International security: India should be proactive: ASEAN All leaders at the just concluded ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit had urged India to play a proactive role in the Asia-Pacific region, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here on Friday. ASEAN rising As leaders of the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered in New Delhi this week, India’s ties with ASEAN got a dose of both symbolism and substance. The ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, followed by their attendance at the Republic Day parade as joint chief guests, underlined the new consensus on the need for Southeast Asia and India to boost cooperation. Natural partners in the Asian century There is a need for a fresh perspective in India’s China policy Trump must walk the talk: Karzai Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai called upon U.S. President Donald Trump to “walk the talk” on curbing Pakistan’s support of extremist forces. Mr. Trump, in a tweet at the beginning of the year, had chastised Pakistan for giving “safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”. India ASEAN target swift deal on RCEP(The Hindu) With an aim to further trade ties, India and ASEAN on Friday agreed to target a swift conclusion to the comprehensive and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2018. The ASEAN embrace (The Hindu Opinion) Prime Minister Narendra Modi used India’s Republic Day to host heads of state/government of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As India’s ‘Look East Policy’, matures into an ‘Act East Policy’, a strong relationship with ASEAN is no longer a policy option; rather it is an economic and strategic necessity. Doklam blown out of proportion(The Hindu) India’s Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale has called for a new phase of dialogue between the countries to foster a stronger post-Doklam “partnership.” In an interview to the Global Times , ahead of the Republic Day, he said the stand-off last year should be viewed in a historical perspective.
Economy: Govt relaxes Atal pension plan norms(The Hindu) The Centre would now allow small finance banks and payment banks to offer the Atal Pension Yojana (APY), which is expected to significantly increase the coverage of the scheme. Bad loans shrink from record peak(The Hindu) India’s stock of soured bank loans shrank slightly in the quarter to September last year, the first pullback since a drive to clean up record levels of bad debt began in 2015 and signalling that tighter rules and a new bankruptcy code may be starting to show results. The oil risk (The Hindu Editorial) India needs to expedite steps that can help minimise the impact of higher oil prices Internal security: Armed forces set to be reduced in Northeast(The Hindu) The Home Ministry will conduct a “security audit” in the Northeast and chalk out a plan to reduce the number of Central armed police force personnel deployed there. Science and Technology: Fossil shows modern humans left Africa earlier than thought Scientists have announced the discovery of a fossilised human jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 1,77,000 and 1,94,000 years old.