting held under the chair of Federal Interior Minister and party’s Punjab president Rana Sanaullah Khan here on Wednesday.The meeting discussed in detail the possibility that the CM of Punjab may try to take a vote of confidence during the assembly session called on January 9, 2023. The meeting also discussed the present numbers game. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka crisis: Parents forced to pick which child can go to school – BBC

Six months ago, Sri Lanka was in the eye of the storm for its worst economic crisis since independence. While calm has largely returned to the island nation, the full impact of mass unemployment and dramatic price rises is now visible among many families. Today Malki’s first day back at school and she wants to be spotless. But her siblings must stay at home – her family can only afford to send her. Click here to read…

UN assures crisis-hit Sri Lanka with financial, technical support – Siasat

UN Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja has assured Sri Lanka with UN’s financial and technical support as the South Asian island country attempted to recover from an economic crisis. Click here to read…

Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka on rise despite economic crisis – THBL

Sri Lanka received over 7,00,000 tourists in 2022 despite the ongoing economic and political situation in the island nation which is recovering from the worst economic crisis in decades. This marks a significant increase from the pandemic hit in 2021. In 2021, the tourist arrivals were under 195,000, according to Sri Lanka’s Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). Click here to read…

Myanmar Round Up- November 2022

Domestically, the country witnessed increased clashes and violent attacks during the month, and the military, along with USDP, is preparing for next year’s elections. The National Day marked the release of more than 5000 prisoners, along with international prisoners such as Australian economist Sean Turnell and Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota. Nevertheless, the military also uses its judicial powers to sentence members of the National League of Democracy (NLD) and opposition forces and give death penalties. During the month, seven students from Dagon University were sentenced to death. Internationally, the month was dotted with a number of significant events including the ASEAN, G20 leaders, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group meetings. The month also witnessed a two-day visit by the Indian Foreign Secretary to Myanmar for border and security concerns. The following article discusses all these developments in detail.

Domestic Situation

Though the military and its proxy party, USDP, are in full swing to prepare for the elections, the opposition forces have no confidence in the plan for elections. The NLD and most of Myanmar’s Ethnic Armed Organisations have rejected the 2023 election. Recently, the Karen National Union (KNU) refused to accept the military’s plan for a national election in 2023 and claimed that the military was conducting elections to legitimise its rule. The KNU had earlier also rejected the 2008 Constitution. The international community such as the United States has urged the countries to reject the poll, warning it would be neither free nor fair, threatening the democratic processes in Myanmar.[1] Even Malaysia, after the ASEAN summits in November 2022, have rejected the elections.

As the number of clashes is increasing in the country, the military-affiliated Pyu Saw Htee militias have forced villagers in Sagaing Region to undergo military training. Led by the nationalist monk U Wasawa from the Association for Protection of Race and Religion, men from the age group 18 to 55 age years are forced to undergo military training. However, in July 2022, at a press conference, the military denied forming Pyu Saw Htee as its military proxies but also allowed the establishment, training and arming of militias at the request of locals for their security, thereby stating that the formation of these militias is legal.[2]

The clashes and conflicts are increasing across the western and southern regions of the countries. The Landmine Monitor Report 2022, released in the month, stated that only two countries, i.e. Russia and Myanmar, actively use anti-personnel landmines. Since 1999, Myanmar’s military forces have used landmines and have surged their use since the February 2021 coup. Since the military coup in February 2021, 57 civilians have been killed and 395 injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war. The Monitor Report also cited the use of mines by non-state armed groups. At the 20th meeting of state parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, the governments stated that they should condemn Myanmar’s use of anti-personnel landmines.

Further clashes are rising against targeted civilians. For instance, the International Institute for Strategic Studies figures stated that attacks and armed clashes across Rakhine and southern Chin State jumped from two in July to 66 in October 2022.[3] Some leaked documents revealed that the military is preparing to launch airstrikes against the Chin National Front in Chin State. Churches, hospitals, and schools in Myanmar’s Christian-majority Chin State are on the list of targets, especially the CNF headquarters on Mount Victoria in Thantlang Township.[4] Christian-majority states such as Kachin, Kayah, Shan, and Chin states have witnessed intense fighting between the military and EAOs.[5]

However, during the month, the Arakan Army and the military reached an unwritten ceasefire with the help of the Japanese government’s Special Representative for national reconciliation, Yohei Sasakawa. Following the measure on 24 November, there has been no armed engagement between the AA and the Myanmar military. The aim was to resolve the difficulties and crises that the people of Rakhine had faced since the blockade was imposed after the 10 November attack. The rationale for this humanitarian ceasefire is also that the harvest time is essential especially given that the yield is low because of a lack of available water. Since the renewed fighting, the regime blocked roads and waterways in northern Rakhine and neighbouring Chin State. It also banned the supply of cement, fertiliser and medicines. [6] Post the November 2020 elections, the AA and the military had reached a ceasefire agreement, but in August 2022, the fighting re-erupted.[7]

The sentences by the military courts appear to be the longest and most arbitrary. During the month, the regime sentenced seven Dagon University students in Yangon to death. They were arrested in April 2022 for their involvement in the shooting of Global Treasure Bank branch manager Saw Moe Win, a former military officer.[8] During the month, a military court handed a 148-year sentence to Win Myint Hlaing, a former parliamentarian from the NLD party. He had already been convicted of five offences, for which he received imprisonment of 25 years.[9] Further, during the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, she denied corruption charges and testified that she was “just giving instructions according to the office procedures”. She has been convicted on 14 charges, and the remaining five corruption charges are still under trial.[10]

On the other hand, the military released 5,774 prisoners to mark National Day on 17 November. Within these, a few important releases were Australian economist Sean Turnell, a former adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; former British envoy Vicky Bowman and her husband Htein Linn, a citizen of Myanmar; Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota, and Counselor Office Minister Kyaw Tint Swe.[11] The move was appreciated by the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Envoy for Myanmar, Prak Sokhonn.[12] However, in their statements, both reiterated the call for the immediate release of those who continue to be arbitrarily detained and hoped that more progress could be achieved on the Five-Point Consensus (FPC).[13]

