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Showing posts from February 28, 2010

Pakistan Army: the struggle within Praveen Swami Later this year, President Asif Ali Zardari will appoint a new army chief. Faultlines within the state could be forced open. “India,” Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari famously said in an October 2008 interview, “has never been a threat to Pakistan.” In his first major interview, given just a month after taking office, he described jihadists in Jammu and Kashmir as “terrorists.” He imagined “Pakistani cement factories being constructed to provide for India's huge infrastructure needs, Pakistani textile mills meeting Indian demand for blue jeans, Pakistani ports being used to relieve the congestion at Indian ones.” Early last month, Pakistan's army chief, General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, outlined a rather different vision. In a presentation to the media, he asserted that the Pakistan army was an “India-centric institution,” adding this “reality will not change in any significant way until the Kashmir i

BALOCHISTAN: PML-N leader shot dead in Khuzdar QUETTA - PML-N leader Sardar Aziz Umrani was among the three persons killed in two different incidents of target-killing in Khuzdar and Mastung towns on Saturday.According to reports, unidentified men, riding a motorcycle, opened indiscriminate firing on Umrani at Karkh Road in Khuzdar town. He died on the spot after receiving multiple wounds while three of his personal bodyguards were also injured. They were rushed to a local hospital where one of them succumbed to his injuries. Police say an inquiry has been ordered to unearth the motive behind the killing of the PML-N leader. According to some independent sources, Sardar Umrani was paralysed in a previous armed attack. The incidents of target-killings are continuing abated in Balochistan, as another person lost his live and his colleague was injured when unidentified attackers targeted them in Mastung town.

Foreign Influence and India-Pak Talks

South Asia Analysis Group By Bhaskar Roy No one expected the February 25, 2010 Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan to yield any result. And it did not. Both sides held on to their scripted stands except that the Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir liberally used sarcasm in his post meeting press conference. India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, on the other hand, held her position with dignity in her press conference. Salman Bashir’s press conference, pre-scripted and well rehearsed, was marked by his reference to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh twice. Bashir conveyed Pakistan’s message that Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister level talks were cosmetic steps to go upto Prime Ministerial level talks. To push the point, he saw to it that the Foreign Secretary level talks were made irrelevant. With both Foreign Secretaries agreeing to remain in touch, it was made clear they will be preparing the agenda for a Prime Ministerial level meeting most likely at Thim

Pragmatic Asia can bolster global stability

By KISHORE MAHBUBANI and SIMON CHESTERMAN DAVOS, Switzerland — Is there an "Asian way" for resolving global challenges? The conventional answer is no. But elements of an Asian way are gradually emerging. Given Asia's growing influence, the world should pay attention — and may have much to gain. The key to understanding Asian approaches is their pragmatism. Asians constantly adapt and change. In the past, Asians put a premium on protecting their sovereignty and were wary of any multilateral approaches that could dilute it. Now, in response to global challenges — for example, pandemics, financial crises and climate change — the vast majority of Asian countries understand that collective action does not erode but instead protects sovereignty. For example, despite losing faith in the International Monetary Fund after the region's financial crisis in 1997, they agreed to contribute billions to the IMF after the


B.RAMAN The Government-controlled Xinhua news agency of China has disseminated the following report on March 6,2010: "China UnionPay (CUP) began cash withdrawal services for card holders in 95 percent of automatic teller machines in the Maldives, after launching a partnership with the island nation's biggest bank Friday (March 5).Following cooperation between the CUP and the Bank of Maldives, CUP card payment services will expand to 90 percent of point-of-sale (POS) terminals in Maldives. The move aims to better serve card users as China has become the Maldives' fastest growing tourist source country since 2008, with visitors hitting 40,000 a year, said Cai Jianbo, CUP first executive Vice-President. The international network of the CUP reaches 84 countries and regions. CUP launched a card payment service in Brunei on Tuesday." ((7-3-2010) ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Insti

Menon meets Karzai, discusses security of Indians

Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country. Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects. The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered. Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul atta

Them and US

Shekhar Gupta Posted: Saturday , Mar 06, 2010 at 0242 hrs There was nothing un-Holbrooke-like about his utterly insensitive statement that the Kabul attack had not particularly targeted Indians. The use of really awful language, “I do not accept [that this was like the attack on the Indian embassy]” and “let’s not jump to conclusions”, was also true to form. In fact, coarse directness of this kind is so much his hallmark that, talking about him when his appointment was announced, a former American envoy — who himself was not exactly some Mr Congeniality — told me, “You guys will learn to deal with Holbrooke... he will make me look so diplomatic to you.” It follows, therefore, that there was also nothing so unusual about what should normally have been shocking insensitivity. What kind of a guy — other than Holbrooke, of course — speaks like this when four Indian victims of that terror attack are still battling for life in the

Being Holbrooke news/being-holbrooke/587512/0 The Indian Express Tags : ie , editorial Posted: Saturday , Mar 06, 2010 at 0233 hrs Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has always been a difficult person to second-guess. As the formidable architect of the Bosnia peace accords in the ’90s, he has a long history of diplomatic induction in the United States’ arena of overseas intervention — notably Vietnam and Bosnia. The latter has been his calling card for more than a decade now. But it was the former that was to have determined America’s choices in a region remapped as Af-Pak precisely on the remit of his new assignment. He would be, it was held, mindful of the differences between Vietnam and Af-Pak, but would also be careful to heed the lessons of Vietnam. However, just over a year into his assignment, it is becoming clear that Holbrooke in Af-Pak is becoming an object lesson for future diplomats on what th

