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Journal of International Studies (JIS) Vol. 7, 2011

Economic Liberalisation and Its Socio-Economic Consequences in India, 1966-1996: With Reference to the Japanese Experience of Liberalisation
Simon James Bytheway
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Against the present-day rhetorical backdrop of globalisation, and the apparently “revolutionary” nature of information technology, the following paper strives to recount and reconsider the Indian experience of economic liberalisation in the thirty-year period from the introduction of economic liberalisation and deregulatory reform in 1966, to the fall of the Narasimha Congress government in the general elections of 1996. Particular attention is paid to the role of the state in the context of post-colonial India, and how Congress (I) under the leadership of Indira Gandhi introduced economic liberalisation, with the intention of easing poverty, to such an extent that by the end of the 1980s liberalisation, under the banner of New Economic Policy, had allowed India to realise unprecedented economic growth. The legacies of India’s economic liberalisation, however, deserve careful analysis. Economic growth engendered by liberalisation led to India becoming deeply indebted to foreign creditors, and would prove itself to be unsustainable. So much so that by the time Narasimha Rao came to power, in June 1991, India was on the verge of financial crisis, and was forced to seek IMF assistance. Under the auspices of the green revolution and then economic liberalisation, IMF and World Bank tutelage appeared to have sharpened the divisions amongst Indian society to such an extent that the Indian polity was in danger of failure or partial collapse. Given the magnitude and nature of India’s socio-economic problems, perhaps lessons could have been learnt from the example of Japan, and how it extricated itself from an externally driven agenda of economic liberalisation.
 
Keywords: Economic Liberalisation, Deregulation, Denationalisation, Market, State, New Economic Policy (NEP), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 

 
Quo Vadis Myanmar?: Military Rule, the 2010 Election and Beyond
Jatswan S. Sidhu
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Myanmar (or formerly Burma) has been ruled by the military (tatmadaw) since 1962 and although multiparty elections were held in 1990, the Myanmar military junta simply refused to accept the results and transfer power to the National League Democracy (NLD) that won with a landslide victory. Instead, the Myanmar military junta announced its own version of political reform through the introduction of a “disciplined democracy” and as such convened a National Convention for the purpose of drafting a new constitution for the country. The constitution was finally approved in 2008 through a referendum that was highly rigged. Based on provisions of the 2008 Constitution, the military junta held another round of multiparty elections on 7 November 2010. Taking stock of events since 1988 and in the light of recent developments, this paper therefore attempts to gauge the future direction of the country’s political landscape by interpreting and analyzing recent events. More importantly, it would attempt to show how much change can be expected in Myanmar especially when taking into account a flawed Constitution, a highly rigged elections and a new pseudo-civilian government. In other words, is there going to be real political change or are the elections a mere window dressing by the country’s military junta?
 
Keywords: Military Rule, Myanmar, Constitution, Elections, New Government.
 

 
Freedom of Religious Expression in Malaysia
Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani & Dian Diana Abdul Hamed Shah
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
There are always debates on the freedom of expression in today’s modern world more so in response to issues like freedom of religion, religious expression, hate speech, inter-faith dialogues etc. In Malaysia, issues especially those concerning race and religion are considered sensitive and therefore pose as obstacles to the implementation of complete religious freedom. Great care is taken not to impinge on the religious sensitivities of the various groups. It is understood that no one including the media can carry articles that question the faith or ridicule the religion and culture of the people in the country. Given that Islam is the religion of the Federation, great care is taken not to publish articles that cast slur, intended or otherwise, on the religion or its adherents. All media, including those operated by the opposition, follow this policy. Thus, religious expression has always been monitored by the government in order to protect the racial harmony in the multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious society of Malaysia. And this protection is provided for in the Constitution. This paper looks into some important issues that has caused some concern recently such as the position of Islam and freedom of religion, use of religion in politics, religious expression in the media, use of the word Allah by Christians, the publication of the Bible in the Malay language and the controversy over the so called attempt by an opposition party to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia. The paper explains how these issues have been tackled by the government and society.
 
Keywords: Malaysia, Religious Expression, Islam, Christianity, Freedom of Speech.
 

 
The Evolution of International Fisheries Law and Policy Framework: A Paradigm Shift Towards Responsible Fisheries
Mohammad Zaki Ahmad
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The proliferation of international legal and policy instruments for fisheries governance during this post-LOSC era attests to the urgency and strong political commitment of the global community to improve and strengthen the international management and conservation framework for marine capture fisheries, fuelled in part by their mounting concerns over the pervasive unsustainable use and ineffective management of coastal and offshore fisheries worldwide. This paper aims to trace the historical origin and evolution of modern international fisheries regime, focusing on how the current legal and policy framework for responsible fisheries came into being over the last two decades. A series of chronological events that led to this process is examined, stretching back to the periods from 1980s to 2001. Included in this paper is discussion on one of the important driving factors that led to the development global framework for the sustainable and responsible use and management of marine living resources: the need to address the inherent weaknesses of fisheries regime under the LOSC. Finally, the general background of international conferences, conventions, voluntary instruments that have played pivotal role in the development of responsible fisheries concept applicable to coastal States jurisdiction are presented in the paper by examining their scope of application and structure.
 
Keywords: Responsible Fisheries, UN Convention on Law of the Sea, IUU Fishing, Marine Fisheries, FAO Code of Conduct.
 

