-Top News Europe USA

‘US, NATO main threat to Russia’

The 55-page doctrine said the main challenges and threats to Russia’s national security and sustainable development are “the strategic course of the US towards domination in the world oceans…reports Asian Lite News

The US’ “quest for the dominance” of world oceans and the expansion of NATO are the main threats to Russia’s national maritime security, according to the new Russian naval doctrine adopted on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order on Approving the Naval Doctrine of the Russian Federation and the Executive Order on Approving the Russian Navy Regulations earlier in the day before the central part of the Main Naval Parade, Xinhua news agency reported.

The 55-page doctrine said the main challenges and threats to Russia’s national security and sustainable development are “the strategic course of the US towards domination in the world oceans and its global influence on international processes”.

The “expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure to the Russian borders” and the “growing number of the bloc’s drills in areas adjacent to the country’s waters” are also listed as major threats to Russia’s national security.

Putin said in a speech during the parade that the doctrine openly outlines the boundaries and zones of Russia’s national interests.

The maritime doctrine update reflects changes in the geopolitical and military strategic situation in the world, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said at a maritime board meeting in May, according to a TASS report.

ALSO READ: Biden’s approval rate falls to new low: Report

-Top News Asia News

Pelosi begins Asia trip, no mention of Taiwan

Member of the delegation accompanying Pelosi are leading members of the House of Representatives: Gregory Meeks, Mark Takano, Suzan DelBene, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim…reports Asian Lite News

Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has embarked on a trip to Asia which will take her to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, her office said in a statement, but did not mention of a stop in Taiwan.

In the statement on Sunday, Pelosi’s office said that the “trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region”.

“Today, our Congressional delegation travels to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s strong and unshakeable commitment to our allies and friends in the region,” the House Speaker was quoted as saying in the statement.

“In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance.

“Under the strong leadership of President Biden, America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe,” she added.

Member of the delegation accompanying Pelosi are leading members of the House of Representatives: Gregory Meeks, Mark Takano, Suzan DelBene, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim.

The commencement of the trip comes after tensions again heightened between the US and China over speculation that Pelosi could also make a stop in Taiwan.

China, which claims Taiwan, warned of “serious consequences” over the possible visit, the BBC reported.

Pelosi’s original plan was to visit Taiwan in April, but she postponed the trip after she tested positive for Covid-19.

he last House Speaker to visit Taiwan was Republican Newt Gingrich in 1997.

ALSO READ-US military making plans in case Pelosi travels to Taiwan

UAE News

Mohammed bin Rashid Library attracts 40,000 visitors

According to the latest statistics, visitors spent between 2 and 5 hours in the various sections of the library, while visitors’ ages ranged between 5 and 60 years old from different nationalities…reports Asian Lite News

Since its opening, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library attracted more than 40,000 visitors and members of different age groups and nationalities, who explored the Library’s facilities, services, and various sections. The library also reported that more than 14 thousand books have been read since its inauguration.

During this period, the Library issued more than 34,000 visitors tickets, and more than 3,000 other tickets to visit the Treasures of the Library Exhibition. The Library’s avant-garde auto-store received around 1,000 requests for borrowing books by Library members.  

According to the latest statistics, visitors spent between 2 and 5 hours in the various sections of the library, while visitors’ ages ranged between 5 and 60 years old from different nationalities.

The Periodicals Library, Children’s Library, Young Adults Library, Emirates Library, and General Library took the lead as the most visited sections and the most time spent by visitors. Those were followed by the Media and Art Library, Business Library, and Maps and Atlases Library.

“The great success of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library in achieving this turnout of visitors and members during this short period is a clear indication of the viability of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support and promote the UAE’s comprehensive strategy to strengthen its cultural and intellectual scene while fostering and promoting creativity and knowledge across the Arab world. Driven by our firm belief in the importance of offering free access to library resources for all and supporting the advancement of the cultural scene in Dubai, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library welcomes all visitors from different interests, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and age groups,” said Dr. Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei, member of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library.

