SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Pakistan wants political settlement of Afghan conflict: FM Qureshi

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that Pakistan wants political settlement of Afghan conflict as it firmly believes that dialogue is the only way forward. Addressing the media in Multan, the foreign minister reiterated that “there is no military solution to the issue”. In addition, he said that Pakistan is committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in the war-torn country and will... More

Russian Navy ships arrive in India for bilateral maritime exercise

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Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) ships Varyag, Admiral Panteleyev and Boris Butoma on Sunday arrived at Visakhapatnam to participate in INDRA NAVY, the bilateral maritime exercise with Indian Navy. The 10th edition of the exercise will be conducted from December 9-16. The primary aim of the exercise, which was initiated in 2003, is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime... More

Indian navy ship in Maldives for joint EEZ surveillance

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INS Rana, a Rajput-class destroyer of the Indian navy has arrived in Maldives for a joint surveillance patrol with the Maldives National Defense Force. MNDF reports INS Rana will be conducting joint surveillance patrol of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Maldives with MNDF’s Coastguard. MNDF reports the Joint EEZ surveillance of Maldives is a serial joint operation by Indian navy and MNDF to check for... More

Nepal-China Joint Consultation meeting rescheduled for next Thursday

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The twelfth meeting of the Joint Consultation Mechanism between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Nepal and China has been rescheduled for December 13, officials said on Friday. The foreign secretary-level meeting scheduled for December 8 was deferred at the request of Chinese side, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Republica Online. Earlier, senior officials from the two foreign ministries said that they would... More

Respect the will of voters: US Congressman

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A new resolution in the US House of Representatives, placed by a Democrat congressman, has urged Bangladeshi political leaders and judicial authorities to respect the will of voters and ensure their free participation in the December 30 polls. The legislation was placed on Thursday, reaffirming "the commitment of the United States to promote free, fair, transparent and credible polls in Bangladesh". The resolution, placed by William... More

Myanmar forms steering committee for implementation of Belt and Road projects

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Myanmar has formed a steering committee for implementation of tasks relating to the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, according to the government's Gazette Friday. The committee is chaired by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. Vice-President U Myint Swe serves as vice chairman and other ministers and regional chief ministers are the members. The committee is tasked to implement works relating to the establishment of Myanmar-China... More

Cabinet endorses 12th Plan in principle

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In the first Meet-the-PM programme in Thimphu yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering announced that the draft 12th Five Year Plan was approved. Prime Minister said that the government met with the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) on December 6 to discuss the 12th Plan. “We discussed all the Plan’s activities in detail, and now the plan is ready.” The 12th plan had been planned well,... More

UK closely follows developments in Sri Lanka’s human rights

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The United Kingdom is closely following developments in promoting and protecting human rights in Sri Lanka and is aware of the concern felt by many about the potential impact on human rights defenders, UK Minister of State for Human Rights said. Human Rights Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has given an interim statement on the human rights situation in 2018 in the Foreign and Commonwealth... More

Afghan forces slowdown operations to protect civilians

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A senior security official in Helmand said on Friday that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have launched military operations in parts of the province to clear areas of militants, but they said the operations are moving forward slowly as they want to protect civilians. The operations are ongoing in Nad Ali and Nahri Saraj districts as well as on the outskirts of Lashkargah... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

Beijing increases pressure on Myanmar to open up economically amid Western disinterest


China is increasing its pressure on the Myanmar government in an effort to consolidate its strategic position in Beijing’s march westward. China is also trying to capitalise on Myanmar’s... More

Canadian House panel indicts security agencies on lax security during PM Justin Trudeau’s February India visit


A Canadian parliamentary committee has recommended the Justin Trudeau government to crack down on Khalistani extremists who live in the country and continue to pose a More

REPORTS

Bangladesh opposition says hundreds of supporters held before polls


Bangladesh’s opposition party on Sunday said nearly 2,000 of its supporters have been arrested on trumped-up charges in a crackdown aimed at derailing its campaign just weeks before a general election. The Bangladesh... More

