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Indian-American Verma Sworn In As US Ambassador to India

 Lalit K Jha | Washington | Dec 20, 2014 http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/IndianAmerican-Verma-Sworn-In-As-US-Ambassador-to-India/873617  Richard Rahul Verma, who quietly played a key role in the Congressional passage of the civil nuclear deal and a strong advocate of deepening Indo-US ties, has been sworn in as the US Ambassador to New Delhi, becoming the first ever Indian-American to hold the post.  46-year-old was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry at the State department here.  Verma is scheduled to arrive in India ahead of Kerry's visit to Delhi next month. US President Barack Obama will arrive in late January to attend the Republic Day Parade on January 26 as the Chief Guest.  He was confirmed by the Senate by a voice vote last week.  Verma, who quietly played an important role in the Congressional passage of civil nuclear deal with India, had advocated for strong Indo-US ties when in the administration and recently started "India 2020" project at Ce

Sinking oil: Saudi Schadenfreude

Sinking oil: Saudi Schadenfreude Saturday, 20 December 2014 | Rohit Pattnaik | in Oped Using lowering oil prices as a tool, the Saudis are seeking to arm-twist Russia and Iran for their support of Bashar Assad's regime in the Syrian conflict Daily Pioneer: Leading News paper  Many oil exporting states across the globe that had built their budgets on visions of perennially high oil prices are beginning to press the panic button as oil prices continue to remain well below the fiscal break-even for many of these countries. Many Governments in oil exporting countries will face a difficult time in financing the populist programmes that they need to maintain public support, hence there will be pressure from many OPEC members to curtail production to arrest the decline of oil prices. In the game of oil roulette, the Saudis are unlikely to cut oil production for the simple fact that in the 1980s when they cut production as part of the OPEC cartel, they lost a huge portion of their market s

Viewing Russia From the Inside

  Geopolitical Weekly December 16, 2014 | 09:02 GMT   Print    Text Size         Stratfor   By George Friedman Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn't rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the equator, this is unsettling. It is the first sign that you are not only in a foreign country, which I am used to, but also in a foreign environment. Yet as we drove toward downtown Moscow, well over an hour away, the traffic, the road work, were all commonplace. Moscow has three airports, and we flew into the farthest one from downtown, Domodedovo — the primary international airport. There is endless renovation going on in Moscow, and while it holds up traffic, it indicates that prosperity continues, at least in the capital. Our host met us and we quickly went to work getting a sense of each other and talking abo

India-Russia ties need regular nurturing

  AP File Photo.  India-Russia ties need regular nurturing Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India has served to reaffirm bilateral bonds between the two countries. Beyond the positive rhetoric – New Delhi assured Putin that Moscow will remain its foremost partner – a string of agreements in the energy, defence and economic sectors were signed which serve to arrest the downward slide in bilateral relations.  They unveiled a "Druzhba-Dosti" vision statement that will guide their engagement over the coming decade and pledged to triple trade in this period. Twenty agreements were signed, including one worth US$10 billion that will provide India with Russian crude oil. The two sides are also eyeing an expansion of civilian nuclear energy cooperation; Russia will build a dozen more nuclear reactors in India over the next 20 years. It has agreed to assemble 400 twin-engined helicopters in India. Transfer of technology and local manufacture of components and spares is

The Modi Doctrine for the Indo-Pacific Maritime Region

India's PM has wasted no time pursuing a new maritime doctrine in the Indian Ocean and beyond. By Patrick M. Cronin and Darshana M. Baruah December 02, 2014   http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/the-modi-doctrine-for-the-indo-pacific-maritime-region/ The Modi Doctrine for the Indo-Pacific Maritime RegionOnly six months into his tenure, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is breathing new life into the concept of Indo-Pacific security. Indeed, it is not too early to describe the key elements of an emerging "Modi Doctrine" focused on the vigorous pursuit of political influence through greater maritime power. Acutely aware that India's development is best advanced across the sea lanes of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the prime minister is embarking on a course of intensified engagement with other regional maritime powers.         The Modi Doctrine for the Indo-Pacific Maritime Region India's PM has wasted no time pursuing a new maritime doctrine in the Indian Ocean and b

