Pakistan rules out trade with India
Dawn | 12th May
With a change in the federal government, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has ruled out the possibility of a resumption of stalled bilateral trade with India.
The response came from the commerce ministry over the widespread speculation on social media that the new government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is considering a proposal to resume trade with its arch rival India.

India reiterates its commitment to the people of Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 10th May
In response to media queries on developments in Sri Lanka, official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs made the following remarks in New Delhi on 10 May 2022.
"As a close neighbor of Sri Lanka, with historical ties, India is fully supportive of its (Sri Lanka's) democracy, stability and economic recovery.

Indian PM Modi visiting Nepal for fifth time
The Himalayan Times | 12th May
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is arriving on an official visit to Nepal on Monday, May 16. He is visiting at the invitation of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The Indian Prime Minister will pay an official visit to Lumbini to attend the special ceremony on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated. 

SRI LANKA

Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 12th May
Leader of the United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
MR. Wickremesinghe took oaths before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President's House in Colombo this afternoon (12).
Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath and Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe were also present at the occasion.

Exim Bank may recast $1.3 billion Sri Lanka Loans
Daily Mirror | 13th May
Export financing institution India Exim Bank is looking at restructuring its $ 1.3 billion exposure to crisis-ridden Sri Lanka. It however does not have any exposure to Ukraine or any direct exposure to Russia. Besides, it will foray into services to assist MSME exporters with easier risk protection and is set to launch factoring and other trade finance products to promote exports from this sector.
"There is an imminent restructuring of Sri Lanka exposure" said Harsha Bangari, MD India Exim Bank.
 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan, US Discuss Steps To Further Expand Relations
The Nation | 12th May
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan held a meeting with Counselor of the US Department of State Derek Chollet in Washington.
According to sources, steps to further expand long-standing Pak-US relations came under discussion during the meeting. They also discussed expanding engagement on trade, climate, energy and health.

Bilawal vows to take Pakistan-China ties to new heights
The News | 12th May
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Wednesday vowed to take Pakistan-China friendly ties to new heights.
Speaking at the virtual meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Bilawal underscored his determination to inject fresh momentum into Pakistan-China bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and add new avenues to practical cooperation.
 

AFGHANISTAN

Guterres: Terrorism is Resurgent in Afghanistan
The Khaama Press | 12th May
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, terrorism in Afghanistan is reviving and could become a global threat.
To ensure its efficacy, the UN Secretary-General has stated that the response to terrorism must be founded on the rule of law, respect for human rights, and gender equality.
The remarks were made during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights, Civil Society, and Counter-Terrorism Conference in Spain.

The EU Special Representative met Sirajuddin Haqqani
The Khaama Press | 11th May
Tomas Niklasson, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, met Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Acting Taliban Interior Minister.
According to Bakhtar News Agency, the two sides discussed security matters on Tuesday 10 of May, where Haqqani stated that the world should not support any armed group in Afghanistan.
Haqqani stated that the Afghan soil will not be allowed to pose a threat to the other countries under the Doha Agreement.

Islamic Emirate’s Suhail Shaheen Clarifies Hijab Rules
TOLO News | 11th May
The head of the Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-based political office, Suhail Shaheen, said Afghan women have been using hijab for centuries and the statement which was recently made by the Islamic Emirate “doesn’t say Burqa imposed” as the only type of hijab and that other types of hijab could also be used.  
He made the remarks in an interview with Piers Morgan of Talk TV.  
Earlier, a decree announced by the Ministry of Vice and Virtue stated a new ruling for women’s hijab in the country.  
 

BANGLADESH

Dhaka, Seoul to work together for prosperity
Prothom Alo | 12th May
Bangladesh and South Korea on Thursday vowed to work together for a better and promising future making the best use of the opportunities that the two countries offer.
The two countries want to collaborate more than before amid emerging global challenges as 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and South Korea will officially be celebrated next year.

US willing to go ‘as fast as Bangladesh is’ to deepen ties
Bangladesh Post | 11th May
New US Ambassador Peter Haas has said that the United States is willing to “go as fast as Bangladesh is” to deepen the bilateral partnership.
“And I also truly believe we can go fastest together in building our trade and investment relationship,” he said while speaking at the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Forum on Tuesday, according to his speech released by the embassy on Wednesday.
Representatives of 50 companies who have joined the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council were present at the Forum.

