SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa won 54 percent of the total votes

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The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) officially declared Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), which won 30 constituencies as the third elected government yesterday. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), which won in 17 constituencies, was declared the opposition party. At a press conference held at the commission’s head office, it also declared the names of the candidates elected from the 47 constituencies. Of the 47, seven are women candidates.... More

India rejects Pakistan demand for Chenab dams’ inspection

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India has refused to permit Pakistan from inspecting controversial  water projects being built on the Chenab, Express News reported on Saturday. Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah had telephoned his Indian counterpart PK Saxena on this account. Shah  reminded him of talks held in Lahore two months ago where both sides had spoken about Pakistani experts inspecting the projects. Saxena rejected the Pakistan... More

France to send aircraft carrier to Indian Ocean next year

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France said Friday it would send its aircraft carrier to the Indian Ocean next year, to defend freedom of navigation at a time of growing Chinese assertiveness in disputed waters. The Charles de Gaulle, currently in the southern French port of Toulon undergoing renovation, should be ready to sail to the Indian Ocean early next year, Defence Minister Florence Parly said. France "has always stood in... More

Myanmar’s Hindu refugees mark festival in Bangladesh camp

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Hindu refugees from Myanmar living in a camp in Bangladesh have been celebrating the festival of Durga Puja for the first time since fleeing violence in northern Rakhine state last year. More than 500 Hindus escaped their homes last August along with over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims as Myanmar's army launched a brutal crackdown that the UN says amounted to "ethnic cleansing". Hindu community leader Jibon Sharma... More

Myanmar’s foreign trade reaches over 1 bln USD in 2 weeks

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Myanmar's trade with foreign countries reached 1.18 billion U.S. dollars as of Oct. 12 in fiscal year 2018-19 which started on Oct. 1, the Commerce Ministry said on Saturday. During the period, the country's export amounted to 473 million U.S. dollars while its import value was 710 million U.S. dollars. The total trade increased by 459 million U.S. dollars compared with the same period of fiscal... More

Afghanistan: Kandahar elections delayed by a week after killings

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  Parliamentary elections in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, due to be held on Saturday, will be delayed by a week following the assassination of a powerful provincial police commander, according to the electoral body and the president's spokesman. President Ashraf Ghani's spokesman Haroon Chakansuri said in a tweet that the decision was made following demands from residents of the province and recommendation from electoral officials. The suspension of the... More

Maldives High Court overturns conviction to free Gayoom

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Maldives High Court on Thursday freed jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after overturning his conviction. The 80 year old Gayoom along with two top court judges were convicted of obstruction of justice and sentenced to one year seven months and six days in prison in June. Gayoom, along with Chief Justice Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed who had been arrested under the state... More

Congress party and Ranil discuss maritime issues

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Congress party president Rahul Gandhi today called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi. Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, Sonia Gandhi, was also present in the meeting, along with former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and senior Congress party leader Anand Sharma, the ANI news service reported. The Prime Minister’s office said that both sides discussed maritime issues and other regional as well as... More

India orders to move 2,000 SSB personnel to strengthen Intelligence Bureau

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Over 2,000 non-combatised personnel of border guarding force – SSB – have been finally ordered to be moved to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) as part of an ambitious central government plan to bolster the internal snoop agency’s on-ground presence at Indian borders, especially along China and Nepal. PTI has accessed an October 12 order issued by the Union home ministry directing that a total of... More

TODAY'S NEWS

SUNDAY SPECIAL

Is conflict driving Bangladesh’s politics and society?


Hate, insults, endless allegations and occasional physical confrontations have become the staple of Bangladesh’s political culture. No one is spared, and no one wants to be excluded. Instead of... More

Where India and Sri Lanka stand despite Sirisena’s allegation of RAW assassination plot


India has graciously handled what could otherwise have led to an outright diplomatic furore between New Delhi and Colombo after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena alleged that he was... More

REPORTS

Pakistan PM fears bankruptcy sans bailout in two months


As the opposition’s outcry over the Pakistan government’s decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout rises to a crescendo, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan might... More

PM Modi, Wickremesinghe hold talks, discuss India-assisted development projects in Sri Lanka


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe held talks Saturday covering the entire gamut of bilateral relations and discussed ways to deepen the “historically close” relations between... More

HRW worried at Bangladesh govt’s intensive surveillance on social media


The Bangladesh government has embarked upon an intensive and intrusive surveillance and monitoring of social media ahead of the national election, raising concern over a chilling effect on speech, Human Rights Watch... More

Maldives misguided over intentions: China


Reports that Maldives President elect-Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, better know as Ibu, is considering putting several Chinese-funded projects on hold, while reviewing others, have raised flags in Beijing. On Friday, a newspaper quoted sources... More

DIPLOMACY

Iran and the US confrontation: what can Pakistan do?


The EU, France, Germany, China, and Russia; signatories of the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the IAEA, which is responsible for carrying out the monitoring and inspections to ensure... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

US-Taliban talks


A Publicly acknowledged meeting between a US envoy and the Afghan Taliban is perhaps another sign that the US is, at long last, willing to acknowledge the political and military reality in... More

ISSUES

Can the new China-India thaw last?


A year after Doklam, India appears to be intent on seeking friendlier ties with Beijing. Whether this is sustainable for the long-term, however, is unclear. Even as this process has unfolded, India continues to worry about China’s... More

Pakistan: Migrant and nation


On Sunday, September 16, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would start “work immediately” on providing passports to the children of refugees born in Pakistan. He might soon have to eat his words because the opposition... More

India tries to boost Nepal ties despite China factor


India has been able to deliver on 16 of the 21 points raised by Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli during bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, top foreign ministry officials said, with... More

UN asks Sri Lanka to repatriate commander in Mali over human rights...


