A blip in India’s story - Ajoy Kumar, Pioneer
The ‘Free Hugs Campaign’ is a social movement that involves individuals who offer hugs to other people  to showcase the power of a random act of kindness. The movement is motivated by the phrase ‘sometimes a hug is all you need’.
Why Myanmar is a bother - Sapna Singh, Pioneer
President Ram Nath Kovind may have sought to deepen our civilisational links and hoped to build on a shared anti-colonial narrative with Myanmar during his visit to that country but semantics cannot paper over the fact that our neighbour has signed the Kyaukpyu deep sea project with China in November and that could pose a security threat to India.
Looking ahead without fear - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
A prime ministerial interview is an occasion for the incumbent to address his constituents, not an opportunity for critics to extract their pound of flesh. In an interview to news agency, ANI, Narendra Modi tackled a range of issues with finesse.
‘Even if there isn’t friendship between govt and media, there shouldn’t be animosity’ - Rajnath Singh, Indian Express
Looking at certain leaders sitting before me, I find myself in a piquant situation. If I speak about the late Ramnath Goenka and his role during and after the Emergency, I am going to feel a bit hesitant, given that some of our friends from the Congress are sitting here.
The end of civility - Kushan Mitra, Pioneer
On the face of it, the new year, according to the Western Gregorian calendar, is a very arbitrary date. It really has no significance, historically, in any culture in the world. One could say, once upon a time before the imperfections of the calendar that humanity imposed on earth, the new year was the day after the winter solstice, once the days finally started to get longer again.
Return of a friend - Hiranmay Karlekar, Pioneer
India has every reason to be happy over the Awami League’s overwhelming victory in Bangladesh’s recent parliamentary elections. Sheikh Hasina has been a steadfast friend. She has unfailingly recognised India’s critical contribution to Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971 and honoured Indians for it.
For BJP, Mission 123 is key to winning 2019 elections - Shekhar Iyer, Money Control
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are making big plans to win back the people’s support by employing a mix of mantras after the recent defeat in the Hindi-heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
The Afghan quandary - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
Late in the last week of December 2018, for a full one week, reverberations from US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement to cut 14,000 American troops from Afghanistan by half continued to rock Kabul like serial suicide attacks by the Taliban.
World on a boil - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
The planet is in turmoil. This did not start in 2018 but worsened during the past year and without being a bird of bad omen, it will continue in 2019. The 2018 award for chaos goes to…US President Donald Trump.
The foreign policy challenge - Nirupama Subramanian, Indian Express
India’S polity has gone into election mode, and the answer to all questions is “election ke baad”. But the world has not stopped while India treads water. For Indian foreign policy, the challenge would be to keep pace with the rapid changes everywhere amid the political fluidity at home.
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