Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program: Cross-Cultural, Geopolitical & Regional Education

LDESP PACOM News Update – March 2012

NOTE: This is an excerpt. Click here to view the news update in its entirety.

The monthly PACOM update includes news coverage from Pakistan to the Pacific Islands. As with all LDESP news briefs, the information contained within the PACOM update is to increase situational awareness. The PACOM update will focus on issues concerning South Asia, South East Asia, North East Asia, China, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, including articles central to transpacific security and stability, as well as political and economic issues that may impact the region and U.S national interests in the region.

Disclaimer: Articles are taken from established and diverse professional periodicals, news articles, and editorial commentaries from different countries, reflecting a range of political views/biases, that are intended to provide readers with a better understanding of various interests and perspectives regarding the situation in the region. News summaries may highlight only a portion of an article that is relevant to the readers and may not necessarily be the focus of the entire article or the headline. Opinions expressed in the articles, commentaries, and featured topics do not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, the US Navy, or the LDESP staff.


India embraced Pakistan’s plan to dismantle trade barriers for exports to its neighbor, auguring closer economic ties between the South Asian nations that have fought three wars since attaining independence six decades ago. “Flourishing trade is the biggest confidence building measure among any two nations” and improved economic engagement will help build peace and stability, India’s Trade Minister Anand Sharma said in a statement on 29 February. Sharma visited Pakistan in January. Pakistan’s cabinet approved a proposal to remove restrictions on prohibited imports from India by December, according to a statement from Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s media office on 29 February. The nuclear-armed rivals agreed last year to broaden the number of goods that can be traded between the countries and to grant more business visas as they move to normalize economic ties that have been hampered by distrust and hostility since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947. They vowed to dismantle tariffs on about 8,000 items by the end of this year, with all restrictions being lifted by 2013. Pakistan confirmed India’s so-called most-favored nation status on 29 February, giving its neighbor equal standing in international trade by removing non-tariff barriers, lowering customs duties and raising import quotas. India gave Pakistan that status in 1996. (Bloomberg)


As hopes grow in Sri Lanka that viable reserves of oil are about to be discovered in its seawaters, commentators are speculating about the intentions of India, China and Russia in prospecting for it. Recent Indian media reports suggested that India does not want countries other than itself and Sri Lanka to get involved in oil exploration in the Palk Strait between the two countries. But these have not been confirmed. Meanwhile the Sri Lankan government says it is “confident” that traces of petroleum in its waters will have commercial value. And it wants a variety of companies and countries to prospect for it. (BBC)
Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on 14 March invited Indian businessmen to invest in this country’s hydropower sector and promised to create a conducive environment for them. “Nepal government will focus its attention on developing the hydropower sector which will not only boost economic development of the country but also accelerate the overall development,” Bhattarai said, inaugurating the Hydropower Summit 2012 in Katmandu. He said the government would focus on exploiting the huge potential of hydropower of Nepal once the six-year-long peace process concludes. Development of hydropower can overcome the current power shortage in the country, speed up tourism and agriculture development, and enhance production capability of the country through rapid industrialisation, Bhattarai pointed out. He also asked Indian investors to invest in the hydropower sector of the country, promising that a conducive environment would be created for foreign investment and all woes of the investors would be addressed. (Economic Times)

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