India cancels talks with Pakistan

The combo shows Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, left, and Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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India cancels talks with Pakistan

  • India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson pointed to the killings of Indian security personnel by “Pakistan entities” in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent release of series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan “glorifying terrorists”
  • Modi government under pressure from opposition to respond to killing of policemen by militants

DELHI: India called off high-level talks with Pakistan within 24 hours of their announcement. On Thursday New Delhi had accepted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries. India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi were to meet at the United Nation in New York next week. However, the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi said on Friday that since the announcement, two “deeply disturbing” developments had taken place that led India to call off the meeting.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, pointed to the killings of Indian security personnel by “Pakistan entities” in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent release of series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan “glorifying terrorists.” 
He said: “It’s obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan has been revealed to world in his first few months in the office.”
Doubts began to be raised yesterday about the talks when the brutal killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) came to light at the international border.
Modi’s government further came under pressure after the opposition Congress party questioned its Pakistan policy.
“On September 19, 2018, USA clearly stated that Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba are main contributors to terror, and are linked to Al-Qaeda,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. “The government has betrayed each and every part of Jammu and Kashmir. The mutilations are an unspeakable horror,” he added.


ASEAN may be forced to choose between US, China: Cambodia PM’s son

Updated 21 November 2018
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ASEAN may be forced to choose between US, China: Cambodia PM’s son

  • Cambodia has become an unlikely staging ground for geopolitical influence in Asia
  • The economic ripples of the trade spat between China and the US could destabilize global supply chain links in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK: Southeast Asian nations may soon have to “choose sides” between the US and China in their ongoing trade war, the political heir to Cambodia’s strongman ruler Hun Sen warned Wednesday in rare public comments.
Impoverished Cambodia has become an unlikely staging ground for geopolitical influence in Asia.
In recent years it has turned into a key China ally, heading off criticism of the superpower over its claims to disputed seas in exchange for billions of dollars in investment and loans.
While China has cozied up to Cambodia, the United States and the European Union have admonished Hun Sen, the nation’s ruler for 33 years, for his increasingly authoritarian rule.
In a rare speech outside of his country, his son, Hun Many warned the US-China trade spat may create lasting divisions in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Perhaps one day ASEAN would have to choose between US or China,” Hun Many said in Bangkok.
“How would we see the trade war spill or expanded in other areas? Surely it will pressure individual members of ASEAN or ASEAN as a whole to choose sides.”
The economic ripples of the trade spat between China and the US could destabilize global supply chain links in Southeast Asia, while a slump in Chinese spending would impact its trading partners.
Cambodia’s strongman Hun Sen has welcomed Chinese investment to pump-prime his country’s economy.
At the same time, he has accused the US of trying to foment revolution in Cambodia by supporting his critics.
Both the US and EU decried the July elections, which were held without a credible opposition and gave Hun Sen another term in power.
When asked which of the superpowers Cambodia would side with, the Australian-educated Hun Many demurred.
“At the end of the day, it depends on those who are involved to take a more responsible approach for their decisions that affects the entire world,” he said.
Earlier this week, Hun Sen swatted away concerns that Beijing will construct a naval base off the southwest coast of Cambodia, which would provide ready access to the disputed South China Sea.
Beijing claims most of the flashpoint area, infuriating the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan who all have competing claims to its islands and potentially resource-rich waters.
Hun Many, who described himself as a “proud son,” is widely believed to be in the running to one day replace his father.
His elder brother, Manit, is the head of a military intelligence unit while Manet, the oldest, was promoted in September to the chief of joint staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces as well as the commander of the infantry army headquarters.
But Many brushed aside the notion.
“It is way too soon to say that I am in the next generation of leaders,” he said.