Category Archives: Politics

Israel Gaza: Netanyahu vows to press ahead with Rafah offensive

Israel Gaza: Netanyahu vows to press ahead with Rafah offensive

A young child peeks over the rim of an empty bowl she holds while standing in a crowd awaiting food aid in Rafah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted his troops will advance on the Gazan city of Rafah, defying outside pleas to reconsider.

French President Emmanuel Macron was among those warning Mr. Netanyahu off, telling him the human cost of Israel’s operation in Gaza was “intolerable”.

But Mr Netanyahu has ordered his army to prepare for a ground assault.

Some 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, which has already come under bombardment.

Mr Netanyahu vowed to press on with a “powerful” assault, declaring that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, must be eliminated from the southern city.

“We will fight until complete victory and this includes a powerful action also in Rafah after we allow the civilian population to leave the battle zones,” he said.

President Macron phoned Mr. Netanyahu on Wednesday to say Israel’s operations in Gaza “must cease”.

He expressed “France’s firm opposition to an Israeli offensive in Rafah, which could only lead to a humanitarian disaster of a new magnitude”.

The prime ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand issued a joint statement expressing their “grave concern” that a military operation in Rafah would be “catastrophic”.

“We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path,” the statement read, adding “The impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating”.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, visiting Israel, warned that people in Rafah with nowhere to go could not “simply vanish into thin air.”

Spain and the Republic of Ireland have asked the EU, of which they are members, to examine “urgently” whether Israel is complying with its human rights obligations in Gaza under an accord linking rights to trade.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory reports that at least 28,576 people, mostly women and children, have been killed as a result of Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Israel took action after Hamas-led gunmen killed at least 1,200 people and seized 253 hostages in a surprise attack on its territory on 7 October.

In the earlier days of the war, Israel had instructed Palestinians to seek refuge in Rafah as the Israeli military moved against the northern cities.

Rafah is Gaza’s southernmost and features a crossing point into Egypt where humanitarian aid has been allowed to enter the Strip.

Now Israeli authorities want civilians to relocate to what they call a “humanitarian zone” – a thin strip of mainly agricultural land along the Mediterranean coast known as al-Mawasi.

Among the displaced civilians in Rafah was Ahlam Abu Assi, who told AFP news agency she “would rather die” there than return to famine-like conditions like those experienced by relatives who had stayed in Gaza City.

“My son and his children have nothing to eat. They cook a handful of rice and save it for the next day,” she said.

Map showing Israeli ground operations in southern Gaza (4 February 2023)

Another city, Khan Younis, has been the focus of Israel’s operations in the south of Gaza so far.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians sought shelter there in the Nasser hospital but are now also being ordered to evacuate.

Mr Netanyahu’s vow to press on came after peace negotiations involving officials from the US, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar ended inconclusively.

Israel’s prime ministerial office said Hamas had presented no new offer for a hostage deal and Israel would not accept the militant group’s “ludicrous demands”.

“A change in Hamas’ positions will make it possible to move forward in the negotiations,” it added.



Transforming Ayodhya into the ‘Hindu Vatican’

Ayodhya: Transforming a flashpoint holy city into the ‘Hindu Vatican’

On a brutally cold morning, Yogendra Guru looked adrift in a maze of traffic after visiting the heavily secured makeshift shrine where Hindus believe Lord Ram was born.

Frenzied construction work provided the backdrop in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya – a vast center to welcome pilgrims, arched sandstone gates, and a broad corridor leading to a brand new $217m (£170m) temple for the Hindu deity. A multi-billion dollar makeover has seen swathes of the city bulldozed to turn it into what some Hindu nationalist leaders are calling a “Hindu Vatican”.

Mr. Guru had endured a grueling 14-hour bus journey with two dozen family members who made the pilgrimage to Ayodhya from their village in Morena district in central Madhya Pradesh state.

“I am elated that we are finally getting a new temple. It seems like the Hindus have awakened, experiencing a sense of freedom. I believe we were previously suppressed,” he told me.

Next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fulfill a decades-long Hindu nationalist pledge by opening the temple, which replaces a 16th-century mosque that once stood here, on one of India’s most controversial religious sites. In 1992, Hindu mobs tore down the Babri mosque, claiming it was built by Muslim invaders on the ruins of a Ram temple, sparking nationwide riots that took nearly 2,000 lives.

Workers atop the under construction Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2023.
Stretching across 7.2 acres, the three-story shrine, clad in sandstone and anchored by granite, boasts towering pillars

The stormy ownership dispute between Hindus and Muslims ended in 2019 when the Supreme Court granted the site to Hindus, despite explicitly stating that the demolition of the mosque was an “egregious violation of the rule of law”. (The court gave Muslims another plot of land in Ayodhya to construct a mosque.)

Mr Modi opens the Ayodhya temple months before the general elections, with his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) eyeing a record third consecutive term. He says the new temple will “unify the nation”. Senior minister Rajnath Singh believes the shrine would mark “the beginning of India’s cultural revival and restore national pride”.

Critics say the timing of the opening leans more towards political strategy than religious significance, building a Hindu nationalist momentum ahead of the polls. After all, they argue, the movement to build a temple was a major factor in propelling the BJP to a prominent position in Indian politics.

“After enduring life in a tent, Lord Ram has now found a rightful abode. It’s been a test of patience for all of us,” said Satyendra Das, the 86-year-old head priest of the makeshift shrine, where a smaller idol of Ram had been placed for the past three decades.

The new temple is as grand as it gets. Stretching across 7.2 acres in a 70-acre complex, the imposing three-story structure, clad in pink sandstone and anchored by black granite, boasts towering pillars and rests upon 70,000 sq ft (6,503 sq m) of pristine white marble. A 51-inch (4.25-ft) idol of Ram will be placed on a marble pedestal.

When fully complete – Mr. Modi will be opening only the ground floor on 22 January – by the end of the year, the temple will expect to greet a staggering 150,000 visitors per day, seven times the current rate.

