VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 29th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Army to investigate former ISI chief over claims in book: Dawn
May 29, 2018

The Pakistan Army on Monday set up a ‘court of inquiry’ to investigate former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani’s collaboration with A.S. Dulat, former chief of Indian spy agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), in what is being seen as a lightning-rod book project that has stirred heated controversy, and asked the government to impose travel ban on him (Gen Durrani). “A formal court of inquiry headed by a serving lieutenant general has been ordered to probe the matter in detail. Competent authority has been approached to place the name of Lieutenant General Asad Durrani (retd) on Exit Control List (ECL),” ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted. Mr Durrani had earlier been “called to” the General Headquarters to provide his personal clarification over his involvement in the book project and the assertions that he has made in the book. The book The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI, and the Illusion of Peace was last week launched in India. It contains conversations between Mr Durrani and Mr Dulat that were mediated by an Indian journalist. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Kabul, Islamabad Vow to Bring Peace Talks Back on Track: Tolo News
May 28, 2018

High level security officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan held a meeting in Islamabad and agreed to resume efforts for peace negotiations in Afghanistan and to speed up the process of implementing the joint action plan for peace, officials said on Monday. This comes a day after a high-level Afghan security delegation led by National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar arrived in Pakistan where they held discussions with Pakistani officials on a number of key issues pertaining to Afghanistan’s security, the war on terrorism, mutual cooperation and regional issues. According to officials at the National Security Council (NSC) the two countries also agreed to take specific steps regarding the implementation of the joint action plan for peace and for reducing the scale of threats. “High level meetings were held with Pakistan’s national security advisor, army chief, the leadership of Pakistan security institutions, deputy minister of foreign affairs, head of operations, the economic advisor of Pakistan’s prime minister and other high level officials, the meetings were held in a cordial and conducive atmosphere,” the NSC said in a statement on Monday. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Biratnagar India camp staffers awaiting word from Delhi: My Republica
May 29, 2018

A week has passed since the Indian government announced to shut down the Indian embassy’s camp office in Biratnagar but it has made no efforts to do so. Officials at the camp office said they have yet to be officially informed about the closure decision by their government. “We have learnt from media reports that a decision has been made to close down the camp office as per the high-level political understanding reached between the governments of the two countries. But until we are officially notified by our side about the decision, we cannot just shut down the office and move out on our own,” said an official at the camp office requesting anonymity. The official however said the office will be closed once it receives instructions from the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
India, Bangladesh ocean scientists to work together: The Hindu
May 29, 2018

Ocean research scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) would get an opportunity to work together with Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (BORI) in areas where work has not been started in that country’s Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ), said Director of NIO Sunil Kumar Singh here on Monday. He was addressing presspersons in the presence of a visiting delegation from Bangladesh led by Ashok Kumar Biswas, Director General, (BORI). The delegation was on a two-day visit to CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula. Mr. Singh said that the visit was in connection with the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), in Dhaka, towards a mutual co-operation between both the countries. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka accepts $1 billion, 8-yr syndicated loan from China Development Bank: Sunday Times

Sri Lanka has accepted China Development Bank’s $1 billion syndicated loan with eight-year tenure at 5.3 percent, two top finance ministry officials said on Friday. The Chinese bank was chosen among four bidding for the loan, which the government plans to use toward repaying other loans, one top finance ministry told Reuters. “All three others had three-year tenure and only China Development Bank had a bid for an eight-year tenure. The effective rate of return is around 5.3 percent,” the official said. “It was a good offer. The loan has a three-year grace period. Then in the next five years, the government will be repaying $100 million biannually.” Click here to read...

CHINA
Xi calls for breakthrough in technology: China Daily
May 29, 2018

President Xi Jinping called on Monday for concerted endeavors and strategic arrangements in key cutting-edge technologies and in fields subject to other countries' control to achieve innovative breakthroughs. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the statement at the opening of the 19th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Click here to read...

China rejects U.S. accusations on technology transfer as baseless at WTO: People’s Daily
May 29, 2018

Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Zhang Xiangchen on Monday rejected the U.S. accusation that China has abused joint venture requirements to achieve technology transfer, saying the United States is one of the main beneficiaries of technology transfer. Click here to read...

China welcomes all UN member states to jointly utilize its space station: People’s Daily
May 29, 2018

China announced Monday that all member states of the United Nations are welcome to cooperate with China to jointly utilize its future China Space Station (CSS). "CSS belongs not only to China, but also to the world," said Shi Zhongjun, China's ambassador to UN and other international organizations in Vienna. Click here to read...

Washington provokes Beijing in the South China Sea at its own peril: People’s Daily
May 28, 2018

Two US Navy warships—the USS Higgins, a destroyer, and the USS Antietam, a cruiser—trespassed into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, provoking Beijing in the South China Sea. The “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea on Sunday was the latest attempt by Washington to challenge China over maritime matters. According to US officials, such operations are routine and not aimed at any one country, but the provocative and coercive actions are clearly targeted at China. Click here to read...

China, Russia set to show support for Iran nuclear deal at security bloc summit, observers say: South China Morning Post
May 28, 2018

A regional summit to be held in China next month and attended by the heads of state from Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan will provide symbolic support for the Iran nuclear deal, which saw its future called into question after the withdrawal of the United States, analysts said. Click here to read...

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