SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Bhutan likely to open five more border points for regional tourists

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Soon, Bhutan will have five new entry and exit border points to facilitate travel for regional tourists. This move comes in the wake of promoting tourism in the region. As per the reports, the National Assembly of Bhutan recently endorsed the idea of allowing regional tourists to enter and exit through the border towns of Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, Gelephu, Panbang, and Panbang. As of now, the... More

Myanmar to establish coast guard

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The Myanmar government will establish the coast guard force to safeguard its 2,080-km-long coastline and territorial waters, according to a coordination meeting held at the Ministry of Transport and Communication Tuesday. The new force is also aimed at enabling the sea route free from danger with offshore drilling, maintenance of environment and protection of natural resources along with the extended building of deep-sea ports. It will... More

‘US-Maldives partnership key to Indian Ocean security’

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A stronger partnership between the United States (US) and the Maldives remains crucial for promoting maritime security in the Indian Ocean, Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid stressed Wednesday. Speaking during a meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington during his ongoing visit to the US, minister Shahid also stated that such a partnership is critical for the security of the... More

US Navy doing cargo transfer at Sri Lanka’s main airport

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The United States Navy is doing a cargo transfer operation at Sri Lanka’s main international airport under a plan to use the island’s location to make it a military logistics hub, the US embassy in Colombo said. Under the initiative, several US naval aircraft are scheduled to land and depart from the Bandaranaike International Airport outside Colombo, a commercial airport, bringing in a variety of... More

China gives Bangladesh $72.6m for bridges, disaster aid

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China will provide grant assistance of approximately US$72.6 million to Bangladesh under an agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the two countries, The Bangladesh Chronicle has reported. The grant will be used to pay for disaster management, the construction of bridges and an exhibition center, and what is described as “welfare projects.” The agreement was signed in the capital Dhaka on Sunday January 20 by... More

UAE to grant $3 billion loan to Pakistan

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Pakistan and United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement to grant $3 billion loan to Islamabad, sources said Tuesday. Sources said the agreement for $3 billion loan was signed by Governor State Bank of Pakistan Tariq Bajwa and Chairman Abu Dhabi Development Fund. As per the accord, UAE will transfer $1 billion to Pakistan within a few days while the remaining $2 billion will be handed... More

Indian citizenship won’t be given without state govt’s consent after passage of Citizenship Bill: MHA

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Indian citizenship would not be granted to any foreigner without the consent of state governments concerned after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Home Ministry said on Tuesday. Ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said every application for Indian citizenship will be enquired into by the deputy commissioner or district magistrate concerned, who will carry out due diligence and submit it to the state government... More

More than 100 Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attack

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More than 100 members of Afghan security forces were killed when armed Taliban fighters attacked a military base and police training centre outside of Kabul on Monday, a senior defence ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "We have information that 126 people have been killed in the explosion inside the military training centre," the official said of the attack in Maidan Shahr,... More

Nepal to allow entry of regional tourists through all border towns

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The lure of liquor has raked in huge lucre for the Tamil Nadu Government as the state-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) recorded a whopping sale amounting to Rs 735 crore during the recent Pongal festival in the state. According to the state officials, the daily sale of liquor is typically around Rs 60 to 70 crore but during festivals it increases by 20... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

Bangladesh election: Regrets by foreign observers indicate Dec 30 polling was marked by irregularities


Some of the ‘election observers’ of the recently concluded Bangladeshi parliamentary election, held on 30 December 2018, are now ‘regretting’ their involvement, Reuters reported... More

Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants living in Kolkata’s suburban towns see citizenship hope in BJP-driven Bill


Radhika Burman shudders recall the moments when she almost lost her breath while running desperately to save the lives of her two infants clutched in her arms. Her husband ran along with their five-year- More

REPORTS

US-Taliban discusses a possible ceasefire


In a surprise move, the two-day talks between the United States and Taliban officials this week continued for the third day on Wednesday, reportedly due to discussions around a possible ceasefire. According to... More

Citizenship bill clouds BJP’s Lok Sabha prospects in NE


The mounting opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the northeastern states may derail the BJP’s bid to win 21 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the region. While student bodies in... More

Saudi investment in Gwadar oil refinery to boost CPEC


China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has received significant boost in its efforts to strengthen regional connectivity after Saudi Arabia agreed to join hands and fund a major oil refinery project. Islamabad and Beijing... More

There’s a new Gandhi in town: India’s most famous dynasty produces another politician


A daughter of India’s most famous dynasty jumped into the political arena on Wednesday, shaking up the race to lead the world’s largest democracy ahead of elections set for later in the... More

ECONOMY

India’s debts up by 49% under Narendra Modi


There has been a surge in the total liabilities of the National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Modi, which came to power nearly four-and-half-years ago. The news comes just after the government... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

India-Pakistan row thwarts regional cooperation


Not long ago, Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the 19th summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Indian External Affairs... More

ISSUES

Persecuted and chased away Rohingya seek elusive home in cramped camps of...


