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Neighbourhood Focus- Ananta Center

Source:  Ananta Center, Delhi

AFGHANISTAN
 
China donates $7m in food aid to Afghan flood victims
Afghanistan Times | 20th September
China has donated foodstuff including wheat and rice to the flood-affected people in Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.
Bahauddin Jilani, state minister for disaster management, said that totally 5,266 tons of wheat and rice were donated at a cost of 550 million Afs.
He said that the foodstuff was on the way and would arrive in Afghanistan before winter.
Jilani emphasized that the foodstuff would be certainly distributed to the needy people.
Wang Yu, Chinese ambassador to Kabul, said that his country would remain committed in cooperation with the people and government of Afghanistan.

World Urges Humanitarian Ceasefire, Halt to Civilian Casualties
Daily Outlook Afghanistan | 22nd September
On International Peace Day, the global community has urged a humanitarian ceasefire and end to the ongoing bloodshed that has been claiming innocent lives in Afghanistan.
The United Nations Assistant Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) on its twitter handler wrote: “As we celebrate International #PeaceDay, a reminder of the toll war is taking on #Afghanistan’s civilians. We're concerned by high numbers of civilian casualties and urge parties to take immediate measures to protect them, and create conducive atmosphere for #Doha peace talks.”

Abdullah Abdullah: A Number of Released Prisoners Returned to The Battlefield
The Khaama Press | 23rd September
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation said, a number of released Taliban prisoners had returned to the battlefields.
“I do know the exact number but I am aware that some released Taliban have returned to the battlefield, which is a violation of the agreement that they had made,” Abdullah told an online conference with the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations on September 22.
Under the U.S-Taliban agreement, the Afghan government has released 5000 Taliban affiliated members from prisons.
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BANGLADESH
 
PM Hasina seeks ‘robust int’l collaboration’ to fight climate change
Prothom Alo | 25th September
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina sought robust international collaboration as she placed a five-point proposal to protect the planet from the adverse impact of climate change, reports BSS.
“To protect the planet and ourselves (from the adverse impact of climate change), I would suggest that political leadership must encourage robust international collaboration,” she said in her first proposal.
The premier made the proposal through a video message at a high-level virtual roundtable on climate action on the sidelines of the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Myanmar’s deployment of troops: Bangladesh seeks immediate steps by UNSC
Prothom Alo | 21st September
Bangladesh has sought immediate steps by the UN Security Council asking Myanmar to refrain from escalating the situation and targeting the Rohingya minorities in the pretext of security operation.
Bangladesh also urged the UNSC to remind Myanmar of their responsibility to protect its civilian populations during any military or security operations.
Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York shared the "aide memoire" with the UNSC president on recent developments near the international border between Bangladesh and Myanmar on 15 September, according to the communication.
 
BHUTAN
 
Lyonchhen to address UNGA on September 25
Kuensel | 22nd September
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering will address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25, themed “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting Covid-19 through effective multilateral action.” 
The 75th session of the UNGA will commence from September 21 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. 
The UN will mark 75th anniversary of its founding with a one-day high-level meeting on September 21 during which Lyonchhen will address the event through a pre-recorded video statement.

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery
Daily Bhutan | 22nd September
Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal Government of Bhutan’s request for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The medical supplies, which include protective clothing, sanitising liquid and protective masks, reached Bhutan, and will support Bhutan’s implementation of its COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
 
MALDIVES
 
Maldives-India launch cargo ferry service
The Edition | 21st September
The governments of India and Maldives, jointly launched the maiden voyage of the 'Cargo Ferry Service'.
The launch was inaugurated via a virtual ceremony by the Indian Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya and Maldives' Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula.
Representatives from Tuticorin and Cochin ports, as well as officials from Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the ceremony as well.

India extends no-strings attached financial assistance of $ 250 million to Maldives
Maldives Times | 21st September
India on Sunday provided financial assistance of $ 250 million with no strings attached as budgetary support to the Maldives to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $ 250 million budgetary support was a response to the request made by President Solih to PM Modi for financial assistance to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives. It is being provided under the most favourable terms possible to the Maldives, officials told ET.
 
MYANMAR
 
Suu Kyi Pledges More Than $758m Fund to Myanmar’s COVID-19 Battle
The Irrawaddy | 22nd September
Myanmar’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has promised more than 1,000 billion kyats (US$758 million) to fight COVID-19.
Currently, the country is fifth in Asean in terms of COVID-19 cases after overtaking Thailand, which has reported more than 3,500 cases.
It is behind the Philippines, which has more than 290,000 COVID-19 cases, Indonesia with more than 249,000 cases, Singapore with more than 57,000 cases and Malaysia with more than 10,276.