Preparation at Maharshi Valmiki International Airport Ayodhya ahead of its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 29, 2023 in Ayodhya, India
Ayodhya’s makeover includes a shiny new airport…
View of newly built Ayodhya Railway station on December 27, 2023 in Ayodhya, India.
…and a massive new railway station

To make all this happen, Mr Modi’s government is pulling out all the stops to transform Ayodhya, a tranquil pilgrim town on the banks of Saryu, a tributary of the Ganges, to what officials call a “world-class city where people come as pilgrims and tourists”.

The $3.85bn (£3.01bn) makeover includes expanded roads, a shiny new airport, a massive railway station, and a multi-level car park. More than 3,000 homes, shops and “structures of religious nature” have been either completely or partially demolished to facilitate the widening of four main roads, including the newly christened 13km (8-mile) Ram Path, leading to the temple. A lighter yellow paint now gives the buildings a uniform, bland look.

Hotel chains like Radisson and Taj are building new properties; up to 50 new hotels and homestays are planned, while scores of grubby guesthouses are receiving facelifts. Not surprisingly, land prices have already trebled.

“You can’t recognize the place, it’s changed so much now. There’s a bit of shock and awe that all this has happened,” said Valay Singh, author of Ayodhya: City of Faith, City of Discord, who has been visiting the the city since 2016.

There are also plans for additional attractions surrounding the new temple, including a heritage walk featuring 162 murals depicting Ram’s life, a facility on a Saryu river island that offers “insights into the Vedic civilization”, and the creation of a wedding city and developing the place as a naturopathy center.

“We want to create the most beautiful city in the world,” says Gaurav Dayal, Ayodhya’s most senior official.

More than 3,000 homes and shops have been either completely or partially demolished to widen pilgrim corridors
Half of Vishal Pandey’s ancestral six-room house had been demolished for the road widening of a pilgrim corridor

Faith threads its way through every facet of life in Ayodhya, where temples rise like sentinels in an untidy skyline and monks walk the streets. Tens of thousands of pilgrims circumambulate the city at least twice a year. The ubiquitous monkeys still have a free run. Bazaars teem with hawkers selling religious bric-a-brac: flowers, sandalwood, devotional books, and replicas of deities.

Mr. Singh describes it as a “fragile, pilgrim-dependent economy”. On her first visit to the city, Disha Chakraborty, a student of life sciences from Shillong in north-eastern India, told me: “This place is dilapidated, let’s be honest. But it doesn’t matter because people are so devoted. So many have put their collective faith in an idol.”

Yet, in this city of both a few thousand temples, large and small, and 45-odd mosques, and festivals and fairs, a transformation is underway, blending the old with the new.

As well as tattoo parlors and takeout food, Ayodhya has a restaurant called Dark Cloud and a salon called Stylish Chand Men’s Parlour, offering a variety of style cuts. Laser shows light up the sky after the dark. The place swarms with competing YouTubers and Instagram Reel makers, each trying to make the place “trend”.

Shakila Bano, 38 years old, makes a garland of Marigold flowers at her house as the construction site of Hindu Ram Temple is seen in the background, in Ayodhya, India, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
Shakila Bano makes a garland of marigold flowers at her house – Ayodhya’s temple economy is dependent on local Muslims

Inspired by faith, tradition, and curiosity, millions of devotees and tourists are now expected to descend on Ayodhya after the new temple opens. Yet, even in its peace, there are rumblings of discontent. The road-widening initiative for pilgrims slices through the city, leaving a trail of homes and shops smashed by bulldozers.

Anand Kumar Gupta, who heads an association of local shopkeepers, said around 1,600 of them have “been displaced and have nowhere to go”. He added that they were paid an average of 100,000 ($1,200) rupees for repairs. “This rebuilding has disturbed us,” he said.

On a pilgrim route being widened, some three dozen homes of people who work in the city’s temples stand partially demolished. The street is overflowing with sewage from leaky pipes. Wobbly bamboo bridges stretch precariously over muddy trenches that scar the ground outside the doors. Owners of the destroyed homes have been given plots at a distance.

Vishal Pandey said that half of his ancestral six-room house had been demolished for the road widening. Despite a compensation close to 700,000 rupees for the affected portion, the toll on their eight-member generational dwelling is irreversible, he added. “There is anger among the locals,” Mr Pandey told me. “But we are also happy that Ram is finally getting a permanent home. He was in a tent for such a long time. Now it’s our turn [to suffer].

“Where there is destruction, there is development. Let’s see what happens.”

Local vendor named Udaikant Jha selling religious items near Dashrath Mahal on December 22, 2023 in Ayodhya, India.
Bazaars in Ayodhya teem with hawkers selling religious bric-a-brac

Kanti Devi, who has lost half of her house, is more trenchant. “We are not happy at all,” she says. “Even the officials come and tell us we are giving you a lot of pain. It’s good that the temple has been made, but how does it help us? Whatever we built, they have razed to get more pilgrims into the town.”

Officials say residents of the demolished dwellings and shops have been compensated with money and new houses under government schemes. “All compensation has been given. It is delayed in some cases because of litigation involving family disputes. There’s nothing left to be done now,” says Mr Dayal.

In many ways, people coming in from outside have shaped the destiny of Ayodhya where Hindus and Muslims have long lived in mixed neighborhoods. This endured despite the demolition and a subsequent attack on local Muslims in December 1992, allegedly leading to the death of 18 Muslims and the torching of their homes. It was a city that became a flashpoint for religious violence.

“We have moved on. However, the events remain a source of pain for us,” said Khaliq Ahmed Khan, a social worker.

Mr Khan believes Hindus and Muslims share warm relations in Ayodhya, rooted in a centuries-old inter-dependence. “Hindu devotion to Ram is intertwined with the support of Muslims, particularly in the temple economy, where their trade plays a crucial role. The two communities are inseparable.”

This sentiment is echoed by Raghuvansh Mani, a local college professor: “The sectarian strife originated from outside; the local people have minimal involvement in that.” Some locals share similar sentiments, feeling that outsiders are determining their fate, as the new temple aims to open Ayodhya to the world.

“Only time will tell,” says Mr Pandey.



