Commentary: By supplying Pakistan with stealth submarines, China amps up geopolitical competition in Indian Ocean

CHINA HOPING FOR STRATEGIC DIVIDENDS

China expands its sea routes for its power supplies by expanding its proper footprint in the Indian Ocean. The Strait of Malacca, a constricting canal between Indonesia and Malaysia that extends south of the Indian Ocean, accounts for 80 percent of China’s fuel.

Gwadar Port, which is run by China, may be the country’s best chance to defend its passions in the Indian Ocean. Gwadar Port, a vital shipping street, close to the Strait of Hormuz, enables China to override any possible blockade through the Arabian Sea.

China is instantly strengthening Pakistan’s marine muscle and developing the government’s Gwadar Port. These actions, according to critics, represent China’s long-term investments that will yield long-term, proper dividends.

A potential area for a potential Chinese military foundation has been identified as Gwadar by the US Pentagon. China may do normal patrols in the Arabian Sea with the aid of a naval base in Gwadar.

Competition in the Indian Ocean’s race for dominance are facing new challenges due to China’s historic strategic partnership with Pakistan.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider contributes to Wikistrat’s South Asia office.

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Bangladesh reels from surge in snake bites

Following reports of a rise in snake wounds all over Bangladesh, all health facilities and hospitals have been given the order to share anti-venom.

Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, the health secretary, urged the general public to immediately visit snake-bites if possible.

In rural Bangladesh, hospitals have noticed a rise in snake struck people, particularly those who have South Asian Russell’s snake.

In recent days, the situations have become a hot issue on Bangladeshi social media.

As it feeds on rabbits, the Russell’s snake is usually found near individual settlements, and in farmland especially during harvest time.

A 2023 study said about 7, 000 people die in Bangladesh every month from snake bites. If rapidly treated with anti-venom, the majority of patients survive.

The Russell’s snake was declared dead in Bangladesh in 2002 but the species has then returned.

Experts believe the snake, which often lives found in dry regions, has adapted to various weather conditions, and has now spread to more than 25 towns in Bangladesh.

One of the most undertreated tropical diseases, according to the World Health Organization, makes battling snake wounds a goal.

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Heatwave crisis bearing down on developing Asia - Asia Times

In April 2024, intense temperature hit South and Southeast Asia, affecting nations like India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. These temperature waves greatly impacted some of the world’s most densely populated areas, taking a big toll on health, the economy, and knowledge.

Tens of millions of people faced risky warmth in May and June. India experienced its longest heat storm possibly, which started in the middle of May. In northern India, temperatures rose above 45 degrees Celsius ( 113 degrees Fahrenheit ), with some areas exceeding 50 degrees Celsius ( 122 Fahrenheit ). The official figures for May, which were reported in March and May, are 56 heat-related deaths, but the actual figure is likely higher because remote murders are frequently not reported.

Myanmar has faced extraordinary high heat in some districts, including Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, and Bago groups. Cambodia has recently experienced its highest temperatures in 170 years, reaching up to 43 degrees Celsius ( 109 Fahrenheit ).

In northern Thailand, temperatures soared above 44 degrees Celsius ( 111 Fahrenheit ), while Bangkok saw temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius ( 104 Fahrenheit ). In 2024, Thailand‘s summers, which usually runs from late February to later May, was 1–2 degrees Fahrenheit greater than the previous year, with precipitation below normal.

Through May 10, 2024, at least 61 citizens in Thailand died from sunstroke, compared to 37 incidents throughout the whole past time.

The prolonged heat has caused problems in work performance and education. Specialists in the Philippines imposed a two-day suspension of in-person classes in order to instruct thousands of individuals to stay at home. More than 47 000 people schools were directed by the Department of Education to switch to internet instruction.

Local and global aspects play a significant role in intense heat. Geographically, reduced vegetation and ground water contribute to higher temperature. Urban regions, with their cement and asphalt areas, keep temperature, creating what is known as the urban heat island effect. Also, weather patterns and fog cover play jobs in regional temperature versions.

Globally, El Niño activities and climate change amplify intense heat episodes. Since May 2023, El Nio situations have increased the amount of heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming even more. Therefore, parts like South and Southeast Asia knowledge more regular, extended, and intense heat waves.

The central and eastern exotic Pacific Ocean experience unusually hot ocean surface temperatures, which are a conditions occurrence known as El Nio. Every several times, it occurs sporadically and has an impact on global weather patterns.

