MonitorsPublished on Oct 14, 2011
Nepal's Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai will make an important visit to New Delhi starting October 20. Given the strain in relationship between his own party, the UCPN (Maoist), and India on multiple issues during the tenure of his party President Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda as the premier.
Nepal: Bhattarai could mend fences
< class="heading1">Analysis

Nepal’s Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai will make an important visit to New Delhi starting October 20. Given the strain in relationship between his own party, the UCPN (Maoist), and India on multiple issues during the tenure of his party President Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda as the premier, and India’s unwillingness to collaborate with the latter to aid Nepal’s stagnant peace process thereafter, the visit will provide a unique opportunity to both the sides.

The visit will provide a good opportunity for Dr Bhattarai to mend his party’s ties with India, which played a vital role in bringing the Maoist to the political mainstream by mediating the 12-point agreement between the Maoists and seven parties of Nepal in New Delhi in 2006. Reaching out now to the Indian side, which grew suspicious of Maoist designs after the Constituent Assembly polls, is vital as Nepali leadership is well aware that the revival of the much-needed political consensus in Nepal is also contingent upon a renewal of strong and friendly relationship with India.

Maoist leaders, despite deep intra-party feud, have reiterated that they are not "anti-Indian." Prachanda in a recent interview said that relations between India and Nepal are unique on the basis of history, culture, geography and economy, and that "no one can think of weakening this." He believes in "strengthening these links." During his own visit to India as the Prime Minister of a republican Nepal, Prachanda advocated building Indo-Nepal relationship in a "new way" in dealing with older issues like treaties, trade problems and border issues. The new aspiration of people for change, which he stressed at home and in India, did not receive support from Indian establishment and top leaders for sheer lack of confidence and deep suspicion once the Maoist came to power after the April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.

The anti-Indian slogan used by his party cadres and the attack on Indian investments and envoy and defacing of Indian flag led to a chill in the relationship between the two. The strained relation reached its peak in Nepal Army chief Rookmangud Katawal case when all attempts by Prachanda to sack the general was opposed by India. It led to the toppling of the Maoist-led Government.

Dr. Bhattarai will be in New Delhi to resolve the existing confusion, misunderstandings and differences and build and strengthen the relationship. Indian side too would need to be more generous. India must introspect whether by disengaging with the largest political force in Nepal at a time of transition; it would help solve its larger interests. While pressing for its concerns - both security and economic -- India should also think creatively about how to generate trust in a country which is passing through a historic peace process.

Bilateral issues

As in the past, India will want Dr. Bhattarai to address its security concerns and all pending issues between the two countries in this regard. Controversial political issues like finalising the extradition treaty, signing agreements on mutual legal assistance, strip maps and stationing of air marshals at the TribhuvanInternationalAirport will be reiterated by Indian side. But these are issues which require broader political consensus in Nepal and in absence of that a major breakthrough in this regard will be less likely during Bhattarai’s visit.

Nepal does not feel "comfortable" about discussing these issues despite requests from the southern neighbour. The signing of the map in particular is difficult without resolution of border disputes in Kalapani and Susta. While Nepal is seeking a resolution of the problem first, India wants the strip map signing to happen first.

During the visit which is first of its kind since August 2009, Nepal wants to see finalisation of the agreement on power trade with India. But reportedly India is hesitant about discussing it during the Prime Minister’s visit. However, the issues related to commerce, trade and development with India will be discussed.

Nepal is set to ask India for additional facilities with regard to using the Kakarvitta-Fulbari-Banglabanda route linking Bangladesh and for enforcement of the existing agreement on allowing Nepal to use the Vishakhapatnum port as early as possible without imposing any additional lock system. Similarly, Nepal will ask India to allow Nepali commercial goods carrying containers to reach the Bangladesh border without the escort of Indian security. Currently, Nepali containers have to offload commercial goods near Banglabanda and containers from Bangladesh carry them to their destination. Nepali containers are not permitted along the Kakarvitta-Phulbari-Banglabanda route at night and during public holidays.

