SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Nepal decides to provide exchange rate hedging facility to foreign investors

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The Nepali government has taken steps to provide exchange rate hedging facility to the investors, particularly the foreign investors, in Nepal's infrastructure sector. The Nepali government has introduced a regulation on hedging which has made provisions that the investors in hydropower projects, transmission lines, railway, metro and monorail will be eligible to get hedging facility. The regulation has defined hedging as a mechanism where investors can... More

Bhutan gov’t to digitalize services in every office

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Internet charges in Bhutan are higher compared to other countries. And with the government’s flagship programme to digitalize services in every office, it might further increase the internet cost. An official from the Ministry of Information and Communications said while the charge for data is comparable but leased line charges in the country are a bit higher than other countries. At present, Bhutan Telecom charge for... More

Chinese foreign minister highlights China-Myanmar border security

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Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Tuesday highlighted the importance of border security in promoting the economic development of border areas during his visit to the China-Myanmar border in China's southwest Yunnan Province. The stability of the China-Myanmar border is directly related to the security and stability of southwest China and the cooperation process of "Belt and Road Initiative", said Wang. He urged all... More

China, Pakistan set to finalise socio-economic development action plan

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China and Pakistan are likely to finalise one billion dollars Socio-Economic Development action plan under CPEC by the first week of March, it was learnt reliably. The Chinese experts group on socio-economic development is arriving in Pakistan on February 24 and will stay here for two weeks, official sources told The Nation in Islamabad on Tuesday. This is a huge expert group consisting of 10 to... More

Sri Lanka to launch its first satellite in April

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Sri Lanka will launch its first ever satellite into space in April marking its entry into the global space age, officials from Sri Lanka's Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education said on Wednesday. The satellite, which will be named RAAVANA-1, is a research satellite built by two Sri Lankan students from the University of Peradeniya and the Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies. The... More

Bangladesh, UAE hold first-ever FOC in Abu Dhabi

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Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday held the first-ever foreign office consultations (FOC) between the two countries in Abu Dhabi and underscored the need for working together at official levels to materialise the cooperation activities through meaningful engagements. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while the UAE delegation was led by Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, Assistant Foreign Minister for Political... More

Amnesty urges India to ensure safety of Kashmiri citizens amid reports of harassment, arbitrary arrests

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Amnesty India has asked Indian government authorities to ensure that "ordinary Kashmiri women and men do not face targeted attacks, harassment and arbitrary arrests" as tensions simmer in the aftermath of last week's attack in occupied Kashmir's Pulwama area. The Amnesty India press release, issued on Tuesday, takes note of media reports that "Kashmiri university students and traders in northern states, primarily Uttarakhand, Haryana and... More

Afghan president and US special envoy discuss peace process

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met on Sunday and discussed a range of issues around the peace process, the Presidential Palace said in a statement on Monday. According to the statement members of the Peace Consultative Board, a negotiating delegation, some politicians, representatives of political parties, a number of scholars, members of civil society, youth, women, representatives... More

Former Maldives president arrested over money laundering

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A Maldives court ordered the arrest and detention of former Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Monday on charges of money laundering. The criminal court in Male, the capital, ordered Yameen held in custody after prosecutors argued at a hearing that he could attempt to influence witnesses if he were free. Yameen was charged with money laundering for alleged involvement in the embezzlement of Maldives Marketing... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

Pulwama blast: Unanswered questions emerge as anti-Pak and anti-Kashmiri sentiments intensify in India


A week after the devastating explosion at Lethpora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which caused the death of over 40 troopers of India’s Central Reserve Police Force... More

President Sirisena’s pledge to re-introduce the death penalty faces many hurdles


President Maithripala Sirisena’s most recent vow to resume execution of those convicted of “drug offences” came last week when he told the Sri Lankan parliament that he will... More

REPORTS

India, Saudi Arabia sign investment agreements as MBS meets Modi


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced infrastructure and trade agreements after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday. Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, arrived on... More

Without public support, Myanmar military risks losing five townships to Arakan Army


Maj. Thet Oo Maung, a military representative in the Rakhine state parliament, has accused the Arakan Army (AA) of planning to take over five townships in northern Rakhine State by 2020, drawing... More

Afghan gov’t strives to form ‘effective’ national team for peace


The Presidential Palace has confirmed that the Afghan government has expedited its efforts to form a national, inclusive, and unified negotiating team as the United States and the Taliban delegations are preparing... More

Pakistan uses back channels to defuse tensions with India


Pakistan is using back channels through its ‘friends and some influential countries’ to ease tensions with India, as the specter of a possible conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours looms large. Saudi Crown... More

NEWS ANALYSIS

India uses diversionary theory of war against Pakistan


Diversionary theory of war is the contention that leaders initiate conflict abroad as a way of increasing national cohesion at home by diverting national public opinion away from controversial domestic issues. India... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

Saudi investment in Pakistan reflects inclusiveness of BRI


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged $20 billion investment in Pakistan during his trip to the South Asian country over the weekend, the first leg of his Asian tour that... More

ISSUES

The Pulwama Attack and India’s rhetoric


The Attack which occurred in the Pulwama District of Jammu and Kasmir was indeed a horrific event. The attack took place on India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The suicide bomber triggered the car bomb while 78... More