Increased ocean temperatures during El Nio cause changes in the meteorological circulation, which can result in heavy rain in some places and severe drought in another. It even influences the flight stream, altering wind patterns worldwide.

In South and Southeast Asia, El Niño generally correlates with hotter and drier conditions, worsening heat waves and extending dry times. These issues pose serious obstacles to crops, which result in lower crop yields and increased risk of wildfires.

El Niño and La Niña are essential to the El Niño- Southwestern Oscillation ( ENSO ) pattern, a natural occurrence causing substantial year- to- year climate variations on Earth.

But, human- induced culture change is today affecting this cycle. Reports indicate that that issue is increasing the incident and power of extreme El Niño activities, multiplying their effects such as droughts, floods, heat waves, and altered storms patterns.

According to climate models, extreme El Nio events could occur every 10 years rather than every 20 because of global warming. This increased frequency might lead to more severe weather-related disasters occurring globally.

Due to their limited resources and ability to deal with climate change, Global South countries face a significant challenge. These countries are especially vulnerable to the unpredictable weather patterns brought on by climate change because of how heavily rely on agriculture as a major economic pillar. Consequently, they often experience crop failures, food insecurity, and heightened poverty levels.

Economically, the impact is substantial. According to projections from the World Bank, over 140 million people will be internally displaced by climate change-related causes, including water scarcity and agricultural productivity, by 2050, in areas like Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Socially, climate change worsens existing inequalities within these countries. The poorest populations, despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions, bear the brunt of climate- related disasters such as floods and droughts. This exacerbates health issues, displaces communities, and sparks competition over essential resources like water and land. In addition, these nations struggle to manage the rise in the number of illnesses related to climate change, which adds to the complexity of the situation.

Heat waves pose a serious threat to low- income communities, worsening existing health and economic disparities. These areas frequently have inadequate infrastructure to deal with high temperatures, such as poorly insulated homes and limited cooling options.

Due to human activities, the urban heat island effect, which makes urban areas hotter than rural areas in the area, further exacerbates the issue. As a result, cooling costs rise, putting financial strain on many low- income families during heat waves.

The health impacts on these communities are significant, with more hospitalizations due to heat- related illnesses like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and potentially fatal heatstroke. Rapid treatment is a challenge when faced with limited access to medical care during heat emergencies. Moreover, existing health conditions prevalent in these areas, such as respiratory and heart diseases, worsen under extreme heat.

Economically, heat waves disrupt the livelihoods of low- income workers who rely on outdoor jobs or work in non- climate- controlled environments. Financial instability is caused by shortened work hours due to illness or caregiving obligations.

Heat waves present significant risks to vulnerable populations in third- world countries, particularly women, the elderly, and children, exacerbating their health and socioeconomic challenges. Women who work in agriculture are frequently exposed to heat-related illnesses because of limited access to medical care and outdoor work.

The elderly, with age- related health issues and reduced mobility, are at increased risk of heat stress complications, compounded by insufficient cooling infrastructure. Further affecting children’s development and future prospects in these areas is the prolonged heat waves, which can cause school closures and obstruct educational opportunities.

Third-world countries are faced with the harsh realities of escalating climate change and severe heat waves, while developed countries enjoy the comforts of modern life. These communities grapple with extreme temperatures that disrupt daily routines, endanger health, and undermine economic stability.

The disparate distribution of resources clearly shows how much more people with limited resources and the ability to adapt to change the world are affected by global temperatures.

Pranjal Pandey, a journalist and editor based in Delhi, edited seven books that cover a variety of topics for LeftWord. On NewsClick, you can read more about his journalistic contributions. in.

Published with the permission of Globetrotter.

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Fret not Delhi, Dhaka's surely not in Beijing's orb - Asia Times

For years, Sino- American competition for influence over Bangladesh has been a tough- driving pressure in South Asia’s geopolitics. As a cousin of India and a coastal state of the Indian Ocean, Bangladesh has often been embroiled in the conflict, and consequently, both Beijing and New Delhi have sought to expand their control over the country, often at the other’s expense.

Since the late 1950s, Bangladesh, known as East Pakistan between 1947 and 1971, has been a geopolitical battleground between the dragon ( China ) and the elephant ( India ). East Pakistan was in the Foreign circle at the time that Pakistan and China forged close relationships.

