VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 11th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Pakistan to impose reciprocal restrictions on US diplomats: Dawn
April 11, 2018

Pakistan is considering imposing reciprocal restrictions on United States diplomats in Pakistani cities, official sources told Dawn on Thursday, as US lawmakers advised the Trump administration not to take measures that inhibit conversation. The Trump administration seems all set to force Pakistani diplomats to stay within 25 miles of the city they are posted at, further straining already tense relations between the two countries who were once close allies in the war against terror. Official sources told Dawn that Pakistan too planned to enforce similar restrictions on US diplomats in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. They already are prohibited from visiting high-security areas, such as Fata, to protect them against possible terrorist attacks. Hours before the proposed restriction goes into effect in the US, American lawmakers reminded the Trump administration that it was not a smart thing to do. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Kabul, Islamabad agree to enhance trade volume: Pajhwok
May 10, 2018

Kabul and Islamabad have agreed on forging sustainable economic relations and taking effective measures to ensure economic activities between the neighbours. Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Nasir Khan Janjua and a business delegation from Afghanistan discussed ways of boosting bilateral economic relations and trade. At Wednesday’s meeting in Islamabad, both sides agreed to remove the difficulties being faced by traders to jack up Af-Pak trade volume, a statement from Janjua’s office said. A day earlier, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on strengthening institutional mechanisms. They stressed the need for holding of the 7th Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority meeting. The Afghan delegation, led by Deputy Minister of Commerce Kamila Sidiqi, called on Secretary Commerce Mohammad Younus Dagha. Both two sides expressed the desire to enhance trade relations by overcoming challenges. Click here to read...

NEPAL
PM Narendra Modi's Nepal visit aimed at healing old wounds, building trust: Times of India
May 11, 2018

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is arriving in Nepal on Friday for a two-day state visit at the invitation of Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. Modi will directly land in historical Janakpur, a sub-metropolitan city, where he will offer special prayers before flying to Muktinath, a famous mountainous pilgrimage site situated near the Nepal-Tibet border, and then head to Kathmandu to hold official meetings. Modi’s visit shortly after the formation of the strong leftist government led by Prime Minister Oli following the victory of the Left Alliance in the provincial and parliamentary elections in Nepal is seen here as India's endorsement of the Nepalese Constitution, promulgated two and a half years ago. Oli was among the key leaders who played a major role in drafting the 2015 constitution which failed to get India’s endorsement, resulting in an unofficial blockade against the Himalayan republic. Modi's third visit to Nepal as PM within a period of three years shows his commitment to the neighbourhood first policy and his tactfulness in handling foreign policy aimed at, in a way, healing the old wound. Kathmandu is decorated with welcome gates and the flags of both countries and the major roads have been black-topped to welcome the Indian leader. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Sushma Swaraj in Myanmar to hold talks with country's leadership: Times of India
May 10, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday arrived here on a two-day visit during which she is expected to hold discussions with Myanmar's top leadership on key bilateral and regional issues, including the situation in the Rakhine state from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims had fled following violence last year. Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and it shares a 1,640 km border with a number of northeastern states, including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur. On her arrival in Nay Pyi Taw, Swaraj was warmly received by India's Ambassador Vikram Misri and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar U Myint Thu. "EAM will hold discussions with Myanmar leadership to further reinforce our bilateral ties," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. Click here to read...

CHINA
Li, Akihito expect bilateral exchanges to boost Sino-Japan ties: China Daily
May 11, 2018

Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that China is ready to move ties with Japan back to the right track and achieve further progress under the principles of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, when he met with Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo. The premier conveyed sincere greetings from President Xi Jinping to the emperor. Click here to read...

China ready to defend its interests: People's Daily
May 11, 2018

China will resolutely defend its interests even as it expects a positive outcome from the upcoming China-US trade talks through efforts from both sides, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The ministry issued the statement ahead of a planned May 15 hearing by the Office of the US Trade Representative to discuss proposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. During the hearing, US companies and consumers will have the chance to have certain products taken off the list or others added through public discussion and lobbying. Click here to read...

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