Daily Briefs

Photo : The Kathmandu Post

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #31, 06 July 2023, Thursday

PM Dahal criticized for his remarks on India’s role

Coalition parties consider proposing their PM candidates in Thailand

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #31, 06 July 2023, Thursday

By Immaculine Joy Paul C, Melvin George, Ryan Marcus and Lakshmi Parimala H



PM Dahal criticized for his remarks on India’s role

On 3 July, during the launch of the book ‘Roads to the Valley: The Legacy of Sardar Pritam Singh in Nepal,’ a biography of Sardar Pritam Singh, PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal said “He [Singh] reached Delhi several times and held multiple rounds of talks with political leaders in Kathmandu to make me the prime minister.” This statement received criticism from the opposition. They accused Dahal of creating a misconception that Delhi can decide who becomes Nepal’s Prime Minister. The main opposition party CPN-UML demanded the resignation of the Dahal. PM Dahal made a similar controversial statement in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, during a television interview, he said that an alliance between Nepali Congress and the Janata Samajbadi Party would be ‘comfortable for India’. (Nishan Khatiwada, “Off-the-cuff remarks of top leaders court trouble. Dahal’s is latest case,” The Kathmandu Post, 5 July 2023)


Gorkhas not recruited in the Indian Army for the third round

On 5 July, the Print reported that for the third time since last June, Gorkha soldiers were not recruited into the Indian army. India introduced the ‘Agnipath’ Scheme in June previous year. Under this scheme, the armed forces will recruit individuals below the rank of officer, and only 25 per cent of the total recruits will be regularised upon the completion of four years of service. Nepal, claiming that the scheme violated the tripartite agreement between India, Nepal and UK, blocked the first and second rounds of recruitment in July 2022 and February 2023 respectively. (Smruthi Deshpande, “No Gorkha recruitment into Indian Army 3rd time in a row amid India-Nepal deadlock over Agnipath,” The Print, 5 July 2023)



Union leader beaten to death

On 25 June, Shahidul Islam, a union leader, was beaten to death while trying to secure unpaid wages for workers at a factory in Gazipur. The Bangladesh government has been urged to address ongoing violations of garment workers' rights, including anti-union tactics and attacks on union organizers. The United States and European Union have linked Bangladesh's trade preferences to improvements in labor rights. Human Rights Watch emphasized the need for justice, compensation, and improved labor conditions in the country. (“Bangladesh: Labor Activist Killed,” Human Rights Watch, 6 July 2023)



Regime shutdowns nightclubs to counter party-drug flow

On 03 July, the junta regime ordered the shutdown of nightclubs that are infamous for synthetic party drugs until further notice. The UN reports said that after the coup, there was a flood of drugs like ecstasy and ketamine produced by organized crime networks of the Golden Triangle on the Myanmar border. Last month three nightclubs licences were revoked by the Naypyitaw Council because of the same reason. A DJ said: “From what I know, some children of senior [junta] officials died from overdosing on party drugs. And it is also because high-ranking officers [from the military] have been increasingly involved in this business.” Lieutenant-General Soe Htut, chairman of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, admitted that the efforts of the regime to fight drugs had failed. (“Junta Orders Nightlife Shutdown as Narcotics Flood Myanmar,” The Irrawaddy, 05 July 2023)


Three army brotherhood would protect Chinese investments, says The Irrawaddy

On 1 July, three ethnic armies said that they would protect the Chinese investments as the pressure from Beijing mounted. The announcement was jointly given by the “three army brotherhood” which comprises Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA) Northern Shan State is controlled by the MNDAA and TNLA while the western Rakhine state is under the AA. Last month, the three army brotherhood representatives had joined the regime’s peace talks at China’s request. TNLA spokesperson Lt-Colonel Mai Aik Kyaw said that China does not want fights on the border regions to avoid any disruption of trade. The resistance forces are discontented with the Chinese relationship with the regime and some forces in the central region threatened the projects in the region.. (“Three Ethnic Armies Pledge to Protect Chinese Investment in Myanmar,” The Irrawaddy, 05 July 2023)



Coalition parties consider proposing their PM candidates

On 5 July, Bangkok Post reported that an uncertainty arises over Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s ability to gather more than 375 votes to win the prime minister post as the Move Forward Party has only 151 MPs elected in the parliament.  House speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said: "Parliament must convene until a prime minister is elected. Mr Pita may not be the only candidate.” He also said that if Pita could not gather enough support in the first round of voting, further rounds will be held until a candidate secures the required support in the joint sitting which will be convened on 13 July. The Pheu Thai Party which got the highest number of MPs after MFP with 141 formerly supported the candidacy of Pita and would consider nominating their candidate if he fails to win support. Palang Pracharat Party and United Thai Nation Party also would consider nominating their candidates. (Aekarach Sattaburuth, “PM vote picks size the field,” Bangkok Post, 06 July 2023)



Nasheed wants himself and Yameen to abstain from running for elections

On 5 July, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed took part in the inaugural congress of The Democrats party. In the meeting, he said that both himself and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayyoom should refrain from contesting in the Presidential election. He stated that this would serve towards the best interests of the country's people. Further, he said that instead of taking part in elections, “we should unite and strive together to fulfill the aspirations of the Maldivian people.” (“Hassan Latheef appointed as The Democrat's interim Chairperson,” Avas.mv, 6 July 2023)



Government to ask for “Innocent passage” to India for multi-day fisheries

On 6 July, Daily Mirror reported that Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda stated that Sri Lanka will ask India’s support to secure “an innocent passage” through its territorial waters which will aid Sri Lankan fishermen for their multi-day fisheries. He said that the matter will be taken forward during the President's visit to India later this month. Currently, Sri Lankan fishermen enter the Arabian Sea going around the Maldives. If a passage through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is secured, it will save them 400 nautical miles. (“SL seeks innocent passage via Indian territorial waters to enter Arabian Sea,” Daily Mirror, 6 July 2023)



US Navy states that Iran attempted to seize oil tankers

On 5 July, Al Jazeera reported that the Iranian forces attempted to seize two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy stated that a guided missile destroyer, the USS McFaul drove the Iranian vessels. The US Navy stated that they had received distress from the oil tankers. The US ship fired on the vessels but did not inflict serious damage. Iran has long been accused for such seizures. According to the US, Iran has “attacked or seized” nearly 20 such vessels since 2021. The US has increased its presence in the Strait of Hormuz since May, citing the growing Iranian efforts to seize commercial vessels. ("US Navy says it repelled Iranian effort to seize oil tankers," Al Jazeera, 5 July 2023)


ICJ confirms case over Iran downing flight

On 5 July, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) confirmed that Canada, UK, Sweden and Ukraine have filed court proceedings against Iran, accusing it of downing Flight PS752 in 2020.  The ICJ, additionally, confirmed that the applicants accuse Iran of failing to take practical measures and of not being transparent enough. The Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down with two missiles shortly after its takeoff from Iran on 8 January 2020, killing 176 people on board. Iran claims it to be an accident caused by human error in operating a defense system. ("ICJ confirms international case over Iran downing of Flight PS752," Al Jazeera, 5 July 2023)



UK special forces under inquiry on conduct in Afghanistan

On 5 July, Al Jazeera reported that the UK defence ministry has confirmed that British special forces are under investigation on allegations of unlawful activities in Afghanistan. Two RMP investigations, Operation Northmoor and Operation Cestro are expected to be probed. The British forces were accused of killing eight Afghan civilians. ("UK’s Afghanistan inquiry to centre on ‘conduct’ of special forces," Al Jazeera, 5 July 2023)



Other Daily Briefs