Improving relations may also herald a new beginning for eastern sub-region of south-asia: BBNI (Bang, Bhutan, Nepal, India). Bangladesh is keen on BBNI cooperation in hydropower sector. Further with strong initiative from India there could be a revival of BIMSTEC also, and building linkages with South-east Asia. The modernisation of ports, imporved air connectivity have brought both regions closer. South Asia can also become the crossroads of Asia connecting South-east with West and Central Asia. [Sanjay Baru, BS, 29/8/11]
30/8/11- Step towards enhancing trade- trucks from both sides would be allowed to come upto 200m into anothers territory for offloading instead of stopping at the border itself.Bilateral Trade was $3.9billion in 2010-11 from $2.7bn.
21/8/11- India and Bangladesh signed the border maps finalising the 4156 km long frontier. This is a resolution of an important dispute between the two countries. PM Singh is to visit Bangladesh in a fortnight.
31/7/11 - Coordinated Border Management Plan  signed to reduce incidents of killings and crime along the border. 
   - Border guards of the two countries will share information on vulnerable areas. 
   - Indian forces received strict information not to fire on illegal crossing of border by either Indians or Bangladeshis.
Other border issues:
   - undemarcated 6.5 km 
   - 162 enclaves - 51 in Bangladesh and 111 in India. Total pop of enclaves is 51,000.
   - demarcation of maritime boundary

24/7/11 - India and Bang revived border-haat in Kalaichar on the border. These were traditional haats but were shut down during the Bangladesh liberation war 1971. Haats are expected to improve bilateral trade, strengthen economic and cultural ties. Bilateral trade estimated capacity  of $20million. Locally grown and manufactured products would be sold - both currencies acceptable. This is another instance of the warming of ties, after Shaikh Hasina took over.
               Bangladesh has also decided to honour Indira Gandhi for her role in their liberation - confer Bangladesh Swadhinata Sammanona.
               Earlier India set up A Land-Customs Station and  7 integrated checkposts along the border. The ICP will have a modular design, dedicated lanes for each process, separate gates for traffic across the border, self-evident routes, guide signage and administrative and facility area.
Ties between two countries have warmed considerably after Sheikh Hasina came to power. However for the long term, India should cultivate friendly relations with people across the political spectrum of Bangladesh and not remain dependent on a single political entity. 


BRICS nations stand united in their stand on Libya and Syria. They stand for ending violence, ensuring safety of civilian population, guaranteeing human rights, and observing international humanitarian standards. They sent a team to Syria in Aug'11 to bring pressure on Pres.Assad to  demand that the government should stop using force against protestors. They have demanded that all sides should respect human rights and engage in dialogue. In particular they are against a repeat of Libya-like situation in Syria, where foreign armies were engaged.
13/7/11- Health Ministers of the BRICS countries have agreed to oppose any moves by developed countries to tighten Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) rules which could threaten availability and affordability of life-saving drugs.   Recently there have been efforts by pharmaceutical giants to get included clauses (data exclusivity) which would forbid the Indian pharmaceutical industry to use available formulae of already patented products, especially medicines, to manufacture generic, low-cost copies and make them available to patients in developing countries.

India is one of the leading producers of generic drugs in the world and produces about 85% of first-generation antiretroviral drugs used in the world. An effort to include data exclusivity clauses was made in the recent India-EU Trade deal but was rejected by India. International organizations like WHO, MSF, UNAIDS have lent support to this. [The Hindu, Inter Press Service-July 10th report]


13/7/11- India has decided to strengthen relations with erstwhile Warsaw Pact countries to tap into their expertize in high technology areas. Having been part of erstwhile Soviet Union they specialize in niche areas. India hosted the PM of Slovenia and hopes to acquire some nuclear-related technologies from them. [Slovenia gets 60-70% of its electricity from nuclear energy]. Relations with Czech Republic and Bulgaria are expected to yield similar benefits.  With all these countries economic relations are stronger than political relations. [The Hindu]

14/6/11- Slovenian PM Borhut Pahor visited India. Expects to increase trade with India and invite Indian investments in tourism, health, infrastructure, energy.  India presently enjoys a trade surplus with Slovenia. India and Slovenia signed a Double-Taxation Avoidance Agreement to boost investments 

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5/9/11- China is working to boost the economy of the Xinjiang region, a north-west province bordering PoK. This has led to increasing trade links between PoK and China. China has already begun investing in infrastructure projects in the Gilgit-Baltistan region- building the Karakoram highway. There are concerns that this may cloud China's stance on Kashmir. Till now China maintains that the dispute is between Paksitan and India and it is for the two countries to resolve the same. Regarding their involvement in PoK, Chinese officials maintain it is 'without prejudice' to the dispute. However some reports in Chinese official media have referred to the area adjoining Xinjiang as 'Pakistan's north-eastern border'.
8/8/2011- In a public diplomacy push, Indian embassy in China has started tweeting on Weibos (Chinese Twitter equivalent). Aimed at the younger demographic to project a modern image of India. This will reach out to Chinese public directly and circumvent the state-controlled media.

