IMF Projects Indian Growth to Outpace China’s; Drone Strike in Pakistan; Afghan Cabinet Picks Presented To Wolsei Jirga

Bonus Read: “Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy?,” David Cole (NYRB) India IMF projects India’s economic growth to outpace China’s in 2016 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday released estimates that projected India’s growth at 6.3 and 6.5 percent over the next two years, respectively, which places India’s growth ahead of China’s in 2016 — making ...

International Monetary Fund (IMF) managi
International Monetary Fund (IMF) managi
International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde listens to questions from media representatives during a press conference in New Delhi on March 20, 2012. Lagarde is in New Delhi March 18-19 to take part in an IMF-backed conference on "Sustaining a High-Quality Growth" in the economies of India and China. AFP PHOTO/ Manan VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bonus Read: “Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy?,” David Cole (NYRB)

Bonus Read: “Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy?,” David Cole (NYRB)

India

IMF projects India’s economic growth to outpace China’s in 2016

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday released estimates that projected India’s growth at 6.3 and 6.5 percent over the next two years, respectively, which places India’s growth ahead of China’s in 2016 — making India the fastest growing major economy in the world (Times of India, Economic Times, LiveMint, The Hindu). These projections fare favorably against 2013 and 2014, which saw growth rates of 5 and 5.8 percent, respectively. “I think the reform plans of the new Prime Minister are promising,” said Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, deputy director in the IMF’s Research Department (Times of India). “We are going to have to see the speed of the implementation.” Similarly, a separate report released on Tuesday by the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (UN WESP) forecasted a smart recovery for India during 2015 (The Hindu). The report suggests that the economic growth is expected to come from lower oil prices and a boost in industrial and investment activity from policy reforms (Economic Times).

Indian ministers debate government’s use of emergency powers for ordinances

Senior union ministers on Tuesday began discussions in New Delhi about the Indian government’s — currently led by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi — frequent use of emergency ordinances to pass legislation not cleared in Parliament (NDTV, Indian Express). Falling ahead of next month’s budget session, these discussions aim to develop a strategy for how ordinances will be followed up with tangible legislative action. Called by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and six others, the meeting comes one day after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee objected to the ‘ordinance route’. “The Constitution confers limited power upon Executive for Ordinances to meet exigencies,” Mukherjee said on Monday (Indian Express). Per legislative rules, ordinances must be passed within 42 days of initiation before they lapse.

U.S. First Lady Obama invites Indian-American doctor to Union Address

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has invited Indian-American physician Pranav Shetty to join her box at Tuesday’s State of the Union Address — the yearly address to the joint session of the U.S. Congress — by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., according to several sources on Tuesday (Times of India, Zee News, Economic Times, IMC). Based in Washington, D.C., Shetty works as the Global Emergency Health Coordinator for International Medical Corps, a critical partner in the U.S.-supported initiative to manage the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (Zee News). A U.S.-trained emergency medicine physician with a Master’s degree in Public Health, Shetty has also worked on emergency medical projects in Haiti, Libya, South Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, and the Philippines. Born in India and raised in Trinidad, Shetty is the only Indian-American to be invited by the First Lady for a seat in her box, where two dozen people from all walks of life will join Michelle Obama for Tuesday’s address (Times of India).

– Jameel Khan

Pakistan

Drone strike kills at least four in Shawal

A U.S. drone strike killed at least four suspected militants in the Shawal area of North Waziristan on Monday (NBC, Reuters, ET). The strike reportedly targeted a Taliban compound. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the strike releasing a statement reading: “Such strikes constitute a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and demands their immediate cessation.” According to data collected by New America, 19 suspected militants have been killed in drone strikes in 2015 (NA).

Pakistan denies U.S. warning regarding attacks during India visit

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, denied on Tuesday that the United States had warned Pakistan of consequences for any terror attacks during President Barack Obama’s visit to India (ET). Jilani stated: “The Indian media has a tendency to invent and exaggerate things.” He also added, “As a matter of fact US Secretary of State John Kerry, who visited Islamabad last week, had deeply appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan against terrorism and extremism.” Earlier reports in the Indian press had reported that the United States had issue a warning to Pakistan regarding security during the visit.

Policeman injured in attack on polio workers

A policeman was injured on Monday by gunmen who attacked while he was guarding polio vaccination team in the Orangi area of Karachi (BBC). The attackers, who were on a motorcycle, fled after police returned fire. Following the attack, Karachi suspended its vaccination campaign. Pakistani polio workers and the police who guard them have come under repeated attacks in recent years. Bonus Read:” Into the Abyss: The Escalating Violence Against Pakistani Polio Workers,” David Sterman (South Asia).

Intelligence Bureau says no tapping of parliamentarians

On Monday, Aftab Sultan, the director general of Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau, told a Pakistani senate committee that the bureau was not tapping the phones of parliamentarians and to do so would require specific approval – as opposed to the general approval to tap the phones of suspected terrorists and criminals (Dawn). Sultan stated: “I can say categorically that I have not received any directives either from the previous or the present prime minister to tap the telephones of parliamentarians.” Sultan was speaking before the committee as a result of a motion by Salim Mandviwala, a senator from the Pakistan People’s Party, who alleged that his phone had been tapped.

Afghanistan

Cabinet picks presented to Wolsei Jirga

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani officially presented the members of his cabinet to the Wolsei Jirga, Afghanistan’s lower legislative house, for approval on Tuesday (TOLO News, Pajhwok, VOA). The list presented by Ghani included 25 minister designates and two nominees to head independent entities. The presentation of the nominees came almost four months after Ghani took office and followed negotiations with Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive officer.

Turkey to increase Afghan military presence

Turkey will increase its military presence in Afghanistan from 700 to 1,100 troops according to a talk on Monday before trainee diplomats in Ankara (Pajhwok). According to reports in the Turkish press, Turkey will also train Afghan forces and provide 50 million euros ($57.95 million) to help run Kabul International Airport for two years.

Notorious mafia boss sentenced to death

On Monday, an Afghan court sentenced Raees Khudaidad, a notorious gangster, to death (Pajhwok, TOLO News). Khudaidad, who was involved in kidnappings, extortion, robberies, and murder across Afghanistan, was captured in September during a National Directorate of Security operation. According to Pajhwok Afghan News more details on Khudaidad’s case will be released shortly.

– David Sterman

— Edited by Peter Bergen

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

David Sterman is a program associate at New America and Assistant Editor of the South Asia Channel. He tweets at @DSterms Twitter: @Dsterms

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