ROBIN RAPHEL: OLD ANTI-INDIA HAND

ROBIN RAPHEL: OLD ANTI-INDIA HAND TO JOIN HOLBROOKE'S TEAM ? OLD POST B.RAMAN The "News", the Pakistani daily, has reported on August 3,2009, that the Barack Obama Administration has decided to appoint Robin Raphel, who was a Counselor for Political Affairs in the US Embassy in New Delhi from 1991 to 1993 and subsequently became the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs in the Bill Clinton Administration, as a member of the team of Richard Holbrooke, the Special Representative to the Af-Pak region. 2.According to the paper, she will be based in Pakistan and will co-ordinate the implementation of the plan for non-military assistance to Pakistan. She is expected to arrive in Pakistan on August 14,2009. Her bio-data as taken from the Wikipedia is annexed. 3. During her posting in the US Embassy in New Delhi, she was actively interacting with the various anti-India groups in Jammu & Kashmir and it was reportedly on her advice that the Hurriyat, as an umbrel

India ‘link’ to Raphel fall

  K.P. NAYAR India 'link' to Raphel fall     Robin Raphel  New Delhi, Nov. 8: A tip from Indian soil which shed new light on how US diplomat Robin Raphel empowered the Taliban may have hastened her downfall in Washington. Accounts from Raisina Hill, the seat of government in New Delhi and from Chanakyapuri, the capital's diplomatic enclave, however, indicated that India's official apparatus was not involved in the tip. The US embassy was behind relaying the information, albeit in the course of routine transmission of material. The long-running counter-intelligence probe of Raphel, who began her American civil service career with the CIA, appears to have taken a critical turn when Hamid Mir, executive editor of Pakistan's Geo TV, made credible revelations about her nearly two-decade-old support for the Taliban to senior editorial staff of The Indian Express in the third week of October. Mir, along with Shafqat Mahmood, a leader of Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaf, sai

Robin Raphael’s illicit links with Taliban and Pakistan lobbyists

NOV 08, 2014ALIYA ABBAS   http://www.niticentral.com/2014/11/08/robin-raphels-illicit-links-taliban-pakistan-lobbyists-244110.html The US authorities have initiated inquiry against former US Diplomat Robin Raphel, who has been known for her expertise on Central Asia, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, for her alleged involvement with various extremist groups. Interestingly, in her entire 30 years of career with the US State Department, no one could make it out about her alleged interests. It is reportedly said that she has close connections with various Taliban factions. She presently serves as coordinator for non-military assistance to Pakistan, carrying on the work of the late Richard Holbrooke, whose AfPak team she joined in 2009. Raphel was instrumental in orchestrating the decision of the State Department to open up diplomatic relations with the Taliban shortly after its takeover of Kabul. A second major policy directive that she  advocated and developed during her tenure was eng

Shia Islam, Imam Ali, Najaf, Karbala and Moharrum

Gajendra singh Islam and its influence, for good or bad is not going to go away any time soon.   The arid deserts of Arabia might have been 'Jahiliya' before the revelations of Islam  but the people right up to Morocco on the Atlantic coast in North Africa and Iraq, Persia, Khorasan and Central Asia up to the border of China had long religious and cultural streams and very well developed and complex religious traditions and beliefs.   Therefore Islam became varied, complex and evolved as have other religions. The pristine austere Arab Islam of the first four Caliphs, to which the Jihadis and others hark back to, has been changed ,uplifted ,evolved ,enriched and made  more beautiful and humanistic through interaction with cultural and religious base of various lands conquered by Islam, most of them had highly cultured civilizations.   The Byzantine civilisation in Syria and Damascus ( which also introduced the desert Arabs to veils, used by the high society Byzantine ladies), Pe