The Periodicals Library

The Periodicals Library provides academics, businessmen, students, researchers, and the public with access to a wide range of over 6000 titles in Arabic and English from both new and old magazines, newspapers, newsletters and other periodicals in print and digital formats. Visitors stay in the library between two and five hours, with ages ranging between 30-60 years.

The Media and Art Library

The Media and Art Library includes more than 15,000 print and digital works, spanning multiple media in art, architecture, design, fashion, music, performing arts, writings, and Emirati arts. The library also provides spaces for meetings, lectures, organising events, art performances, and interactive activities, in addition to reading and writing groups, author and autograph events, film screenings, creative and musical performances, and competitions. Visitors stay in the library between one and two hours, with ages ranging between 16-60 years.

The Young Adults Library

The Young Adults Library, which includes one of the largest reading collections in the region for young adults, offering around 11,000 titles, covering useful, exciting, and interesting genres, including books and novels in fantasy, science fiction, as well as biographies, art, culture, science and sports, and an impressive collection of comics, attracted youth between the ages of 12,15 and 20, where they spent between two to three hours.

The Children Library

The Children Library contains an inspiring collection of carefully selected publications, comprising more than 25,000 titles, including storybooks, reference books, encyclopedias, early learning books, and board books for preschoolers and first graders. The library also includes a collection of books and publications targeting children of determination, such as talking books, Braille books for the visually impaired, and sensory books. The library attracted children aged between 5 and 12 with their parents, where they spent 2-3 hours and participated in various complementary workshops and activations.

The Business Library

The Business Library contains nearly 25,000 titles on business administration, in addition to e-books, and electronic resources such as business databases. It also provides access to company information, directories and reports. Visitors to the library were between 18-60 years of age, spending around one to two hours.

The Emirates Library

Visitors to the Emirates Library, within the age group of 20-60 years, spent between 15 minutes and 3 hours there. The library offered them access to more than 15,000 titles, including a wide range of books, documents and periodicals on everything related to the components of Emirati cultural and social identity, such as Emirati cuisine, local archeology, poetry, history, music and handicrafts, in addition to the flora and fauna in the UAE.

The Maps and Atlases Library

The Maps and Atlases Library is one of the region’s most comprehensive and rich libraries. It includes a wide range of holdings and knowledge treasures, consisting of more than 3,000 printed maps, manuscripts, and digital media in various languages. Visitors, mostly researchers, historians, academics, travelers and students between 18-60 years of age, spent between 15 minutes and one hours in it.

The General Library

The General Library is one of the largest departments in Mohammed bin Rashid Library; It includes more than 29,000 titles with various topics that suit different interests, such as languages, history, geography, philosophy, health, sports, self-development, and literature, including novels and short stories, available in both Arabic and English. Visitors were between 16-60 years of age and spent between 30 minutes to three hours in the library.

The Treasures of The Library Exhibition

With more than 3,500 tickets sold, the Treasures of The Library Exhibition hosts an amazing collection of ancient and rare books, atlases and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 13th century, in addition to rare early copies of the Holy Quran, early editions of classic prints, and Latin translations of scientific sources dating back to the Islamic Golden Age.

A Vision to Spark Passion

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library intends to spark a passion for knowledge throughout UAE society, especially youth, in addition to the conservation and promotion of Arabic literature, culture, and heritage by supporting and promoting reading, research, creativity, and entrepreneurship. The Library offers free access to a unique collection of books and other knowledge resources, as well as providing high-quality information services and launching leading cultural events. The Library is one of the world’s most technologically-advanced libraries, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), holograms, and smart robots.

ALSO READ-Destination Dubai

UAE News

Krohne delivers first knowledge sharing seminar workshop

Middle East College, known colloquially as MEC, is one of the leading higher education institutions in the Sultanate of Oman accredited by Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA)…reports Asian Lite News

KROHNE Group, a leading global manufacturer and full scope supplier of process instrumentation, measurement solutions and services, proudly delivered its first knowledge sharing seminar workshop at the Middle East College today. Anticipated to be the first of several sessions, the engineering experts dedicated an afternoon in Muscat to give real-world industrial and business-related insights to students to enhance their existing studies and broaden potential career horizons.

