The South Asia Channel
India Loses WTO Dispute on US Poultry; Helmand’s Largest NATO Base Set for Turnover; NATO Helicopters Enter Pakistan
India India loses WTO dispute on U.S. poultry The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Tuesday that India had violated WTO rules by blocking imports of U.S. poultry and other farm products (USA Today, Economic Times, NDTV). India banned imports of various agricultural products from the United States in 2007, to prevent outbreaks of avian ...
India loses WTO dispute on U.S. poultry
The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Tuesday that India had violated WTO rules by blocking imports of U.S. poultry and other farm products (USA Today, Economic Times, NDTV). India banned imports of various agricultural products from the United States in 2007, to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in the country, and claimed its import restrictions were justified by international rules on animal health. However, the WTO agreed with the United States that India’s measures were discriminatory, and were not based on international standards. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said: "This is a major victory for American farmers… Our farmers produce the finest, and safest, agricultural products in the world" (Reuters).
India to build highway along the Indo-China border
The Indian government is planning to build a 1,800-km-long (1,118 mile-long) highway along the Indo-China border in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, according to news reports on Wednesday (Indian Express). Indian Minister of Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters: "The road has also been planned considering the large-scale migration of people from border areas and the need to push them back by creating all basic amenities to make them comfortable" (Times of India). Rijiju said further: "The construction of the road will be a huge challenge considering the rough and hostile terrain mostly snow-fed through which it would pass and will be the biggest single infrastructure project in the history of India."
In response to the news about the highway, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government needed to "verify the situation." Hong added: "Before the border problem is solved, we hope the Indian side will not take any action that could further complicate the relevant issue, so as to preserve the current situation of peace and stability in the border area and create conditions for the final settlement of the border issue" (Daily Mail). In September, India and China had its biggest military standoff this year, with both countries mobilizing troops along the border. Tensions between India and China flare up occasionally as both nations disagree over the demarcation of their shared border.
India’s IndiGo announces largest ever Airbus order
IndiGo, India’s largest domestic airline by market share, signed an agreement the Airbus Group to purchase 250 Airbus A320neo aircrafts worth $25.7 billion, according to news reports on Wednesday (WSJ, NDTV). This will be the Airbus Group’s — a European aerospace company — single largest order of aircrafts. Aditya Ghosh, the president of IndiGo, said: "The additional aircraft will enable us to continue to bring our low fares and courteous, hassle-free service to more customers and markets and will create more job opportunities and growth" (Livemint). Fabrice Brégier, the president and chief executive of the Airbus Group, noted that: "The A320neo continues to dominate world market share and this commitment confirms the A320 family as the aircraft of choice in the most dynamic aviation growth markets. We thank IndiGo and its co-founders, Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, for their tremendous vote of confidence."
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
Bonus Read: "Afghanistan first lady Rula Ghani moves into the limelight" (BBC)
Helmand’s largest NATO base scheduled for turnover
Shorab base, the largest International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base in Helmand province, is scheduled to be turned over to Afghan security forces on Oct. 26, according to an announcement by Afghan and ISAF officials on Tuesday (Pajhwok). Helmand’s governor Maj. Gen. Mohammad Naeem, stated that only one NATO battalion would remain at the base after the handover during a meeting with the province’s ISAF commander Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo.
Fourteen Afghan security forces killed in Khost, Logar
Fourteen Afghan soldiers and policemen were killed in Khost and Logar provinces on Wednesday, according to official statements by the Afghan government (Pajhwok). Mubariz Muhammad Zadran, a spokesman for Khost’s provincial governor, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a suicide car bomb was detonated during an Afghan army operation in the province’s Mandozai district, killing eight soldiers. He added that the army killed three attackers, including a woman, before the bomb detonated. Meanwhile, according to Col. Abdul Hakeem, were killed in the Barak-i-Barak district of Logar province when Taliban fighters raided a police checkpoint. The casualties come as Ministry of Defense statistics reported by TOLO News show that Afghan security force casualties have increased every year since 2003 (TOLO News).
Three polio cases registered in Kandahar
Public health officials reported on Wednesday that three polio cases had been discovered in Kandahar (TOLO News). The cases are the first time polio has been discovered in the city in nearly two years. According to officials, the disease was spread to Afghanistan from Pakistan. So far in 2014, there have been nine confirmed cases of polio in Afghanistan, which is one of only three countries where the disease has not been eradicated.
NATO helicopters enter Pakistani airspace
Two NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and hovered for ten minutes, Pakistani media sources reported on Wednesday (ET, Dawn). The helicopters entered Pakistani territory near Torkham and Pasidkhel along the Afghan border crossing over the Shamshad mountains. Earlier in the week, NATO carried out a major operation on the Afghan side of the border. Pakistan has not responded to the helicopters’ presence in its airspace.
Fourth gas deposit discovered
Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. (PPL) announced on Tuesday that it had discovered a fourth gas condensate deposit in Sindh province (ET, Dawn). The new deposit is expected to provide 2,100 barrels per day in oil equivalent. PPL discovered a separate deposit in Sindh last month and two more deposits there in 2013. PPL provides 22 percent of Pakistan’s gas production.
Prison search operation initiated
Pakistan’s Frontier Corps and local police officers launched a search operation in several Balochistan prisons on Tuesday, following the announcement on Monday of the discovery of a planned jailbreak from Karachi Central Prison (Dawn). Bashir Bangulzai, the province’s inspector general of prisons, said four prisons had been labeled sensitive, and noted that: "Security has been tightened in and around all 11 prisons in Balochistan." Frontier Corps personnel were deployed to assist in guarding the jails and Bangulzai added: "We have put forces on high alert after the incident in Karachi."
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen