SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Bangladesh topped in tourist arrivals to India in November 2017

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Bangladesh topped in tourist arrivals to India in November, accounting for 16.77% of tourist arrivals according to the Ministry of Tourism's monthly data. The data showed the percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during November, 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.77%) followed by USA... More

Pakistan directs its High Commission in Delhi to issue visas to Jadhav’s family

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Pakistan on Thursday  (Dec 14) directed its High Commission in New Delhi to issue visas to the wife and mother of Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, official sources said. The directive was issued by the Foreign Ministry after it decided last week to allow Jadhav’s family to meet him in Islamabad on... More

India welcomes parliamentary and provincial elections in Nepal

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India has welcomed the conduction of Federal Parliament and Provincial Assembly elections held for the first time after the adoption of new constitution in Nepal. In a weekly media briefing by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on December 14, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “India welcomes the conduction of parliamentary elections and... More

Sri Lanka green-lights PPP for Port City tunnel link with Chinse subsidiary

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Sri Lankan government  has green-lighted a proposal by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development to enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) with Port City developer CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd. to build a tunnel linking the road network of the mainland and an artificial island. A proposal presented by Minister Champika Ranwaka... More

UN chief presses for release of arrested Reuters journalists in Myanmar

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The arrest of two Reuters journalists in Yangon this week was a signal that press freedom is shrinking in Myanmar and the international community must do all it can to get them released, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday (Dec 14). Guterres said his main concern over Myanmar was the “dramatic violations... More

Indo-Maldives joint military exercise in Karna from Friday

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The two-week long eighth edition of the Indo-Maldives joint military exercise, 'Ekuverin', will be conducted from Friday (Dec. 15) at Belagavi, about 505 km from Bengaluru. The bilateral annual exercise is a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which is held alternatively in India... More

Poverty rate drops to 8.2 percent in Bhutan

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A total of 56,865 people in Bhutan live below the poverty line, according to the Bhutan Poverty Analysis Report (PAR) 2017. This means that one out of 12 people belongs to households whose per capita consumption is below Nu 2,195.95. The country’s poverty rate stands at 8.21 percent, down from 12 percent in 2012. Chief... More

Afghanistan wants US to send A-10 aircraft

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The Afghan government wants the US to redeploy the A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft to bolster efforts in the fight against the Taliban, according to a Military Times report. A senior Afghan defense official said that the government wants the vaunted A-10, which is highly regarded for its durability and lethal capacity in close-air-support... More

Rohingya repatriation policies to fail without accountability, safety measures: UN

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Rohingya repatriation and reconciliation policies will fail without accountability and non-discriminatory rule of law and public safety measures to address the fears and distrust among communities in Rakhine, says a top UN political official. “…but the origins and solutions to the Rohingya crisis rest in Myanmar,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman... More

TODAY'S NEWS

TOP NEWS

China overtakes India as Sri Lanka’s single largest trading partner


India has been the single largest trading partner of Sri Lanka for a very long time; especially since 1977. But in 2016, China overtook India by a small margin, says the Sri Lankan economist,... More

REPORTS

6,700 Rohingyas killed in Myanmar, including 730 children, says Int’l aid group


Doctors Without Borders, a private charitable organization consisting of doctors and medical workers, said at least 6,700 Rohingyas have been killed in Myanmar. The aid group which provides assistance to people in distress across... More

Pakistan off-limits to US forces: Centcom official


US troops in Afghanistan are targeting enemies inside Afghanistan and they do not have the authority to conduct any operations in neighbouring Pakistan, Brigadier General Lance Bunch, the director of the Future... More

Indian police ambush Maoist rebels, killing eight


At least eight suspected Maoist rebels were killed in a gunfight with police who ambushed their hideout in southern India on Thursday (Dec 14). The deaths are the latest in a long-running conflict... More

Pak FO denies China has halted payments for CPEC projects


Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday (Dec 14) rubbished reports that Beijing had halted payments on any of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the country. FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, during... More

NEWS ANALYSIS

Trump signs a bill allocating $700 million under the coalition support fund


American President Donald Trump has signed a mammoth $700 billion defense bill to modernize and bolster US military might including the allocation of up to $700 million to reimburse Pakistan under the coalition... More

VISTA OF VIEWS

India should apologize for drone intrusion


An Indian unmanned aerial vehicle entered Chinese territory and crashed in the border area close to India's Sikkim State. The Chinese military's Western Theater Command and the foreign ministry called the incident... More

ISSUES

Nepal govt-in-waiting to revive scrapped Chinese dam project, officials say


The leftist alliance that is likely to form Nepal’s new government wants to attract more Chinese investment, including reviving a cancelled dam project, according to a senior member of the group. Leaders of the Communist... More

The missing Muslim representation in Gujarat assembly election 2017


According to 2011 census, Muslims are the biggest minority in Gujarat accounting for 9.65 per cent of the population. Despite this high representation, only two Muslims were elected as MLAs in the state assembly... More

US backs Russian investment in Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline


The United States supports infrastructure investment by Russia – an arch rival of America in global politics – in laying an offshore gas pipeline from Iran as it will give a boost to Pakistan’s... More

In Bangladesh, locals living near Rohingya camps hope for quick repatriation of...


