Stories about Manmohan Singh

Pakistan’s new army chief: A reality check

To many in Pakistan, Qamar Javed Bajwa is an unknown soldier. Yet yesterday, he became arguably the country’s most powerful person when he swore in as its next army chief. Testimonials about Bajwa are overwhelmingly positive. Those who know him say he’s a proponent of strong civil-military relations – the main reason, according to one account, why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a man who has often sparred with the army, selected Bajwa for the job. He’s not seen as reflexively hostile to India, and he once served under an eventual Indian Army chief while on a United Nations mission in Congo. He’s regarded as low-key and camera-shy, yet also ...

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With PCB and BCCI unable to set aside their differences, what happens to cricket?

The story goes that the chef at Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace had 40 baby lambs slaughtered the day before Pakistan’s military dictator, and arguably the most hated man in his country, was to be hosted as part of his trip to India to enjoy a game of cricket. Former PM Rajiv Gandhi with then Pakistan President Ziaul Haq at the Palam airport on Decemeber 17, 1985.Photo: Hindustan Times Paying true homage to Mughal culinary traditions Safed Maas (White meat curry) and Akbari Raan (Akbari mutton leg) were on the menu as General Ziaul Haq rubbed shoulders with the likes of Lala Amarnath ...

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From a Kashmiri’s perspective: Pakistan and India need to do a lot more than exchange handshakes and smiles

Comprehending the intended policy of India’s present regime led by Narendra Modi is no rocket science. It is evident to the most inert of minds that Modi wants to keep Pakistan at an “arm’s length”. However, the foreign policy is less about rhetoric and more about the reality on the ground. During his noisy election campaign in 2014, Modi boasted about his ‘56 inch chaati’ (56 inch chest); it, however, appears that the embarrassing defeats in the Delhi and Bihar elections may have reduced his chest size by a quite few inches. Those are the facts of his domestic turf. I’m sure that his 30-plus trips abroad as prime ...

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Dear Aamir Khan, if India was an intolerant nation, you wouldn’t be where you are

Aamir Khan, one of the biggest movie stars that India has ever seen, has made a controversial statement about his wife, Kiran Rao, contemplating leaving India because she is concerned about incidents of “growing intolerance” that India has witnessed off late. He is quoted to have said that as a mother, Ms Rao fears for the safety of her child and has expressed her concerns to her husband. I believe in free speech and as citizens of India, both of them are entitled to their opinions and have the right to voice their apprehensions. But like many of my fellow countrymen, I disagree ...

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Let cricket diplomacy strengthen Pakistan-India relations

Let’s face it; Indo-Pak cricket plays as strong a part in conflict resolution between the two countries as any other diplomatic solution. The game has been used to strength bilateral ties for decades. And therefore, the recent announcement made by Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief, Shahryar Khan, about the resumption of the Indo-Pak cricket series, to be held in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December later this year, is nothing less than a breath of fresh air for the two countries’ foreign-policy makers. This LOC (love of cricket) – unlike its border counter-part – often brings both these nations together, no ...

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#KashmiriLivesMatter, India

Recent heavy showers led to a flood in River Jhelum because of which Indian-occupied Kashmir has come under the line of fire again, with torrents wreaking havoc throughout the valley. Last year, Kashmir witnessed a similar tragedy – 300 lives were lost, $16 billion worth of infrastructure was destroyed and six million Kashmiris were affected on the whole. It is too early to decide if these floods are worse than their predecessors, but if the people stuck in these areas are not evacuated in time, things might get out of control. During the floods that took place last year, many Kashmiris were of ...

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Subramanian Swami, I guarantee you that the ISI did not fund PK

Dear Subramanian Swami, Unlike Aamir Liaquat, I do not wish to engage in a tirade of abuses and vitriol of hate. I will not mention any ‘dandas with jhandas’ or ‘pichwaras’ or ‘teesri hockey sticks’, but I simply hope to appeal to your ability to see reason. You claim that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of Pakistan has funded the Bollywood movie PK. You say that your sources trace the funds to Pakistan through Dubai. Sir, I do not know what you are smoking but please can I have some too? Who financed the PK film? According to my sources it is traceable to Dubai and ISI. DRI ...

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India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?

The new Rajkumar Hirani-directed Bollywood movie PK starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma has divided opinions in India. ‘#BanPK’ trended on Twitter, there were protests all over India and religious groups burnt posters of the movie at processions but the movie is in course to be the highest grossing Indian film of all time. India’s silent majority is letting its position on the issue known by supporting the movie. There are no mass protests in support of the movie but the positive reviews online and thousands of people taking to social media to praise it shows India is ready to have the ...

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Four misconceptions about Narendra Modi

India’s new prime minister is a man of contradictions. He covets foreign investment and embraces globalisation, but he also speaks limited English and harbours hard-line Hindu nationalist views. He is alternately described as a pro-business reformer and an anti-Muslim ideologue. Narendra Modi, who was sworn in on Monday, is a complex figure. Not surprisingly, he is also dogged by many misconceptions. Four in particular are getting a lot of mileage these days. Now is the right time to expose them. 1. Modi has been banned from the US since 2005 Observers routinely claim that Modi has not been allowed to visit America since 2005. Actually, this is not technically true. In ...

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Advani’s predicament: Has BJP become a one-man party?

The way the Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) old stager Lal Krishna Advani and other senior leaders have been left out in the cold, in the run-up to the 2014 general elections, and meted out with a shabby treatment by Narendra Modi and his obsequious, lackey followers, reminds me of the case of the cuckoo. For those who are not aware of what a cuckoo is, it’s a medium sized, slender bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. For instance, let’s assume that a cuckoo has laid an egg in the nest of a hedge-sparrow. When the egg hatches, the sparrow feeds the ...

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