But, after Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, the country’s international policy was based on the maxim “friendship to all, malice towards none”, and adopted a no- aligned, non- aggressive and positively natural foreign policy. So, the nation has successfully balancing and maneuvering their strategic competition with both India and China while maintaining rational and cooperative relations with both.

Despite this, many American analysts <a href="https://www.oneindia.com/international/chinas-growing-role-in-bangladesh-raises-concerns-for-india-us-3722347.html”>have expressed concern about the potential integration of Bangladesh into China’s sphere of influence. However, this is a total interpretation of Dhaka’s foreign policy, so it is necessary to respond to this claim from a balanced and objective perspective.

Second, under customary international law, Bangladesh is a sovereign, independent state, and as a result, it is fully able to conduct its international politics without interference.

Bangladesh has complete freedom of action over its foreign policy, both legally and morally, as long as its actions do n’t violate any of the UN’s ( UN) Charter’s provisions. No other state has the legal authority to obstruct negotiations between Bangladesh and any other country, including China, and Bangladesh has the right to do so.

Although Bangladesh has complete freedom to pursue its foreign policy, it is apparent that India may make an effort to increase its security and therefore feel a certain way about China’s involvement in its immediate vicinity. However, New Delhi may know that Dhaka’s collaboration with Beijing is not directed against any other condition, including India.

Bangladesh’s partnership with China aims to meet its own development needs, and it is solely concerned with its inside development. The Indians should keep in mind that Dhaka has consistently demonstrated its civility to New Delhi while taking into account India’s safety concerns.

For instance, Dhaka has interdicted north Indian rebel leaders to India, extradited them to India, and resisted putting the strong seaport project in Sonadia Island, which is supported by China, into operation.

American analysts frequently classify certain Chinese initiatives and projects as potential risks to Indian interests. These include the possibility of providing US$ 5 billion in Chinese loans, Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, the development of a Chinese-financed underwater center in southwestern Bangladesh, and the upcoming Sino-Bangladesh military training.

When you examine these tasks and activities closely, it becomes clear that none of them are directed at India or interfere with American security or other interests.

First, Bangladesh wants to borrow$ 5 billion ( at an interest rate of 1 % ) from China to pay for its expenses and the purchase of raw materials. American passions are unaffected in any way by this. Because China is the only state that will lend to Bangladesh at for a low interest rate, Dhaka is requesting this product from Beijing.

Dhaka would have been happy to accept India’s credit if it had been willing to lend a$ 5 billion loan to Bangladesh at a 1 % interest rate. Some researchers may worry that Bangladesh is falling into a “debt trap” in China, but another foreign experts contend that Dhaka has a wealth of knowledge and minimal risk of default.

Next, some Indian experts worry that China is developing network in Bangladesh close to the Siliguri Corridor to defame India. These problems, too, are false. It should be remembered that Bangladesh is an” India- locked” position and among 64 Bengal towns, 30 share edges with India.

Bangladesh, it is undoubtedly entitled to all of its border districts to have equipment projects, and it has the right to choose which state to invest in them. Additionally, none of the jobs China is implementing in Bangladesh’s border towns are focused on the defense.

Additionally, China does not have the right to stop soldiers or military technology on Bangladeshi place, and upon the completion of these projects, these infrastructures may become controlled by Bangladeshis, not the Chinese.

Additionally, there is no treaty signed between Bangladesh and China regarding Chinese troops ‘ use of Bangladeshi territory during combat. Accordingly, in case of a war between China and India, China would not be able to use these infrastructures.

In addition, Bangladesh has shown goodwill toward India by providing the country with transit and transshipment facilities because the Siliguri Corridor does not allow India to access its northeastern territories in sufficient numbers.

Other Indian analysts are concerned about China’s$ 1 billion investment in the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project. It should be noted, however, that the Indian- implemented Teesta Barrage Project has created a serious water crisis in Bangladesh, and Dhaka’s efforts to resolve the issue diplomatically has met with failure.

However, the river has a significant economic impact for five northern Bangladeshi districts that have 22 electoral constituencies and have more than 10 million residents. Therefore, the restoration of the river is a significant internal political issue that affects the careers of numerous local politicians. This project, in no sense whatsoever, represents a threat to Indian interests.

Third, China has been Bangladesh’s largest source of military equipment since the late 1970s, primarily because of the low cost, ease of maintenance and relative efficiency of Chinese weapons. This, in itself, does not pose any threat to India.