Middle East College, known colloquially as MEC, is one of the leading higher education institutions in the Sultanate of Oman accredited by Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA). The private college is home to over 4500 students from the region and across the world. Located in the Knowledge Oasis Muscat, the college offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in different areas of Engineering, Business, Technology and Logistics Management in academic partnership with Coventry University, UK, and Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands.

“KROHNE has spent the last 100 years delivering creative solutions to our industry partners and customers. Expanding our knowledge-sharing capabilities to try and inspire the engineers and computer scientists of the future is something we take great joy in so were extremely pleased to be given this opportunity by the MEC team. We hope that this initial session achieved this goal and look forward to seeing where this working relationship develops, between our respective people, across education, research and development,” said Frank Janssens, Vice President, KROHNE Middle East and Africa.

Around one hundred attendees actively participated in the “hyflex” session, focused the regional business landscape and cross-industry Coriolis applications in a real-world business context. Facilitated by Dr Prakash Kumar of the Department of Management Studies at MEC, the presentation was delivered by Jonathan Ashton, Head of Marketing and Communications and Dr Regilal Gopalan, Area Manager for Dubai and Oman, both from KROHNE Middle East and Africa.

ALSO READ-Ola electric see sharpest drop in EV 2 wheeler sales

Education Qatar

Texas A&M University invites new students to campus

The current students who acted as ambassadors of the university participated in various training sessions earlier in the year…reports Asian Lite News

Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, welcomed its incoming freshman students during Aggie Life 101, a three-day orientation program.

Aggie Life 101 is a series of seminars, workshops and activities designed to teach students about Texas A&M and its unique traditions, as well as what it takes to succeed at a world-renowned engineering institution.

Students and graduates of Texas A&M University are called “Aggies” and that tradition continues at Texas A&M’s branch campus in Doha. The orientation showcased the opportunities Texas A&M at Qatar offers to students to help them become engineering leaders — from social clubs and activities to transformative educational experiences, such as international service-learning trips, study abroad and undergraduate research.

Dr. Ryan McLawhon ’03, Executive Director of Student Affairs and Academic Services at Texas A&M at Qatar, welcomed the Class of 2026 to campus. He also introduced the Aggie Core Values and the Aggie Code of Honor, two driving principles that set apart an Aggie education.

“Texas A&M is committed to developing engineering leaders in the State of Qatar,” McLawhon said, “not only through the formal engineering education, but also through our comprehensive core curriculum and student life programs. The curriculum at Texas A&M University at Qatar, both inside and outside of the classroom, is strategically designed with Texas A&M’s core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and selfless service in mind. We are extremely excited to welcome these new Aggies to Texas A&M at Qatar and to help prepare them to solve society’s future challenges.”

Addressing the students, Student Government Association President Afnan Ahmed said, “The community at Texas A&M at Qatar is like none other. For me it is truly a second home and I’m sure it will be for you too very soon. As a fellow Aggie myself, my one piece of advice to you is to be open and to fully embrace any and all opportunities that come your way, whether that may be academic, extracurricular, exchange trips, and most importantly developing the best relationships with the people around you.” 

The current students who acted as ambassadors of the university participated in various training sessions earlier in the year. Orientation leaders managed the various sessions and also conducted tours of the Texas A&M Engineering Building. This year, several students from the main campus at College Station, Texas, also participated in the Aggie Life 101 sessions at Texas A&M University at Qatar.

Ahmad Afzal, one of the orientation leaders, said that the key skills he learned during the training sessions was communication and problem solving. “It is a lot of work, but I am having fun. Aggie Life 101 helps new students settle into university life. I have been a nervous freshman myself, and I know how stressful that can be, and I am glad to have the opportunity to help make it a little easier for them.”

Maryam Abdul Ghani, an Electrical Engineering freshman said that it was exciting to meet new classmates and upperclassmen during the orientation.

