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Pak let off the hook on 26/11 - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
Pak mulls blood money deal to let off Davis, buy peace with US - TOI
Pakistan government is exploring a possible “blood money deal” between American official Raymond Davis, arrested for double murder in Lahore, and relatives of the victims for ending the tense standoff with the US.
In a muddle kingdom - Tenzin Tsundue, Hindustan Times
On June 28, 1992, three senior lamas responsible for the recognition of the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa approached the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Following instructions in a poem-letter left behind by the 16th Karmapa, Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche asked for his endorsement of a nomad boy born in eastern Tibet.
Back to Nepal’s future - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
But what is likely to guide the future political course of Nepal is the growing erosion in the credibility of the political parties and their inability to deliver. The constituent assembly no longer symbolises hope as a possible source of a “people’s constitution”. That further limits options.
Pakistan is a US protectorate - Firdous Syed, Indian Express
The Pakistani ruling class with few exceptions has always behaved as rulers of an American protectorate. On the other hand, according to a recent survey, 94 per cent of Pakistan hates America.
To overlook reality would be stupid - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
While China is free to believe that it has done nothing to raise hackles around the world, more so in its neighbourhood, that is far from the truth. It makes little sense for Beijing to feign surprise that other nations are preparing to meet the Chinese challenge which is not necessarily limited to economic issues. Strangely, while others are mindful of the challenge posed by rising China, India remains trapped in the past 
Chinese threat looms large - Ashok K Mehta, the pioneer
AK Antony should issue an operational directive for the defence forces to prepare and equip for a two-and-a-half front war.
Bangladesh govt orders Yunus out of Grameen - LIve Mint
Says his tenure as managing director illegal; microfinance lender clarifies it has complied with the law
Pakistan building colony for Chinese in PoK - Suman Sharma, DNA
In an indication of Beijing’s strengthening ties with Islamabad, Pakistan is constructing a colony of about 20 buildings for Chinese workers in Chattar area of occupied Kashmir’s Muzaffarabad district. The construction, confirmation of which comes ahead of prime minister Manmohan Singh’s Beijing visit in April for a meeting to welcome South Africa into the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) group, will ensure a permanent footprint for China very close to India.
The Afghan cauldron - S.K. Sinha, Deccan Chronicle
Lord Curzon, at the turn of the 20th century, aptly described Afghanistan as “a piece on the chess board on which is being played out the game for domination of the world”. At that time, the Great Game was being played between Czarist Russia and Imperialist Britain. In the last century, the contestants were the USSR and the US.
Dream of civilian supremacy - Qaisar Rashid, The News International
In a speech in Kotli, Azad Kashmir, on June 16, Nawaz Sharif held four army generals responsible for the Kargil war, which he said sabotaged the Pakistan-India peace process and halted the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, ultimately leading to the toppling of his elected government in October 1999. Needless to say, the list of conspirators, as he called them, had Gen Pervez Musharraf on the top.
From sports cars to slums: China's huge wealth gap - Economic Times
The dramatic transformation in recent decades has created dozens of billionaires in China, but also left millions more languishing at the bottom.
China announced a stunning hike in military spending - Times of India
China on Friday announced a stunning 12.7% increase in defense budget bringing the total allocation to $91.5bn in 2011.
An Army Without a Country - Ahmed Rashid, The New York Review
The assassination on Wednesday of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Minorities, killed in broad daylight in Islamabad by four gunmen, is one of the most shameful acts of political violence committed by Pakistani extremists.
Pak toxic chaos plan changes nuke debate - Shaun Gregory, The Times Of India
From the dawn of the nuclear age, it has been the task of nuclear strategists to "think the unthinkable" and speculate about the dynamics of nuclear war. The foundations of this analysis rest on the works of 1940s US strategists Bernard Brodie and Herman Khan, and fellow pioneers, whose work was so brilliantly parodied in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr Strangelove" and so incisively deconstructed in Fred Kaplan's "Wizards of Armageddon".
The $110 Billion Question - Thomas L Friedman, NYT
When one looks across the Arab world today at the stunning spontaneous democracy uprisings, it is impossible to not ask: What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we’re applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?
Professor Yunus and the government - Munir Quddus, FE Bangladesh
In the past few days, nearly every major outlet in the Bangladeshi media, and the global media has covered the saga of Prime Minister Hasina's attempt to force from the office the founder of the world-renowned institution and pride of Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank (GB).
Engage Pakistan's army - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
The going-nowhere dialogue with Pakistan will restart later this month when foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, meets with her counterpart, Salman Bashir. As our foreign ministry well understands, a fresh start does not guarantee fresh results. The dialogue is doomed to failure for the simple reason that New Delhi will again be talking to proxies, with the military — the real power centre in Pakistan — exercising its veto from the shadows.
What's Next for the Tibetan Movement? - Hannah Beech, Time
Just how quickly can a politician be reincarnated? Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans—both within the troubled mountainous territory and in exile all around the world—must be pondering this metaphorical conundrum as their beloved spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, asked the Tibetan exile community today to allow him to retire from political life.
China plots end of Tibet - Tim Johnson, Express Buzz
March is typically a tense month for Tibetans under the yoke of their Chinese rulers. It marks the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s 1959 flight into exile. Protests, like ones in 2008, typically erupt this month. If any unrest occurs this year, few foreigners will be present. As in past years, China has shut the door to foreign tourism to Tibet this month, keeping the world’s eyes away. It wants no witnesses.
Asiya Nasir wakes Pakistan up - Aisha Sarwari, Daily Times
Pakistan’s essence is derived from the self-determination of its people. If there is to be any restoration of national dignity, Pakistan must be led by the voices of Asiya Nasir, people who do not flee the country even in the most trying times, but people who remind us of the promises made to them by our founding father.
Islamists protest Dhaka’s equal rights policy - The Sentinel
Stating that a woman can never be equal to man “according to Islam”, Islamist parties in Bangladesh have called for a daylong strike next month to protest the Government’s Women’s Development Policy 2011.
The bane of Bangladesh - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Business Standard
E M Forster’s famous observation about hoping to “have the guts to betray (his) country” if he ever had to choose between his country and his friend emboldens me to write about a man whose name is anathema to many people in Bangladesh and India.
Pak does an India: SC sacks anti-graft chief - Ruchika Talwar, Indian Express
What do India’s Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have in common? Besides the fact that they are both Leaders of Opposition in the lower House of their Parliaments, both initiated and catalysed the removal of heads of corruption watchdogs in their countries.

Trapped in hatred - Balbir Punj, The Pioneer
The recent spate of violent incidents in Pakistan has left the uninitiated, particularly the peaceniks, shocked, startled and dazed. The internecine war between various jihadi groups in the name of Islam continues unabated.
Microfinance saint to 'blood-sucking' sinner - Mahfuzanam, Indian Express
The Bangladesh government goes after the much-loved Mohammad Yunus. Does that indicate a crackdown on all NGOs?
Dalai Lama and destiny of Tibetans - B Raman, The Pioneer
To ensure that Tibetans do not lose their sense of nationhood, the Dalai Lama should select his successor before it’s too late. This is all the more important to prevent Beijing from imposing its choice on Tibetans
A dangerous narrative - Maajid Nawaz, The Dawn
Pakistan today is a nation tearing itself apart, idea by idea. Whatever one thinks of the `two-nation theory` it was this idea that made Pakistan a reality. Likewise, the slow dissolution of our national consensus has the ability to rend this nation asunder.
Dalai Lama and destiny of Tibetans - The Pioneer
Prachanda plots his next move - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
What is being played out now in Nepal is phase one of ‘Operation Topple II’, the brainchild of Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, who is determined to recover the power his Government lost in May 2009 while trying to unconstitutionally remove Army Chief General Rukmangad Katowal.
Compassion Lama - Renuka Bisht, Financial Express
Sometimes the brickbats hurled at the Dalai Lama sound exactly the same as those that Sachin Tendulkar takes. What's the value of the Little Master's centuries if they don't win a victory for the Indian team?
CIA faces reduced role in Pakistan after murder row - Chris Allbritton, Reuters
Pakistan's powerful spy agency appears to have gained the most from a CIA contractor's release, by forcing the U.S. agency to recognize its importance to the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, and curtailing American activities in Pakistan.
Pakistan: Money is thicker than blood - The Economist
America and Pakistan agree to settle their spy dispute NOT everyone will sleep easier after a Pakistani court freed Raymond Davis on March 16th. The American, a contractor who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had faced trial for killing
They all fall down - R Banerji, Hindustan Times
The collegiate leadership of senior generals that has the veto power to take decisions on all matters of vital national security in Pakistan faces a dilemma.
Carter for Nepal’s crisis - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Former US President Jimmy Carter is visible once again on Nepal’s uncertain political scene. Last week, he called three major actors — Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, Maoist chief Prachanda and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala — asking them to do everything to have the new constitution delivered and the peace mission accomplished. 
Blood Raymond - Ruchika Talwar, Indian Express
After a debate over diplomatic status, his assignment in Pakistan (from being called a CIA operative to ISI counsel to Taliban recruiter), and after serving jail time, American consulate employee Raymond Davis is a free man. The mechanics of his release created a significant stir in Pakistan’s newspapers this week.
Pakistan mine blast toll rises to 45 - Sify news
The toll in a coal mine explosion in southwest Pakistan's Balochistan province rose to 45 Monday, a minister said, as hopes of finding any survivors faded.
Lanka: WikiLeaks puts things in perspective - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
A new bunch of Wikileaks cables have firmly put in place pieces of recent Indo-Lanka diplomatic jigsaw puzzles. But many commentators and analysts already knew what the cables seem to confirm. For one, it was known that India was worried about the developing humanitarian crisis involving displaced Tamil civilians in Mullaitivu during the final months of the war. One cable, accessed by the august Hindu, quotes an Indian diplomat telling other foreign diplomats that Indians were "troubled by the high level of casualties sustained by Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire."
Arab street and the subcontinent - Shahid Javed Burki, Business Standard
This has been dubbed the “second awakening” of the Arab world. The first, according to an Arab historian who wrote about it in 1916, was the result of the resentment against the hold of Europe’s colonial powers.
Middle Way or third way? - Nimmi Kurian, Indian Express
With the Dalai Lama’s recent announcement to relinquish his political responsibilities, the importance of the recently held elections to the post of Kalon Tripa, or prime minister, goes far beyond the right to choose the political head of the community.
Red flag on words - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Prachanda’s leadership has become visibly weaker, with two senior vice-chairmen — Mohan Baidhya Kiran and Baburam Bhattarai 
Sporting summit - KC Singh, Deccan Chronicle
The Indian victory over Australia and a semi-final encounter with Pakistan has suddenly made sleepy Mohali the centre of attention. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invite to his counterpart added to the frenzy. 
Diplomacy amid cricket hype - B Raman, Pioneer
We should not expect spectacular results from the meeting between Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani in Mohali on Wednesday. The Prime Minister, by inviting Gilani and Asif Ali Zardari for the India-Pakistan semi-final World Cup match has sought to create an atmosphere of goodwill. This could pave the way for more meaningful dialogue on contentious issues between the two countries. 

Atrophied state, appalling cricket - Ashok Malik, The Pioneer
The World Cup has demonstrated how far behind Pakistan has fallen when measured against its neighbours. It has become a dysfunctional state. 

Dialogue and cricket do not mix - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Even for me who cannot tell a googly from a doosra, last week’s match in Mohali was spellbinding.
Koran-burning and blame-games - Guardian
In the wake of the latest violence in Afghanistan, was it right for the media to give Pastor Jones and his followers so much publicity?
Bangladesh: crisis of the Grameen Bank - Haroon Habib, The Hindu
U.S. support for Muhammad Yunus is so strong that Dhaka may find a negotiated settlement to protect the Nobel Laureate's image and the independence of the Grameen Bank.
Convert or go to hell: tablighis tell non-Muslim patients at govt hospitals - Urooj Zia, Pakistan Today
Twenty-three-year-old Zain*, a Catholic Christian, was admitted to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital Karachi after he was shot and wounded as a passer-by in a crossfire.
Our Kabul question - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
Let’s face it. Over the past few years, India has moved to the margins of the Afghanistan discourse. The best argument on offer is that perhaps a lower profile was needed for two principal reasons.
Tibetan monk dies after 'severe torture' - Yahoo
 A Tibetan monk who in 2008 joined a protest in front of foreign journalists in China has died after allegedly suffering "severe torture" while in detention, an activist group said Tuesday.
US lawmakers tell Obama, dump Pakistan and go with India - Chidanand Rajghatta, TOI
Expressing apprehension that the United States is being "taken for suckers" and "looked at as patsies" by Pakistan, two American lawmakers on Tuesday called for strengthening ties with India even as a White House report gave a harshly critical assessment of Islamabad's effort to defeat extremism.
ISI sees LeT as strategic asset against India: US Congress - Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu
The use of terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence came in for a lambasting at the House of Representatives during a hearing yesterday on foreign policy priorities and needs amidst economic challenges in South Asia.
‘Pak not tackling militants’ - David E Sanger & Eric Schmitt, HT, NYT
The Obama administration on Tuesday gave Congress a harshly critical assessment of Pakistan’s efforts to defeat al Qaeda and other militants, saying that after years of work with the Pakistani military “there remains no clear path toward defeating the insurgency” that thrives in the country.
For ISI, Lashkar is a strategic asset against India - Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu
The use of terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence came in for a lambasting at the House of Representatives during a hearing on Tuesday on foreign policy priorities and needs amidst economic challenges in South Asia.
An Indo-Pak diplomatic match - Shahid Javed Burki, Financial Express
n 2005, during a visit to Islamabad, I met Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and told him of a conversation I had had with Indian Prime Minister.
Mean-spirited Shahid Afridi - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, The Pioneer
His comments may not directly affect India-Pakistan relations but the sour taste they leave cannot but prejudice Indian opinion.
The people’s president? - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
President Ram Baran Yadav has almost out-competed leaders of the major political parties in public speeches on what the future constitution should look like.
Stanford scholar vies to become next Tibetan Prime Minister - The Stanford Daily
Stanford scholar Tenzin Tethong, who chairs the Tibetan Studies Initiative, ran for ‘Kalon Tripa,’ or Prime Minister, of Tibet’s government-in-exile this March. Election results will be announced.
Afghan refugees - The Dawn
Three decades after they began to seek sanctuary here from violent conflict, large numbers of Afghans remain on this side of the Durand Line. About 1.7 million registered refugees live in Pakistan
Brigadier Ali Khan: Pakistan's dissenting army officer - Asif Farooqi, BBC
Brigadier Ali Khan, the Pakistani officer detained for his alleged links with the banned extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, had been highly critical of the Pakistani army's high command over its relationship with the US.
Lessons in diplomacy - Shada Islam, The Dawn

Its a lesson one learns very early on in life: if you want a favour from someone, be nice to that person. Go out of your way to be polite; smile; and make sure others know the extent to which you are going out of your way to be accommodating.

Minorities arent a minor issue in Pak - Shaun Gregory, TOI
Pakistans federal minister of minority affairs and himself a Christian, was brutally shot to death in his car a short distance from his mothers home in Islamabad.
US agencies confirm Chinese troops along LoC in PoK - Sachin Parashar, TOI
Despite the strong Chinese denial, Indian authorities have now acquired "independent" confirmation about the increasing presence of Chinese troops along the line of control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from none other than US security agencies.
Forty years on - Syed Badrul Ahsan, Indian Express
For Bangladeshis, this is a time for reflection on the long, tortuous road their country has travelled over the past 40 years. It was in March 1971, following the breakdown of political negotiations between the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Pakistan military junta led by General Yahya Khan and the launch of a genocide by the Pakistan army.
US invites ISI chief to Washington in bid to mend ties - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
After the recent precipitous drop in bilateral relations following the protracted face-off over the detention of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the United States and Pakistan are attempting to mend fences.
CIA has no plans to suspend drone strikes - The Dawn
According to a report in the Washington Post, US defense officials have claimed that there is no plan to suspend or restrict the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan, and that the agency has not been asked to pull any of its employees out of Pakistan.
UN report on Lanka creates ripples - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
The much-awaited report of the three-member panel set up by the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon to look into human rights accountability issues during the civil war in Sri Lanka was submitted to its chief on Tuesday. A copy of the report was simultaneously shared with the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Colombo. And the government quickly, and expectedly, dismissed it.
Visit to US in vain? Drone strike continues - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
A pair of US drone attacks on Wednesday that killed six suspected militants in Pakistan followed the country's intelligence chief back home after his high-wire engagement in Washington during which he is said to have won modest concessions.
The radicalization of Pakistan’s military - Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post
Whatever their strength, American troops will not determine success in Afghanistan. Nor will the newly formed Afghan National Army. As U.S. forces are gradually withdrawn over the next three years, it is Pakistan’s 600,000-strong army that will become the dominant military force in the region and will try to shape its future.
Pakistan strongly condemns latest US Drone strikes - VOA
The Pakistani government has strongly condemned a pair of U.S. drone missile strikes that killed six suspected militants Wednesday in a tribal region along the Afghan border.
Pak role in fake Indian notes gains currency - Rakesh K Singh, Pioneer
After Tahawwur Rana’s revelations about the Pakistani Government’s involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks comes another example of the troublesome neighbour’s direct role – this time in fomenting economic instability in India. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has come out with a report maintaining that the Pakistan Security Printing Press (the country’s official currency printers) at Malir in Karachi has set up a full-fledged unit for printing high quality Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).
Hindus, Sikhs may face worse times in future: report - Indian Express
The previous year was a bad one for Pakistan's minority communities including Muslims of various sects, Sikhs and Hindus due to threat to their lives by militants, according to a new report which suggested even worse times ahead.
Rewinding to ’79 - Rashed Rahman, Indian Express
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has admitted for hearing the reference sent by President Asif Ali Zardari under Article 186 of the constitution to reopen the verdict that led to the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4, 1979. The chief justice remarked that it was a case of historic significance, for which a larger bench would be constituted.
Call Pak’s bluff, says US expert - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
If Pakistan wants to quell accusations of its involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, the best way available to it is to punish the perpetrators, says noted South Asia expert Lisa Curtis of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.
Pakistan overplays its hand in making demands of US - Lisa Curtis, The Foundry
The problem is that Pakistan’s handling of recent terrorism cases and its dealings with the Afghan Taliban have done little to inspire the trust Pakistani officials seek. Pakistan maintains links with the Afghan Taliban as well as deadly militant groups, such as the Haqqani network, that are responsible for some of the fiercest attacks against coalition soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan.
Our textbooks and the lies they teach - Raza Rumi, Express Tribune
Due to the 18th Amendment, a momentous shift in Pakistan’s governance arrangements is taking place through a politically mediated and largely consensual manner. The federal government is being trimmed and 10 ministries have already been devolved to the provinces.
Clash at Tibetan monastery in China could turn 'explosive': Dalai Lama - Tania Branigan, CNN
A five-day stand-off between monks and armed police at a Tibetan monastery in western China could become "explosive", the Dalai Lama has warned. The Tibetan spiritual leader also asked the international community to request that Chinese authorities show restraint in the confrontation at Kirti monastery in Sichuan, where police have reportedly locked down the complex with up to 2,500 monks inside.
Crisis in the coalition - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal’s decision to expand the council of ministers by including members from his own party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), is a clear indication that the radical alliance that came to power two months ago is facing a major crisis.
US relations with Pakistan falter in rift over Drone strikes - Jane Perlez, NYT
The differences between the United States and Pakistan that broke into the open last week over the scale of C.I.A. operations here signaled a fundamental rift, plunging the relationship, sometimes strained, sometimes warm, to its lowest point in memory.
‘UN Lanka report tells of war crimes by troops’ - Indian Express
A United Nations panel investigating allegations of war crimes by Sri Lankan troops at the end of the bloody battle against Tamil rebels.
Pakistan: Teenager tells of failed suicide bomb mission - BBC
In early April a suicide blast ripped though a Pakistani shrine packed with thousands of devotees, leaving scores dead. Both attackers were schoolboys in their early teens. But one survived and told the BBC's Aleem Maqbool what made him want to take his life and the lives of others.
Keep quiet and carry on - The Economist
Sri Lanka's government has got its retaliation in first. On April 12th a panel of experts delivered a report to the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, assessing whether war crimes were committed when the nation’s army bloodily won a long-running civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels early in 2009.
'Poor' Pak politicians are 'stinking rich' in reality - Financial Express
The assets returns filed by members of the Pakistan Parliament’s Lower House in the Election Commission of Pakistan have some unbelievably absurd details.
Pakistan accuses US of 'negative propaganda' - Telegraph UK
The Pakistan Army has accused the United States of waging a campaign of "negative propaganda" over its role in the war on al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Pak-US try to patch up growing rift - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Pakistan's foreign secretary Salman Bashir arrived in Washington on Thursday for talks to salvage ties with the United States a day after the top American general virtually called the country a terrorist sponsor and provoked a strong rebuff from Army chief Pervez Kayani.
The ferment in China's 'peaceful rise' - Gen Ashok K Mehta, Economic Times
China goes out of its way to project that its peaceful rise is not a threat to any other country and that it is far from becoming a great power - indeed that it is not even interested in any great power status. To be taken with a pinch of salt, this theme was articulated by its foreign policy team at a Wilton Park conference in England.
