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‘Indo-Japan strategic partnership aimed at counter balancing China’

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The ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ struck by India and Japan during the recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India is aimed at counter balancing China to emerge as regional powers, a state-run Chinese daily said today.

“Behind this special partnership is the ambition of the two countries to become regional powers and even global powers. It also reveals their intention to counterbalance a rising China,” an article in the state run Global Times said.

“The Japan-India ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ is becoming a reality. However, such special partnership seems to be fragile, given China’s firm economic ties with both, the two’s different preferences for strategic security and economic technologies and the gambling mentality of the leaders from both sides,” it said.

Tokyo and New Delhi are hoping to impose pressure on China by clinging to the other, but at the same time, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe are making efforts to improve ties with China.

“Neither wants to be the first one to clash with China, while both are prepared to seek gains from the other side’s conflicts with Beijing,” it said.

Referring to a number of agreements such as high-speed rail and defence technology and civilian use of nuclear power, it said, “Abe has achieved all his aims from his India visit and described the agreements as heralding a new era of cooperation between the two nations.”

“Whether this is a new era for the two is open for discussion. But what’s clear for India and Japan watchers is that Abe is pushing forward bilateral ties regardless of the costs,” it said in apparent reference highly concessional loans offered by Japan to bag the first high speed rail deal between Mumbai and Ahmedabad putting pressure on China, which is also trying to bag the bullet train contract in India.

“Knowing Abe’s intentions, Modi has made contrived promises to lure Abe making more compromises or even abandoning his principles,” it said.

“The cooperation of India and Japan on nuclear power and defence may exert a huge impact on the Asian landscape. The signing of the MoU indicates that Japan has steered away from its persistent principles by cooperating for the first time with a country that has not joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It means Japan admits that a country without joining the NPT can own nuclear weapons.

“This is a turning point in Japan’s nuclear policy,” it said

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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