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India in trapeze act balancing US and Russia

The phone conversation on Friday between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed a big signal, coming immediately after the release of the new Strategic Concept by NATO, which called Russia the alliance’s “most significant and direct threat.” The readouts from Moscow and New Delhi both highlighted the two leaderships’ determination to carry forward the momentum of economic cooperation despite the Western sanctions against Russia.  Ironically, the West’s “sanctions from hell” have...

SOUTH ASIAN BRIEF

Domestic politics dent its diplomacy?

Welcome to South Asia Brief.

The highlights this week: New Delhi faces a diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf, India’s government weighs deepening engagement with the Taliban, and Bangladesh suffers a deadly industrial fire.

India’s Diplomatic Wake-Up Call?

Majority-Muslim countries in South Asia and beyond reacted angrily this week to offensive remarks about the Prophet Muhammad...

Reports

Myanmar talks Belt and Road with China, restarts...

BANGKOK/YANGON -- Foreign ministers from China and five Mekong Delta countries discussed economic cooperation Monday in the Myanmar tourist destination of Bagan, in the first multinational ministerial meeting held in the country since last year's military takeover. The meeting under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework was...

Resistance to the Taliban resumes in north-easte...

Along the walls of a building used by the government in Bazarak in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley, battered pick-ups are stacked on top of each other, awaiting repairs. The beige Ford trucks were once driven by the Afghan army. Now they belong to the Taliban fighters who took...

Taliban Government to Request India for Visas to...

New Delhi: The Taliban government has said that it will request India to grant visas to Afghan students enrolled in Indian educational institutions but who haven’t still been able to return to resume their courses after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. This was announced by Taliban foreign...

Singapore's CapitaLand adds D.C., Dhaka apartmen...

SINGAPORE -- CapitaLand Investment, one of Singapore's top real estate groups, will widen the reach of its serviced apartment business with an acquisition that adds 15,000 units across 15 countries. The group's lodging unit Ascott will buy Oakwood Worldwide from Mapletree Investments, a property arm...

SAM Special

US bid to rope Sri Lanka into Quad using economic crisis

Colombo: The United States is using the economic crisis in Sri Lanka to rope the Indian Ocean island nation into the anti-China Indo-Pacific alliance the “Quad”.  The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez has urged Quad Foreign Ministers to proactively help Sri Lanka saying that it will demonstrate Quad’s capabilities. In a letter dated June 10 to Quad Foreign Ministers, Antony Blinken (US), Hayashi Yoshimasa (Japan), S. Jaishankar (India) and Penny Wong (Australia),...

Issues

Bangladesh’s trade deficit rose to $30.81 billio...

Bangladesh's trade deficit has widened to USD $ 30.81 billion in 11 months of current fiscal year (FY) due to hefty rise of import demand in post Covid-19 pandemic period, reports UNB. Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Monday released this data 'the current account balance' after...

Will Pakistan’s Taliban ties blunt its crackdown...

A year after Pakistan’s powerful army chief unveiled a foreign policy shift away from confrontation with its neighbours, Islamabad is waging its largest crackdown against jihadist groups involved in terrorist attacks against India since the 1990s. Driven by the threat of tough international restrictions on its...

Disturbing portents: Congress' tepid response to...

The Supreme Court judgment in the Zakia Jafri case was delivered on June 24. The Congress party took three days to comment on the judgment and mark a token presence at a citizens’ protest in Delhi against the arrest of Teesta Setalvad. Only in response to pressure from within did...

Should Bangladesh join the US-led IPEF or not?

The new economic alliance, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, known in short as IPEF, has been unveiled by US president Joe Biden and was signed in Tokyo on 23 May during Biden’s first Asia tour. There are 12 regional counterparts that are the founding members...

Editor`s Choice

‘15 minutes to save the world’: a terrifying VR journey into the nuclear bunker

‘15 minutes to save the world’: a terrifying...

It became clear that things had gone terribly awry on this particular day when I saw that the most moderate option on the desk in...
3 things I learnt from a 'wasted' two pandemic years

3 things I learnt from a 'wasted' two pandemi...

If you have had contact with people over the past few months, and I don't mean to rub it in if you haven't, then there...
Living with Covid-19: Coming to grips with our anger and angst

Living with Covid-19: Coming to grips with ou...

They call it ennui. You know, that lingering mix of feelings of listlessness and tedium, of being adrift, bereft of neither a sense of anticipation,...

Focus

India

Nupur Sharma controversy: Prayagraj demolition breaks a family's dream

What is home? For Somaiya Fatima, 19, it's a pale yellow house, tucked in the winding lanes of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where she lived with her four siblings and parents. There were memories everywhere in the two-storey structure, she says: of eating lychees and pottering about with her sisters on the sun-soaked balcony; stealing books from her father's library; and then locking herself into the...
It is going to get worse before it gets better. It is going to be a painful few years ahead.
Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry on his country’s economy