100 days since Hamas – Israel War

100 days since Hamas attacked Israel, triggering war in Gaza

Supporters and families react as others hold pictures of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza take part in rally in Tel Aviv
Families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza joined a massive rally in Tel Aviv marking a hundred days of their captivity

One hundred days ago, the previously unthinkable happened in Israel. A state, born out of adversity and war only 75 years ago, woke up to what some have since described as a threat to its very existence.

On Saturday night, in Tel Aviv, the events of 7 October were commemorated by thousands of people. Uppermost on the minds of everyone were the around 130 hostages abducted by Hamas and still being held in Gaza, although some of them may not still be alive.

Just after dawn 100 days ago, thousands of heavily armed Hamas fighters stormed through and over the Gaza border fence in several different places.

They attacked kibbutzim, military bases, and border towns, accustomed to rocket attacks from Gaza but overwhelmed by the scale of the Hamas incursion.

At least 1,200 people were killed along the length of the border as Israeli defenses were caught completely by surprise.

Images of hundreds of young music lovers fleeing for their lives at the Nova festival shook Israel to its core. More than 360 people were killed at the festival site and dozens more were abducted to Gaza.

The number of civilians killed in the Israeli bombardment that followed the Hamas attacks has been huge. More than 23,000 have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, many of them women and children. Thousands more are believed to be dead under the rubble.

Yossi Schneider
Yossi Schneider’s cousin was kidnapped by Hamas along with her two young children and husband

In Israel on Saturday, among those at the huge commemorative event in Tel Aviv were families of the disappeared, carrying posters and wearing T-shirts featuring the faces of their loved ones.

I spoke to Yossi Schneider – a cousin of Shiri Bibas, who was kidnapped along with her two young children and husband.

“There are 130 people, mainly civilians being held without medicines and the Red Cross is not even being allowed to visit them,” says Yossi, angered that the wider family has received little information on their physical or mental welfare.

“There are three generations of my family that have disappeared. Three generations of my family! And the world is keeping silent and asking us to stay calm. I cannot take it anymore,” he adds, tired but frustrated.

Most people here would say that 7 October was the biggest threat ever faced by Israel and that Israelis have never felt so vulnerable. While the safe return of the hostages is their absolute priority, many also agree with their government’s war aims in Gaza and few voices are calling for tolerance and coexistence.

A man sits in front of the rubble of a house in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip
A man sits in front of the rubble of a house in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip

As Israel’s shaken defense establishment eventually responded to what was happening in the south as Saturday 7 October drew to a close, the Israeli military embarked on an unprecedented bombing campaign in Gaza – its stated goal: the destruction of Hamas and its support structure.

Much of the territory, from Gaza City in the north to Khan Younis in the south, has since been destroyed.

Israel says Hamas has been severely weakened and, according to the Israeli military, rendered almost inoperable as an organized force in northern Gaza.

But the number of civilians killed in the Israeli bombardment has been enormous.

Palestinian officials say that 85% of Gaza’s population has been displaced. While more aid is now getting into Gaza the UN’s humanitarian chief has described the situation as “intolerable”.

Fatten Abu Shahada
Faten Abu Shahada now lives in a plastic tent with her family in Khan Younis

Faten Abu Shahada needs regular kidney dialysis which is one reason why she and her family have been forced to move south. Home for Faten and the kids is now a plastic tent in Khan Younis – the sound of an Israeli drone overhead is their constant companion.

“Gaza has been destroyed. There’s no Gaza left – no hospitals, no education,” says Faten. “Our children have lost their school year, Gaza is no longer alive.”

Israel is coming under increasing international pressure to consider a ceasefire or pause in Gaza, such is the scale of the civilian suffering.

Even its closest ally the US, which consistently defends Israel’s right to self-defense and to prevent a repetition of 7 October, has repeatedly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the civilian death toll is “far too high”.

President Biden has spoken of Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing”, which he said meant the country was losing support around the world.

Gideon Levy
Columnist Gideon Levy says the war in Gaza will last as long as the Americans allow it

Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and a frequent critic of Mr Netanyahu. I asked him if this war – already Israel’s longest since 1948 – would soon conclude.

“The war in its current shape will last as long as Americans will allow Israel (to do it),” says Levy.

He adds: “I don’t think it will be many weeks more. But that doesn’t mean that the war is over because nobody has thought about the day after.

“If Israel doesn’t pull out of Gaza, there will be resistance. And if there is resistance there will be retaliation.”

As Israeli troops continue to attack Hamas positions in central and southern Gaza, ending the war seems to be far from Mr Netanyahu’s intentions.

Israel says the fighting will not end until Hamas is completely defeated. The immediate future across the region, and especially for thousands of civilians living in appalling conditions in Gaza, looks particularly bleak.


Pakistan says children killed in Iranian strike

Pakistan says children killed in Iranian strike

An Iranian missile launcher
Iranian missiles – seen here during a training drill – have hit Pakistan, Iraq and Syria in recent days

Pakistan says two children were killed and three others injured in strikes by neighboring Iran on Tuesday.

Iran said it targeted two bases linked to the militant group Jaish al-Adl, according to a news agency affiliated with the country’s military.

But Pakistan rejected this, calling it an “illegal act” that could lead to “serious consequences”.

Pakistan is the third country, after Iraq and Syria, to be hit by an Iranian attack within the last few days.

A missile attack by Iran on Pakistan is near-unprecedented. Tuesday’s strike hit a village in the vast south-western province of Balochistan, which borders the two countries.

In a strongly worded statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry strongly condemned the “unprovoked violation of its airspace by Iran”.

It called the incident “completely unacceptable”, adding that it was “even more concerning that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of several channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran”.

Pakistan has protested with a “concerned senior official” in Iran’s foreign ministry in its capital city Tehran, adding that “this blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and that the responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran”.

Iran had late on Monday launched ballistic missile strikes against targets in Iraq’s northern city of Irbil, prompting condemnation by the US.

The Iranian strikes come amid heightened tensions across the Middle East since the war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian group Hamas began on 7 October.