For the Rohingya, considered to be the 'most persecuted community in the world', the comforts of home are elusive. Starting August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to escape a brutal army-led crackdown in its... More

US officials converge on Pakistan seeking Afghan peace


After a successful mission to Turkey this weekend on US President Trump’s behalf, his leading Republican ally Senator Lindsey Graham is reportedly heading for Islamabad on a similar mission seeking rapprochement with another truculent erstwhile ally of... More

BJP plans to use EWS quota, citizenship Bill to consolidate Hindu votes...


To consolidate Hindu votes in West Bengal ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP is preparing strategies to cash in on the legislation to provide 10 per cent quota for economically backward sections in general category... More

Foreign development in Myanmar sparks concern over transparency, regulation


In the dusty Myanmar border town of Shwe Koko, ethnic Karen shop owner Saw Tu wipes the dust off a bag of red chili peppers as he prepares for another day of business at the local market. Basic... More

DEFENCE

Pakistan’s A-100 MLRS and deterrence equation for South Asia


Pakistan inducted A-100 rocket in Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) into its arsenals, boosting the strength of Artillery Crop on January 4, 2019. The missile system was indigenously developed by Pakistani scientists and engineers. MLRS which comprise... More

India navy set to open third base in strategic islands to counter...


India's navy will open a third air base in the far-off Andaman and Nicobar islands on Thursday (Jan 24) to beef up surveillance of Chinese ships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean through the nearby Malacca Straits,... More

Indian content and discontent

Former Indian army chief and now a junior cabinet minister VK Singh just made a prediction. Banning Indian content will not stop Pakistanis from watching Indian shows. The fact that someone with Singh’s profile... More

COLUMN

By reaching out to Taliban, Iran makes presence felt in Afghanistan...

The very nature of the conflict in Afghanistan has made it almost impossible for the neighbouring countries to remain aloof from it or maintain some distance, even a calculated one. For one thing, the conflict is no longer just between the US and Taliban or the US and al-Qaeda. The ISIS, known as IS-K in Afghanistan, has established its presence, which has forced many countries—Russia, China and Iran—to change... More

The sorry state of Pakistan’s police

The imperial form of police infrastructure that Pakistan inherited was deliberately created to serve the British rulers rather than promote harmony, security and adherence to the law. The 1861 Police Act has never changed except for minor amendments. Even the new laws introduced by the provinces retain more or less the essence of the original imperial law. The persisting culture is to ensure that the weak remain subservient to... More

Bangladesh’s position on global terrorism index has improved: Australian agency CPES

An Australian outfit, Centre for Peace and Economic Studies (CPES), has stated that Bangladesh has gone up four positions in the global terrorism index, according to it’s ranking. Several other countries in South Asia have gone down in terms of vulnerability, including Pakistan and India. Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have also improved their standings in this index. CPES has reported that introduction of modern education in madrassas, investment in... More

How the Taliban have become leading actor in Afghan peace talks

While the Taliban have established their domination both politically and militarily in almost half of Afghanistan, the consequent talks with the US and the way they have progressed show that they are already in a commanding position. They certainly have become the leading actor in these talks not just because they are the ones fighting the war against the US and Afghan forces, but also because they are directing... More

Exploiting Pakistan’s ‘Gold Coast’

The emerging markets of Central Asia require that a sea-land (south-south) dimension to support the north-south axis be added for expansion, otherwise all facilities and opportunities are likely to be clogged because of unplanned urban population expansion. The long coastline with stretches of virgin beaches and adjacent vast empty hinterland require well-planned commercial exploitation. It is personally satisfying that recommendations made in my articles of nearly three decades ago,... 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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A handful of Kolkata’s Jews whose 19th century synagogues are...

It took a few minutes to locate the Neveh Shalome synagogue in Kolkata’s congested and busy Brabourne Road business district. The synagogue, which is taken... More

Looking at the horrors of conflict and violence

It is a tiresome pattern. An atrocity – yet another one – is reported and is followed by a global outcry of anger, sadness,... 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

How Chenab, the river of love, flows seamlessly from one...

The ghara or earthen pot acquires particular significance in the love story of Sohni and Mahiwal. In the climax of this Punjabi folk story,... More