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A new era in India’s foreign policy?

During the election campaign of 2014, Narendra Modi rarely, if ever, invoked foreign policy issues. Yet, since assuming office, the Prime Minister has pursued a vigorous foreign policy agenda with visits to a host of major countries as well as to several states in India’s immediate neighbourhood. Does the vigour that Modi has brought to India’s foreign policy reflect a fundamental shift or are these changes merely cosmetic? The question is far from trivial.
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Revamping India’s scientific ecosystem

A newspaper headline, “The Lament and the Lash”, made waves recently. Interestingly, it was a report on how Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Ltd., N.R. Narayana Murthy had lamented, while delivering the convocation address at the Indian Institute of Science, on July 15, 2015, that India has not produced a single invention that became a global household name. “… let us pause and ask what the contributions of Indian institutions of higher learning particularly IISc and IITs...
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Amnesty International's crocodile tears

The human rights group doesn’t have its branches in non-democratic or Islamic countries. Is it because they are concerned about their own safety? Is their concern for human rights merely superficial? The front page headline of The Hindu dated July 2, 2015, reads “With AFSPA, India has failed statute: Amnesty”.  While an article “Army can kill anyone on mere suspicion, says Amnesty”, by Mehboob Jeelani appears on page 10 the same day.
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Enclave Exchange: India, Bangladesh to make history at midnight

Standing on the threshold of history each one of the 4,000 odd residents of Mashaldanga enclave in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal is thrilled, excited and full of hope. In less than 12 hours – at the stroke of midnight on Friday – they are going to have a homeland after a 'stateless' existence of 68 years. They are among the 14,856 people living in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves inside Indian territory and all of whom will get a homeland.
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India cannot allow terrorism

The 1993 Mumbai blasts killed and maimed many people. The bombs were indiscriminate: children, women and men — all innocent people either died or were disabled for life. The Memon family fled one week before the blasts. The whole horrible incident was planned and executed by Pakistan and the ISI with the help of Dawood Ibrahim and his cronies. Is this not considered sedition? Can we allow men born and bred in India to answer to Pakistan and bring death and destruction to India?
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Tax Games - chasing money & power

If the action in the Indian taxation game were reported as passionately as our sports journalists report on IPL cricket, there would be a bonanza to be made in media ad revenues and subscriptions. Instead, bored reporters dutifully report meetings of state and central government officials to discuss arcane things like "GST" and "Service Tax". The reader of a newspaper or website barely glances at these news items, except when an enterprising minister or trade association manages to attach...
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App-roaching India’s digital transformation

The announcements of the Digital India and Skill India missions are the prime minister’s twin promises to the youth of India for a better future. Both recognise the role technology must play—the Skill India initiative, that targets to skill over 400 million youth by 2022, gives a computer-screen the pride of place in its logo. Technology is permeating our lives and changing how we live and work. An outstanding example of this is the mobile phone (in all its varied sophistication levels and incarnations).
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Lead Story
The Naga deal: An accord whose time had come - Hindustan Times
Congress caught in its own trap - Sudesh Verma, Pioneer
Yakub Memon's victims also deserve justice - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
A new era in India’s foreign policy? - Sumit Ganguly, Mint
Speaker's decision a first step to ending disruption - Business Standard
On a track to nowhere - Bibek Debroy, Times of India
Power and electoral politics in India - Thushyanthan Baskaran, Mint
Revamping India’s scientific ecosystem - Vijay Chandru, Hindu
Identity politics is losing salience for Bihar’s young voters, development matters more - NK Singh, Times of India
The death penalty as a sign of the times? - Santosh Desai, Times of India
Policy with a farmer’s face - Ashok Gulati, Indian Express
A tragic farce - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
Why did some Muslims ignore Abdul Kalam? - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
Tharoor is Cong's new punching bag - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Opposition to Capital punishment should not be a matter of Opportunism - Prabhu Chawla, NewIndianExpress
There is no virtue in selective mercy - Ravi Shankar, NewIndianExpress
ISIS is a common threat - MJ Akbar, Sunday Guardian
Yakub Memon: A case for media as educators - V Raghunathan, Times of India
How Kalam’s role helped avert ‘Hindu bomb’ tag - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
Should politics simmer in caste cauldron? - Balbir Punj, NewIndianExpress
Why we need a time-use survey - Bibek Debroy, Indian Express
Indian Universities: Decline by degrees - Upinder Singh, Hindu
The Neighbourhood/World