Pakistan's new political economy - Shahid Javed Burki, Business Standard
Does economics influence the course of politics or is it politics that determines the direction of economics? Economists and political scientists keep on asking the question but have yet to find a satisfactory answer. The explosion on the streets of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) is the latest event where such questions have been raised. When Mohammed Bouazizi.
US promises Pak mini-drones, launches mega attack - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
Persistent mega-whining from Islamabad finally yielded results on Thursday in the form of US agreeing to supply Pakistan with non-lethal mini-drones. But the Obama administration also signaled that it would not scale back from its Predator bombing campaign in Pakistan with yet another punitive strike on militant hideouts on Friday that reportedly killed 25 people.
An inside look at the US-Pakistan feud over Drones - Omar Waraich, Time
For the past six weeks, Pakistan has echoed with ferocious opposition to the CIA's covert drones program that targets al-Qaeda and Taliban militants hiding in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Ever since Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani issued a rare and fiercely worded condemnation of a March 17 drone strike, his criticism of the U.S. has been repeated by the prime minister, opposition politicians, and media commentators alike.
Deepening military rift between the US and Pakistan - Ahmed Rashid, BBC
There is ample evidence that many thwarted terrorist attacks in the West and India over the past few years have had a Pakistani Taliban or Lashkar-e-Taiba (Soldiers of the Pure) connection. This strategic divergence has been there since the beginning of the US-Pakistan relationship despite the billions of dollars that the US has spent on the Pakistan military, and the services in the Middle East and Afghanistan that the Pakistan army has provided the US in the past. The relationship broke down when Pakistan went to war with India using American weapons in 1965. It broke down again when Pakistan went to war in East Pakistan in 1971 and it collapsed for the longest period in the 1990s when Pakistan went ahead with its nuclear weapons programme.
UN: Sri Lanka’s crushing of LTTE may have killed 40,000 civilians - Eranga Jayawardena, Washington Post
Sri Lanka’s decisive 2008-09 military offensive against the country’s separatist Tamil Tigers may have resulted in the deaths of as many as 40,000 civilians, most of them victims of indiscriminate shelling by Sri Lankan forces, according to a U.N. panel established by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The panel recommended that Ban set up an “independent international mechanism” to carry out a more thorough probe into “credible” allegations of war crimes and crimes.
Why Pakistan will betray us - Jeff M Smith, Washington Times
It should come as little surprise, but U.S. headlines are again dominated by dour news out of Pakistan. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is today under severe strain, rattled by heated disputes over CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas; clandestine U.S. intelligence operations inside Pakistan; and Islamabad’s persistent refusal to crack down on the Taliban and their radical allies. Intelligence cooperation is at an all-time low.
Probe finds no irregularities in Yunus’ transfer of funds - Washington Post
A government committee has found no irregularities in Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus’ transfer of Norwegian development funds from his Grameen Bank to another venture. Bangladesh’s Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith says the committee submitted its findings on Monday. He didn’t give further details.
Zardari urges US to stop drone attacks - The Dawn
President Asif Ali Zardari urged the United States on Monday to stop drone attacks and provide the technology to Pakistan`s civil armed forces. According to President`s spokesman Farhatullah Babar, President Zardari was talking to parliamentarians from Federally Administered Tribal Areas at the Presidency.
IMF considers Pak policymakers liars' - Indian Express
The International Monetary Fund considers the economic policymakers of Pakistan to be ‘cheaters and liars’, the country’s former representative in the IMF board, Dr Ehtisham Ahmad, has said. The IMF has had a very low opinion about Pakistan, which became a reason for initially refusing the bailout programme that was sought to avoid defaults on international payments.
Pakistan raps move to 'defame' spies - Economic Times
Pakistan on Tuesday angrily rejected leaked documents showing that US investigators considered its top spy agency a terror group, which could further strain relations between the wary allies. 
Change in Nepal - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
As the Maoists reset their agenda in accordance with their new role as lawmakers in Nepal, India too must realign its policy towards the former insurgents. With just a month left for the expiry of the extended deadline — May 28 — for drafting the Constitution and completing the peace process, Maoists appear to have resolved a key internal contradiction which could be a game changer. At a central committee meeting last week in Kathmandu, held hours before he met Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna, Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced dropping the revolutionary path as an option to the party’s goal of capturing power. Mr Krishna’s visit was taken routinely and not as any ice-breaker which it ought to have been. He met Mr Dahal for an hour at the idyllic Dwarka retreat where both sides exchanged complaints against each other — principally about Maoist-instigated anti-Indianism and Indian interference in Nepal.
US-Pak alliance is far from fragile - B Raman, Pioneer
India may have received some satisfaction from the recent spat between the ISI and the CIA but it would be foolish to believe that such temporary tiffs can seriously damage the US-Pakistan relationship. The US takes care not to use the stick too hard. There has been an unwarranted satisfaction and even glee among sections of our analysts over recent indications of difficulties in the relations between the US and Pakistani Armed Forces and between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Inter-Services Intelligence.
Gilani defends ISI; says govt backs all actions of spy agency - Indian Express
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday mounted a defence of Pakistan's ISI in the wake of reports that the US had listed it as a terrorist support organisation, saying the spy agency had the backing of his government for all actions.
Beware of China’s new roads - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Apart from the increasing presence of PLA troops in PoK, India must take cognizance of the fact that China is fast spinning a web of roads and railway networks in the region that effectively traps India within its own borders and poses a serious security threat. India has ignored similar Chinese acts of aggression in the past and has paid heavily for it. New Delhi must not repeat its mistakes.
American eagle, Afghan cage - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
As it receives today the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, New Delhi will be eager to get a first-hand account of the rapidly evolving American policy towards Kabul and Islamabad. This is Grossman’s first visit to Delhi after US President Barack Obama appointed him to the current position following the death of Richard Holbrooke a few months ago. That Grossman was part of the original team in the Bush administration that launched the transformation of the bilateral relationship with India during the middle of the last decade, will make him especially welcome in Delhi.
Ditch US & join forces with China, Gilani told Karzai - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Shortly before the top American military official Mike Mullen virtually called Pakistan a terrorist state last week, a charge compounded by Wikileaks cables showing Washington's profound distrust of Islamabad, Pakistan's prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani hotfooted it to Kabul. There, flanked by his military supremo Ashfaq Kiyani and chief spook Shuja Pasha, he is said to have made an audacious pitch to the beleaguered Afghan President Hamid Karzai: Let's both ditch US and hitch our stars to China.
Kandahar jailbreak 'Taliban collusion' dismays locals - By Bilal Sarwary, BBC
"It was a Taliban prison, not an Afghan government prison," said one Afghan official while briefing senior Afghan and US officials. The official said four Taliban commanders, led by Ahmad Shah, were representing 488 insurgents lodged in the Sarposa jail on the outskirts of Kandahar.
India overtaking China? Not so fast - Beyondbrics
As census results from the world’s two most populous countries pour in, the China India demographic transition debate rages on. The rate of population growth in China has slowed to less than 6 per cent over the past decade, while in India it surged ahead by almost 18 per cent. 
General, not the labyrinth - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
Two years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, routinely brushed off criticism of Pakistan's ISI. He had worked out an excellent relationship with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's inscrutable army chief. They were friends and they were singing from the same sheet of music. Sure, the Pakistani army would have a tough time of it, but they would get there.
Pakistan and China: Sweet as can be? - Economist
Pakistan's ambassador to Beijing, Masood Kahn, was this week fully armed with metaphors to describe the robust friendship between the two countries. “We say it is higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on.” The relationship is indeed a geopolitical keystone for both countries. Pakistan serves as China’s closest friend both in South Asia and among Islamic countries. So close, indeed, that many suspect China has asked Pakistan for the valuable remains of the American stealth helicopter abandoned during the bin Laden raid. Meanwhile, China can help counterbalance Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, including in Afghanistan.
Nepal: The army advances - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
With Nepal’s constituent assembly unlikely to draft and deliver the constitution by the new deadline of May 28, and given the loss of credibility of the bickering political parties, the army is being seen by every major external player as the most important — if not the only — stabilising institution in the country. Clearly, countries near and far are keen to cooperate with it.
Nepal: It’s time to see red - Lalita Panicker, Hindustan Times
Loktantra Divas which was a week ago to mark the historic moment in 2006 when public protests forced King Gyanendra to withdraw emergency and restore a Parliament that he had unceremoniously sacked a year earlier should have been one of joy unconfined. So why was there such an air of pessimism? Nepali political leaders, opinion-makers and the aam aadmi are all worried that the victory of 2006 may turn out to be hollow as it is yet to be translated into the solid foundations of democracy and peace.
'The US supported Pakistan indirectly': Shahriyar Kabir - Aditi Bhaduri, Times of India
"Our government set up the tribunal in March 2010 and it's in process. Government-appointed lawyers are looking into it. What is unique about this tribunal is that while there are many international laws regarding war crimes tribunals, Bangladesh is the first country to set up a domestic law for genocide and war crimes. But we lack experience and there are internal and external challenges too. Internally it is the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami. Externally Pakistan and the US are not sitting idle," Shahriyar Kabir.
The rose of Tora Bora - Kanwal Sibal, Live Mint
What is more important than Osama bin Laden’s elimination is the place where he was hiding. No remote mountain fastness concealed him from US intelligence. He lived comfortably, not far from Islamabad, in Abbotabad—where a Pakistani military academy and a few regiments are located. To imagine that the Pakistani military leadership was oblivious of his whereabouts is to stretch belief beyond measure.
Islam and the early history of Pakistan - Ziad Haider, Defining Ideas
From its inception in 1947, the idea of Pakistan was a contested ideological matter. Having lost their privileged status when the British supplanted India's Mughal rulers, Indian Muslims divided in response to a deepening cultural and political insecurity under colonial rule. 
The Two Faces of Pakistan - Michael Hirsh, National Journal
“We are with you unstintingly.” Those were the words that then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said to the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlin, just after 9/11. Musharraf’s promise proved to be largely a lie—but not entirely untrue. Ever since then, whether the Pakistani regime was autocratic or democratic, Islamabad has played a well-thought-out double game with the United States that's involved handing over some jihadis and protecting others for Pakistan’s own purposes.
More turbulent monks - The Economist
The open wound that is Tibetan resentment of Chinese rule refuses to heal. According to accounts seeping out of China, it has been bleeding profusely for some six weeks now at Kirti, a Tibetan monastery in Sichuan province. Kirti is in Aba prefecture, which Tibetans regard as Amdo, a part of historic Tibet.
Time to declare ISI a global terrorist entity - Wilson John, Pioneer
America ignored evidence of Pakistan being a rogue state for over decade — to its own peril. But after Sunday's Abbottabad operation, Washington has to answer to the community of nations why the ISI shouldn't be declared a terrorist entity. Even the last excuse for not declaring Pakistan Army and its intelligence arm, Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, as global terrorist entities, disappeared with the two bullets that killed world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, in a house adjacent to Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad, just about two hours drive from the ISI headquarters in Aabpara, Islamabad.
On the days after Osama - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
Never since the 1971 East Pakistan debacle has the Pakistan army been so sheepish; never since has it faced such public outrage and censure in the media. There’s been a barrage of questions with no answers coming forth from the mighty military establishment, the self-proclaimed defenders of Pakistan’s ideological frontiers.
Pakistan: A failed state or a clever gambler? - Owen Bennett-Jones, BBC
They are so many questions for which Pakistani officials do not have answers. How could Pakistan's air defence system fail to intercept four incoming helicopters? Why did the US not trust Pakistan to help catch Osama Bin Laden? How come Islamabad failed to find a man living in such an obviously suspicious house? Or did the state help hide him? Is Pakistan a failed state? No? Then is it a rogue state?
Home truths - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal has been a failed lab for many political experiments since the 1990s. Now, the control of the state by the radical left is emerging as a distinct possibility. Its takeover will be difficult to contain if the tenure of the constituent assembly, which expires on May 28, gets extended. Last week, Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, who is also the chairman of the CPN-UML, entrusted the home ministry to Maoist leader and Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, overruling his own party’s directive.
Everest legend breaks own record with 21 summits - Times of India
The man who was driven by poverty to become a mountain porter at the age 12 renewed his undisputed status as a living Everest legend, summiting the world's highest peak for an incredible 21st time on Wednesday morning. Apa Sherpa, in his early 50s and Nepal's ambassador to promote tourism, reached the 8848m peak with American Chris Shumate, 49, Swiss Bruno Gremior, 39, and three more high altitude Sherpa guides -- Ang Dawa Sherpa, Phurba Sherpa and Arita Sherpa, all of whom are members of the Eco Everest.
Pakistan: Bin Laden death exposes complex militant ties - Owen Bennett Jones, BBC
The presence of Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil has once again raised questions about the links between the country's security establishment and jihadi militants. It is an issue that has long concerned Western leaders who provide Pakistan with billions of dollars of aid each year and expect, in return, full co-operation in the US war on terror.
The Plot Thickens in Pakistan - David Ignatius, RCP
The Pakistani town of Abbottabad seems to have been the perfect place to "hide in plain sight." The "Where's Waldo?" aspect of the hunt for bin Laden -- who turns out to have been living since 2005 just a few hours' drive north of Islamabad -- has worsened the mistrust between America and Pakistan. Pakistani anger over the unilateral U.S. attack is indicated by the fact that someone just "outed" the CIA station chief in Islamabad, for the second time in a year.
Future tense in Afghanistan - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
There’s more to the Osama bin Laden episode than is being reported, and it deals with the future of Afghanistan after the exit of US and Nato troops. With world attention focussed on the spectacular American special forces’ action to eliminate Osama bin Laden, there has been a tendency to ignore developments in Pakistan that preceded this event.
Whose side is Pakistan's ISI really on? - Declan Walsh, Guardian
It has been accused of supporting al-Qaida and double-dealing with the CIA. At the same time the ISI, Pakistan's powerful intelligence service, is being targeted by Islamist extremists. In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, what role will it play? If there was one telling moment in Pakistan in the 10 days since Osama bin Laden's death, when a Hollywood-style American assault on a suburban house left the country reeling, torn between anger, shame and denial, it occurred late one evening on a prime-time television show hosted by Kamran Khan.
Demanding answers from Pakistan - Zalmay Khalilzad, NYT
Since the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local branch of its intelligence service without any evident interference.
Yesterday once more: Why US won’t dump Pakistan - Chidanand Rajghatta, ET
Any expectation that the United States will bear down on Pakistan's pursuit of terrorism as a policy instrument aimed at undermining India is receding quickly with the Obama administration easing into the familiar course of not pushing its dodgy ally too hard because of fears that it will collapse.
Yunus steps down from Grameen Bank - Amy Kazmin, Financial Times
Please respect's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Muhammad Yunus has resigned as managing director of the pioneering microlender that he founded, Grameen Bank, ending a bitter battle for control over the globally renowned Bangladeshi institution.
Pervez Musharraf says to return to Pakistan for 2012 polls - Economic Times
Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf plans to return to his homeland next year in order to stand in elections, an Emirati newspaper quoted him as saying Saturday. "I am going to land in Lahore on the 23rd of March, 2012, if not earlier -- but not later," Musharraf said in Dubai, according to the report in The National. Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, was Pakistan's president until he resigned under pressure. 

Bin Laden case puts Pakistan army's dominance in focus - Michael Georgy, Reuters
When Pakistan's army officers are not watching their old rival India or fighting Taliban insurgents, they are busy running a business empire that gives them an iron hold on society. As one saying goes here: "Every country has an army, Pakistan's army has a country."
Pak parliament warns US against another raid - Economic Times
Pakistani parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning the "American unilateral action" to take out terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and threatened to block the US and allied troops' supply route to Afghanistan in the event of more such attacks. The resolution denounced the operation as a "violation of the country's sovereignty'' and came a day after Pakistan's military leadership held an in-camera briefing for the lawmakers on the operation
India attack plan ready: ISI - Times Of India
ISI's powerful chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha has warned India that any Abbottbad-like attack by it would invite a befitting response from Pakistan as targets inside the country "had already been identified" and "rehearsal" carried out.
The funambulist state - Pervez Hoodbhoy, Outlook
Hopes that Pakistan might abandon its policy of supporting jehadis with its right hand even as it slaps them with the left died shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US navy’s seals in Abbottabad. The world’s most prized fugitive was discovered ensconced in a mansion close to the famed Kakul Military Academy. But in spite of what columnist Ayaz Amir called the “mother of all embarrassments”, introspection and remorse were noticeably absent at the corps commanders’ conference three days later.
No sense of self-respect - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
The various contradictory statements made by Pakistan’s political leaders and military Generals after Osama bin Laden’s killing are laughable. The American commando operation in Abbottabad which eliminated Osama bin Laden appears to have caused far greater turmoil in the political and military establishment of Pakistan than in Al Qaeda, the dreaded terrorist organisation that he headed. That is why it took quite a while for Pakistani leaders to gather their wits and to say something to assuage the feelings of their countrymen, after the US President, Mr Barack Obama, informed the world that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
Post-Abbottabad, a failure to see the fault-lines - Anita Joshua, Hindu
The disarray within the political class in Pakistan has allowed the military to control the narrative after the initial loss of words.
Much has been made of the marathon in-camera briefing that the military and intelligence leadership gave Pakistan's Parliament on May 13 regarding the unilateral U.S. action in Abbottabad on May 2 in which al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in the heart of the country.
Pak builds tactical nuke capability, concern grows - Hindustan Times
Pakistan's successful test of a missile able to carry short range nuclear weapons threatens to raise tensions in a region already nervous that the death of Osama bin Laden will create more instability. Tactical nuclear weapons, as these are called, are often seen as more dangerous than the traditional strategic weapons because of their small size and vulnerability to misuse. Theft makes them a risk to global security.
Stocking up on nuclear bombs - Manvendra Singh, Pioneer
Pakistan has just tested a tactical battlefield support missile as antidote to India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine: It will use nuclear arms on its own soil! On the day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presided over a full Nuclear Command Authority conference, news from across the border was of a shriller sort. And it was a voice not heard in a very long time. The timing of these two developments could not have been more curious, for they reflected two contrasting sets of rules, and vividly different predicaments.
Nepal waits and watches - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal’s Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal stood before a crowd and made a confession: he said the political parties did not act seriously to make the constitution-making process a success.
Clash in North-West Pakistan kills two police officers, 15 militants - The Hindu
Dozens of militants bearing rocket—propelled grenades attacked a key security checkpoint near the Pakistani city of Peshawar early Wednesday, sparking a three—hour clash that killed two police officers and 15 insurgents, police said. The attack on the Sangu Mera checkpoint comes amid Taliban threats to avenge the May 2 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad in Pakistan’s volatile northwest. 
US won’t give up on Pakistan - Claude Arpi, The Pioneer
Islamabad does not need to worry; regardless of the Osama bin Laden episode, Washington, DC will not walk out of the so-called ‘alliance’ against terror. The United Sates needs Pakistan for its operations in Afghanistan and does not want China to take its place in the region. For these two reasons, the Obama Administration will close its eyes to many crimes of the ISI and the Pakistani Army.
No way, Sangay - Banyan, The Economist
AS CHINA gears up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its annexation of Tibet, it has issued a stinging rebuff to the newly elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay. The winner of an election among Tibetans outside China, Mr Sangay will have a higher profile than his predecessors. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, has said he will withdraw from his political role, giving the elected leader greater prominence and responsibility.
China-Pak strategic nexus worries Antony - Times of India
India on Friday voiced its concern at the deepening strategic nexus between China and Pakistan, which extends from Beijing extending covert help to Pakistan to build its nuclear and missile arsenals to the two jointly co-producing fighter jets. "It's a matter of serious concern for us. The main thing is that we too will have to increase our (military) capabilities. That is the only answer," said defence minister A K Antony.
Anyone for Jasmine Tea in Pakistan? - Gautam Adhikari, Times of India
Here for a week to attend a conference in the south of England, my most interesting exchanges on events in our region have been with experts on what is now commonly called the social media. Many of them wonder: “If mobile texts and tweets can ignite a Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, why can’t it happen in Pakistan?” Well, can it? The gloomy suspicion of experts here is it probably won’t.
Wikileaks: Benazir asked US for security, was turned away - Nirupama Subramanian, Hindu
Two months before her assassination in December 2007, Benazir Bhutto's forebodings about her violent end and her suspicions that elements in the Musharraf regime were out to eliminate her, led the two-time Prime Minister to ask the United States to provide her security.
Better if we stay away from Pakistan-US Tango - Manvendra Singh, Express Buzz
In the global campaign against terror, the Pakistan-US tango is the most important relationship of all. One is, obviously, where almost all of the world’s terror attacks emanate from. And the other is the most aggrieved party of the campaign. Actually, it was the most aggrieved party until the early hours of May 2, and the discovery of Osama bin Laden in the cool confines of Abbottabad.