“I am very happy to be here, and to meet other students,” she said. “The orientation sessions have been very informative and the orientation leaders have been very helpful. The campus tour was quite interesting: When you look at it from outside, you can’t fully understand how big and amazing it is once you enter. From classrooms, to state-of-the-art labs, to student and community areas, there is a lot. I am looking forward to starting my journey here.”

ALSO READ-University of Birmingham’s first international campus opens in Dubai

-Top News Asia News India News

Call for Kartapur like corridor in Sharda Peeth intensifies

After the recent remarks of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Kashmiri Pandits are hopeful of the chances of their demand being fulfilled appear brighter than ever…reports Asian Lite News

‘Save Sharda Committee’ urged central government to make amendments for Kartapur-like corridor to allow Indians to visit the Sharda Peeth in Pak occupied Kashmir.

The Kashmiri Pandit-backed pressure group also urged the centre to make arrangements for the reopening of the Sharda pilgrimage, Deccan Herald reported.

According to the existing LoC permit rules, only relatives living across LoC are allowed to travel on special occasions via Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch- Rawlakote routes. But those devotees who do not have relatives living on either side of LoC can’t cross.

“We have a permit for travel across the LoC but it is only for J&K residents. The permit has been in force since 2007 after the Vajpayee- Musharaf summit,” the Deccan Herald report quoted Ravinder Pandita, head and founder of ‘Save Sharda Committee Kashmir’ as saying.

Sharada Peeth. Pic credits Wikipedia

Pandita urged the Centre government to make amendment in the LoC permit rules on the lines of Sikh pilgrimage to Nankana sahib in Lahore that is held annually through Kartarpur corridor, according to the Deccan Herald report.

The ancient temple of Sharda is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas and lies in ruins in Neelam Valley of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Meanwhile, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday recalled the supreme sacrifice of the Indian Army and asserted that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India and said that “How is it possible that Baba Amarnath is in India and Maa Sharda Shakti is across the Line of Control (LoC).”

Rajnath Singh. (File Photo: IANS)

“A resolution has been passed in the Parliament on PoK. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Kashmir was a part of India, is and will remain a part of India. How can it be that Baba Amarnath in the form of Shiva is with us and Mother Sharda Shakti is on the other side of LoC,” Defense Minister added while referring to the Sharda Peeth, which has the ruins of a temple to Hindu goddess Saraswati, also known as Sharda.

He was speaking at the commemoration ceremony of ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ in Jammu.

Singh said that today’s India is one of the most powerful countries in the world as compared to 1962 when China captured our area in Ladakh when former PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was at the helm of the affairs.

ALSO READ: Kashmiri activists in UK slam Pakistan’s rights abuses in PoJK


-Top News USA

Biden’s approval rate falls to new low: Report

The survey revealed that 59 per cent of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing, the highest for him to date…reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has fallen to 38 per cent, the first time his rating has dropped below 40 per cent, according to the latest Gallup poll.

The survey revealed that 59 per cent of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing, the highest for him to date, reports Xinhua news agency.

A follow-up question finds 45 per cent of Americans strongly disapprove of the veteran Democrat’s performance, while only 13 per cent strongly approve.

The 31 per cent of independents approving of Biden is also a new low while Republican approval rate for him continues to fall.

While Biden retains the support of the vast majority of Democrats, his 78 per cent approval rating among his fellow partisans ties as the lowest for him to date, which previously emerged last December, according to Gallup

ALSO READ: Biden tests again positive for Covid 19

-Top News Asia News

No Pak-Russia FMs meeting at SCO raises eyebrows

Pakistan’s relationship with Russia was more often talked about at the time when former Prime Minister Imran khan was removed from power in April…reports Asian Lite News

No bilateral meeting with Russia during the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent on Friday, have raised an eyebrow over the Shahbaz Sharif-led Pakistan government as Islamabad relations with Moscow have been discussed several times during Imran Khan’s regime.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of all member states of SCO yesterday.