Bangladesh also imports weapons from a number of other states including Russia, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Serbia, and is currently looking to further diversify its sources of arms. Bangladesh has also stated that it wants to purchase some military equipment from India.

Fourth, China has contributed money to the construction of Cox’s Bazar’s first submarine base, the BNS Sheikh Hasina, which will have the capacity to house six submarines and eight warships. Bangladesh has purchased two Ming-class submarines from China and is likely to purchase more naval vessels from the nation, so China has provided funding for the project.

The Bangladeshi government’s” Forces Goal 2030″ includes the transformation of the Bangladesh Navy into a ‘3D force, as well as the construction of the base and the acquisition of submarines. This is crucial to ensuring Bangladesh’s maritime security, and it is again no threat to India because of both Bangladesh’s hostile intentions toward any of its neighbors and India’s significantly larger submarine fleet.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army- Navy ( PLA- N ) will not be able to enter the base, despite China having funded the construction of the base. Moreover, Bangladesh opted for Chinese submarines because of their low price. Bangladesh reportedly had negotiated with India and Russia for the acquisition of submarines before engaging in negotiations with China.

Interestingly, India did not sell submarines to Bangladesh but later sold a Kilo- class submarine to Myanmar. Therefore, Bangladesh’s purchase of Chinese submarines and China’s financing of a Bangladeshi submarine base are purely commercial transactions unrelated to India.

Finally, the potential Sino-Bangladesh joint military exercise is a logical extension of the two states ‘ already-existing defense partnership and does not pose any real threat to India. It is its sovereign prerogative to conduct similar exercises with China and regularly participates in joint military exercises with India, the US, and the UK.

Last but not least, the Indian media has implied that Bangladesh’s positions on Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea is a result of Chinese coercion. Nothing is further from the truth, however.

It is illogical to suggest that Bangladesh does the same owing to Chinese coercion since Tibet itself recognizes Tibet as a part of China and adheres to the” One China” policy. Bangladesh does not have a significant stake in the disputed region in terms of the disputes in the South China Sea. Accordingly, its Indo- Pacific Outlook suggests ensuring peace and prosperity throughout the region.

Dhaka’s foreign policy is examined carefully and objectively to determine whether it intends to achieve its goals of maximizing its internal development through foreign policy initiatives while preserving its sovereignty and independence from external influences.

Dhaka, as always, has no intention or interest in provoking any other state, not least one that is close to India. Instead of embracing the dragon and the elephant, Bangladesh is open to developing and maintaining positive relationships with both.

Md Himel Rahman is a freelance analyst with a focus on international and strategic affairs based in Dhaka. His articles have been published in The Interpreter, The Diplomat, South Asian Voices, The Geopolitics, Eurasia Review, The Daily Star, The Daily Observer, Dhaka Tribune, and other platforms.

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Rural India runs dry as thirsty megacity Mumbai sucks water

“UNSUSTAINABLE Costs” In a statement from July 2023, India’s government-run NITI Aayog public policy center forecasts a” steep decline in water supply by 2030.” Additionally, it issued a warning about “increasing water shortages, depleting water tables, and deteriorating tool excellent.” Groundwater tools “are being depleted at untenable costs”, it added,Continue Reading

Phuket Airport eyes new terminal

‘ 18 million ‘ passengers to explore this time

Phuket Airport eyes new terminal
American visitors are warmly welcomed at Phuket Airport in December of last year. ( Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran )

In order to increase its customer handling capacity from 12 million a year to 18 million, Phuket Airport plans to invest 6 billion ringgit to construct a new connector for international flights.

Monchai Tanod, the aircraft director, claimed the airport needs to be expanded.

It welcomed about 16, 000 home passengers per time final month, or 90 % of pre- Covid- 19 visitors.

Daily global arrivals and departures were recorded at 22, 000 on average, which now outstrips the prior- pandemic prospects in 2019 by 7 %, according to Mr Monchai.

He predicted that this year’s number of passengers passing through the airport will be no less than the 18 million number for the year nevertheless.

He claimed that the aircraft is now putting together plans for the new switch.

The job may be submitted to the National Environment Board for acceptance if the design is finished this year.

” The aircraft could use an extra global switch equipped to handle up to 18 million ]passengers].

” It will provide customers with greater convenience”, he said, adding that development is expected to begin in 2026 and the switch will take up to three times to get completed.