 
Addressing Transboundary Haze Through Asean: Singapore’s Normative Constraints
Helena Muhamad Varkkey
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Since 1982, Southeast Asia has experienced almost annual ‘haze’ pollution, caused by smoke from grass, forest and peat fires mostly in Indonesia. The haze affects the health of some 75 million people and the economies of six ASEAN nations. It is the region’s first transboundary environmental crisis that ASEAN is attempting to address collectively. ASEAN level interaction is often guided by the ASEAN Way, and a common debate is whether these norms constrain states from interacting effectively at the regional level. This paper will address this debate using interviews and material compiled during fieldwork in Singapore. While Singapore was one of the first countries to propose a common regional approach to the haze, this paper will illustrate how Singapore has in fact been constrained by the ASEAN Way while engaging with Indonesia and ASEAN. This is reflected in terms of its behavior at the ASEAN forum, statements made, and actions taken. As a result, Singapore has often resorted to other means of engagement, like bilateral and track-two engagement. As Singapore is one of the major ‘victims’ in this equation, this paper serves as important piece of the broader puzzle of why haze management in ASEAN has been less than effective.
 
Keywords: ASEAN Way, Singapore, Indonesia, Transboundary Haze, Regional Cooperation.
 

 
From Geneva to Geneva: A Discourse on Geo-Political Dimension of Conflict in Laos: 1954–1962
Patit Paban Mishra
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
During the cold war period, the problem of Laos was exacerbated due to strategic location of Laos and national interest of external actors. The present paper would analyze various ramifications of the conflict in Laos. Beginning from First Indochina War (1946-1954), fate of Laos was linked very closely with that of Vietnam. With the escalation of conflict, a solution to problem of Laos was nowhere in sight. The Geneva Conference of 1954 did not solve the problem. The three major strands in Laos; Pathet Lao, neutralists and the rightists became a constant feature of Lao politics. Both the United States and North Vietnam came into conflict, as they were committed to help their respective allies in Laos, and regarded the other’s action in Laos as harmful to their interest in South Vietnam. An agreement on Laos became contingent upon ending the war in Vietnam. The net result of outside intervention was prolongation of conflict in Laos. A solution to Lao conflict was in sight after the Geneva accords of 1962. However, the gradual linkage of the country with the Vietnam War made the solution of dependent upon the outcome of conflict in Vietnam. Laos was going to be embroiled in the Vietnam War and there was no peace in sight unless a solution was there in Vietnam. Laos became a sideshow in Vietnam War.
Keywords: Cold War, Policy of Containment, Negotiated & Settlement, Peacemaking, Civil War.
 

 
International Responses to Human Rights Violations in Myanmar: The Case of the Rohingya
Jatswan S. Sidhu & Syeeda Naushin Parnini
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
While Myanmar is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, the Bamar (Burmese) nonetheless comprise almost 70 percent of the country’s total population. Of the many ethnic groups in Myanmar, the Muslim Rohingya, are mainly centered in the Rakhine (Arakan) State, which borders Bangladesh. Although the position of these people as a distinct ethnic group was recognized by the U Nu government (1948-1962), the introduction of the 1982 Citizenship Act by the country’s military government, however, have rendered them stateless. Subject to a wide range of systematic human rights violations by the Myanmar authorities, the Rohingya have often sought refugee in Bangladesh as well as many other countries in the region and beyond. Whilst most like-minded states and international organizations have duly responded to the issue, especially by providing humanitarian assistance and criticizing the Myanmar junta for its treatment of the Rohingya, however, much remains to be done to find a permanent solution to the issue of statelessness of these people. The purpose of this article is therefore to analyze responses from some segments of the international community over the issue of human rights violations on the Rohingya and the resulting exodus of these people from Myanmar. As such, this article will examine responses from Bangladesh, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the regional community, the United States, the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
 
Keywords: Human Rights Violations, Myanmar, Rohingya, International Responses.
 

 
Human Rights in Xinjiang 1978-2007: Internationalisation of the Uyghur Dilemma and China’s Reaction
Roy Anthony Rogers
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Since 1978 when Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership of China after the demise of Mao Zedong in 1976, the country witnessed dramatic changes in the human rights situation. These included freedom in performing religious obligations such as pilgrimage, for the Muslim Uyghurs and freedom to practice their culture and language. Hence, there was an overall improvement in human rights situation in Xinjiang province. However, in the late 1990s the Chinese Communist Party reverted to harsh policies once again. They declared the policy of ‘Strike Hard’ which sanctioned the use of torture and arbitrary detention as well as extra-judicial killings of the Uyghurs. This article examines the factors that have influenced China’s policies on the human rights condition in Xinjiang from 1978 until 2007. It also analyses the role of Uyghur diasporas in their struggle to internationalise the human rights issues in Xinjiang and China’s reaction towards the international pressures.
 
Keywords: Human Rights, Muslim Uyghurs, Xinjiang, Chinese Policy.
 

 
ZIMBABWE : A Country Profile
Knocks Tapiwa Zengeni
 
Introduction Ɩ Full Text
Zimbabwe is a relatively small country situated in the southern part of Africa between South Africa and Zambia. It is also bounded by Mozambique in the east and Botswana in the West. This land-locked country occupies about 390,757 sq km of land and its population is about 12.4 million (CIA World Fact Book, 2011). Zimbabwe was a British colony for almost a century and was one of a few countries which belatedly achieved independence after waging a protracted liberation war. Several racial and ethnic groups reside in the county. English is the official language with two dominating native languages, that is, Shona and Sindebele being accorded national language status. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been embroiled in the worst political and socio-economic crisis of its thirty-one year history as an independent state. Unfortunately, this unprecedented crisis has negatively affected every aspect of the country and every segment of the population. However, in February, 2009, after almost a year of uncertainty following controversial elections in 2008, a semblance of normality seems to have emerged after the main political actors agreed to set up an inclusive government. Despite these promising signs the country is still not out of the woods yet.