 In an earlier statement, Pakistan Foreign Office announced that Bilawal would be holding bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of China, Russia and other SCO members, The Express Tribune reported, adding that however, there was no meeting between Bilawal and Lavrov at the forum.

Pakistan’s relationship with Russia was more often talked about at the time when former Prime Minister Imran khan was removed from power in April.

Khan has maintained that he was removed from power through a US conspiracy since he wanted to pursue an independent foreign policy, particularly one that deepens ties with Russia.

In May, Pakistan had said that it is open to importing oil and food products from Russia amid the ongoing backlash against the country for actions in Ukraine.

Russia had launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the day when former Imran Khan decided to visit Moscow to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies.

Imran Khan, who was ousted from power, has claimed the new Shahbaz Sharif government had dropped plans to acquire cheap Russian oil that his government managed to secure.

Meanwhile, Bilawal following his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister on Thursday held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. He separately held a meeting with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, discussing the current Afghan situation and reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, as per The Express Tribune.

The 20th Meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) was held on November 25, 2021, in Nur-Sultan through video conference under the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan and Jaishankar represented India in the meeting, according to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.

PTI hits out at Bilawal

Hitting out at Foreign Minister Bilawal, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry said that was on an “internship” and that no one knows him.

During a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday, the PTI leader also said that his Bilawal’s Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov refused to meet him, The News International reported.

 While the former human rights minister Shireen Mazari in a Tweet that FM Bilawal’s meeting with all foreign ministers at the SCO except those from India and Russia.

“Bilawal meets all SCO foreign ministers except Indian FM – which was proper given Modi’s fascism in IIOJK – & Russian FM. Why would he not meet Lavrov except out of fear of US! Shameful how subservience before US prevents Imported govt’s FM from even mtg Russian FM bilaterally!” she tweeted.

ALSO READ: Lanka way? Moody’s, Fitch and S&P downgrade Pakistan’s rating

-Top News Asia News

Lanka way? Moody’s, Fitch and S&P downgrade Pakistan’s rating

 The credible global ratings agencies have pointed out that Pakistan’s finance ministry must pull up its socks to combat the economic fallout…reports Asian Lite News

Citing the country’s weakening economic position, Moody’s, then Fitch, and now S&P Global – three major global rating agencies have downgraded Pakistan’s long-term rating from stable to negative, according to media reports.

Pakistan has a weak external position, high commodity prices, and is witnessing a huge slump in its currency in comparision to the US Dollar. The south Asian nation was clearly teetering at the brink of default.

 The credible global ratings agencies have pointed out that Pakistan’s finance ministry must pull up its socks to combat the economic fallout. They said that if appropriate actions are taken by the country’s finance ministry then it can be brought back to the previous rating however, the big question remains how it will be done.

That’s a very tough ask right now, reported Daily Times.

Pakistan needs reserves to provide stability in the immediate term to its economy. The situation as it stands currently, it seems like a far-reaching goal for Pakistan to revive investor-confidence.

In a bid to reverse its downgraded rating, the country will have to put in mammoth efforts. However, things will still get a lot worse before they start to get any better. And all this while inflation is very likely to stay above 20 per cent.

All of this is cascading its effect on the common man who is going to have a very tough time. Moreover, some of these people who are at the very bottom of the food chain will bear the brunt of it all, as per the media portal.

Additionally, Pakistan is also under fire thanks to the political instability in the country. If the political elite were able to pause their bitter, ugly war for a while and concentrate on the economy the country might see a brighter light at the end of the tunnel.

In addition to the economic stability, Pakistan’s political stability is also crucial as this is the only way to provide relief to people whose lives have been made miserable.

As Pakistan’s economy slumps to a new low, ratings by S&P Global, an American credit rating agency, has cut Pakistan’s credit outlook to negative and markets think that Pakistan might soon follow Sri Lanka into debt default and economic crisis, media reports said.

In a statement which the credit agency released on Thursday it was highlighted that Pakistan could be downgraded if support from bilateral and multilateral lenders quickly erodes or if usable foreign-exchange reserves fall further.