In addition, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) stated that only 402 were political prisoners or were the ones who were about to complete their sentences. According to the AAPP, 12,923 people are still detained who were arrested since the coup for political reasons. According to AAPP Joint Secretary U Bo Kyi, “it is a deliberate tactic meant to deceive foreign governments”.[14] It should also be noted that those who were released were the people who were arrested as a preemptive measure by the Myanmar military to prevent them from opposing military rule. Furthermore, a week later, a district court in Myawaddy sentenced two former MPs, U Wai Lin Aung and Dr Pyae Phyo of the deposed NLD, to 26 years in prison for Terrorism and Treason (Section 112) charges.[15]

Socio-Economic Distress

During the month, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) said it would cease its Myanmar operations by early 2023, making it the first international bank to withdraw from the country. The withdrawal follows the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ruling in October 2022, which blacklisted Myanmar. Also, ANZ said it had been facing “increasing operational complexity” over the past several months and was “working with its institutional customers to transition to alternative banking arrangements”. Early in the month, Justice for Myanmar targeted ANZ after leaked records showed the bank had facilitated payments that foreign companies dealing with Innwa Bank – owned by a military conglomerate, the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).[16]

The military also released data on the performance of the country’s foreign trade and investments during the first eight months of the financial year starting April 2022. The Ministry of Commerce released data regarding foreign trade and investments. The data revealed that Myanmar’s foreign trade went up by 22.32 per cent in eight months from April to November 2022, exports rose by 16.84 per cent from the previous year, and imports rose by 27.99 per cent.[17] Further, Myanmar received 52 investments from foreign countries, adding up to USD 1.451 billion over the seven months of the 2022-23 financial year. Singapore is Myanmar’s largest foreign investor, making up nearly 80 per cent of the total foreign direct investment, followed by investments from Hong Kong and China. However, it must also be noted that the investments made by Singapore and China fell after the military coup. The level of FDI has fallen, and many Multinational Corporations (MNCs) have either suspended or withdrawn their businesses from the country. Moreover, the listing of Myanmar on the blacklist by the Finance Action Task Force (FATF) has raised concerns among several foreign investors.[18]

There have also been concerns over the shortage of electricity across the country. According to Thaung Han, the Union Electricity and Energy Minister, not enough electricity can be produced to meet the daily demands of all of Yangon’s population and electricity will be rationed by providing it in four-hour windows. The Ministry of Electricity and Energy said that currently, it could only generate 3,200-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy whilst demand across the country stands at over 4,000 MWh. Since the coup, power cuts across the country have become more frequent. Even high inflation has pushed up the price of electricity.[19]

Furthermore, Myanmar’s military issued new rules, “Organization Registration Law,” requiring international and domestic aid groups to legally have a government-issued registration certificate to work in the country. The law bans “indirect or direct” contact between aid providers and groups blacklisted by the military. The law could eventually impact deliveries of humanitarian assistance from the aid groups. It states that NGOs that fail to register will be punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine of nearly €2,500. The military already has a vast list of groups it claims to be “terrorists” and could expand it further to stop international aid flows into territory controlled by resistance forces.[20]

International Reactions

The Final Report on “Global Response to the Crisis in Myanmar” was released by the International Parliamentary Inquiry (IPI). The report criticised the response to the post-coup crisis in Myanmar by countries and international blocs. The report was released right before the ASEAN meeting scheduled for 10-11 November. Charles Santiago, a Malaysian lawmaker and chairman of the APHR, stated that ASEAN’s FPC reached with Myanmar military leader in April 2021 has been “an utter failure”. In its recommendations, the report called for ASEAN to negotiate a new agreement with Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government (NUG), ensuring the new accord has enforcement mechanisms.[21]

The United States and European Union announced new sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime. Moreover, the US Embassy issued an alert on 29 November warning its citizens of a rising number of violent attacks in Myanmar and advised them to exercise vigilance in Yangon and avoid suspicious objects or people.[22] The United States has also supported the NUG, and on 18 November 2022, the NUG prepared to open its first representative office in Washington.[23] The EU sanctions apply to 19 more individuals and entities.[24] But on the other hand, the Justice for Myanmar reported that the German Government was funding the training of Myanmar military personnel in violation of EU sanctions. The German Federal Foreign Office continues to train under the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law project. Justice For Myanmar has called on the German government to immediately exclude the Myanmar military from remaining activities in the project. As part of the training, the Max Planck Foundation has invited the junta to nominate three representatives for a workshop, to be held in Singapore from 28 November to 02 December 2022, on maritime security and the law of the sea.[25]

It is also interesting to note that New Zealand has decided to reopen a diplomatic post in military-ruled Myanmar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) will send a high-ranking diplomat to Yangon to reopen New Zealand’s embassy. Mfat has said none of its actions “infer” the military is legitimate. Officials have also been speaking with members of the NUG, and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta conducted an online meeting with the NUG’s Foreign Minister, Zin Mar Aung.[26] Also, during the month, Daw Zin Mar Aung was invited to join the Global Town Hall 2022 meeting, and a pre-recorded message was sent for opening remarks, but her remarks weren’t aired as planned because she was dropped from the meeting’s agenda at the last minute.[27]

Furthermore, on 29 November, General Min Aung Hlaing met with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Russian Ground Forces in Nay Pyi Taw. In the meeting, the two sides discussed the conditions to promote cooperation in defence, education, health, and technical aspects and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. They also discussed the enhancement of friendly relations between the two armed forces, bilateral exchange measures, and strategic cooperation in both countries’ economic and technological sectors.[28] In addition, the Myanmar military delegation attended Transport Week and other international forums in Moscow. The two countries agreed to open direct flights to Yangon and establish a nuclear technology hub in Yangon.[29]

