China-Myanmar conflict gives India an opportunity

New Delhi: China may have stood like a rock behind Myanmar for the past 20 years while the rest of the world treated it like a pariah, vetoing UN resolutions against the military regime, providing it arms and billions of dollars to develop infrastructure, and thus allowing the isolated country to cock a snook at the international community. But now, cracks are appearing  in that relationship, which, analysts say, can benefit New Delhi if exploited well, particularly since India already has more than a toehold in Myanmar. The overwhelming Chinese presence had rung alarm bells in some quarters of the Myanmar military establishment, General Than Shwe, a smart tactician, believes his country con not afford to put all its eggs in the China basket and wants India and other countries to come in with major developmental projects. The recent release of the American citizen who swam across to Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s home is an indication that the bamboo curtain is lifting inch by inch. There is hope in Yangon that the new Barack Obama administration in the US would be less sanctimonious and gradually open up to Myanmar. The Americans are saying nothing publically but the visit of US senator Jim Webb in August, when he called the sanctions against Myanmar “overwhelmingly counterproductive”, gives room for hope.

Yongon’s problems with China in recent months in the border areas, where ethnic Chinese have clashed with the Myanmar army, have led to fresh tension. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in Kokang, an ethnic Chinese region in the northern Shan state bordering China, has been under attack by the army which wants all its tribes in the north east of the country, allowed by a China-brokered peace agreement in 1989, to integrate into Myanmar’s forces and become border guards

Source – Asian Mid Week – Thursday, Sepember 22, 2009, volume 9, No. 38

Monitoring teaching of Sindhi in Sindh

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

During an informal meeting with the Minister of Education for Sindh (Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq), the question of non-compliance of private schools to teach Sindhi in the schools of Sindh was also raised. The Minister confirmed that the teaching of Salees Sindhi and Salees Urdu are mandatory in the schools of Sindh. He also said that people should report any cases of non-compliance of this rule promptly and the Ministry will take appropriate action against them immediately. The Minister further said that if any one has verifiable reports that any school in Sindh is not teaching at the minimum of Salees Sindhi, they should either call him or or the Secretary of Education Sindh, MR. Rizwan Memon or they can also report via email to secy.edu@sindh.gov.pk. Let us see if the present Government is serious about ensuring that current laws of Sindh with respect to the use and teaching of the Sindhi language are enforced.

Those interested in monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of various education programs of the Sindh education ministry are advised to visit Ministry’s web site and share their views and critique. The Ministry URL is: http://www.sindh. gov.pk/dpt/ EducationFinal/ index.htm