China's Infrastructure:
  1. Each year China spends more than $500 billion, or 9 per cent of its GDP, on infrastructure, compared with 5 per cent of GDP in Europe and 2.4 per cent of GDP in the United States.
  2. China opened the world's longest sea bridge, the 42-km Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, and launched the Beijing-Shanghai highspeed railway service, which makes the 1,318-km journey in less than five hours.
  3. Besides being a growth driver itself, infrastructure has strengthened China's supply chains and made it the most attractive place for outsourcing manufacturing.
  4. Drawbacks:
  5. China's  massive spending has not been cost-effective. It should not spend indiscriminately on infrastructure, regardless of its economic costs and benefits.
  6. In a one-party political system which has enormous capacity for resource mobilisation but little political accountability, the infrastructure sector is the most liable to political manipulation, waste and corruption
  7.  Autocrats usually can tax the people heavily and seize their property with little or no compensation, they have access to more resources.
  8.  China has unmatched capacity in mobilising the country's savings and faces no legal constraints in forcibly evicting people from their land and homes, building infrastructure in China is much faster and less costly (since farmers and urban residents are under-compensated for the loss of their land and homes).
  9. Infrastructure boom inevitably breeds enormous corruption.In Chinese provinces, more than two-thirds of the provincial transportation chiefs (who are in charge of building highways) have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment because of corruption.
  10. China may be good at expanding the quantity of its infrastructure, but its quality remains questionable. Ex-The alleged use of substandard materials has raised safety concerns and forced the government to lower the speed from 350 km to 250-300 km an hour
  11. Many infrastructure projects have dubious economic benefits but harmful environmental impact.Ex- No reliable cost-benefit analysis has been performed for 3 gorges project. Dam has played no role in mitigating drought or flood. On the contrary, the reservoir has been severely polluted and is blamed for unusual weather patterns, landslides and earthquakes in the region.
  12.  The Chinese government admitted in late June that local governments had borrowed debts equivalent to 27 per cent of GDP in financing infrastructure projects, many of which will not be economically viable. Indeed, the huge debt accumulated by the Chinese state on its infrastructure binge has become a huge financial risk for the country.
  13. Source: Summarised by 

9/8/2011: China has provided strong support to Sri Lankan govt in light of the criticism it faced for the war against LTTE. Pres.Rajapakse is making a second visit to China within a year, highlighting the growing importance of this relationship. The visit assumes significance also in that SL is trying to garner international support in the face of a new UN report accusing the SL govt of war-crimes. 
China has emerged as the country's biggest aid donor. It is building big infrastructure projects- Hambantota Port, laying railroads and highways, developing second phase of Colombo port. 
Such intensive Chinese interest in Sri Lanka has caused concern in India- doubts that China is implementing its 'string of pearls' theory.  


16/7/11 – US recognized the Libyan Opposition represented by the Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya. This will help release of funds to the TNC. This was decided after a meeting of the ‘Libyan Contact Group’ in Istanbul- a pro-opposition group which includes over 30 countries, regional organizations and international organizations. However negotiations and talks with the Gaddafi govt in Tripoli will continue. China and Russia who have been opposed to the NATO military intervention in Libya did not attend the Istanbul meeting.

20/8/11- Parliamentarians from India and Pakistan have jointly called for a consolidation of the outcome of the Composite Dialogue. They stressed strengthening of people-to-people contacts and boosting economic ties.
28/7/11- The recently concluded Foreign Mins talks resulted in a few CBMs (confidence building measures) mainly dealing with LOC trade. The India-Pakistan Joint Commission will be revived to expand the ambit of issues under discussion.   
However concerns remained about the slow movement of prosecution of Mumbai blast accused.
24/7/11- At a SAARC meeting Chidambaram stated that no country can be absolved of responsibility if it claims that terrorist acts were carried out by non-state actors. Every country has a responsibility of stopping terror attacks emanating from its soil.
Gilani, in response to Clinton's statement asking India to play a leadership role in Asia-Pacific, said that Pak doesnt want any 'chieftain' in the area.
India has expressed keenness to improve people-to-people contacts in the forthcoming Foreign Mins talks.
16/7/11- Gilani hails resolve of Pakistan and India to continue talks and not be deterred by the terrorist attacks in Bombay (July).

11/7/11- PM Gilani referred to India as the 'most important neighbour'. Gilani continued by appreciating the ongoing dialogue and hoped that it would be "a sustained, substantive and result-oriented process....where India would have to play a more positive and accommodating role. India would have to address the legitimate security concerns of Pakistan". That Gilani was accompanied by the Army Chief Kayani shows that his speech had the security establishments approval. [The Hindu]

25/7/11: reports have emerged in US that ISI has been intimidating Pak-origin US citizens from speaking against and spreading negative views about  the ISI and military. Journalists and scholars have received repeated threats of harm to their family in Pak if they fail to comply. These activities of ISI have been interpreted as Pak unease at a perceived decrease of their influence in the US.