To further boost their relationship, China opened a direct shipping route linking its port in the South China Sea to Myanmar’s business hub, Yangon. The new Beibu Gulf Port-Myanmar shipping route was jointly launched by Beibu Gulf Port Group and SITC Container Lines (Shanghai). The embassy said four cargo ships would travel the route weekly. The ships will call at ports in other coastal cities in China, Malaysia and Indonesia before arriving in Yangon. The new route aims to reduce enterprises’ logistics and storage costs.[30] Moreover, on 29 November, a consul from the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar, Lin Tao, paid a call on U Khin Yi, the new chairman of the military’s proxy USDP. The meeting, which was the first between the two sides, focussed on cooperation and came after the junta said it was planning a “national election.”[31]

The month also witnessed the conduct of the 8th Director General-level conference between Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and the Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar after a gap of two years. A nine-member team, led by BGB Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, participated in the meeting. The conference concluded with the signing of a Joint Records of Discussion (JRD). The conference highlighted the need for joint efforts of both forces to curb the drugs and narcotics inflow and combat transnational crimes, including illegal border crossing. In this regard, Bangladesh emphasised a zero-tolerance policy with an all-out effort to prevent trafficking along the border. In addition, the Myanmar side will continue anti-drug measures following its national drug control policy. The DG of BGB also reiterated the national concern about the early repatriation of Rohingyas. Finally, both sides agreed to share information on a timely basis between the designated contact points and agreed to work together against various terrorist groups along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.[32]

ASEAN Summits

The 40 and 41 ASEAN Summits were held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Myanmar military was not invited to the meetings and was asked to send a non-political representative, to which the regime did not agree. The members admitted that “little progress” has been made in implementing the FPC, and ASEAN leaders urged Myanmar’s military regime to comply with its commitments. They decided to follow a timeline “that outlines concrete, practical and measurable indicators” to support the peace plan. The meeting also stated that the ASEAN would initiate talks with the opposition groups. The meeting concluded with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen handing over the hammer symbolising ASEAN chairmanship to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, who announced the theme of ASEAN 2023 as “ASEAN Matters: The Epicentrum of Growth”.[33]

Following the meeting, the Myanmar military on 11 November slammed a decision by ASEAN to engage with opposition groups, which include NUG and EAOs. The military blamed the lack of progress on the pandemic and was hindered by armed resistance movements that it calls terrorists. In contrast, the NUG released a statement on 12 November regarding the ASEAN decision and agreed that the ASEAN 5PC is not progressing and that there is a need to reframe or expand the 5PC, vowing to work with the ASEAN.[34] During the month, concerns were also raised as the ASEAN member Laos handed over the ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference chairmanship to the Myanmar military. The Myanmar military and Russia continue co-chairing the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) – Plus Experts’ Working Group on Counter Terrorism, for which a meeting is scheduled in December 2022.[35]

On 23 November, the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) was held, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers, except Myanmar, discussed the changes in the global security environment. Cambodia hosted ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) under the theme ‘Solidary for Harmonised Security’, along with the 9th ADMM-Plus, the ASEAN-US Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the ASEAN-India Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting. The meetings highlighted the numerous traditional and non-traditional security challenges faced in present times.[36] The Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh joined the meeting of ASEAN Defence Ministers.[37] In addition, the second meeting of the Golden Triangle Prosecutors Network on “Cooperation to Counter Narcotics Trafficking in the Region” was held in Laos. Laos, Thai and Myanmar officials met to discuss joint efforts to crack down on transnational crime, especially drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle border area.[38]

India in Myanmar

On 20-21 November, India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visited Myanmar, during which he discussed border management and security issues. Kwatra’s visit came amid escalating tensions between ethnic armed organisations and the Myanmar army that could have an impact on the border regions in India’s northeastern states. The discussions were held on bilateral issues relating to border management, security and ongoing bilateral cooperation projects. Foreign Secretary also reiterated India’s commitment to continue with the projects under the Rakhine State Development Programme and Border Area Development Programme.[39] Furthermore, India raised the issue of human trafficking of its citizens in the Myawaddy area of Myanmar by international crime syndicates.[40]

Earlier in the month, Myanmar Minister of Commerce Aung Naing Oo visited Kolkata and stated the intentions to expand the government-to-government (G2G) trade basket by including more agro items, such as green mung beans. The G2G Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on trade cooperation for urad and tur pulses was signed in June 2021. The MoU provided that Myanmar can export 250,000 tonnes of urad and 100,000 tonnes of tur to India annually for three years. He stated that the MoU has been “very successful”. Myanmar is also encouraging bilateral trade settlement in local currencies with India. Myanmar has similar arrangements with Thailand and China. Notably, the Centre has allowed international trade settlements in Indian rupees for export promotion schemes under the Foreign Trade Policy.[41]

Incidents of cross-border movements and transport of goods were also reported during the month. Security agencies in Manipur apprehended a Myanmar national for allegedly entering India illegally and procuring an Aadhaar card.[42] The illicit trade of areca nut, also known as betel nut or ‘supari’, is also reported by the security forces, including the Assam Rifles. To curb the trade of areca nut, the Assam government recently imposed strict restrictions to ferry areca nut through its territory, preventing Tripura and Mizoram farmers from supplying their produce to other parts of India.

Further, unconfirmed sources have stated that the Myanmar military has been getting arms from India and transporting them from the border through Sagaing Region. According to the Kalay People’s Defence Force (PDF), a junta convoy carrying weapons from India travelled from India to Sagaing Region on 25 November.[43] However, when the Indian embassy in Yangon was contacted, they rejected reports that the country was involved in arming the Myanmar military.[44]


The UN chief Antonio Guterres urged the Myanmar military to immediately return to democracy and stop the “unending nightmare” engulfing the country. As per the various meetings and statements by countries and regional organisations, implementing ASEAN’s 5PCs is crucial to establishing stability and peace in Myanmar. The solution to the current impasse lies in initiating negotiating with all stakeholders rather than having any one fraction in power.