Nepal will also seek Indian assistance to remove additional customs duty of four percent on export of 162 Nepali goods so as to increase competitive strength of Nepali goods, according to officials. Similarly, Nepal will request India to withdraw additional lock system on import of goods from overseas countries to Nepal via the Kolkata port. The additional lock system, according to traders, has been creating problems in delivering goods.

Nepal will also seek Indian assistance to construct Raxaul-Amlekhgunj 41-kilometer petroleum pipeline on both sides and hand it over to Nepal to facilitate smooth supply of petroleum products from India to Nepal. Earlier, Nepal and India had agreed to jointly construct the pipeline. Nepal also wishes signing the letter of exchange on bringing the Rohanpur-Sighabad railway service, which is expected to be instrumental in boosting trade between Nepal and Bangladesh, into operation. In addition, Nepal will request India to construct 53 bridges along the Hulaki Sadak in the Tarai.

Peace deal still elusive

However, at home, Dr. Bhattarai is making a last ditch effort to woo the opposition and strike a peace deal. Since his election to the top post in August, Bhattarai and Prachanda have faced an assertive opposition and a backlash from their own party comrades led by hardliner and senior vice-chairman Mohan Vaidya ’Kiran.’

The main opposition Nepali Congress has insisted on a ’package deal’ in the peace process and has blocked all discussions on Constitution-writing, arguing that the peace process came first. The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) has demanded the scrapping of the four-point agreement between the Maoists and the Madhesi parties, calling it ’anti-national.’ The Maoist hard-liners too have opposed the four-point deal and the handover of keys of weapon containers to the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of combatants. Thus no major breakthrough in the peace process has come about even after Dashain celebrations.

Although Dr. Bhattarai is hopeful that some deal will be reached soon, a concrete peace deal among the major political parties of Nepal before the PM’s India visit seems less likely. Time is running out as CA’s term expires in less than 50 days now.

(The writer is Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Anti-graft cell to be set up at PM’s office

With the aim of monitoring irregularities and corruption in the executive, the government is doing groundwork to set up an anti-corruption cell at the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

The cell will be set up as provisioned in the Anti-corruption Action Plan-2010 and in line with ’zero tolerance’ on corruption announced by Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.

The cell to be established will investigate irregularities and hand over the illegal cases to curative anti-graft bodies.

The anti-corruption cell is also expected to institutionalise monitoring of irregularities that the PM’s office has been informally carrying out.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 10, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NC, UML insist on package deal

Top leaders of the main Opposition parties -- Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML -- have decided to settle all the major contentious issues of the peace process only in a package and not in separate and partial deals. They reached the conclusion at two-party talks led by NC President Sushil Koirala and UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal at the UML parliamentary party office at Singha Durbar on Tuesday.

NC leaders, during the talks, informed their UML counterparts that the Maoists were insisting on advancing the peace process by settling some of the integration issues if not all. They said that the Maoists were consistently insisting on first deciding the integration numbers, integration modality and the rehabilitation package and on starting with categorisation of the Maoist combatants without delay.

But NC and the UML are for settling all five thorny integration issues -- integration numbers, norms, modality, rank determination and rehabilitation package -- all at once in a package deal.

According to the NC leaders, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had urged the NC to be ready to start categorisation of the combatants after settling the three issues -- integration numbers, modality and rehabilitation package -- so that he would be able to resolve the feuding within his party.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 12, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Steps to tackle energy crisis

Following a nationwide protests, the National Assembly decided to set up a Special Cabinet Committee to examine the causes of the power shortages and give recommendations to remedy the situation. The Cabinet approved the recommendations of a five day working week to contain the spiralling power crisis.

In order to avoid straining the centre-province relationship further Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, stressed on the fact that it will be implemented only after the approval of the provinces at the forum of the Council for Common Interests. Some of the other measures adopted include WAPDA being allowed to cut off connection of defaulters, shops compulsorily to shut their shops after sunset, no provision of electricity for billboards after sunset, marriage halls not prohibited from remaining open after 10 pm.

