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South Asia Security Monitor - No. 306

Edited by Jeff Smith & Amanda Sawit
November 6, 2012


HIRD INDO-US-JAPAN TRILATERAL
The third “trilateral dialogue” between representatives of the U.S., India and Japan concluded in late October. The meet included discussions on maritime security, joint-projects in Africa, and economic cooperation on Afghanistan. Preliminary media reports indicated that America’s ‘pivot to Asia’ would be a prominent talking point. Given the recent island disputes between China and Japan, increasing Chinese influence in the South China Sea was expected to figure into the discussion. Additionally, Myanmar proved to be of great interest to India, and plans to construct a route through northern Myanmar into Vietnam were discussed. (The Hindu, October 31 2012; The Times of India, October 26 2012)

US WEIGHS IN ON THE DURAND LINE
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman stirred controversy last month when he acknowledged on Afghan television that the U.S. recognizes the Durand Line as the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Though it was a mere restatement of longstanding US policy, the Afghan foreign ministry protested. Kabul “rejects and considers irrelevant any statement by anyone about the legal status of this line,” read an October 23 statement. The colonial-era border was drawn in 1893 to separate British-India and Afghanistan. It cuts the Pashtun nation, one of the largest tribal societies in the world, virtually in half. No Afghan government has ever recognized the Durand line, including the Taliban regime from 1996-2001. (The Atlantic, October 25 2012)

PAKISTAN MAY FACILITATE PEACE DEAL
Pakistan has stepped up outreach to non-Pashtun Afghan political leaders, a significant shift in policy for a country that since the 1990s has seen the Pashtun-dominated Taliban as its principal allies in Afghanistan. The policy, if fruitful, could provide a significant boost to U.S.-backed plans to forge an Afghan peace deal as America continues to gradually withdraw troops from the warzone. There are indications that Pakistan is unsettled by the prospect of indefinite chaos in Afghanistan and reports suggest Islamabad is working with Washington to identify which Taliban leaders would be amenable to a negotiated peace. (USA Today, October 27 2012)

INDIA ASKS SAUDI TO DEPORT MORE TERRORISTS
India has requested that Saudi Arabia deport four of its citizens suspected to be members of the terrorist organization Indian Mujahideen. The four individuals, who have not been named, have been monitored by Indian security agencies for suspected terrorist activities in several Indian cities over the last few years. As part of an extradition agreement between the two countries, Saudi Arabia recently handed over three alleged terrorist suspects to India, including a key conspirator of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The move came as a surprise given the Kingdom’s intimate partnership with Pakistan. It was the latest manifestation of a gradual improvement in the traditionally frosty Indo-Saudi relationship. (The Times of India, October 30 2012)

RELIGIOUS PARTIES IN PAK UNITE AGAIN
The MMA, a consortium of six religious parties in Pakistan has decided to reinvigorate a political alliance that disbanded in 2008. The six-party Mutahida Majilis Amal contested general elections in 2002, winning 11 percent of the vote, but disintegrated when two major parties boycotted the 2008 general elections to protest expected vote-rigging by then-president Pervez Musharraf. The other religious parties fared poorly in the 2008 polls. Four of the six parties announced October 18 that they would be reconstituting their political alliance without the two parties that previously abandoned them, the JUI-S and the JI. However, a splinter group of the JUI-S has joined the new alliance, bringing the total number of parties to five. (Daily Times, October 30, 2012)


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