Air India’s all women pilots to fly Mumbai-JFK non-stop on Women’s Day

To celebrate Women’s Day on 8 March 2010, Air India will make history by using only women pilots to fly Ultra Longhaul flight AI-141 from Mumbai to JFK non-stop on, using a B777-200 Long Range aircraft. The flight is approximately of 14 hours duration and will be operated with a double set of all women crew and supported by women of the National Aviation Company India Limited (NACIL). Capt. Rashmi Miranda(LEFT) and Capt. Sunita Narula will be the Commanders alongwith Capt. Swati Rawal and Capt. Neha Kulkarni as First Officers. Mrs. Harpreet A De Singh, Head-QMS will carry out a Line Observation Safety Audit, the flight will be despatched by Ms. Nandita Deshpande and the Load and Trim Sheet will be prepared by Ms. Ferzin Kuruvilla. Various additional flights will also be operated by All Women Crew on that day. On the Airbus A310, Capt. Trisha Mohan will operate as the Commander of AI 815/816 from Hyderabad-Damam-Chennai along with First Officer Capt. Thanmai Papagari. Other flights f

Inauguration of ICG Complex at Vizhinjam by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri

06 Mar 2010 17:24 IST At an impressive ceremony on 06 Mar 2010, the new Coast Guard Administrative Complex at Vizhinjam, was inaugurated by Shri AK Antony, Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, in the presence of Shri M Vijayakumar, Hon’ble Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Govt. of Kerala, Shri George Mercier, MLA Kovalam, and Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, AVSM, Director General Indian Coast Guard. Apart from the officers and men of the Indian Coast Guard, the ceremony was also attended by representatives of various Central and State Govt. bodies, and the media. While lauding the efforts of the Coast Guard, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri stated that ‘Coastal Security’ requires sustained and dedicated effort from all the stake holders. He stated that all acquisition projects in respect of the Indian Coast Guard were being processed on fast track basis by the Government, leaving no stone unturned in protecting our maritime interests, and the threat emanating from the seas. He indicated that all ne

Ethiopia expands oil exploration

Posted on Friday 5 March 2010 - 13:00 AfricaNews Monitoring Team Ethiopia has seen an increasing number of oil exploration companies over the past ten years. Oil exploration in that country started in 2000 by the Hunt Oil, an American company. The country can now boast of about eleven companies all exploring oil. The eleven companies are working in petroleum exploration and prospecting with the 19 agreements in Ogaden, Mekele, Abay basin, Afar, Metama, Humera, Southern Rift valley and Gambela area, according to Exploration in Ethiopia now covers more than 75 percent of the country. Even though these oil exploration companies including the Malaysian giant Petronas, continue the search moving from one part of the country to another, Ethiopia still belongs to the non-oil producing country category. Following the global oil price decline at the time, Hunt Oil was forced to disrupt the contract, according to latest data obtained from the Et

Exit from Afghanistan: Playing the Game and not learning the lessons

IDSA , New Delhi D. Padma Kumar Pillay March 3, 2010 .. ..a strong and stable Afghanistan will raise the issue of the Durand Line, which successive governments including even the Taliban have refused to recognise . Pakistan desires a weak and dependent Afghanistan . It is highly imprudent to hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban/Pakistan. With the launch of Operation Moshdarak, the US has clearly started the race to beat a retreat from Afghanistan, like all "Firangees" before them. However, the timing, the confusion and the events following launch of Op Moshdarak conjures up the image of a race-start gone wrong. The official starter has fired the gun, as per his countdown, but unfortunately the race officials are still standing in front of the starting line holding th Publish Post e runners behind the restraining rope. Not that bad, but adding to the chaos is the fact that the potential winners and dark horses have all been tripped, tumbled and crushed to allow the start

Shut 42 terror camps, India tells Pakistan

IANS, Mar 6, 2010, 05.49pm IST THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Defence minister A K Antony on Saturday asked Pakistan to shut down 42 terrorist camps he said were functioning in its territory if India-Pakistan talks were to succeed. "Pakistan has not made any serious attempt to disband the camps that are functioning close to Jammu and Kashmir. The decision for bilateral talks has been made consciously and it was not an ad hoc one," Antony told reporters after inaugurating the new office complex of the Coast Guard station at Vizhinjam near here. "Though there was no breakthrough (in the foreign secretary talks), being a conscious decision the process (of talks) will continue," he added. The minister said the central home ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government had evolved a formula to check infiltration and help terrorists to return to normal life. "Many have surrendered too. With the conditions becoming normal, there is an increase in tourist arrivals in Kas

Excerpts from the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s reply to the Lok Sabha

Following are the excerpts from the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s reply to the Lok Sabha today: “I rise to thank all Members of the House in conveying my sincere thanks to the Hon’ble President of India for her enlightening address. Over the past few days, we have had a very constructive debate over the issues covered in Rashtrapati ji’s address. While several Members have expressed satisfaction at the working of the Government, some others have criticized it. This is as it should be. Before I come to the main subject, a tragedy occurred yesterday in the temple in district Pratapgarh. The issue, I believe, has been raised by a concerned Member in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. I join all Hon’ble Members in conveying our heartfelt condolences to the families of deceased and wish speedy recovery to all those who have suffered injuries. We have decided to make from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.5