Forex reserves dip below $42bn
Dhaka Tribune | 12th May
Bangladesh's foreign exchange (forex) reserves decreased to $41.95 billion following fund injection into the money market, and recent import payments.
Officials said that Bangladesh Bank pumped over $5 billion into the money market from its reserves in the last 10 months of the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22, to keep the country's forex market stable.
Higher import payment obligations along with a routine payment to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) pushed the country's forex reserves below $42 billion, they added.​​​​​​
 

BHUTAN

Bhutan and Thailand to have bilateral trade
Kuensel | 12th May
The government of Bhutan and Thailand agreed to sign a bilateral trade agreement.
The two countries have a trade and economic cooperation agreement as of now.
The decision was made during the fourth Joint Trade Committee Meeting (JTCM) on April 27 and 28 in Phuket, Thailand.
However, officials from the Department of Trade (DoT) said that signing the bilateral trade agreement would depend on the progress of the negotiations between the two countries.

Export issues to be resolved soon
Business Bhutan | 12th May
The exports of ginger and areca nuts from Bhutan were stopped in May 2021
To solve the export issues of potatoes, ginger and areca nuts from Bhutan to India, Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma said the government had requested the Government of India (GoI) to remove all these non-tariff barriers and that the problem is expected to be resolved as soon as possible. 
During the Meet-The-Press session yesterday, the minister said farmers not able to export potatoes, ginger and areca nuts were mainly due to the non-tariff barriers in the trade sector.
 

MALDIVES

Deficit hits MVR6.2mil in February 2022
The Edition | 12th May
According to the latest monthly fiscal development update from Ministry of Finance, the state's fiscal balance gave an overall deficit of MVR6.2 million in February 2022.
Moreover, the ministry reported a 36.5 percent increment in the government expenditure, which stood MVR5,276.4 million by the end of the review month.
Capital expenditure increased by 45.3 percent while recurrent expenditure increased by 34.3 percent when compared with the corresponding month in 2021.

Maldives and Kazakhstan sign visa waiver agreement
Sun | 9th May
Maldives and Kazakhstan an agreement on mutual exemption of visa requirements on Monday, which allows for the exemption from visa requirements for both country’s nationals, for single or multiple entry, exit or transit, for a period of 30 days.
The agreement was signed by Maldivian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel and Kazakhstan Ambassador to Maldives Nurlan Zhalgasbayev.

Second amendment to the SME Act, ratified
Raajje | 10th May
The second amendment to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Act has been ratified.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the second amendment to the act, (Act no. 06/2013) on Tuesday.
The People’s Majlis passed the bill on April 25, during the 35th sitting of the first session of 2022.
Following ratification, the law has been publicized in the government gazette and comes into immediate effect.
 

MYANMAR

Myanmar Refugees on Indian Border Face Danger of Disease and Shortage of Medicines
The Irrawaddy | 12th May
Myanmar refugees in India’s border state of Mizoram face a shortage of medicines and access to healthcare, after being evicted from their homes in western Myanmar following brutal reprisals by the country’s military regime.
Almost 30,000 refugees are sheltering in Mizoram State, with the maximum numbers in the twin districts of Champhai and Saiha. They are mostly from neighboring Chin State but some hail from Sagaing Region.

Five ethnic armed organisations refuse to meet with Myanmar junta chief
Myanmar Now | 10th May
Facing unprecedented armed resistance nationwide both from ethnic forces and newly formed guerrilla groups, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing recently invited leaders of ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) to an upcoming meeting, with Monday as the deadline to respond. 
“I will be personally meeting all attending leaders,” he said on April 22. It marked the first time that he had appealed to the groups personally since the February 2021 coup, and after previous invitations by other military officials were widely rejected.
 

NEPAL

Nepal to ask India to develop West Seti project that has been idle for six decades
The Kathmandu Post | 11th May
Nepal has decided to hold talks with India for the development of the West Seti Hydropower Project, which has remained in hibernation for six decades over investment concerns.
This time, according to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the issue will be directly discussed with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, who is visiting Lumbini on May 16.

Nepal’s balance of payment hits an all-time low
Onlinekhabar | 12th May
Nepal’s balance of payment is the lowest it has ever been.
Even though remittance has improved in the last few months, due to the continuous rise in imports, the balance of payment has taken a significant hit, informs Nepal Rastra Bank.
This has affected the country’s foreign exchange reserve which has gone down by Rs 2 billion over the past month.

 

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