However, since there are strong possibilities of gas shortage in the next few months the Government announced a reduction of load shedding of compressed Natural Gas from three to two days a week.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, October 11, 14 2011; The Daily Times, October 13, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hindrance to pro-women bill

The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill was stalled due to last minute objections regarding drafting. It was supposedly a landmark private bill as it penalises practices such as forced marriages, ’marriages’ with the ’Holy Koran’.

The bill that was introduced by eight lawmakers and piloted by party activist Donya Aziz has been pending before the house since 2008. The house was about to pass the fifth and last clause of the bill when it was stalled. However, the speaker said that whatever parts of the bill that was passed was valid.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, October 12, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Efforts to restore peace in Balochistan

Addressing the passing-out parade of the recruits of the Pakistan Army to Balochistan, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said that to shun violence and adopting the path of peace was the only way towards prosperity in the Province. He also said that he regretted how many chose the path of terrorism at a critical juncture that Pakistan was passing through.

In the same event he announced that the Government had planned to provide 20,000 youths jobs from the Balochistan region. Prime Minister Gilani renewed his offer of dialogue and said that he was open to listening to their grievances. As a step forward he asked Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani to hold talks with them.

Parallel efforts have been taken by the Special Committee formed by the National Assembly as they have decided to meet the estranged Baloch leaders to seek support for restoring peace in the region. The Committee will visit Quetta next week to meet civil society members, tribal sardars, Members of Parliament and provincial assembly and Baloch leaders
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, October, 11, 12, 14 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Irregularities in Defence spending

In a report prepared by the Auditor-General of Pakistan for 2010-11, financial irregularities of over Rs12.5bn was committed by the defence services, comprising the ministries of defence and defence production. This is roughly 10 percent of the amount that has been audited. These irregularities include violation of procurement rules, irregular payments as well as fraud.

One of the instances cited in the report includes the case of military land in Lahore which has been turned into a commercial golf course instead of being sold off to raise funds for new military headquarters in Islamabad. A more serious case is that of a firm supplying only two frequency converters instead of the requisite eight, yet managing to obtain a bogus inspection report and thereafter receiving payment of nearly Rs16 million.

The defence services are the largest recipients of public funds in Pakistan and had earlier in the year come under the scanner for failing to comply with the Public Accounts Committee’s directives. Meanwhile, the United States blocked $2.5 billion in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) arrears to Pakistan based on wrongly claimed billing receipts. This matter has been taken up by the Pakistan Senate.
< class="text11verdana">Source: October 8, 10, 2011; October 12, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MSA arrests 36 Indian fishermen

The Maritime Security Agency arrested 36 Indian fishermen along with 10 boats for illegally fishing inside Pakistani territorial waters. The MSA spokesman stated that four boats were found illegally fishing inside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Pakistan. On reaching Karachi, the Indian fishermen were handed over to the Docks Police.

A case under the Foreign and the Fishery Acts has been registered against them. It may be noted that the MSA isresponsible for preventing the unauthorized exploitation of economic resources within the Maritime Zones of Pakistan.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Times, October 7, 2011; The Dawn, October 7, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Call to resolve the Kashmir issue

According to a Pakistan delegate to the UN General Assembly session this year, if the referendum that is long pending in the Kashmir region is not carried out, the decolonization agenda of United Nations would remain incomplete. Pakistan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Raza Bashir Tasar, called for a peaceful settlement of the dispute with India that was agreeable to both sides and the Kashmiri people.

However, an Indian delegate reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir was an ’integral part’ of India and that the people of the state had participated in the elections on their own free will. Both claims were rejected by the Pakistani counterpart.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, October 11, 2011.

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ruling combine sweeps local government polls

The ruling UPFA combine swept 21 out of 23 local government bodies in the third and last round, with the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress (SLM C) ally bagging the Kalmunai Pradeshiya Sabha in the Eastern Province. However, the Opposition UNP won the prestigious Colombo Municipal Council with party nominee Muzammail winning the mayoralty by a high margin. The presence of Upcountry Tamil leader Mano Ganesan’s Democratic People’s Front (DPF) and the SLMC in the mayoral race may have cut the size of the Opposition victory, it is believed.

