After almost 40 years of intermittent and fruitless talks, Bangladesh and Myanmar appear close to a final settlement of their maritime boundary dispute in the Bay of Bengal. Frustrated with stalled negotiations, Bangladesh submitted the case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in 2009. After a series of oral hearings in September, which included numerous technical arguments, the court recently adjourned and plans to deliver a ruling in March 2012. The speed with which the case has progressed is in stark contrast to other maritime boundary disputes in Asia, but that is not surprising: There […]
Japan recently moved to provide aid to the rail sector in Bangladesh, with as much as $1.7 billion in infrastructure funds under discussion. In an email interview, Purnendra Jain, a professor at the University of Adelaide’s Center for Asian Studies, discussed Japan-South Asia relations. WPR: What is the state of Japan’s relations with South Asian countries, and who are its major interlocutors? Purnendra Jain: Japan’s overall relations with the South Asian nations have had a rather low profile throughout the postwar period. Japan became a lead supplier of official development assistance (ODA) to a number of countries — such as […]
Indian and Mongolian troops are currently holding a two-week military exercise in Mongolia, following a visit by the Indian army chief to the Central Asian country. In an email interview, Sharad K. Soni, an assistant professor of Mongolian and Central Asian studies at the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, discussed India-Mongolia relations. WPR: What is the recent history of India-Mongolia relations? Sharad K. Soni: The two countries, known as “spiritual” neighbors, have been in close contact not only on the basis of their historical relationship, but also on the basis of post-Cold War realities. The Treaty of […]
India’s government is defending its decision to raise fuel prices for the twelfth time in two years. It says the hikes are needed to ease its budget deficit, but the main opposition party says the latest five percent increase will harm the budget in the long run.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent two-day state visit to Bangladesh has been pathbreaking in more ways than one. Not only is Singh’s visit to Dhaka the first by an Indian prime minister since 1999, Singh is the first prime minister from India’s 126-year-old Congress party to visit his country’s eastern neighbor in nearly 40 years. Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, won independence in 1971 with Indian military help. But relations between the two South Asian nations have since been bedeviled by mutual mistrust and border clashes that have thwarted any attempts at substantive commercial or political engagement. Until recently, New […]
Ending a months-long dispute over oil payments, Iran has now resumed oil shipments to India, with Turkey stepping in as a key facilitator to resolve the impasse. Turkey’s Halkbank is currently routing Indian oil payments to Iran that had been blocked by U.S. sanctions; according to reports, more than 80 percent of the $5 billion in accumulated arrears have been cleared. The tripartite arrangement, which comes amid regional tensions over Syria’s future, indicates that India and its overall energy interests are emerging as a key variable in the strategic calculus of Middle Eastern capitals. Previously characterized mainly by drift, the […]
Prior to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, the nuclear energy industry was poised for a global expansion of unprecedented size. Proponents of nuclear energy still see a bright future in a world where electrical demand grows hand in hand with a burgeoning global middle class and everybody wants to reduce CO2 emissions. But vociferous industry opponents now claim nuclear power has been dealt a Chernobyl-like deathblow. Unsurprisingly, most pessimists are found in the advanced West — witness Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power — while most optimists are found in emerging economies such as China and India. […]