VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 7th June, 2018
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PAKISTAN

Call to make Indus waters treaty part of foreign policy: Dawn
June 07, 2018

Pakistan must change its cropping patterns, water usage habits and planning mechanisms, and develop multiple storages and make the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty part of an aggressive foreign policy if it intends to avoid a disastrous future. This was the crux of a detailed briefing by retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain to a Senate body on Wednesday. The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman also criticised the resettlement plan for the Diamer-Bhasha dam prepared by the government led by Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2006, and said that it was causing problems to this day. Stressing the importance of the Kalabagh dam, the Wapda chief proposed to give its operations and management to Sindh given the province’s genuine concerns that it would dry out. He said the country should now graduate from decades-old planning processes, time-consuming approval processes and execution of projects through innovative financing solutions for major development projects.Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Watchdog Finds Over 20,000 Civilians Killed In Nine Years: Tolo News
June 06, 2018

The Independent Human Rights Watch has found that more than 64,100 civilians were killed and wounded in wars and suicide attacks in the country in the past nine years. A new report states that 23,130 civilians were killed and 40,974 were wounded of which 52 percent were men, 18 percent were children, 7 percent women and 22 percent is unknown. Chairperson of the commission, Sima Samar, said anti-government armed militants were responsible for 69 percent of the casualties. The report also reveals that more than one million people were displaced due to the war in the last nine years. “Saying 64,000 is very easy but think how many families and people were affected. A mechanism to prevent it should be looked for,” she said. The commission says one of its concerns is that government does not address the condition of families of victims - either of security forces or civilians. “We use all our resources but addressing all those families equally is a difficult task,” said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepal-India talks on air routes next week: Kathmandu Post

A technical delegation from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is scheduled to arrive in Nepal on June 14 to discuss cross-border airspace issues that have been pending for the last five years, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) officials said. The Indian team will be led by Anil Kumar Dutta, member of Air Navigation Services and board member of the AAI. The two sides will discuss three key cross-border routes that Nepal has sought from India: Janakpur in the eastern, Nepalgunj in the mid-western and Mahendranagar in the far western regions. Nepal asked India to formally open the new cross-border air routes during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014. The proposed bi-directional or incoming and outgoing air routes will facilitate the operation of international flights from Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Nijgadh airports. “We don’t know about the mandate that the Indian delegation has been entrusted with by its government, but we are prepared to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) if the discussions yield a positive outcome,” said a high-level Caan official. “If the MoU is signed during this meeting, it will open the door for both sides to conduct a safety assessment of the proposed routes soon.”Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Hindustan Construction Company bags contract at nuclear power project in Bangladesh: The Hindu
June 06, 2018

Infrastructure major, Hindustan Construction Company Ltd. (HCC), in a joint venture with Bangladesh construction firm MAX Group has been awarded a $110 million (₹737 crore) contract by Russia’s State Nuclear Company, JSC Atomstroyexport, for civil works of turbine island for Unit 1 of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, about 190 km northwest of Dhaka, would be built with Russian technology and equipped with two VVER Reactors of 1,200 MW each. These reactors would be similar to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. HCC holds 40% stake in the JV, worth about $44 million. “HCC has become the first Indian company to participate in the international civil nuclear market,” said Arjun Dhawan, director and group CEO, HCC commenting on the order win. Click here to read...

CHINA

China, Kyrgyzstan agree to establish comprehensive strategic partnership: People's Daily
June 07, 2018

China and Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership. The agreement was reached during the talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. "It is another landmark event in the history of bilateral ties that China and Kyrgyzstan will establish a comprehensive strategic partnership, which will inject new impetus into the development of bilateral ties," Xi told Jeenbekov.Click here to read...

China speeds up effort in building a social credit system: Xinhuanet
June 07, 2018

China will roll out vigorous efforts to build a more comprehensive and rigorous social credit system to improve its business environment and boost development, the State Council decided at an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. Key priorities for improving the social credit system were identified at the meeting. These measures include building a social credit-centered regulatory mechanism and enhancing social credit building in key areas concerning people's livelihood. Premier Li Keqiang said that a social credit system comprising solid credit records of all market entities, is of fundamental importance.Click here to read...

Why Europe is pivotal player for China in a three-way trade puzzle: South China Morning Post
June 07, 2018

China should collaborate on multiple fronts to work through a three-way stand-off over trade between Beijing, Brussels and Washington, observers and diplomats have said. The need for a strategic balancing act has gained fresh urgency with Beijing and the European Union (EU) to hold high-level economic talks on June 25, according to a European source, after dialogue due last year was delayed.Click here to read...

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