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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Avant Garde Blogging Awards

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I had nominated two of my post for the Avant Garde Blogging Awards. I am happy to announce that both of them have made it to the first round. Here are the links to my nominations.

Best Public Interest Post: Bollywood: Miles away from Bharat

Best one off Post: Why is billion strong India a laggard in Sports

In the next stage, these post will be read by a group of judges who will select 5-6 entries. The final round will be voting. I am happy to find that there is immense competition and there are 55 and 54 nominations respectively for the second round in the two categories that I am competing in.

May the best blogger win. Here is the link to the complete result. I haven't gone through the nominations but I sure there would some really interesting blogs. Do go through them and in case you find something really interesting, do pass them on to me.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why is India be talking to Pakistan

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This is a billion perhaps even a trillion dollar question and  there are no clear answers. India suspended its talks with Pakistan after 26/11 attacks indefinitely asking Pakistan to stop terrorism from its soil and to punish the accused in the 26/11. Other than the arrest of Lakhvi, there is little to suggest that Pakistan has done anything on that front.

So why then are talks been restarted
I believe one of the major reasons for that are the recent developments at the Afghanistan Conference in London. With a struggling economy at home and lack of public support, Obama is in no mood to fight the War in Afghanistan indefinitely. At the London Conference, it has been decided that the moderate elements in the Taliban would offered a stake in Afghan Govt.

This is where Pakistan can play a major role. It can use its contacts in the Afghan Taliban to bring them to the negotiating table and thus ensure that the Americans can have an honorable exit. But this also means that Pakistan is going to bargain hard to keep India's role in the Afghan reconstruction to the bare minimum. There are some signs that show that the West has agreed to it. Furthermore, there was a renewed International pressure on India to resume talks. Afraid of losing all the strategic gains made by India in Afghanistan by investing over $2 billion, it was thought that Indian interests could be best served by re-engaging with Pakistan.

Why are people opposing talks?
Several voices including those in the BJP are opposed to resumption of the composite dialogue process at this point of time. According to them Pakistan's Army continue to be India centric and have done little to contain the anti-India forces.

This is absolutely true and the Pakistan Army continues to view them as strategic assets. Recently LeT organized mass rallies at POK and Lahore. Infact the rally at Lahore was barely a few kms away from Punjab Assembly. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has publicly said that he cannot guarantee that there shall be no further attacks. But why can't he limit such anti-India forces. Is Pakistan really serious about peace?

The Pakistan argument to the above question is that Pakistan is fighting its own war on terrorism. It has already been said that the current operation would take atleast a year to defeat the TTP. At this point of time, the Army does not wants to open another front with the anti-India forces. The LeT, due to its anti-India stand enjoys massive support in Pakistan. LeT has limited global ambitions and is largely focused on India. It has not allied with Al-Quaida. It is because of these reasons that Pakistan isn't too keen on fighting them at the moment. They are merely arresting them for a while before releasing them again.

What to expect from talks
Personally, I don't have much hopes from the talks. Pakistan would not allow any progress to made unless Kashmir is discussed. It would raise ridiculous issues such as Balochistan and comparing it with terrorism in Kashmir. Balochistan and India do not share any border and the Baloch population is just 4% of the total population of Pakistan. Even if India ever wants, it cannot bleed Pakistan in the same way as Pakistan bleeds us. As far as the issue of Kashmir is concerned, it is highly unlikely that any solution that is acceptable to all the three parties can emerge anytime soon.

Secondly, I doubt whether Pakistan would really ever go after the likes of LeT or Jaish once its operations against TTP are complete. Once the American Guns in Afghanistan go silent and the US drones are withdrawn, I doubt if the US can exert sufficient pressure on Pakistan to act against the anti-India forces. Let us not forget that even before 26/11 India tried to get LeT banned by UN Security Council but it was always blocked by China (a Pakistan ally). I expect the Chinese to use their veto power to create more problems for India in the future.

So, if the situation demands that we talk to Pakistan then so let it be. But we should never trust this neighbor. India should build more dams in Kashmir, thereby creating a negotiating point for ourselves and make it difficult to them continue their proxy war. All major rivers in Pakistan pass through Kashmir this building dams can helps in driving our point through.

We must build up additional negotiating points. India has to be prepared to fight its war on its own. Aman Ki Asha cannot be done without Aman Ki Bhasha from your opponent. This is a game, and that the moment its our adversary who has the advantage.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interesting Reading: A 1946 interview of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

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Here is the link to an interview given by Maulana Azad. Just look how accurate he was on the demand of Pakistan.
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Monday, February 1, 2010

News updates

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I haven't been writing at all for sometime. Let me just summarize the developments over the past 3-4 weeks.

  • Inflation:Sharad Pawar is in no mood in fighting food inflation. The Govt. too has gone in for easier option of using monetary policy tools. CRR has been hiked and there should be a reduction in inflation. However, this would also affect growth. What we need is High Growth and Low Inflation. Why can't a Manmohan led UPA understand this.
  • Reforms: After GST, its now the turn of 3 G auctions which will be delayed. There has hardly been any reforms. No progress on the disinvestment side. All that this Govt is doing is populist measure like NREGA. Even that is hardly efficient.
  • India-Pak: There seems to be a definite softening of stand from the Indian side, and honestly I won't be surprised if there would resumption of talks at any level within next 3-4 months.
  • Marathi Manoos:Eversince  attacking IBN Lokmat office, Shiv Sena has been constantly marching on a path towards self destruction. As I had pointed out earlier, it is MNS which has cleverly kept itself out of all this. It did not attack Sachin or Ambani when they said that Mumbai was for all. But they did issue a dictat saying all taxi-drivers must know Marathi. Bal Thackeray seems to have lost his acumen.
  • Hockey: Good to see that the hockey issue was resolved. But I would like that the womens team also get their due. After all, off late they have been much more successful than the men's team.
  • Unfortunately, the Telengana struggle suddenly seems have lost its steam. I don't expect that the new state will be created anytime soon.
  • With Dravid out, India will struggle to hold on to its Number 1 ranking. But the good news is that finally Yuvraj is out and Badrinath will make his debut. He has been the most consistent player on domestic circuit. He has led India A sides. After trying out Yuvraj for nearly a decade, he needs to be shown the door. He has rare;y scored outside India particularly when the team is in trouble. Even Dhoni averages more than him.
  • Budget: Over the next one month, expect the print and electronic media to be full of news on the upcoming Budget. However, I don't have any hope from this Govt. For 5 years they kept making an excuse that it was the Left that was blocking reforms. Who is blocking them now.
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