A 6 billion ringgit budget has been designated for the project by the Airports of Thailand.

Additionally, Mr. Monchai cited the airport’s long-term strategy to construct a separate seaplane switch.

However, Nutthajit Oonsiem, chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Asean, South Asia and South Pacific advertising group, said his team joined the Po offices in New Delhi and Phuket to maintain a welcome service on Friday for an annual SG89 flight, operated by Spice Jet.

It is the firm’s primary clear flight from New Delhi to Phuket.

A single-aisle Airbus A320 Neo aircraft with a capacity of 180 people and Spice Jet’s everyday direct flight from the American investment to Phuket.

Thailand did welcome about 2 million American visitors this year, generating at least 79 billion ringgit in tourism revenue, according to the TAT.

According to Mr. Monchai, Indians are now Phuket Airport’s third-largest visitors.

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India should think long and hard about joining AUKUS - Asia Times

Compliance with the signed documents and operating rules is the first obstacle to participating in a safety empire. The US is currently playing a major part in a number of security and defense assistance systems in the region and continent, where the US even dominates member international guidelines.

India would probably have to alter its opinion of foreign affairs if it were to participate in AUKUS. With the more frequent occurrence of outside forces, membership may have a significant impact on not only India but also other nations in the region. However, accepting a typical vision and goals with the US would significantly reduce India’s proper freedom.

If a new plane of relationships is built among Washington, London, New Delhi and Canberra, it will always create a network connection affecting each others ‘ security stances. Countries in the network will undoubtedly be involved in a crisis if one website encounters one. That ring does not include AUKUS’s operating system, which does make joint actions statements but is only a multilateral to day.

AUKUS was founded with a primary focus on the Indo-Pacific area, with the intention of incorporating both South Asia and China. As was the situation with the now latent Quad, if India joins AUKUS, it will undoubtedly spawn messages from Pakistan and China, which are both at odds with one another.

In light of the fact that the bilateral agreement aims to encourage users to increase their nuclear arsenals in response to threats from the world. If the US and the UK can provide Australia with radioactive boats, then they might be able to offer them to India. That would also have a significant impact on Pakistan and India’s standard power balance, causing them to reconsider their nuclear doctrines.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has previously warned off Pakistan and China to their adversaries that New Delhi might alter its” no second apply” nuclear weapons plan. If and when that actually occurs, New Delhi might start a new nuclear arms race in South Asia, one in which China might offer Pakistan radioactive expertise.

With India’s better military and possible future support from AUKUS, Islamabad would have to bolster its cooperation with China, which is a growing provider of Pakistan’s weapons. China may strike an AUKUS-style cope with Pakistan as a counterbalance for India.

Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, commander of the Pakistan Navy, has noted his country’s enhanced marine relations with China in recent years. Not least of all, China is assisting Pakistan with the exchange of cutting-edge systems battleships.

AUKUS and India de facto did de facto promote upcoming military issues and significant power problems in the Indian Ocean. The risk of nuclear submarines entering Southeast Asia, including the fiercely disputed South China Sea, to stop China is now taking hold in the Pacific, thanks to US and UK support for Australia.

Now, Australia has the readiest approach to Southeast Asia among the AUKUS people. But, Southeast Asia would have a wider sphere of influence if India were to join the relationship. India has expanded its appearance in Southeast Asia in recent years, providing China’s South Asian foes with important weapons, including Brahmos missiles.

If the India-ASEAN bridge is constructed properly, creating a vast trade region connecting the two oceans, it will help New Delhi accomplish many of its economic and political objectives as it asserts itself more assertively on the world stage.

On the other hand, India is being pushed harder by China’s Belt and Road Initiative to compete more effectively in emerging industry. In response to China’s growing anger in the South China Sea, some of the Southeast Asian nations are eager to hedge their security ties with US.

In addition, if there are widespread misconceptions that India’s participation is causing the introduction of more nuclear weapons and the potential for a weakening conflict in the region’s now hotly churning waters, it could just as easily backfire in Southeast Asia.

ASEAN’s people view AUKUS separately. Ali Sabri Yaakob, the former prime minister of Malaysia, warned that AUKUS might start a nuclear arms race and raise regional conflicts. On the other hand, the Philippines is thinking about forming what some have called a “new Rear” or” Squad” with the US, Japan, and Australia to thwart China.

