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South Asia #1

  • The blue economy
  • Garment factories adapt
  • Sri Lankan migrant workers
  • Afghanistan’s big question
Published every Friday

Open Democracy

COVID-19 and the Garment Industry’s Invisible Hands

The pandemic has unveiled an opaque global supply chain that is propped up by exploited labour and a quagmire of third-party contractors.

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Nikkei Asian Review

In jab at India, China reiterates claim over Bhutan nature park

BEIJING — China has doubled down on its territorial claim on a nature preserve in Bhutan, a move seen by some as a thinly veiled message over its border disputes with India.

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Editor’s Note:

The India-China border dispute has been one of the most discussed issues in South Asia in recent months. However, not much has been reported about the role played by the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan. Tsukasa Hadano writes about the latest flare-up, as China claims a piece of land in Bhutan.

Geopolitical Monitor

Afghanistan’s Three Trillion Dollar Question

For three days in May, the streets of Kabul were peaceful. No bullets exchanged between the Taliban and government forces. No bombs dropped. The ceasefire, which coincided with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, was significant not only for its lack of casualties, but also in that it laid the groundwork for a prisoner exchange between the two warring sides. This was the first major diplomatic showing between the parties since the Taliban rose to power in the mid-90s.

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The Diplomat

COVID and Contractors: Nepalis in an American War Zone

Few Americans are aware that the war effort in Afghanistan relies on foreign contractors – many of them from Nepal.

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Editor’s Note:

The war in Afghanistan has been a widely-discussed topic around the world and an important one for understanding the region. However, not many are aware of the vital role played by the Nepalese contractors, Peter Gill reports.

South China Morning Post

Ladakh stand-off need not presage war between China and India

If these nuclear states and rivals want to manage, stabilise and eventually transcend the security dilemma, they must incrementally build trust.

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Times of India

Bihar: Many Champaran villages hit by floods

BETTIAH: While incessant rain since Sunday has claimed 114 lives and four dozen people are reported missing in the wake of landslides in the upper reaches of Nepal, the turbulent waters of the Narayani, Gandak in India, now threaten lives and property in the catchment areas of Bihar’s West Champaran and neigbouring Kushinagar district of UP.

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Editor’s Note:

Incessant rain and floods have claimed hundreds of lives in India during 2020. Here Abhay Mohan Jha, Chandra Bhushan Pandey and Tirthraj Kushwaha provide the latest updates on the situation and warn about further damage in the coming days.

Pakistan Today

Blue economy: parallel option for economic growth

The worsening economic situation is unfortunately not supporting the economic health of the country. On top of that the covid-19 pandemic has brought in additional challenges to the prevailing economic situation.

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Al Jazeera

Putting the attacks on Islamabad’s first Hindu temple in context

The backlash is coming not from ‘extremists’ but nationalists who were made to believe all Hindus are their enemies.

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Press Trust of India

Pakistan With Annual Fertility Rate of 3.6 Among Top Two Fastest Growing South Asian Nations: Report

Strife-torn Afghanistan topped the chart among the South Asian countries with 4.5 children per couple, according to the 2020 World Population Data Sheet released recently by the US Population Reference Bureau.

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Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

Wage theft of migrant workers

Several Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Nepal have been organising repatriation flights for their nationals but the numbers are too high to cope.

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