Oppn is disturbing without homework or exit route , Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi  - Indian Express

11 crore members is no wild claim , P Muralidhar Rao  - Indian Express

‘Digital economy has its own set of rules’ , Paul X McCarthy  - Business Line

India has rainforests from Assam to Western Ghats — prioritise sustainable agriculture , Dominique Gangneux, VP, Markets Transformation  - Times of India

‘Criminal defamation must be abolished’ , Subramanian Swamy  - Sunday Guardian

My aim is to make farming profitable , Sayantan Bera  - Mint

He was not a modernist, but radiated hybridity , Charles Correa  - Economic Times

The Count is dead , Christopher Lee  - Indian Express

We are refining Right to Education Act now , Vasundhara Raje  - Economic Times



Over the past 48 hours I travelled between 2 major Indian Cities. I saw no lynch mobs. I saw nobody baying for anybody’s blood. What I did see is an outpouring grief over President Kalam’s death. I saw citizens and businesses of their own accord put up banner displays along the roads expressing their condolences and celebrating the life of Dr. Kalam. The Memon Hanging as far as the vast majority of Indian Citizens goes was a mere footnote as they went about their lives with a “presumption of legitimacy” that the Courts know what they are doing. I did not see any signs of a “dangerous social division”. Instead what I did see was an outpouring of grief from majority Hindu India over the death of a Muslim. I caught images of crowds flooding the funeral of a Muslim. I saw this riveting image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi touching the feet of 99 year old Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker.
Shashi Shekhar

Lens Blogs

Modi's victory: One man who achieved the impossible -AS THE NATION awaits the prime minister-designate Narendra Modi to take over the reins of office at the Centre, it is instructive to understand the meaning of the 2014 verdict... more ››

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Civilisational copyright , Pioneer
Congress caught in its own trap - Sudesh Verma, Pioneer
Rahul Gandhi is force behind party’s assertiveness , Times of India
Parliament stalled again, but opposition weakens - Gyan Varma & Pretika Khanna, Mint
Nitish's 'venomous' tweet rocks Parivar - Giridhar Jha, Mail Today
LensOnNews, Opinion

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Soft News

The now and the next of Argus II

Although bionic ocular technology seems new, its development has been under way for over two decades. Research and experimentation on a bionic eye began in the early 1990s at Johns Hopkins University. By 1998, this work had demonstrated that a retinal prosthesis could use electricity to stimulate the retina and produce spots of light visible to blind patients.
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Historic fly-by

History was made on July 14 when NASA’s New Horizons became the first spacecraft to successfully fly by the dwarf planet Pluto, the last unexplored world in the Solar System. This it did after travelling a distance of nearly 5 billion kilometres since its launch in January 2006. The scientific treasure that has been returned since then by the baby grand piano-size spacecraft has already “dramatically surpassed” expectations.
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By Red Sea, WW-II Sikhs soldiers' glory beacons again

A war memorial commemorating almost 300 Sikh and Hindu soldiers, who had fought and died during the Second World War in Eritrea, has been given a new lease of life by a team of craftsmen from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The Keren Cremation Memorial, within Keren War Cemetery, commemorates Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died...
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Film industry's Bahubali

While the Indian film industry is second to none in artistic quality and sheer quantity of its productions, it has unfortunately lagged behind world cinema in technical prowess. It may be too early to say if the Telugu blockbuster Bahubali —The Beginning, released this past Friday, will eventually lead to an industry-wide improvement, but there is no denying that, going by expert opinion...
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