Bhargav Reddy – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant
Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA
FRIDAY, 22 March 2019
Security situation continues to worsen in Kashmir. The security situation in Kashmir continues to worsen this week. Two army soldiers were reportedly killed yesterday in two separate grenade attacks in the Sopore district. In another encounter between separatist militants and the security forces in the Bandipora district today, a child has been taken hostage by the militants. The operation to rescue the hostage is ongoing. Security forces could evacuate five other hostages when the encounter began. Ceasefire violation across the line of control continues with heavy shelling and firing from both sides since the Indian airstrikes on February 27. Clients are advised to avoid non-essential travel to Kashmir and be aware of the frequent armed encounters and protests in the state.
Students continue to protest in Dhaka. Students in Dhaka continued their demonstration yesterday at Pragati Sarani in the Bashundhara Residential Area of Dhaka. Students demonstrated by forming a human chain. Students in Rajshahi and Chittagong joined the protests in solidarity with students in Dhaka. Students have threatened to relaunch the protests on Sunday if no concrete steps are taken to ensure road safety. Some students in other areas reportedly blocked the roads and started checking the license and registration of vehicles. The protests erupted this week after a student was killed by a speeding bus in Dhaka.
China announces economic aid. China has announced an economic assistance package of USD 2.1 billion in loans to offset the depleted foreign exchange reserves. China was not as forthcoming as the other allies of Pakistan in aiding the country to mitigate the economic crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan had to make several visits to allied countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia to seek economic assistance. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves were down to USD 6 billion and currently has a reserve of USD 13 billion, the Arab countries were provided more than USD 12 billion in aid. Pakistan’s debt to China of more than USD 60 billion has been a concern which proved to be a challenge in their failed negotiations with the IMF for economic assistance.