SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

India keeping a backchannel open with Pakistan, officials say

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Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers will meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the first high-level interaction between the two countries in three years. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan may not have appointed a National Security Advisor (NSA) after resignation of former NSA Nasser Janjua of the previous regime who also served as a backchannel of sorts for India... More

Afghan Officials To Meet Taliban In Moscow: Report

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Afghan officials have shown readiness to meet Taliban representatives in Moscow. Although the exact date of Moscow meeting on Afghan war and peace is yet to become clear, Afghan officials have declared that they are ready to meet with representatives of Taliban in Moscow meeting. Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov has said the Afghan officials confirmed that work is ongoing on the content... More

Myanmar’s Army commander in chief visits India’s Eastern Command

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The nine-member delegation was led by Vice Senior General Soe Win A nine-member delegation led by Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-chief, Def Services & Cdr-in-Chief (Army) of Myanmar visited the Indian Army’s Eastern Command headquarters on September 20. The Eastern Command’s headquarters is in Fort William in Kolkata. During the meeting, various regional and security-related challenges faced by India and Myanmar were discussed. A senior... More

Pakistan crucial to South Asia strategy: US State dept

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Pakistan is crucial to the success of United States’ South Asia strategy, read a US State Department publication released in September. The strategy emphasises Pakistan’s role in supporting regional security and recognises the country as a long-standing and important partner in the region. The report also acknowledges a significant decrease in terrorism-related violence across the country. “Pakistan continued to experience significant terrorist threats in 2017, although... More

Bangladesh to move Rohingya to island from next month: Officials

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Bangladesh will next month start moving 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island, officials said on Tuesday (Sep 18), despite warnings the silty strip is prone to violent weather. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled on Oct 3 to officially open newly-constructed shelters for the displaced Muslims on Bhashan Char, a muddy islet that only emerged from the Bay of Bengal in 2006. The controversial plan... More

DNT sticks with its initial 47 candidates

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Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has decided to declare its initial 47 candidates, who represented the party in the primary round, to the contest for the general round elections too. The party president Lotay Tshering said the question of changing the candidates never arose as they have the best team. He said the party consulted with the coordinators, the candidates and examined the voting pattern. “All our the... More

Sri Lanka stops import of Iranian oil ahead of sanctions

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Sri Lanka has stopped crude imports from Iran and is actively switching to other crude grades, as South Asian importers, including India, significantly restrict supply in anticipation of US sanctions against Tehran. "We stopped as soon as the sanctions were announced. We didn’t buy from Iran. We buy from Singapore, Dubai, Fujairah,” Sri Lankan petroleum resources development minister Arjuna Ranatunga told reporters in Fujairah. "We’re... More

Maldives Pres pledges creating 600K new jobs by 2023

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Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has pledged to create 600,000 new job opportunities in the country by 2023 should the public decide to re-elect him for a second term. While addressing to the questions at the presidential debate hosted by Maldives National University (MNU); where he spoke without the presence of opposition candidate, president Abdulla Yameen claimed he will create the said amount of... More

China to extend Tibet rail to India border via Nepal

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Tibet said it would ‘open up’ to private investment in the trade and business sector from 2020 with Beijing seeking to penetrate the massive South Asian market via Nepal. To this end, the northern neighbour plans to extend the Tibet railway to the borders of the heavily populated Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and to the world’s eighth most populous country Bangladesh... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

South Asian media: Inventing a region?


South Asia is a popular buzz word which is rarely defined properly. This lack of clarity suits many as people have no idea what it actually means and how one is supposed to respond... More

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidential hopes for his son sparks off dissent


Muffled whispers of irritation are now becoming outspoken criticism as a die hard loyalist of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa began speaking out last week against his plans to keep the Presidency and leadership of... More

REPORTS

India Is Still Losing to China in the Border Infrastructure War


A year after the Doklam crisis, New Delhi faces the same old challenges in this realm. It has been a year since India and China ended the 73-day border crisis in Doklam. And... More

Maldives holds presidential election as China and India vie for influence


The Maldives' presidential election has been dubbed a "referendum on freedom." As China gains more political influence across the archepelago, India wants an electoral setback for "pro-Beijing" President Yameen. The Maldives will hold... More

VP Pun urges China to invest in Nepal


Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, who is on an official visit to China, paid a courtesy call on Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Wednesday evening. During the meeting, Vice President Pun praised... More

India cancels New York meeting with Pakistan, says PM Khan’s ‘true face revealed’


New Delhi on Friday called off a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, just a day after confirming the development. Minister of... More

OPINION

Himalayan divide: on the drift in India-Nepal ties


Despite several attempts at a reset, ties between India and Nepal continue to be a cause for concern. The disconnect between the two governments was most visible at the seven-nation Bay of... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

New Delhi should cherish common development ideal


On September 15 Bhutan's ruling party, the pro-India People's Democratic Party (PDP) was surprisingly knocked out of the country's ongoing National Assembly elections. Indian media soon stated the situation had led to... More

ISSUES

Rafale offset: Govt denied role but ex-French President Hollande says, ‘Indian Govt...