Informal ceasefire with Myanmar military ‘not permanent’ solution, Arakan Army says

[8]These students are Ko Khant Zin Win, Ko Thura Maung Maung, Ko Zaw Lin Naing, Ko Thiha Htet Zaw, Ko Hein Htet, Ko Thet Paing Oo and Ko Khant Linn Maung Maung https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-sentences-seven-students-to-death.html
[9]Win Myint Hlain was elected to the local parliament of Magway region in 2015. He did not take part in the 2020 election but participated in protests against the military before being arrested in November 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/3/myanmar-court-sentences-ex-lawmaker-to-173-years-in-prison
[21]The IPI held six public hearings along with several private hearings and received dozens of written submissions. Malaysia’s Santiago and Indonesian House member Chriesty Barends travelled to the Thai-Myanmar border in August to gather information. The IPI investigation team included officials from African countries, the Americas and Europe. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/asean-myanmar-11022022162047.html
The upcoming Singapore workshop is the fifth in a series of six planned activities. Two in-person workshops were held in Vietnam (September 2022) and the Philippines (July 2022). The Max Planck Foundation’s project started in October 2020, with the objective “to strengthen preventive diplomacy and regional cooperation in SEA to improve maritime peace and security”. https://www.mizzima.com/article/german-government-training-myanmar-junta-soldiers-possible-eu-sanctions-breach
[26]The organisers dropped her name after the UN complained to a co-organiser that the inclusion of Daw Zin Mar Aung and her deputy would amount to taking sides in Myanmar’s conflict. The event was hosted by the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) and Global Citizen. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/the-world-myanmar/myanmar-nug-foreign-ministers-unaired-global-town-hall-speech.html
[29]The agreement was signed in 2019 between Beibu Gulf Port and Yangon Port of Myanmar to establish a sister port relationship, providing favourable conditions for Myanmar to strengthen cooperation with ports in the pan-Beibu Gulf region https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-opens-new-shipping-route-to-myanmar-from-south-china-sea.html
[31]The Border Agreement-1980 between the countries aimed to enhance bilateral cooperation in combating illicit drugs and psychotropic substances and to prevent illegal border crossing. The agreement aimed to resume coordinated patrols between the two guarding forces to counter the potential threats posed by terrorist groups along the border. https://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/5vl5kchs70
[37]The first meeting was held in Thailand in 2018. The Golden Triangle region is an area where the borders of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet along the Mekong River. https://borneobulletin.com.bn/laos-thailand-myanmar-seek-ways-to-crack-down-on-drug-trafficking-2/

Myanmar Round-Up: October 2022

The month witnessed a rise in conflict between the military and the opposition forces, especially the air strikes as the rainy season was receding. The preparations for elections have started as the Union Election Commission called for bids for the supply of equipment. Internationally, the ASEAN special meeting was an event, to mark the developments prior to the 10-13 November meeting. During the month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Myanmar on the ‘High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action’ category – commonly known as blacklist countries on 21 October.[1] India pushed further for speedier completion of the Kaladan Multi-Modal project and is also witnessing increases in refugees from Myanmar as well as the problem of drug supply is on the rise.

Political and Domestic Crisis

In the latest push for the general election, Myanmar’s military-appointed Union Election Commission called for bids to supply polling equipment i.e. plastic ballot boxes, voting booths, pens, envelopes, ballot papers, ropes, ink and badges. Holding an election is part of the military’s five-point roadmap released after the 2021 coup. In the process, the regime plans to replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with proportional representation. The change is seen as favouring the military and its allied political parties.[2] It is also widely believed that Min Aung Hlaing wants to be “elected” president and will probably be nominated for the presidency by the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party. In early October, the USDP chose Khin Yi, one of Min Aung Hlaing’s right-hand men, as its new leader. The Myanmar military also plans to include a large number of retired officers, either as candidates or to help with campaigns.[3]

On the one hand, detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s last five remaining cases of corruption were filed at Naypyidaw Prison Court. She has been charged with 19 cases since the military coup and has been sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison for 14 of them.[4] On the other hand, the military released former planning and finance minister U Soe Win of the NLD government, singer Po Po and beauty blogger Win Min Than.[5] Further, the country’s scenario is marred by repeated fighting in Kachin (except in Chipwi, Panwa and Phimaw townships), Chin, Rakhine, Karenni, Karen and Mon states. There is currently no fighting in southern and eastern Shan State. Furthermore, as the rainy season is ending, the military has started increasing airstrikes. The regime has used helicopters, jet fighters and surveillance drones to indiscriminately attack civilians. The aerial bombing campaign is concentrated in Sagaing and Magway regions and Kayah, Karen and Chin states.

According to data collected by the Irrawaddy, a total of 28 aerial attacks were launched in five regions from 01-28 October, leaving 111 dead and injuring at least 126 civilians. Sagaing Region was worst-hit, suffering 18 of the 28 junta airstrikes this month. On the other hand, there are also reports that the military is losing its strength due to daily clashes and is vulnerable to mine attacks by resistance forces. There are also reports that the military is undermanned and has been forced to form companies out of combat support units. The military is struggling to recruit both officer cadets and privates, forcing the junta to field firefighters, police and administrative employees as security personnel, as well as the pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militias. [6] Therefore, the regime is increasingly relying on aerial attacks. As a result, the NUG Defence Minister U Yee Mon warned the People’s Defense Forces to remain on high alert.[7]

Economic Crisis

In an attempt to gain foreign currency, military chief Min Aung Hlaing claimed that the domestic travel and inbound tour industries are re-starting in Myanmar. On the occasion to mark World Tourism Day, the military organised an event, which was attended by Russian and Japanese ambassadors and the heads of the diplomatic missions of a number of other countries, including India. Myanmar is also planning to launch direct flights to and from Moscow and arrange Russian-language courses. At the same time, regime-backed documentaries on Myanmar have been aired by a Thai military-owned broadcaster to attract travellers from the neighbouring country.

