South Asian states caught between popular demands and empire

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PM for ‘middle-path’ approach to Iraq
The Hindu, Tuesday 11 March 2003. The Vajpayee Government today failed to bridge the differences in perception with some of its allies and the Opposition over India’s stand on the impending war on Iraq. It elaborated on its ‘middle-path’ approach and said the Government preferred a peaceful resolution of the conflict through the U.N. and was against any military conflict.
Dangerous drift
Editorial opionion by The Hindu, Wednesday 12 March 2003. The pusillanimity displayed by New Delhi in its refusal to stake out a position against a war on Iraq is inexcusable.
Nothing short of PM’s statement will do: Opposition
The Hindu, Wednesday 12 March 2003. The Opposition parties in Parliament today kept up the pressure on the Government to state its stand categorically on the looming war over Iraq. In both the Houses, Opposition members joined hands demanding a statement from the Prime Minister.
India Challenges US Demand To Expel Iraqi Diplomats
Oana/Itar-Tass, 15 March 2003. India has turned down a request made by the US administration insisting that India expel three high-ranking Iraqi diplomats from India. At the moment, Australia is the only country that has complied with the US claim on other states demanding that Iraqi diplomats be expelled.
Unjustified, says India
By Amit Baruah, The Hindu, Friday 21 March 2003. India said today that the U.S.’ military action against Iraq lacked justification and echoed the pronouncements of the U.N. chief weapons inspectors that such action was avoidable.
The sense behind Delhi's silence
By Sudha Ramachandran, Asia Times, 29 March 2003. India’s reluctance to condemn the U.S. for its invasion of Iraq—though condemned by several within this country for being an unprincipled position—is expected to bring in some rewards. While Indian businessmen are eyeing the post-Saddam Hussein spoils, the government seems to be aiming higher. It is hoping to a play a more significant role in a restructured world order.


Pressure mounts on Pakistan
By B. Muralidhar Reddy, The Hindu, Tuesday 4 March 2003. As a newly inducted non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Pakistan finds itself under intense pressure from the lobbies in favour and against war on Iraq. Pushed from within and without Islamabad so far chosen the middle path. The ‘anti-American’ sentiment on the home front was evident from the impressive ‘million march’ organised by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, alliance of religious parties, in Karachi.
Pak. parties step up pressure
By B. Muralidhar Reddy, The Hindu, Monday 10 March 2003. An alliance of six religious parties in Pakistan, today demonstrated its muscle power by holding a mammoth second ‘million march’ in Rawalpindi against possible U.S. led military attack against Iraq. The two rallies reflect the prevailing anti-American sentiment all over Pakistan and complicate matters for the Pervez Musharraf.
‘Difficult for Pak. to back U.S. draft’
By B. Muralidhar Reddy, The Hindu, Tuesday 11 March 2003. Amid tremendous pressure from within and without, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, announced today that it would be very difficult for Pakistan to support war against Iraq. While Pakistan had very good relations with the U.S., its position on Iraq was based on principles and national interest.
U.S. move strengthens Musharraf’s hands
By B. Muralidhar Reddy, The Hindu, Sunday 16 March 2003. The U.S. waving of coup related sanctions against Pakistan carries enormous political significance for President Musharraf. The timing of the announcement is bound to give room to an interpretation that it is part of its diplomatic wooing game in the context of the Iraq crisis.
Musharraf under pressure over Iraq
By B. Muralidhar Reddy, The Hindu, Thursday 20 March 2003. Pressure from the Opposition parties to condemn Bush's ultimatum that Hussein leave Iraq or face war. Islamabad believes that while a harsh statement would have no impact on the Bush Administration, it could undermine its relations with Washington.

Sri Lanka

SL govt addresses divisions within UN system
The Colombo Page, 21 March 2003. The government has decided to hold talks with other countries to address current divisions within the United Nations over the Iraqi issue. Action against Iraq outside the UN puts strong pressure on the world body. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said the depletion of the world body’s strength did not augur well.
Opposition blasts government’s silence on Iraqi war
Colombo Page News, 29 March 2003. Opposition leaders heap scorn on Ranil Wickremesinghe for being silent on the issue despite his public proclamation that he would do anything for peace. Dr. Amunugama questioned the government on whether its silence meant that it supported the US war on Iraq.
President scoffs at Bush’s double standards
Colombo Page News, 2 April 2003. President Kumaratunge scoffed at the double standards of American President George Bush, who wanted Sri Lanka to talk peace with the LTTE while the US justified war against Iraq by stating that the country was a terrorist state.
Iraqi attack condemned
Colombo Page News, 10 April 2003. The PA controlled Western provincial council adopted a watered down motion condemning the US led aggression in Iraq. It requested the government to clarify its stand on the issue of US aggression in Iraq. The council unanimously decided to convey its displeasure to the US and UK ambassadors in Sri Lanka too.