With the last round of polls across the country getting over since President Mahinda Rajapaksa advanced the Provincial Council elections and the presidential elections over the past four years, his SLFP-led UPFA combine has swept all polls, including the parliamentary election. His winning streak since winning the presidency in 2005, followed by the local government polls in 2006, thus remains. This time round, the ruling alliance also bagged the urban Kandy Municipal Council for the first time in 58 years, and a host of other urban councils traditionally held by the UNP Opposition.

However, elections this time was marred by infighting in the UPFA, leading to the killing of a presidential advisor and serious injuries to his rival. This has since been followed by directions for the police to unearth all unlicensed weapons, and for policemen on security duty to wear uniforms, and not civvies.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, Colombo, October 7-11, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian FS meets President, discusses aid, ethnic issue

India’s new Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai was on a familiarization visit to Sri Lanka, when he met Government leaders, starting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Opposition groups, including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), and also visited the India-aided developmental sites in the war-ravaged North.

Mathai expressed satisfaction over the pace of reconstruction work in Railways and Kankesanthurai Port, but wanted the free housing scheme funded by India fast-tracked. On the ethnic issue, he hoped that the TNA’s talks with the Government and the setting up of a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) would help. He said that the fishermen from the two countries could take up deep-sea fishing, so as to help avoid clashes among them.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, October 8-11, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China promises military aid

The Chinese army has assured its Sri Lanka counterpart of deepening the military ties between the two countries.A senior-level delegation of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) called on the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.

The six-member Chinese delegation was headed by Major-General Qian Lihua, Chief of Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defence, a statement released by the Lankan army said.

Lihua assured his Army’s fullest cooperation to the Lankan army in several areas of its professional training, exercises and further promotion of military assistance to the country on request, it said.

China is expected to offer 100 more de-mining kits to the army for further acceleration of their work.Lankan army’s de-mining students were trained in China. "We have assisted Sri Lanka in the past 25 years or more. In peacetime too, we wish to further extend our assistance in all spheres," Lihua said.

The Chinese officials also spoke on the possibilities for increased intakes of Lankan trainee officers in military academies in China.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, Colombo, October 14, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Opium cultivation rises

Opium Poppy crop cultivation has risen by 9% from 2010 reaching the 131000 hectares mark this year. The regions that has contributed to this years output are Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Day Kundi and Zabul provinces in the south and Farrah, Badghis, Nimroz provinces in the west, according to the 2011 Afghan Opium Survey released October 11, 2011 by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In 2010, due to various factors opium production had fallen leading to a rise in prices and income for the farmers. The largest opium cultivation is done in the region of Helmund, this year production in the province has fallen primarily due to the central governments action in enforcement and targeted aid by donors. Moreover there has been a call for integrating counter narcotic strategies into the security system to check opium production while measures are also been taken to incorporate poverty alleviation programmes that are centred around farmers, who would be most affected by the loss of their primary income.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Outlook Afghanistan, October 13, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Minerals raise hopes

With trillions of dollar worth of minerals available for extraction in the nation, stringent administrative precautions have to be put in place in order to prevent corruption and improper management of the resources. A latest study provided an insight to the amount of copper, iron, gold, Lithium and other rare earth minerals deposits which would be auctioned for extraction to various bidders and would fetch close to 3 trillion dollars. It is understood that the amount of revenue available would be enough to give a generation of young afghan’s a chance to rise out of poverty.

The international aid donor nations and the Afghan government are eager to exploit these resources which would boost national income and decrease dependence on foreign aid. The major issues that need to be addressed before any of the auctioning can take place, is the proper implementation of administrative and set procedures to prevent corruption and improper management of resources. The current investment in the nation by various donors is close to 286 billion dollars, giving a close estimate of 9000 dollars per person, yet there has been no real rise of the income of the population, most of which still lives under 1 dollar a day.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Outlook Afghanistan, October 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">ISAF necessary for another year : UN

The United Nations Security Council has extended the authorisation for the International security forces (ISAF) to remain in Afghanistan for another year. This extension is seen as necessary for the gradual takeover of security by the afghan forces which are still under the process of training and equipping.