However, on the one hand, the regime is opening up its economy; on the other hand, the military is imposing pre-broadcast censorship on local and foreign television serials. The military-controlled Information Ministry stated that it will ban any content it deems politically or religiously dangerous, or that it believes undermines the culture and national solidarity or arouses sexual desire. In addition, the regime has banned the online news outlet The Irrawaddy and charged the outlet’s registered publisher for violating national security laws. Post the military coup, the Irrawaddy stopped operating from Myanmar and moved production and editorial staff outside the country. Therefore, the impact of the ban on The Irrawaddy was limited. However, before declaring the ban, the news outlets and their reporters faced immense harassment. [8] Furthermore, Myanmar’s military jailed Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota for “seven years imprisonment for breaching an electronic communications law, and three years for encouraging dissent”. Kubota arrived in Myanmar in July 2022 and was filming a “documentary featuring a Myanmar person”.[9]

Amid the military shutdowns, the NUG’s communications minister U Htin Lin Aung asked Elon Musk to offer satellite internet firm, Starlink, to Myanmar. They asked the provider to give uncensored internet across the country. According to Access Now, at least 54 of Myanmar’s 330 townships have internet blackouts. Justice for Myanmar also reported that the military aims to build a digital dictatorship and is taking control of all mobile networks, directly and through proxies.[10]

Finally, as the country faces an upsurge in the prices of food and fuels, drug consumption has increased. In the months preceding the coup, Chinese triad groups operating in the Greater Mekong region began expansion in narcotics production. Recent entrants, Wan Kuok-kui’s 14K Triad and She Zhijiang’s Yatai International, have spread the reach of Chinese organised crime deeper into Myanmar’s borderlands. These chemicals “disappear into eastern Shan State under the control of the [United Wa State Army] and other insurgent groups,” Mr. Michael Brown, former US Drug Enforcement Administration attaché to the Myanmar government from 2017 to 2019, told Frontier. The UWSA is Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armed group, which controls two autonomous enclaves on the Thai and Chinese borders, and has long been accused of involvement in the narcotics trade.[11]

International Engagements

The United States added another round of sanctions on Myanmar’s military government, targeting three individuals and one entity. The reason for this round of sanctions was “their roles in the procurement of Russian-produced military arms from Belarus for the Burmese regime.”In his statement, Blinken also referenced the military government’s execution in July of four political prisoners and the 16 September helicopter attack on a school in the Sagaing Region that killed at least 11 children. [12] The EU had last imposed sanctions seven months ago, and Justice for Myanmar (JFM) called upon the EU to take concrete steps and impose sanctions on 31 companies, that have procured weapons for the regime since the 2021 coup. Currently, only the Htoo Group of Companies is facing EU sanctions. All of the businesses have been sanctioned by the US and UK, and some face sanctions from Canada. [13]

On 27 October, a Special meeting of ASEAN was held in Jakarta, because Indonesia will take on the chairmanship of ASEAN in November 2022. The meeting was held ahead of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Cambodia from 10-13 November. There have been increasing calls for Jakarta to take decisive steps to address the Myanmar political crisis. On 26 October, Cambodia issued a statement about the airstrike in Kachin State and other airstrikes in Karen State. However, the statement fails to identify the military directly but instead notes that “all parties concerned, in particular, one with significant power on the ground” must commit to an “immediate cessation of violence.” During the month, a military airstrike unlawfully killed at least 60 people at a music concert in Kachin State. From the meeting, Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah, one of the strongest advocates on pressing ASEAN to take firmer measures on Myanmar was absent from the meeting as Malaysia is due for a general election in November.[14]

However, Myanmar was not invited following its failure to honour the peace plan. The military’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that as the meeting was held without Myanmar, it would not be bound by its outcomes. The regime also said renewed pressure from ASEAN to implement a peace plan would “create more negative implications.” While a renewed push to bring about reforms within ASEAN is being pursued, Human Rights Watch expressed “huge disappointment”, stating that ASEAN had remained committed to the stalled consensus. [15] Further, NGO Fortify Rights, noted that the ASEAN should scrap the “five-point consensus” on Myanmar and enact emergency measures such as forming an agreement on protecting Myanmar refugees, authorising cross-border humanitarian aid, and coordinating with other UN member states to deprive the Myanmar military of weapons, aviation fuel, revenue, and political recognition.[16]

As the conflict continues in Myanmar, an estimated 70,000 have fled to neighbouring countries and more than one million have been internally displaced, according to the High Commissioner’s Office, OHCHR. Yet, regional actors are forcing Myanmar refugees and other nationals back. For instance, Malaysian authorities accelerated deportations to Myanmar, returning over 2,000 people since April. Thai authorities have similarly pushed asylum seekers back without verifying their protection needs.[17] Following Malaysia’s latest round of deportations on 06 October, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk called for a moratorium on the forced returns of refugees and migrants to Myanmar. In addition, UN Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer also said she would continue to urge the ASEAN to develop a regional protection framework for refugees and forcefully displaced persons. [18]

As international organisations get criticised for their limited actions and normalising relations with Myanmar’s military regime, various agencies have made an effort to justify their actions. Using social media, they deployed infographics and other tools to demonstrate how international aid organisations are working in the country.On 03 October, for instance, the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), which operates under the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), published a map that shows areas covered by “projects under implementation” by international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs) and the Red Cross. Another graphic tweeted by OCHA Myanmar on 06 October, claims that its “partners reached 3.1 million people with assistance at least once in the first half of 2022”. However, a closer look reveals that these figures do not provide an accurate picture of the actual situation on the ground. For instance, the disclaimer from MIMU: “This map shows the presence of organisations and does not indicate the volume of assistance, the number of beneficiaries, or the extent to which needs are met or unmet.” In short, these facts and figures are highly misleading.[19]

