LETTERS: Tension in South East Asia

ASEAN’s anxiety over South China Sea disputes is a genuine geo-political concern not only for the ASEAN region; but also for the peace and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific economic zone. The aggressive stand of China threatening the territorial and maritime claims of several nations adjoining South China Sea has been detrimental for international cooperation and an infringement into the sovereignty of other smaller Asian neighbors. Under the present circumstances it is important for ASEAN to tie up with other major powers of the region such as the US, Japan, Australia and India for stronger strategic, diplomatic and defense cooperation. The recent intervention of US in the region should be welcomed and seen as an important counter balance to severe security threats directed at several ASEAN member nations and attempts of undermining their territorial and maritime claims.

Furthermore, in addition to China; India has come up as another economic giant of the continent. The current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has initiated great enthusiasm in establishing strategic, diplomatic and socio-economic ties with several nations in the Far East and South East Asia. The visit of PM Modi to Malaysia is a grand opportunity for ASEAN member states, including Malaysia, to set up stronger socio-economic and defense cooperation with India. A long term strategic and economic cooperation between the SAARC and ASEAN economic zones could open up new windows of socio-economic, diplomatic and security cooperation between two vastly populated trade zones; and can easily transform the economic destiny of the entire region, including Malaysia and fellow ASEAN member states. It will be a grand strategy for the ASEAN diplomatic conclave to even include India as a new member state to ASEAN to further strengthen the engagements between the two major global economies and to counter the security threats in the South China Sea to the ASEAN member states.

Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada


I came to know that Nepal Police on Sunday arrested the Nepal Oil Corporation’s Thankot depot chief, Rabin Kumar Sharma, “NOC Thankot depot chief rounded up” (THT, Dec. 14, Page 2) in suspicion of his involvement in irregularities and black marketing of fuel. I have also heard that some shop-keepers, not government servants, were also arrested on similar charges. I would like to opine that the ordinary shop-keepers should be immediately released for selling the very scarce commodity and the public servants arrested should be charge sheeted under the existing law. When the entire country is facing the ongoing crisis of petroleum products and medicine, the unscrupulous acts from the government employees is punishable. Ordinary shop-keepers deserve rewards as they have at least catered services to the needy people and public servants are criminals of the country that have engaged themselves in treason.

Laxmi Bhakta Manandhar, Kathmandu