Iran has declared that it does not want to get involved in a wider conflict, but groups in its so-called “Axis of Resistance” have been carrying out attacks on Israel and its allies to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has exchanged cross-border fire with Israeli forces; Shia militias have launched drones and missiles at US forces in Iraq and Syria; and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have attacked ships in the Red Sea.

Israel has reportedly carried out strikes that killed a Hamas leader in Lebanon and a Revolutionary Guards commander in Syria, while the US has killed an Iraqi militia leader in an air strike in Iraq and bombed Houthi targets in Yemen.

Pakistan and Iran have fought armed separatist groups, including Jaish al-Adl, for decades in the sparsely populated region.

Security on either side of their shared border, which runs for about 900km (559 miles), has been a long-running concern for both governments.

Tehran has linked the group with attacks last month close to the border, which killed over a dozen Iranian police officers.

At the time, Iran’s interior minister Ahmad Vahidi said the militants responsible had entered the country from Pakistan.

Jaish al-Adl is the “most active and influential” Sunni militant group operating in Sistan-Baluchestan, according to the office of the US Director of National Intelligence.


Source:- ttps://

KKR to invest next $10 billion in India

KKR to invest next $10 billion in India faster than before, very impressed with what government has done: Founder Henry Kravis

KKR to invest next $10 billion in India faster than before, very impressed with what government has done: Founder Henry Kravis

KKR to invest next $10 billion in India faster than before, very impressed with what government has done: Founder Henry Kravis© Provided by The Times of India

KKR & Co., one of the world’s largest private equity firms, is set to deploy another $10 billion in India, according to Henry Kravis, one of the company’s founders. In an interview with ET, Kravis expressed his admiration for India’s economic development and highlighted the country’s potential for growth. He emphasized that India is a high priority for KKR, as it serves as the anchor for their Asia-Pacific investments.

“India is a high priority for us, it is the anchor for our Asia-Pacific investing. Japan’s an important part of what we have too. We’re not pulling out of China —and so those are the pillars. But India is probably the most important of it and the biggest opportunity,” he said.

To capitalize on the expanding size of the country and its growing economy, there is a plan to invest more aggressively. Infrastructure, a recently added focus for KKR, has shown rapid development in the past five years. According to Kravis, the existing credit business will be expanded, and there are considerations for increased involvement in real estate. Additionally, the commitment to the growth equity and private equity sectors remains strong, indicating a continued investment strategy in these areas, he said.

Kravis praised the improvements in India’s infrastructure and the pro-business attitude of the current government. “Obviously, it matters who’s elected. I have to say I’m impressed, very impressed, with what this government has done,” he said.

He commended the government’s efforts in simplifying red tape and implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has had a significant impact on the country’s productivity. Kravis also expressed confidence in the growth potential of India’s equity markets, noting that although some companies may be trading at high multiples, their earnings can be improved significantly.

Having visited India regularly since 1989, there’s a noticeable positive trend now, noted Kravis. The significant improvement in infrastructure and the increasingly prevalent can-do attitude in the country are noteworthy. This conducive environment sets the stage for further engagement. There are no plans to adopt a passive approach in the initial six months; instead, active pursuit of live opportunities already in the pipeline is on the agenda, he said.

“I meet with government people here every time I come, and what I’m hearing is very positive. From being pro-business, pro-growth, the Narendra Modi government is also about pro-help, lifting the poor in this country and then simplifying a lot of red tape. GST is a phenomenal thing that happened in this country. The productivity of that alone is just huge,” he said.

Overall, Kravis sees India as a crucial market for KKR and believes that the country’s economic growth, coupled with improvements in infrastructure and government policies, will continue to attract overseas investment.

Source:- TOI

Emergency Provisions in the Indian Constitution

Introduction: Understanding Emergency Provisions

The Indian Constitution, a living document, is equipped with a set of emergency provisions designed to safeguard the nation’s integrity and its citizens during times of crisis. The concept of emergency provisions is a fundamental aspect of the Indian Constitution, designed to safeguard the nation and its citizens during times of crisis. These provisions are a testament to the foresight of the framers of the Constitution, who understood the need for extraordinary powers in extraordinary circumstances. This blog aims to provide an exhaustive understanding of these provisions, their implications, and their historical applications.

Historical Context of Emergency Provisions

The emergency provisions in the Indian Constitution were conceived against a backdrop of political turmoil and the need for national unity. During the drafting of the Constitution, members of the Constituent Assembly debated extensively on the necessity of these provisions. Rooted in India’s colonial past, where emergencies were often declared to suppress civil liberties, the framers sought to balance state power with individual rights. These provisions were designed as tools to safeguard the nation against external aggression, internal rebellion, and financial crises, ensuring the stability and security of the newly independent nation.

Legal Provisions: The Constitutional Framework

The Constitution of India, like many other constitutions around the world, has provisions for dealing with emergencies. The Indian Constitution, under Part XVIII, outlines the emergency provisions in Articles 352 to 360. These provisions allow the Central Government to exercise broad powers that would otherwise be beyond its constitutional authority. The emergency provisions can be invoked under three circumstances:

types of emergencies in the Indian Constitution

1. National Emergency (Article 352):

Triggered by war, external aggression, or armed rebellion.

A National Emergency can be declared if the President is satisfied that the security of India or a part of it is threatened by war, external aggression, or armed rebellion. The President can make such a proclamation only on the written advice of the Cabinet. Once declared, the emergency must be approved by both Houses of Parliament within one month, or it will lapse. The emergency can be extended indefinitely with the approval of Parliament every six months.


A National Emergency is a situation in which the President of India proclaims that the security of India or any part of its territory is threatened by war, external aggression, or armed rebellion. This provision is laid down under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution.

Legal Provisions

The President can declare a National Emergency based on the written advice of the Cabinet. Once declared, it needs to be approved by both Houses of Parliament within one month. The emergency can be extended indefinitely by six-month intervals, with parliamentary approval each time.

Effects on Fundamental Rights

During a National Emergency, the rights conferred by Article 19 (freedoms of speech, assembly, etc.) are automatically suspended. Additionally, the President may suspend the right to move court for the enforcement of other rights as well.

