Bangladesh-India Friendship Dialogue begins Friday
Bangladesh Post | 15th February
The two-day 10th round of Bangladesh-India Friendship Dialogue will begin on Friday at Shimla, the capital of Indian state of Himachal, marking the 50th anniversary of two neighbouring countries relations.
The dialogue aims to review bilateral relations and further boost ties in various fields of cooperation between the two friendly countries, sources said.

India’s wheat delivery to Afghanistan through Pakistan to begin in days
The Khaama Press | 15th February
INDIA TODAY has cited its sources as saying India’s 50,000 tonnes of wheat shipment to Afghanistan via Pakistan to begin as soon as next week.
In the meantime, diplomatic sources have also confirmed that hurdles in shipping the 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and medicines have now been removed and India has handed over a list of trucks and contractors to Pakistan.

India donates 100,000 COVID-19 antigen test kits to Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 15th February
The Government of India has donated 100,000 Covid-19 antigen test kits to Sri Lanka worth around Rs.110 million.
The High Commissioner of India to Colombo Gopal Baglay handed over the donation to Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella at the Ministry of Health today (15).

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan’s assets should be returned quickly: Chinese envoy to UN
The Khaama Press | 18th February
China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun said that Afghanistan’s overseas assets should be returned quickly and in full to the Afghan people.
The envoy made the remarks at a Security Council meeting on cooperation between the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
This comes after US president Joe Biden allocated $3.5 billion out of the $7 billion reserves of Afghanistan to compensate the victims of 9/11.

US Will Not Support Armed Oppositions of Current Afghan Authorities: Envoy
Afghanistan Times | 16th February
Talking to the US Institute of Peace, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West said that his country will not support any organized armed opposition against the Islamic Emirate and it will even “discourage other power from doing so as well”.
He downplayed the honesty of Pakistan in the Afghan peace process- begun by the US then-president Donald Trump in 2018 and ended up in 2021 mid-August with a military victory for the Islamic Emirate that put an end to the 20-year of US military presence in Afghanistan.

Europe pledges $11 M to Afghanistan’s educational sector
The Khaama Press | 16th February
Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that European representatives pledged $11 million to Afghanistan’s educational sector and added that the money will increase based on the needs.
The meeting was conducted in the Qatari capital Doha where the acting Foreign Minister of the IEA, Amir Khan Motaqi is leading a delegation that is meeting the city-based European diplomats.
 

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh, US air forces to conduct tactical airlift exercise from 20 Feb
Prothom Alo | 16th February
Airmen from the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, and the Bangladesh air force (BAF) will participate in exercise ‘Cope South 22’ between 20 and 25 February at BAF Kurmitola Cantonment, Dhaka, and Operating Location-Alpha, Sylhet, Bangladesh.
The programme, sponsored by Pacific Air Forces, is a bilateral tactical airlift exercise, said a report of pacaf.af.mil published on 11 February.

Singapore upbeat about Bangladesh’s economic potential
Bangladesh Post | 17th February
President of Singapore Halimah Yacob has said Singapore remains one of the top investors in Bangladesh, and continues to be upbeat about Bangladesh’s economic potential. 
"Singapore also appreciates the important contributions of the Bangladeshi community in Singapore, including towards our country’s development," she said in a message to her Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Hamid.

India to bear 80% of dredging work cost of Meghna River on Bangladesh side
Dhaka Tribune | 17th February
The Indian government has agreed to fund 80% of the total cost of dredging work in the Meghna River in the Bangladesh side to operationalize the Indo-Bangla waterway connecting the Gomati River, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has said.
The remaining part will have to be borne by the host country, Deb told reporters after meeting with Indian Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonawal on Tuesday night, reports The Economic Times.
 

BHUTAN

Vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 likely to reach by the end of February
Kuensel | 18th February
Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are expected to arrive by the end of this month if things work as per the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) plan.
A health official, who did not want to be named, said the government placed an order for 180,000 doses of Pfizer paediatric vaccines from the Pfizer company.
According to the source, the vaccine is set to arrive on February 28.
There are about 83,000 children aged from 5 to 11 in the country.

External debt rises to Nu 222.72B  
Kuensel | 17th February
The country’s external debt rose by 1.3 percent (to Nu 222.72 billion) as of the end of December 2021 compared with the end of September the same year.
This is according to the Ministry of Finance, which means the country’s external debt increased by Nu 2.89B.
According to the ministry’s public debt situation report, the increase is attributed to the disbursement of USD 30 million (M) by the Asian Development Bank for the Financial Market Development Programme.
 

