The South Asia Channel

BSF Installs Eight “Laser Walls” Along India-Pakistan Border; U.S. to Release Report on Airstrike on Hospital in Afghanistan; Pakistan Says It Rooted Out Militants in Waziristan

India BSF installs eight “laser walls” along India-Pakistan border India’s Border Security Force (BSF) announced on Thursday that eight “laser walls” have been operationalized along the Punjab leg of the India-Pakistan international border (TOI/PTI). A further four laser walls are expected to be constructed within the next few days. Laser walls are infra-red and laser beam intrusion ...

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the border fence at an outpost along the India-Pakistan border in Abdulian, 38 kms southwest of Jammu, on January 17, 2013.  A ceasefire took hold January 17 in disputed Kashmir after the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed to halt deadly cross-border firing that had threatened to unravel a fragile peace process. AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA        (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the border fence at an outpost along the India-Pakistan border in Abdulian, 38 kms southwest of Jammu, on January 17, 2013. A ceasefire took hold January 17 in disputed Kashmir after the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed to halt deadly cross-border firing that had threatened to unravel a fragile peace process. AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

India

BSF installs eight “laser walls” along India-Pakistan border

India’s Border Security Force (BSF) announced on Thursday that eight “laser walls” have been operationalized along the Punjab leg of the India-Pakistan international border (TOI/PTI). A further four laser walls are expected to be constructed within the next few days. Laser walls are infra-red and laser beam intrusion detection systems aimed at preventing cross border intrusion, specifically in areas where round the clock manned patrols or barbed wire installations are difficult to implement due to unfriendly terrain. BSF announced two years ago that it will be installing a total of 45 laser walls along the international border in the Punjab and Jammu regions.

India launches final satellite for regional navigation system

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the seventh and the final satellite of India’s Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) on Thursday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh (IBTTOI). IRNSS is a regional positioning satellite system and is expected to provide position accuracy of up to 20 meters in the Indian region. Currently the largest positioning system is the Global Positioning System owned by the U.S. Air Force.

State government may impose limits on sugar holdings

Government sources indicated on Thursday that a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi decided the federal government will ask state governments to impose limits on the quantity of sugar that traders and manufacturers can hold at any given point (Reuters). India is the world’s largest consumer of sugar but has suffered a significant production shortfall due to lack of rainfall and delayed monsoons during the past two years. Analysts expect India to become a sugar importer for the first time in four years next season. Indian imports of sugar have boosted global prices in the past, however, due to a price hike next year, there could be a drop in Indian sugar consumption for the first timein seven years.

Afghanistan

U.S. to release report on malfeasance that led to airstrike on hospital in Afghanistan

The Pentagon is due to release a report in the oncoming weeks on an internal investigation into the U.S. airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), according to a report by The Guardian (Guardian). The news outlet’s sources indicated that a declassification of the report could come as soon as this week. The airstrike on the MSF hospital on October 3, 2015, left 42 civilians dead, and the United States acknowledged that the tragedy was avoidable. MSF has declined to comment until the release of the investigation’s findings.

Afghan airlines face threat of closure

Three Afghan airlines are under threat of closure after the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) accused the airlines of avoiding tax payments and ignoring aircraft age rules (WSJ). The aviation authority is seeking $16 million in back payments from Safi Airways Co., the leading private airline in Afghanistan, and $14 million from Kam Air, another private airline. The country’s third private airline, East Horizon Airlines, has been suspended since December 2015 for failure to comply with the ACAA safety rules, flying two Soviet-era turboprops that went out of production in the 1970s. The ACAA suggested the companies consider mergers to survive, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

Pakistan

Pakistan says it rooted out militants in Waziristan

Pakistan has done everything it can to root out militants from the Waziristan region, its foreign secretary said on Wednesday (NYT). Asked to respond to Afghanistan’s request for Pakistan to wipe out militants who shelter in Pakistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said to reporters in New Delhi, “Pakistan has already taken all necessary action against all groups operating in northern Waziristan and elsewhere.” The Afghan government has grown increasingly frustrated by what it perceives as Pakistan’s ambivalence about bringing Taliban leaders to the negotiating table with Afghanistan.

U.S. returns looted ancient Buddhist art to Pakistan

New York prosecutors on Monday returned an ancient sculpture of Buddha’s footprints to the Pakistani Embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Rizwan Saeed Sheikh (RFE/RL). The sculpture was looted from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, and smuggled into the United States. Sheikh called the sculpture “an important element of the cultural history of Pakistan” and said it would remain in New York City for now.

–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images

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