India’s desire to join AUKUS as its third part is undoubtedly a done deal, as China, Pakistan, and ASEAN weigh the possible repercussions and options. However, a U.S. plus India would have profound effects on Asia’s protection and a universe that is rapidly dividing into competing corporate blocs.

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Antiviral therapeutics "need bigger push"

Antiviral therapeutics 'need bigger push'
Individuals receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Pathumwan district in December 2022. ( Photo: Somchai Poomlard )

Experts say viral therapeutics need to be an expense concern if another pandemic were to happen in the future, due to the probable length of time a immunization takes to build.

Sharon Lewin, infectious diseases specialist and physician from the University of Melbourne, said that although the time it took to build the Covid-19 vaccine was extraordinarily small, the second pandemic may arrive with more difficulties and vaccines may not emerge in such a small time.

“Imagine a situation where we have a new pandemic and we ca n’t make a vaccine, or it takes 10 years, not one year, ” she told a recent virtual forum,” Fair Treatment: The place of therapeutics in future pandemics”.

Dr Lewin is the mind of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, a heart to be developed under a$ 250 million grant from American billionaire Geoff Cumming.

The center aims to give long-term funding to experts so they can create software systems to control pandemics in the future.

“As we saw with Covid-19, even with an effective vaccine, people can still get infected and getting sick, especially the elderly and immuno-suppressed who are at risk of more severe illness, ” Dr Lewin said.

The second Covid-19 vaccination was approved in July 2020 and delivered in December 2020, according to the Doherty Institute.

But, the viral Paxlovid, was first administered in late 2021 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May 2023, it said.

Dr Lewin said that if Covid-19 immunotherapy had been attainable at the same time as Covid-19 vaccines millions of lives worldwide could have been saved.

“ What we learnt through Covid-19 is the antivirals came too late and they weren’t equally distributed, ” she said.

Harjyot Khosa, adviser to the International Planned Parenthood Federation South Asia and Long Covid-19 Advocate in Delhi, said there are also accessibility issues for vaccines and antivirals in small to mid income locations.

“ In these places, sex work areas, the transgender area, migrants and illegal citizens don’t have voter cards, making it difficult to get access to vaccines and antivirals for Covid-19,” she said.

Dr Khosa said that from her specific experience of having Covid-19 and being diabetic, exposure to immunotherapy was hard. “We failed but some areas. ”

At the 74th World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 May to 1 June, the World Health Organization has set itself a date for the discussions on a Pandemic Accord.

According to the Cumming International Centre, a large chunk of the debate over access worried vaccines, with “the needed for therapeutics much less prominent ”

Hospital admissions according to Covid-19 in Thailand have been increasing since March, the Ministry of Public Health says. Some people even remain either uninsured or inadequately vaccinated.

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India's Teesta River funding: ambition or illusion? - Asia Times

Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra made a attend to Dhaka on May 8 and 9, and he expressed India’s involvement in funding the Teesta River project, which represents a major change in India’s relationship with Bangladesh regarding this long-discussed water source.

China’s continued involvement and plan to finance the exact project are coincide with this expression of interest. China’s due engagement and perceived political challenge led India to invest in the Teesta River project. India’s funding of the project aims to counter China’s influence and maintain its geographical dominance, which highlights the complex interplay between strategic interests in South Asia.

However, India’s latest appearance of interest in financing the Teesta task seems less a true responsibility and more a move to counter China’s effect. Given India’s sincerity and ability to finance the project properly, especially given its current financial challenges and the controversial reliability of its lines of credit, is raised by this late expression of attention.

The schedule of India’s attention, juxtaposed with China’s now continued presence, suggests a sensitive rather than proactive stance. India’s hesitant and obtuse deeds in negotiating a Teesta water-sharing deal with Bangladesh have enabled China to gain traction in a crucial infrastructure project that could substantially increase its influence in Bangladesh and the South Asian region as a whole.

India’s reticence and Bangladesh’s switch to China

India’s persistent reticence and flagrant disregard for the Teesta water-sharing convention show a disturbing routine of broken promises. India has stifled its foot for decades, putting Bangladesh in a terrible position and making it look for other options out of despair.

An initial contract for equal water sharing between India and what was next East Pakistan was reached in the Teesta River dispute, which dates back to 1951. This partnership, like many others, was not implemented.

India has consistently broken its commitments, despite the establishment of the India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission in 1972 and an ad hoc arrangement in 1983, where 39 % of the water was given to India and 36 % to Bangladesh.

