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War On Terror. 20 years since 9/11: Transnational jihadist threat remains constant (Kabir Taneja, ORF)

This year marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington D.C. that changed global geopolitics in a matter of hours. The terror strikes against the US marked the beginning of a new era, led by a political ideation now known as the ‘War against Terror’, which saw the largest mobilisation of Western military strength, arguably since World War II, as military campaigns were launched in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, followed by covert wars against terror groups across the world.

Over these 20 years, removal of Islamist terror group al-Qaeda, the masterminds behind 9/11, was seen as the one-stop solution to ‘win’ this US-led war against terrorism. Much of this thinking concluded in 2011, after an 11-year long search, when the US found and neutralised al-Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was at the heart of Pakistan’s military establishment.

20 years since 9/11: Transnational jihadist threat remains constant | ORF (orfonline.org)

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India/Bangladesh. Finding Solutions to Fishermen Transgressions in the India-Bangladesh Maritime Space (Sohini Bose, ORF)

Aiming to secure their marine resources in the Bay of Bengal, India and Bangladesh settled their maritime boundary in 2014. Despite the delimitation, however, fishers from both countries continue to commit unlawful forays into each other’s sovereign waters, leading to the enforcement of punitive measures against those accused or convicted. Such incidents not only jeopardise the fishers’ livelihoods, but repeated occurrences also nettle relations between the two countries. This paper calls for a proactive strategy for India and Bangladesh to engage in meaningful diplomatic collaboration to reduce the incidence of trespassing by fishermen, in particular through the development of Blue Economy.

Finding Solutions to Fishermen Transgressions in the India-Bangladesh Maritime Space | ORF (orfonline.org)

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National Security. The national security discourse is changing (Harsh V. Pant, ORF)

The global security landscape is undergoing a churn, creating complexities and new realities unlike any time in the recent past. From a rising China to the pressures of climate change; from the challenges of counter terrorism to a seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic (the four Cs), the old order is collapsing much faster than the ability of nations to create the foundations of a new one. National security debates and discourse are, quietly but surely, undergoing an almost revolutionary transformation. While the academic world has long talked about the need for a ‘holistic’ conception of national security, much of that debate was considered far too esoteric by practitioners. Today, it is the policymakers and practitioners themselves that are leading the emerging consensus on the need to fundamentally reassess our assumptions about national security thinking.

The national security discourse is changing | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Afghanistan/Bangladesh. Brewing apprehensions: Bangladesh watchful of Taliban (Sohini Bose, ORF)

Three decades ago, a haunting slogan,“We will all join Taliban, Bangladesh will turn into Afghanistan”, chanted by Islamist extremists in their street demonstrations, echoed through Dhaka. Years later, the same words are recalled by Bangladesh media houses and dailies, as apprehensions begin to shroud the country, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August this year. About four months ago, in April, US President Joe Biden had announced his decision to end the 20-year war in Afghanistan between the US and the Islamist insurgents. As the US troops began to withdraw from the country, the Taliban began their downward descent from the northern provinces of Afghanistan, seizing more and more territory until they captured Kabul, the Afghan capital, effectively taking control of most of the country. While their victory has cast a shadow of uncertainty on the entire South Asian region, it has also reportedly had a rejuvenating effect on other Islamist extremist groups in the subcontinent, such as those in Bangladesh, who trace their roots to the Taliban.

Brewing apprehensions: Bangladesh watchful of Taliban | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Afghanistan/Central Asia. Resurgent Taliban and its implications on Central Asia (Ayjaz Wani, ORF)

The dramatic siege of Afghanistan by the Taliban has posed serious questions about the stability, security, geostrategy, and geopolitics of the Central Asia Republics (CARs). A recent UN report highlights the presence of over 10,000 foreign fighters from the neighbouring countries of Central Asia, Pakistan, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China in Afghanistan, most of whom are in the ranks of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Khorasan Province (ISKP). In addition, the presence of Central Asian terrorist groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), Jamaat Ansarullah, and others in Afghanistan have heightened the fears of the current turmoil in Afghanistan spilling over into the CARs.

Resurgent Taliban and its implications on Central Asia | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Afghanistan/Central Asia/India. Central Asia could help safeguard Indian interests in Afghanistan (Saaransh Mishra, ORF)

In the last few years, India has conducted bilateral dialogues with Central Asia, the most recent one being the 2nd India-Central Asia Dialogue in October 2020. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) meetings provide regular channels for communication with the region and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the region to meet Central Asian leaders and vice-versa. In spite of regular engagements, stable relations as well as historical and cultural linkages with Central Asia, India has arguably remained a nominal actor in the region. But, owing to the ongoing developments in Afghanistan and its vested interests there, bolstering ties with the Central Asian states would be highly beneficial for India.

Central Asia could help safeguard Indian interests in Afghanistan | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Europe/Indo Pacific. Connecting Distant Geographies: The EU in the Indo-Pacific (Pratnashree Basu, Roshan Saha, Soumya Bhowmick, ORF)

Although Europe is not geographically proximate to the Indo-Pacific, it has a clear interest in the stability of the region that has become a pivot for global economic and strategic interactions in recent years. This paper analyses the prospects for increased partnerships between the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Indo-Pacific. It examines current engagements of the EU, as an institution and as individual countries, in the region, and makes a game-theoretic assessment of the future of economic and political integration between the two amidst global and localised shifts in power equations.

Connecting Distant Geographies: The EU in the Indo-Pacific | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Sri Lanka. What do the food and forex crises hold for Sri Lanka? (N Sathiya Moorthy, ORF)

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s  promulgation of a ‘food emergency’ in the face of an unending forex crisis has shocked the local population and surprised friends and adversaries, both inside and outside the tear-drop nation. Civil society activists have also not missed out on his naming an army officer, Major General NDSP Niwunhella, as Commissioner-General of Essential Services, to ensure a smooth and speedy supply of essential commodities; this is yet another instance of the militarisation of civilian administration under his regime.

What do the food and forex crises hold for Sri Lanka? | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Afghanistan. A call for leadership? (Ritu Mathur, ORF)

Another great power retreats from Afghanistan. This embarrassing exercise for the United States of America (US) raises several important questions with regard to its militaristic world view and leadership of the existing world order. Scholars have decried Afghanistan as the graveyard of empires for centuries, but the US has thrived for more than a century on a bedrock of wars and weapons. What is the significance of this retreat from Afghanistan for international relations?

Afghanistan: A call for leadership? | ORF (orfonline.org)

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