Furthermore, the media outlet while citing other foreign media said that the company also affirmed the nation’s rating at B-, on par with Ecuador and Angola. The Pakistani rupee has hit a new record low and has seen a tremendous fall in comparision to the US dollars. The rupee saw a stunning low with more than 30 per cent of its value lost in comparision to dollar this year.

The country’s dollar debt has reached record lows as it stares down to a USD 1 billion bond payment in December. Sri Lankan economy is in default and Pakistan seems to have followed suit.

Pakistani government is leaving no stone unturned to secure billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund and countries like China and Saudi Arabia, as per the media portal.

An expert and analyst Andrew Wood in a statement said, “The Pakistan government has considerable external indebtedness and liquidity needs, and an elevated general government fiscal deficit and debt stock.” Several other analysts courted with the statement.

“Although the impact of these more difficult macroeconomic conditions has been partially mitigated by various reform initiatives undertaken by the government over the past few years, the risk of continued deterioration in key metrics, including external liquidity, is rising,” Wood added.

However, S&P is not an isolated agency which has downgraded Pakistan’s credit outlook rating. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings already have a negative outlook on the country.(ANI)

ALSO READ: World Bank has no plan for new financing to crisis-hit Lanka

-Top News India News Nepal

Drop in India-Nepal cross-border marriages worries experts

Experts and analysts from both India and Nepal have underlined the need to not just enhance people to people contact but also putting in place pro-active measures by New Delhi and Kathmandu…reports Mahua Venkatesh

At a time when India and Nepal are looking to deepen political as well as economic cooperation amid rapid geopolitical shifts, the two countries must prioritise dealing with the issue of perception that people from both sides of the border have about each other and more importantly the governments. Despite the two countries sharing an open border policy, mutual distrust has dominated the political landscape from time to time leading to a steady drop in cross border marriages.

Vijay Kant Karna, Executive Chairman, Centre for Social Inclusion and Federalism in Kathmandu said that the declining number of cross border marriages is an indication of a social alteration based on the existing “perception and attitude”.

In 2020, the Nepali parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee under the Nepalese former prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli, perceived to be close to the Chinese government, approved the proposal to amend the Citizenship Act which made it mandatory for a foreign woman marrying a citizen of the country to wait seven years to get citizenship.

This added to the problem.

“Perception — for both countries — needs to change. The way forward is boosting connectivity but at the same time, the governments of the two neighbours need to carefully carve out a mechanism which will lay the roadmap for cooperation. India and Nepal must maintain stable political relation based on mutual trust and respect,” Karna, Executive Chairman, Centre for Social Inclusion and Federalism in Kathmandu said at an event — ‘India-Nepal Development Partnership: Economic Challenges and Opportunities’ organised by Indian Council of World Affairs.

Experts and analysts from both India and Nepal have underlined the need to not just enhance people to people contact but also putting in place pro-active measures by New Delhi and Kathmandu to address the elephant in the room.

Karna noted that the thrust on railway and road connectivity will go a long way in boosting connectivity, which is critical in the wake of the current geopolitical challenges. The bulk of Nepal’s transit trade takes place through India. As per estimates about 6 to 8 million of Nepalese are employed in India.

Nihar Nayak, Research Fellow, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses also said that timely competition of all pending projects by the Indians were critical to change the existing perception.

In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba jointly inaugurated the 35 km long transboundary Janakpur-Jayanagar railway service and RuPay digital payment system in Nepal. Though the two leaders reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral agenda covering political, economic, trade, energy, security and developmental issues, experts said that hurdles relating to corruption, bureaucratic and security hassles on the ground continue to plague citizens at the border points.

Besides, Indian businesses must also play a more aggressive role in the internal bidding process for infrastructure and other developmental projects.

Earlier, a study by the Observer Foundation Research (ORF) pointed out that though social and economic integration between the two countries, “informal ties and the simplicity of those traditional businesses have been under stress.”

ALSO READ: Nepal, India ink fertiliser deal