VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: June 7, 2019
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PAKISTAN
No meeting planned between India, Pakistan PMs at regional summit: India foreign ministry: Dawn
June 7, 2019

There is no bilateral meeting planned between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) next week, India's foreign ministry spokesman Rajeev Kumar said on Thursday. India's Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan are both scheduled to attend a meeting of the regional summit that is to take place in Kyrgyzstan on June 13-14. Last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had an unscheduled and informal meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of SCO meeting of foreign ministers in Bishkek. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers and the highest-level interaction since the post-Pulwama standoff, which had ended through intervention of foreign intermediaries. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
US, NATO Will Decide On Afghanistan Together: Khalilzad
June 6, 2019

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who is on a multi-nation visit on Afghan peace, has said that the United States and NATO will make a shared decision on remaining in Afghanistan or leaving the country. Khalilzad said in a tweet on Thursday that he briefed the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Afghan peace process and thanked them for the “great sacrifices” made and their ongoing commitment. Khalilzad said that he assured NATO and its allies continued full coordination. “We went to Afghanistan together, will adjust our presence together, and if we leave, will leave together,” Khalilzad added. Click here to read...

NEPAL
China pledges Rs 2 billion in grant for railways, but where will it go?: Kathmandu Post
June 7, 2019

The Chinese government will be providing Nepal with a Rs 2 billion grant to go either towards pursuing the cross-border railway or two internal railway links, according to the governmental red book released on Tuesday. Though no formal agreement with China on a grant has been reached, the fourth meeting of the Nepal-China railway talks, to be held in China within this month, will ascertain where exactly the money will go. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Kochi-Maldives ferry service closer to reality: The Hindu
June 7, 2019

The much-awaited Kochi-Maldives ferry service is a step closer to being realised, with the Centre reconsidering the proposal mooted in 2011. The proposal for a ferry-cum-cargo service from here to the island nation was mooted in 2011 following the SAARC Summit. This was followed by a meeting between officials of Kochi and Maldives ports and the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). At the meeting, it was decided to structure the service as one having a passenger capacity of 300, apart from the capability to carry 15 to 20 containers and around 500 tonnes of bulk cargo. The transit time between Kochi and Maldives on a modern ferry is a day and will hence be ideal even for perishable cargo. Click here to read...

CHINA
China, Russia commemorate 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties: Xinhuanet
June 7, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, attended on Wednesday a gathering marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The gathering was held after Xi and Putin signed a joint statement to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. Click here to read...

In latest move likely to goad Beijing, US defence department puts Taiwan on a list of ‘countries’: South China Morning Post
June 7, 2019

The Trump administration’s move to include Taiwan on a list of “countries” in a US defence department report is the latest in a series of provocative moves that appear aimed at confronting China, and putting it on notice. Click here to read...

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