The importance of resolving the Teesta problem was more emphasized by the 1996 Ganga Water Treaty. However, following discussions have been ineffective.

In a draft agreement from 2011 that proposed distributing 42.5 % of the Teesta water to India and 37.5 % to Bangladesh during the crucial dry season. The objections of Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, which exposed India’s domestic discord and lack of local responsibility, immediately derailed this arrangement.

India’s condescending and indifferent approach has been reacted to by Bangladesh’s persistent and urgent pleas for the completion of the long-awaited Teesta River waters sharing treaty. India has chosen to worsen the situation by planning to distract the Teesta River through the construction of two more rivers, rather than address Bangladesh’s legitimate concerns. This reckless move threatens to destroy Bangladeshi crops, worsening the liquid crisis, and heightening local conflicts.

Moreover, the absence of a Teesta water- sharing treaty has significant negative impacts on Bangladesh, affecting its economy, agriculture, and general societal properly- being. According to the Washington- based International Food Research Institute ( IFPRI), Bangladesh annually loses about 1.5 million metric tons of Boro rice, or 8.9 % of its total rice production, due to water shortages in the Teesta barrage area, with projected declines of 8 % by 2030 and 14 % by 2050 due to reduced river flow.

According to projections, these losses will only get worse, with significant declines in agricultural productivity expected by 2050 as a result of decreased river flow. This causes poverty and hunger to worsen, as well as destabilize the rural economy, whose main source of income is agriculture.

Bangladesh has turned to China in response to India’s persistent refusal to cooperate, becoming a member of the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project ( TRCMRP ). This collaboration, formalized through a memorandum of understanding in 2016 and scheduled for completion by 2025, aims to address the prolonged water crisis caused by India’s inaction.

The Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project ( TRCMRP ) addresses Bangladesh’s losses by ensuring a reliable water supply for irrigation. To increase agricultural productivity and protect livelihoods, the project incorporates flood control and drought management techniques. Additionally, it concentrates on creating strong water management infrastructure and fostering local capacity for sustainable water use.

Additionally, by collaborating with China, the TRCMRP reduces Bangladesh’s dependence on India’s inconsistent policies, promoting regional cooperation and ensuring long- term economic stability.

Why does India want to contribute money to the TRCMRP project?

India’s willingness to contribute to the TRCMRP is fueled by a number of strategic and geopolitical factors. Primarily, India aims to counter China’s growing influence in Bangladesh, which is seen as part of China’s broader Belt and Road Initiative. India aims to maintain its regional dominance and strengthen bilateral ties with Bangladesh, a nation that is crucial to its geopolitical interests, by funding the TRCMRP.

Additionally, India’s involvement in the TRCMRP is a strategic move to secure its interests in transboundary water management. By taking a lead role, India aims to make sure that water-sharing agreements are managed fairly, reducing the chance of water shortage in its own regions. Moreover, India sees the project as a way to promote sustainable development and environmental management, which aligns with its broader regional objectives.

Slow payment of line of credit as a contributing factor

India’s slow payment of its$ 7.362 billion line of credit, with only 20 % of it used over 13 years, raises important questions about its willingness to fund the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project ( TRCMRP ) funding. Bureaucratic hurdles and restrictive conditions, such as mandatory sourcing from India, have hampered effective fund utilization.

This track record undermines confidence in India’s commitment to the TRCMRP, especially when compared with China’s prompt investment proposals. India’s funding strategy’s slow pace and stringent conditions severely impair its ability to fulfill its promises and manage crucial regional projects effectively.

India must address its past shortcomings and take decisive action to regain Bangladesh’s confidence in its commitment to the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project ( TRCMRP ).

Firstly, India should make the Teesta water-sharing treaty final, demonstrating a sincere commitment to equitable resource management. India needs to streamline the administration of its line of credit, making sure that procedures are transparent and efficient without introducing bureaucrat barriers.

India can strengthen its bilateral ties with Bangladesh by working with them in a proactive and trustworthy manner and counteract China’s growing influence in the area. This entails completing financial commitments on time as well as engaging in sustainable and collaborative water management practices that benefit both countries. For India to reestablish trust and strengthen its position strategically in South Asia, these actions are crucial.

Md. The Department of Law at the University of Dhaka is where Jahid- Al- Mamun lectures. He frequently writes about the state of the region’s current affairs and has a keen interest in South Asia’s geopolitical dynamics.

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