India: Modi challenges China in Central Asia

Today's headlines: The US bans Chinese hi-tech giant China Unicom; Toyota still the world's top car seller; Burmese diocese of Pathien launches post-coup humanitarian crisis initiative; Missile attack in Yemen kills 5; Uzbek police arrest 30 jihadists on their way to Syria; Georgian Metropolitan of Akhalkala offers "protection" to former president Saakashvili.


Delhi yesterday held its first joint summit with the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Narendra Modi called for the creation of a formal cooperation mechanism between the participants. The Indian Prime Minister's challenge is to China, which has vast economic interests in Central Asia and held a forum with countries in the region on 25 January.


The United States has banned another Chinese hi-tech giant, charging it with espionage and threats to national security. The US Federal Communications Commission decided to block the activities of China Unicom. In October, the same ban had hit China Telecom: a move that was part of the technological war unleashed by Washington against Beijing.


For the second year running, Toyota sold the most cars in the world, again overtaking Germany's Volkswagen. In 2021, the Japanese carmaker placed 10.5 million vehicles (+11.3% compared to 2020), with strong sales in China and the United States.


The Catholic diocese of Pathien has created a "response team" to deal with the serious humanitarian emergency that has plagued the country since the military coup on February 1, 2021. According to Fr Henry Eikhlein, the diocesan administrator, the relief structure will help the activities of Caritas Myanmar.


At least five people were killed and 34 injured after a missile hit the town of Marib on 26 January. According to official Saba news agency, the attack was carried out by pro-Iranian Houthi rebels. The city is the last northern stronghold of government forces supported by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


Police in the capital Taskent arrested 30 members of the terrorist organisation "Tavkid va jihad katibati", who, according to the Security Services, were planning to join Islamic militias in Syria. Some of those arrested had come to the city for work from other provinces of the country.


The Georgian metropolitan of Akhalkala, Nikolaj (Pachuasvili), proposed to transfer former president Saakashvili from prison to house arrest on the territory of his diocese and under his guarantee. Nikolaj proposed himself as a mediator between the opposition leader and the government, in order to ease the tension in the country.