Following weeks of border tension caused by Myanmar military operations across the border regions, on 26 October, a three-member delegation of the Myanmar military met Bangladesh Army in Dhaka. The two sides discussed working on regional peace and security, the exchange of training and relevant information and the quick repatriation of the Rohingya. The Myanmar delegation led by Lt Gen Phone Myat, Command Bureau of Special Operation, also made a courtesy call to Bangladesh Army Chief Gen SM Shafiuddin Ahmed. The Myanmar delegation reiterated that they are interested in enhancing friendship and communication with Bangladesh and solving bilateral problems. [20] In another development on Rohingya, Tom Andrews, the UN Human Rights expert on Myanmar, said that the extremist Rohingya organisation Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) was involved in the massacre of Hindus in Myanmar and should be held accountable. An Amnesty International investigation confirmed that “up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children” had been massacred by ARSA fighters, who also abducted Hindu villagers in August 2017 in Rakhine State.[21]

Finally, another major giant sold its operations to a locally owned company. Switzerland’s Trafigura’s Puma Energy, the main supplier of aviation fuel in Myanmar, announced that it had sold its operations in the country to a locally owned company. The company agreed to sell its stake in Puma Energy Asia Sun (PEAS) and its minority share in National Energy Puma Aviation Services (NEPAS). NEPAS was a joint venture between Puma Energy and the state-owned Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise under the military’s Ministry of Energy. Puma had initially suspended its operations following the military coup but later resumed distribution for civilian purposes.[22]

India’s Engagements with Myanmar

During the month, the Indian government earmarked a corpus of Rs 17.8 billion to complete the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar. The remaining part is a two-lane highway measuring 109 km from Paletwa in Chin State to Zorinpui at the border of the two countries. The other parts of the project have been completed in Myanmar, including the construction of the Sittwe Port, a river terminal at Paletwa and the dredging of the Kaladan River. A new agreement was inked by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs with IRCON International Limited as the project implementing agency (PIA). According to the agreement, the highway will be constructed by local sub-contractors to be decided by IRCON and completed within 40 months. The project was commenced 12 years ago and the next deadline is 2023. But completing the highway in the existing circumstances could be challenging for the implementing agency.[23]

In another push to India’s Act East Policy, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia announced that flights would soon begin between Manipur’s capital Imphal and Mandalay in Myanmar under the UDAN scheme.[24] In addition, a Myanmar delegation led by its Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Minister Tin Htut Oo visited the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, to acquire seeds for a variety of beans and pulses, including green gram (mung beans). The delegation met with representatives of the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) and the Overseas Agro Traders Association (OATA) to discuss the addition of green gram to Myanmar’s bean and pulse export list, and to invite more Indian investment in Myanmar. They also met with other private companies to buy seeds for cotton and sunflower.[25]

At present, more than 30,300 Myanmar nationals have taken shelter in different parts of Mizoram since the coup. To accommodate the people, the Young Mizo Association (YMA) urged the Mizoram government to establish relief camps in a “compact” area. According to the Home Department, as of 22 October 2022, 30,385 Myanmar nationals, including 10,013 females and 11,650 children, have taken shelter across all 11 districts of Mizoram. Of them, 13,210 people have been lodged in 160 relief camps, while 17,157 people live outside the relief camps.[26] During the month, India also successfully rescued 45 of its nationals trapped in fake job rackets in Myanmar. Out of them, 13 Indian citizens reached Tamil Nadu.[27]

The month witnessed the continuation of the seizure of drugs smuggled from Myanmar. The Assam Rifles troopers seized 92,550 highly addictive Methamphetamine tablets worth around Rs 31 crores and arrested one person in this connection in Mizoram.[28] Further, sources in Assam Rifles said more than 20 Myanmar nationals had been arrested in the past few months in Mizoram. The security agencies in the region have been recently claiming that rebel groups of Myanmar are using Mizoram to arrange and transport arms and equipment to aid their fight against the military.[29]


Since the coup, the UN reports that more than one million were displaced, and 28,000 civilian properties were razed. According to data collected by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) as of 4 October 2022, there are 12,563 political prisoners are being held by the Military Council in Myanmar.[30] On 30 October, global protests against the Myanmar military were recorded. In the US there was a demonstration in support of those fighting the military in Myanmar. There was also an anti-Myanmar military demonstration led by the Buddhist monk, Daegu Sayadaw, in South Korea.[31] Even organisations such as Progressive Voice, Kachin Women’s Association Thailand and Women’s League of Burma raised concerns and called upon UNSC to stop evading its responsibility in Myanmar.[32] Further, Fortify Rights believes that constructive engagement with the Myanmar military is impossible at this stage, and ASEAN must isolate the military and engage the NUG, Myanmar civil society, and ethnic armed organisations. However, to conclude, any constructive resolution to the current crisis must involve all stakeholders, the military, NUG and the EAOs.