22/7/11: Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US citizen of Kashmiri origin and advocate of Kashmiri secession was arrested by the FBI. It was stated that the ISI had been funding his organization and that he was charged with lobbying for the Pakistani government without authorisation. The arrest of Fai and the ensuing negative publicity of Pakistan has strained relations with US further, and Pakistan has registered its concerns over the slander campaign. Implications being drawn are: 
- FBI has been wanting to arrest Fai and associate for long time but has been restrained by the state dept for fear of further straining ties with Pak.
- Also the timing of the arrest, when Clinton was visiting India, is being viewed in Pakistan as indicative of a possible shift in US' stance on Kashmir. 
- One view is that US wants the Pak military to tone down its anti-American rhetoric. Further that this has been done to pressurise Pakistan to release the army doctor who has been arrested for helping the CIA uncover Osama Bin Laden.

14/7/11: Pak intelligence chied Ahmad Shuja Pasha visits US to rebuild strained relations.

13/7/11: Pak Defence Minister has said that military aid withdrawal will be followed by a withdrawal of Pak troops from the Pak-Afghan border. Part of the 800 million US$ aid is spent on reimbursemet for expenses incurred in war on terror.[The Hindu]

10/7/11: US suspends $800 million military aid to Pakistan

8/7/11: US military chief claims Islamabad sanctioned the killing of Pak journalist Saleem Shahzad for exposing links between Pak military and al-Qaeda.

May 2011: US Navy Seals stage an operation in Abbottabad (a cantonment town) and kill Osama bin-Laden. This information was not shared with Pakistan leading to condemnation of the unilateral raid there for breach of sovereignty. Pak parliament also warns of cutting supply lines to US forces in Afghanistan if attacks continue. The Pentagon withdrew some US troops. Clinton says that Islamabad should take concrete steps against terrorism.

January 2011: Raymond Davis, a US diplomat arrested in Pakistan on murder charges. HIgh-level effort mounted by US to have him released. This began the souring of relations between Pakistan and the US. 

30/8/11- Sri Lanka lifted emergency regulations which had been in force for the past 3 decades. This has been welcomed in India as creating a positive environment for national reconciliation.
India is SL top trade partner and the number one source country of foreign tourists.
India has expressed hope that the reconciliation process and political settlement in SL would be pursued in earnest.


20/7/11- The bilateral strategic dialogue was held with the Secy of State Hillary Clinton. SOme of the demands from both sides are summarised below:
US demands/expectations:
- seeks greater investment and trading opportunities (in background of US financial crises) through lowering trade barriers, opening-up markets (retail-supermarkets
-involving  India in maritime security and selling naval equipment
-enabling conditions for US nuclear companies to set up nuclear power plants. For this US encourages India to make its liability Act, CSC compliant- for this has suggested engagement with IAEA. Indian officials have rejected this saying Supreme Court of India sole authority to pass judgement on this.  [US companies unhappy with Sec 17(b) which increases the compensation claims from the supplier in case of faulty equipment or design, and Sec.46 which allows victims t file tort claims]
- US interested in India to acquire membership of export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Agreement) in a phased manner
Indian demands/expectations:
-better operating environment for Indian IT sector, by reconsidering the restrictive visa regime and contractual norms for IT sector.
-seeks a 'Totalisation Agreement' which would avoid double taxation of income for social security taxes.
- amelioration of distress suffered by Indians in the Tri Valley University (University was shut down and students were radio-collared)
-seek a phased withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan taking due consideration of Afghan abilities to defend their territories.
- India seeks membership to the 4 nuclear export regimes to be in tandem (lined up one after the other).
Cooperation areas:
-Counter-terrorism: crackdown on counterfeit currency, megacity policing, cyber-security, technology upgradation   
-Maritime security: codified in the 206 Indo-US Framework for Maritime Security Cooperation. Together addressing Somalia-based piracy, illicit trafficking of weapons, enhancing maritime domain awareness.
-Defence sales: India bought 8 billion US$ worth equipment from US. Sales reflect strengthened cooperation. 
[The Hindu 20/7/11]

6/7/11- After the Bombay blasts, counter-terrorism cooperation will feature prominently in the strategic dialogue. 

13/7/11- In preparation for the US-India Strategic Dialogue, the US govt has expressed its hope to discuss India's nuclear liability legislation and that this would be consistent with the CSC (Convention on Supplementary Compensation). Additionally they hope that India would ratify CSC by year-end. India, on its part has hoped that US nuclear companies would soon proceed with commercial negotiations. [The Hindu]