Historical Events of National Emergency

India has witnessed the proclamation of National Emergency three times:

  1. 1962 Indo-China War: The first instance was in 1962 during the Indo-China War.
  2. 1971 Indo-Pakistan War: The second instance was in 1971 during the Indo-Pakistan War.
  3. 1975 Internal Disturbance: The third instance was in 1975, proclaimed by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under advice from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The National Emergency provision is a powerful tool in the hands of the government, allowing it to take swift and effective measures in times of grave crisis. However, the misuse of this provision, especially during the 1975 Emergency, has led to a careful revaluation of the laws governing its application.

2. State Emergency or President’s Rule (Article 356):

Imposed if the constitutional machinery in a state fails.

Also known as President’s Rule, a State Emergency can be declared if the President, upon receipt of a report from the Governor of the State, is satisfied that the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. During such an emergency, the President can assume all or any of the functions of the State government, and Parliament can make laws for the State. The proclamation must be approved by both Houses of Parliament within two months, and can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of Parliament every six months.


President’s Rule refers to the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct Union government rule in a state. This provision, under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, is invoked if a state government is unable to function according to Constitutional provisions. The Union government then takes direct control of the state machinery. The executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed governor, who has the authority to appoint other administrators to assist them. These administrators are usually nonpartisan retired civil servants.

Legal Provisions

When a state government is functioning correctly, it is run by an elected Council of Ministers responsible to the state’s legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha). The council is led by the chief minister, who is the chief executive of the state; the Governor is only a constitutional head. However, during President’s Rule, the Council of Ministers is dissolved, vacating the office of Chief Minister. Furthermore, the Vidhan Sabha is either prorogued or dissolved, necessitating a new election.

Landmark Cases

The Supreme Court of India, in the 1994 landmark judgment in S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, restricted arbitrary impositions of President’s Rule. This judgment has played a significant role in curbing the misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India.

Incidents of President’s Rule in India

President’s Rule has been imposed in a state under various circumstances, such as:

  1. A state legislature is unable to elect a leader as chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  2. Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails/will definitely fail to prove otherwise, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  3. Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
  4. Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic, pandemic or natural disasters.
  5. On the report of the Governor of the state if said state’s Constitutional machinery or legislature fails to abide by Constitutional norms.

Chhattisgarh and Telangana are the only states where the President’s rule has never been imposed so far.

President’s Rule and the Emergency Imposed by Indira Gandhi

The imposition of President’s Rule has often been a subject of controversy and debate. One of the most notable instances of its imposition was during the Emergency period from 1975 to 1977 under the Prime Ministership of Indira Gandhi. The period witnessed an unprecedented curtailment of civil liberties and democratic rights. The misuse of President’s Rule during this period led to significant changes in its application post the Emergency era.


While the provision for President’s Rule is necessary for maintaining the constitutional integrity of the nation, its misuse has often led to criticisms and calls for reform. The landmark judgment in the S. R. Bommai case was a significant step towards preventing its arbitrary imposition. However, the debate around its necessity and potential for misuse continues to be a significant part of discussions on Indian polity.

3. Financial Emergency (Article 360):

Declared when the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened.

A Financial Emergency can be declared if the President is satisfied that the financial stability or credit of India or any part of it is threatened. During such an emergency, the executive authority of the Union extends to giving directions to any State to observe certain specified canons of financial propriety, and the President can issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in the State.


A Financial Emergency is a situation where the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened. This provision is laid down under Article 360 of the Indian Constitution.

Legal Provisions

The President of India has the authority to proclaim a Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened. Unlike the National Emergency, a Financial Emergency does not need parliamentary approval to continue indefinitely.

Effects on the States and the Citizens

During a Financial Emergency, the President can direct the states to observe certain canons of financial propriety and can also direct that all Money Bills or other Financial Bills require his approval before they are introduced in the state legislature. Salaries of government officials can be reduced, including judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

Incidents of Financial Emergency

As of now, a Financial Emergency has never been declared in India.


The provision for Financial Emergency is aimed at ensuring the financial stability of the country. While it has never been invoked, it remains an essential tool for the Central Government to intervene in extraordinary financial situations. The checks and balances in its implementation ensure that it cannot be misused without serious cause, reflecting the careful consideration of the framers of the Constitution in balancing power and responsibility.




US and UK hint at military action after largest Houthi attack in Red Sea

US and UK hint at military action after largest Houthi attack in Red Sea

Two figures stand in a room of the HMS Diamond, looking out at a fiery scene
The UK’s Ministry of Defence shared images of the HMS Diamond deploying Sea Viper missiles and guns

The US and UK have hinted they could take military action against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, after they repelled the largest attack yet on Red Sea shipping.

Carrier-based jets and warships shot down 21 drones and missiles launched by the Iran-backed group on Tuesday night.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Wednesday demanding an immediate end to the Houthi attacks.

The text endorsed the right of UN member states to defend their vessels. The Houthis reacted scornfully to it.

Their spokesman Mohammed Ali al-Houthi called the resolution a “political game”. They claim to be targeting Israeli-linked vessels, in protest at Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

The UN resolution demanded “that the Houthis immediately cease all such attacks, which impede global commerce and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security”. Eleven nations voted for it, but Russia, China, Mozambique and Algeria abstained.

Earlier, the US and several allies warned of “consequences” for the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Asked about potential strikes in Yemen, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Watch this space.”

The International Chamber of Shipping says 20% of the world’s container ships are now avoiding the Red Sea and using the much longer route around the southern tip of Africa instead.

The Houthis said they targeted a US ship on Tuesday providing support to Israel. It was the 26th attack on commercial shipping in the Red Sea since 19 November.

The US military said Iranian-designed one-way attack drones, anti-ship cruise missiles and anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen at around 21:15 local time (18:15 GMT).

Eighteen drones, two cruise missiles and one ballistic missile were shot down by F/A-18 warplanes from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower, which is deployed in the Red Sea, and by four destroyers, the USS Gravely, USS Laboon, USS Mason and HMS Diamond.

HMS Diamond shot down seven of the Houthi drones using its guns and Sea Viper missiles, each costing more than £1m ($1.3m), a defence source said.

