India Nuclear Reactor Deal Expected by June; Ghani: ‘No Sympathy’ for Migrants; Iran Criticizes Pakistan Claims of Indian Spy Arrest

India Nuclear reactor construction deal expected by June The CEO of Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric, Daniel Roderick said on Wednesday that he expects to sign a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India by June, after nearly a decade ago of negotiations with the Indian government (Reuters). If signed, this deal would be the ...

(FILES) In this photograph taken on September 29, 2011, a delegate of the India Nuclear Energy 2011 summit walks past a stall in Mumbai . More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks, company managers said on July 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE        (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
(FILES) In this photograph taken on September 29, 2011, a delegate of the India Nuclear Energy 2011 summit walks past a stall in Mumbai . More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks, company managers said on July 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
(FILES) In this photograph taken on September 29, 2011, a delegate of the India Nuclear Energy 2011 summit walks past a stall in Mumbai . More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks, company managers said on July 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

India

Nuclear reactor construction deal expected by June

The CEO of Toshiba Corp's Westinghouse Electric, Daniel Roderick said on Wednesday that he expects to sign a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India by June, after nearly a decade ago of negotiations with the Indian government (Reuters). If signed, this deal would be the first major nuclear commercial power project to be initiated since the U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear deal signed in 2008. Prime Minister Modi is in Washington D.C. to attend a nuclear security summit that starts Thursday. Private nuclear energy producers have struggled to break into the Indian market due to disagreements with the government over regulations regarding liabilities and insurance issues.

India

Nuclear reactor construction deal expected by June

The CEO of Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric, Daniel Roderick said on Wednesday that he expects to sign a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India by June, after nearly a decade ago of negotiations with the Indian government (Reuters). If signed, this deal would be the first major nuclear commercial power project to be initiated since the U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear deal signed in 2008. Prime Minister Modi is in Washington D.C. to attend a nuclear security summit that starts Thursday. Private nuclear energy producers have struggled to break into the Indian market due to disagreements with the government over regulations regarding liabilities and insurance issues.

Seven paramilitary policemen die in Maoist attack

Officials in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh confirmed that at least seven paramilitary policemen were killed in a landmine blast on Wednesday, allegedly triggered by Maoist rebels (BBC). The attack near Dantewada district targeted personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force. Chhattisgarh is often hit by Maoist violence. The Maoists claim they are fighting for communist rule and greater rights for tribal people. Last July, bodies of four policemen abducted by Maoist rebels were recovered in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. The Maoist insurgency in India began in West Bengal in the late 1960s and has spread to more than 200 districts in the country. Previously, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described India’s Maoist insurgency as its “greatest internal security challenge”.

ADB: India will be the fastest growing economy in Asia

According to the annual economic outlook published by the Asian Development Bank on Wednesday, India will remain one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, and will be on course to see economic growth of 7.4 percent in 2016 and 7.8 percent in 2017 (WSJ). The ADB report projects Chinese growth to be close to the bottom of Beijing’s target range in 2016 and decline further in 2017 due to slower growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The ADB forecast for annual growth in China was 6.5 percent in 2016 and 6.3 percent for 2017.

— Shuja Malik

 Afghanistan

Ghani: “No sympathy” for migrants

In an interview broadcast this week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani emphasized the need for migrants to stay in Afghanistan saying he has “no sympathy” for those who leave (TOLO News). Ghani commented: “This is an existential choice. Countries do not survive by their best attempting to flee. So I have no sympathy.” Ghani also commented on the continued conflict in Afghanistan, saying that al Qaeda has “gone deep and dark but it is fully alive. Daesh is active here and has done atrocious things.” He added that “[Afghanistan is] a country that has become the platform for a regional and global war,” pointing to it as a factor pushing Afghans to migrate to Europe.

25,000 Afghan government posts remain vacant

On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament announced that 50,000 government positions remain vacant while government officials put the count at 25,000 (Pajhwok). Ahmad Massod Tokhi, the head of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, placed the number of vacancies at 25,584 spots in 47 departments in all 34 provinces. Tokhi added that the Ministry of Public Health had 2,096 vacancies and the Afghanistan Land Authority had 1,246 vacancies. The existence of vacant posts has sparked criticism especially in light of migration driven in part by unemployment.

Audit: $86 million DEA plane remains inoperable

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report finding that an anti-drug plane jointly developed by the Department of Defense and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) remains inoperable despite a cost so far of $86 million (CNN, Reuters). The plane, named the ATR 42-500, was developed over seven years at four times the expected cost. Most of the cost overrun was the result of retrofitting the plane with surveillance equipment. Yet according to flight logs, only 14 percent of DEA flights in Afghanistan were for reconnaissance, surveillance or intelligence. The DEA released a statement reading: “Reviews by the Office of the Inspector General are necessary and important, and DEA welcomes recommendations that make us better. DEA agrees that it can and should provide better oversight of its operational funding. We are reviewing policies and procedures to ensure the limited resources allocated to DEA are utilized in the most responsible and effective way possible.”

 Pakistan

Bonus Read: “The Playgrounds of Pakistan,” by Rafia Zakaria (NYT)

Iran criticizes Pakistan’s claims of Indian spy arrest

On Thursday, the Iranian embassy in Islamabad criticized Pakistan for its comments regarding the purported Indian spy it arrested (Dawn). A spokesman for the embassy stated: “Elements unhappy over promotion of ties between the two Islamic countries of Iran and Pakistan are trying in various ways, including the spreading of undignified and sometimes offensive contents, to fade out the significant achievements during the visit of President Rouhani to Pakistan.” Pakistan announced the arrest of the purprorted Indian spy on March 25, during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan.

PM Sharif cancels U.S. visit after Lahore bombing

On Wednesday, the White House announced that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his planned visit to the United States due to the bombing in Lahore (RFE/RL). Sharif had been scheduled to attend the nuclear security summit later in the week. The White House commented: “President Obama expressed his understanding of Prime Minister Sharif’s decision to cancel his visit to the United States and remain in Pakistan following this terrorist attack.”

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/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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