The United Nations asked the government of Sri Lanka on Friday to immediately repatriate the commander of its 200-strong contingent assigned to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali following a review of his human rights background. UN spokesman... More

DEFENCE

Orders dry up, HAL staff could sit idle


Defence PSU HAL staring at a depleting order book has thousands of its employees worried of being idle for months, affecting the morale at the company that has been the backbone of India’s military prowess in the... More

India, Japan, US plan joint air exercise


India, Japan and the US are set to elevate the bilateral ‘Cope India’ air exercise to a trilateral format. The three countries already conduct naval war games under the expanded Malabar naval exercise. The US had proposed a... More

In Pakistan, an ambitious effort to plant 10 billion trees takes root

When Mohammed Riasat, a government forest service officer, peers up at the majestic ridges around him, he sees small miracles others might miss: a few dozen pine seedlings that have sprouted in rocky, near-vertical cliffs or... More

COLUMN

India’s limited life-line in Afghanistan

While India continues to plan to expand its foothold in Afghanistan, using its alliance with the United States as its main source of support, and has also developed a seemingly strong relationship with Kabul, a close reading of geo-politics in this region shows that the prospects of a strong Indian presence are bleak. For one thing, India’s main reliance is on the US, which is itself gearing up to withdraw... More

Myanmar’s economy could go into a tailspin as currency woes deepen

y Fears that Myanmar’s currency crisis has only momentarily stalled are growing, as the government does not seem to see any urgency in tackling the underlying causes of the recent fall in the kyat’s value against the dollar. Regional analysts believe a major collapse of the currency remains very real. Their fears were justified when, the end of last week, the kyat plummeted once again to over K 1,600, largely... More

Bangladesh’s grenade attack case: Politics of past or future?

The October 10 special tribunal verdict on the August 2004 grenade attack case that killed 24 and injured many including Bangladesh’s current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina didn’t carry too many surprises since it was a foregone conclusion that the “guilty men” would be handed out tough sentences. It was earlier speculated that BNP’s acting chief and Begum Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman may be awarded the death sentence, but he... More

Spreading falsehood and distorting facts

Initiated in 2014 the Ashiana-Iqbal project could not be completed mainly because an illegal award increased the cost, and if it were to be initiated now, the escalated cost of Rs 40 billion will be borne either by the applicants of the government. As Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general between 2013 and 2016, Ahad Khan Cheema was also a member on the Punjab Land Development Corporation (PLDC) board.... More

RSS: Glasnost or public relations?

India's Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) claims to be a social organisation but those who have closely followed it say it is the political high-platform of Hindutva. Its Nagpur headquarters is located in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city, where in the 18th century originated the Hindu Pad Padshahi or the vision of a Hindu nation-state during the reign of the Peshwas. The Peshwas drove the limits of Maratha empire to Attock in the northwest... 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

In Jammu and Kashmir, the road to disaster

We have a new governor of Jammu and Kashmir, a new chief secretary, a new director general of police and a new adviser on security. The best outreach to the people of J&K (especially the Kashmir Valley) that they could come up with was to hold elections to the local bodies (panchayats and municipalities) in the state. The outreach was met with a rude rebuff when, in... More

New Silk Roads define brand China

The New Silk Roads symbolize way more than high-speed rail lines crisscrossing Eurasia, or a maze of highways, pipelines and port connectivity. They represent a Chinese alliance with at least 65 participating nations, responsible for 62% of the world’s population and 31% of its GDP. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as it’s formally known, is not a “road” or a collection of roads, like the Ancient Silk... More

Why China buying up ports is worrying Europe

There is rising concern about whether China will use its commercial acquisitions of overseas ports for military purposes, under its drive to put civilian technology and resources to military use. Under its trillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative” – a blueprint announced in 2013 to boost trade and connectivity in Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond – China has significantly increased its global investments, particularly in maritime infrastructure. Pioneering Chinese companies... More

US should push for political solution in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has been long and costly for the United States. It’s gone on for nearly 17 years, longer than any other American war. We’ve spent about $1 trillion there, and we continue spending about $45 billion a year. About 2,400 US servicemen and women have been killed in Afghanistan, and about 20,000 have been wounded. While troop levels have fluctuated, about 15,000 US military personnel... More

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‘Why should I feel scared?’

Prof. K.S. Bhagavan, 73, is a well-known Kannada litterateur based in Mysuru. He taught English at the University of Mysore for 37 years before... More

Kulsoom Nawaz: The silent partner

It is unfortunate that Kulsoom Nawaz has not been spared even in grave illness. The three-time first lady was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form... More

Jailing of Reuters journalist ‘hammer-blow’ to Myanmar’s fragile press freedom

A Myanmar court’s decision to jail two Reuters journalists for seven years a week ago represented a near-fatal hammer-blow to the country’s fragile press... More

How violence is affecting Kashmir’s women

Your mother is waiting for you, oh my dear son, come home,” wailed Nargis Bano over the body of her 18-year-old son, Yawar Ahmad... More

Magnificent mausoleum

A milestone in Indo-Islamic architecture, Humayun’s Tomb introduced several architectural innovations in the tradition of tomb and garden landscape in India. Located on the banks of... More

Traditional grass mats of South Asia

The Sylhet-born Gurusaday Dutta, a noted civil servant of yesteryears, a famous folklorist and writer, was renowned for his contribution to the preservation of... More

‘He wouldn’t rest till he had got even’

The following is an extract from Indian journalist Karan Thapar’s book Devil’s Advocate: The Untold Story, published recently by HarperCollins India. It is a... More

‘Pakistan has always had very interesting relationships with other countries’:...

Few Pakistani diplomats have worked on as many important assignments as Riaz Khokhar has. He has been Pakistan’s envoy to Dhaka, New Delhi, Washington... More