No injuries or damage were reported.

Later, Houthi military spokesman Yahya al-Sarea confirmed its forces had carried out an operation involving “a large number of ballistic and naval missiles and drones”.

“It targeted a US ship that was providing support for the Zionist entity [Israel],” he said.

“The operation came as an initial response to the treacherous assault on our naval forces by the US enemy forces,” he added, referring to the sinking of three Houthi speed boats and killing of their crews by US Navy helicopters during an attempted attack on a container ship on 31 December.

He added that the rebels would “not hesitate to adequately deal with all hostile threats as part of the legitimate right to defend our country, people and nation”.

Mr Sarea also reiterated that the Houthis would continue to “prevent Israeli ships or ships heading towards occupied Palestine from navigating in both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea until the [Israeli] aggression [on Gaza] has come to an end and the blockade has been lifted”.

A spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “very concerned” because of the risks the situation posed to global trade, the environment and lives, as well as the “risk of the escalation of the broader conflict in the Middle East”.

File handout photo showing HMS Diamond (14 October 2020)
The UK’s HMS Diamond and three US warships helped shoot down the Houthi drones and missiles

Mr Shapps warned on Wednesday that the UK and its allies had “previously made clear that these illegal attacks are completely unacceptable and if continued the Houthis will bear the consequences”.

“We will take the action needed to protect innocent lives and the global economy,” he added.

Later, the defence secretary said in a TV interview that Iran was “behind so much of the bad things happening in the region” and warned the Islamic Republic and the Houthis that there would be “consequences” if the attacks on shipping did not stop.

Asked if there could be Western military action against Houthi targets in Yemen, or even targets inside Iran, he replied: “I can’t go into details but can say the joint statement we issued set out a very clear path that if this doesn’t stop then action will be taken. So, I’m afraid the simplest thing to say [is] ‘watch this space’.”

He was referring to a statement put out a week ago by the UK, US, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore, who launched “Operation Prosperity Guardian” last month to protect Red Sea shipping.

They said the attacks posed “a direct threat to the freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways”.

It may not have had the bravado of Mr Shapps’ “watch this space” warning, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also clear in his condemnation of the incident.

A map showing the Bab al-Mandab strait, which sits between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea on the African coast

Speaking to reporters at an airport in Bahrain during a Middle East tour, he was pressed by BBC North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher about whether it was time that talk of consequences turned to US action.

Mr Blinken responded that he did not want to “telegraph” a US military move, but that he had spent the past four days in the region warning the Houthis to cease their aggression.

They have not only refused, but after this latest strike have claimed they are specifically targeting US ships.

Almost 15% of global seaborne trade passes through the Red Sea, which is linked to the Mediterranean by the Suez canal and is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The fear is that fuel prices will rise and supply chains will be damaged.

The Houthis say they have been targeting Israeli-owned or Israel-bound vessels to show their support for the Iran-backed Palestinian group Hamas since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

Formally known as the Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), the Houthis began as a movement that championed Yemen’s Zaidi Shia Muslim minority.

In 2014, they took control of the capital, Sanaa, and seized large parts of western Yemen the following year, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in support of the international-recognized Yemeni government.

The ensuing war has reportedly killed more than 150,000 people and left 21 million others in need of humanitarian assistance.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of smuggling weapons, including drones and cruise and ballistic missiles, to the Houthis in violation of a UN arms embargo. Iran has denied the allegation.




Swedish alarm after Defense chiefs’ war warning

Swedish alarm after defense chiefs’ war warning

A soldier from the Swedish Amphibious Corps is pictured on board the CB90-class fast assault craft, as they participate in the military exercise Archipelago Endeavor 23 on Mallsten island in the Stockholm Archipelago on September 13, 2023The warnings from Sweden’s defense leaders are being seen as a wake-up call

A warning to Swedes from two top defense officials to prepare for war has prompted concern and accusations of alarmism.

Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin told a defense conference “there could be war in Sweden”.

His message was then backed up by military commander-in-chief Gen Micael Byden, who said all Swedes should prepare mentally for the possibility.

However, opposition politicians have objected to the tone of the warnings.

Ex-prime minister Magdalena Andersson told Swedish TV that while the security situation was serious, “it is not as if war is just outside the door.”

Children’s rights organisation Bris said that its national helpline did not usually receive calls about the possibility of war. But this week, it had seen an increase in worried calls from youngsters who had seen news reports or posts on TikTok talking about it.

“This was well prepared, it wasn’t something blurted out,” Bris spokeswoman Maja Dahl told the BBC. “They should have provided information meant for kids when they come out with this kind of information for grown-ups.”

Despite the starkness of the messaging, the remarks from the civil defence minister and military chief are being seen as a wake-up call.

Sweden's Commander-in-Chief Micael Byden speaks during his talk at today's program at the Society and Defense Conference in Salen
Gen Micael Byden said Swedes on an individual level had to prepare themselves mentally

After more than two centuries of peace, Sweden is a few steps from joining the Nato defensive alliance, waiting for a green light from Turkey’s parliament and then from Hungary.

The commander-in-chief said his remarks were nothing new.

He visited Ukraine’s eastern front a month ago and Sweden is one of a group of countries training Ukrainian pilots. Stockholm is also said to be considering sending advanced Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine.

“My ambition with this is not to worry people; my ambition is to get more people to think about their own situation and their own responsibilities,” Gen Byden later told Aftonbladet newspaper.

Finland has already joined Nato, and Russian officials have suggested it will be “the first to suffer” if tensions with Nato escalate.

Sweden’s civil defence minister said his aim was not for people to lose sleep, but to gain awareness of what was really going on. He appealed to local authorities, emergency planners and individuals to respond.

“If there is one thing that keeps me awake at night, it is the feeling that things are moving too slowly,” Mr Bohlin told the Society and Defence conference on Sunday.

Sweden's Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin
Civil Defence Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin told his audience there could be war in Sweden

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Sweden during the conference to work with his country and others to manufacture weapons and “get stronger together”.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson added that in 2024, Sweden would meet Nato’s target of spending 2% of economic output (GDP) on military defence, doubling its spending since 2020.