Afghan govt ‘largely lawless, weak and dysfunctional’: SIGAR 


Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued its latest quarterly report to the US Congress on Tuesday and stated that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) views the situation in Afghanistan... More

China stands by Pakistan in Afghanistan reconciliation efforts


China stands by Pakistan in reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan, hoping that the US and other stakeholders will show their sincerity in achieving the desired results, an article published in China Daily. It is... More

India getting edged out in Kabul: Experts


India faces a tough challenge in Afghanistan as the Taliban, backed by Russia and China, gets mainstreamed. It could soon get control over some parts of the strife-torn country. Discussing what is, in... More

NEWS ANALYSIS

As election nears, religious tensions surge in an Indian village


Nayabans isn't remarkable as northern Indian villages go. Sugar cane grows in surrounding fields, women carry animal feed in bullock carts through narrow lanes, people chatter outside a store and cows loiter. But... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

Terror attack won’t shake China-Pakistan cooperation


Friday's terror attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, is a warning signal to Beijing and Islamabad, an epitome of the intricate situation in the region thanks... More

ISSUES

Myanmar speeds up progress on China’s Belt and Road


In late November, Ning Jizhe, deputy head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), visited Myanmar and met with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the minister of planning and finance along with other ministers.... More

In ‘Asia’s gateway to Africa’ Mauritius, rivals China and India compete for...


The motto, written in Latin, on the coat of arms of the tiny island of Mauritius says: “The Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”. But as rivalry grows in the region between Asia’s superpowers India and China,... More

Kartarpur corridor: Opening opportunities between India and Pakistan


With Pakistan and India making history with groundbreaking Ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor on both sides of International Boundary to facilitate the people by giving access to Sikhs of India to Baba Guru Nanak Gurdwara- the founder and... More

Bollywood’s lost love: The forgotten cinemas of Indian Kashmir


Mohammad Ashraf’s eyes light up when he recalls the glory days of the Naaz cinema. In a bygone time, before Kashmir became synonymous with unrest, the Naaz was a beacon of light entertainment: it occupied a marvel... More

DEFENCE

Pakistan and Ukraine to collaborate on precision munitions


During the 2018 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) — which took place in 27-30 of last month in Karachi, Pakistan – officials from Ukraine and Pakistan officially agreed to bilaterally collaborate on the development of defence... More

IAF conducts combined guided firing of 4 surface-to-air missiles


In a first-of-its-kind exercise code-named CROSS BOW-18, the Indian Air Force successfully conducted combined guided weapons firing of Surface-to-Air Missiles from the Air Force Station at Suryalanka in Andhra Pradesh. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender... More

What should Brexit mean for India?

Pay Attention ‘Brexit’ evokes a range of responses, from the bemused, “what the heck is going on?” to the apathetic “who cares?” The Indian reaction resonates between the phlegmatic (“this topic doesn’t perturb me”) and... More

COLUMN

Trump’s melodrama vis-à-vis Pakistan meets ground realities

The Trump administration's renewed push to seek Pakistan's help in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table comes as a striking contrast to what the US president had only very recently said in one of his interviews about Pakistan not doing anything in Afghanistan to help the US win the war, or even get out of it. Coming from a president who is famous for his unpredictable habit of... More

Imran Khan needs better advisers

One of the central problems of Imran Khan’s government is the quality and commitment of his range of advisers, not only for day-to-day politics but for short and long-term decision-making processes. The PM has been more than once given the perception of taking off-the-cuff decisions through speeches and interviews. Even good advisers do not matter until there is a due process for diligence and analysis to not only sort... More

In Bangladesh, a poor politician is of no use to anyone

In Dhaka’s swirling political speculations and gossip, the latest is about who among the electoral candidates is wealthy and who is not. On paper, many have declared their wealth and almost none have been found credibility among the public. They know that to survive in politics you need to make and spend a lot of money which, going by wealth levels, would be impossible. Politics is not just about power... More

