SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

US seeks to make Afghanistan dependent on its weapons: Russia’s Security Council chief

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Instead of fulfilling the UN mandate in Afghanistan, the United States has been trying to gain foothold in the country and increase Kabul’s dependence from Washington, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. "We see that in an attempt to gain a foothold in the country for years to come, the United States has been creating a system in which Afghanistan... More

Kartarpur Corridor: India, Pakistan differ on border crossing point

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Pakistan has proposed a border crossing point, different to what India suggested for the Kartarpur corridor, the ministry of external affairs said Thursday and expressed the hope that an agreement will be reached on this after teams from both sides meet to discuss the issue. A meeting on the Kartarpur corridor will take place on March 14, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. The meeting was... More

Myanmar court sentences two to death for Muslim lawyer’s murder

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A Myanmar court has sentenced two men to death for their role in the murder of a Muslim lawyer and a legal adviser to the country's de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The court on Friday found the gunman, Kyi Lin, guilty of premeditated murder and illegal weapons possession for the 2017 shooting of Ko Ni in broad daylight at Yangon's airport. Aung Win... More

Chinese survey ship visits Pakistan for research, geological mapping

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The China Geological Survey Research Ship (CGS) ‘Hai Yang Di Zhi Shi Hao’ visited Pakistan for hydrocarbon research and geological mapping with the support of Pakistan Navy. The expedition, in which the CGS ship conducted various seismic and oceanographic observations in Pakistan’s offshore area, was conducted by Chinese scientists along with the participation of scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography, Pakistan Navy said in... More

US Coast Guard trains Sri Lankan port officials

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The US Coast Guard (USCG) conducted a port security capacity building programme at the Colombo Port with more than 25 Sri Lankan port officials from February 11 to 13, the US Embassy said today. In a statement, it said the event strengthened the port’s security capabilities through drills that improved agency coordination and the implementation of the port’s security plan. “Sri Lanka’s improved maritime security will... More

Bangladesh PM Hasina hints on retirement from politics after present term

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given hint that her present — and third consecutive — term could possibly be her last as prime minister as she said she wanted to create room for younger leaders. In an exclusive interview early last week with Deutsche Welle (DW), the Germany's public international broadcaster, Sheikh Hasina gave the hint around a month after she assumed office for... More

Maldives’ ex-president Yameen charged with money laundering

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Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has been formally charged with money laundering. Yameen came under fire after investigators discovered after large sums of embezzled funds from the State were transferred to an Islamic Bank of Maldives bank account opened under his name. Yameen is accused of laundering the money and providing false testimony to the investigators of the case. The case was forwarded by... More

7th Bhutan-Bangladesh commerce secretary level meeting underway in Thimphu

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To exchange ideas and explore new areas of cooperation to promote trade and commerce between the two countries, the 7th Bhutan-Bangladesh commerce secretary-level meeting began in Thimphu on Tuesday. The two-day meeting is expected to review the implementation of the decisions taken during the last commerce secretary-level meeting. Some of them are Bhutan’s request to grant duty-free access to 16 additional products, cooperation between trade associations... More

Blasts in India-assisted hydropower project site in Nepal

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An unidentified group has exploded three improvised explosive devices near the powerhouse of under construction Arun III Hydropower project, which is being developed with India's assistance in the eastern part of the Himalayan nation, according to a media report. The incident happened on Thursday near the power house of the hydroproject that led to the damage of a generator and a boomer, the Himalayan Times... More

TODAY'S NEWS

SUNDAY SPECIAL

Despite sanctions compliance, India deepens energy partnership with Iran


On November 5, 2018, Washington granted India, along with seven other countries, a waiver from sanctions on oil purchases from Iran. The waiver allows for India to purchase 1.25 million tonnes... More

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 a new movie to hit the bit... More

REPORTS

US may trim over 1,000 troops from Afghanistan in belt-tightening – general


Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the US military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a US general told Reuters... More

Myanmar army chief denies systematic persecution of Rohingya


Myanmar’s army chief, who is facing international calls that he be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, has denied any systematic army persecution and said such accusations were an insult... More

Stop levelling baseless accusations, Pakistan tells India after Pulwama attack


Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday urged India to refrain from hurling baseless accusations against Pakistan. Responding to the allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in suicide attack in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama district,... More

Pulwama attack: Pakistan says no ’emotional decision’ after India revokes MFN status


Hours after India revoked the Most Favoured Nation (status) to Pakistan, advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister on Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood told PTI they won’t make any “emotional decision” and will respond... More

ECONOMY

Why India revoking Pakistan’s MFN status is more symbolic than economic


India’s decision to finally withdraw the non-discriminatory market status it granted to Pakistan in 1996 – more commonly known as ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) status – in the wake of the Pulwama... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

Visiting disputed region not a wise campaign move for Modi


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to a region on the east section of the China-India border on Saturday. The region is known as the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh" in India.... More

ISSUES

After Pulwama attack, the core issue in Kashmir is being ignored –...


The fidayeen attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama on February 14 has once again woken India up to the realisation that the successes of the security forces against militants in the last... More

Indian establishment responsible for Pulwama attack?


In what is said to be the deadliest attack on Indian occupation forces in Jammu and Kashmir since 2002, nearly 40 soldiers are reported dead and several injured so far. The attack was carried out using an... More

Pakistan to get over $20 billion package from Saudi Arabia


Pakistan will get a $20 billion-plus economic package from Saudi Arabia during a two-day visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Islamabad, Khaleej Times has learnt. The government will take up preferential trade agreement and ease of... More

BJP’s myopic politics over Citizenship Bill has only served to polarise North...


On Wednesday, as the 16th Lok Sabha adjourned, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 lapsed. The Bill, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, was passed by the Lok Sabha but... More

DEFENCE

AMAN Exercises 2019: Securing peace in the global commons


‘Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea’, says Antonio in Shakespeare’s famous play, ‘The Merchant of Venice’. The same dictum is equally applicable to Pakistan, a country whose major reliance for all trade, in fact... More

Chinooks arrive but infrastructure nowhere in sight, reveals CAG


Even as the US-made Chinook heavy-lift helicopters have started arriving in India, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), while pinpointing several infirmities in the procurement process, has observed that the necessary infrastructure required for operating and maintaining... 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

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

Amid peace talks, India and Ghani flog the dead-horse of elections...

Last week, Moscow hosted delegations from the Taliban and Afghanistan’s political opposition in a bid to establish sound political contacts between the two actors. The delegation of the opposition parties included Afghanistan’s former president, Hamid Karzai, and at least two female members, including a human rights activist, Hawa Nooristani, and a former parliament member Fawzia Koofi. The meeting in itself underscored the new political dynamics that would probably be at... 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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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

Banning e-cigarettes: As ENDS and tobacco lobbies battle it out,...

Three months after India’s health ministry issued a blanket ban on the sale, manufacture, distribution, trade, import and advertisements of ENDS or electronic nicotine... 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