Rivals India, Pakistan to make travel easier

Updated 15 December 2012
0

Rivals India, Pakistan to make travel easier

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s interior minister has arrived in India to introduce a new visa system that will make cross-border travel easier and says tensions between the nuclear-powered rivals have eased a great deal since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Rehman Mailk says that journey toward peace “is progressing very well because of growing interaction between the two governments.” Condemning the Mumbai attacks that India blames on Pakistani terrorists, Malik told reporters yesterday that non-state actors, a reference to extremist groups, were playing “havoc with both countries.’“
The new visa system will allow members of divided families, businesspeople, tourists and religious pilgrims to obtain visas quickly instead of waiting for months.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they won independence from Britain in 1947.


Beijing protests US warship operation in South China Sea

Updated 34 min 9 sec ago
0

Beijing protests US warship operation in South China Sea

BEIJING: China has voiced “strong dissatisfaction” after two US warships sailed by an island claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea, adding to simmering tensions in the strategic waterway.
The foreign ministry issued a statement expressing “resolute opposition” to the US sail-by of the territory in the disputed Paracel Island chain on Sunday.
The US military conducts what it calls “freedom of navigation” voyages in the South China Sea to contest Beijing’s assertion of territorial rights in the area, although the US has no claims of its own in the disputed region.
The US Navy’s Higgins and Antietam warships, a destroyer and cruiser respectively, entered China’s territorial waters without permission and were met by the Chinese Navy, which “conducted verification and identification of US ships according to law and warned them to leave,” the ministry said.
State-run news agency Xinhua said the two vessels were “expelled” from the waters.
The operation was conducted just over a week after Beijing flew nuclear-capable bombers to a disputed island in a bold powerplay to show its military might and boost its territorial claims in the area.
The move prompted immediate criticism from the US, which last week pulled its invitation to China to join maritime exercises in the Pacific because of Beijing’s “continued militarization” of the South China Sea.
Beijing has been building artificial islands to reinforce its claim over most of the resource-rich South China Sea despite protests from Southeast Asian countries.
Its neighbors, particularly some of those involved in maritime disputes over the waters, have expressed fears China could eventually restrict freedom of navigation and overflight.