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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:54 GMT
Pakistan is located in South Asia and is bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, China and India. To the north are the Himalayan Mountains, which branch off into the Hindu Kush range. To the southwest is the vast Balochistan Plateau, which is arid and sparsely populated. In the south is the Thar Desert and a 650-mile coast along the Arabian sea. The Indus River begins in the Tibetan Plateau and cuts through the country’s eastern half. The river nourishes the fertile plains of the Punjab, the country’s populous core region and its political and economic heartland. Pakistan’s primary geographic challenge arises from its borders, which do not correspond to natural geographic boundaries. The modern borders of Pakistan were created in 1947, when the nation was carved out of the Muslim-majority northwest and northeast portions of India. The countries have fought three wars since independence, and each claims the territory of Kashmir. Bangladesh, then known as “East Pakistan,” gained independence from Pakistan in 1971 with India’s help. This reinforced the notion within Pakistan that India was an existential threat. Pakistan has long sought to gain influence in Afghanistan, both to secure strategic depth and to prevent Kabul from falling into New Delhi’s orbit. On the west, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan — called the Durand Line — has remained contentious since the British created it in 1893. Kabul claims that Afghanistan’s true boundary runs deep into Pakistan to absorb the Pashtun tribal belt divided between both countries. The mountainous terrain has made the region difficult to govern, ensuring that the border remains porous.
SITUATION REPORTJan 22, 2020 | 16:33 GMT
South Asia: Trump Holds Separate Meetings With Khan, Ghani
U.S. President Donald Trump held an hourlong meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, where both discussed a range of issues, including the Afghan peace process, boosting bilateral trade and the Kashmir dispute, Voice of America reported Jan. 21. Trump also met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss the country's security situation.
SITUATION REPORTJan 14, 2020 | 15:24 GMT
U.S.: Currency Manipulation Report Keeps Southeast Asian Countries on Watch List
The U.S. Treasury Department's currency manipulation report released Jan. 13 kept Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia on its monitoring list. Thailand, meanwhile, wasn't included on the list, although the report said Bangkok was close to triggering key thresholds for being added.
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