Bhutan 2010: SAARC Summit in Thimpu

SAARC..if you ask me I see the organization as a laid back talk shop. Members talk much more, promise even more than then deliver just a little..sometimes too little to justify the organization’s existence.

SAARC lacks the determination to be effective..there is just too much “diplomacy” going on..you know the kind of diplomacy that slowly degenerates into a@@ kissing. No one dares to question India, no one dares to push India and Pakistan to be civil and then everyone is too happy to push for more SAARC beareaucracy..money pits with zero benefits.

Don’t take me wrong..SAARC could be a great tool to unite and strengthen South Asia. Unfortunately at the moment it is just a country club where everyone’s aim is just to be nice to each other..especially to the big guy.

Rural Poverty and Isolated North East Pose Threat to India’s Security and Stability(Bhumika Ghimire)

Cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and hundreds of growing urban centers in India are developing into islands of prosperity and opportunity; little is tricking down to the poor rural areas across the country. Orissa-one of India’s poorest state, is experiencing acute food shortage. National Human Rights Commission-New Delhi based national organization, recently conducted on the spot investigation over reports of starvation death in the state’s Balangir District.

Orissa has also seen violent communal conflict, stemming from lack of economic opportunity and rising religious extremism. In last five years, there have been a number of cases of religion influenced violence in the state. In 2008, riots broke out in Khandhaml district between Hindus and Christians, many families were displaced and forced to live in temporary camps. Same year, reported rape of a nun by alleged Hindu fanatics in the district also sparked violence. Tensions are still high in the area.

Orissa’s tale of misery is not isolated one. Throughout India, large pockets of economic, social and political deprivation are fast growing-posing threat to the stability of the nation.

Discontent in Orissa-among the Hindus and Christians, could give rise to local insurgency movement; where each group seeks to establish a separate homeland. Limited economic opportunity, resources and poverty could further strengthen communal animosity.

Continue Here

Previously published at World Security Network

Bhumika Ghimire

More support for India’s nuclear program

At The Wall Street Journal RORY MEDCALF supports India’s nuclear program, calling the India’s bhevaiour regarding nuclear weapons and technology “responsible”

“Of all the nuclear-armed states, India has been the most active in promoting global agreement on no first use—including through bilateral and multilateral treaties—and on negative security assurances, or guarantees not to strike non-nuclear states. Even China, the most self-righteous doctrinal champion of no first use, has rejected India’s overtures for a bilateral pact, not wishing to be seen to bestow any form of nuclear legitimacy on a power it likes to pretend is not a rival.”

Rory Medcalf of the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

There is no doubt that compared to its rival Pakistan or another beligirant nuclear wanna be-Iran, India has acted responsibly when it comes to nuclear technology. But is this support for India’s nuclear program just going to add to arms race in South Asia? Pakistan is already competing with India and now Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could join in. India’s rising influence in international security arena is not going to please these neighbours-none of whom share very warm relations with the South Asian giant.

Add China to the mix and it is clear that supporting India’s nuclear program is not limited to India but has direct effect over entire South Asia.

South Asia nuclear arms race..thanks to India and Pakistan

Arms race between rivals India and Pakistan, and nuclear treaty between India and US is pushing nuclear arms race in South Asia.

Jeremy Khan at The Faster Times says,

“…U.S. could be doing a lot more to persuade India and Pakistan to take measures that might lessen the chance of a nuclear exchange if the two countries do become involved in a conventional military conflict, as they have numerous times in the past. For instance, it would be very useful if they each articulated a clear nuclear defense doctrine. It would also be good if the two nations shared far more information with one another about their nuclear defenses so that signs would not be misinterpreted during a crisis. Getting Islamabad to agree to a “no first use” policy would be a huge step too (although Islamabad would be unlikely to agree to such a measure.)”

Tomb of Mohamad Ali Jinnah, Karachi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

I don’t understand how Khan thinks that it would be possible to make Pakistan understand that sharing information/good relationship with India is a good security strategy. Pakistan is technically a pseudo military/fundamentalist dictatorship. Yes there are elections in the country and et al but look what happened to Benazir Bhutto? She was killed by the Islamists and what about corruption? Only when the people of Pakistan are given the opportunity to decide for their country will there be any peace between India and Pakistan.

As long as Pakistan is a fake democracy, they will abuse their status as nuclear power nation to engage in meaningless quarrels with India and push South Asia’s arms race.

Maldives: Against religious extremism

Came across this interesting and informative post at Maldivian blog-Rehendhi. The bloggers at Rehendhi describe themselves as underground feminist movement .

Recent post of women of Maldives being forced to wear veil caught my attention..here is a snip

“Now we have a Ministry of Islamic Affairs instead of a Gender Ministry that had a mission of dealing with issues of women and children in the country. The change of ministries indicates the shift of policy importance to the government. This thought is scary particularly seeing a government that took charge on a ticket of enforcing free and fair society. And two years into the governing the view on the streets is far from free and fair with misogyny propagated in the name of Islam. President Nasheed although recently has accepted this worsening situation considers the current propagation of extreme views as freedom and a religious ideology.”

Growing religious extremism in Maldives is something ignored/hidden from the international and regional media. I guess Maldives itself is ignored a lot..only when there is discussion about global warming or exotic tourist destination Maldives comes to attention.

Ali Naafiz presents an in-depth look on radicalization of Maldives and how it is affecting women

“Radicalisation of Maldives society by fundamental ideas has had a huge impact on the condition of women in the society. The once peaceful Maldives is witnessing a new era of misogyny and “enslavement” of women, due to the spread of extremist ideas in the name of Islam, under the newly found freedom of democracy. The public has been misinformed about the actual state of women in Islam and the rights Islam has provided for women in general.

Abusing Qur’an and particularly Islam is not new in Maldives. Many scholars have abused religion, as a means of spreading their own version of Islam in order to attain a hidden agenda. Fundamentalists are acting under the disguise of ‘true Islam’ and interpreting verses

Woman wearing Islamic veil or the Hijab

of the Qur’an in their own ways, to spread misogyny in the country. “

Radical ideas about Islam and role of women, it is clear, is not limited to the traditional hotspots like Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. The venom has reached islands of Maldives too.