Defence specialist Oscar Jonsson said the tone of the warnings from defence chiefs was something of a storm in a teacup and that 90% of what had been said arose from frustration that too little was being done to build civil and military defence.

“Time is limited and it was aimed at being a wake-up call for agencies, individuals and departments,” he told the BBC.

“The Swedish armed forces are incredibly competent, but the scale is nowhere near. The latest defence bill says we should set up 3.5 brigades, whereas Ukraine had 25 when the war started.”

Gen Byden’s warning to prepare mentally for war comes hard on the heels of a warning a month ago from the head of Poland’s National Security Bureau (BBN), Jacek Siewiera, who said that “to avoid war with Russia, countries on Nato’s eastern flank should adopt a three-year time horizon to prepare for confrontation”.

He said a German Council on Foreign Relations report suggesting Germany and Nato should prepare their armed forces to be able to fend off a Russian attack in six years was “too optimistic”.

Oscar Jonsson, a specialist from the Swedish Defence University, said that while war was a possibility, it would require several factors to fall into place: Russia’s war in Ukraine coming to an end, its military having the time to rebuild and rearm its fighting force and for Europe to lose US military support.

All of which were within the realms of possibility, he added.





TB Joshua: Megachurch leader raped and tortured worshippers

TB Joshua: Megachurch leader raped and tortured worshippers 

TB Joshua
TB Joshua founded the hugely popular Synagogue Church of all Nations

Evidence of widespread abuse and torture by the founder of one of the world’s biggest Christian evangelical churches has been uncovered by the BBC.

Dozens of ex-Synagogue Church of all Nations members – five British – allege atrocities, including rape and forced abortions, by Nigeria’s late TB Joshua.

The allegations of abuse in a secretive Lagos compound span almost 20 years.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations did not respond to the allegations but said previous claims have been unfounded.

TB Joshua, who died in 2021, was a charismatic and hugely successful preacher and televangelist who had an immense global following.

The BBC’s findings over a two-year investigation include:

  • Dozens of eyewitness accounts of physical violence or torture carried out by Joshua, including instances of child abuse and people being whipped and chained
  • Numerous women who say they were sexually assaulted by Joshua, with a number claiming they were repeatedly raped for years inside the compound
  • Multiple allegations of forced abortions inside the church following the alleged rapes by Joshua, including one woman who says she had five terminations
  • Multiple first-hand accounts detailing how Joshua faked his “miracle healings”, which were broadcast to millions of people around the world

One of the victims, a British woman, called Rae, was 21 years old when she abandoned her degree at Brighton University in 2002 and was recruited into the church. She spent the next 12 years as one of Joshua’s so-called “disciples” inside his maze-like concrete compound in Lagos.

“We all thought we were in heaven, but we were in hell, and in hell terrible things happen,” she told the BBC.

Rae says she was sexually assaulted by Joshua and subjected to a form of solitary confinement for two years. The abuse was so severe, she says she attempted suicide multiple times inside the compound.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations [Scoan] has a global following, operating a Christian TV channel called Emmanuel TV and social media networks with millions of viewers. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, tens of thousands of pilgrims from Europe, the Americas, South East Asia and Africa travelled to the church in Nigeria to witness Joshua performing “healing miracles”. At least 150 visitors lived with him as disciples inside his compound in Lagos, sometimes for decades.

More than 25 former “disciples” spoke to the BBC – from the UK, Nigeria, US, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Germany – giving powerful corroborating testimony about their experiences within the church, with the most recent experiences in 2019. Many victims were in their teens when they first joined. In some of the British cases, their transport to Lagos was paid for by Joshua, in co-ordination with other UK churches.

Rae and multiple other interviewees compared their experiences to being in a cult.

Jessica Kaimu, from Namibia, says her ordeal lasted more than five years. She says she was 17 when Joshua first raped her, and that subsequent instances of rape by TB Joshua led to her having five forced abortions while there.

“These were backdoor type… medical treatments that we were going through… it could have killed us,” she told the BBC.

Other interviewees say they were stripped and beaten with electrical cables and horse whips, and routinely denied sleep.

A shocking journey into a maze of manipulation and terrifying abuse perpetrated by one of the most powerful religious figures of the 21st Century

A nine-episode season – a shocking journey into a maze of manipulation and terrifying abuse

On his death in June 2021, TB Joshua was hailed as one of the most influential pastors in African history. Rising from poverty, he built an evangelical empire that counted dozens of political leaders, celebrities and international footballers among his associates.

He did, however, attract some controversy during his lifetime when a guesthouse for church pilgrims collapsed in 2014, killing at least 116 people.

The BBC’s investigation, which was carried out with international media platform Open Democracy, is the first time multiple former church insiders have come forward to speak on the record. They say they’ve spent years trying to raise the alarm, but have effectively been silenced.

A number of our witnesses in Nigeria claim they were physically attacked, and in one case shot at, after previously speaking out against the abuse and posting videos containing allegations on YouTube.

A BBC crew that attempted to record footage of the church’s Lagos compound from a public street in March 2022 was also fired at by the church’s security, and was detained for a number of hours.

The BBC contacted Scoan with the allegations in our investigation. It did not respond to them, but denied previous claims against TB Joshua.

“Making unfounded allegations against Prophet TB Joshua is not a new occurrence… None of the allegations was ever substantiated,” it wrote.

Four of the British citizens who spoke to the BBC say they reported the abuse to the UK authorities after escaping the church. They say no further action was taken.

In addition, a British man and his wife emailed eyewitness accounts of their ordeal and video evidence – including recordings of being held at gunpoint by men describing themselves as police who are also members of Scoan – to the British High Commission in Nigeria in March 2010 after fleeing the church. In his email, the man said his wife had been repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped by Joshua. He warned the commission that other British nationals were still inside the compound facing atrocities.

He also says no action was taken.

The UK Foreign Office did not respond to these claims, but told the BBC that it takes all reports of crime, including sexual assault and violence against British nationals overseas, very seriously.

Scoan continues to thrive today, under the leadership of Joshua’s widow, Evelyn. In July 2023, she led a tour of Spain.