Former French president Francois Hollande said: “We didn’t have a say in that. It was the Indian government that proposed this service group (Reliance), and Dassault who negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took... More

Where are the ‘good days’? Challenges mount for India’s Modi


Narendra Modi swept India’s 2014 general election with the slogan “Achhe din (good days) are coming”. Four years later, as Prime Minister Modi mobilizes to win re-election in May, he and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are being... More

BIMSTEC — Drowning deep with SAARC


Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral and Economic Cooperation commonly known as BIMSTEC is an international organization, founded in 1997.It comprises of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia, ‘housing 1.5 billion people and... More

The Indo-Pacific is big enough for both China and India


In a move that heralds greater bilateral cooperation, Chinese Defence Minister Lieutenant General Wei Fenghepaid his first visit to India in August 2018. The visit was precisely a year after both sides decided to withdraw their forces following... More

DEFENCE

US Worried S-400 May Obtain Sensitive Data on American Fighter Jets –...


Even though it is not clear whether India will receive a waiver with regard to US sanctions against Russia, New Delhi has made it clear that it will go ahead with the S-400 air defense system deal... More

Colt To Supply 10,000 M4, M4A1 Carbine Rifles To Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco


Colt's Manufacturing Co. has won $57.7 million contract to supply up to 10,000 additional M4 and M4A1 5.56mm carbine rifles to Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Senegal, Tunisia and Pakistan. Work will be performed in West Hartford, Connecticut, with an... More

India’s shrinking democratic space

With less than a year to go before we head into general elections in the summer of 2019, it is becoming evident that this will be no ordinary electoral contest between the BJP and the rest because what is at stake is the future of our democratic republic. It seems... More

COLUMN

No more PSLs abroad

“The pulsating cheering crowd in the National Stadium Karachi for the PSL Final, and subsequently for the three international T20s, underscored the return of peace to a city (and country) torn by internal strife. Bereft of any sports spectacle and living in cold fear for life and limb of their (and their families) because of open-ended threats from terrorists, political, religious and the criminal kind, the people of Karachi... More

Only non-interference will mitigate anti-India feelings in Nepal

New Delhi has been receiving shock after shock in the past few days from Nepal, a country which is the closest to India in religious and culture terms, and which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited four times since he came to power four years ago. The simplistic theory of the votaries of Hindutva that Hinduism alone is enough to keep Nepal in the Indian sphere of influence has... More

Does international pressure matter anymore?

There was once a time when international pressure on domestic issues of the less developed countries mattered. People would look at the West as the great savior particularly in countries where human rights was at bay. During the cold war days, this was strong too and many decisions were taken on the basis of what global public opinion would say. However, in recent years this has mattered less and... More

Pompeo claims to “reset” ties with Pakistan but makes India “strategic...

Just few days before the arrival of the US Secretary of the State, Mike Pompeo, in Pakistan, the US officially cancelled US$300 million aid to Pakistan, signaling the acute low health of Pak-US ties. Then came Mike Pompeo, who stayed in Pakistan for a few hours, and went to India, claiming to have “reset” ties with Pakistan, implying as if deconstructing an old building (the military aid) was necessary... More

UN report accuses Myanmar’s military of genocide

The UN’s independent human rights investigators have issued the toughest verdict yet on the crisis in Myanmar’s war-torn western region of Rakhine State. The investigators’ report does not mince words and is going to have major ramifications, both within the country, and within the international community. In their report, they called on the UN Security Council to refer the Myanmar situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or for an... 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

Trump is playing a dangerous Asian game

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had to do some elaborate diplomatic two-steps during their swing across the Indian subcontinent during the first week of September. And that goes way beyond simply being forced to deny that neither was the anonymous author of the stunning New York Times column disclosing that senior administration officials were “working diligently from within to frustrate parts... More

US-China trade war is helping boost use of yuan in international...

The trade war initiated by the United States is actually helping China achieve one of its coveted long-term financial goals – the greater use of its currency, the yuan, in international commerce and financial transactions. As of the end of the second quarter, overseas institutional and individual holdings of yuan-denominated financial assets totalled 4.9 trillion yuan (US$717 billion), according to ICBC International, the Hong Kong investment banking arm... More

Sino-Russia military relations at ‘an all-time high’

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (center) reviews a military honor guard with Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 8, 2018. Photo: AFP Like most high-ranking military officers, Air Force General Xu Qiliang is direct and to the point. The vice-chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission rarely uses six words when one will do. Indeed, ‘blunt’ could be his middle... More

Afghan great game moves centre stage

Through the past week, the US-led Afghan war against the Taliban transformed as a struggle over engaging with the Taliban in peace talks. The US successfully stalled the Russian format on Afghanistan slated for September 4 in Moscow by instructing President Ashraf Ghani to drop out of the event. The US was infuriated that the red line was breached when the Taliban accepted the Russian invitation to the meet... 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