MALDIVES

Defence Minister: ‘India Out’ one of the most dangerous campaigns
Sun | 18th February
The Minister of Defence Mariya Didi on Thursday branded the opposition’s ‘India Out’ campaign as one of the most dangerous campaigns in the recent history of Maldives.
Speaking at the Parliament’s Committee on National Security's (214 Committee) investigative meeting regarding the effects of the opposition’s activities, the minister said that the campaign was a great threat to national security.

India donates medical equipment to Senahiya Hospital
The Edition | 15th February
The Government of India donated medical equipment to The Senahiya Hospital of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
The equipment was handed over to the Maldivian government by Indian Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar at a special ceremony held at the MNDF Headquarters. Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi accepted the medical supplies on behalf of the Maldivian government.
 

MYANMAR

New ASEAN Envoy to Myanmar Says He Wants to Meet Junta Opponents
The Irrawaddy | 18th February
A regional special envoy to Myanmar on Thursday urged the country’s military junta to allow him to meet a shadow government it has branded a “terrorist” organization in order to break a deadlock between the military and opponents of the coup.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has led diplomatic efforts to end the chaos unleashed by last year’s putsch in Myanmar, which triggered mass protests and a deadly crackdown on dissent.

COVID-19 Cases Spike Again in Myanmar
The Irrawaddy | 16th February
Myanmar faces a sharp spike of reported COVID-19 cases and 2,467 confirmed cases were recorded by Tuesday night by the junta-controlled Ministry of Health. 
The ministry tested approximately 30,770 people and found an infection rate of 8 percent, it said on Tuesday night. It marked a sharp rise from Monday’s figure of 1,586. Three people died of coronavirus.
 

NEPAL

British Ambassador Pollitt, Minister Bhusal discuss energy-related issues
The Himalayan Times | 17th February
UK's Ambassador to Nepal Nicola Pollitt today called on the Minister of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal. During the meeting held at the latter's office in Singha Durbar, they discussed issues of mutual interest and common concerns.
Minister Bhusal pledged that Nepal would work closely in all areas of mutual interests.

Amid concerns about delays, ADB’s Nepal chief visits road project sites
The Kathmandu Post | 17th February
Amid concerns about delays, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Nepal Arnaud Cauchois visited the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Improvement Project sites in Narayanghat and Butwal and took stock of the construction work.
Cauchois’ two-day visit, from February 14, included meetings with ministers of economic affairs and cooperatives and physical infrastructure development of the Lumbini province, mayor of Butwal, senior government officials, and local authorities, according to the statement issued by the multilateral funding agency.
 

PAKISTAN

Foreign investment rises 11pc in first seven months
Dawn | 18th February
Foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by over 11 per cent during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (7MFY22), data shared by the State Bank of Pakistan showed.
However, the foreign investment declined by 35pc year-on-year in January. While it plunged by 50pc month-on-month reflecting a poor investment environment in the country.​​​​​​

Gen Qamar discusses Afghan situation with EU officials in Belgium
The Express Tribune | 18th February
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Secretary-General of the European External Action Services (EEAS) Stefano Sannino and Chairman of the EU Military Committee General Claudio Graziano during his official visit to Belgium.
During the meeting matters of mutual interest, overall regional security situation including the current situation in Afghanistan and bilateral relations with EU were discussed, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Pakistan Navy’s maritime exercise Seaspark-2022 begins
The Express Tribune | 17th February
The opening ceremony of the Pakistan Navy’s major maritime exercise Seaspark-22 was held in Karachi, a statement issued by the navy's media wing said.
The biennial exercise is steered to assess war preparedness and validate operational plans of the Pakistan Navy against the envisaged threat spectrum, especially in the maritime domain. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi graced the occasion as the chief guest.
 

SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka identifies 1,235 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, total rises to 633,051
Colombo Page | 17th February
According to Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry, 1,235 new COVID-19 infections were reported so far.
According to the Epidemiology Unit report at 7 pm Thursday, a total of 633,051 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
While 20,796 infected patients are currently under medical care at hospitals and homes, 596,329 patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals.​​​​​​

Xi extends congratulations on 65th anniversary of Sino-Lanka diplomatic relations
Daily Mirror | 18th February
Chinese President and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Chinese and Sri Lankan political parties celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, the Chinese Embassy said.

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