Karen Ethnic Affairs Minister Candidates in Myanmar’s Yangon Square Off in Online Debate
The Irrawaddy | 24th September
Candidates competing for the post of Karen ethnic affairs minister in Yangon promised to bring equality and better social services to members of the minority residing in the commercial capital, during an online debate on Wednesday. It was the first-ever debate between rival ethnic affairs minister candidates.
Ethnic affairs ministers (EAMs) are the only members of state or regional governments that are elected directly to their positions. All other sub-national cabinet members are appointed by the President.
 
NEPAL
 
SAARC Council of Ministers holds virtual meeting
The Himalayan Times | 24th September
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali urged member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to explore all viable options to hold the 19th SAARC Summit.
Delivering his opening remarks at an informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers held virtually today, Minister Gyawali stressed the need to make SAARC an effective and result-oriented regional organisation capable of bringing visible changes in the lives of the people of South Asia.
Minister Gyanwali highlighted the need to forge deeper engagement among the member states to collectively fight Covid-19 and develop regional resilience to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Nepal and Israel to ink labour deal for caregiver jobs
The Kathmandu Post | 25th September
Nepal is all set to sign a new labour pact with Israel, paving the way for Nepalis to work in the West Asian country.
The Cabinet on Tuesday decided to sign a new agreement with Israel to send Nepalis to work as caregivers. As per the decision made public on Wednesday, the Nepali ambassador in Israel will be authorised to sign the deal with the Israeli government.
According to Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Rameshwar Ray Yadav, both countries will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to kick start the process.

China-Nepal border row: Nepal yet to offer official stand on missing border pillar
The Himalayan Times | 23rd September
The People’s Republic of China has built at least nine buildings on the Nepali land near Nepal-China border in Humla district of Karnali province in Nepal.
As per reports, the buildings have been built at a distance of around two kilometres from the border in Lapcha Limi area of Namkha Rural Municipality in the district.
Member of the House of Representatives Rangamati Shahi of Nepali Congress, who was elected from Humla, told THT Online she was informed by the Namkha RM chairperson that China has now claimed that the buildings have been constructed on its own land.
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PAKISTAN
 
PM constitutes ‘Economic Outreach Apex Committee’ to promote economic diplomacy
The Nation | 24th September
Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday during a meeting decided to constitute an ‘Economic Outreach Apex Committee’ headed by his special assistant Dr Moeed Yousaf as focal person to further promote economic diplomacy.
For coordination among various relevant federal ministries, provincial departments and others and for achievement of targets, it was also decided to constitute an Economic Outreach Coordination Group’, Prime Minister Office Media Wing in a press release said.
The important decisions were taken during the meeting chaired by the prime minister.

PM pitches plan to stop flow of dirty money
The Express Tribune | 25th September
Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed on Thursday a nine-point action plan to counter illicit flows of money from developing countries, revealing that over $7 trillion flowed out of developing countries illegally each year.
He said that the 26 richest persons in the world owned as much wealth as half the world’s population did, while around one billion people – almost 15% of the world’s population – survive in poverty, lacking the income and capabilities to live with dignity.

Pakistan hopes 'artificial obstacles' in holding Saarc summit in Islamabad will be removed: Qureshi
Dawn | 24th September
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday reiterated Pakistan's willingness to host the 19th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) in Islamabad "at the earliest", expressing the hope that the "artificial obstacles" created in its way would be removed.
Speaking at a virtual informal meeting of the Saarc Council of Ministers on the sidelines of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Qureshi also stressed the need to adopt a regional approach through the platform of Saarc to tackle the numerous challenges facing the region, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
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SRI LANKA
 
Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka and India to review bilateral relationship at Virtual Summit
Colombo Page | 23rd September
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi are scheduled to have a Virtual Bilateral Summit, 26 September 2020.
On the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had a telephone conversation with the newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 06 August 2020, both leaders agreed to review the multifaceted bilateral relationship through the scheduled Virtual Summit.
The Summit level interaction is expected to focus on the full gamut of bilateral engagement inter-alia political, economic, finance, development, defense and security spheres, educational, tourism and cultural as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Govt. to conduct census in 2021: Keheliya
Daily Mirror | 23rd September
The Cabinet last Monday (21) approved a proposal made by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to conduct a population and housing census in Sri Lanka next year, Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
The Population and Housing Census conducted once in every ten years by the Department of Census and Statistics will gather information in a database on population, its geographical spread, ethnic spread and the community, scientific and social features, as well as quality and also, will update data and information at Grama Niadhari level, Mr. Rambukwella said.

President emphasizes seeking international investors to promote local productions
Colombo Page | 24th September
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has advised the officials to divert both institutional and independent innovations to the production market immediately, with the assistance of investors.
Research by a number of institutes had led to groundbreaking innovations that could eventually triumph the global market. President stated that the production of these would earn foreign exchange income for the Sri Lankan economy and in addition the inventors would be further inspired in their innovations

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