The presence of the ISAF for the training, mentoring, and empowering of the Afghan security apparatus is considered as essential by the council. The United Nations also welcomed the Enduring Partnership Declaration between the afghan government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) whereby the latter provides support to tackle the nation’s security, stability and integrity.
< class="text11verdana">Source: KUNA, October 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US open to peace talks with the Taliban

Hillary Clinton in a latest statement has addressed the United States willingness to not give up the search for peace in Afghanistan by engaging the Taliban in peace talks. This opinion is put forward even thought the Afghan president Mr Hamid Karzai mentioned that the entire bid for peace with the Taliban is futile. It is understood that his pessimistic opinion comes after the recent assassination of Mr Rabbani by a Taliban messenger for peace.

The Taliban till date has not shown any public willingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Afghan government; most of the Taliban leadership is based in Pakistan. American backing for the peace process and its willingness to negotiate with the Taliban seems to be a contradiction to Mr Karzis statements. The US wishes for the peace process to be concluded by the time American forces leave the country by late 2014 as their emissary Marc Grossman seduces the Taliban to talks the Afghan government seems unconvinced.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Outlook Afghanistan, October 13, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Saudi Arabia executes eight Bangladeshis

Eight Bangladeshi migrant workers have been executed in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. They were beheaded in public and had been sentenced to death for the alleged murder of an Egyptian in April 2007.

The man was killed during a clash between the Bangladeshi workers and a group of men who were allegedly stealing electric cable from a building complex where the Bangladeshis worked. Following the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, executions have resumed in Saudi Arabia at an alarming rate. The beheadings bring the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year to at least 58, more than double the 2010 figure. Twenty of those executed in 2011 were foreign nationals, migrant workers mostly from developing nations.

The Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh said the executions were as per Sharia Law and offered his condolence. The Dhaka High Court has instructed the government to form a high powered committee to investigate the role of officials serving in the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia.
< class="text11verdana">Source: October 9, 11, 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Joint commando exercise with India

Indian and Bangladeshi commandos began a two\-week joint military exercise on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations at Jalalabad Cantonment in Sylhet under the mandate of United Nations. This is the first-ever joint exercise to be held in Bangladesh.

The small-scale exercise styled "Sampriti-II" involving 25 para-commandos aimed at developing the professional expertise of both armies aiming to further strengthen their relationship. The Indian Army members of the elite 21 Para Special Forces battalion were headed by Major SY Mahadik. The Indian contingent arrived in an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft AN-32 from Jorhat, Assam.

Last year Sampriti-I" was held at Jorhat in Assam from November 1 to 14, 2010, where 25 members of the Bangladesh Army headed by a Lieutenant Colonel participated. This is in the wake of improved relations with Bangladesh during the Sheikh Hasina regime in Dhaka; they said India wanted to improve defence ties with Bangladesh
< class="text11verdana">Source: October9, 2011; October 9, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$700-m Japan aid for SMEs

Japan plans to provide Bangladesh with US $ 700 million for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), this was stated by Toda Takao, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

This amount will be used for the growth of SMEs relating to Japanese companies which are already operating there. These funds will be disbursed through the Bangladesh Bank via commercial banks. The JICA team made visits to a local apparel unit as leaders of the Asian Apparel Production Network (AAPN), a Japan- based business association of major apparel companies.

Chairman of AAPN Masanori Kojima led the team that consists of 15 Japanese companies, most of them own garments factories in China, Vietnam and Myanmar. The AAPN delegation has already expressed keen interest to invest about Taka 400 crore to set up manufacturing units in the garment industry in Bangladesh, the second largest destination for garment outsourcing worldwide.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Oct 9, 2011; October 10, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">The royal wedding

His Majesty King Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck married Ashi Jetsun Pema at Pungthang Dewa Chhenpoi Phodrang. The place of the union is referred to as ’the Palace of Great Happiness’.

