Chinese President Xi Jinping began his first official trip to India on Wednesday (BBC), marking the first by a Chinese head of state in eight years. Xi's three-day visit, which follows a short trip to Sri Lanka, falls on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sixty-fourth birthday and is expected to seal $100 billion of Chinese investment (TOI) over five years in various sectors, including infrastructure. Despite the bid to build closer relations, tensions hover over the talks, including a recent Himalayan border incursion, an Indian-Vietnamese pact to explore resources (Reuters) in the South China Sea, and disagreements over visa policies (ET).
"The reason the leaders of the two countries sound so eager to promote close ties appears mostly to be that third parties are watching. For Mr Modi the opportunity is obvious. A few months into office, he is courting a variety of big countries simultaneously, the better to leverage one against the other," writes the Economist.
"Mr Modi's energetic diplomacy in his first few months in office seems to have put China on notice that Delhi is not without options in a rapidly evolving global geostrategic context. It has increased India's strategic space which Mr Modi would now like to leverage in his engagement with Beijing," writes Harsh V. Pant for the BBC.
"Though India's foreign policy has a strong strain of continuity and a reassessment of China has been on for some time, it has picked up pace since Narendra Modi's rise to power in May. The reasons have as much to do with the new prime minister's economic priorities as much as his worldview," writes Debasish Roy Chowdhury for the South China Morning Post.
SOUTH KOREA: President Geun-hye Park opened the door for a high-level dialogue (Yonhap) between South Korea's foreign minister and his North Korean counterpart. This announcement comes before both top diplomats are set to attend the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Top Islamic Leader's Death Sentence Commuted
Bangladesh's supreme court commuted the death sentence (AFP) of top Islamic leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who was sentenced last year by a war-crimes tribunal for acts committed against Hindus during Bangladesh's liberation war from Pakistan in 1971. The court's ruling led to clashes between police and secular demonstrators on Wednesday.
U.S. General Voices Possibility of Combat Troops Against ISIS
GAZA: Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations reached an agreement that will enable reconstruction (BBC) in the Gaza Strip following the Israel-Gaza conflict in July and August. UN monitoring of materials and construction aims to keep the peace in the area.
RUSSIA: Billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, one of Russia's richest men, was placed under house arrest and is under investigation for money laundering (Guardian). Critics accuse the Kremlin of making the move in an attempt to seize Yevtushenkov's oil assets