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Daily Brief: Indian PM Tells Congress U.S. Is 'Indispensable Partner'

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June 9, 2016

Daily News Brief

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Indian PM Tells Congress U.S. Is 'Indispensable Partner'

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told the U.S. Congress that the United States is an "indispensable partner" in "every sector of India’s forward march." Modi drew eight standing ovations (Hindustan Times) during a speech Wednesday in which he addressed terrorism, maritime security in Asia, the continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, and deepening economic ties between the countries. In an earlier meeting with President Barack Obama, Obama endorsed India's bid to join the Missile Technology Control Regime and Nuclear Suppliers Group (BBC) and announced that a U.S. company would build six nuclear reactors in India (WSJ)


"[T]he relationship with India rests on a dangerous bargain. For years, the United States has sought to bend the rules for India’s nuclear program to maintain India’s cooperation on trade and to counter China’s growing influence. In 2008, President George W. Bush signed a civilian nuclear deal with India that allowed it to trade in nuclear materials. This has encouraged Pakistan to keep expanding a nuclear weapons program that is already the fastest growing in the world," writes the New York Times.

"The prime minister has an unresolved — and on the current evidence, unresolvable — paradox. He wants to modernize India ('vikaas,' or 'development,' remains the word he deploys the most) without in any way refashioning or reimagining the Hindu-conservative ideology through which he and his party understand the world. The result is that he drags India forward with one hand and backward with another," writes Chandrahas Choudhury for Foreign Policy.

"Although the present Indian government does not emphasize nonalignment or its successor term, 'strategic autonomy' in the same way its predecessors did, New Delhi’s model for its own foreign relations focuses on the idea that 'the world is a family.' India does not seek alliance relationships, seeing them as potential constraints on its freedom of choice," CFR's Alyssa Ayres said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.


Japan Protests Chinese Warship Near Disputed Island

A Japanese minister said the country was "gravely concerned" (Japan Times) after a Chinese frigate sailed near the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, claimed both by China and Japan (AP) in the East China Sea.

This CFR Global Conflict Tracker explains the ongoing tensions in the East China Sea.

PHILIPPINES: The UN special rapporteur on summary executions rebuked (Phil Star) President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for saying journalists were not exempted from assassinations. The rapporteur said such comments were "irresponsible in the extreme."


Pakistan Asks U.S. to Support Bid to Enter Nuclear Suppliers Group

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States formally asked the U.S. government to support its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Dawn), following U.S. President Barack Obama's endorsement of India's membership.


Israel Suspends Palestinian Permits Following Tel Aviv Attack

Four people were killed in an attack on a Tel Aviv nightspot, an assault police said was carried out by two Palestinians from the West Bank (Middle East Eye). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the suspension of 83,000 permits for Palestinians to enter Israel for family visits or to pray at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem (Haaretz).

IRAQ: Government forces announced they had entered the city limits of Fallujah after a more than two week-long offensive to retake the city from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (WSJ). In Baghdad, near-simultaneous blasts close to a military base and at a market in a predominantly Shia neighborhood killed at least eighteen people (Middle East Eye).


UN Accuses Eritrea's Leaders of Crimes Against Humanity

A UN inquiry found Eritrea's government and military leaders responsible for ongoing crimes such as torture, enslavement, rape, and murder (NYT). The UN highlighted the forced conscription of young people into endless programs of national service, driving many to flee to Europe.  

This CFR Backgrounder discusses authoritarianism in Eritrea and its role in the global migrant crisis.

LIBERIA: Liberia will declare itself free of the Ebola virus on Thursday, forty-two days after the last known patient tested negative for the second time for the disease (AFP).  

This CFR Backgrounder looks at the Ebola outbreak and the international response.


Extradited Smuggling Suspect Could Be Case of Mistaken Identity

A man accused of being one of the world's most wanted human smugglers and who was extradited from Sudan to Italy Wednesday may instead be a 27-year-old Eritrean refugee with the same first name as the suspect (Guardian), authorities said.

GERMANY: The speaker of the German parliament denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for "hate-filled threats and smears" made against German lawmakers of Turkish ancestry (DW) following a vote to refer to the Ottoman-era killings of Armenians as genocide.

CFR's Steven A. Cook discusses Turkey's relationship with its neighbors at a CFR meeting. 


Spain to Propose EU Humanitarian Aid Plan for Venezuela

Spain's foreign minister said he would propose a humanitarian plan to be carried out jointly by the Venezuelan government and opposition-controlled congress at a June 20 meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels (El Universal).

BRAZIL: A new poll put the approval rating of Interim President Michel Temer at 11.3 percent (LAHT), with 46.6 percent of respondents saying that there would be no change in corruption levels under Temer compared to now-suspended President Dilma Rousseff. Some 62.4 percent polled said that putting Rousseff on trial for impeachment charges was the correct decision (Mercopress).

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