VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 19 March, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Rules framed for top nuclear body being kept secret: Dawn
Mrach 19, 2018

The National Command Authority (NCA) Act about the command and control of strategic assets was passed after open public discussion in parliament in 2010, but the rules framed under it are still being kept a closely guarded secret and the authorities concerned seem reluctant in placing them even before the house despite repeated requests by the members of two committees of the Senate over the past two years. The NCA is the apex civilian-led command headed by the prime minister to oversee the policy formulation, exercises, deployment, research and development, and operational command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenals. The last periodic report of the Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation recently laid before the house raised some questions about the operationalisation of the NCA Act, but it escaped notice in the maze of over two dozen reports by various committees during the last days of the outgoing Senate. Click here to read...

India is busy in fomenting unrest through terrorism using Afghan soil: DG ISPR: Dawn
March 19, 2018

Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in an interview with Gulf News expressed confidence that the Pakistani Army has eliminated all terrorist havens from its soil. The spokesperson of the army's media wing pointed out that the "well-planned and executed military campaign" to rid the country of the menace of terrorism did not come cheap. "All this has come at a huge price. Besides cost in blood of over 750,000 Pakistanis, there has been a loss of more than $123 billion to the national exchequer," the interview, published on Sunday, quoted him as saying. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Researchers Release Chabahar Port Analysis: Tolo News
March 19, 2018

The Strategic Analysis of the Chabahar Port by the Afghanistan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) was released in Kabul on Sunday. The event was organized by the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies (AISS) and was attended by Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Reza Bahrami. The research was conducted by researchers from Afghanistan, Iran and India. The report states that Chabahar Port will strengthen relations between the three member nations, and will increase trade and transit ties between the regional countries. “Afghanistan can participate in most big projects in the region through this port,” AISS researcher Abdul Qadiee Mutfi said. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepal for “mutually beneficial” ties with India, China: The Hindu
March 18, 2018

Nepal’s Left alliance government will maintain a “mutually beneficial” relationship with India and China to seek economic benefits from both the Asian giants, the country’s newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister said on Sunday. Pradeep Gyawali, who was inducted on Friday, also said that the Nepal government had started preparations as it expects both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit the country this year. “We want to build a mutually beneficial relationship with both in the changed context,” Mr. Gyawali said, adding that Nepal needs support from both the countries. “Chinese President Xi was supposed to visit Nepal in 2016, which could not be materialised possibly due to frequent government changes,” he said. Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Gyawali said similar high-level visits will take place from Nepal’s side also. He said the government was making necessary preparations for the foreign trip of Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Oli. “Prime Minister will make foreign trip soon and we are making necessary preparations to that end. But we have not yet decided from which country he will begin his foreign trip with,” he said. Click here to read...

SRILANKA
President revokes State of Emergency: Daily Mirror
March 18, 2018

President Maithripala Sirisena said that he had instructed to revoke the State of Emergency from midnight Saturday onwards. “I returned from a very successful tour of Japan, that brings many short and long terms benefits to us. Upon assessing the public safety situation, I instructed to revoke the State of Emergency,” President tweeted today. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Protestors arrested during Saturday’s protest, released
March 19, 2018

The Police Sunday released all the protestors who were arrest from Saturday night’s opposition rally. Lawyer and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s brother Nazim Sattar, and several prominent members of the opposition leadership were released from police custody Saturday evening. After being released, Nazim said that he was not taken to the court to be remanded, and that the police had told him that he was arrested for obstructing the duty of law enforcement officers. The opposition’s protest, dubbed ‘Huttuvaa’ (local term for “stop”), began after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency February 5. During the protests over the weekend, over 150 civilians were arrested from the rallies. However, the police said that the majority of the people arrested has now been released, except for five people. Click here to read...

CHINA
Newly-elected President Xi steers China toward prosperity: People's Daily
19 March 2018

As ceremonial music echoed throughout the Great Hall of the People, Xi Jinping took his place on the podium. The music stopped as he reached a large red-bound copy of the country's Constitution. The 64-year-old, in a dark suit, placed his left hand on the Constitution, raised his right hand to his temple and made a fist of solidarity. Click here to read...

China's new cabinet members endorsed: People's Daily
19 March 2018

The new lineup of China's State Council, nominated by Premier Li Keqiang, was endorsed by lawmakers at the ongoing national legislative session in Beijing on Monday. Han Zheng, Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua and Liu He were endorsed as vice-premiers, with Wei Fenghe, Wang Yong, Wang Yi, Xiao Jie and Zhao Kezhi as state councilors. Xiao Jie was also appointed secretary-general of the State Council. Lawmakers also endorsed Li's nominations of ministers, governor of the central bank and auditor-general at the seventh plenary meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress. Click here to read...

NPC deputies elect top judicial officials: China Daily
19 March 2018

A veteran judicial official has been elected to lead the top procuratorate for the following five years and is expected to push forward the country's judicial reform together with the nation's chief justice. Click here to read...

China promotes foreign minister Wang Yi to state councillor, General Wei Fenghe named defence minister: South China Morning Post
19 March 2018

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has been promoted to a state councillor, a move elevating his status in the nation’s decision-making structure. Wang will keep his foreign minister title in a list of government appointments endorsed by the National People’s Congress on Monday morning. The move comes as China shakes up its foreign affairs structure in an effort to raise the country’s profile on the world stage. Click here to read...

Yi Gang named China’s central bank chief, Liu He vice-premier: South China Morning Post
19 March 2018

The deputy head of China’s central bank has been named as its new chief. Yi Gang was confirmed in the role at the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Monday. Click here to read...

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