America’s menacing Pakistan problem - Bruce Riedel, Daily Beast
America's already deeply troubled relations with Pakistan are likely to get worse. A host of issues divide Washington and Islamabad, and all are getting more difficult to manage. Pakistan is preparing for further deterioration, building its non-US alliances and options. For Pakistanis, the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a vivid demonstration that America does not respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Pakistan: The narratives come home to roost - Omar Ali, Outlook
Most Pakistanis probably believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” and Mumbai 26/11was staged by some rightwing Hindu colonel. This amazing level of denial and disinformation that was carefully cultivated by the deep state has resulted in the present blowback.
US to reduce Special Forces presence in Pakistan - Rob Crilly & Toby Harnden, Telegraph UK
The United States is withdrawing part of its Special Forces presence from Pakistan as relations between the two awkward allies continue to deteriorate following the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden.
ISI scripted Mumbai attack, Qaida cleared it: Shahzad book - Times of India
The 26/11 terror attacks that killed 166 people and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war was scripted by ISI officers and approved before its execution by al-Qaida commanders, according to a book just written by slain Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.
Terror in god's name - Ambreen Agha, Pioneer
It is the extremist-terrorist spaces created by Pakistan for state-supported groups that allow them to flourish. Since all of them are mobilised on a pan-Islamist ideology of jihad, it is impossible to distinguish one terrorist group from another.
Karachi attack: Chilling echoes from 26/11 - Brahma Chellaney, Economic Times
The terrorist assault on Pakistan's main naval air base is a chilling re-minder that those who play with fire will get burnt and, ultimately, be consumed by fire. The attack was carried out in the coldblooded, professional style taught by Inter-Services Intelligence to its proxies, including those that struck Mumbai in November 2008.
‘Lethal stuff lying around’, Pak internal threat worries Delhi - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, IE
As finer details of what New Delhi feels is a sophisticated and well-coordinated terrorist attack at the military air base in Karachi pour in, India is worried that Pakistan is losing its “internal coherence”. A top source said, “The real risk is internal.” India is also concerned about Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal and its security.
Strike clips Pak Navy’s wings - Manu Pubby, Indian Express
he attack on the heavily guarded Faisal airbase has severely affected Pakistan Navy’s maritime reconnaissance capability, with two aircraft in a key fleet of five destroyed. The airbase complex that includes Mehran naval station, home to the Pakistan Navy’s air wing, has all of its maritime reconnaissance assets that are central to the protection of Karachi port.
Delivering on democracy - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
On Sunday afternoon, a mob of suspected Maoists torched the camp office of the Upper Karnali power project in Nepal, being executed by the Indian company, GMR. This was the second time in two months the project was being attacked. Nearly a dozen Indians were at work there and while details are still being obtained, these attacks are being seen as a political statement against the pro-democratic forces.
How safe is Pak nuclear arsenal? - Manoj Joshi, India Today
The Tehreek-e-Taliban attack on the naval wing of Pakistan's Faisal Air Base, also known as PNS Mehran, has once again revealed the grave danger that terrorism poses to the country. For many around the world, the bigger worry is: If the jihadis can attack a heavily guarded military facility with such impunity, just how safe are Pakistani nuclear weapons?
How to keep Pakistan nuclear arsenal safe - B Raman, Times of India
The daring commando-style raid into a Pakistani naval base at Karachi on May 22 by the Pakistani Taliban has highlighted once again the poor state of physical security at sensitive infrastructure in Pakistan and the undetected infiltration by extremists into the Pakistani Armed Forces.
After Headley's testimony, will US brand ISI terror outfit? - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Far away from the courtroom drama in Chicago, in rarefied policy making circles in Washington DC, the Obama administration is also on trial for continued support to Pakistan despite copious information spilling out on the witness stand about the country's sponsorship of terrorism and the role of its spy agency ISI in the Mumbai attack.
Hillary Clinton seeks firm action on extremists - Steven Lee Meyers, NYT
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Friday that relations between the United States and Pakistan had reached “a turning point,” and called on Pakistan’s leaders to take urgent measures against Islamic extremists in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Nepal: need for workable compromise - Prashant Jha, Hindu
With the term of Nepal's Constituent Assembly (CA) expiring on May 28, and the Constitution nowhere in sight, Nepali politicians are engaged in hectic negotiations. The big question is whether the CA's term will be extended again and, if so, on what terms.
China admits its technicians were held in Pakistan base attack - Ian Johnson, NYT
A day after denying that any of its citizens had been involved, China confirmed Tuesday that Chinese technicians were taken hostage during a militant attack on a Pakistani naval base. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said “technical staff of a certain enterprise” had been on the naval base in Karachi and were taken hostage in the 16-hour siege, which began late Sunday and left at least 10 Pakistani security officers dead.
Nepal: Divisions in the House - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) did not even hold a high-level formal meeting before it made a series of major announcements. It said it would not insist on an exclusive state force of its combatants, it would give up the demand for compulsory military training for Nepalese who are 18 and above, and it would be happy with the new constitution being called the “Constitution of Nepal”, without any radical or revolutionary adjective appended to it.
Peace breaks out with Taliban - Hamid Mir, Times of India
The United States has started desperate moves towards a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban after Osama bin Laden's death. So why can't Pakistan talk to the Pakistani Taliban?
The tangled web they weave - SK Sharma, Times of India
In a recent statement, Admiral Robert F Willard, commander of US Pacific forces, expressed concern to the US Congress about the LeT's reach, warning that it is no longer focussed only on India and South Asia, and that the US had evidence of LeT's presence in Europe and the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Nepal's political deadlock reaches crisis point - Joanna Jolly, BBC
Nepal's politicians have admitted they will not be able to meet a 28 May deadline to draw up a new constitution. As negotiations for an extension continue, the BBC's Joanna Jolly in Kathmandu reports on how the country is reacting.
Pak should take decisive steps to flush out al-Qaeda: Clinton - Rezaul H Laskar, PTI
Islamabad, May 27 The US has asked Pakistan to take "decisive steps" to flush out al-Qaeda elements and to act against militants waging war in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil, as top leaders of the two countries held talks here aimed at easing tensions that have affected their ties.
India must use Rana case to nail Pakistan’s terror links - B Raman, Firstpost Politics
The detailed testimony of David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the case against Tahawuur Hussain Rana and some others being tried in absentia before a Chicago court has received considerable attention in India and Canada. However, the attention received in Pakistan is limited. The focus in Pakistan seems to be more on his credibility as a witness.
A river of contention - Santosh Singh, Indian Express
The Bihar government has sent an SOS to the Centre to immediately talk to Nepal to allow digging of an 11.6-km pilot channel of the Kosi River downstream from the Birpur Barrage on the other side of the border.
Pakistan’s road to China - Shahid Javed Burki, Financial Express
Large events sometimes have unintended strategic consequences. This is turning out to be the case following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, a military-dominated town near Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. The fact that the world’s most wanted man lived for a half-dozen years in a large house within spitting distance of the Pakistan Military Academy, where the country trains its officers, has provoked a reaction that Pakistanis should have expected.
'ISI used Pak Navy to train 26/11 men' - Sachin Parashar, Times of India
David Headley's testimony about ISI's involvement in 26/11 during his life-long friend Tahawwur Rana's trial in Chicago has further authenticated some of India's worst fears about the involvement of Pakistan's state agencies in exporting terror to India.
‘Pak risks turning into jihadi state’ - Pioneer
Senior BJP leader LK Advani has requested New Delhi to take the recent developments in Pakistan seriously, saying the “danger has become real that Al-Qaeda and Taliban may get control of Pakistan and convert it into a jihadi state”. In his latest blog post on Friday, the former Deputy Prime Minister quoted from a book by Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer, that the US’ option for dealing with such a state would be limited and costly.
Jihad finds a Lebensraum - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
How should India respond to David Coleman Headley’s deposition in the trial of alleged terror facilitator Tahawwur Hussain Rana in a court in Chicago? For the past few days, almost in the manner of a television series, there’s been a new revelation every episode. Headley has laid bare the 26/11 conspiracy. He has identified key individuals in the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the Inter-Services Intelligence who trained him as a reconnaissance operative.
What friends say about Pakistan in private - Hasan Zaidi & Qurat ul ain Siddiqui, The Dawn
Pakistan remains “an army in search of a country,” according to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Diplomatic Adviser. The condescending characterisation, made to former US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and US Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, is contained in a previously unpublished secret US diplomatic cable dated September 3, 2009 accessed by Dawn through WikiLeaks.
China's port in Pakistan? - Robert D Kaplan, Foreign Policy
Pakistani officials have announced that the Chinese look favorably on taking over the operation of the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, and perhaps building a naval base for the Pakistanis there as well. The Chinese have apparently contradicted these claims, indicating that they have made no such decisions on these matters.
Pakistan plays the China card - Dilip Hiro, Mother Jones
Washington often acts as if Pakistan were its client state, with no other possible patron but the United States. It assumes that Pakistani leaders, having made all the usual declarations about upholding the "sacred sovereignty" of their country, will end up yielding to periodic American demands, including those for a free hand in staging drone attacks in its tribal lands bordering Afghanistan. This is a flawed assessment of Washington's long, tortuous relationship with Islamabad.
Another army coup? - Ayesha Siddiqa, Times of India
There are many who imagine that an embarrassed military in Pakistan is a good thing. The secret American operation in Abbotabad to kill Osama bin Laden or the later terrorist attack on PNS Mehran in Karachi have been a major blow to the army's bloated ego.
Pakistan is in terminal decline: Hanif Kureishi - Hasan Suroor, Hindu
A prominent British-Pakistani writer has said that Pakistan is in terminal decline and his “heart sinks'' even at the thought of visiting it. Hanif Kureishi, whose outspoken views have often angered members of his own community, said: “It isn't a place to go to. When I think of going there my heart sinks really.''
Tibetan Parliament transfers Dalai Lama’s powers to elected members - Indian Express
With the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile completing its exercise pertaining to the finalisation of the draft charter on the last day of its term, which ended on Saturday, the Dalai Lama’s desire for devolution of powers to elected political heads seems to have been fulfilled.
A double bind - The Economist

The party’s scarlet fighting-peacock flag flies again over the dilapidated Yangon headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar’s main opposition. This week the building housed a fund-raising art exhibition, featuring photographs of monks, pagodas and landscapes, as well as of Aung San Suu Kyi, the movement’s leader, free since November from house arrest. When she arrived to open the exhibition.

India, Pakistan trade pact only after grant of MFN status - Nayanima Basu, Business Standard
The much-awaited preferential trade agreement (PTA) between India and Pakistan, that would seek to reduce duties on products of export interest of both countries, might not see light of the day till the latter grants most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India. While Pakistan has been showing considerable interest in having a bilateral trade deal with India that would help them access the country’s booming markets.
Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan strike - Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times
Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi on May 22 after talks failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links, an Asia Times Online investigation reveals. Pakistani security forces battled for 15 hours to clear the naval base after it had been stormed by a handful of well-armed militants. At least 10 people were killed and two United States-made P3-C
Pak’s terror ties and the shifting relations between Pak and US - Braden Goyette, PTI
Since 9/11, the United States has touted Pakistan as a “key ally” in the fight against terrorism, even though we’ve long suspected that some elements of the Pakistani government are working with the terrorist groups they claim to be fighting. The relationship became even more strained after the United States discovered that Osama bin Laden was hiding in a town populated by Pakistan’s military elite, not far from the nation’s top military academy.
All for a few months more - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
No one expected Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) to deliver a new constitution by the deadline of May 28. What was uncertain till the last moment was whether the CA, which missed two deadlines, would get another lease of life.
Pakistan journalist vanishes: Is the ISI involved? - Omar Waraich, Time
Fears are growing for the safety of a well-known Pakistani journalist who has been missing for 39 hours now and, according to an international advocacy group, is believed to be in the custody of Pakistan's controversial Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Human Rights Watch declared that Syed Saleem Shahzad, a reporter working for the Hong Kong–based Asia Times Online and Adnkronos International, the Italian news agency, could be subject to mistreatment and even torture while in custody.
Saleem Shahzad dead: another one bites the dust - Ahsan Butt, Asian correspondent
Four days ago, Saleem Shahzad, a journalist working for the Asia Times, penned this report on the extent of al-Qaeda’s infiltration in the Navy at lower levels, and how the attack on PNS-Mehran tied into an investigation of the same. At the top of the story, we read that “this is the first article in a two-part report”. How wrong he was.
The next 90 days in Nepal - Prashant Jha, The Hindu
By striking a deal at the last minute to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) by three months, Nepal's political parties averted a major constitutional crisis, and saved the only democratically elected institution in the country. But the real challenge begins now. In the next 90 days, parties have to form a new national unity government, arrive at a detailed agreement on the integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants.
Headley's commanders now locked in war against Pakistan - Praveen Swami, PTI
Even as the Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley resumes his testimony before a jury in Chicago on Tuesday, the commander he worked for has emerged as the central figure in a war that threatens to tear Pakistan apart. Last week, Hillary Clinton, the United States Secretary of State, was in Islamabad to demand action against five top al-Qaeda figures — among them, Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, the jihadist leader Headley turned to for backing after the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Who killed Saleem Shahzad? - Ron Moreau, Fasih Ahmed, and Marvi Sirmed, Daily Beast
Courageous Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, who had scored major scoops on al Qaeda and the Taliban, was abducted and brutally murdered this week. Was the ISI, the country’s shady intelligence agency, to blame? Ron Moreau, Fasih Ahmed, and Marvi Sirmed report on the ISI’s history of intimidation—and why Shahzad’s death may have been a bloody warning to scare off their critics in the media.
New star steers Tibetan transition - Sreeram Chaulia, Asia Times
When exiled Tibetan spiritual-cum-temporal leader the Dalai Lama announced his retirement from political life in March, he had reasons to be optimistic that the torch of self-determination for his people would be carried forward by a younger generation.
67% of Pakistanis want Islamisation of society: Poll - IBN Live
According to a Gilani Research Foundation survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan in January, 2011, more than two-third of all Pakistanis surveyed (67 per cent) are of the opinion that the government should take steps for Islamisation of the society.
No spring in the AfPak region - Dinesh Sharma, Asia Times
The kidnapping, torturing and killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the bureau chief for Asia Times Online, brings home the brutal truth, as did the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl almost a decade ago, that the AfPak region continues to be the Wild Wild East, the epicenter of global jihad. As United States President Barack Obama once told author Bob Woodward, "We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan." 
Rs 203 million Indian assistance for Sri Lanka's war widows - PTI
Colombo, Jun 2 - India has provided assistance worth Rs 203 million to Sri Lanka for rebuilding the lives of war affected women and their families in the country's eastern province, a senior Indian official said here today.
The story that killed Saleem Shahzad - Suhasini Haider, The Hindu
The Pakistani journalist had been reporting on jihadism in the Pakistani military. “Journalist sabka dost hota hai (Journalists are everybody's friends),” was Saleem Shahzad's response when I asked him about the Taliban connections of a common acquaintance, “What matters is if he gets the story or not.”  In his career, Shahzad had certainly been accused of “playing all sides of the fence” — the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), but his brutal death showed that he had made some very powerful enemies as well.
Could the Taliban win? - Kamila Hyat, The News
Since the US raid in Abbottabad on May 2 this year, over 150 people have already been killed in ‘revenge attacks’ staged by the Taliban. Our most important naval base was taken over by a handful of militants who were able to create havoc during the 17 hours it took to overpower them. Amidst all this a kind of hyped-up anti-Americanism continues even as tens of thousands of Pakistanis seek visas that would allow them to live and work in that country. 
Why the ISI is lying - Hameed Haroon, Indian Express
It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the “baseless allegations” levelled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an email from Saleem Shahzad, the bureau chief of the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, in their possession. Shahzad was murdered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.
Can anyone control Pakistan's ISI spies? - BBC
Pakistan's dreaded spy agency, the ISI, is back in the spotlight, accused of murdering journalist Saleem Shahzad. The agency's engagement with the media has become progressively more virulent as the "war on terror" has progressed. BBC Urdu editor Aamer Ahmed Khan asks whether anyone can bring the ISI under control. ISI officials deny involvement in the murder of Saleem Shahzad. 
Then they came for me - Babar Sattar, The News
The pall of gloom, anger and despondency in Pakistan has deepened with Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder. If the past is any guide, we will neither discover verifiable facts about his murder, nor will his killers be brought to justice. But let us revisit what we do know. Saleem Shahzad was called in by the ISI in October last year to discuss a story that he had filed for Asia Times Online.
US drones brings Iliyas Kashmiri's terror-exploits to an end - PTI
Islamabad, June 4 - Ironical as it may sound but Mohammed Ilyas Kashmir, who wanted to target Lockheed Martin CEO for manufacturing the deadly drones that inflicted a huge toll on militants hiding in Pakistan's restive northwest, was killed by one of the same unmanned flying machines.
Ilyas Kashmiri was linked to every terrorist plot - Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu
Ilyas Kashmiri, reported killed in a drone attack on Friday in South Waziristan, has been linked to virtually every high-profile terrorist operation in Pakistan from the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to the attempted assassination of General Pervez Musharraf, as well as the attack on the Mehran Base in Karachi last month.
Kashmiri had become a major worry for Pak - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
In an interview with the slain Pakistani journalist, Syed Saleem Shahzad, Ilyas Kashmiri had said, "The defeat of American global hegemony is a must if I want the liberation of my homeland Kashmir, and therefore it provided the reasoning for my presence in this war theater." He declared that the Mumbai attacks would be overtaken by attacks that would be greater in scope and destruction. 
Pak nukes '200 per cent safe': Malik - Rezaul H Laskar, Press Trust of India
Islamabad, Jun 5 - Asserting that Pakistan's nuclear weapons are "200 per cent safe" despite a series of terror attacks on military installations, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said the country has strong monitoring and control mechanisms in place to protect its atomic programme. Though the recent attack on the PNS Mehran naval airbase in Karachi and detection of Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad triggered fears that there could be rogue elements in Pakistani military, Malik told Newsweek magazine that the country's "nuclear weapons are 200 per cent safe."
Kashmiri killing: Worrying times for Pakistan militants - M Ilyas Khan, BBC
One thing that Ilyas Kashmiri's death confirms beyond doubt is that the top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders are now on the run. We have it from credible sources that Mr Kashmiri arrived in the Laman village of South Waziristan tribal region on Friday night as part of his plans to relocate there. His base in neighbouring North Waziristan was under threat, amid reports that the Pakistani army may launch an operation there, the sources said.
Droning on - A R, The Economist
America's persistent, and increasing, use of drone attacks against suspected terrorists in remote parts of Pakistan remains immensely unpopular in that country. More so than the raid by American special forces, which killed Osama bin Laden last month in Abbottabad, the drone strikes incite fury: Pakistanis see their national sovereignty violated repeatedly and unlucky civilians killed in the process. 
A rogue state on the loose - Balbir K Punj, The Pioneer
It looks almost as if with every passing day global concerns over the future of Pakistan are rising. This alone explains why US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rushed to Islamabad along with the Chief of Staff of the US military, Admiral Mike Mullen. Earlier, the CIA chief also visited Pakistan. The top level visits by the Americans follow the Pakistani Prime Minister’s attempt to juxtapose China against the US as the latter wants President Asif Ali Zardari and Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani to explain the presence of Osama bin Laden.

Intelligence overkill? - Mehreen Zahra-Malik, PTI
We all know what went wrong in the weeks before, and during, the US operation to take out Osama. The bewildering array of Pakistani intelligence groups messed up: no real skills, no good information, no action. We know what went wrong a few weeks later at PNS Mehran: the spooks ignored all warnings of an impending attack, the copper(s) went for a fatal pee and the attackers jumped a 15-feet-high wall. We also know what happened to journalist Saleem Shahzad: he warned of threats to his life and ultimately turned up dead.
Kashmiri: Most wanted - dead or alive - Malik Ayub Sumbal, Asian Times
Doubts persist over whether or not Ilyas Kashmiri, the head of al-Qaeda's operational arm, has been killed in a United States Predator drone strike in Pakistan, with speculation swirling that reports of his demise might be a ploy to take the heat off the most wanted man in the region. Kashmiri, 46, the operational commander of the banned Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami militant group and its 313 Brigade.
Kathmandu’s challenge - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
t was no surprise that the Constituent Assembly of Nepal was saved at the eleventh hour. While the assembly building — China’s gift to Nepal as a national convention centre — remained heavily fortified, and baton-wielding policemen patrolled the roads last week, protests brewed elsewhere. There were symbolic acts like feeding 601 oxen and performing the last rites for 601 people. Why 601? That is the strength of the assembly.
Getting real on Pakistan - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
The US will pander to Pakistan till all American soldiers have left Afghanistan. And Islamabad has no option but to do Washington’s bidding. The Americans are today adopting the same approach in addressing what the whole world knows is ISI complicity in global terrorism because they fondly hope that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha will cooperate in eliminating terrorism in Afghanistan.
Nepal's changing state: Attitude sickness - Economist
A gaggle of protesters in Kathmandu, Nepal’s fume-filled capital, want a Himalayan summer to follow the Arab spring. Organised via Facebook, young and dapper professionals meet outside the Magic Beans coffee house to clap, call for a constitution and condemn the wretched performance of their country’s leaders.
