News Digest: International Relations & Foreign Affairs (November 17 – 24, 2021)


Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri has said that Nrs 100 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development of Janakpurdham area will be available soon. He also mentioned that Janakpurdham is also included in Ramayana Circuit Railway scheme.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affair of the US met Prime Minister Deuba on November 18. They discussed MCC, climate crisis, Covid 19 vaccine support and other issues. American Assistant State Secretary admonished the prime minister to endorse the project at the earliest. The prime minister stated that Nepal is committed to ratify MCC.

The US Assistant State Secretary Donald Lu met KP Sharma Oli on November 19. In the meeting they discussed the interest of the US in supporting Nepal in health, education, and employment sectors. They also deliberated on MCC. Oli stated that he will reveal his position regarding MCC after the ruling parties decide regarding this. Minister Lu also met CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

According to the Department of Railways, Nepal has restricted foreign nationals from third countries to travel to India by rail through the Kurtha-Jaynagar line after Indian Officials voiced security concerns. This was decided while completing the Standard Operating Procedure (SPA) for cross-border railway operation.

Around 20 million worth of smuggled goods were recovered from different districts of Province 1 bordering India in the last two months, the Armed Police Force (APF) has seized illicit clothes, sugar, tobacco, groceries, and daily necessities.

On November 23, Indian Ambassador and Secretary of Ministry of Health and Population signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the mutual acceptance of Covid-19 certificates between the two nations.

South Asian and Global Affairs

Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijan said that “China has noted India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative” in a media briefing during the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations on November 23. This marks China’s first official acknowledgement of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. President Xi Jingping was in virtual attendance. 

President of China, Xi Jinping said that the global environment is becoming increasingly unfavourable for building projects under China’s BRI while addressing Chinese officials on November 20. He encouraged officials to “seize opportunities and actively respond to challenges facing the initiative”. 

Taiwan has deployed -16 fighter jets in response to growing pressures from China also demonstrating Taiwan’s deepening cooperation with the United States defence industry. The development comes at a time when the status of Taiwan has become a point of tension between the United States and China. 

The Indian Ambassador to the UN TS Tirumurti said that India is ready to deliver humanitarian assistance required to meet the basic food needs of the people of Afghanistan at the UN Security Council on November 18. He highlighted that India supports the call of the international community that any humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan must be provided without any obstructions. 

India has backed Russia’s inclusion into the Indian Ocean Rim Association as a dialogue partner. This would allow for enhanced Russian presence in the region where China has been asserting itself. 

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