Political Violence Grows in Bangladesh

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Political Violence Grows in Bangladesh

Plus, India’s DRDO sacks its head, Afghanistan and Pakistan relations, PLA infantry, and more. Weekend links.

Political Violence Grows in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

To wrap up the week, here are a few defense and security stories that you may have missed:

Political violence is surging in Bangladesh between supporters of the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The political situation in the country has remained fragile ever since late 2013, when old wounds regarding the country’s founding and the role of Islamist leaders caused widespread protests. The current spate of violence was spurred by the shooting of a BNP politician on Tuesday. In retaliation, BNP supporters firebombed a bus, killing four people.

In other news, the director of India’s state-owned defense research and development body, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), was unexpectedly fired. Avinash Chander, the director general of DRDO and scientific adviser to the defense minister, was cast out 16 months ahead of schedule. The decision was made by India’s new full-time defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, who would prefer to see, according to Defense News, a “younger scientist.”

In a positive sign of cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan on terrorism, five men suspected of involvement in the brutal attack last month against a school in Peshawar, Pakistan were captured in Afghanistan. The suspects are under investigation by Afghan authorities and will likely be transferred to Pakistan in the near future.

In a major move for the country’s security policy, Pakistan moved to ban the Haqqani Network, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and 10 other militant organizations this week. The move is part of the country’s response to treat militant groups indiscriminately following last month’s Peshawar attack by the Pakistani Taliban. The U.S. State Department has welcomed the decision.

Lauren Dickey and Emerson Brooking have a piece over at Defense One looking at potential lapses in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) personnel budget. The piece takes a look at a recent Chinese-language report from the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly that suggests that the PLA is unable to equip its infantry adequately.

The Myanmar government launched a new offensive against the Kachin rebels in the country’s north that has resulted in around 800 people fleeing their homes. 1,000 troops have been sent to the north to pacify ethnic Kachin rebels.

Also, after a brief hiatus, our geopolitics podcast is back on a regular schedule. This week, Franz and I spoke to Col. James L. Creighton (U.S. Army, Ret.) about, among other things, Afghanistan’s readiness for the security challenges it faces in 2015. In our episode from last week, Shannon Tiezzi, Franz-Stefan Gady, Prashanth Parameswaran, and I discuss our predictions for APAC in 2015.