The woes of an ostrich republic - Ayaz Amir, The News International
We have to get one thing straight. That we are amenable to American pressure is not so much because of our economic vulnerability, although that too is a problem, but because of our strategic double games: fighting some militants while nurturing and supporting others because of their presumed usefulness against India. Or as future insurance policy for Afghanistan.
TN Govt seeks retrieval of Katchatheevu Island from Lanka - Pioneer
Encouraged by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a resolution was passed unanimously in the Tamil Nadu Assembly seeking the State revenue department to implead itself in a case filed by her for the retrieval of the Katchatheevu Island from Sri Lanka.
Pakistan army in the line of fire - Najam Sethi, India Today
The terrorist attacks on GHQ last year and the Mehran Naval Base last month were outrageous examples of terrorist efficiency and motivation as opposed to ISI incompetence and military ill-preparedness. But the US helicopter raid to extract OBL from a compound in the backyard of the military was acutely humiliating as well. In any other country in the world, heads would have publicly rolled.
Pakistan's Kashmiri problem - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Even if a military offensive against jihadist leader Ilyas Kashmiri's bases in North Waziristan materialises, Pakistan's prospects of crushing the jihadist movement are bleak.
Pakistan officials colluding with militants? US presents evidence - Nick Schifrin & Matthew Cole, ABC News
The United States' attempts to regain trust in Pakistan's intelligence service suffered a blow in the last few weeks when the CIA gathered evidence that U.S. officials believe shows collusion between militants and Pakistani security officials.
Bitten but not shy - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Pakistanis consider the conference of the Corps Commanders to be the country’s top decision-making body – higher than the parliament and the executive. It is here that both domestic and foreign policy issues are decided. Civilian ministers and advisors are at hand to give the briefing, but decisions are only taken by men in khaki.
Our one-sided view on drones - Asad Munir, The News International
Why can’t the government apprise them about the effectiveness of the drones, and the number and names of those terrorists killed in the strikes who have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistanis?
Uncertainty looms large over Nepal as parties flounder - Ajit Kumar Singh, Pioneer
Nepali Parliament passed the Ninth Amendment to the Interim Constitution in the morning of May 29, 2011, to extend the Constituent Assembly by another three months, changing the language of Article 64 to state that “the term of CA will be three years and three months from the date of its first meeting.” The Amendment came after an extended crisis which threatened to pull down the fragile constitutional structure that has been established in this long-troubled country.
Pakistan: the deadliest place to be a journalist - Declan Walsh, Guardian UK
Chasing the truth is a perilous business in Pakistan, the world's deadliest beat for journalists. Sixteen have died in the past 18 months, according to Reporters without Borders – more than in the drug wars of Mexico, the street battles of Somalia or the battlefields of Afghanistan.
India-Sri Lanka ferry services resumes after 30 years - Charles Haviland, BBC
For the first time in three decades, there are to be passenger boat services between India and its close southern neighbour, Sri Lanka. The old ferry service stopped 30 years ago, linked the Indian temple town of Rameshwaram to Mannar, a part of northern Sri Lanka heavily affected by the war.
Assam’s Congress victory: External implications - PM Heblikar, DNA
The re-election of the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam (May 2011) is a golden opportunity for New Delhi to restore stability to the country’s troubled north-east region.
Burmese tightrope - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian age
India must look away for a moment from the turmoil in the country’s western vicinity and spare a glance eastwards towards the “other border” as well, the one which India shares with another significant neighbour, Burma. 
ISI skeletons come tumbling out - G Parthasarathy, Express Buzz
Revelations of the ISI’s past contacts with not just the Taliban, but also the Al-Qaeda, by slain Pakistan journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad are explosive and expose the web of deceit and lies woven by the spy agency over the past decades.
Peddling fiction as fact about Pakistan - Barry Rubin, Pioneer
While a recent Pew poll shows that Pakistanis support Islamism by a whopping 47 to 15 per cent margin, the contemporary Western mass media is busy spreading the myth that Pakistanis are opposed to the Taliban and its hate agenda.
Afghan trucks roll to Wagah - Syed Fazl-e-Haider, Asia Times
Under the pact, which replaces the outdated Afghan Transit Trade Agreement of 1965, Afghan trucks can go directly to Wagah and Karachi and Gwadar ports with goods for export, while Pakistani trucks can cross into Central Asian states through the Heratan border.
Terror leader lives free near Islamabad - Indian Express
Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil heads Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, a terrorist group closely aligned with al-Qaeda and a signatory to Osama’s anti-US fatwa in 1998. Khalil has also dispatched fighters to India, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya and Bosnia and hung out with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Bangla CID finally ends probe in 2004 ULFA-linked arms haul - Anisur Rahman, PTI
Dhaka, Jun 19 - Bangladesh has completed an extended investigation into its biggest arms haul case of 2004 involving 10 truck loads of weapons allegedly destined for ULFA hideouts in India, with officials saying the probe done over three years and 17 extensions revealed "astounding facts".
The new face of Tibet - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Pioneer
When the Chinese rejected the offer of talks “any time, anywhere,” by Mr Lobsang Sangay, Tibet’s new Prime Minister or Kalon Tripa in exile, they fell back on the legality that only the Dalai Lama can speak for Tibetans.
Deception by the boatload: How China bluffs, strategically - Brahma Chellaney, First Post
In order to deflect attention from the real plan, the state-run media reported plans to turn the Varyag into a “floating casino” near Macau. And, to lend credence to that claim, the two smaller Soviet-era aircraft carriers that were purchased with the Varyag in 1998-2000 were developed into floating museums.
Ground realities - Syed Badrul Ahsan, Indian Express
Our history, Bangladesh’s history, is somewhat rich in irony, assuming you have cared to notice. Observe the defiant manner in which Sheikh Hasina argues today in defence of an abolition of the caretaker form of government.
The long sulk - Ayaz Amir, The News International
Corps commanders? Our guardians seem more like cry commanders these days, wearing their anger and hurt on their sleeves and refusing to come out of the sulk into which they went after Abbottabad...a place destined from now on to be less associated with Major Abbott and more with that warrior of Islam from whose parting kick we have yet to recover, Osama bin Laden.
'Azad Kashmir' elections - Farooq Sulehria, The News International
On June 26, the electorate in Azad Jammu and Kashmir will elect a new Legislative Assembly. In the 49-member house, the voters elect 41 members, and the remaining eight seats reserved for women and technocrats are elected by the house.
Colonising Afghanistan - Rizwan Asghar, The News International
Last week, a very alarming development was reported in the Guardian which has created a state of frenzy in international media. The news that the US is holding secret talks with the Karzai administration about the long-term presence of its troops on Afghan soil sparked deep concern among Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and beyond.
A dangerous vacuum - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal has a government which held a cabinet meeting at the base camp of Mount Everest to highlight the threat of global warming (though it cost the exchequer over five million Nepali rupees) and which has received more than $41 million from international donors to fight the adverse effects of climate change. Yet, in its own backyard, it is found wanting.
The silence of Sri Lanka - David Miliband & Bernard Kouchner, NYT
In April 2009, we travelled together as foreign ministers to Sri Lanka, as 25 years of fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers neared its end. The remaining fighters were trapped in the northern most part of the country — along with large numbers of civilians. U.N. estimates put the numbers of civilians there in the last few months of the war at over 300,000.
Pakistan, 50 years ago - Hajrah Mumtaz, Dawn
Having been occupied with compiling the ‘50 years ago’ section on these pages, I have recently spent hours trawling through Dawn’s 1961 editions. It is a fascinating yet ultimately, a deeply saddening experience.
For most Pakistanis, India is threat No. 1 - Times of India
When asked which is the biggest threat to their country, India, the Taliban, or al-Qaida , a majority of Pakistanis (57%) say India, the poll noted.
Islamist Army of Pakistan - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
While promoting terrorism abroad has been the trademark of Pakistan’s military establishment, new skeletons are tumbling out of the ISI’s cupboard, revealing the horrors perpetrated by its torture and assassination networks within the country. The ‘tell-all’ book titled Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, written by journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, widely believed (even within Pakistan) to have been bumped off by the ISI, has been banned in that country.
An election in PoK highlights issues familiar to J&K - Shujaat Bukhari, Hindu
On June 26, the people of “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) will elect a new Assembly. Speaking at a recent international conference on Kashmir in the PoK capital Muzaffarabad, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, declared that the election would be “free and fair.”
Bangladesh: restoring secular Constitution - Haroon Habib, Hindu
For the first time after 1975, Bangladesh has got the opportunity to correct calculated distortions to its original Constitution framed in 1972, following independence of former East Pakistan. The ruling grand alliance, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, holds a three-fourths majority in Parliament, more than the two-thirds required for bringing changes to the Constitution.
Pakistan in crosshairs over Afghanistan drawdown - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
For tackling this Pakistan-based threat, a section of US policymakers have long argued that America does not need 97,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. In the lively Washington debate in 2009 that led to the American “surge” of 30,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan, US vice-president Joe Biden argued against stepped up manpower-heavy, “counter-insurgency” operations against the Taliban. Instead Biden advocated primarily for technology-intensive, “counter-terrorism” operations against jehadi groups and their bases in Pakistan.
China’s water war with India - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Is China trying to divert the Brahmaputra waters to its dry north and north-western regions? Or, is it merely trying to build small dams along the river? The Government of India seems clueless if SM Krishna’s recent remarks are any indication. Can the country afford to ignore such a momentous issue?
The real face of Hizbul Tehrir - Amir Mir, Asia Times
The shadow of militant group Hizbul Tehrir (HuT) looms large in the interrogations of Pakistan army Brigadier Ali Khan and four majors who have revealed senior military officers planned to lead a coup against the government in Islamabad in an attempt to convert the country into a pure Islamic state by reviving the Khilafat (caliphate) system envisaged by the al-Qaeda-linked organization.
India and Sri Lanka after LTTE - Pioneer
India has strong reasons to work for fundamental changes in Sri Lanka's post-war policies. It has a clear interest in preventing either a return to violent militancy or the consolidation on its borders of another authoritarian Government with an overly powerful military. India must adopt an activist approach as it seeks recognition as a rising global power.
Be harder on post-Osama Pakistan - PR Chari, Pioneer
Now that the Americans have deprived Pakistan of its last fig-leaf of sovereignty by forcing its consent to conducting ‘joint strikes' against ‘high value targets', India must adopt a hard-nosed policy in dealing with Pakistan without getting mushy in the unfolding post-Osama bin Laden era.
Capital flight - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal stood sixth among the least developed countries (LDCs ) that suffered the biggest amount of capital flight. According to a study commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme, “Illicit Financial Flows from the Least Developed Countries: 1990-2008”, $9.1 billion found its way out of the country during that period — an average of $480.4 million a year.
China eyes gilgit's uranium - Economic Times
At a time when the distance between American and Pakistani priorities in the post-Osama period continues to grow, China is passionately vouching for Pakistan's entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is seen as the upcoming Asian NATO.
Pakistan dependence. Over. US aid. Out - Amir Mir, DNA
Following the recent US threat to cut off Pakistan’s civil and military aid if the suspended intelligence cooperation between the two countries is not restored to hunt down fugitive al Qaeda and Taliban leaders hiding in Pakistan, the Obama administration has halted the release of the Coalition Support Funds (CSF) to Islamabad which were meant to fight militancy.
Warlords as media moguls - Farooq Sulehria, News
Shrouded in an overwhelming dust, Kabul hasn’t changed much since 2008 when I last visited the town. An aggressive construction spree goes on while the streets, save some artery roads, remain unpaved. 
Small Print - Telegraph India
The two halves of Kashmir have just undergone the most remarkable elections ever. The Indian side recently witnessed a 16-phase panchayat election, held on a non-party basis, after a decade.
Prime Minister's comment on Bangladesh raises eyebrows - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
He stated in an interaction with editors that 25% of that country's population was ‘anti-Indian' The branding of a quarter of Bangladesh's population as “anti-Indian” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has raised diplomatic eyebrows here.
After the 18th Amendment - Fouzia Saeed, The News International
They say that in China you find Chinese, in India you find Indians, in America you find Americans, but in Pakistan you find Punjabis, Sindhis, Baloch, Pakhtuns, and so on. It is one of those quips you find around the world that poke fun at the idiosyncrasies of individual countries. In the case of Pakistan, it’s no joke. Why have we failed to become a nation 64 years after independence?
River Ravi becomes battlefield for India and Pakistan - Yudhvir Rana, ToI
Every year the banks of river Ravi becomes the battlefield for the engineers of both India and Pakistan during rainy the season. Indian engineers are at war of wits with their Pakistani counterparts in not only preventing the erosion of strategically important land on banks of Ravi but also in neutralising Pakistan's offensive to deflect river course to India.
Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist - Jane Perlez & Eric Schmitt, NYT
Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, according to American officials.
Nirupama sees change in Pakistan's attitude to terror - Hindu
Pakistan's attitude towards tackling terror has “altered” and India should take note of this “concrete” development, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said. “I think the prism through which they see this issue has definitely been altered,” Ms. Rao told Karan Thapar on “Devil's Advocate” programme on CNN-IBN.
A corridor for North-East’s prosperity - Akshay Mathur, Mint
In May this year, the Congress party won its third straight victory at the hustings in Assam. By itself, the event is liable to be dismissed as another victory in a far-away state.
The Delhi-Dhaka distance - Mihir S Sharma, Indian Express
A hundred years ago, the British moved India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi, and, by siting government here in these baked northern plains, in a town traditionally oriented to the dangerous northwest, subtly warped India’s foreign policy today.
China and Pakistan: An alliance is built - Farhan Bokhari & James Lamont, Financial Express
 It was a piece of intelligence worthy of what the Russians call the “tournament of shadows”, when the great powers of the era—London and St Petersburg—vied over central Asia more than a century ago.
Risky business: When Pakistani journalists take on the ISI - Omar Waraich, Time
Najam Sethi is no stranger to official harassment and death threats. Since the 1970s, the prominent Pakistani journalist has been charged with treason three times. He has been held incommunicado and even tortured.
Pakistan: A hobbling mindset - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
What a dazzling spectacle it was: the glittering IIFA (India International Film Awards) ceremony staged in the heart of Canada’s largest city, Toronto, on June 25. It wasn’t merely the constellation of India’s film idols and goddesses that set Toronto’s otherwise dour scene alight.
India, Bangladesh: Natural partners - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
The setting of a date — the first week of September — for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka could not have come a day too soon. That the announcement had to be made amidst a controversy over Dr Singh’s off-the-record remarks on Bangladesh was indeed unfortunate.
Bangladesh: India rapidly losing ground to China - Pravakar Sahoo, Business Line
India and Bangladesh have a long history of bilateral ties. However, since 2002, China's trade with Bangladesh has increased manifold, surpassing India's trade. This slowing down of economic relations between India and Bangladesh, coupled with strained and uncertain political relations, is cause for concern.
Pictures from a certain hell - Kamila Hyat, The News International
For the most part, in that complex agenda that determines what makes news, only mass killings in Balochistan and occasional reports about the discovery of dead bodies make the headlines. The backdrop against which all this is happening remains missing, leaving many unable to put together the individual jigsaw pieces placed before them to create a complete picture.
The origins of Karachi's wars - Shaheryar Mirza, Foreign Policy
 People are killed because of their ethnicity and appearance, yet the distinction between both sides has become so weak that anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time can be killed for wearing a Pashtun shalwar kurta, or on the other side the Muhajir staple "pant-shirt." The majority of those killed in the last four days have been civilians caught in the crossfire or those targeted for their ethnicity alone.
Pakistani politicians - Muzaffar Iqbal, News International
Most Pakistani politicians suffer from verbal diarrhoea: words fall from their mouths without any control. As a result of this widespread disease, one can never believe in what they say. They issue ultimatums and deadlines, they form and break alliances, they accuse each other of various crimes, but one can never know if any of this is true.
The fruits of impatience - Ayaz Amir, News International
The MQM consists, on the whole, of some of the sharpest political operators in the country. I say this in a good sense. They’ve made mistakes in the past but, generally, they have turned their Karachi and Hyderabad urban fiefdoms to huge political advantage.
A story to kill for? - Khaled Ahmed, Newsweek Pakistan
Syed Saleem Shahzad was killed days before his book, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 (Pluto Press, 2011), hit Pakistan. It is possible that those who killed him knew about its contents, or simply reacted to his May 27 article for the Web-only Asia Times Online which claimed penetration of Al Qaeda into the Pakistan military.
Orientalism in the civilisational narcissism - Farhat Taj, Daily Times
To exclude other cultures and sub-cultures of Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world from the collective suffering from this condition, civilisational narcissism, and to restrict it to the Pakhtun tribal society as a whole sounds even racist.
Myth of the Silk Road - Salman Rashid, Express Tribune
The point I was making was that no silk ever came from China to India by the road through Hunza and Gilgit. The fact is that when the Karakoram Highway was first opened back in the late 1970s, it was indeed billed as the Silk Road.
US moves toward Afghan guerrilla war - Brian M Downing, Asia Times
The United States is beginning an interesting new dimension to the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan. Counter-insurgency efforts will be complemented by an expanded unconventional warfare campaign in many insurgent-controlled areas.
The Afghan enforcer i knew - Ahmed Rashid, NYT
SENIOR American and NATO officers in Afghanistan have wanted Ahmed Wali Karzai gone — set aside, retired, out of the country or worse — for many years now.
Karachi battleground - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
The violence in Karachi has claimed at least 100 lives in the past week alone — from a state of instability that could be termed free for all, the city is in free fall now.
Don't Be Spooked by Pakistan - Milt Bearden, Foreign Policy
More than two months after the raid by U.S. Navy SEALS on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is at its lowest point in the almost six decades of a rocky, on-again-off-again alliance.
Ahmad Wali Karzai: Meeting Kandahar's Mr Fix-it - BBC
A high-profile half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been shot dead by an aide in Kandahar. The BBC's Lyse Doucet met Ahmad Wali Karzai and recalls her impressions of the controversial politician.
Tales of fear after days of killing in Karachi - BBC
There are fresh fears of instability in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, after nearly 100 people were killed in shootings and violence last week. Residents of the city - including people living in its strife-torn western neighbourhoods - have been telling the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani of their ordeals.
Weeping blood - Rifaat Hamid Ghani, News
If something is rotten in our state, there is also something that is not – the common people of Pakistan. Their sanity and goodness is keeping the ship of state afloat despite the weight of countless pressures.
New political battle lines - Rahimullah Yusufzai, News
Politics in Pakistan is an endless drama. It may not be entertaining, but it certainly is amusing. The actors frequently change their roles and their partners.
Why Ahmad Wali Karzai was so controversial - Asia Times
The younger, half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the 49-year-old Ahmad was universally considered to be the most powerful politician in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-biggest city and the birthplace of the Taliban.
An $800 million teaser - Jim Lobe, Asia Times
By suspending US$800 million in United States military aid to Pakistan, the administration of President Barack Obama appears to be taking a calculated gamble that Islamabad - and especially its powerful army - has no interest in substantially escalating the growing crisis in bilateral relations.
Hamid Karzai admits to Afghanistan 'security failure' - BBC News
President Karzai: "We should provide a more predictable, secure, environment for Afghan citizens" President Hamid Karzai has said his government and Nato have failed to provide Afghans with security, 10 years after the Taliban were otherthrown.
In Karachi, jihadists plot war against Mumbai - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Four weeks after a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone ended his life on May 21, 2010, Said al-Masri's spoke to his followers from the grave, through a posthumous audio tape his followers posted online.
Re-engaging with Bangladesh - Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy & David M Malone, Business Standard
New Delhi and Dhaka are acting together again to boost their relationship. The upcoming visit of India’s prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to Bangladesh offers an opportunity to review the bilateral relationship between New Delhi and Dhaka.
No, Pakistan is not off the hook - Shashank Joshi, Foreign Policy
When three bombs tore through Mumbai on the rain-drenched summer's evening of July 13, more than a few people in windowless Washington, D.C., offices probably stopped eating their breakfasts, their hearts beating a little faster.
What to do about Pakistan - Bharat Karnad, Express Buzz
Minister of external affairs S M Krishna mistook Washington’s suspension of the $800 million military aid to Pakistan as its termination and endorsed the US move. It is not just bad advice he acted on that’s at fault.
In a bigger mess - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal’s Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari could not present the annual budget on Thursday. Members of the United Madhesh Democratic Front — a coalition of four regional outfits — moved to the well of the House, raising slogans and obstructing the process.
Has Pakistan outdone the US, yet again? - Firdous Syed, DNA
America considers the Pakistan Army a “mercenary force”. The United States has decided to hold back a third of its annual $2.7 billion military aid to Islamabad, after it refused to act on some of its specific demands.
Hard times in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north - Charles Haviland, BBC
The dirt road leading south-west from Kilinochchi town is pale red, the colour of the soil of the Vanni, the northerly extreme of the Sri Lankan mainland.
A video, an amendment — and a vote? - Lal Wickrematunge, Indian Express
The Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had drawn its own agenda for outreach since May 2009, when the war against the LTTE was ended with the killing of Prabhakaran and other frontline leaders.
Down a treacherous path - Najeeb Jung, Hindustan Times
Pakistan continues to self-destruct. Its northwest is being pounded by American drones; Sindh is aflame; Punjab, despite years of dominance, appears confused and the army and politicians lie discredited.