Endnotes :

[8]On 29 September, the news agency’s former director, Thaung Win, was arrested and charged with violating the Publishing and Distribution Act. Further, local reporters from two media outlets, BBC Burmese and The Irrawaddy online news journal, went into hiding. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/irrawaddy-10312022181138.html
[9]Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist to be detained in Myanmar, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan — all of whom were later freed and deported. https://www.rfi.fr/en/international-news/20221006-myanmar-jails-japanese-filmmaker-for-10-years-diplomatic-source
[12]The sanctions target the Myanmar businessman Aung Moe Myint, the son of a military officer whom the US Treasury Department claims “has facilitated various arms deals and weapons purchases on behalf of Burma’s military.” The Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has also targeted Aung Moe Mying’s company, Dynasty International Company Limited, and two of its directors: Hlaing Moe Myint, his twin brother, and Myo Thitsar. https://thediplomat.com/2022/10/us-announces-sanctions-on-myanmar-military-linked-arms-broker/
[13]Few of the groups are Dynasty Group and its subsidiaries founded by Aung Moe Myint, KT Group, Ky-Tha Group and its subsidiaries owned by Jonathan Kyaw Thaung, Mega Hill General Trading, Miya Win International Myanmar Chemical and Machinery (MCM) run by Aung Hlaing Oo, International Gateways Group, Star Sapphire Group of Dr. Tun Min Latt, Sky Aviator and Synpex Shwe. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/asia/thai-court-rules-suspended-pm-prayut-can-resume-office.html
[23]Early in 2022, the Indian government terminated the contract with a joint venture of Engineers Projects India Limited (EPIL) and C & C Construction Co. Ltd, which was tasked to construct the highway in Myanmar. In 2019, 10 people, including four Indians and a Myanmar lawmaker, were abducted by the Arakan Army from two boats between Paletwa and Kyauktaw. https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/challenges-await-new-contractor-as-india-rejigs-plan-for-completion-of-kaladan-project-in-myanmar.html

Myanmar Round Up: September 2021

September 2021 marks the seventh month of continued demonstrations and protests against the Myanmar military after the coup. The violence has spread to both urban and ru-ral areas. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has surged and this could result into a public health emer-gency. The country is also reeling under economic crises with the lack of financial liquidity and depreciation of the currency. Internationally, no speech was given from the side of My-anmar at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The first in-person QUAD summit was held in the United States (US) and the need for peaceful resolution of the crises was stated.

Political Crises and Coup Resistance

With the National Unity Government (NUG) call for “people’s defensive war” on 07 September 2021, intense protests and fighting between the military and ethnic groups were reported. Duwa Lashi, Vice President of NUG, in his 14-point speech, also urged the members of the military to join pro-democracy groups and ethnic groups to attack the military. [1] However, the Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun dismissed the NUG’s call for revolt. Moreover, false reports were circulated that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did not accept armed resistance against the military regime by the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs). [2] The NUG call for the “people’s defensive war” has not been met with much sympathy from the international community.

The situation has been marked by violence, including tit-for-tat killings between the military and the résistance forces. Some of the major incidents during the month were reported. In-tense fighting between the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) and the military was reported at Lungler village. The CDF and CNA cadres attacked the military camp at Lungler. [3] Since the early July, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the military have been clashing in Mongkoe and Pansai in northern Shan State. During the month, the MNDAA retook control of a strategic hill near Phaung Sai village, which the military had captured earlier. [4]

According to the Human Rights Ministry of the civilian NUG, the military attacked the Sagaing Region and murdered about 112 people within three months. The NUG also reported the military massacres in Kani to the UN Security Council in August. [5] Attacks against civilians were also reported in northern Karen and Kayah States.

The civilian resistance forces have destroyed more than 80 telecom towers owned in a joint venture between the Myanmar military and Vietnam’s Defence Ministry. In addition, the month witnessed the targeting of Mytel telecom masts after the NUG declared a nationwide people’s defensive war against the military regime. The people have been boycotting Mytel services since the coup in protest at the military takeover, and the civilian forces had first targeted their offices in early April. [6]

The violence inflicted by the military has urged the soldiers and police to break ties and nearly 2,500 soldiers and police defected and joined the resistance movement since the coup. However, the military has not yet commented on these developments. On the other hand, the military has offered rewards to whistleblowers and informants who help make arrests of people associated with anti-military groups. [7]

The month also marked the 33rd Anniversary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), born in 1988. However, due to the current crises, there is a question mark over its future existence. Since its formation, the NLD was being persecuted by the then military regime and also ousted by the current military regime. [8] During the month, Aung San Suu Kyi was supposed to appear before a special court in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township, but was cancelled as it was reported that she fell sick. Later, she attended a hearing at a special court in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township. The lawyer said arguments in the sedition cases against all three were heard under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code, and the court will give its decision at the next hearing. [9]

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), a military-backed party, released a joint declaration which it said was signed by 23 political parties on 08 September. The joint declaration urged the UN not to approve U Kyaw Moe Tun as the parallel NUG’s Myanmar ambassador to the UN. However, few parties denied that they had not signed such a statement. [10]

Economic Crises

There were massive disruptions in the financial sector, as the military intervened in operations of the Central Bank of Myanmar and restricted internet access. There is a lack of cash liquidity and the currency has been depreciated to its lowest. The US dollar exchange rate rose to a record high of around 2,500 to 2,700 kyats per dollar. [11]

During the month, the Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank branch in the northern Shan State town of Ky-aukme was robbed. In recent months, three other bank robberies were reported. [12] The World Bank and UNDP have projected that the proportion of people living in poverty could double to almost half of the nation’s population by the beginning of 2022. This would reverse the gains made since 2005. Most young people are applying for passports at a recently reopened office in Yankin Township in the Yangon to run away from the political repression. [13]

International Responses

The 76th session of the UNGA closed without the speech from Myanmar. The current representative Kyaw Moe Tun, chosen by former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, had been critical of the military coup. However, the military has made two requests to replace him with a former general. But the United Nations has not yet approved the appointment. [14]

In a report, the US and China agreed to defer the decision to November on who would occupy Myanmar’s seat at the UN – the military or the NUG. Both the countries sit on the UNGA Credentials Committee (UNGA-CC), and seven other members, which have the mandate to decide country representation at the organisation. The nine-member committee also includes Russia, which has “informally endorsed” the deal. This means that the sitting representative, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, will continue to hold the seat and is expected to “hold his tongue” and “keep a low profile”. [15]