Anneka, who left Derby in the UK to join Scoan at the age of 17, told the BBC she believes there are many other victims who have yet to speak out. She hopes further steps will be taken to uncover Joshua’s actions.

“I believe the Synagogue Church of All Nations needs a thorough investigation into why this man was able to function for so long the way he did,” she said.



Bangladesh elections: 7th January 2024

Bangladesh elections: Why India matters across the border

Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh's prime minister, right, along with Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, speaks to the media during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

As Bangladesh gets ready to hold general elections on 7 January, the role of its giant neighbor India is being intensely discussed in the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking a fourth consecutive term and her win looks inevitable as the main opposition parties are boycotting the election.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies say they have no faith that Ms Hasina will hold a free and fair election. They asked her to step down and allow the polls to be held under a neutral interim government – demands she rejected.

The Muslim-majority nation of about 170 million people, Bangladesh is almost surrounded on three sides – barring a 271km (168-mile)-long border with Myanmar in the southeast – by India.

For India, Bangladesh is not just a neighboring country. It’s a strategic partner and a close ally, crucial to the security of its north-eastern states.

So, Indian policy makers argue that Delhi needs a friendly regime in Dhaka. Ms Hasina has forged close ties with India since she was first elected in 1996 and it’s no secret that Delhi wants to see her return to power.

Ms Hasina has always justified Dhaka’s close relationship with Delhi. During a visit to India in 2022, she said Bangladesh should not forget India, its government, people and armed forces as they stood beside the country during the independence war in 1971.

This backing for her Awami League party has triggered sharp criticism from the opposition BNP.

“India should support the people of Bangladesh and not a particular party. Unfortunately, Indian policy makers don’t want democracy in Bangladesh,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior BNP leader told the BBC.

Mr Rizvi said Delhi was “alienating the people of Bangladesh” by openly rooting for Ms Hasina and backing what he called a “dummy election”.

An Indian foreign ministry spokesperson refused to comment on the BNP’s allegations on Delhi’s alleged interference in Bangladesh polls.

“Elections are a domestic matter to Bangladesh. It’s for the people of Bangladesh to decide their own future. As a close friend and partner of Bangladesh we would like to see peaceful elections there,” the spokesperson said in response to a question by the BBC.

Supporters and opponents of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rally in front of the World Bank on 1 May 2023 in Washington DC.

India is also concerned that the return of BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami party could pave the way for the return of Islamists in Bangladesh, as it had happened when the coalition was in power between 2001 and 2006.

“They gave rise to so many of these jihadi groups which were used for various purposes, including the 2004 assassination attempt on Ms Hasina and the capture of 10 trucks full of arms that came from Pakistan,” Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, a former Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka told the BBC.

Soon after coming to power in 2009, Ms Hasina also won favor with Delhi after acting against ethnic insurgent groups of India’s northeast, some of which were operating from Bangladesh.

India and Bangladesh share close cultural, ethnic and linguistic ties. Delhi played a key role in Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971 by sending in troops in support of the Bengali Resistance Force.

Dhaka depends on Delhi for the supply of many essential commodities like rice, pulses and vegetables. So, India is influential in Bangladesh from the kitchen to the ballot.

India has also offered more than $7bn Line of Credit to Bangladesh since 2010 for infrastructure and development projects.

But over the decades, there have been irritants in relations ranging from disputes over sharing of water resources to accusations of meddling in each other’s internal affairs.

“India has an image problem in Bangladesh. It comes from the perception that Bangladesh is not getting the best of the good neighbor, whether it comes to Delhi’s support for the government that possibly doesn’t enjoy full democratic legitimacy or in deals where we seek equitable share,” Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka, told the BBC.

Ms Hasina came to power for a second time in January 2009 and her party has since won two more elections, although there have been accusations of widespread vote-rigging. The Awami League has denied the allegations.

Though India has gained road, river and train access via Bangladesh to transport goods to its north-eastern states, critics say Dhaka is still not able to do full-fledged overland trade with landlocked Nepal and Bhutan across the Indian territory.

India also has other strategic reasons to have a friendly government in Dhaka.

Delhi wants road and river transport access for its seven north-eastern states through Bangladesh.

Now the road and train connectivity from the Indian mainland to its northeast is through the “chicken’s neck” – a 20km (12 mile) land corridor that runs between Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Officials in Delhi are afraid this stretch is strategically vulnerable in any potential conflict with India’s rival, China.

While several Western governments had wanted to impose additional sanctions on Bangladeshi officials over alleged human rights violations and extra-judicial killings, India has been resisting the move calling it counterproductive. More so, since Beijing is keen to extend its footprint in Bangladesh as it battles for regional supremacy with India.

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as she arrives for a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on 5 July 2019 in Beijing, China

“We have conveyed to the West that if you push Ms Hasina, she will go into the Chinese camp, like other countries have done. That will cause a strategic problem with India,” the former Indian diplomat, Mr Chakravarty, said. “We can’t afford that,” he added.

Despite close ties between the two governments there is suspicion among some Bangladeshis when it comes to India.

“I don’t think Indians are friendly in all the areas. We are always having a problem with India as we are a Muslim nation,” Zamiruddin, a vegetable merchant in Dhaka, said.

“We will have to safeguard ourselves first and then rely on others. Otherwise, we will be in trouble,” he added.

While Delhi is concerned about the possibility of an Islamist regrouping, many in Bangladesh are worried about what’s happening across the border.

Rights groups say since the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014 in India, discrimination against religious minorities, particularly Muslims, has increased – an allegation the BJP denies.

Indian politicians also talk about alleged infiltration by “Bangladeshi illegal immigrants’ – seen as a part reference to Bengali Muslims who live in states like Assam and West Bengal.

“The maltreatment of Indian Muslims creates high potential possibility of maltreatment of the Hindu minorities in Bangladesh,” Mr Bhattacharya said.

Hindus constitute nearly 8% of Bangladesh’s population.

Delhi is clear that Sheikh Hasina at the helm will suit its interests. But the challenging part will be reaching out to the people of Bangladesh.