Pakistan accuses US of slander over 'agent' arrest - BBC
Pakistan has accused the US of slander against Islamabad over the arrest of a Kashmiri-born man accused of acting as a Pakistani agent in Washington.
Reckoning with Taliban irreconcilables - Derek Henry Flood, Asia Times
Though the concept of Afghan and Western reconciliation with the Mullah Omar-led Taliban has gained much momentum, the consequences of some kind of ad hoc settlement between the Islamists and the government of President Hamid Karzai have not been clearly defined.
The end of the road? - Malou Innocent, National Interest
It comes as no surprise that U.S. President Barack Obama decided recently to cut $800 million—out of more than $2 billion—from annual aid and reimbursements to Pakistan’s military. The U.S.-Pakistani partnership has been disintegrating for some time. Let us count the ways:
TNA holds sway over Sri Lanka's north, east - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
The TNA won 18 of the 26 local bodies in the north and east, leaving two to the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and two to the UPFA constituent, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). The EPDP, led by lone Tamil Cabinet Minister Douglas Devananda, won in Delft and Velanai islands, even as the mainlanders shrugged off promises of development aid and a host of enticements that came their way and chose to back the TNA.
Afghanistan’s ethnic fault-lines - S Iftikhar Murshed, News International
Afghanistan emerged as a loose confederation of Pushtun tribes under Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1747, and its identity became synonymous with Pushtun nationalism. Despite the presence of other ethnic groups, the country has unfortunately been run by and for the Pashtuns through most of its troubled history. The ethnic minorities notably the Tajiks, Uzbeks Turkmen and Hazaras have, with considerable justification, been described as “the victims of internal colonisation”.
Pakistan: water on the boil again - Ramaswamy R Iyer, Hindu
Water has the potential of becoming a new ‘core issue' of even greater prominence than Kashmir, and calls for urgent attention. The ‘water issue' between India and Pakistan, which has been relatively quiescent for a while, is becoming prominent once again.
Blowing hot, blowing cold, the norm in U.S.-Pakistan relations - Anita Joshua, Hindu
The general view is that — all the bravado notwithstanding — Pakistan is not in a position at present to wean itself away from its dependence on American aid.
Missing deadlines - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
On the surface, dissent within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) seems to have been quelled. Party chief Prachanda’s decision to put General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal” in charge of military affairs has brought fresh doubts about Maoist commitment to the peace process.
Bangladesh willing to tango much faster than Delhi realises - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
India — or at least the ministry of external affairs, as well as Delhi’s Pakistan-centric media — is gearing up to receive Pakistan’s newly promoted foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, for her first visit to India on Wednesday.
Tamil parties make big gains in Lanka bypolls - Lydia Polgreen, NYT
Voters in northern and eastern Sri Lanka gave an alliance of parties closely linked to the defeated Tamil Tiger insurgency majorities in 18 of 26 local council elections, according to results released Sunday.
The flutter over Fai - Kamran Shafi, Deccan Chronicle
I am going to say it again: not in my name, your shenanigans (for there is no better word for what you do), sirs; not in mine or in that of the other luckless Pakistanis who try to live honourable lives and endeavour to feed and clothe and educate their children as best they can.
Sri Lanka: Tamil hopes and national unity - R K Radhakrishnan, Hindu
More than two years ago the guns fell silent in Sri Lanka, ending a three decade-old civil war with the LTTE. But voices demanding an acceptable solution that accommodates Tamil aspirations are still strident.
India and Bangladesh: Embraceable you - Economist
NOT much noticed by outsiders, long-troubled ties between two neighbours sharing a long border have taken a substantial lurch for the better. Ever since 2008, when the Awami League, helped by bags of Indian cash and advice, triumphed in general elections in Bangladesh, relations with India have blossomed.
Q&A: Karachi violence - BBC
Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi has seen a recent surge in violence, much of it involving armed gangs linked to rival ethnic and political groups. At least 300 people were killed in the city in July - 200 of them thought to be victims of targeted killings and clashes, according to local media.
Delhi’s Lankan limp - Srinath Raghavan, Deccan Chronicle
The recent local council elections in Sri Lanka threw up a surprise for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ruling coalition, the United People’s Freedom Alliance.
Sri Lanka: Former Tamil Tigers complain of harassment - Charles Haviland, BBC
Former Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels in Sri Lanka say they cannot find jobs or reintegrate into society, a year after they were freed from government "rehabilitation" and detention camps.
Good battles evil in Pakistan - Bruce Riedel, National Interest
Good news from Pakistan is a rarity these days. In the last year the world’s second-largest Muslim country in terms of population has witnessed its worst ever natural disaster
India and Pakistan's surprisingly successful negotiations - Luv Puri, Foreign Policy
In 1963, residents of Delhi were witness to talks between Pakistan's then-foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his Indian counterpart Swaran Singh, as the two met to discuss their countries' future -- in addition to dining in some of the city's premium restaurants.
25 years on, the Indo-Lanka Accord has some silver linings - PM Heblikar, DNA
The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord signed on July 29, 1987 will soon enter its twenty-fifth year. It still remains the best example of an earnest attempt by both sides to provide a durable political solution to the ethnic issue and underscores the importance of mutual security interests.
Nepal: Maoists' factional feud in the open - Prashant Jha, Hindu
When Nepal's Constituent Assembly (CA) was extended for three months on May 28, political parties agreed to “finish the fundamental tasks of the peace process” and prepare a “draft constitution.” Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal agreed to “resign to make way for a national unity government.”
Hina Rabbani Khar: Pakistan's weakness, not strength - Murtaza Razvi, Economic Times
Nervous stuttering was her claim to fame when she delivered the budget speech in parliament as state minister for finance in 2010. It is only the intellectual poverty of the PPP-led government that it can't find an abler woman than the novice Hina Rabbani Khar, or indeed a man, to be its foreign minister because a few people of substance would want to be associated with the ruling party as we speak. Pakistani women have been in politics and civil service just as long as their Indian counterparts, and there's no dearth of talent in that domain.
Nepal on the brink, again - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
Nepal has hit a new crisis, this time not over the extension of the Constituent Assembly which is 28 days away but over the continuation of the five-month-old Government led by Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and supported by the Maoists. Nepali politics has dug itself deeper into a hole.
Now China faces terror threat from ‘friend’ Pakistan - B Raman, Pioneer
The US and India are not the only countries which have been pressing Pakistan to “do more” against jihadi terrorists operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. China too has been exercising similar pressure on the Pakistani authorities to “do more” against Uighur and other terrorists operating from Pakistani territory, who not only pose a threat to the security of Chinese nationals living and working in Pakistan but also to the internal security of the Xinjiang Province.
Entente across the border - Haroon Habib, Hindu
The recent visit to Dhaka by Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress and leader of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, came in the backdrop of intense rounds of Dhaka-New Delhi interaction in recent months.
How the Pakistan Government is Fuelling a Paranoid ‘America Complex.’ - Akbar S. Ahmed, Newsline
Various news reports on Sunday revealed that the Pakistani government has decided to “restrict the movement of [American] diplomats [within Pakistan].” Sources from within both the US Embassy and the foreign ministry confirmed this new vigilance towards American diplomats, which involves measures that require diplomats to apply for special permission to leave Islamabad five days before their scheduled departures.
Struggling to Understand the CIA-ISI Relationship - Michael Kugelman, Newsline
Last month, to no one’s surprise, the US Senate unanimously confirmed David Petraeus as the next CIA director. Admired as much for his political savvy as his battlefield successes, the outgoing commander of international forces in Afghanistan is often depicted as a sure-fire presidential candidate. Here in Washington, the general can seemingly do no wrong.
Pakistan: Friend or Foe? - Sadanand Dhume, Hoover Institution
Even by the standards of a turbulent land, this has been a tumultuous year for Pakistan. In January, a bodyguard assassinated Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab province, for speaking up for an illiterate Christian woman on death row under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws. Two months later, Taliban militants murdered Shahbaz Bhatti, federal minister for minority affairs, and the only Christian in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation’s cabinet.
ISI has Omar: Ex-Afghan spy chief - Indian Express
Pakistan's powerful ISI is sheltering the Taliban leadership and the West need not mount a military operation to capture Mullah Omar as the elusive insurgent chief “is with them,” a former Afghan spy chief said.
Pak military: Down, but not out... - Ayesha Siddiqa, Newsline
First the American operation that killed Osama bin Laden, then the PNS Mehran attack, followed by the mysterious death of journalist Saleem Shahzad – many feel these are changed times for the Pakistan military. The institution was never exposed to the kind of criticism it has had to face in recent months. 
A revolving CIA door in Pakistan - Amir Mir, Asia Times
SLAMABAD - The ever-growing mistrust between the military and intelligence establishments of the two key allies in the "war on terror" - Washington and Islamabad - has widened to such an extent in recent months that their damaged ties are unlikely to reach the same level at which they were prior to the American military raid in Abbottabad on May 2 that killed the most wanted al-Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden.
Karachi: City under siege - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
The MQM chief, Altaf Hussain, has now demanded what his rival Awami National Party (ANP) has been demanding for months: call in the army to restore peace in Karachi. But in a bizarre corollary to that demand, Hussain also asked Manmohan Singh whether India had “a heart big enough to take back five crore Mohajirs” if Pakistan embarked on a policy of “ethnic cleansing” against them.
Imran Khan: MR Clean has along way to go - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
IMRAN Khan claims that a tsunami of popular support is building up to sweep him into power. Polls suggest the first part of the statement may be correct but analysts insist the second part is easier said than done. How’s that? This is how the calculation works.
50-member China team to visit Nepal - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
A 50-member official delegation led by a senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be visiting Nepal next week. The delegation will discuss various issues including bilateral cooperation, investment and, most significantly, China’s concern over “activities detrimental to Chinese interest”, according to information conveyed to the Nepali side.
Allow EU's Pak package to go through, says PM - Josy Joseph, Times of India
The Prime Minister yet again made a personal intervention to extend a significant unilateral concession to Pakistan, just a few days ahead of Independence Day.
Telangana’s Pak cousin - Gautam Pingle, Deccan Chronicle
Bahawalpur state in Pakistan and Hyderabad state in India have interesting parallels. Both states were founded in the early 18th century — Hyderabad in 1724 and Bahawalpur in 1727 — by Muslim dynasties.
Remembering India's capitulation on Tibet - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
An article in The New York Times last Saturday speculated that Beijing would try to legitimise its hand-selected (and therefore illegitimate) Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, by sending him to study in the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe at the somewhat advanced age of 21.
Pakistan may be standing in way of polio's eradication - Atlantic Wire
Several Pakistani news outlets today are dissecting a troubling finding from the U.N. Children's Fund: the 63 cases of polio diagnosed in the country so far this year are nearly double the 36 detected during the same period last year.
The Tibetan tightrope - Srinath Raghavan, Deccan Chronicle
The recent swearing-in of Dr Lobsang Sangay as the Prime Minister of the government-in-exile marks the beginning of a new stage in the political struggle of the Tibetan émigré community.
Nepal PM refuses to quit ''till consensus on national govt'' - Shirish B Pradhan, PTI
Political crisis in Nepal deepened today as a crucial meeting of the main parties failed to agree on a national unity government even as the embattled Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal refused to quit till a consensus is formed on a new coalition. The talks failed to make any headway after the main opposition Nepali Congress walked out of the meeting, asking Khanal to include the Terai-based Madhesi parties, the fourth largest group in parliament, in the dialogue for a national coalition.
The Karachi project - Ali K Chishti, Foreign Policy
In a dramatic series of raids in February, Pakistani authorities captured more than two dozen top al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, and Pakistani Taliban leaders, mostly in Pashtun areas on the outskirts of Karachi. The list included Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar's top deputy, Mullah Baradar, whose capture raised hopes that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan was finally gaining momentum. The arrests also sparked a debate in Kabul and Washington over the seeming policy shift on the part of Pakistan, which for years had resisted cracking down on top insurgent leaders despite repeated entreaties from the United States.
Bangla bonhomie - Vivek Sengupta, Asian Age
If high-level visits are an indicator, Delhi has gone into overdrive to engage with Dhaka. In July alone, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna and home minister P. Chidambaram journeyed to Bangladesh. Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma went a longer way — to Meghalaya to join his Bangladeshi counterpart in inaugurating a haat for trans-border rural trade.
Fresh crisis in Nepal as PM quits - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal's embattled Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal resigned from his post Sunday, making way for the emergence of a new government. He tendered his resignation to President Ram Baran Yadav, the President’s office confirmed, adding that while his resignation had been accepted, he had been asked to continue in the post till further arrangements were made.
Chinese string of pearl around India - Maloy Krishna Dhar
Every country reserves the right to develop its strategic relations in the neighborhood as well as in geostrategic areas. China is not a South and South Asian power. However, for strategic reasons China has adopted an aggressive policy of establishing itself as stable and trusted friends of countries around India. Initially Pakistan was the fertile ground for China to develop strategic stranglehold around India.
Pakistan: Living in the respectorate - Irfan Husain, Pioneer
The samosa has been declared un-Islamic as it symbolises the ‘Holy Trinity’. Young men and women can’t squirt water on each other. And, frozen chicken is to be avoided by believers. Such is life in the joyless world where mullahs hold sway.
Aug 21: Deadline for new Nepal govt - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
A day after Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal's resignation, Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav on Monday gave all parties an August 21 deadline to form the next government through consensus. As per provisions of the interim constitution, Yadav asked parties to form a consensus government by  that deadline failing which the next government would be formed through majority vote in parliament.
Uncertainty rules - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The prime minister of Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, has resigned. He goes unwept and unsung. Prachanda, the Maoist chief and architect of the radical left takeover, had tried to delay Khanal’s resignation, but that amounted to going against the current political tide and he gave up at the end.
Senior Chinese leader in Nepal on important visit - Shirish B Pradhan, PTI
Kathmandu, Aug 16 - Amid the political crisis in Nepal, China's top security czar arrived here today along with a 25-member delegation to discuss "mutual concerns" and promote bilateral ties. Zhou Yongkang, a Politburo Standing Committee member of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), will meet President Ram Baran Yadav, government officials and leaders of Nepal's major political parties during his three-day stay here.
China speeds past India's slow train to Himalayas - Sanjeev Miglani, Reuters
 India's struggle to build a railway to troubled Kashmir has become a symbol of the infrastructure gap with neighbouring China, whose speed in building road and rail links is giving it a strategic edge on the mountainous frontier.
Watch out for Afpak turbulence - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
With the US planning to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, Pakistan is hoping for a Taliban takeover of the region. India should be under no illusion that it can change the jihadi mindset of Pakistan's armed forces.
Tibet is no socialist paradise - Lobsang Sangay, New York Times
THREE years ago, Tibetans from Lhasa to Lithang rose up against Chinese rule in Tibet. Earlier this week, a Tibetan monk set himself on fire — the second self-immolation this year, and a testament to China’s continuing repression and Tibetans’ continued resistance. We do not encourage protests, but it is our sacred duty to support our voiceless and courageous compatriots.
US may fund PoK dam that could flood parts of J&K - Uttara Choudhury, First Post
 The Obama administration is considering backing the construction of Pakistan’s hulking, $12 billion Diamer Basha dam on the Indus River which is likely to face stiff opposition from Pakistan’s critics in the US Congress, who’ve called for aid to be cut off after Osama bin Laden was found hiding in plain sight in Abbottabad.
Nepal in constitutional anarchy - Dhruba Adhikary, Asia Times
The day Nepal's caretaker prime minister Jhalanath Khanal chose to resign raised some eyebrows: August 14 marks the annual cow festival, which Hindu Nepalis typically celebrate with rallies and public events loaded with stinging satire and criticism of the government.
A growing anti-Zardari tide - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
Call it what you will. But there’s certain chemistry between the people of Pakistan and their military that’s hard to be given a definite nomenclature. Some call it an infatuation. The people of Pakistan give their army a stature above any other institution of state. The aura of the men in uniform is simply dazzling for the common man. It massages the ego of those worshipping authority in what’s without doubt a feudal society to its boots.  Others have a more logical label for this strange chemistry — the people of Pakistan have a love-hate relationship with their army.
Sri Lanka: Not so hidden dragon - Ashok Kumar Mehta, Hindustan Times
The forthcoming debate in Parliament will focus on the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils but the more important issue about the diminution of India's strategic leverage to China in Sri Lanka is likely to be lost. Hambantota rings the bell.
Pakistan's commercial capital on the boil - Anita Joshua, Hindu
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says Karachi is in the grip of a multisided wave of insecurity driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation.
Sri Lanka to end emergency - R K Radhakrishnan, Hindu
“There is no need to have the state of emergency any more … So I inform Parliament that we will not extend emergency,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday. Emergency has to be extended by Parliament each month, according to the provisions of the Constitution.
Bulleh knows not who he is - Murtaza Razvi, Blog Dawn
Well, he isn’t the only one. There’s a whole nation that suffers the trauma minus that humble self-abnegation of Bulleh Shah, and Shah Husain before him, two inimitable poets rooted in this soil. Neither would have anything to do with established views or practices; both defied convention. In their refreshing repertoires they expressed much élan and a sense of jubilation at their defiance. There is not a spec of remorse or guilt whatsoever but pride in knowing that they do not know.
What’s the right price tag for Pakistani minds and hearts? - Walter Pincus, Washington Post
What does Washington do when a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll shows that only 12 percent of Pakistanis interviewed responded “favorable” when asked, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?”
The eye of the Buddha - Economist
Franklin D. Roosevelt did not have much time for Burma or the Burmese. The sympathy he felt for Indian demands for independence from Britain did not extend to that other piece of the British Raj now known as Myanmar. In 1942 he wrote to Winston Churchill: “I wish you could put the whole bunch of them into a frying pan with a wall around it and let them stew in their own juice.”
ISI resurrects Hikmatyar group to target Indians - Rakesh K Singh, Pioneer
The Pakistani spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), with the help of Taliban, has revived the Al-Huda outfit of Gulbuddin Hikmatyar to target Indians in Afghanistan. As many as 350 persons have been trained so far particularly to target Indian business interests and development works being executed in the war-torn country. 
Pakistan in grip of raging ethnic violence - B Raman, Pioneer
The cycle of violence in Karachi will continue as none of the contending parties is likely to force a strategic confrontation which could destabilise Pakistan. Hence, such periodic confrontations will continue till the criminal-politician-police nexus is broken.
Lamas at loggerheads - Economist
It was anever going to be easy. Installing the Chinese Communist Party’s chosen man as Tibet’s second-highest ranking religious leader has been an uphill struggle since 1995, when it declared him, at the ripe old age of six, to be the new Panchen Lama. But a recent attempt to introduce him to monastic life suggests that Tibetan resistance to China’s choice is still strong. Loyalty to the young man is brittle.
At Buddha’s birthplace - Economist
After Prachanda, the leader of Nepal’s Maoists, stepped down as prime minister in 2009 he several times met representatives of the “Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation”. The Nepalese media speculated that this mysterious organisation was a front for either the Indian or the Chinese intelligence services, the two giant neighbours often accused of meddling in Nepal’s politics. The truth seems even stranger.
A new chapter in Nepal - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the high drama around Anna Hazare for a moment, here’s a great alternative to stun your senses: Nepal. When the world’s youngest republic finally chose Jhalanath Khanal of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) to become prime minister in February, after 17 rounds of voting, there was great hope.
Neighbourhood watch - Jaswant Singh, Hindustan Times
Like monsoon flurries, recent events in the subcontinent have sent conflicting signals. Has Indian diplomacy finally awakened after its long summer siesta? Or is this just an illusion? In late July, after lower-level ministerial officials from India and Pakistan had prepared the ground for their respective foreign ministers to meet, the two finally did so, in New Delhi, on July 26 and 27.
Karachi burning - Najam Sethi, India Today
Over 400 people have been killed in gang and party political warfare in Karachi in the last two months. No permanent end to the senseless violence is in sight because of several factors. The three-way struggle for turf and power in Karachi among the PPP, MQM and ANP overlaps with violent gang wars among the criminal drug, extortion, arms and land-grab mafias that have come to dominate the underworld of Karachi and established quid pro quo links with each of the three parties.
Pakistan: Middle-class needed for revolution - Imtiaz Ahmad, HT
Give us Hazare and take away our hazaroun (thousands) quips Faisal Qureshi, a popular TV host. By hazaroun, he says he is referring to the thousands of corrupt Pakistani leaders and decision makers. If there was a popularity contest, says another, Hazare would win hands down in Pakistan.
India’s Nepal dilemma - Prashant Jha, Hindu
A day after he presented his credentials, the new Indian ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, faces his first major challenge of formulating and implementing a unified Indian position with regard to the government formation process underway in Nepal. The decision will bring to the fore all of New Delhi’s dilemmas regarding domestic Nepali politics.
Maoist ideologue finally emerges from shadow of Prachanda - Shirish B Pradhan, PTI
Kathmandu, Aug 28 - Nepal's India educated new prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai, is a Maoist party ideologue who was instrumental in transforming the rebels into a political outfit that emerged as the single largest party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections. The 57-year-old Bhattarai, who has a doctorate from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, has finally emerged from the shadow of his party supremo Prachanda.
