Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: India appoints ambassadors to key countries

In one of the last set of appointments before the general elections, the Modi government this week nominated ambassadors to some key countries. Sanjeev Singla, currently private secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been posted as the new ambassador to Tel Aviv, a key partner for India. Ruchira Kamboj currently high commissioner to South Africa will be India’s next Ambassador to Bhutan. Bhutan is India’s most important neighbor. Jaideep Sarkar, India’s current envoy to Bhutan will swap places with Kamboj and is headed to Pretoria as India’s new Ambassador to South Africa. Pranay Verma, joint secretary in charge of East Asia where he is in charge of China, Japan and South Korea will be the next envoy to Vietnam.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-appoints-ambassadors-to-key-countries/articleshow/67592340.cms

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Newsline: Attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi allegedly planned in Afghanistan

Police in Pakistan alleged that a deadly attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year was planned in Afghanistan with the support of India’s spy agency – a claim India has denied. Karachi police chief Amir Shaikh also highlighted the grave security risks Beijing is facing over its ambitious investment scheme in the region. Five suspects – all from Pakistani separatist group the Balochistan Liberation Army – have been arrested in Karachi, Hub and Quetta over the attack, Shaikh told media on Friday, according to The Express Tribune. During the attack on November 23, three militants attempted to enter the Chinese consulate in Karachi but were shot dead by police at the checkpoint. Two police officers and two civilians were also killed during the exchange of fire. The BLA claimed responsibility for the attack.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2181826/attack-chinese-consulate-karachi-planned-afghanistan-aided

Newsline: Afghanistan’s diplomat to India resigns

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Dr Shaida Mohammad Abdali, resigned during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to India. The Ambassador announced his resignation on Twitter, at the end of President Ashraf Ghani’s one-day visit to Delhi. “Serving my country for years in India, I felt the need to return and serve my country from within,” Dr Abdali wrote. According to Indian media, the timing of Dr Abdali’s resignation has strengthened speculation that he has differences with the Ghani government and will run for office on return.

https://nation.com.pk/20-Sep-2018/afghanistans-diplomat-to-india-resigns

Newsline: India Has 1.3 Billion People, But Fewer Than 1,000 Diplomats

Indian officials say an understaffed foreign ministry is holding back Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to seek greater global influence in line with his country’s fast-growing $2.6 trillion economy. The nation of 1.3 billion people only deploys around as many diplomats as New Zealand, which has a population of around 5 million. “We’re woefully under-equipped,” said former junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, an opposition lawmaker who chairs India’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs. “This is not worthy of a country of India’s size and ambition.” The need for a well-staffed foreign ministry in New Delhi is only growing more urgent, particularly as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration emphasizes outreach to the “Indo-Pacific” region in a bid to elevate India as a counterweight to China. New Delhi has started to take a leading role in pushing back against China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, which is encroaching on India’s South Asian backyard. India also has lots of unfinished goals. It’s angling for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, while trying to defend the global mobility of its IT workers overseas as protectionism rises.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/india-s-diplomat-shortage-leaves-it-far-behind-asian-rival-china

Newsline: Suicide attack close to Indian consulate in Afghanistan kills 14

Jalalabad, Afghanistan: A suicide attack in restive eastern Afghanistan on Sunday killed at least 14 people and wounded 45, an official said, the second attack in as many days to mark an unprecedented ceasefire. The explosion happened outside the Nangarhar provincial governor´s office in the capital Jalalabad, his spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. It was also close to the Indian consulate. Khogyani said 14 people had been killed and 45 wounded. An Afghan security source confirmed the suicide attack but gave a lower death toll of at least 10. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/330637-suicide-attack-close-to-indian-consulate-in-afghanistan-kills-14

Newsline: India summons Pakistan diplomat

India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah over Islamabad’s so-called Gilgit-Baltistan order, and told him that any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under his country’s forcible occupation has no legal basis. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said it conveyed to Shah that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ areas, is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. Through its order on Gilgit-Baltistan on May 21, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has seized more authority from the local council to deal with the affairs of the region. Civil rights groups in Pakistan have criticised the order. “Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable. Instead of seeking to alter the status of the occupied territories, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the MEA said. The ministry said it was also conveyed to the Pakistani deputy envoy that such actions can neither hide the illegal occupation of a part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan-occupied territories.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/world/india-summons-pakistan-diplomat-over-gilgit-baltistan-order/1284882

Newsline: India court jails ex-diplomat for spying for Pakistan

An Indian diplomat convicted of passing state secrets to Pakistan’s intelligence services has been jailed for three years, her lawyer said on Sunday. Madhuri Gupta was found guilty in a New Delhi court on Friday of “spying and wrongful communication of information” while posted to the Indian embassy in Islamabad. Gupta, 61, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly passing information to the spy agency. The low-level diplomat was detained for alleged breaches of India’s official secrets act and held for two years before being released on bail. Her lawyer, Joginder Dahiya, said Gupta would appeal her sentencing in a higher court.

https://nation.com.pk/20-May-2018/india-court-jails-ex-diplomat-for-spying-for-pakistan