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Will Zakir Naik Be Extradited To India By The New, Friendlier Malaysian Government?

Indian agencies have been pursuing Zakir Naik on charges of alleged money laundering and delivering hate speeches that incited radicalism.

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Will Zakir Naik, the Islamic preacher that the Indian agencies blame for money laundering and delivering hate speeches and inciting radicalism and terrorism, be extradited to India?

The Indian government says has now sent a formal request to Malaysia to extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that New Delhi is working on the issue of Zakir Naik with the new  Malaysian government.

The  National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been tracking the case of Zakir Naik, who had escaped India before the agency took over the probe against him. Ever since leaving India, Naik has been living in Malaysia.

The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), had banned Zakir Naik and his organisation — the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) — in November 2016, following which all IRF operations were halted and its staff relieved of their duties.

Since the 2016 ban, India has accused Naik of terrorism and money-laundering. The Islamic preacher denies both charges and says the accusations were politically motivated.

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Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, former Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad had reportedly stated that Zakir Naik’s PR status can be reversed if the Government authorities provide enough evidence to prove that his actions can disturb social harmony in Malaysia

This comment came after Malaysian authorities launched an inquiry, Zakir Naik, over his provocative remarks which offended the Hindus and Chinese residing in the Muslim-majority nation.

Zakir Naik had reportedly asked the Malaysian Chinese to “go back” first as they were the “old guests” of the country during a religious talk titled “Executive Talk Bersam Dr Zakir Naik” in Kota Baru, Kelantan, in response to calls for his own deportation.

His speech at the same venue was also denounced after he compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100% rights in Malaysia.

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US Could Recognize Tibet As An ‘Independent Country’ As US-China Tensions Escalate

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Does the US plan to recognize Tibet as an independent country? In a bid to increase pressure on China, a Congress member in the US has introduced a bill that aims to recognize Tibet as an independent country and challenge One China Policy.

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U.S. Congressman Scott Perry introduced a bill in the US Congress last week which directly challenges Chinese claims over Tibet. The bill, H.R. 6948, would authorise the U.S. President to recognise the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China “as a separate, independent country, and for other purposes”. The bill was also referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Perry, a war veteran from Pennsylvania, has also introduced a similar bill for Hong Kong. For the bill to become law it has to pass the House and the Senate before it goes to the President for the seal of approval.

The introduction of the bill comes after earlier this month, the US Senate gave nod to a legislation to block Chinese firms from getting listed on the American stock exchanges. According to experts at EurAsian Times, these decisions come at the time when the US is looking to mount pressure of China for its mishandling of the virus and relentless bullying in Asia.

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Tibetans Welcome Move

The introduction of the bill has been enthusiastically welcomed by Tibetans everywhere. Many prominent Tibetans took to social media to applaud the move by Washington which has raised faint hopes of independence from Chinese occupation.

Tenzin Tsundue, a poet, writer, and Tibetan activist based in New Delhi shared his thoughts on his Facebook and welcomed the move and labelled the bill introduced Scott Perry as a good move.

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Another Tibetan writer and political activist, Tenzin Dorjee, also shared the news about the bill. New York-based Dorjee encouraged fellow Tibetans and supporters to write to Rep. Perry’s office to thank and praise him for this unprecedented initiative.

Many Uighurs, an ethnic Muslim group, have also welcomed the decision by Rep. Perry. China has been on the receiving end of condemnation from the international community for forcing ethnic Uighurs to be interned in concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Estimates suggest that 1-2 million Uighur Muslims from Kazakhstan and China have been detained in Chinese camps for ‘de-radicalization’ purposes.

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The Tibet Dispute

To understand the Tibetan dispute, one must go back a century. Tibet declared independence after the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912 and functioned as an independent protectorate until 1950.

The situation changed when communist China, under Mao Zedong, wrested control from Tibet a year after the Chinese civil war.

The Tibetans signed a 17 point agreement handing over its sovereignty to Beijing, the first time China ever exercised control over the region. The Chinese use the same document as proof of Chinese sovereignty over the pristine Himalayan region while the Tibetans claim that they were forced to sign the document.