Nepal: How the story ends - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
These days, Nepal is as disillusioned with civil society as with its political parties, five years after the sweeping political transformation that led up to this situation, a change that began with a civil society-led mass movement.
Time for India to wake up to burma - Manoj Joshi, Mail Today
An account of contemporary Burma has an important message for India. Our eastern neighbour is critical for our future but the Chinese are everywhere. Anyone who has read the author’s moving history, River of Lost Footsteps ( 2007), will know that he has considerable talent and sensitivity in telling us about one of the world’s most closed societies. Yet, paradoxically, as Thant Myint- U points out, Burma is now emerging as the new crossroads in Asia.
Violence in Karachi: Into the abyss - Economist
Ethnic warfare in Pakistan’s most populous city has reached such a level that Karachi’s ambulance service now has to send out a driver matching the racial make-up of the destination district to pick up the victims of gang attacks. Otherwise, the district’s gunmen will not let the ambulance through. Now ambulances themselves are coming under fire, as gangsters try to stop them saving the lives of their enemies.
Beijing’s unopened secret gift package to Nepal - Claude Arpi, DNA
You may think that Communists are atheists. You are wrong. They have recently become great experts in religious matters, including ‘soul’ reincarnations and reestablishing Buddhist institutions. Last year, Beijing announced some new regulations to select what they call ‘Living Buddhas’.
Making a trade-friendly border - Biswajit Dhar, Mint
In the next few days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will undertake an official visit to Bangladesh. This visit assumes importance as it provides an opportunity to the two neighbours to redeem the pledges that they had made to promote bilateral economic relations during the January 2010 visit of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Few will deny that strengthening of relations at the bilateral level forms the basis for the emergence of a dynamic and resilient South Asia.
Pakistanis pining for Anna - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
Not in so many years have the people of Pakistan, particularly its intelligentsia, watched the Indian domestic scene as intently as they are doing these days. The focus, of course, is the populist agitation surrounding the savant, Anna Hazare. The Pakistanis feel not only dazzled by the enthusiasm that the ascetic populist leader has kindled among the Indians, across- the-board, but also feel a kind of kinship with the agitators.
Beginning with Dhaka - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
A few years ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mused over having breakfast in New Delhi, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That statement was a reflection of Dr Singh’s desire to transform the north-western parts of the subcontinent through active peace-making and the promotion of regional integration.
Reaching out to Dhaka - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Bangladesh, born barely four decades ago, on the other hand, feels quite comfortable to share its cultural values and ethos with its neighbours across its borders, while zealously protecting the separate national identity it assumed since 1971. Both India and Bangladesh are this year separately and jointly celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, whose poetry enriched the lives of their people. Tagore was uniquely the composer of the national anthems of both nations. Sharing much in common, while yet being separate sovereign and independent nation states, is a challenge that Bangladesh and India will confront in an era when religious beliefs across the world are assuming salience.
Karachi, the sequel - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
Karachi just shames the Orwellian 1984. With leaders like Zulfiqar Mirza, Altaf Hussain and Shahi Syed, each too focused on safeguarding the interests of his own community even if it has to be at the expense of all others, sanity is unlikely to find a home in this troubled, restive metropolis of two crore. The waves of violence and the flames of hatred here rise too high and subside only to rise again. Provocations are aplenty and no opportunity is laid waste to stir up trouble.
West Bengal haunts every Delhi-Dhaka dialogue - Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, Telegraph India
No assessment of next week’s summit meeting in Dhaka is complete without considering the emotional bonding that Kamal Hossain, the only surviving member of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s cabinet, invoked while delivering the Sarat Chandra Bose Memorial lecture. Nor can any analysis afford to ignore the contrary pulls that Sarat Bose’s granddaughter, the Oxford historian, Sarmila Bose, highlights in her controversial new book, Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War.
Xinjiang's growing PoK links cloud China's stance on Kashmir - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
At sunset, the Pakistan Café on Seman Road here bursts into life. Here, Pakistani traders from across this dusty trading town gather for tea, sharing stories of their day's work, all united by a common ambition of grabbing a slice of this region's growth. “We have great belief in what China is doing here,” says one trader who has driven to Kashgar from Gilgit, in disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
FATA is inhabited by normal human beings! - Shahid Ilyas, Daily Times
The centuries-long great game in the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) seems to be crumbling at last, slowly but surely. Had the Pakistani state ended this game immediately after its birth in 1947, the shape of things might well have been very different. The Islamic Republic might not have seen its descent into chaos. We might not have been introduced to the scourge of suicide bombings.
India, Bangladesh to turn a new leaf in history - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
A comprehensive framework agreement between India and Bangladesh, which lays down a vision, identifies principles and priorities and charts ways for an equal partnership in the coming decades, is expected to be the centre-piece of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “historic” two-day visit to Dhaka from tomorrow.
US to Pak: Can't pick and choose terrorists - Hindustan Times
The United States has told Pakistan in clear terms that it has to act against all militants operating inside its territory and Islamabad cannot 'pick and choose' among terror groups, defence secretary Leon Panetta said. Terming terrorism as a threat to Pakistan as well as to the US, Panetta said that he had conveyed to Pakistan, its army and the Inter-Services Intelligence that "they can't pick and choose among terrorists".
Delhi, Dhaka and a hostage-taker - Srinath Raghavan, Asian Age
The significance of the Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh has been obscured by the hubbub over the West Bengal chief minister’s refusal to accompany him to Dhaka. Mamata Banerjee was not pleased with the agreement on sharing the water of Teesta river negotiated by New Delhi and Dhaka. The removal of an important treaty from the summit’s menu was disappointing indeed. Nevertheless, the importance of the raft of agreements to be concluded by the two Prime Ministers should not be underestimated.
ISI wants Taliban to keep India out of Afghanistan: Experts - Indian Express
Pakistan's ISI wants the Taliban to be influential enough within the Afghan government so that it can keep India out of Afghanistan, an influential American think-tank has said. James Dobbins from the RAND Corporation and his colleagues recently visited Pakistan and interacted with the official of the Inter-Services Intelligence.
A complex identity - Sunanda k datta-ray, Pioneer
There are many reasons why India and Bangladesh matter to each other. There are also many reasons why West Bengal and Bangladesh matter to each other. But beyond the logic of these equations, anything to do with West Bengal has repercussions in Bangladesh. Had Ms Mamata Banerjee attended the Dhaka summit, she would have stolen the thunder of both Prime Ministers. Her absence was a slap in the face that Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary, Mr Mijarul Qayes, described as “not acceptable”.
Pak wanted to end J&K violence, militants didn’t: WikiLeaks - Peerzada Ashiq, HT
Pakistan wanted to wind down militancy in Kashmir in 2006, but failed due to a stiff 10-day protest by militant leaders, according to a US embassy cable from Islamabad released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks. “The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had summoned the leaders of the Kashmiri militancy for a March 8, 2006, meeting in which the government of Pakistan thanked the militants for their struggle, but then told them to lay down their arms and give the bilateral peace process a chance,” says the cable.
The 45-day manoeuvre - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The Baburam Bhattarai government’s countdown began on August 28, the day he became prime minister. A man in a hurry, and perhaps over-confident in his ability to deliver, he asked for a mere 45 days to complete the peace process. He managed to get Prachanda, chairman of his party, by his side, in the hope that together they would crush any dissent among the Maoists. In other words, Prachanda is expected to take disciplinary action against their party’s senior vice-chairman, Mohan Baidya Kiran, a Bhattarai rival, if their current opposition creates a crisis for the government.
New alignment: PPP in secret talks with Musharraf’s party - Abdul Manan, Tribune
LAHORE: In an attempt to further isolate its rival Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party has begun secret negotiations with the All Pakistan Muslim League for a possible return of its chief and former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to Pakistan. The two parties have set up a covert communication channel to coordinate political activities in the country, ostensibly against the PML-N.
UN under pressure to re-examine Sri Lanka 'abuses' - BBC News
The UN Human Rights Council, meeting in Geneva, is under growing pressure to re-examine alleged violations of human rights which took place in Sri Lanka. The alleged abuses took place in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.
Biden dubs Pak unreliable US ally in war on terror - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
US Vice President Joe Biden, who as a Senator had the reputation for being blunt, has now gone public with the comment that Pakistan has not been a reliable ally of the United States in the war against terror.
Pakistan’s WSJ ad backfires, sets off angry reaction from bloggers - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
An attempt by Pakistan to project itself to the American people as a force for peace and a nation in the forefront of the battle against terrorism has been scoffed at and pilloried, judging by the reaction to a half-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal.
ISI helped Osama escape from Tora Bora, says report - PTI
Pakistan's military-run ISI could have provided protection to slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden for a period of time, suggests the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine.
The plight of Pakistan's Shia - Sadanand Dhume, WSJ
Is Sunni-majority Pakistan in the midst of a low-grade war against its minority Shia population? Scarcely a month goes by without word of a new atrocity: a car bomb outside a Shia mosque in Quetta during Ramadan, a suicide bombing of a Shia procession in Lahore, Shia doctors mysteriously shot in Karachi.
Ad, bad and dangerous - Sharon Fernandes, Hindustan Times
'Got milk?’ A simple question asked by any celebrity with a milk moustache in place is all it took for one of America’s longest running advertising campaigns for the California Milk Processor Board to be a hit. While the best ads have always been reflections of aspirations, the Government of Pakistan put its best face forward — read: Benazir Bhutto — in an ad in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, asking Americans a question: ‘What other country can do more for your peace?’
Pakistan: Crevices in the deep state - Rashed Rahman, Indian Express
The sensational assassination of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the web-based Asia Times Online’s reporter in Pakistan, in May this year sent shock waves through the media community and the public. The discovery of his body, fully clothed, with even his tie and shoes on, in the Upper Jhelum Canal on May 30, and the subsequent discovery of his car 20 miles upstream, indicated foul play.
No hope for Pakistan - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
The recent floods in Sindh have ravaged the lands and lives of five million people. At least 250 people have lost their lives. Standing crops over four million acres have been lost. Yet the government and media have only now begun to pay some attention to the devastation.
India’s pride, Pakistan’s envy - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
Ask a Pakistani smart aleck what’s India’s most valuable export and chances are that, in 98 out of 100, the answer will be Bollywood movies. That, ironically, would be as close to an intelligent answer as one could expect, given the appalling level of ignorance in Pakistan about India, even among its literati and the intelligentsia. Bleeding heart Pakistanis regularly bemoan and grieve a lot that India was making so much cultural capital in the world because of the global audience its masala movies draw in hordes.
Beyond national interest - Swapan Dasgupta, Telegraph Calcutta
The idea that the nation is larger than the sum of its parts readily finds an echo in New Delhi, the archetypal Imperial Capital carefully planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens to inspire both awe and reverence. The present-day Republic, undergoing serious mid-life convulsions, may not quite fit the bill as the deserving successor to the mighty raj, but its functionaries still retain all the mental trappings of an imperial power, especially when it comes to dealing with the provinces.
China helps NE groups with arms - Hindustan Times
National security advisor Shiv Shanker Menon has backed Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu's view that Beijing was dabbling with north-east insurgent groups in India by helping them with weapon supplies and bases in its Yunan province.
Why Bangladesh should matter to us - Kanti Bajpai, Times of India
Most Indians have lost very little sleep over the fact that the prime minister`s visit to Bangladesh was a failure. Given the importance of Bangladesh to India`s well-being, we should have tossed and turned in our beds at what transpired in Dhaka. As it turns out, we slept quite well and continue to do so. 
Pakistan flood survivors struggle to cope - Syed Shoaib Hasan, BBC News
While the rains have stopped, the misery continues to mount for the people of Pakistan's Sindh province. Most of the south of the province remains under water. At least 22 districts have been labelled disaster zones, most of them on the left bank of the River Indus.
Rein in Haqqani men, US warns Pak - Thom Shanker, Times of India
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressing "deep concerns" about violent attacks mounted by the Haqqani insurgent network, has again pressed the Pakistani military to take action against militant havens, US officials said. 
This time, West sees hidden hand of Pakistan - YP Rajesh, Indian Express
The security analysis in the aftermath of the Mumbai and Delhi blasts in the last two months by Western intelligence experts and the Indian establishment has followed a curious and, ironically, contradictory track. In the past, whenever India was hit by a terror attack and authorities were quick to point fingers at Pakistan or groups based in that country, Western officials and even their media would take it with more than a pinch of salt saying India seemed to be jumping the gun in the absence of concrete evidence.
Hindus in Pak struggling to register their marriages: Report - Rezaul H Laskar, PTI
Islamabad, Sept 19 - Pakistan's Hindus are struggling to register their marriages due to chronic delays in the passage of the draft bill for the Hindu Marriage Act that was proposed in 2008, according to a media report today. The draft bill, which is yet to be tabled in parliament, seeks to address the decades-old problem faced by Pakistan's largest minority community that numbers about four million.
A difficult road ahead - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The prime minister of Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai, sent out an instruction to the headquarters of his party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), to return to rightful owners all the property that had been grabbed by the Maoists during the decade-long insurgency.
Sea change in Indo-Bangla business ties - Nisha Taneja & Neetika Kaushal, Business Line
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka on September 6-7 has changed the course of Indo-Bangladesh economic relations. To be sure, there were disappointments, such as the delay in arriving at a water sharing accord on the Teesta river due to resistance from the Indian side, and backtracking by Bangladesh on its offer of transit to India through its territory. However, the initiative taken to promote greater investment and trade between the two countries was very promising.
North-east India - an emerging gateway - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Since Independence, India has treated its north-eastern states as unproductive black holes into which New Delhi pours vast amounts of treasure and obtains resentful ingratitude in return. But this backwater is in focus after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s successful visit to Dhaka earlier this month, which has not just built bridges with Bangladesh but it also holds out the promise of creating a new relationship with south-east Asia.
The dangerous game of perceptional border intrusion - Claude Arpi, DNA
News agencies reported that Chinese troops recently entered into Indian territory and destroyed bunkers in Chumar division of Nyoma tashil, some 300 km south of Leh, the capital of Ladakh.
Barbarians at the gate - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Pioneer
After Burhanuddin Rabbani's assassination, there are no impediments to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, backed by the Pakistani military. The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former President of Afghanistan who led the peace talks with the Taliban, is reason enough for the United States to rethink its policy on Pakistan and for India to reconsider how the interests of national security will be best served in Afghanistan.
The Bangladesh big picture - Raghu Dayal, Indian Express
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sudden withdrawal from the Indian visit to Bangladesh, apparently over reservations on the Teesta water-sharing treaty, retarded the momentum that had been assiduously built up towards a paradigm change in bilateral relations, which the visit was expected to usher in.
AQ letter reveals Pak's N-tryst with China - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
In an angry, bitter, self-exculpatory letter he wrote to his wife, Pakistan's nuclear architect A Q Khan has seriously implicated the Pakistani military and the Chinese government in proliferation of nuclear technology and material, and instructed her to take a "tough stand" if Pakistani establishment "plays any mischief with me".
Maoists at the helm in Nepal - Ashok Kumar Mehta, Pioneer
With Maoists back in power, there is a ray of hope in Nepal but keep your fingers crossed. The apparent breakthrough in Nepal’s tangled peace process could be paraphrased in the French saying: “The more the Maoists change, the more they stay the same.” Serious divisions have cropped up between the moderates and the hardliners on the issue of handing over weapons.
The Haqqani leverage - Ayesha Siddiqa, Indian Express
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called an all-party conference on Thursday to discuss the security situation in the country, particularly the ongoing tension with the US. Islamabad and Washington seem to be drifting apart on the methodology to end the war on terror in Afghanistan. Currently, the bone of contention is Islamabad’s reluctance to attack the Haqqani network, which is causing the US problems in Afghanistan. One cannot miss the war cry of Pakistan’s media.
New optimism in Indo-Pak ties - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
For once, we in South Asia have been ahead of the expectations curve in the rest of the globe. Earlier this week, I was in Washington attending the third Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Brooking India-US Strategic Dialogue and also a series of meetings with a cross-section of academicians, policymakers and think-tankers.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire: Sharif questions Pak Army role - PTI
Saturday Oct 01 2011- PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif raised “tough questions” for the military leadership during a meeting to discuss Pakistan-US tensions, saying the country had increasingly become isolated and there must be some reasons for this.
Assassination of Rabbani - Saleem Safi, The News
During my meeting with Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul last month I could never have imagined that this would be our last meeting. Just a few months ago he and I met during his visit to Islamabad. He then invited me to Kabul for a detailed discussion. So when I reached Kabul last month, I informed him of my availability and the very next day he invited me to the same house where, just a few days ago, he was targeted by a suicide bomber. 
US and Nato 'far from goals' in Afghanistan - BBC News
After 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan, US and Nato allies remain far from reaching their goals, a former commander of coalition forces has said. Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal said the US began the war with a "frighteningly simplistic" view and still lacked the knowledge to achieve a successful end.
Working the levers of patriotism - Ayaz Amir, The News
No one can work the engines of patriotism better than the army and its ideological wing, the ISI. In actual combat their performance may invite questions. But in ideological combat their skill is unsurpassed.
Ten years of meltdown in Pakistan - Ahmed Rashid, BBC News
Since 2001, the Pakistani state has turned into a far bigger crisis for its people, the region and the international community than anyone could have imagined. After spending the past 10 years ostensibly fighting the "war on terror" as partners of the United States, Pakistan now finds itself on a war footing with the Americans. This follows accusations by top US officials that Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, is aiding the Afghan extremist Jalaluddin Haqqani network, which is attacking US forces in Afghanistan.
Plot to kill Rabbani hatched in Pak? - Times of India
Afghanistan's intelligence service said on Saturday it has given Pakistan hard evidence that former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani's assassination was planned in the southern outskirts of the Pakistani city of Quetta where key Taliban leaders are based.
China's polished exploitation of isolated Myanmar - Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
He was a man from Rangoon who 20 years ago had fled to the nearest Chinese city of Ruili. But he did not complain that his Chinese work and residence permit, which allowed him to sell jade mined from the mountains of Myanmar, still confined him to the Chinese province of Yunnan.
The Afghan question - KC Singh, Asian Age
Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrives in India at a crucial moment in the fate of Afghanistan and South Asia, because not only is it a member of Saarc but the window through which instability and invasions have poured into the Indian subcontinent since Alexander’s visit over two millennia ago.
Open up to Burma - Indian Express
Myanmar, sandwiched between China and India, is at its most important political watershed since the establishment of army rule in 1962. The next few weeks can make a big difference in determining whether historic reforms under way there will lead to Asia’s newest democratic transition. Six months ago it was difficult to be optimistic. Elections had been held but they had been widely condemned as being far from free and fair. And although Myanmar’s aging autocrat, General Than Shwe, retired, the constitutional leadership that replaced his junta included many of the same former generals. Few expected more than minor reforms.
God's soldiers: Pakistan army's ideology - Praveen Swami, Hindu
In the autumn of 2002, at the end of a murderous 10-month stand-off with India provoked by the Jaish-e-Muhammad's attack on the Parliament House in New Delhi, a small group of mid-level Pakistan army officers set about debating its lessons.
Drifting away from US, Pak pulls closer to China - NYT
As relations with Washington plummeted in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, Pakistan’s leaders turned to China, which is seen here as an enduring all-weather friend, an alternative to the troublesome and overbearing Americans. Over the years, Beijing has sent military assistance to Pakistan, provided crucial help in initiating Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and cooperated closely on intelligence. Sturdy Chinese-Pakistan relations are seen as a hedge against India, a rival to both nations.
Politics in post-Dasain Nepal - Prashant Jha, Hindu
As Nepal limps back to normality after the end of its biggest festival — when the country shuts down for five days, politicians take a break, and even newspapers stop publication — Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai faces a formidable challenge. The deadlock over the peace and constitutional process has persisted since his election in late August.
A Haqqani triangle - Rifaat Hamid Ghani, News
It seems the square on the hypotenuse of a Haqqani triangle is equal to the sum of the conspirators perceived on the other two sides – which means that there is no sure measure of what the triangle signifies! Nobody is trusted completely; nobody is distrusted completely. 
India: Tibetan exiles walk on 'home soil' in Dharamsala - Joanna Jolly, BBC News
An art exhibition in the Indian town of Dharamsala has given many exiled Tibetans a chance to walk on the soil of their homeland for the first time. ibetan artist Tenzin Ringdol ferried 20,000kg soil from Tibet to Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile, for his exhibit.
Myanmar calling - Ashwini Phadnis, Business Line
Indians could soon be able to acquire land in Myanmar. This hitherto reclusive country to the east of India is in the news and for all the right reasons. Myanmar, which held elections after 20 years in November last and has had a civilian government in power since then, was the focus both at the United Nations and in India where a delegation headed by its Commerce Minister, Mr U Win Myint came last week for the 4th meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Trade Commission.
Tightrope act on the Durand Line - Anita Joshua, Hindu
The “50 Years Ago Today” column in The Dawn on October 8 featured a report headlined “Afghans warned to beware.” The report from Peshawar said: “Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt. Gen. K.M. Shaikh said here yesterday that Pakistan was prepared to deal with any situation which might arise as a result of Afghan troops' incursion into our territory… Gen. Shaikh said he had no knowledge about any U.S. proposal for the amicable settlement for the Pakistan-Afghanistan dispute.” This was in 1961.