The continuous influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar has fuelled concerns among the local populace, who fear that the refugees will drastically alter the landscape of the coastal district. The current exodus from... More

DEFENCE

INS Kalvari submarine commissioned but Indian Navy’s sub-sea power is below par


Almost 18 years after India cleared an ambitious submarine-building programme to scale up its undersea warfare capabilities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India-built INS Kalvari into the navy in Mumbai on Thursday (Dec 14). It... More

India loses its troop scanning Heron UAV, secretive sensors to China crash


India has lost a valuable troop scanning unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), along with its payload of sensors and intelligence systems, to a cross-border crash in Tibet, raising concerns that the wreckage may reveal some... More

‘All Indians have the right to speak for the Mahatma’

TUSHAR Arun Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is in the news all over again. The Gandhi scion, who led a re-enactment of the historic Dandi March in 2005, is now seeking to put a full stop to any attempt at reopening the age-old... More

COLUMN

De-colonizing education in Pakistan

Established initially as institutions of higher studies, Madrasahs taught law, Islamic sciences and philosophy. Prior to the arrival of British, both religious and secular education was taken care of for Hindus and Muslims by their respective religious institutions together. Madrasahs taught Quran together with Tafsir Mantiq (logic), Kalam (theology)... More

Did Sk. Mujib refuse Indian sanctuary on March 25th night?

Sheikh Mujib, like most of his political colleagues coming from peasant majority East Bengal had reservations about Kolkata and by extension India before 1947. He had spent his college days in Kolkata and was part of the youth leadership of Bengal Muslim League (BML) which contested both Delhi and... More

Myanmar fraught relations with the UN

An embattled Myanmar ponders its relations with the UN, amid international criticism and the possibility of sanctions looming larger. Once the heroine of democracy and the darling of the UN, the country’s civilian leader – Aung San Suu Kyi -- has launched a diplomatic offensive to fend of international... More

Why is China accommodated and India marginalized in South Asia?

It is an undeniable that in the South Asian region, China is fast replacing India as the most important economic and political factor. This is generally attributed to China’s ability and willingness to finance schemes of interest to the countries of the region while its rivals are reluctant to... More

The US eyeing Afghanistan’s mineral resources to fund its war

Although the US president Donald Trump has already stepped away from the US’ nation-building and reconstruction program in Afghanistan as part of his new strategy to devote more resources to the military campaign and force the Taliban to the negotiating table, it appears that at least a part of... More

EDITOR'S CHOICE

For India and China, Southeast Asia is a battleground

Power is inflationary. As countries become stronger, their interests expand beyond their borders, where they must find new ways to protect those interests. India is no exception. Its expansion, though, brings it into contact with China, a much more formidable country that competes with India... More

Zakir Naik a litmus test for Malaysia on counterterrorism

Indian preacher Zakir Naik is vowing to fight an extradition request sent to Malaysia regarding terrorism-related charges. India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed terrorism charges against Naik accusing him of influencing Indian Muslims to join the Islamic State (ISIS). It also declared his Mumbai-based NGO,... More

The New Great Game moves from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific

In the context of the New Great Game in Eurasia, the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), integrates all of China’s instruments of national power – political, economic, diplomatic, financial, intellectual and cultural – to shape the 21st century geopolitical/geoeconomic... More

Sri Lanka doesn’t need more American bear hugs

The U.S. and Sri Lanka recently held their second Partnership Dialogue. The first took place in Washington, D.C. last year. This one was held in Colombo. The meeting didn’t seem to feature any big surprises – which means that it was a missed opportunity for... More

MOST POPULAR

READER'S VIEWS

Gorkhaland, Mamata and the Chinese factor


Just a few days ago I warned two young student leaders in Darjeeling of West Bengal, against the violent movement which has started there for a separate Gorkhaland. I told them in no way... More
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Art Deco architecture spread across Kolkata, thanks to a state...

In 2015, author Amit Chaudhuri started a movement to preserve ordinary Bengali homes in South Kolkata. The architecture of these homes, Chaudhuri said, was... More

The past as present

The attacks on medieval Muslim rulers by the Hindu right wing constitute not only an attempt to rewrite the past but also to interpret... More

The distortion of a distortion: India’s Padmavati movie controversy

The only queen that ruled over the great fort of Chittorgarh when I visited it in 2004 was named Ambience. The castle, a condominium of... More

India’s wildlife trafficking epidemic

No sooner had India wrapped up celebrations of its annual “Wildlife Week” (October 2-8) — spotlighting the richness and diversity of its flora and... More

A diplomatic dispatch for an ambitious India: How Shyam Saran...

Over the generations, officers of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) have produced a scintillating array of memoirs that are excellent statements of the politics... More

How Karbala has influenced writers and poets in South Asia...

Every significant event ever unfolded on the face of the earth is temporal in a sense that it occurs in a particular time-space setting,... More

The killing fields of Jammu: How Muslims become a minority...

What was the death toll in the killing fields of Jammu? There are no official figures, so one has to go by reports in... More

What is the future of the media in Myanmar?

The media – once termed the “Fourth Estate” in society by British parliamentarian and philosopher Edmund Burke – plays a vital role in shaping... More