During the Bay of Bengal Economic Dialogue 2021 on, Post-COVID Challenges in the Bay of Bengal Region, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House addresses the staggered growth of BIMSTEC, whilst also highlighting its potential as a regional grouping. He identifies the lack of political commitment, bureaucratic inertia and insufficient engagement of the Third Space and disregard for the region as a community as the chief obstacles to a successful initiative.
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Border regions and communities, some of them far from the heartland, constitute India’s first line of defence, a critical link in its national security. India’s 15,000-km borders touch seven neighbouring countries: Afghanistan (abutting Gilgit), Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar. Border regions have their own local dynamics, often shaped by subnational and religious identities that do not necessarily align neatly with political borders. Some also serve as flourishing corridors for illegal smuggling of goods and humans. Technology plays an important role in better protecting borders, but in some cases it has made borders obsolete. Despite their importance, border regions do not receive the full attention of the Indian mainstream, except when border tensions arise.
A recent trip to Cox’s Bazar showed that despite numerous health, social and security challenges, the Rohingya refugees are reluctant to return to Myanmar. India will have to walk a tightrope, keeping in mind humanitarian, security, and geopolitical priorities
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Myanmar gave the bilateral a substantive boost, but the exodus of over half a million Rohingya refugees dominated the discourse. India’s response has shown a balancing of compulsions, both humanitarian and strategic
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit India beginning April 7 at a time when her country is confronted with Daesh-inspired terrorism. In the interests of regional stability, it is critical that the two countries maintain a united front against extremism
Even nearly 70 years after independence, the people of Myanmar are struggling to complete nation-building and resolve the Rohingya issue. Is the million-strong community an ethnic group native to Myanmar or is it of South Asian origin, and, therefore, a part of Bangladesh? Evading the issue may not hasten national reconciliation
The recent BRICS summit and BIMSTEC outreach highlighted some laudable maritime endeavours linking geographically distant, emerging economies within the grouping. The BIMSTEC platform is also crucial to India's efforts to create a peaceful Bay of Bengal community through economic and cultural linkages.
The recent terror attacks in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, turned the spotlight on the country’s increasingly violent and volatile political situation. The interplay of deep political divisions, the rise of radicalised student politics, religious extremism, which the government has failed to rein in, and the spread of trans-national terror networks has created a toxic cocktail in Bangladesh with dangerous implications for India.
With the possibility of the Jamaat-e-Islami being officially banned through a resolution in the Bangladesh parliament, what will happen to its followers and activists? Will it cease to exist as a political and ideological force or, in the absence of a political platform, will its ideological followers strive to find alternate ways to make their existence felt?
At the recent counter-terrorism conference in Jaipur, a star-studded galaxy of policy makers, security analysts and law enforcement officials debated on tackling the Daesh threat. Some of the most positive steps to counter the terror propaganda came from South East Asia and India’s neighbourhood