SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Indo-Russian military exercise starts

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The 10th Indo-Russian joint military exercises started in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. The 10-day drill includes company sized contingents of the 5th Army of Russia and a mechanized infantry battalion of the Indian Army. It is taking place at the Babina military station, an official said. Major General P.S. Minhas, General Officer Commanding, White Tiger Division, and Major General Tsekov Oleg Mussovich, Commander Eastern... More

Comprehensive national response needed on hybrid conflicts:Pakistan army chief

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said that a comprehensive national response was required on hybrid conflicts. He was speaking to 20 participants of the National Security Workshop during an interactive session at the General Headquarters (GHQ). During the interaction, COAS Bajwa said that Pakistan us now confronting hybrid conflicts where the focus is shifting subversion on religions, sectarian, ethnic and... More

UN survey reveals sharp drop in Poppy cultivation

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated in its annual 2018 Afghanistan Opium Survey that there has been a sharp drop in poppy cultivation in the country. Based on the UNODC report, opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has dropped by 29 percent during the current year. The report states that the total opium poppy cultivation area in Afghanistan was estimated at 263,000 (242,000... More

Foreign visitor numbers up despite dip in western tourists

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The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism says Myanmar received more than 2.8 million foreign visitors this year through the end of October, a slight increase compared to the same period last year. According to the ministry’s latest figures, 2,844,508 tourists arrived during the first 10 months of the year, up 1.2 percent from 2017. This year’s number included 1.1 million visitors with visas and 1.7... More

Two Indian helicopters to stay in Maldives, says new defence minister Mariya Didi

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24 hours after new President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was sworn in, the new Defence Minister of Maldives, Mariya Didi, has said that Male won't be returning back the two Indian helicopters which New Delhi had gifted. Maldives under Abdulla Yameen, who was defeated by Solih September election, had asked India to withdraw two helicopters along with 50 military personnel this year. Speaking to WION,... More

Facebook asked to protect users in simmering Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s largest political party Saturday asked Facebook to protect the identity of its supporters, fearing a crackdown by what it called the “illegal” government. The Indian Ocean nation has been in crisis since last month with two men claiming to be prime minister, MPs brawling in parliament and the administration paralysed. It began on October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier... More

Nepal abstains from UN vote on Myanmar’s human rights violation

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Nepal has abstained from voting on UN’s resolution on the human rights violation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Nepal was among 26 countries which abstained from voting during a committee meeting of the UN General Assembly on Friday, states a press release issued by the United Nations. During the meeting, Nepal’s representative expressed gratitude to Bangladesh for hosting Rohingya refugees. On the occasion, Nepal stressed that... More

Trial run of Bangladesh’s first undersea submarine power line begins

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Sandwip received the electricity through two 33kV submarine cables from Chittagong’s Sitakunda upazila, some 16km away from the island, which the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has begun operating on a trial basis Those living on island of Sandwip under Chittagong district received power from the national grid for the first time on Thursday. Sandwip received the electricity through two 33kV submarine cables from Chittagong’s Sitakunda... More

UN and media partner to realise SDGs

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Representatives from the UN agencies in the country and the media gathered at a workshop in an attempt to connect better and bring more focus on development stories. Journalists and editors were trained to cover development stories during the two-day event that ended on November 15 in Paro. UN’s resident coordinator and resident representative of UNDP, Gerald Daly, said media played a transforming and socialising role... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

Like other surveys, new poll predicts narrow Congress win in Madhya Pradesh which goes to elections on Nov 28


After being out of power in Madhya Pradesh for 15 years, the Congress will have a slim majority over the incumbent BJP in the state assembly election which will be held on November 28,... More

Lanka’s political crisis gets into further knots


Sri Lanka’s parliamentary proceedings continued to be hampered after the House was adjourned barely seven minutes into its commencing on November 20 More

REPORTS

Maldives set to pull out of China free trade deal, says senior lawmaker

The Maldives’ new government will pull out of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China because it was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world’s... More

Satellite data sharing: China steps up cooperation with Pakistan


China has stepped up its efforts promoting satellite data sharing with Pakistan and other regional countries. The data sharing was aimed to provide help in urban planning, disaster monitoring and assessment, as well... More

PM Khan gives a fitting reply to Trump’s tirade


Pakistan’s Prime Ministr Imran Khan on Monday, while responding to Donald Trump’s statement has reminded US president of suffering Pakistan bore due to America’s war on terror, saying the US should do... More

US special envoy ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Taliban deal


Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States special envoy, is hopeful that the Taliban and the Afghan government can strike a peace deal within five months, despite the militant group inflicting record high casualties... More

NEWS ANALYSIS

India’s wooing of Maldives’ leader ‘risks China ties’


New Maldives president's adoption of an 'India first' policy, followed by India's promise to help the country "through its economic difficulties," may push the Maldives back to being a dependent nation of... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

The war for peace in Afghanistan


Afghanistan has been ravaged by war for three decades. An entire generation of Afghans have known nothing but conflict, violence, instability and poverty. The international community has always kept an eye on... More

ISSUES

Blowback from India’s strategic blunder in Bhutan?


