India’s Mixed Signals to China on Terrorism

India failed yet again to have Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar sanctioned because of a ‘technical hold’ by China at the UN Security Council’s 1267 Committee. Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (retd) V K Singh chose the occasion to send out a tweet asking if China’s stance was ‘a reflection of the soft position of some leaders & political parties’[1] implying, of course, Indian opposition leaders and parties.

The Minister’s ill-advised tweet is a clear indication of this government’s political priorities focused on settling domestic political scores in election season and a preference to deal with Pakistan – clearly the more profitable issue from an electoral point of view – rather than the longer-term and harder challenge of China.

The MEA statement in response to the outcome of 1267 Committee meeting did not even name China directly as being responsible.[2] This, when it has previously criticised China by name.[3] Instead of taking a consistent position on China, the Minister has decided to milk the occasion for domestic politics by imputing motives to his party’s political opponents. Continue reading India’s Mixed Signals to China on Terrorism

Migration and Exile at the Thai-Myanmar Border

A short account of a trip that I went on between 28 July and 6 August 2011 along with Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman and Brian Orland. As all good trips go, it was decided at virtually the 11th hour. Mirza and I met at a coffee shop pretty much decided we were headed to Northeast India in a few days time. There must have been something in the coffee, for we swung from Tripura to Thailand in the space of a few minutes and Brian then joined us because he happened to be in the neighbourhood. The account below was originally written for a strategic affairs think-tank and so does not do full justice to our trip that was full of interesting people, places, and happenings. Perhaps another time.

Thailand has been involved in a number of ways in developments across the border in Burma. While trade and commerce through multiple points on the border form a very big part of their bilateral relationship, also coming through the borders has been a steady stream of Burmese refugees and migrant workers. Prominent points of contact include the Three Pagodas Pass and Mae Sot, both in western Thailand and Mae Sai in northern Thailand. Continue reading Migration and Exile at the Thai-Myanmar Border

A Parliament for Northeast India

“A Parliament for the North East,” Assam Tribune (Guwahati), 20 June 2010, p. 6. (co-authored with Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman).


Extract: To counter the role of the central government as a manipulator of intra-Northeast Indian politics in order to serve supposedly ‘national’ interests, ensure that minorities including women are not marginalized, escape institutional inertia and help the people of the region to deal with the increasing effects of globalization, both positive and negative, Northeast India requires a regional parliament that will function within the ambit of the Indian Constitution but will aim to give the region a weight that is more than the sum of its parts.


One such solution could be the formation of a North-East Parliament (NEP) where every ethnic community, small or big, would be represented proportionally across the state boundaries of Northeast India and perhaps include also the hill regions of West Bengal. The proposed NEP would help ethnic communities to make their voices heard in a recognized democratic platform and allow for the formation of cross-state coalitions (much like what happens in the European Parliament) over inter-state and regional issues such as water, environment and infrastructure development among others. More importantly, with adequate powers of legislation and oversight of regional and central government institutions, the NEP would provide a forum where communities have the opportunity to talk and hold the central and state governments to account before they had to pick up the gun.

See the full article at  Jabin-Mirza-AssamTribune-NEP.