South Asia Strategic Trend Tracker October 01 – 16 | Security Risks Asia Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

South Asia Strategic Trend Tracker October 01 – 16

Published Oct 17, 2020
Updated Oct 17, 2020

South Asia Trend Tracker highlights key developments and trends in the region summarised for the period from October 01 to 16 in all countries including Myanmar less India [For India see India Trend Tracker] linking past trends and cumulative assessment. The review includes political, economic, defence, security events that impact stability in point form.

Country/Trend Development Past Trends Cumulative Assessment
Afghanistan      
Intra Afghan Talks Return of Taliban Emirate unacceptable  – Abdullah – Oct 16 Ghani in Qatar – 06 Khalilzad meets Taliban in Doha – 02 Post inauguration agenda setting progress Long and disputed talks process
  Talks held – 16   Taliban inflexible on ideology and foreign involvement Contentious process
Violence Helmand – Battle 09 – 14   NATO, UNAMA, others urge Taliban to stop violence – Oct 16 Fight and talk strategy   Assassinations, IED attacks, control of road communications, attacks isolated pickets, SF strike Taliban concentrations Rejection of appeal for cease fire
US Taliban endorse Trump re-election    
Afghanistan Pakistan Relations US NATO officials have discussion with Pak Army Chief – 08 Long history of confrontation Attempts at reconciliation, political trade and economic front. Progress needs to be watched given past history
India Abdullah India visit – 06 – 09    
Security Forces US JCS confirms condition based pull out – 12 Plans to disband local police concerns – 03 US dismantles bases – 03 Security forces reforms pending Attempts for security reforms particularly in policing.
Bangladesh      
Politics Nil Relief due to COVID 19 Sustained legal pressure on BNP leader to continue
Myanmar Relations Myanmar accuses  Bangladeshharbouring Rohingya, AA groups – 13 Rohingya killed in clashes in camp – 06 Concerns due to Rohingya exodus on Myanmar Army ops in Arakan   Rohingya remains major issue of contention Myanmar Army ops against Arakan Army, tensions likely to continue   Rohingya repatriation remains major concern
China Bangladesh Presidents Xi – Hamid tele talk – 04 Border killings remains sensitive     River water sharing amongst other contentious issues Coordination essential by BSF and BGB against border crime, cross border smuggling   Attempts for activating multiple groups for progress
Terrorism Encounter UPDF – 13 Neo JMB cadres spun from new elements of JMB Countering influence of radicalisation and elimination of cells essential
COVID 19 Bangladesh refuses to fund Sinovac vaccine – 12 Bangladesh strategy for containment remained poor Major challenge likely in winter, management a concern
Bangladesh US Relations Push for Indo Pacific during Biegun visit – 16    
Bhutan      
COVID 19 impact His Majesty returns to Thimpu after tour – 14 High cases in Indian establishments – 08 Relief Kidu extended by a month – 06 Major impact on economy of COVID 19 Challenges need holistic approach international support.
Maldives      
Tourism 9 Islands open guest houses – 15 GDP Fall – 51 % – 01 Tourism rejuvenation post COVID 19 Focus on tourism to revive economy
India Relations Nasheed names India Out protestors as Extremists Emergency Motion on India Maldives relations rejected by Parliament – 07 Info of Indian aircraft not released by MNDF – 01 Proposal was delayed due to resistance by past government   Expanding defence cooperation Sustained India Maldives relations   Opposition concerned over rising Indian military influence.
China Relations Maldives China discuss eco cooperation – Oct 16 Large loans for infrastructure build up from China raised concerns China push back against calls for lowering debt burden on small states
COVID 19 Emergency extended Nov 05 – 06    
Myanmar      
Elections Clashes political workers during campaigning – 12 Contested campaign Greater electoral contestation than 2015, NLD to remain under pressure
COVID 19                          Surge continues due to campaigning other factors Surge in August and Sep Elections related activity may see surge in COVID 19
Ethnic insurgency   Rakhine violence increases – 14 Myanmar mil strengthens border police on Bangladesh border – 11 Heavy clashes = 07 Cease fire in view of Panglong elections etc Arakan Army and ARSA excluded Clashes continue despite cease fire
India Relations India declares allocation of submarine – 15 Indian COAS and FS visit- 04-05 – Port investment to Myanmar    
Nepal      
Governance Cabinet reshuffle – 14 Post agreement of NCP changes PM Oli retains loyalists in key portfolios
Political Developments NCP leaders resent continued PM Oli auth – cabinet appts – Oct 16 Oli Dahal talks – 08 NCP leader lost parliamentary elections inducted through appointment route Part of political compromises of PM Oli
Nepal China Boundary Tatopani border point closed – 06 Possible losses in Humla in North with Pillar 11 missing Some sources linking as counter to India Nepal boundary differences
Nepal India APF sets up border outposts – Oct 16 Indian Army Chief visit announced Nov – 14 Joint Meeting India Nepal security agencies – 06    
Pakistan      
Foreign Policy No Troops fighting in Armenia – 03 Mr Imran Khan consistent anti India approach ostensible support to Kashmir Fake numbers anti India propaganda
COVID 19 Surge in mid Oct – 16 Declining trend of COVID19 Opening of education economy facilitated
Political PDM Gujaranwala rally – Oct 16 Asim Bajwa resigns – 12 Army Chief – Support to government as per Constitution – 10 PM Imran alleges opposition wants to cannot control ISI   Opposition baiting Imran Government, Unity in Opposition parties remains an issue General Consensus on FATF Bills Army controlling influence on politics in Pakistan unlikely to be weakened   Diversion of opposition thrust as supporting India etc by government Army.
Gilgit Baltistan COAS visit to Gilgit Baltistan – 07 Attempts to formalise accession Likely to be contested by India, Impact on CPEC and J & K issue in UN
Defence Admiral Niazi – CNS – 07 India Bogey constant of Pak military Sustained defence focus on countering India
Economy IMF cautions low growth Heavy carry forward of debt by successive governments Loss of strategic autonomy with debt burden
Terrorism 13 SF, 7 Private Guards killed – 2 incidents – Oct 16 Deobandi Maulvi shot in Karachi – 10    
Sri Lanka      
UNHRC Sri Lanka responds to UNHRC comments – 01 Change in policy of new government on reconciliation Priority limited for reconciliation
Political 20thAmdtParl debate – 20,21 Resistance by civil society, government has two third majority for passage Passage imminent, increase powers of executive presidency
India Sri Lanka relations Indian Ambassador meets Sri Lanka PM – 16 India emphasises on India First policy Differences over Chinese influence, 13th Constitutional Amendment and Tamil rights
Defence Army drafts Way Forward Strategy    
COVID 19 Spike – 06    

This can be a valuable one-point resource that covers major stability and conflict trends in the South Asian region which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

Contributions to capacity building in management of change and otherwise is also reflected with current development or event, linking with past trends and a cumulative assessment is provided.