SOUTH ASIAN DIGEST

Amit Shah’s termite remark unwanted: Bangladesh Minister

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By describing Bangladeshis as ‘termites’ and accusing them of ‘infiltrating’ India, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah has made an ‘unwanted’ remark, a senior minister of the Government of Bangaldesh has said. Speaking to The Hindu, Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu said Shah was not qualified to speak on India-Bangladesh relationship and that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had assured Dhaka that people excluded... More

Pakistan to raise Kashmir issue at UN meeting

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When some 146 world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, they are expected to discuss issues of international peace and security as several conflicts from Syria to Yemen rage on, defying any resolution. The Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who arrives in New York, which houses the UN headquarters, from Washington on... More

Russia may help India to launch country’s first manned space mission

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Russia and India can conclude an agreement on the exchange of experience and interaction in preparation for the launch of the first Indian manned space mission, Indian media reported on Sunday. Indian agency PTI reported, citing official sources, that the parties may sign the contract during the upcoming official visit of Vladimir Putin to New Delhi early next month. In late August, head of the Indian... More

Myanmar army chief says ‘no right to interfere’ as UN weighs Rohingya crisis

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Myanmar’s army chief on Monday warned against foreign interference as world leaders gather at the United Nations to find ways to hold the country’s powerful generals accountable for atrocities against Rohingya Muslims last year. In his first public comments on the subject since a report by a UN fact-finding mission this month, Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar abided by UN pacts, but warned that “talks... More

Bhutan Week opens in India

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Commemorating the golden jubilee celebration of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India, Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu graced the opening of the Bhutan Week at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi, India Sunday. Cabinet and foreign secretaries and other senior officials accompanied Her Majesty. Over 300 participants from Bhutan are showcasing Bhutan’s rich... More

Afghanistan to join CPEC soon, hopes Pak minister

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Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia will soon join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a huge regional project, hopes a Pakistani minister. In an interview published on Sunday, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said Pakistan wanted friendly relations with all neighbours. He recently met the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and offered him to join CPEC, the minister told The News. He said the war-torn country... More

India’s PM Modi to visit Nepal again in November

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After visiting Nepal in August for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will be visiting the Himalayan nation once again, this time in November. "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be coming to Nepal again in the end week of the November. The probable date for his visit which will be a... More

Sri Lanka hunts investors in Germany

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A Sri Lanka delegation headed by Minster of Development Strategies and International Trade is heading for Hamburg Germany to hunt for investor with a team of private business representatives. "The delegation will visit Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin and meet with senior German officials, as well as captains of German industry," the Board of Investment said. This highly targeted mission will include investment forums where top German... 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

TODAY'S NEWS

EXCLUSIVE

Surprise defeat for pro-China Maldivian strongman Yameen, but India shouldn’t celebrate yet


The just concluded presidential elections in Maldives have handed a surprise defeat to the pro-China president Yameen Abdul Gayoom and victory to joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohammed... More

Domestic politics and elections behind Modi govt’s decision to spurn Pakistan’s talks offer


Opinion is divided among political scientists that foreign and domestic policies are often intertwined and states take decisions on their respective relations with other governments based on... More

REPORTS

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen concedes defeat after shock election result


The strongman leader of the Maldives on Monday conceded defeat in the presidential election, easing fears of a fresh political crisis in the archipelago at the centre of a battle for influence... More

Pakistan won’t abandon peace efforts despite India’s reluctance: FM Qureshi


India’s reluctance to hold talks with Pakistan will not stop Islamabad from closing doors on its efforts to promote peace in the region, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, days after New... More

India, China to sign internal security cooperation agreement


For the first time, India and China will sign an internal security cooperation agreement during the forthcoming visit of China's Minister of Public Security, marking a new beginning in bilateral relations, officials... More

India plans waterway freight corridor via Bangladesh to NE states


The government of India is working on a plan to set up a waterway freight corridor to connect the mainland with the northeastern states via Bangladesh at a cost of Rs 5,000... More

