rediff.com  web 

Columns

March 31, 2010
The trivialisation of our public debates
The huge political furore created after Amitabh Bachchan attended a function at the Mumbai sea-link shows that trivial issues score over issues of substance, writes Mahesh Vijapurkar.
March 30, 2010
View: Obama kickstarts India's nuclear deal
With the agreement over processing of spent nuclear fuel, a major stumbling block for the 'operationalisation' of the Indo-US nuclear deal has been removed
March 29, 2010
This is undoubtedly Pak army's moment
As Washington tries to find its way out of Afghanistan, Pakistan has emerged as the central player dictating the terms of this emerging endgame in South Asia, notes Harsh Pant. Chechen separatists behind Moscow terror?
Al Qeada-backed Chechen separatists may have been behind the Moscow suicide blasts. Security expert B Raman examines the surge in terror in Central Asia. Playing with fire: What the Kolkata inferno means
The Indonesian phrase Semunya bisa diatur - Everything can be arranged - comes to mind as I read of the factors that helped to transform Calcutta's Stephen Court into a towering inferno. Clearly, there's nothing money can't buy. This is the compelling impetus of the tradesmen who have taken over Calcutta. This is still a city that thinks today what Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and other Indian cities will think tomorrow, but those thoughts are focused on maximising profit. The working of India's democracy
In the words of Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, in a recent article, "The US is paralysed in the face of mass unemployment and out-of-control health-care costs. Don't blame Obama. There's only so much one man can do, even if he sits in the White House. Blame our political culture instead, a culture that rewards hypocrisy and irresponsibility rather than serious efforts to solve America's problems." Kayani and Qureshi did not go empty handed
'Pakistan has received assurances that no dispensation in Afghanistan will be inimical to Pakistani interests and that Pakistan will have a say in the determination of the future of the region. India can't object to US sleeping with the enemy
The US may need to develop a closer relationship with Pakistan to deal with Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism, but it should take India into confidence, writes K Subrahmanyam.
March 26, 2010
The genocide we and the world forgot
When we can raise your voice for 2,000 Muslims (the official figures are much less) killed in Gujarat and we should, we must cry from the rooftops for 2.4 million Hindus killed in 1971 or the 250,000 Kashmiri Pandits forced out of their homes in Kashmir. Why do we not? US has strengthened Pak army, weakened govt
As Washington tries to find its way out of Afghanistan, Pakistan has emerged as the central player dictating the terms of this emerging endgame in South Asia. Pakistan's army chief General Ashraf Kayani and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led a delegation to the US this week to reopen ministerial level 'strategic dialogue' talks with the Barack Obama administration. Pak-US: An opportunistic tactical dialogue
The Pakistanis play quid pro quo diplomacy better than India does. They know how to promote their national interests while taking advantage of the needs of the US in the Afghaistan-Pakistan region, notes B Raman. Why India needs to nurture Bangladesh
In a deteriorating neighbourhood, only Bangladesh offers a ray of hope, writes Brigadier (retd) S K Chatterji. Why March 26 should be apology day for Pakistan
On March 26, the government of Pakistan should apologise to the people of Bangladesh for the genocide of March 1971, says Hamid Mir.
March 25, 2010
View: It's time to expedite defence acquisition
Defence equipment should be chosen on the basis of technology-transfer and co-production considerations, K Subrahmanyam observes Why the women's bill is fatally flawed
Giving women an increased share in legislatures may be a good idea but it would have been better had the Manmohan Singh ministry applied a little more thought before placing the bill in Parliament. View: Nitin Gadkari has failed his first test
Nitin Gadkari had raised expectations as a no-nonsense man who meant business. Even as he has tried to synchronise the pulls and pressures that any head of a political organisation would have to, the composition of his new team, his first real test as party chief, has been disappointing. What is more, he has failed to come across as his own man.
March 22, 2010
The burnt-out case of David Headley
The Headley case highlights that the Indian government proved incapable of assessing the geopolitical dimensions of the US-led war in Afghanistan, while Pakistan has shrewdly exploited the fallacies in India's foreign policy orientation to navigate itself to an unprecedented geopolitical positioning, writes M K Bhadrakumar. It's our turn to help in Haiti
It's time for us to think big, proportionate to our size. By contributing in a big way to the relief operations in quake-hit Haiti, India is making its debut into the league of big nations, writes Manjeet Kripalani.
March 21, 2010
View: SIT process is Modi's chance to come clean
Whatever the SIT's verdict, and however long it may take, Modi must come clean and explain his role. He has no option but to try and win over those he has alienated.
March 20, 2010
David Headley case: US has let down India badly
All governments indulge in spin. One should not, therefore, blame the government of Dr Manmohan Singh for indulging in spin in the case of David Coleman Headley, of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, and for trying to mislead the hapless Indian public with the help of obliging journalists that the plea bargain entered into by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with Headley was not a setback, but a great triumph for Indian diplomacy.
March 19, 2010
The UPA's second great nuclear folly
The nuclear liability bill is fatally flawed. It's designed to shield the nuclear industry from discharging its public responsibility. It must be scrapped, writes Praful Bidwai India should now focus on Tahawwur Rana
Now that David Headley has pleaded guilty, it is settled that he will not be extradited to India and that India will not be allowed to interrogate him.
