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The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #16, 19 June 2023, Monday

Myanmar signs deal with Russia for wind power projects and international flights

ASEAN declines the meeting invitation hosted by Thailand with Myanmar generals

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #16, 19 June 2023, Monday

By Imamculine Joy Paul C, Melvin George and Lakshmi Parimala H



Two dead and 28 missing in floods

On 18 June Hindustan Times reported that Heavy monsoon rains in eastern Nepal have triggered major flooding and landslides, resulting in the deaths of two individuals and leaving 28 people missing. One worker at a hydropower project in Sankhuwasabha district was found dead, while 17 other employees are still unaccounted for. In Taplejung district, another person died and three family members remain missing after their houses were swept away. Rescue operations are underway, but damaged roads and bridges are hindering access to affected areas. Forecasters have issued alerts about rising river water levels, with continuous rainfall expected in the coming days. (Mallika Soni, “2 dead, 28 missing in Nepal floods. Worst not over yet, forecasters warn,” Hindustan Times, 18 June 2023)



Kholongchhu hydropower project to be constructed by DGPC

On 19 June Kuensel reported that the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) plans to build the 600MW Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Ltd with a debt-equity ratio of 70:30. They aim to secure 70% of debt financing from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), while the remaining 30% equity will be raised through capital markets. DGPC acquired full ownership of Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Ltd, and the project is expected to cost around Nu 54.40B. The project officials stated that the surplus power may be sold to India. (Dechen Dolkar, “DGPC to construct Kholongchhu hydropower project,” Kuensel, 19 June 2023)



Myanmar signs deal with Russia for wind power projects and international flights

On 15 June, the Junta electricity minister Thaung Han signed an MoU with NovaWind, a subsidiary of Rosatom, a Russian state-owned nuclear firm. According to the forum, 116 MW wind power projects are under planning in the Magway region, Mandalay region and Kyaukpadaung township. Dr. Kan Zaw, junta’s investment and foreign economic relations minister said that the myanmar airways international will do once a week service from Yangon and Mandalay to Moscow and Novosibirsk from July. On the same day, a payments agreement was signed between Myanmar Payment Union and Russia’s National Payment Card System. On 17 June, Than Than Swe, the junta-appointed Central Bank of Myanmar governor, discussed with Elvira Nabiullina, the Bank of Rusia chair on capacity-building initiatives, financial cooperation and mutual payments through integrated cards. The governor told Sputnik that Myanmar is planning to join the BRICS operated New Development Bank. (Hein Htoo Zan, “Myanmar Junta Signs Wind Power, Direct Flights and Financial Deals With Russia,” The Irrawaddy, 19 June 2023).              



ASEAN declines the meeting invitation hosted by Thailand with Myanmar generals

On 19 June, Al Jazeera reported that the outgoing government of Thailand is planning to host talks in the city of Pattaya with the Myanmar military leaders. It is aiming to discuss a broad range of topics in addition to the efforts of ASEAN to bring an end to the violence in Myanmar. The report said the foreign ministers from Laos, Cambodia, India, China, Brunei, and Vietnam along with Myanmar will be attending the meeting. ASEAN leaders decided in 2021 to exclude Myanmar on account of the coup that happened in Myanmar and the violence that followed. The ASEAN members declined the invitation saying there was no consensus so far in the bloc to bring peace processes. A statement from Malaysia criticized Thailand for undermining ASEAN unity. On 19 June, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai gave justification that the meeting is organized on behalf of ASEAN and it is an open invitation. He said the meeting is to give Myanmar a chance to give an update on the situation as Thailand is facing the surge of refugees into the common border which is affecting its trade.  (Thailand to host meeting to ‘fully re-engage’ Myanmar’s generals,  Al Jazeera, 19 June 2023)



NIA charges 13 over speculation of reviving LTTE

On 17 June, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet against 13 people in the India-Sri Lanka illegal drugs and arms trade case. According to the NIA, the accused were trying to use the drug trade to channel funds for the revival of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in India and Sri Lanka. The accused included ten Sri Lankans and three Indians. Further, India Today reported that the accused were booked under the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. (“NIA files charge sheet against 13 in India-Sri Lanka illegal drugs, arms trade case,” The Island, 19 June 2023)



Approach relevant authorities with evidence of torture says President

On 19 June, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih responded to a letter from the opposition PPM-PNC. In the letter, the opposition accused President of torturing former President Yameen and also of losing a portion of Maldives in a maritime dispute with Mauritius. It further blamed him for the deadlock in the parliament. In response to the allegations, President wrote that they approach relevant authorities with viable evidence in relation to any harmful activities while reinstating his non-involvement in such acts. (“Pres Solih urges PPM-PNC coalition to approach authorities over alleged torture,” Avas, 19 June 2023)

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