CONFLICT

Militarization puts women’s issues on the back foot in Kashmir


Political unrest and conflict in the restive north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir have often pushed other social issues on to the sidelines. Women in the state have for decades grappled... 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 deal: Congress moves CVC for probe, BJP calls it ‘int’l conspiracy’


The political slugfest between the BJP-led government at the Centre and Congress over the Rafale deal intensified on Monday after the latter moved the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and sought a registration of a case as well... More

Pakistan takes CPEC to Cairo


Federal ministers, senior government and defence officials, leaders of central banks and principal commercial entities, business and sectoral heads, investors, policymakers and opinion formers from Pakistan, Egypt, China and Europe have gathered in Cairo to discuss ways... More

As West recoils, China surges south in Myanmar


A massive monument depicting four Chinese figures wheeling a large circular object, determined faces pointed directly south, stands in the Chinese border town of Jiegao opposite Muse in Myanmar. The Chinese language characters on the base of the... More

China’s narrative in South Asia


Recently, China’s consular general in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu, while speaking at a function, proposed a bullet train connecting Kunming (Yunnan Province) with Kolkata, the capital of India’s Eastern state of West Bengal. Said the Diplomat: ‘With joint efforts... More

DEFENCE

Pakistan Navy seeking new jet-powered maritime patrol aircraft


Pakistan Navy’s (PN) Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi – stated that the PN was seeking a new, jet-powered maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), according to a report by Dawn News. The new MPA is... More

Indian Army needs to modernize war doctrines as much as structure


The Indian Army is carrying out a comprehensive exercise to restructure and modernize its force. From the few leaks and snippets available in the public domain, it appears that the exercise has three aims. First, re-size the army... More

As India’s Ganga runs out of water, a potential food shortage looms

Millions of people living in the lower reaches of the Ganges basin in India may face food shortages in the next three decades if the iconic river continues to lose water due to factors such as unsustainable groundwater extraction, according to a new study. The low river flows could also... More

COLUMN

Saudi investment in CPEC will deepen Pak ties with Riyadh and...

Pakistan has officially invited Saudi Arabia to not only invest in the geo-economically celebrated China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but also be a strategic partner, deepening considerable strategic convergence on economic as well as geo-political issues. The immediate reason for Saudi Arabia’s billion-dollar investment in CPEC is, as Pakistan’s own finance minister said, his country’s poor economic condition and the fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves, hampering its ability to continue and complete... More

India’s juvenile volte face

It was the “political survival instinct” of the rapidly weakening BJP which made the Indian government suddenly call off the foreign ministers-level talks with Pakistan which were to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York next week. India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart S M Qureshi were to meet and thrash out a range of issues bedeviling bilateral ties. The reasons for not... More

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 to it. The result has been an overlap of ideas, projects and ultimately regional strategies that fail to produce a concept which everyone can buy into. South Asian media as it exists today is a... More

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

Myanmar moves closer to China with increased bilateral trade and investment...

Myanmar and China are consolidating their bilateral trade and investment relationship. In fact, Beijing is fast becoming Myanmar’s strongest and most important ally, but this strengthened relationship has made many in the government nervous. Even the State Counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s civilian leader, is worried about the impression this increased dependence on China is having. She wants to allay the fears of both the United States and... 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

Why China buying up ports is worrying Europe

There is rising concern about whether China will use its commercial acquisitions of overseas ports for military purposes, under its drive to put civilian technology and resources to military use. Under its trillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative” – a blueprint announced in 2013 to boost trade and connectivity in Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond – China has significantly increased its global investments, particularly in maritime infrastructure. Pioneering Chinese companies... More

US should push for political solution in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has been long and costly for the United States. It’s gone on for nearly 17 years, longer than any other American war. We’ve spent about $1 trillion there, and we continue spending about $45 billion a year. About 2,400 US servicemen and women have been killed in Afghanistan, and about 20,000 have been wounded. While troop levels have fluctuated, about 15,000 US military personnel... More

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

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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