Stories about India

Why India does not want any US-Afghanistan peace talks

The clearest indication of how the Indian military, intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracies (‘deep state’) truly feel about US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban can be seen in India’s Major-General (R) Harsha Kakar’s recent article on this topic written for The Statesman. Intuiting India’s interpretation India, which hasn’t shied away from sounding off about all manner of international issues ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. This led many observers to intuit that it’s extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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As India enters election year, The Accidental Prime Minister is more relevant than you think

Movies can be a vehicle for entertainment, escapism and fantasy. However, they are increasingly delivering a dose of realism, reflecting the world we live in while being packed with drama, intrigue, and emotion. When it comes to drama, can there be a spectacle grander and more gripping than the power games played in high-level politics? That’s the space occupied by the recent Bollywood release, The Accidental Prime Minister. The movie is based on the memoirs of Sanjay Baru, an Indian policy analyst, and explores the 10-year tenure of Dr Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister. Even before its release, the movie ...

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“I was going home after 71 years”: The emotional ‘homecoming’ of an Indian in Pakistan

“I am going home… after 71 years.” I mumbled something along those lines to passengers sitting beside me, while taking a flight from Karachi to Islamabad on Christmas morning. Late in October, a friend of mine who is like an elder brother and a bitter critic of Indian state policies, asked me for my passport. I quickly took some pictures and sent it over to him. A week later, he sent me an affidavit with an invitation to his daughter’s wedding in Karachi that was to be held in late December. And that is how my journey of going home began. It is ...

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Audacious, hypnotic and intense, Kangana Ranaut was made to play the Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi chronicles the tale of one of India’s most prominent historical figures. Manikarnika, better known as Lakshmibai or the Rani of Jhansi, was one of the foremost freedom fighters of the 1857 rebellion. The allegory of Rani of Jhansi has personally fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Hence, writing even a review of a film based on her gallantry gives me great bliss. A warrior queen riding a horse, a sword in her hand, a child strapped onto her back, Manikarnika is an old-fashioned, simplistic film underlining the core values of bravery, valour and ...

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The crown prince’s visit is one of Imran Khan’s greatest accomplishments yet

The hugely successful visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to Pakistan a week ago represents one of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s greatest foreign policy accomplishments yet, because it proved that his country’s ‘balancing’ act between regional powers is capable of turning latent rivals into trusted partners. The Emirati breakthrough The Pakistani and Arab media are celebrating MBZ’s hugely successful visit to Pakistan and lauding the $6.2 billion support package he provided to the South Asian state. The personal camaraderie between the Emirati leader and the Pakistani prime minister was on full display for the whole world ...

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No longer a gentleman’s game: Why Virat Kohli is the epitome of modern cricket

Winning a Test series in Australia has been one of the biggest challenges in world cricket. The formidable Aussies usually have a habit of sending visitors bruised and battered from their shores. So complete has been their domination at home that no Asian team had ever won a Test series in Australia till last week, when the Indians finally crossed the final frontier. The significance of the achievement can be gauged from the fact that several cricketing greats, from Sir Viv Richards to Imran Khan, have praised and congratulated Virat Kohli and the Indian team for this historic win. Remarkable performance ...

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Why giving G-B a provincial status is as laudable as it is controversial

Last year, when the federal government eventually decided to change the decades-old status quo in the tribal areas by merging the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), it was hailed as a watershed moment with the sole purpose of altering the economical and political situation of the neglected region for the better. Soon after this momentous decision, the people of Gilgit Baltistan (G-B), sensing how they had been neglected since the inception of the country, also began demanding similar treatment for their own region. Pressure began to mount on the government to change the existing state of affairs in ...

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Lacking poignancy, ‘What Will People Say’ could have been more nuanced and relatable

In her second movie, What Will People Say, Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq tries to relay the experience of a teenager who is caught between the fairly conservative background of her family and the liberal atmosphere of the country she calls home. The film – which is apparently inspired by the director’s own life – is centred on the story of 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who is a typical Norwegian girl when she’s out with her friends but forced to conform to her parents’ strict rules when she is at home. After being caught fooling around with her boyfriend in her ...

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With a possible rise of the Taliban regime, should Afghanistan’s neighbours be worried?

When US President Donald Trump, in his uncanny political demeanour, announced he had decided to pull out half the US military personnel from Afghanistan, not many people, even within his own defence establishment, anticipated such an abrupt announcement. However, the buck didn’t just stop there! Trump further asked Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional players, including India, Pakistan and Russia to play an active role in “rebuilding Afghanistan”. He is of the view that it is the duty of Afghanistan’s neighbours and not the US to fight the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS). However, staying true to his (lack of) ...

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