The ceremony began at 4 am when His Holiness the Je Khenpo initiated prayers in Machhen Lhakhang and Kuenra (congregation hall). They have also made their way back to the capital, Thimpu. Celebrating the occasion a three-day public holiday was declared.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 14, 2011;, October 13, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Blast injures four

Four Indians were injured by two improvised explosive devices (IED) that exploded in the Phuentsholing town. It occurred around 6.30pm, followed by a second one a few minutes later. The victims suffered minor injuries.

A few pieces of metal rods and blades were recovered by the local police from the site. They suspect that it was done to disrupt the major events related to the wedding scheduled for the week.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 11, 12, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Licences for reinsurance companies

Licensing reinsurance companies is on the agenda of the Central Bank of Bhutan and the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in order to strengthen the insurance sector. This would in turn reduce the outflow of money from the economy. At present, insurance companies depend on reinsurance companies abroad (60 percent of the premium) to share the risk involved.

According to Kunzang Gyeltshen, the assistant manager of the risk management division of Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited (RICBL), the corporation has reinsurance with some nine companies from India, Bangkok and Japan and has to reinsure around 90 percent of the total sum insured for projects outside Bhutan.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 14, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pak objections rejected

The Pakistan Commission undertook first ever visit to Nimoo-Bazgo project site being built by India on Indus River and found the project in total violation of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, a senior official at Pakistan Commission of Indus Water confided to The News.

"The country’s awakening is too much belated as India will be able to build the Nimoo-Bazgo project by July 2012 suffocating the water flows in Indus that guarantees life to the whole of Pakistan."

The 57-metre high Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project is being developed in the Leh District on the Indus River. In addition, a 42-meter high Chuttak hydroelectric project is also being completed on Suru River, a tributary of Indus in the Kargil district of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per the findings of Pakistani experts, the Nimoo-Bazgo project will substantially reduce water flows in Indus River, as the project has spillways with too much depth of the dam wherein water will be stored. The design of the gated spillways and depth of the dam clearly breaches the Indus Waters Treaty. Pakistan raised five objections to the design and depth of the dam, but Indian authorities have refused to consider the objection of Pakistan. "With the spillways along with gates, India will be able to regulate the water of Indus which is not acceptable to Pakistan."

Pakistan has decided to take India to the International Court of Justice for building the project in total violation of the Treaty.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 9, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">No Brahmaputra diversion: China

In a rare admission which will be welcomed in India, China has stated that it will not divert the Brahmaputra river.

Jiao Yong, vice minister at China’s ministry of water resources, told a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday that although there is a demand among Chinese to make greater use of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Tibetan name for the Brahmaputra), "considering the technical difficulties, the actual need of diversion and the possible impact on the environment and state-to-state relations, the Chinese government has no plan to conduct any diversification project in this river".

This is the first time that China has acknowledged that anything that spoils relations with India over the Brahmaputra does not serve any interests.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Times of India, October 14, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US seeks more investments

America’s top business and political leadership has sought more investments into the country from India, China and Brazil so that more jobs could be created in the US.

"Our direct investment from places like China, India, Brazil, the people that really have a hot hand today, are minuscule, almost non-existent, and there’s no reason why those countries shouldn’t be investing more broadly in the US than they are today," said Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of the General Electric Company.

"I totally believe that if we have more foreign direct investment from India and China and those places in the United States, we wouldn’t have as many issues as we have," he added.

Immelt and others expressed their views on the issue at Friday’s discussion at President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.

Antonio Perez, Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company argued that the US became the largest economy of the world simply because it was the best place to invest and to grow.

"We still have, as has been said here before, the largest investment in the world. But the trends are really troubling: from the late ’90s, 25 per cent of the global investments in the world; now we’re only 12 per cent," he said.