On 24 September, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) leaders called for an end to the violence in Myanmar in a joint statement. The Prime Ministers of the four countries – the US, India, Australia and Japan participated in the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the US. The leaders also called for the urgent implementation of ASEAN’s Five Point
Consensus on Myanmar. [16] Ear-lier, ASEAN’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, had proposed a four-month cease-fire until the end of this year to the military and the regime had accepted it. However, the parallel NUG has said that to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, the Special Envoy should have got an agreement from the military regime to cease civilian arrests and provide for meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. [17]

The military also engaged in talks with Pakistan to produce JF-17 Block III fighters, a lightweight, single-engine, fourth-generation multi-role combat aircraft. According to well-informed sources, the Pakistan delegation was in the country from 01-05 September. Myanmar has purchased JF-17 multi-role combat aircraft from Pakistan in the past, and is currently in “advanced negotiations” to build third-generation models under license. The jet fighters can engage in air-to-air battles and have ground-attack capabilities to deliver both dumb bombs and precision-guided munitions. Thus, they are suitable for Myanmar, where armed conflict with ethnic rebels is frequent. [18]

The World Bank proposed a “Refugee Policy Review Framework” (RPRF) to integrate Roh-ingya’s in Bangladesh. The WB has proposed the RPRF for 14 member states, currently hosting refugees. The proposal is to evaluate the effectiveness of the grants for the refugees and host communities under its “soft-loan window” International Development Assistance. The WB offered USD 2 billion to Bangladesh if it integrated Rohingya refugees with economic and social rights. However, Bangladesh rejected the proposal and stated that Rohingya are “forcibly displaced persons”, and Bangladesh only provided temporary shelter. At the end, Rohingya want to return to Myanmar. Such a proposal will further instigate Myanmar to slow the repatriation process. [19]

India’s Engagements with Myanmar

Indian newspapers have reported that the Meitei rebels’ are cooperating with Myanmar’s military regime since April. They have quoted Indian intelligence officers as saying that the PLA-MP and the UNLF were involved in the lethal crackdown in Kale and Tamu in which 12 civilians were killed. In May 2021, Myanmar’s military regime met with some Meitei rebel leaders, which led to the Meitei rebels agreeing to work for the military regime in exchange for cash and a base in Sagaing Region. However, despite widespread reports of Meitei rebel groups cooperating with the regime, not every Meitei rebel is willing to fight for the regime, said ethnic Naga observer Ko Aung Tun. [20]

China in Myanmar

In August 2021, China held a test run of a new overland trade route with Myanmar. Around 60 containers were sent in the first trial by road from Yangon, entering China at the border crossing between Shan State’s Chin Shwe Haw and Lincang in Yunnan Province, before continuing by rail to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. The test comes after the first visit to Myanmar after the visit of Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang—since the military junta seized power in February. The new route could help boost trade with Myanmar and link China with the Indian Ocean. Further, the agreement to conduct preliminary field investigation work for the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Deep Sea Port Project had been signed during the month. [21]

Scholars have argued that China is playing its ‘dictatorship diplomacy’. By promoting the pa-riah regimes and dictators, China’s strategic depth is increased. The regimes are internationally isolated, not accountable to their people and their human rights violations are labelled as “internal matters”. [22]


Myanmar’s military arrested thousands of civil servants, teachers, students, medics and administrators, and have increased violent attacks on civilians and armed organisations. The armed organisations are also waging attacks against the military, especially after the NUG call for “people’s defensive war”. Myanmar’s economic hardship is compounded due to the COVID-19 crises and political turmoil. The international organisations are paying lip service by stating the need to engage in dialogues; however, no constructive efforts are being taken.


[1] https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-shadow-government-unveils-new-strategy-oppose-military-rule-2021-09-07/
[2] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-suu-kyi-denies-false-reports-that-she-opposes-armed-resistance-to-junta.html
[3] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/myanmar-army-civilians-clash-near-border-100-flee-to-mizoram/articleshow/86107391.cms
[4] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/ethnic-armed-group-captures-strategic-hill-from-myanmar-junta-forces.html
[5] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-shadow-government-prepares-evidence-of-junta-war-crimes.html
[6] Mytel is a joint venture that involves a number of companies, including the government-owned Star High Public Co Ltd, which is run by the Myanmar military conglomer-ate Myanmar Economic Corporation, Myanmar National Telecom Holding (MNTH) Public Ltd, a consortium compromising 11 companies, and the Vietnamese telecom company Viettel, a Hanoi-based state-owned enterprise operated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence.https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/over-80-myanmar-military-owned-telecom-towers-destroyed-nationwide.html
[7] https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/defect-09022021203230.html
[8] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-nld-marks-33rd-anniversary-facing-abolition-threat.html
[9] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-daw-aung-san-suu-kyi-attends-court-as-health-improves.html
[10] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-backed-usdp-accused-of-exploiting-smaller-political-parties.html
[11] Before the military coup, the exchange rate was between 300-1,400 kyats per USD https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-currency-hits-record-low-as-coup-wreaks-havoc-on-economy.html
[13] https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/growing-numbers-young-people-seek-flee-myanmar
[14] https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/09/29/news/world/afghanistan-myanmar-left-in-un-meet/1816472
[15] https://barbedwires.substack.com/p/what-to-make-of-the-us-china-deal
[16] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/quad-leaders-call-on-myanmar-junta-to-end-violence.html
[17] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/nug-questions-aseans-ceasefire-agreement-with-myanmar-junta.html
[18] The JF-17 is co-developed by Pakistan Aeronautical Com-plex and China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/pakistan-defense-delegation-made-unannounced-visit-to-myanmar-capital.html/amp?__twitter_impression=true
[19] https://www.eurasiareview.com/10092021-rethinking-sustainable-solution-to-rohingya-crisis-limits-of-world-banks-proposal-oped/
[21] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/agreement-moves-myanmars-kyaukphyu-port-project-a-step-forward.html
[22] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-tests-new-trade-route-with-myanmar-in-show-of-support-for-junta.html