Meanwhile, in the remarkable experiments taking place in Manipur, the fight for women’s rights has taken a violent turn – with the shocking videos that have emerged. Last week a video surfaced, showing two women being paraded naked and assaulted by a mob. This abhorrent act has sent shockwaves across India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken up, condemning the incident.
The incident has sparked outrage from all over the country, with thousands protesting in Manipur and in New Delhi. As a response to the violence, Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah called for a dialogue with the political opposition. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also controls the Manipur state government, and protesters there have called for the state’s chief minister to be sacked. On Wednesday, the opposition introduced a motion for a no-confidence vote on Modi—intended to pressure the prime minister to speak about Manipur in parliament.
It cannot be said enough – violence and abuse against women is abhorrent and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Prime Minister Modi’s condemnation is a step in the right direction, and the international community must also step up to help the millions of women in South Asia that live in vulnerable conditions. It is important that the voices of these women are heard – their rights must be respected, and their suffering must be ameliorated.
The recent floods in Afghanistan are indicative of the country’s acute climate crisis – it is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It grapples with regular floods and droughts, and researchers in the United Kingdom recently designated it as one of the areas most at risk from heat waves. Natural disasters affected thousands of people in Afghanistan last year and the Taliban’s elimination of a key water management agency has not helped the situation.
Adding to the country’s food insecurity is a locust crisis wreaking havoc on crops across eight provinces, which could ruin one-quarter of the year’s wheat harvest. Unfortunately, as of now, Afghan’s don’t stand to benefit from the recently approved at the U.N. Climate Change Conference for a new loss and damage agreement to create a fund for vulnerable countries such as Afghanistan – due to international sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, by phone on Monday. Blinken mentioned democratic principles and respect for the rule of law – likely an indirect reference to Pakistan’s government’s crackdown against the opposition. The State Department also readout mentioned the U.S. rejection of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accusation that the United States helped to oust him from power through a parliamentary no-confidence vote last April.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe also traveled to India and left after producing further economic agreements – with India offering up to $4 billion in aid and support during Sri Lanka’s major economic crisis last year. A striking development also happened in Nepal this week as China launched its ‘Silk Roadster’ initiative focusing on people-to-people engagement, skills training, study abroad programs, and business exchanges.
The flash floods, ethnic violence, heat waves, and political instability beware witness in the South Asian region in recent weeks are a clear indication of how concerning climate change is in the region and how much needs to be done. Evidently, more assistance from the international community is required in order to help bolster climate resilience and aid those suffering in the region. Otherwise, the humanitarian crisis and associated security threats will only be further aggravated.