Modi and Li Continue Talks in Beijing; US Helicopter, Bodies Found in Nepal; Senior Afghan Prosecutor Killed; Major Pakistani Operation Against Taliban
India PM Modi and Premier Li continue talks in Beijing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, the second day of his three-day official trip to China (The Hindu, Livemint). Modi and Li discussed the improvement of bilateral ties between India and China, including the contentious border ...
PM Modi and Premier Li continue talks in Beijing
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, the second day of his three-day official trip to China (The Hindu, Livemint). Modi and Li discussed the improvement of bilateral ties between India and China, including the contentious border dispute. Following the meeting, the two leaders announced 24 agreements to strengthen government cooperation in areas including railways, mining, and tourism. Afterwards, while speaking to reporters, Modi called on China to consider India’s grievances. “I stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realizing full potential of our relationship,” Modi said (NYT). Modi also unveiled a simplified online visa system for Chinese tourists in an address to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Modi previously met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the city of Xian to discuss a range of issues including border disputes, terrorism, and bilateral trade and investment. Modi will conclude his visit in Shanghai, where he will meet with Chinese business leaders.
Indian government approves second indigenous aircraft carrier
The Indian government gave the green light on Wednesday to prepare for construction of the country’s second home-built aircraft carrier (Times of India, Zee News, The Hindu, National Interest). The Defence Acquisition Council in New Delhi allocated $4.7 million (INR 300 million) in seed money to begin preparations for the construction of the carrier. The relatively small allocation for the carrier was part of a larger overall defense allocation of $3.9 billion (INR 250 billion) for artillery, aircraft, missiles, and other military equipment. The planned 65,000-tonne ship, dubbed the INS Vishal, would be the largest in the Indian navy. India has already completed construction on its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which is scheduled to enter service on May 28. The Indian navy currently operates two foreign-built aircraft carriers: the INS Viraat, a 55-year-old ex-British carrier scheduled for decommissioning next year, and the INS Vikramaditya, a refurbished ex-Russian carrier. Aircraft carriers weigh heavily in India’s naval strategy in the Indian Ocean, where India seeks to counter an increasing Chinese presence. India and the United States are in talks for sharing carrier launch systems technology.
Chinese state TV airs controversial map
The Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV (China Central Television) aired a map of India during a news program on Thursday that has caused controversy in India (Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express). The map of India portrayed an outline of the country without the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. India and China have border disputes in each of those regions, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, which was the site of a 1962 war between the two countries. The map was shown in the background during a routine news bulletin while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was visiting the city of Xian in China. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the border disputes, among other issues, in Xian on Thursday. Apart from airing the controversial map, the Chinese state media has largely portrayed Modi’s visit in a positive light.
Wreckage of missing U.S. helicopter and 3 bodies found
A missing United States Marine Corps helicopter has been found alongside three bodies, Nepalese officials said Friday (CNN, BBC). The wreckage of the helicopter was found on the steep slopes of a mountain east of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The helicopter had been carrying six U.S. marines and two Nepalese soldiers. An American team of four pararescuemen and one combat rescue officer are on the ground to assess the site and conduct an investigation. The helicopter had gone missing on Tuesday after Nepal suffered a second major earthquake. According to Nepalese home ministry officials, 117 people have died from Tuesday’s earthquake.
Bonus read: “Afghans Look Back at Karzai Presidency with Surprising Fondness,” Azam Ahmed and Mujib Mashal (NYT)
Senior Afghan prosecutor killed
A senior prosecutor in Afghanistan was assassinated outside his home in Kabul on Thursday night by unidentified gunmen (RFE/RL, Pajhwok, TOLO). Najibullah Sultanzo, the chief prosecutor in Paktia province, answered a knock on his door in the evening, only to be gunned down. The Taliban claimed responsibility for his murder. Afghan officials say attacks on judicial officers have increased recently; this month buses transporting employees of the attorney general’s office home from work were attacked three times.
Gunmen attack government compound
Gunmen attacked a government compound in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing 10 people in the following clashes (AP). At least 12 others were wounded in the attack, which occurred in the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Abdul Wadood Popal, a member of parliament from Helmand, said that gunman attacked the compound as Muslim clerics from the province were meeting to discuss security. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban have a strong presence in Helmand.
Major operations against the Taliban
The Pakistani military struck suspected Taliban targets in North Waziristan early Friday morning (RFE/RL). At least 15 militants were reportedly killed in strikes by military jets, described by an unnamed government official as a “massive military action.” Residents said tanks and soldiers were approaching the Shawal Valley from the north and south. The Pakistani Taliban controlled almost all of North Waziristan until the Pakistani military launch an offensive in June 2014 and regained territory. However, the Taliban have retained control of the Shawal Valley and have used it as a launching pad for attacks.
14-story cross in Karachi almost complete
A huge cross, located at the entrance to Karachi’s largest Christian cemetery, is almost complete (WaPo). The 14-story, 140 foot structure was the divine inspiration of Parvez Henry Gill, who built it in an effort to keep Christians from fleeing the largely Muslim country. Gill said: “I want Christian people to see it and decide to stay here,” explaining that “every few weeks” he hears from Christians who plan to move out of Karachi because of threats against them. While the cross isn’t the tallest in the world (that distinction is held by “The Great Cross” in St. Augustine, Fla.), it will most likely be the largest in Asia upon completion.
— Udit Banerjea and Emily Schneider
Edited by Peter Bergen
More from Foreign Policy
Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?
The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.
Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.
It’s a New Great Game. Again.
Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing
The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.