Rogues who run Pakistan - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Indian ‘intellectuals’ and bleeding heart liberals have zealously believed that ‘dialogue’ alone can address the animosity of the Taliban and its ISI mentors towards India, as though these organisations are akin to Mother Teresa’s ‘Missionaries of Charity’. The Taliban’s animosity towards India became manifest when 75 American Cruise missiles targetted  Taliban and Al Qaeda strongholds in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998. The Americans accidentally did India a favour.
India in the endgame - Afzal Khan, News
Disclaimers by President Karzai and Dr Manmohan Singh, or Pakistan Foreign Office’s feeble attempt to downplay it notwithstanding, the Strategic Partnership agreement signed by Afghanistan and India last week signals a paradigm shift in the regional equation. 
As Kabul & Delhi edge closer - Zafar Hilaly, News
Interstate politics has been invariably harsh in the teeming and scorching landscape of the subcontinent, and it has been getting harsher. And there seems to be no end in sight to the cycle of crisis and conflict. When Indira Gandhi readied for war with Pakistan after concluding the Indo-Soviet Treaty of August 1971, she sent an unmistakable sign to China not to weigh in on Pakistan’s side.
The road to Naypyidaw - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receives Myanmar President Thein Sein on Friday, China will be widely and wrongly seen as the elephant in the room. Analysts at home and abroad find the temptation to view the India-Myanmar bilateral relationship through the distorting China prism very hard to resist.
Trading with the enemy - Najam Sethi, Friday Times
The granting of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India has confounded certain long-established political and ideological vested interests. The story of why Pakistan denied this status to India for two decades and why it has relented today is worth telling because it sheds light on a critical dimension of Pakistan's "national security doctrine".
The Northeast and India’s Myanmar policy - Aloke Sen, Telegraph India
Winds of change are blowing through Myanmar. The new civilian government of President Thein Sein has of late been busy ushering in reform, of both political and economic kinds. There are unprecedented gestures of goodwill towards the democracy movement leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, freer debate in the parliament, crackdown on corruption, moves to bring competitiveness and transparency to the opaque business sector, some more freedom for the muzzled media.
A ‘smart power’ in Afghanistan? - Ajey Lele, Pioneer
The buzz is that India has “ambitions” in post-NATO Afghanistan and is making firm moves to check similar desires by Pakistan, albeit through the use of different formulae. Last fortnight, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit, a ‘strategic partnership’ agreement was signed by Afghanistan and India. For the past few years, Karzai has been observed maintaining a cautious balance between India and Pakistan and his remarks have always been marked by refrains and qualifications. 
Myanmar is the largest Indian aid recipient after Afghanistan - Ajai Shukla, Blogspost
China’s smaller neighbours have long been wary of the imposing proximity of the Middle Kingdom. In 1946, when Vietnamese resistance leaders considered Chinese help in throwing off the French colonial yoke, Ho Chi Minh believed China was the greater threat. Dismissing the suggestion, the canny Vietnamese leader famously declared, “The last time the Chinese came (to Vietnam), they stayed a thousand years… I prefer to sniff French dung for another five years than to eat Chinese dung for the rest of my life.”
Maoists in the temple - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal was declared a secular state more than five years ago, but religion still triggers debate here over the way politicians are using it. On Vijayadashami day on October 6, President Ram Baran Yadav offered prasad to senior government officials and others in his office, following a practice of the monarchs before Nepal became a “secular republic.” A month earlier, he had visited the temple of Kumari, considered a living goddess, in the capital, with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai at his side, representing the state. The former king, Gyanendra, was stopped from visiting the temple in an individual’s capacity for fears he might be awarded literally royal treatment.
Building bridges across Irrawaddy to Myanmar - Ranjit Gupta, Times of India
For India few visits are more important than that of President Thein Sein. After decades, Myanmar is receiving very positive coverage in the global media in strong contrast to the past. A great deal of the credit for that goes to the president who is spearheading a remarkable and courageous process of political transformation in Myanmar . This is an appropriate time to consider why Myanmar is so important to India and to think about ways to substantially enhance India-Myanmar relations.
Munificent allocation - D Murali, Business Line
A section titled ‘The costs of a fragmented approach' in ‘Water: Asia's new battleground' by Brahma Chellaney (Harper) frets that the absence of institutionalised, integrated policymaking in India has blighted water resources management for long. A dire warning in the book, quoting the 2030 Water Resources Group, a consortium of private social-sector organisations formed in 2008 to provide insights into worldwide water issues, is that the country is likely to face a 50 per cent deficit between the demand for and supply of water by 2030.
India should strengthen ties with Myanmar - Srinath Raghavan, Business Line
The recent visit to India by the President of Myanmar took place against the backdrop of significant changes in his country. When President Mr Thein Sein took office last November, there was much scepticism about the new ‘civilian' government. Since then he has surprised his critics by initiating a slew of political and economic reforms.
A win-win trade for India & Pakistan - Abid Suleri & Pradeep S Mehta, FE
Both Pakistan and India are members of the World Trade Organisation and also of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement. The WTO agreement requires each member state to grant Most Favoured Nation status to all other members to facilitate smooth trade flows. SAFTA takes up closer economic cooperation among all member states of SAARC. Alas, in the case of Pakistan and India there are several bottlenecks in achieving a harmonious trade relationship in spite of both the agreements. Why should the status remain status quo, when both will gain hugely.
Managing Pakistan - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
It should be no surprise that the American discourse on post-2014 AfPak is shifting as it becomes evident that the troop thin-out will leave behind an Afghanistan in turmoil if not outright civil war. In recognition of the bare-knuckle conflict that lies ahead, discussion has moved on from the soft issues of Afghan democracy, women’s empowerment and eradication of corruption to kinetic topics like the transition of security responsibility.
Visit has built up trust: Nepal Premier - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai feels that his ongoing visit to India has been “very productive” and he has succeeded in his key aim of “building trust” between the two countries. This, he says, has created the new basis to take India-Nepal relations forward. Speaking to a select group of journalists, of which The Hindu was the only Indian media outlet, Dr. Bhattarai said his conversations with Indian leaders broadly revolved round the Nepali political transition, Indian security concerns and economic co-operation between the two countries.
Helping Nepal pull together - PK Hormis Tharakan, Indian Express
As Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai prepares for his four-day visit to India, which begins on October 20, expectations are high in Nepal that there would be much to look forward to on the bilateral economic front — including deals in pursuance of the $250 million line of credit India offered during President Ram Baran Yadav’s visit in 2010, as well as assistance for setting up an institute of excellence on the lines of the IITs. A positive response to Nepal’s concerns about the trade deficit and power shortages is anticipated.
Myanmar: A taste of freedom - Economist
It was only the night before her release this week that they told her of her impending freedom. Just 24, she had been locked up for her part in the “Saffron Revolution” in 2007 when Buddhist monks led protests against the military junta then ruling Myanmar. She still had seven years of her sentence to serve. Now her eyes shine and her face is filled with a broad smile. The joy is not just for herself. It is surely not for her family, two of whom are still behind bars, one serving a 65-year sentence.
Islamabad looks towards India to bolster economy - Financial Express
Fears over Pakistan’s struggling economy have persuaded the country’s leadership to take steps to gain greater access to the neighbouring, fast-growing Indian market. A proposal to grant Most Favoured Nation status to India - 15 years after New Delhi accorded the same to Islamabad - and the easing of visa restrictions are the latest steps towards a long-awaited trade liberalisation between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
Pakistan’s foreign policy: Escaping India? - Raza Rumi, PakTeaHouse
The publication of Aparna Pande’s book, explaining “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy – Escaping India” (Routledge , 2011) is pretty timely and relevant if the powers that be in Pakistan were prepared to pay attention to Pande’s thesis and cogent arguments presented in this book. Aparna Pande is a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, USA; however, it’s her Indian origins that may raise eyebrows within the paranoid policy circles of Pakistan.
Politics over reincarnation - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Do you believe in reincarnation? In Beijing, the Marxists do. The Dalai Lama had to recently issue a statement to explain to the Chinese leadership (and the general public) the meaning of ‘reincarnation’ in Tibetan Buddhism. This should have set aside the Chinese Communist Party’s pretension of being able to decide on the wanderings of a Lama after his death and the location of his return.
Baburam Bhattarai: Architect of devastation - Kanak Mani Dixit, Hindustan Times
Nepal would have developed into a robust democracy after the fall of the panchayat system in 1990, with its society proceeding rapidly towards the equity and economic growth that only pluralism can guarantee. But what worked for the people did not for the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), then a small party with immense ambitions.
Partners in strategy - Kanwal Sibal, Telegraph Calcutta
The strategic partnership agreement signed by India and Afghanistan on October 4 has aroused considerable diplomatic interest. How should India’s decision to politically escalate its ties with Afghanistan at this juncture be interpreted, and what could President Hamid Karzai’s calculations be?
India-Nepal: Think mutual benefit - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
Given the profound instability and unfinished political transition in Kathmandu, it might be unrealistic to expect any dramatic breakthroughs in India-Nepal relations when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Baburam Bhattarai sit down for talks on Friday. Bhattarai’s visit, however, is an important opportunity for New Delhi to clarify its immediate policy goals towards a very special northern neighbour and convey to the political classes in Kathmandu India’s enduring commitment to peace and prosperity in Nepal. Three sets of issues present themselves to the two prime ministers.
India links imports to Pak MFN status - Sidhartha, Times of India
India is walking the extra mile to ensure that a trade deal with Pakistan is worked out at the earliest. New Delhi has indicated that it will offer preferential access to textiles and other goods from across the border if Pakistan granted most favoured nation (MFN) status and initiated steps to boost imports from India. Sources said that India may look at allowing the entry of textiles and other goods from Pakistan at concessional or zero duty to boost trade relations. The package could be similar to the one that has been offered to Bangladesh, they said.
kathmandu woos Delhi again - Times of India
"The time has come for us to solve the real problems of South Asia. For this, India and Nepal have to unite because our destinies are the same," Baburam Bhattarai said as he arrived here for his first visit to India as prime minister of Nepal. Delivering an emotional speech, Bhattarai recalled his days as a revolutionary Maoist, saying in a spirit of candour, "We Marxists tend to be dogmatic. We read about Marxism and revolutions in all parts of the world. But the ground reality, we forget to assimilate and learn."
Trade key to India-Pakistan amity - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
In the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son an errant young man returns home to repent for his sin of having deserted it. Well, Pakistan commerce minister Amin Fahim, who led a trade mission of 50-plus businessmen to India in the last week of September, doesn’t quite fit that description — it wasn’t a home-coming for him. He’s a son-of-soil from Sindh but he became the first Pakistani commerce minister to visit India in more than three decades.
Bangladesh: The open corridor - Syed Badrul Ahsan, Indian Express
With problems mounting for her on the home front, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been making forays into regional and even global diplomacy so that her government will be seen as a credible player on the world stage. Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the Bangladeshi enclaves of Angorpota and Dahagram, situated in mainland India, last week, has been put forth by the government as one more instance of how the Awami League-led administration is conducting successful diplomacy, especially where India is concerned.
New promise in India-Nepal ties - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
India and Nepal have agreed to reinvent their age-old, but sometimes prickly relationship, with the promise of moving full speed ahead on the bilateral trade and economic front, even as Delhi offered Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai all help in skilling and rehabilitating Maoist cadres in case Kathmandu wanted it.
Why Pakistan's media needs a code of conduct - BBC News
Pakistan's media landscape has exploded over the last decade. But it is still the most dangerous place on earth to be a journalist and there are now calls for a strict code of conduct to protect the press and the public. Nosheen Abbas investigates the chaotic world of Pakistani journalism.
The Nawaz-Imran equation - Mehreen Zahra-Malik, News International
Tush! Tush! Fear little boys with bugs – not Imran Khan with his fuzzy mumblings about insaf and azadi and what not. But wait, it seems our socialite turned social reformer has got Punjab patriarch Nawaz Sharif’s face boiling red. Who would’ve thought.
Pact with India divides Nepal - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s visit to India, during which he claims to have taken bilateral relations to a “new height”, has left divides among parties — and within his own — starker than ever in a country where politics has always been marked by fragility and uncertainty. The main opposition Nepali Congress has indicated that it supports a treaty Bhattarai signed with India, but other parties and a faction of his own have made it clear they don’t.
Takeaway from Delhi - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Delhi is the first destination that any Nepal prime minister would want to visit. Whether Delhi extends a prompt invitation or drags its feet becomes an issue in Kathmandu, since the southern neighbour is considered a major factor in Nepal’s politics. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Baburam Bhattarai within minutes of his election as prime minister on August 28 and invited him over, emphasising the “special relationship” between the two countries. Bhattarai completed his Delhi visit last weekend.
The Quagmire Next Door - Maroof Raza, Times of India
Ten years ago in October 2001, America began its military occupation of Afghanistan. Since then, it has spent hundreds of billions in chasing the al-Qaida and its affi-liates, only to realise, a decade later, that the real problem lies in Pakistan! Now, America wants Pakistan to confront the Haqqani group - which General Kayani has called a strategic asset - or face the humiliation of a unilateral American operation on Pakistani soil. This would be a double whammy for the generals in Pakistan, after the shock and awe of Osama bin Laden's elimination.
Our Pak policy has lost focus - Kanwal Sibal, Mail Today
US EXASPERATION with Pakistan is mounting, with sharper warnings to it to curb the Haqqani group.The need to repeat such warnings in public also suggests a degree of helplessness in compelling Pakistan to do America’s bidding. Pakistan’s tenacious resistance, even when cornered on an issue of such vital concern to the US, flows from its calculation that it still retains enough room for defiance.
Afghan president backtracks on US-Pak statement: Report - Hindustan Times
The Afghan President's office has sought to distance Hamid Karzai from his controversial remarks in a television interview, wherein he had asserted that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a hypothetical war against the US. The presidential palace said that Karzai's comments to Pakistan's Geo TV, aired on Saturday, had been misinterpreted, The LA Times reported.
Pakistan plays a double game - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Treating Taliban with kid gloves and making a show of hunting them down with the US is counter-productive. Islamabad cannot win this way. Pakistan’s military acted with speed to return to the Indian military a helicopter that had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control on October 23. Almost immediately thereafter, New Delhi’s ‘candle-light vigil brigade’ jumped to the conclusion that there had been a ‘change of heart’ in Pakistan’s hard-boiled military.
Pak can’t allow pro-India Afghanistan: Musharraf - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has taken the stand that the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will be justified to take “counter-measures” if India pressed ahead with its efforts to create “an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan”. “We must not begrudge if Pakistan orders the ISI to take counter-measures to protect its own interests,” said Musharraf during an address to the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace in Washington.
Myanmar's budding political spring - Morton Abramowitz & Thomas Pickering, National Interest
The world keeps being surprised by the developing political situation in Myanmar/Burma. After they get over their surprise, the United States and its friends need to decide what they can do to help accelerate change. Last week the government of Myanmar took an important step forward in releasing some 220 political prisoners, including a number of respected and prominent dissidents, but not all such prisoners. More need to be free.
In Pakistan, protest music is a tradition - Kim Arora, Times of India
When the music video of "Aalu Anday", an unsparing song that lampoons Pakistan's top politicians and generals from Ashfaq Kayani to Zia-ul-Haq, from Nawaz Sharif to Imran Khan, was released last month, it immediately became an internet sensation. But the bitingly satirical number was merely the latest in a long chain of similar popular anti-establishment tracks by other well-known Pakistan singers and groups such as Shehzad Roy, Junoon and Laal who have laughed at and lambasted the high and mighty across the border.
India's Track 3: Afghan-Iran rail link - Jayanth Jacob & Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
In a bold move to assert itself in the Af-Pak region and reduce Pakistan's room for manoeuvre, India is finalising a plan to construct a 900-km railway line that will connect Chabahar port in Iran, being built with Indian help, to the mineral-rich Hajigak region of Afghanistan.
Imran Khan rallies against govt - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Imran Khan and his party, the Tehreek-e-Insaf, was given a new lease of life on Sunday when thousands turned up at the party's jalsa in Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan ground. Most of those attending were young men and women, almost all students or professionals, with many saying that they were fed up with Pakistan's present set of politicians and wanted a change. 
Imran Khan: A Rising Force??? - Raza Habib Raja, Pak Tea House
Before I start, let me admit one thing here that I got it wrong and underestimated Imran’s ability to actually bring his facebook supporters to the street. Ok, I admit this is something I had not imagined to be possible in the past. In fact I have been mocking PTI for a considerable period of time for being a political “nobody” apart from being a reactionary party.  But no matter what spin I try to give, the fact is that PTI is a force to reckon with, at least in Urban Punjab.
The Persian connection - Wajahat S Khan, News
In 2006, a leaked British defence ministry report said it. In June 2008, Afghan officials furious about an attempt on Hamid Karzai’s life said it. The next month of the same year, the Indians, angry about the attack on their own embassy in Kabul, said it repeatedly. In May 2009, then US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said it very smoothly on CBS’s 60 Minutes. In July 2010, tons of leaked Wikileaks cables said it without the veneer of diplomatic parlance.
Historic peace deal struck in Nepal - Prashant Jha, Hindustan Times
Breaking a political deadlock that has lasted more than three years, Nepal's political parties arrived at a historic agreement on the peace process, Constitution writing and power-sharing late on Tuesday evening. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Nepali Congress (NC), the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), and the Madhesi parties settled the future of 19,602 Maoist combatants, agreeing to integrate a maximum of 6,500 fighters into the Nepal Army (NA) and provide rehabilitation and cash packages to the rest.
Pakistan's murky cricket-fixing underworld - M Ilyas Khan, BBC News
Now that three Pakistani cricketers and an agent have had jail terms for their part in a spot-fixing conspiracy dished out, the suspicion is that the betting scam may actually have been much wider. Suggestions from the courtroom in London imply that several other Pakistani players may also be involved and names were tossed around the court hearings on Monday and Thursday.
Nepal parties ink major peace deal - PTI
Kathmandu: Putting their differences aside, Nepal's main political parties have inked a historic deal that includes an agreement on integrating former Maoist combatants into the security forces, to take a major step towards concluding the stalled peace process. The four major political forces which represent more than 85% strength of the 601 member Constituent Assembly reached a seven-point agreement last night to conclude the stalled peace process within a month and to prepare a draft constitution.
Xinjiang keen on reviving historic trade ties with India - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
The regional government of China's far-western Xinjiang region is keen to revive the frontier trade with India that once flourished along the disputed western section of the border and is courting Indian involvement in plans to develop a special economic zone in the border town of Kashgar, officials have told The Hindu.
Nepal peace deal will make way for national unity govt: Bhattarai - Indian Express
Kathmandu: A landmark deal between Nepal’s political parties to integrate about one-third of the 19,000 former Maoist guerrillas into the national army sets the stage for reinvigorating the stalled peace process and formation of a national unity government after years of wrangling. A day after Nepal’s main parties inked a crucial deal to boost the tottering peace process, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Wednesday that a mechanism comprising top leaders of major parties would be formed soon to transform the current coalition into a national unity government.
The panacea of all ills? - Kamila Hyat, News International
As Pakistan moves from one crisis to the other, it sometimes seems that the list is an endless one. We have the whole Haqqani scenario at one end, with the killing of 13 US soldiers in Kabul recently adding to the pressure that is directed Pakistan’s way; the growing political acrimony between major political parties adds to the unease; international media networks appear to come up every day with new stories or films offering ‘proof’ of Pakistan’s training of militants and virtually no nations, even those who say they are friends, have been willing to step forward to fund the UN appeal for $357 million to fund flood victims in Sindh.
A Pakistan-China nexus? - Ashfaque Ali, News International
Some recent developments in China may make people wonder if the stage has been set for a Chinese military role in Pakistan. Reports from Beijing last week indicated that China is considering new legislation to define terrorism more precisely. China’s Xinhua news agency said an anti-terror draft bill could pave the way for a renewed campaign from Beijing against terrorist groups, both at home and abroad. As current Chinese law contains no specific definitions of what constitutes a terrorist, a terrorist act or a terrorist organisation.
The two Pakistans - Mohammad Malick, News International
It may be one geographical entity, but in reality Pakistan exists at two levels. There is the make-believe Pakistan, and then you have the unbelievable-Pakistan. The first one exists above the surface and comes across as a sputtering, creaking, third world entity with typical problems and palliatives. In this Pakistan, the ruling dispensation is fatally convinced that the force of circumstances has compelled the United States and the western democratic world to stand by it, regardless of its own actions or inactions. It believes that the real world’s patience with mediocrity and buffoons is endless.
The emergence of Imran Khan - Rahimullah Yusufzai, News International
Whatever one may say about Imran Khan’s politics, not many can question his never-say-die attitude. He refuses to give up even at the worst of times and inspires hope. That is what he managed to achieve on October 30 in the shadows of Minar-e-Pakistan, the historic memorial and the vast ground where the Pakistan Resolution was adopted in March 1940 to give a roadmap to the Muslims in undivided India for a separate homeland.
