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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Monday, 7 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses security issues for South Asia.

Main Issues in South Asia

INDIA

  • A countrywide strike has been called by the Central Trade Unions tomorrow. Workers from the industrial and banking sectors are expected to join the strike. Private transport and banking services are likely to be affected by the strike.
  • The strike is being called against the Modi government’s inaction to safeguard the rights of industrial workers. Political parties like the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have supported the strike.
  • Clients are advised to note the disruptions that are expected tomorrow. Avoid prominent landmarks in major cities expected to host demonstrations by the trade unions. Expect major highways and streets to be blocked.

BANGLADESH

  • Prime Minister Sheik Hasina has reportedly excluded members of allied parties from the new cabinet expected to be formed this week. The Bangladesh Awami League party had formed a pre-election alliance with other smaller parties like the Jatiya Party.
  • The Awami League party won the election held on December 30 with an absolute majority of 267 seats and its allies won 22 seats out of 300. The opposition only mustered 11 seats. The exclusion can potentially cause dissolutionment of the pre-election coalition and increase the strength of the opposition in the parliament, albeit with a very small minority.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the political developments in Bangladesh. Protests and demonstrations are expected by the opposition parties who have disputed the elections. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC assistance for further updates.

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

MYANMAR

  • Violent clashes have been reported in the Rakhine State of Myanmar between Buddhist rebels and the security forces. Thirteen officers were killed, and thousands of people were displaced in the violence.
  • The clashes were reportedly over the government’s decision to repatriate thousands of Rohingya refugees back to the Rakhine State.
  • Clients are advised to avoid traveling to the Rakhine state. Employ caution while traveling to remote rural areas in the region. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

INDONESIA

  • An earthquake of 6.6 magnitude was reported this morning 174 km northwest of Ternate on the Molucca Islands. There was no tsunami risk after the earthquake. The earthquake was followed by aftershocks of 5.1 magnitude.
  • The earthquake was not felt in Ternate and unlikely to affect other islands and cities like Jakarta. No damages or casualties have been reported
  • Clients are advised to be vigilant of earthquakes and tsunami warnings in Indonesia. The country is prone to frequent earthquake and a tsunami killed more than 400 people last month. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC assistance for further updates.

THAILAND

  • On Saturday, January 5, a protest was reported by a group of prominent anti-military government activists against the expected delay in elections scheduled on February 24. The protest was held near the Victory Monument in Bangkok. More than 150 people attended the protests. The protest was reportedly monitored closely by the police, though they did not intervene.
  • Prominent anti-military activists, such as Rangsiman Rome, Parit Chiwarak, Nuttaa Mahattana, and the Future Forward Party’s secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul participated in the protest.
  • The leader of protesters, Sirawith Serithiwat said if the Election Commission does not announce an official poll date soon, the group will organize another protest on January 8 at Ratchaprasong intersection.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the developments on the delayed elections. Avoid Ratchaprasong intersection on January 8 during the protest, clashes between the protesters and the police are likely if they try to arrest the protesters.

NORTH KOREA

  • President Donald Trump has said that negotiations are ongoing on the location of their next summit. He indicated that the summit is expected to be held “in the not too distant future.”
  • Despite the negotiations on the expected summit, the Trump says the sanctions against North Korea will remain and has yielded positive results.
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