Sri Lanka

Letter from Sri Lanka: Reconciliation, Resources and Elephants

Richard Fell CVO is a former ambassador and Books Review Editor of the Asian Affairs Journal. Here, he reports on a recent visit to Sri Lanka.

I recently spent two weeks in Sri Lanka with a distinguished group of New Zealanders and Australians. Though primarily a holiday, we had opportunities to discuss developments in the country with business leaders, politicians and other opinion formers, and of course we kept our eyes, ears and minds open during our visit.

The current government celebrated its first year in office during our visit. It is a coalition of the two main parties, the first in South Asia. Its stated objectives include a return to good governance including tackling corruption, and an economic development strategy which includes attracting more foreign investment from a wider number of sources. Continue reading

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Bangladesh

Bangladesh: under militant siege

Dr Amit Ranjan is a research fellow of the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi. Here, he considers the reasons behind the upsurge in militant violence in Bangladesh.

Over the last decade, Bangladesh has turned into a militant hotspot where home grown militants have killed thousands of people. Their main tactics have included petrol bomb attacks on groups or targeted individual killings, but on 1 July 2016 they, on the lines of operations carried out by the terrorists in Mumbai in 2008 (as well as Paris in 2015 and in Istanbul in 2016), carried out a much fuller operation.  Raising a slogan ‘Allah O Akbar’, and armed with crude bombs and swords, seven militants stormed into a popular eatery, Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave. There they held about sixty hostages, including many foreign citizens. To meet such an unprecedented situation Operation Thunderbolt was carried out by the commandos from the Bangladesh Army, Navy, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams, the elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB). Continue reading

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