Following are the top foreign stories at 2000 hours

·3-min read

FGN49 UK-INDIA-2NDLD FTA UK opens 14-week consultation to fire 'starting gun' on FTA with India London: The UK government said on Tuesday that it has kicked off preparations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India, launching a 14-week consultation to seek the views of the public and business before formal negotiations begin later this year. By Aditi Khanna FGN8 US-LD PAKISTAN US security assistance to Pakistan remains suspended: Pentagon Washington/Islamabad: US President Joe Biden has continued his predecessor Donald Trump's policy on suspending security assistance to Pakistan and there is no clarity if the administration will change its stance in the future, the Pentagon has said. By Lalit K Jha & Sajjad Hussain FGN39 LANKA-SHIP-LD FIRE India sends help to Sri Lankan Navy to douse flames on fire-hit cargo vessel Colombo: India has dispatched two Coast Guard vessels and an aircraft to help the Sri Lankan Navy douse the flames on a container ship that caught fire off the coast of Colombo last week, amid intensified efforts by the coastal command to extinguish the fiery wreckage.

FGN42 NEPAL-SC-POLITICS Nepal SC to hear writ petitions against House dissolution on May 27 and 28 Kathmandu: Nepal's Supreme Court will hear on Thursday and Friday a bunch of writ petitions against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, according to media reports.

FGN18 VIRUS-WHO-COVAXIN WHO says 'more information' required from Bharat Biotech for emergency use listing of Covaxin New York/Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said “more information” is “required” from Bharat Biotech, which is seeking emergency use listing (EUL) for its Covaxin vaccine for COVID-19. By Yoshita Singh FGN2 US-JAISHANKAR Jaishankar's visit opportunity to review collaborations on key pillars of India-US ties Washington: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's visit to Washington DC later this week, the first by a top Indian minister under the Biden administration, is likely to focus on the whole gamut of the India-US relationship, ranging from strategic and bilateral ties to Quad and climate change, along with public health issues, which have become a top priority for the two countries now. By Lalit K Jha FGN37 UK-VIRUS-GUIDELINES UK issues localised directions on travel, gatherings to tackle B1.617.2 variant London: The UK government on Tuesday faced accusations of 'confusion and uncertainty' after it introduced additional guidance to curtail non-essential travel in and out of so-called hotspots of the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC), first identified in India, as part of measures to control the spread of the virus. by Aditi Khanna FGN47 UK-CONSERVATIVES-LD MUSLIMS Inquiry finds ‘anti-Muslim sentiment’ problem in UK Conservative Party London: Anti-Muslim sentiment remains a problem within the UK's ruling Conservative Party, an independent inquiry concluded on Tuesday – around two years after it was set up by Prime Minister Boris Johnson into whether the party he leads has procedures in place to tackle discrimination, including allegations of Islamophobia.

FGN32 NEPAL-POLITICS-NEPAL-OLI Expelled CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal accuses Oli of patronising brokers, mafias Kathmandu: Madhav Kumar Nepal, who was expelled from the ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), on Tuesday accused Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli of patronising brokers, mafias and goons which made the party weak. PTI TEAM NSA

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