Perez added, "Even more troubling than that is the fact that out of the 12 per cent, only 2 1/2 per cent comes from the combination of Brazil, India and China. Obviously that does not bode well for the future of our country."
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Economic Times, October 8, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Corporates hike expat intake

As the Western economies continue to remain in deep freeze, more and more foreigners, mostly from the US and Europe are looking at India for jobs, a trend that has seen up to 20 per cent spurt this year, according to head-hunters. According industry estimates, there are as many as 40,000 expatriates working in various industries in the country today.

"Hiring of expatriates has picked up by 15-20 per cent at all levels since last year, mainly on account of India being one of the fastest growing economies offering huge job opportunities," recruitment process outsourcing firm Elixir Consulting Manager for International Practices Ratnesh Kumar told media here.

Increasing number of expatriates are seeking jobs in the country on account of job cuts in their home countries, coupled with rising outsourcing and high taxes, he said, adding that this is happening more in the US and Europe.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Economic Times, October 9, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NATO’s missiles defence offer

Last month, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or NATO invited India to become a partner in its missile defence programme, identifying the technology of missile defence as an area for co-operation.

Both NATO and India face similar ballistic missile threats. There has been steady growth in the range and accuracy of ballistic missiles on the perimeter of NATO as well Indian borders. Measures such as export controls, devised under the Missile Technology Control Regime, have not prevented these programmes from maturing even as arms control efforts have failed.

As a result, both NATO and India have resorted to missile defence to address the challenges posed by missile proliferation. In November 2010 at the Lisbon summit, NATO adopted its new strategic concept called "Active Engagement, Modern Defence". It outlined the Alliance’s approach to emerging security challenges. The document underscores the commitment to defend NATO members’ populations and territories against ballistic missile threats. Missile defence is critical to realising this commitment.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 9, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PPM elects Maumoon as transitional President

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s new political party Progressive Party of Maldives, PPM has elected him as the transitional President of the Party by all members who were present at the Inaugural Convention held at Dharubaaruge last night. No other person contested for the post. While the Convention Chairman Ahmed Zahir wanted to elect Maumoon by acclamation, MP Ahmed Nihan proposed that the election must be conducted by a vote, and one was taken accordingly. Maumoon was accorded a standing ovation.

The meeting was attended by officials of the Elections Commission, who monitored the meeting as required by the Regulation on Political Parties. 971 members of the party participated. Apart from former President and his wife Nasreena, several MPs and some former ministers were also present.

As required by the Election Commission, the Commission endorsed Progressive Party of Maldives as the name of the party as well as the party’s objectives. The Convention also passed Magenta as its colour and a logo depicting a crescent and palm tree. The Charter and manifesto of the Party was also passed.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, October 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Minister denies reappointment bid

Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Majeed Abdul Baari has stated that prior to his reappointed to the Cabinet he did not give any signals that he would accept the Ministerial post if he is reappointed to the Cabinet.

In a Press release, Dr. Majeed said that he resigned from the Ministry to respect the decision of Adhaalath Party who requested him to resign from the government. He said that he was shocked to read in a local newspaper that he signaled to accept the reappointment when he resigned from the Ministry.

Dr. Majeed said that three top officials of the party met him and expressed their gratitude for his decision to resign from the ministry. He said that the President also called him and expressed thanks and said that that his decision is very democratic. He said that the President did inform him that he wants to reappoint him for the cabinet. He said that he replied the President by requesting some time for him to think about the decision.

"After this phone call, I immediately contacted a top official of Adhaalath Party and asked for his counsel. He said that this should be discussed with the other members. Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem also called me that night and requested to meet him. At his request I went to meet him and Home Minister Hassan Afeef also participated in that meeting. They informed that the President is considering on reappointing me. I told them that he has informed me regarding this but I have requested some time to think of the issue. They then did not make any further comments regarding it and nor did I," he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, October 14, 2011.

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan: Haripal Brar;
Bangladesh: Astik Sinha;
Bhutan: Aarya Venugopal;
India: Satish Misra;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Pakistan: Aarya Venugopal & Astik Sinha;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy;

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