K S Venkatachalam

K S Venkatachalam

The author is an independent journalist and political commentator. He tweets as @Venkat48 (twitter.com/venkat48)

Can Imran Khan fix 71 years of failed talks, bloodshed and hatred?

Imran Khan’s victory in the recently concluded General Elections went as per preordained script. The arrest of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter in a money laundering case practically sealed the deal. The Supreme Court has debarred him from contesting elections for life, virtually putting an end to the political career of the former prime minister. It is alleged that Imran enjoys the confidence and support of the establishment which paved the way for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to emerge victorious. The opposition has questioned the legitimacy of the elections, especially where it is alleged that widespread rigging was allowed to take ...

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The reality check that brought Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping together

India-China relations have continued to be plagued by mistrust, ever since the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. India was caught unaware by the surprise attack, especially when it had espoused the Chinese cause at the international forum. Then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, even went to the extent of supporting China’s membership of the United Nations Security Council at India’s expense, since it is believed to have been offered a permanent seat as well by the US and the Soviet Union. The war came as a severe jolt to Nehru, who had always believed in strong India-China relations. Consequently, the ...

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With rebel groups pledging allegiance to the IS, will Kashmir turn into another Syria or Iraq?

After being routed from Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State (IS) is now attempting to create its presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). The first time the black flag of IS was seen in Srinagar was in 2014, after which an inquiry launched by the local police revealed that a local “small-time” cleric was involved in encouraging the waving of this flag at protests, particularly outside the Grand Mosque. The director general of police has denied the presence of the group in the valley, while the Indian Home Ministry has also denied its presence in IoK. However, despite these recurring denials, the IS are trying to ...

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If Xi Jinping wants China to be accepted as a global leader, he needs to revise his aggressive diplomacy

The anointment of President Xi Jinping as the ‘core leader’ in the recently concluded 19th Chinese Communist Party congress, and by enshrining his thoughts on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era” in the party’s constitution, Jinping has elevated himself to the exalted status of Chairman Mao Zedong. Like the Little Red Book, Jinping’s thoughts have now been made compulsory reading for Chinese students, government officials and party functionaries. Jinping, before the convention of the congress, where his elevation was a foregone conclusion, had systematically purged all his potential rivals. His Machiavellian statecraft had ensured that he had a vice-like grip over the party. Added ...

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If Aung San Suu Kyi fails to act, she will go down in history as an unworthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. In her acceptance speech, she called for the world to be “free of the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless”. Her story is one of courage and determination, especially the way she took on the might of the military junta for restoring democracy in Myanmar. In the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), witnessed a resounding victory but unfortunately, the military junta refused to recognise the results. The military kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 ...

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Will China be the saviour of the imminent US-North Korea war?

The latest missile test that was launched by North Korea came at a tumultuous time. The United States (US) had warned North Korea that it will face grave consequences if it were to go ahead with a nuclear or missile test. In an apparent disregard to both to the US and the United Nations (UN), North Korea went ahead with its ballistic missile test. The fact that the missile exploded during take-off last Saturday is another story altogether.   There is an imminent danger of the US launching a surgical strike on North Korea as it has refused to bow down to threats. It should be credited ...

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Why Pakistanis are happier than Indians

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations on March 20, 2017 – to coincide with International Happiness day – has ranked India at the bottom of the pyramid, in terms of happiness of its citizens. India has been ranked 122 out of 145 countries, even below Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. These findings are based on evaluating the responses to a structured questionnaire sent to around 3,000 respondents who were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of zero to 10, where zero represents the worst possible life and 10 the best. The questionnaire covers six key variables like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life ...

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Can Donald Trump emulate, let alone surpass, Barack Obama’s legacy?

The US foreign policy will turn upside down when President Barack Obama leaves the Oval Office on January 20, 2017, and Donald Trump takes over as the 45th President of the United States of America. The baton will change hands from a president – who can be characterised as a statesman, pacifist and, above all, a person who believed in inclusion – to a person who is considered egotist, racist, sexist, aggressive, and above all, self-centred. Trump’s elevation to the highest office has caused trepidation among many countries, partly due to the foreign policy he is likely to adopt. Will he continue Obama’s legacy or will he ...

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The onus to end the Syrian crisis now lies on Russia and the US

The Syrian crisis is becoming increasingly complex and intractable due to the civil war – which was triggered by a repressive government led by Bashar al Assad – who let loose a reign of terror on protesters fighting for civil liberties and democratic reforms. Eventually it escalated into an armed conflict, one that was subsequently upstaged by two powerful superpowers – Russia and the United States. The whole narrative of the civil war changed when Russia helped out their ally, Assad, (who was facing defeat at the hands of the rebels) by supplying him with artillery, tanks and strike aircraft. Iran, on the other hand, sent Hezbollah fighters to augment the Syrian ...

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Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte: An effective leader or a despotic one?

Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  First, he has been accused of large scale human rights violation, where tens and thousands of people have lost their lives due to extra judicial killings, drug trafficking, rape, murder, arson and other related criminal activities. The second incident relates to an interview he had given, where, when asked how he would react if Barack Obama were to criticise him for extra judicial killings of over 1,000 persons involved in drug trafficking and other acts of crime, he responded with cuss words against the president. Although Duterte realised his faux pas and expressed regret over his ...

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