March 18, 2010
India-Russia ties: Strong but with irritants
The four pillars on which the relationship rests strategic congruence; defence and space partnership; nuclear power generation; and hydrocarbons remain biased in favour of Russia. Putin's visit gave little hope that this was about to change. View: US won't let truth regarding Headley emerge
Unless one is naive beyond redemption, it was clear from the beginning that the Obama Administration and its FBI were trying frantically to prevent the truth regarding Headley from coming out, writed B Raman. View: India can't sit out great issues of our time
India has to leverage its "swing" status, engage with all and align with none, observes Shyam Saran
March 17, 2010
The slide in Indian universities
It would make sense to have a re-look at the Indian universities and evolve ways and means to arrest the slide and then refurbish it in every which way. Or else in a global village, we could be left out and offer the world only code-writers for computers and agents for business process outsourced arrangements. India looks beyond Tehran in the Gulf
With his visit to Saudi Arabia, Dr Singh has re-emphasised that when it comes to the Gulf, Iran will not be the focus of Indian foreign policy.
March 16, 2010
Hanging on a Bill: Govt faces riskier days ahead
With the United Progressive Alliance almost isolated in the wake of the Women's Reservation Bill, the government has decided to avoid the process of voting as far as possible. With the numbers being thin on the ground and the opposition's unity have made it difficult for the Congress-led UPA to get its way on the key legislation.
March 15, 2010
The unfinished business of the nuclear deal
'A strategic relationship entails mutual faith and confidence, which seem to be lacking at Sharad Joshi: The Women's Lottery Bill
Economist, agriculturist and farmer leader Sharad Joshi, was the lone member of Rajya Sabha who voted against the woman's reservation bill on March 9. He explains his reservations against the bill.
March 12, 2010
Sonia has sent a powerful message to Indian women
Congress president Sonia Gandhi appears to be playing for larger -- and long term -- stakes and the move to provide reservation to women is not bereft of political calculations, writes Neerja Chowdhury Greenpeace on Nuclear Liability Bill: Drop it
Greenpeace has also launched a petition addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which the organisation claims has been signed by over 21,000 people. UPA should stand firm on Women's Bill
Reservations for women will not dramatically and automatically redeem systematic, pervasive discrimination reservations but it will play a key role in bringing women's concerns to bear on public debate and official policies. View: Getting to the 1,412th tiger
Want to increase the number of tigers? Pay people quickly and generously for the crops destroyed or the cattle killed Scary echoes of Bhopal in Nuclear Liability Bill
There's far too much to be said against Nuclear Liability Bill
March 11, 2010
AMU: Who will stem the rot?
One of India's highest funded institutions of higher learning and research, the Aligarh Muslim University, appears in media, more often than not, for the wrong reasons, for which, essentially speaking, the onus lies more on the AMU. China slows its defence spending, on paper
India, however, would be well advised to take this decrease in Chinese defence spending with a pinch of salt, writes Harsh V Pant.
March 09, 2010
Chinese media: Half a step towards openness?
Like everything else in China, its largely State-controlled media too is changing, and changing rapidly, writes Nitin Gokhale. View: Tharoor is a victim of Hinglish?
But why is Tharoor so much an attraction for the uppish media and the conceited politicians? Here is someone, a new entrant to politics, made a minister despite being a first time MP, well-travelled, armed with a formidable curriculum vitae, techno-savvy and witty. Need any more reasons for good old envy?
March 08, 2010
Only miracle can save the women's bill now
There was shock within the non-Congress Members of Parliament to see how the government remained inactive within the Rajya Sabha when the Women's Reservation Bill was tabled on Monday. A Gandhi in Egypt
Today, ElBaradei is emerging as the Gandhi of Egypt, advocating a civil disobedience movement to bring about change after 30 years of "stillness and subservience". His return to Cairo after acquiring respect domestically and internationally was, in some respects, like the return of Gandhiji from South Africa to his motherland. He has kindled hope for change, even if the odds are heavy
March 05, 2010
Why the vote on the women's bill is important
Political pundits, sociologists, political scientists, feminists and historians and almost everybody has said that if the bill becomes an act then it will be the biggest socio-political news since independence. This will have the impact bigger than the Mandal Commission that gave reservation to lower castes and it will go deeper than the Ayodhya movement that attempted to ignite Hindu identity cutting across caste barriers. View: If Husain feels betrayed, so does India
If Husain feels betrayed by the treatment being meted out to him in the country of his birth, India too has reasons to feel betrayed by its globally celebrated son, writes Mahendra Ved. Please end the daily tamasha at Wagah
The need and necessity for Pakistan to do all this is self evident. That country is founded on hate. But by participating in this mindless display of 'jingoism' (not confident nationalism), we Indians descend to the level of Pakistan.
March 04, 2010
Pakistan conundrum: Dealing with an unholy trinity
Continued negotiation is a futile and counter-productive proposition with no deterrent value serving merely as a ruse for Pakistan to mollify the world community even as it persists with its anti-India activities, writes Vivek Gumaste.
March 03, 2010
India's negotiations: Only form, no content
There is a ritualised quality with the negotiations conducted by the Indian government; and this may be fitting in the context of many other things done in India, where one goes through the motions. Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?
With Melbourne, Australia has taken the first step to join the ranks of yesteryear Pretoria, South Africa and Birmingham, Alabama. Over the last two years, there have been an increasing number of attacks on Indians here. Lives have been lost or severe injuries inflicted upon members of an unarmed, peaceful Indian community.
March 02, 2010
Defence Budget: In need of direction
India has a government that has no strategic vision, a defence minister more interested in maintaining his 'clean' image, an armed forces leadership that is not interested in cleaning the mess within. Is it any wonder then that India presents itself as a sitting duck to its adversaries? asks Harsh V Pant. Global jihad's evolving strategy: Focus Al Qaeda
The global jihadi network is under pressure but it needs a long-term strategy to keep it in control, writes Brigadier S K Chatterji (retd). View: It's futile to expect Saudi help on terror
It would be futile to expect that Saudi Arabia could be of assistance to India in dealing with jihadi terrorism emanating from Pakistan or Bangladesh. There has been a long history of links between jihadi terrorist elements in India and Saudi Arabia ever since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992
Archives
February 2010