New Delhi was rattled by Bhutan’s October 18 general election, the outcome of which may soon accelerate the decline of India’s influence over the Himalayan kingdom. The center-left Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT, Bhutan United Party) won 30 seats... More

Sri Lanka’s new PM may lose budget even as he clings to...


Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who lost two motions of no confidence last week, may lose his government’s budget even as he clings to power. Lawmakers opposed to Rajapaksa said they intend to remove funding... More

China likely to pitch for investment in Northeast India by partnering with...


India’s north-eastern region shares borders with Bhutan, Nepal, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, and is considered India’s gateway to East Asia. The Indian government has been averse to Chinese investments in the region, owing to a border conflict... More

Kremlin brings Kabul and Taliban to the table


“A modest first step in restoring full-fledged negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.” This was how senior Russian senior diplomat Zamir Kabulov defined the landmark conference in Moscow last week, which aimed to find a resolution to... More

DEFENCE

Modi government itself ruined 1000 defence manufacturing companies


The orders of about Rs500 crores for the companies producing for defence sector have been cancelled by the sudden change of policy by the Narendra Modi government. With this, thousands of people have become unemployed, many factories... More

MH-60 Romeo Helicopters will add more power to the Indian Navy in...


Besides 3-4 months for the US administration to respond to India’s ‘letter of request’ for the acquisition of $ 2bn MH-60 ‘Romeo’ anti-submarine helicopters deal for the Indian Navy, it will be minimum 18 months for the... More

CPEC: Exposed to hybrid warfare

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a promising project. Therefore, the people of Pakistan appreciate it and are optimistic about its socio-economic benefits. Simultaneously, it is panicking for the adversaries of Pakistan and thereby they... More

COLUMN

Bangladesh: A certain election in an uncertain season

Politics in Bangladesh is fluid in a way that would completely befuddle a non-citizen. However, the average Bangladeshi is a resilient human who has suffered so much political and other related turmoil that anxieties that usually beset people when faced with such situations doesn’t affect him much. For starters, both the Awami League and the BNP are in total disagreement over how an election should be conducted. It’s so fundamental... More

Projecting falsehood by propaganda

The advertising and media worlds are there to inform the public: the media about what is going on in the world of politics, art and business, while advertisements are there to promote products, politics, individuals. Both these are means to convince the masses that they should “buy” what is being sold to them. Advertisements have developed into a major means of income for media – newspapers, TV channels and... More

Suu Kyi seeks Asean support on Rohingya return but also faces...

Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the Asean meetings in Singapore this week, seeking support from her Asian allies in dealing with the country’s Rakhine crisis. She especially wants the members of the regional bloc to back her government’s efforts to resettle the returning Muslim refugees—who have fled the violence in Myanmar’s strife-torn western region—and to be involved in future reconciliation efforts. So, a Nargis-style approach, led by Asean but... More

Afghanistan: The big story of massive aid waste

There are ghost soldiers; ghost police officers; ghost clinics and even ghost patients in Afghanistan. There are billions of dollars spent on papers, but there is very little on the ground. As such, despite spending billions on controlling narcotics to improving health conditions and the state of security, Afghanistan remains a country with too many ill-conceived programs and too little progress made on every front. The story of the massive... More

After CBI, now RBI 

The opposition in India has blamed the Narendra Modi government for "ruining national institutions". Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seemed to fall apart over severe differences between its chief Alok Verma and his number two Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer known to be close to Modi. The government's intervention to send both officers on leave was challenged in the Supreme Court by Verma, amid television... 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

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

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

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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

Recovering India’s stolen art pieces

Two rare 12th-century stone statues originally from India, which were on display in museums in the United States, have returned home. They were handed over... More

The lost verse: Why is Iqbal going out of fashion?

Once upon a time, once upon a recent time in fact, young Urdu poets frequently used to talk about Iqbal’s poetry in both formal... More

A portrayal of Pakistan as a rich tapestry of cultures

If you are looking for a nice bedside reading or something to occupy you during a short-haul flight then pick Raza Rumi’s Being Pakistani.... More

The Reality of Narendra Modi’s foreign policy failures laid bare

If Bharat Karnad didn’t exist we would have to invent him. He is the one person who consistently and intellectually challenges every government on... More

Ayodhya dispute: A saffron twist

The Sangh Parivar interprets the Supreme Court’s verdict declining to revisit its 1994 observations about the place of mosques in Islam as a major... More

‘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