The South Asia Channel

India to Have 402 Million Internet Users by Year-End; Afghan Refugees Protest Deportation in Berlin; Pakistan Trail Derailment 13, Injures Over 100

India to Have 402 Million Internet Users by Year-End; Afghan Refugees Protest Deportation in Berlin; Pakistan Trail Derailment 13, Injures Over 100

Editor’s Note: In the wake of Friday’s harrowing terrorist attacks in Paris, New America’s Peter Bergen, Courtney Schuster, and David Sterman are today publishing “ISIS in the West: The New Faces of Extremism,” a new report reviewing what we know about the Westerners drawn to Jihadist groups. Read the full report here.


Bonus Read: “Ride-Hailing Company Ola Deploys Boats to Help in Chennai Floods,” by Aditi Malhotra (WSJ)

India to have 402 million internet users by year-end

India is expected to reach 402 million internet users by the end of 2015, giving it the world’s second largest base of internet users, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and research firm IMRB (BGRIBT). 402 million users would represent an increase of 49 percent over the last year, said the report, and the number is projected to increase to 462 million by next June. India is expected to overtake the United States as the second-largest internet user base in December, while China maintains a large lead with over 600 million users. According to the report, it took 10 years for India to grow from 10 million to 100 million internet users but just one year to grow from 300 million to 400 million. However, there is a marked gender imbalance in this population, as 71 percent of the country’s internet users are male.

Heavy rains flood Tamil Nadu

The southern state of Tamil Nadu experienced widespread flooding on Tuesday after torrential rains came to a halt on Monday evening, with over 70 rain-related deaths reported (BBCThe HinduET). The state’s chief minister, J Jayalalitha, announced a 5 billion-rupee ($75 million) emergency fund for relief efforts in affected areas. “The rain that was meant to be spread out over the monsoon months has poured in just a few days,” said Jayalalitha. Personnel from all branches of India’s armed forces have been deployed to assist with rescue and evacuation efforts. Meteorological authorities have said that no further major rains are expected over the next 24 hours, though scattered showers may occur. Over 80,000 people in the northern parts of neighboring Sri Lanka have also been affected.

Army colonel killed in Kashmir

An Indian Army colonel was killed in an encounter with militants on Tuesdayin Indian-controlled Kashmir (TOIIndian Express). Col. Santosh Kumar, the commanding officer of the 41 Rashtriya Rifles, sustained serious injuries after encountering fire from militants while leading a search party through a dense forest. Col. Kumar later died from his injuries in a hospital. A police constable and an enlisted soldier were also injured in the encounter. Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, with each country controlling a portion of the territory.


Bonus Read: “Happy to be Moving in the Wrong Direction,” Javid Ahmad (FP)

Afghan refugees protest deportation in Berlin

On Tuesday, hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers protested in Kabul against Germany’s refugee law, calling for measures to be taken to shelter them (TOLO News). This comes after statements made on Monday by German Ambassador to Kabul Markus Potzel, confirming the German government’s plan to deport Afghan asylum seekers who fled because of economic issues (TOLO News). “Forty percent of migrants will be provided asylum. But those who fail to prove that their lives were in danger will be repatriated and this is in line with the laws of Germany and international laws,” Potzel said. The demonstration in Berlin was organized by 39-year-old Afghan asylum seeker Ahmed Fahid, who says his family was caught in-route in Iran and sent home.

Drone strike kills 12 Taliban

According to Ahmad Zai Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province in southeast Afghanistan, a suspected drone strike is reported to have killed 12 Taliban fighters on Sunday (NYT, RFE/RL, VOA). The dead militants included three Afghans and nine foreigners, according to Abdulzai. He reported that the Taliban’s shadow governor for Khogyani district — where the strike took place — was killed as well.


Pakistan trail derailment kills 13, injures over 100

At least 13 people were killed and over 100 injured when four cars of the Jaffar Express derailed in Bolan district of Balochistan province on Tuesday (Dawn, NYT). Railway official Iqbal Ahmed said a technical fault in the engine caused the accident. “This accident took place in a remote area and we are utilizing all resources to save precious lives,” said Rauf Tahir, a spokesman for the Pakistan Railways, adding that an investigation into the accident is underway. In a statement, the military said it dispatched a helicopter and ambulances to transport the injured to hospitals.

Minister: China now top foreign investor in Pakistan

Speaking at the Pakistan-China Roundtable Conference on Tuesday, Pakistani Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said China was at number 16 in foreign investments in Pakistan, but the country’s $46 billion investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has pushed the country to the top (ET). CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking southwest Pakistan’s Gwadar Port with China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The conference was attended by a delegation of 32 Chinese investors led by the leadership of China Multinational Group and International Creative Industry Alliance alongside a number of Pakistani investors.

–Alyssa Sims and Udit Banerjea

Edited by Peter Bergen

As the 2016 presidential race heats up, how can we reboot America’s global influence? David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, and Kori Schake come up with a foreign policy to-do list for the next U.S. president, and it may not be glamorous, but perhaps the foreign policy relationships the United States values most should begin a lot closer to home. Listen and subscribe to The E.R. podcast and others here

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