Hasina’s Rohingya dilemma growing, Delhi must help Dhaka resolve crisis


Bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh have blossomed into a full-fledged, broad-based relationship that has broken new ground over the past decade. Weeks after Sheikh Hasina’s government was re-elected for a third term, Bangladesh foreign minister A.K.... More

‘Tarnished image’: Myanmar touts troubled Rakhine as investment destination


Organisers of a summit in Myanmar’s crisis-hit western state of Rakhine are this week pitching to investors its plentiful farmland and fishing grounds, tourist-ready beaches and historic temples. The event’s website describes the “untouched opportunities” available in the... More

India keeps fighter jet makers waiting


In the world of multi-billion dollar defence contracts, India stands out. The world’s biggest arms importer, with an annual defence budget of $43 billion -- has been dangling a potential $15 billion fighter jet deal for more than... More

DEFENCE

‘Pakistan self-sufficient in defence production’


Federal Defence Minister Pervez Khattak has said that Pakistan has become self-sufficient in defence production and captured the international market. Talking to mediapersons in Nowshera after his return from Dubai, he said that participation of Pakistan in Dubai... More

Aero India gets lukewarm response from industry, empty chairs greet defence minister


Aero India, the country’s largest air show, witnessed a gloomy start and got a tepid response from the industry Wednesday. The 12th edition of the biennial show began under the shadow of the collision of two Surya Kiran... More

Rohingya urgently need relief, but is world willing to make an effort?

Eighteen months after being driven from their homes in Myanmar by what U.N. officials described as a campaign of genocidal violence by the military, the situation facing Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remains perilous. Hundreds of thousands of people live... More

COLUMN

Saudi Arabia seeking to be active in South Asia by deepening...

While many political pundits in Pakistan are trying to tie the up-coming billion-dollar Saudi investment in Pakistan with Riyadh’s need to have Islamabad as an ally in its wars in Yemen and Syria, there has been little appreciation of the former’s own growing needs for diversifying its economy. It is also not recognised that Pakistan, with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) running through it in the form of... More

Hybrid warfare: Strategic coercion against Pakistan

While a globalised world was a cherished goal to bring people together, globalisation is increasingly used by one or the other country or group of countries to dominate the rest of the world by a violent process. Looking around we see wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen where the powers that be are trying to bend the power game towards themselves. Conventional wars are now more often not... More

Bangladesh’s Hercules syndrome and rule of vigilante law

A rapist was killed and his body was left with a note that said the death meted out to him was punishment for his crime. It was signed Hercules. A couple of other reports have appeared with such declarations and they have aroused considerable interest in media, particularly social media, the motherland of speculations. Who could be the possible vigilante killer? Long history Extra-judicial killings are nothing new and last... More

India key to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, says former Portuguese...

“This has less to do with geography than with history,” Macaes writes in his insightful book Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order. “As two rising giants, China and India will play a disproportionate role in shaping the new world political and economic order, but like every claim on the future, their role remain ambiguous. In China's case, the question is whether it will eventually measure up to the task... More

BJP has communalised process of awarding Indian citizenship?

Political realities have temporarily halted the BJP’s brazen attempt to communalise Indian citizenship requirements to the advantage of the majority Hindus and to the detriment of the minority Muslims. Evidently, there is also a bias in favour of the north Indian majority and against the Tamil minority in the matter of giving citizenship. But this has not been brought to light in a major and sustained way yet, because 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

Will quota, citizenship moves help BJP? Here’s a health warning

The first full week of 2019 brought a rush of important news in quick succession. In a sudden move on Monday, the cabinet cleared a proposal to reserve 10% in government jobs and education for the economically weak in the general category, that is, the category which does not enjoy any reservation. The second was the GDP growth estimates from the Central Statistical Office, which pegged the growth... More

Mattis exit has worrisome implications for Asian allies

Allies from the Kurdish zone in Syria to Australia are left questioning US credibility, the Japanese/South Korea bulwark in Northeast Asia is rapidly imploding and Vladimir Putin is applauding as US President Donald Trump pulled out of Syria and lost one of his most respected cabinet members in quick succession. On December 20, US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, a former US Marine general, announced that he was... More

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

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Are the lights going out on Bangladesh’s film industry?

Where movies were once the main mode of entertainment in Bangladesh, today the film industry here struggles for existence. It has been tradition for... More

History of a distinct culture

The meticulously researched book covers a whole gamut of themes, touching upon many aspects of the cultural history of Bengal. The book was originally written... More

‘84,000 riddles’: The story of Asia’s largest cemetery of unknowns

Nadeem Baloch, 40, pulls out a bucket full of water from the well and fills a utensil for the birds to quench their thirst... More

Nandita Das on Mrinal Sen: ‘My friend, philosopher and guide,...

I dreaded the day I would have to write Mrinalda’s obituary. Last November, when I saw him looking so frail, I knew the feisty... More

‘We’re all handcuffed in this country.’ Why Afghanistan is still...

It was a sunny morning in early December last year when 23-year-old Khadija set herself on fire. She kissed her three-month old son Mohammed... More

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

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