The ASEAN embrace

India can act as a vital bridge between South and East Asia Prime Minister Narendra Modi used India’s Republic Day to host heads of state/government of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As India’s ‘Look East Policy’, matures into an ‘Act East Policy’, a strong relationship with ASEAN is no… Read More

#MeToo momentum shows there’s much more to do for gender equality before #Time’sUp

Sex abuse scandals have hit the headlines because of star power, both in the film and sports industry. However, ordinary women who have been subject to similar abuse relive the same moments every day, without it being reported or prosecuted. In many Asian countries, the culture of male sexual entitlement and the social norms empower… Read More

Pushing Trump’s button: How Mueller’s investigation could prompt North Korea conflict

US President Donald Trump talks to the media at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on December 24. Trump’s recent message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about the size of his “nuclear button” stirred concern throughout much of the world. Photo: AP While North Korean leader Kim Jong-un struck a conciliatory note in… Read More

Myanmar must accept the Rohingya Muslims as its own

An unprecedented 400,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25 to flee persecution and death in Myanmar. Bangladesh, itself densely populated and mired in rural poverty, is struggling to manage the massive influx. Most of the refugees are encamped in Cox’s Bazar, a resource-strapped district in southern Bangladesh. With the country already hosting tens… Read More

Reaching out to neighbours

As ASEAN celebrates 50, reflections on SAARC’s failed decades The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is among the world’s largest regional intergovernmental organisations. Since its inception, the countries in the region have become more integrated through enhanced intraregional trade and connectivity. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), geographically proximate to ASEAN, started… Read More

What we’ve achieved and the challenges ahead – 50 years of ASEAN

As ASEAN marks its 50th Anniversary, the bloc’s economic achievements with regards to intra-regional trade and connectivity have been remarkable. Today Southeast Asia has a combined GDP of about $2.4 trillion. Overall trade has grown from $10 billion in 1967 to $2.3 trillion in 2015. The GDP per capita has increased by 63.2%, from 2007… Read More

Bangladesh bears brunt of Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingya

Since Aug 25, over 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the Myanmar state of Rakhine into neighbouring Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been harbouring the Rohingya for decades, bringing the total asylum count, according to unofficial sources, to around a staggering 900,000. No other developing nation has hosted this many Rohingya refugees for so many years. The United… Read More

The Lady and the Exodus

The escalating campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s military in Rakhine State is threatening to undermine the country’s ongoing democratic transition – and to tarnish irrevocably the reputation of the country’s de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. But she still wields enough moral authority to act. DHAKA – Myanmar is in crisis. The… Read More

The disaster next door: on the Rohingya issue

India’s stance on the Rohingya refugees undermines its ties with Bangladesh and its regional leadership In a span of two weeks, almost 300,000 Rohingya have crossed over to Bangladesh from the northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, putting Bangladesh under immense strain and compelling the refugees to find shelter in squalid, unsanitary camps scattered along the… Read More

The geopolitical landscape of Asia Pacific is changing dramatically. Here’s how

Two important events are having a significant influence on existing security arrangements in Asia Pacific. The result of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), led by President Xi Jinping, and US President Trump’s abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is that many Asian states are re-orientating their long-held policy towards the two giants. Vague commitments… Read More