In this week’s news from the world outside, Myanmar’s military has seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. Troops are patrolling the streets and a night-time curfew is in force, with a one-year state of emergency declared.
1) Coup in Myanmar
– The Myanmar military took control of the country in the early hours on 1st February.
– They detained Aung San Suu Kyi and President Myint of Myanmar and the military was seen patrolling the streets.
– A year-long emergency has been imposed in the country.
– Since, the army has been alleging since the November, 2020 elections the recent landslide victory of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party was gained fraudulently, a military coup was feared.
– Myanmar had military rule until 2011. Democratic reforms led by Aung San Suu Kyi ended military rule.
– India expressed deep concern over the developments. The statement said – “India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
– US President Joe Biden indicated that sanctions could be imposed afresh on Myanmar under the current circumstances.
– What do the developments mean for Myanmar and its neighbor India? Listen to our podcast with former Indian ambassador to Myanmar and former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.
2) Blast outside Israel embassy in India
– A low grade IED blast took place close to the Israel embassy in New Delhi.
– Though investigations are still underway, the Israeli Ambassador Ron Malka spoke to CNN News 18 and said that their “assumption” is that the embassy was the target.
– He said that Israeli installations across the world had been on alert for the last few months owing to tension with Iran.
– A purported letter threatening the Ambassador and calling this a trailer for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani and Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was recovered later as well according to the police.
– Prime Minister Modi spoke to Benjamin Netanyahu. The press release from India said – “Prime Minister conveyed his strong condemnation of the terror attack near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi on 29 January 2021. He assured Prime Minister Netanyahu that India accords the highest importance to the safety and security of Israeli diplomats and premises, and would deploy all its resources to find and punish the perpetrators.”
3) Pakistan Supreme Court releases Daniel Pearl kidnapper/killer
– The Pakistan Supreme Court allowed the release of slain Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl’s kidnapper and killer, inviting shock and criticism.
– The British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh release was ordered after the SC turned down an appeal by the Sindh government to overturn the order of the high court against his conviction.
– New US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to “ensure accountability for convicted terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and others responsible for the kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.”
– India Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava called it a “travesty of justice not to find Omar Sheikh guilty of any charges in this heinous act of terror.”
4) India Qatar foreign office consultations
– The fourth Foreign Office Consultations between India and Qatar were held virtually on February 1, 2021.
– The Indian side was led by Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi and the Qatari side was led by Dr. Ahmad Hassan Al-Hamadi, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar.
– As per the press release from India the “entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political, energy, trade, investments, defence, food security, health security, science and technology, consular, community and cultural issues,”were discussed.
– Both sides have decided to convene the first Joint commission meeting of the foreign ministers.
5) Trump Senate impeachment trial to begin on 9th February
– Former US President Donald Trump is expected to respond to charges of incitement of insurrection and encouraging riots at the Capitol on 6th January by 2nd February noon.
– Reports suggest he is still in the process of gathering a legal team for the same.
– Most Republicans seem to be standing behind Trump so it is unlikely that the trial will end in a conviction.