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Currently, the region is administered by China as the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Tibetans accuse China of carrying out large scale human right violations as well as changing the ethnic makeup of the region by encouraging large scale migration of Chinese Han people.

Often referred to as the ‘roof of the world’, Tibet is strategically important to China. It allows Chinese access to India due to its proximity and can be used as an airbase at the time of crisis, such as in the present Sino-Indian conflict.

India got involved in the Tibet dispute after it offered refuge to Dalai Lama, the leader of the exiled Tibetan government, in Mcleoganj in 1959. Since then India has given shelter to many Tibetan refugees at odds with the Chinese government and this has led to an increase in Sino-Indian tensions.

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For the US, the issue of Tibet has come to life after decades. The CIA covertly supported indigenous Tibetan uprisings in the 1950s but this stopped after Richard Nixon came to power in 1971.

While it is unlikely that the US goes to war with China over Tibet, the latest bill can be used to deter Chinese expansionist ambitions in both Asia and the Pacific. China has made provocative moves in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan, Hong Kong and near the Line of Actual Control with India.

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Asia Pacific

How China Has Used COVID-19 To Escalate Military Conflicts & Crush ‘Democratic’ Voices?

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COVID-19 has brought the entire world to a standstill except for China which is finding it a perfect time to escalate military conflicts, intensify border disputes and curtail democratic freedom. 

Experts talking to the EurAsian Times agree that many nations are using the cover of the coronavirus to take advantage of the situation and forwarding their political agenda as the world remains distracted.

China has been the most active in promoting its regional interests during COVID-19 pandemic with Hong Kong and India facing the brunt of Chinese hostilities.

China was one of the first countries to shut its border and bring the entire country to a standstill in a bid to curb COVID-19, however, this did not stop China from making provocative moves in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, India Ocean and even the Himalayas.

Near the Strait of Taiwan, Chinese naval vessels and airforce have regularly engaged in military drills aimed at invading Taiwan, which Beijing calls a renegade province. As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, experts believe that military drills were conducted to test the response of Taiwan, as well as the US, in case China invaded the island nation.

Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous region of China under the ‘One China-two system’ framework, is also facing Chinese hostility. The National People’s Congress (NCP) has proposed a new national security law that aims to curtail HK’s freedom and potentially arrest critics for treason, secession, sedition and subversion.

The new law not only overrides Hong Kong’s constitution but threatens pro-democracy supporters. As expected, the move has drawn international criticism and violent protests from citizens in Hong Kong. Many experts have called it ‘perfect timings’ in reference to COVID-19 pandemic.

China has also been accused of bullying the ASEAN nations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and COVID-19 did not stop Beijing from its hostile, aggressive manoeuvres.

China tracked Malaysian ships, took control of Islands claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines and even sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel. China lays claims to almost 80% of the South China Sea and has regularly made provocative moves in the region.

Although thousands of miles, the United States was quick to stand up Chinese bullying tactics. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force conducted naval and aerial exercises in the region to reassure allies and stay committed to unrestricted movement through the waterway.

US and China are already involved in a trade dispute and the coronavirus has only intensified tensions between the two powerhouses. The US has consistently blamed China for spreading the virus and threatened to cut ‘all ties’ with Beijing.

Deep in the Himalayas’, India was the next country to witness Chinese aggression. New Delhi has not only locked horns in the high reaches of the Himalayas but also the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Soldiers from India and China have exchanged blows at Pangong Lake in Ladakh and Naku-La Pass in North Sikkim. Currently, both countries are involved in a bitter border conflict in Galwan Valley in Aksai Chin along the Line of Actual Control (LaC). Experts have called it the worst stand-off between India and China since 2017 Doklam dispute.

Prior to border tensions, India also witnessed increasing Chinese hostilities in the Indian Ocean region. China has regularly mapped the ocean, conducted patrols and has redeveloped an island in the Maldives.

In response, the Indian Navy flexed its muscle by sailing destroyers and naval ships in the area. The Navy has also fired a warning at intruding Chinese vessels and stated that Indian Navy remains ‘battle-ready’ despite the pandemic.