Hunt with the hound, swim with the crocodile

On the sidelines of the G20 conference in Argentina, there were two very important summits. One involved US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was the first trilateral that brought Modi and Trump together. “The relationships between our three countries is extremely good, extremely strong. I think, with India, maybe stronger than ever. And with Japan, I think, stronger than ever,” Trump said, as... More

India’s dead-end Afghan policy

While India has been investing in Afghanistan for several years, the changing dynamics of the Afghan war indicate that this economic, political and diplomatic investment may not yield the desired results after all. First and foremost, India’s Afghan-policy has been driven by the imperative of having a strong presence on Pakistan’s western border, which India has been able to pursue—and aims to continue—with the help of Kabul. But the... More

VIDEO-INTERVIEW

OUTCOME AND FUTURE OF BMISTEC? & WHAT’S ON THE BALANCE?


The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution,... More

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Winds of change in South Asian politics

South Asia has witnessed quite a few upheavals in the past few months that could have a lasting effect not only on domestic politics but on international politics as well. The election results in Pakistan, Bhutan and Maldives were contrary to expectations. Similarly, the power struggle and political infighting in Sri Lanka has caught many by surprise. These scenarios might not have been the results of domestic political... More

China’s military must move beyond simple self-defence strategy, PLA says

Planners with China’s ground forces must not be caught out by the rapid evolution of warfare and technology in the 21st century and must prepare to move beyond a strategy of simple self-defence, the People’s Liberation Army said. China’s leadership has stressed the need for combat readiness and increased training. In a tour of the Southern Theatre Command last month, President Xi Jinping said the military should “concentrate... More

What game is Russia playing in Afghanistan?

Earlier this month, the Russian government hosted a much-awaited peace conference on Afghanistan, which was attended by representatives from the Taliban. After the event, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was photographed posing next to members of the Taliban leadership, who, paradoxically, are still on Russia's terror list. For keen observers of Russian foreign policy, it was clear that the conference was not more than a photo-op meant to... More

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock to only 2 minutes to midnight. It might be tempting to turn this into a mere squabble about arrows and olives if this wasn’t such a terrifying scenario. US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, secretary-general of the USSR, signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987. The Arms Control Association was extremely pleased. “The treaty marked... More

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Peshawar: On the heritage trail

My earliest reminiscences of Peshawar are a double-storey house in University Town, red double-decker buses, listening to Amitabh's Kabhi Kabhi in the backseat of... More

Have breakfast at midnight at Gulshan’s Butler’s Chocolate Cafe

Chocolate lovers alert! There are all chances that you’ll go on an overdrive and OD on the decadent delights at this smart cafe tucked away in the northern extremities of Gulshan, Dhaka. Butler’s Chocolate Cafe offers More

The new flashpoint

There is growing discontent in Varanasi as the government goes ahead with the demolition programme despite stiff resistance from almost all sections of people... More

The Kartarpur Corridor is more than a symbol of new...

The legend of Guru Nanak’s samadhi and grave is one of the most popularly known stories about him in Pakistan. At Kartarpur Sahib, outside the... More

‘Beyond that Last Blue Mountain’ – Memoirs of Afghan Refugees...

In 1988, while wandering in the bazaars of Peshawar buying carpets and textiles for her store in London, Harriet Sandys heard about the death... More

How Chenab, the river of love, flows seamlessly from one...

The ghara or earthen pot acquires particular significance in the love story of Sohni and Mahiwal. In the climax of this Punjabi folk story,... More

What next for the Rohingya?

Days after an attempt to begin the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya in Bangladesh stalled, the future of the world’s most persecuted... More

In the midst of malls, coffee shops, the pedlar’s cries...

Let me count the ways in which the pheriwala calls out. Yes, in this good old new city of Calcutta, where malls, coffee shops,... More
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