Bangkok defends deal for Chinese sub
BANGKOK • The Thai government yesterday defended the earmarking of US$393 million (S$547 million) for a Chinese submarine, batting back criticism of the secrecy of the deal, its cost and the questionable utility of the warship.
The submarine sale is the latest defence deal between Beijing and Bangkok, which have grown ever closer since Thailand's 2014 coup.
Mattis sees 'tough year' in Afghanistan
KABUL • United States Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warned of "another tough year" in Afghanistan as he arrived on Monday on an unannounced visit, hours after his Afghan counterpart resigned over a deadly Taleban attack that triggered anger and left the embattled army in disarray, reported Reuters.
Replying to a question about reports of an alleged influx of Russian arms into Afghanistan for the Taleban, Mr Mattis said the US will engage with Russia diplomatically and confront Russia if it goes against international law, Turkey's Anadolu Agency reported.
India's Maoists 'use villagers as shields'
RAIPUR (India) • Maoist rebels who killed 25 paramilitary troops in an ambush in central India used local villagers as human shields, a survivor said yesterday.
India's Maoists claim to be fighting for the land rights of marginalised tribal communities. Their insurgency has claimed around 10,000 lives since it started in the 1960s and is considered to be India's most serious internal security threat.