Tensions with key Chinese ally – Pakistan have been on the rise. India has seen in an increase in violence as cross-border shelling, insurgency and counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir. According to South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP), 24 members of the armed forces have lost their lives and 49 militants have been eliminated since March 2020.

Towards the east, Nepal has been a staunch ally of India and acts as a natural buffer between New Delhi and Beijing. However, Indo-Nepalese relations are under duress as the normally friendly neighbours are currently engaged in a territorial dispute.

Both Kathmandu and New Delhi claim Kalapani to be an integral part of their country and this dispute has soured ties between them. Nepal claims to be acting on its own and standing up for itself while India suspects Chinese involvement behind Nepalese claims.

When it comes to furthering political interest, it would be wrong to only point fingers at China. Playing the same game are countries including Iran, Israel and Russia.

One of the oldest unresolved issues in international politics involves Israel-Palestine conflict. The Israel-Palestine dispute is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode as the planned West Bank annexation by Israel nears.

During the pandemic, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has said that Israel will not miss the “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. Palestine, Jordan, European Union, United Kingdom disagree with Jerusalem but Israel has the full backing of Donald Trump – the US president.

While discussing increasing Russian strength in eastern Europe, political analysts believe that Ukraine could lose more territory to Russia as Crimea faces a severe water shortage. Despite the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, Vladimir Putin is hardly a man that would be deterred from pursuing his political ambitions.

Much like the annexation of Crimea, more Ukrainian territory could meet a similar fate. With most of Europe busy dealing with the outbreak, Putin will not have such an opportunity again.

Although countries facing threats from other nations can depend on allies for support, Australia finds itself in an awkward position. The Kangaroos have managed to become entangled in the dispute between US-China. Canberra finds itself in a situation where it must choose between the US – the strategic defence ally and China – its biggest trading partner.

The post-COVID world could likely bring a new world order where countries become increasingly wary of each other. The era of globalization as we know could come to an end as countries become more self-sufficient and reduce their dependence on one another. A cold war seems likely, so does rise in protectionism and nationalism.

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Asia Pacific

BUSTED: Xi Jinping Asks Army To Be ‘Battle Ready’ Againt India As China Evacuating Its Citizens

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India-China border tensions are increasing but Beijing has accused the Indian media of adding fuel to the fire by reporting fabricated news. China is planning to evacuate its citizens from India and the media have directly linked it to India-China border conflict, says Beijing. 

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The evacuation program should be seen as a regular service provided by the embassy to its citizens. Yet, some Indian news outlets have deliberately connected the evacuation to the border tension between China and India, fueling a new round of reckless speculation that China may be preparing for war, a report in Global Times says.

It is logical that Beijing would assist its citizens to return to their home country, given the challenges in the aviation sector. India stopped all incoming international flights in late March, and its ongoing coronavirus lockdown has stranded students, visitors and businessmen, explains the GT.

GT says the New Delhi should not misunderstand the evacuation move by China this time. After all, it was not long ago that the Indian government repatriated its citizens from various nations.

Still, any attempt to increase the confusion between the two nations is extremely incorrect at present. GT says that the Indian economy is now suffering from crippling lockdown while poor people are facing the threat of famine. China has no intention of heightening the border disputes with India, so its support to its citizens during Covid-19 should not be over-interpreted.

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Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 26 called on the Chinese Army – PLA “to think about worst-case scenarios” and “scale up battle preparedness”. Xi commented during his annual meeting with the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) representatives attending the National People’s Congress.

However, Xi’ had also referred to “battle preparedness” during his meeting with the PLA in 2019. This year, his speech centred on the post-pandemic situation, as he heard the PLA members of Parliament reporting on “strengthening training amid the epidemic, and accelerating capacity building on biosecurity defence”.

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President Xi said the Covid-19 epidemic “brought a profound impact on the global landscape and on China’s security and development as well”. He “ordered the PLA to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, quickly and efficiently manage with all sorts of complicated circumstances and firmly protect national sovereignty, security and interests,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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