ISI behind 26/11, Indian embassy attack in Kabul - Ashis Ray, Times of India
In perhaps the most emphatic as well as explicit endorsement of Indian perceptions of Pakistan, a 30-year veteran of the US's CIA has publicly asserted that the responsibility for both the terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008 and the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul in July the same year rested with Pakistan's spy network, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Most favourite nation? - S Akbar Zaidi, Indian Express
The two most widely read newspapers in Pakistan, Nawa-i-waqt and Jang — both Urdu, mainstream and largely conservative — had almost identical headlines on Thursday. Nawa-i-waqt, Lahore- and Punjab-based and the more conservative of the two, stated: “Kabina ney Bharat ko pasandeeda tareen mulk qarar dainay ki manzoori dey-di.” If one did not know what the discussion which lead to this headline was about, it would translate as follows: the cabinet decides to give India the status of most favourite nation. The difference between “favoured” and “favourite” is lost somewhere in translation.
Viewpoint: Has a year of civilian rule changed Burma? - Marie Lall, BBC News
One year after the controversial Burmese elections the debate about whether there have been any significant changes inside the country rages on louder than ever. The debate, as usual, is conducted largely outside of Burma, and today the battle lines are drawn between old guard activists who maintain everything Nay Pyi Taw does is window dressing, and the slowly increasing numbers of those giving credit to the new government.
Pakistan LoC build-up worries panel - Vishwa Mohan, Times of India
Taking note of huge construction activities across the border by Pakistan, which is resulting in erection of 97 additional 'observation post' towers and 162 barracks, a Parliamentary panel has come out with a number of suggestions for the government to counter such logistic build-up and asked it to urgently implement the proposal for construction of an earthen 'bund' on the home side of the fencing. The panel has noted that all such additional constructions along the border in Pakistan had taken place in the past eig-ht years after both the nations had agreed for a 'ceasefire' in November, 2003. 
Buddha’s way - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
About a week before Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai embarked on a goodwill trip to India, he had announced a high-powered committee for the development of Lumbini, under the leadership of Prachanda, the chief of the Maoist party. This triggered speculation that in case Bhattarai felt unwelcome in India, he would turn to the north and involve China in a big way in the Lumbini project, apparently for the all-round development of the birth place of Lord Buddha.
Pakistan: A Terrorist Snake pit - Maloy Krishna Dhar
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had commented few weeks ago that Pakistan could not keep snakes in its backyards and not expect to be bitten. Obviously, the rhetoric was directed at jihadi tanzeems and terrorist groups created and maintained as strategic assets by Pakistan for using in Afghanistan and against India. Irony of the comment is that barring some jihadi groups the USA had collaborated with Pakistan in creating and nurturing some of the highly controversial groups like the Haqqani Network of Talibans.
Who is fanning Tibet's flames? - Damian Grammaticas, BBC News
It was just a few minutes to one in the afternoon last Thursday. Standing at a road junction in a town in Sichuan, in south-western China, was a young woman. Without warning, she doused herself in petrol - she may even have drunk some - and then set fire to herself.
Indo-Pak trade - Farrukh Saleem, News
Someone intelligent once said, “People who begin trading goods, stop trading bullets.” Pakistan and India traded bullets in 1965 and then again in 1971. As a consequence of trading bullets there was very little trading of goods up until 1996 when India granted MFN status to Pakistan. Over the past eight years, Indo-Pak trade has, however, risen 10 times from $344 million in 2003-04 to a current level of nearly $3 billion a year.
Imran in the political triangle - Hussain H Zaidi, News
The emergence of Imran Khan as a force to reckon with on the national scene marks the completion of the political triangle. The other two points are the PPP and the PML-N. Imran Khan, who is in politics for one-and-a-half decade, has much in common with other political leaders. Like the MQM’s Altaf Hussain, he represents the educated urban middle class. Again, like Mr Hussain, he is far bigger than his party – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Mark the word “tehreek,” or “movement,” signifying total leadership power common to the two outfits. However, unlike Mr Hussain, who is essentially a leader of Urdu-speaking Mohajirs, Imran Khan doesn’t represent any particular ethnic group.
Myanmar is changing - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Western attempts to impose ‘regime change’ in West Asia have had unexpected results. The American invasion of Iraq not only exacerbated Shia-Sunni tensions within the country but also produced a virtual Shia-dominated ‘Iraq-Iran’ condominium, challenging the regional supremacy of neighbouring Sunni Gulf sheikhdoms led by Saudi Arabia. It remains to be seen whether the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi will convert Libya into a haven of secular democracy and tribal harmony. Libya’s new rulers are already talking of imposing Sharia’h.
Modi courts Chinese investment, showcasing the 'Gujarat model' - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called on China to invest in infrastructure and power projects in his State, wooing potential investors with a sales pitch that showcased Gujarat as a State with levels of “governance, transparency and stability” that they could not find elsewhere in India.
Pak proposes Schengen-like visa system for South Asia - DK Singh, Indian Express
On the eve of the meeting between prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani, Islamabad proposed a Schengen-like visa system for South Asia. At the SAARC ministerial meeting today, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was said to have proposed an open visa system for the SAARC region, saying she had the backing of her entire establishment. Bangladesh was learnt to have backed the Pakistani proposal.
Pakistan is using you, Modi tells China - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday belied speculation that he would give up the BJP's nationalistic stance for the sake of Chinese investments. He raised a few controversial issues including the one about the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir during his talks with Communist Party leaders in Beijing. "I told them - whatever your intentions, Pakistan is making use of you," Modi said after his meeting with three Chinese leaders including Wang Gang, a politburo member of the Communist Party of China and vice-chairman of the China People's Consultative Conference. 
Advantage, MFN - TS Vishwanath, Business Standard
After several years of dilly-dallying, Pakistan has finally decided to grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India. What is interesting is that press reports quoting Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar state that the decision was taken unanimously by the Pakistan cabinet. India had granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996.
India and Pakistan PMs pledge 'new chapter' - BBC
Pakistan's prime minister and his Indian counterpart have met in the Maldives, pledging to open a "new chapter" between the two nations. Yusuf Raza Gilani said after meeting Manmohan Singh the next full round of talks would be "more constructive". Mr Singh said he welcomed the "positive movement" from the meeting. Talks between the two nations were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks which India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
JuD: Enough proof in dossier to Pak - DK Singh, Indian Express
Terming Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s remarks about Ajmal Kasab being a terrorist as “interesting”, India on Thursday underlined once again Pakistan’s inaction on the 26/11 dossier and its recent move to remove Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) from the terror list. It said that the dossier India had given to Pakistan about the involvement of JuD founder Hafiz Saeed and others in Mumbai terror attacks also had Kasab’s confessions. Replying to questions about Pakistan’s decision to remove JuD from the terror list, Malik had contended that the dossier contained information but not evidence.
From Bhutto to Imran: populism challenges the status quo - Saad Hafiz, Pak Tea House
It is somewhat ironic that Pakistan’s latest populist leader Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf are set to confront the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the party of Z.A. Bhutto (ZAB), the country’s original exponent of populism. The battle between PPP and its official opposition the Muslim League, pitted against the Tehreek-e-Insaf is shaping up to be a classic confrontation between the established political parties representing the status quo and a maverick leader and party promising change. As in the past, familiar emotive themes like rampant corruption, insincere leadership, economic dependency and the role of the United States are part of the popular debate.
SAARC trade is caught in a rut - Nilanjan Banik, Business Line
At a time when India's trade figures are not looking too good ( exports growing the slowest in two years and the trade deficit at a four-year high) the ongoing SAARC summit in Maldives is being seen by many as a harbinger of renewed trading activities.
Indo-Pak ties: Can economics trump politics? - Harsh V Pant, Business Standard
The summit meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or Saarc are not the most exciting of gatherings, and for years Saarc has been known to not deliver. But its latest summit, held in the Maldives, will be remembered not for any substantive achievement of Saarc but because India-Pakistan ties achieved a level of stability not seen in recent years. Though the meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries has been overshadowed by the controversy over Manmohan Singh calling his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, a “man of peace”, the two leaders did take a number of steps that bode well for Indo-Pak bilateral ties.
Myanmar rolls out red carpet for India - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
For more than 25 years, the US backed the regime of Burma's military dictator General New Win, whose main contribution to relations with India was his expulsion of more than half a million Indians from the country. When the new military junta took charge in 1988, the Americans suddenly reinvented the virtues of democracy in that country. But democracy cannot be imported. It has to be nurtured from within.
Pak public positive after Saarc summit - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
There has been widespread appreciation in Pakistan over talks with India at the Saarc summit in Maldives, with many analysts saying that both prime ministers have helped open a door of optimism for the future. “We are very hopeful after both the tone and the messages that have been seen in the talks,” said Zafar Hilaly, a foreign policy analyst. Hilaly said that it has been significant that interior minister Rehman Malik called for the hanging of Ajmal Kasab if found guilty and that foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar left no doubt about Pakistan’s decision to accord MFN status to India. “Now the issue is of implementation on both sides,” he noted.
Tibet: Martyrs burning bright - Shobhan Saxena, Times of India
On the third anniversary of the uprising against the Chinese in which 17 Tibetans were killed, Phuntsok, a 20-year-old monk from the renowned Kirti monastery, marched into the street, set himself ablaze and started shouting pro-freedom slogans. The police beat him with iron rods, causing his death. By evening, the People's Armed Police had surrounded the monastery with 2,500 monks in it. Then, local Tibetans surrounded the soldiers blockading the monastery.
Immense potential for intra-Saarc trade - Chandrajit Banerjee, Business Standard
For too long, members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) have deprived themselves of the benefits of regional economic integration. With one-fifth of the world’s population, the Saarc region is home to two-fifths of the world’s poor. However, it accounts for only 3 per cent of global output and 2 per cent of world exports. Intra-regional trade has stagnated at around 5 per cent of its total trade, compared to over 50 per cent in East Asia and around 20 per cent in Latin America. Even Sub-Saharan Africa, with poor transport and telecommunication infrastructure, scores over South Asia, with over 10 per cent of its trade being intra-regional.
Dueling Manifestos - Ron Moreau, Daily Beast
As most Taliban begin to hunker down in far-flung villages or pull back to safe havens inside Pakistan, preparing for another brutal Afghan winter, insurgent leaders are thinking further ahead—and their individual takes are strikingly divergent. Just how far apart they are can be seen from two recent insurgent documents obtained by Newsweek. The Taliban’s top ranks are passing around a closely held 3,000-word letter bluntly examining the failings and disastrous excesses of Mullah Mohammad Omar’s defunct regime and recommending major changes. But meanwhile, the de facto head of the lethal Haqqani Network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has published his own take on the future of Afghanistan and the world: a jihadist how-to book urging readers to emulate Al Qaeda’s terrorist tactics against Western targets far from home.
Friendless in Afghanistan - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
It is widely acknowledged that as the date for the American troop pullout in 2014 approaches, Pakistan’s concerns with securing Afghanistan as an area of “strategic depth” against India is intensifying and acquiring urgency. Support for their proxy allies, the Taliban, is being stepped up to “shape the battlefield environment” inside Afghanistan to Pakistan’s advantage prior to and during the run-up to the multi-lateral negotiations, so as to exercise maximum pressure in the hiatus that will precede and follow the withdrawal of American and other international forces.
A strange faith in Pakistan - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Manmohan Singh is desperate to befriend Pakistan, believing that this achievement will be his lasting legacy as Prime Minister. His endorsement of Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as a ‘man of peace’ has outraged the nation because Pakistan remains belligerent and has refused to act against perpetrators of terror targetted at India.
Building Bridges in South Asia - Shyam Saran, Business Standard
Building Bridges” was the theme of the recently concluded South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or Saarc, summit in Addu (Maldives). The leaders agreed to give this shape by deciding to conclude a motor vehicles agreement and a rail network agreement and complete work on an India Ocean ferry and cargo service before the next summit in 2012.
Hearing Chinese footfalls in Nepal - Inder Malhotra, Deccan Chronicle
It is not an edifying confession to make but I revisited Nepal, arguably the closest neighbour of this country, after an interval of 41 years. The general ambience during the weeklong stay was happy and upbeat, thanks to the long-delayed and much-needed breakthrough in the country’s deadlocked peace process and general confidence that within the next six months Nepal would have a Constitution and fresh elections.
Viewpoint: Are Tibet burnings plot or policy failure? - BBC
Eleven monks and nuns have set themselves on fire in ethnic Tibetan parts of Sichuan province this year. Robert Barnett of Columbia University looks at what has caused these incidents and how China is choosing to respond. Responses to protest are basically of two kinds. The first sees protests as a stratagem or plot to damage the government. The Chinese government's handling of the self-immolations by Tibetans this year has so far been of this type, denouncing them as "terrorism in disguise" and "connected to overseas Tibet independence forces".
Army vs Zardari on his SOS to the US - Najam Sethi, India Today
An article in a British paper last month by Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman with political connections in Washington, has taken a toll of the civilian government of President Asif Zardari in Islamabad. The irony is that it was written to strengthen Mr Zardari against encroachments by General Ashfaq Kayani.
Memogate unleashes storm in Pak - Indian Express
The storm raging in Pakistan over a secret memo seeking US help for the civilian government to defang the army escalated after the Pakistani-born American businessman at the centre of the controversy said he had delivered the memo to US’s top military official at the behest of Islamabad’s ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani. The matter has brought into sharp relief the tensions between the government and the so-called establishment in Pakistan, and threatens not just Haqqani but, perhaps, President Asif Ali Zardari as well.
In secret memo, Zardari had offered to hand over 26/11 masterminds to India - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
The secret memo, rumoured to have been authored by Pakistani envoy Husain Haqqani on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari and handed over to former US military chief Mike Mullen last May, made several offers to the US if it were to help prevent a military coup following the operation against Osama bin Laden. 
'Memogate' triggers coup buzz in Pakistan - Anita Joshua, Hindu
Pakistan's political landscape was again abuzz with “coup talk'' and “change'' as tensions between the civil and military leadership prevailed over its Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani allegedly submitting a memo on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari to the former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, seeking Washington's help in pre-empting a military takeover after the Abbottabad operation.
The Silver Lining in 'Memogate' - Mosharraf Zaidi, Foreign Policy
The Mansoor Ijaz "memogate" scandal -- in which a Pakistani-American businessman claims to have secretly conveyed the elected government's plea for U.S. backing against his country's own military -- is sparking debate about everyone's favorite Pakistan bugaboos: secrecy and backstabbing, coups and the invisible hand. It's a long and resplendent tradition now; the hackneyed and voluble moral outrage are predictable.
Shaky start to Nepal's peace process - Prashant Jha, Hindu
With uniformed Maoist combatants walking into a cordoned-off part of their divisional cantonment to decide their future on Saturday afternoon, Nepal’s peace process kicked off in the original ‘base-area’ of the Maoist revolt. Twenty minutes away from the police post that the Maoist rebels attacked in 1996 to signal the beginning of the ’People’s War’, former fighters began expressing their preference among three options for the future – integration into the Nepal Army (NA), rehabilitation, or retirement with cash packages.
Signs of an Indo-Pakistan spring - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
Summits are known to be dull and boring. The leaders gracing them don’t like being weaned away from their pressing domestic chores and problems. They’re in a hurry to rattle off rhetorical statements — long on clichés but short on substance — penned for them by jaded minions burdened with on-job ennui, and dash back home. They hardly bring anything refreshingly different from the routine to these high-visibility conclaves.
Kayani refused to confiscate Lakhvi’s phone in jail - Express India
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reportedly rejected a US request earlier this year that Pakistan authorities take away a mobile phone that Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was using to direct the group’s operations from inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail.
Memo of misunderstanding - Cyril Almeida, Indian Express
Political scandals here in Pakistan are often high-octane and high-stakes. But the Mansoor Ijaz “memogate” controversy has an element of farce to it. Here is a man who penned an oped in the Financial Times labelling the ISI an organisation of “jihadist spies” and calling for the disbandment of a shadowy cell, dubbed the “S-Wing”, that purportedly handles links to militant groups within the ISI. But then Ijaz meets the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha, in a hotel room in London and hands over details of his alleged communications with Husain Haqqani, who was Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and is at the centre of the memogate storm.
South Asia’s whispering enemies - Shahid Javed Burki, Financial Express
The leaders of the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation met last week in the Maldives for their 17th annual summit. Previous SAARC summits achieved little in the way of regional cooperation. If they are remembered at all, it is for the progress made in getting India and Pakistan to talk to each other. While this time was no different, there are growing signs of a thaw in relations.
On fire for free Tibet - Gavin Allen, Daily Mail
This is the horrifying moment a nun stood ablaze in a Chinese street having set herself alight in protest at the country's treatment of Tibet. The video was released by protest group Students for a Free Tibet and is believed to be footage of Palden Choetso, 35, who burned herself to death on November 13.
MFN status: A missed opportunity - Beelam Ramzan, News International
Opposition to granting MFN status to India is based upon many premises, some of which lack substance. First, misperception involves the very nomenclature. Granting MFN status does not mean that Pakistan will give preferential treatment to India as the name suggests. It simply means that Pakistan will treat imports from India as favourably as it treats imports from other trading partners without discrimination of any kind between its trading partners.
India-made Afghan rail link to Iran to counter Pak-China nexus - Sandhya Sharma, Pioneer
Aiming to make Iran an important transit State for access to Central Asia, India  is stepping up cooperation on building the strategic Chabahar port on the Sistan-Balochistan province in Iran. India’s shipping secretary K Mohandas will soon head to Iran  for talks with his Iranian counterpart. This will be the first high-level delegation to visit Iran over the port in a while.
Myanmar: In on the ground floor - Sreeram Chaulia, Hindustan Times
The near simultaneous announcements by the US that secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar next month and by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi that she will contest in an upcoming by-election have altered the geopolitical dynamic dramatically.
Nepal: The end is not near - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal’s Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is in a unenviable place: by November 23, he should have fulfilled the preconditions required to extend the November 30 deadline of the Constituent Assembly. But that has not happened. While the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) and other major political parties have agreed that 6,500 former Maoist combatants will be integrated into the Nepal army, the details have not been worked out yet.
Nepal’s India snub at UN vote shows Chinese clout - Times of India
For years, visiting Indian ministers and other dignitaries have been trying to project an image of deep amity with Nepal, reiterating that the two countries share age-old cultural, social and other ties. However, apparently, these vaunted ties do not extend to working together at the UN. Even as India celebrates the victory of its candidate A Gopinathan over his Chinese rival Zhang Yan at Monday's vote for a five-year term at the UN's Joint Inspection Unit, Indian mandarins in Kathmandu have been left unhappy by the fact that Nepal chose to vote against India. 
Lashkar still as powerful as before 26/11 - Stephen Tankel, Pioneer
The Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, rose to international notoriety with their dramatic November 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people and injured more than 300. Many had previously viewed the militant group, whose name means Army of the Pure, as a purely parochial player in South Asia. Yet by the time of those attacks, seven years after 9/11, the group boasted transnational networks stretching across several continents.
Commercial benefits - Nisha Taneja, Indian Express
This has been a historic year for India’s changing trade relations with two of its important South Asian neighbours — Bangladesh and Pakistan. The idea that economic gains through freer trade could serve as a powerful means for conflict resolution appears to be finally finding full acceptance by all three countries.
Pakistan’s Hindus seek India sanctuary - Rohinee Singh, Pioneer
Lakshmi is one of the 145 people who came to India on a tourist visa from Pakistan three months ago and have, since then, refused to return. She is among the Hindus living in Sindh Province of Pakistan. The group has pitched tents at an ashram and appealed to the Prime Minister for permanent shelter in India.
Kishenji was ‘contact’ of Nepal Maoists - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Kishenji was apparently the main contact person with the Nepali Maoists, but the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) has preferred not to publicly mourn his death.
Coup under carpet - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The joke in Af-Pak circles in the US was readymade and inevitable : the Obama administration wanted the Pakistani military to act against the Haqqani network...and it obliged; except, it wasn't the Haqqani network that Washington had in mind! Last week, in continuing defiance of US diktats, Pakistan's military chief and de facto ruler Ashfaq Kayani got rid of the country's ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, and in the process cut down to size the envoy's patron, President Asif Ali Zardari, and his civilian government, reasserting the primacy of the jackboots that has crushed the country for half its existence.
India is already the Most Favoured Nation for Pakistanis - Anahita Mukherji, Times of India
India may never have invaded Pakistan, but there's no doubt that Bollywood and Hindi soap operas have virtually conquered the Pakistani market. In Karachi, for instance, it's near-impossible to find a Pakistani who doesn't have strong views on the K-serials , or hasn't picked a favourite Khan from amongst Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman.
New crisis for US-Pakistani ties - M Ilyas Khan, BBC
he 26 November strike by Nato forces on a Pakistani border post, which the Pakistani army says killed 25 soldiers, marks a new low in the troubled relations between Pakistan and the United States. Analysts say the Pakistani response has been tough - the government has suspended Nato supplies passing through Pakistan and has given the Americans a deadline to vacate an airbase in the southwest of the country.
Myanmar: Winds of change - Sanjay Pulipaka & Krishnan Srinivasan, Telegraph
Myanmar is of great strategic and economic importance to three major powers of this century — the United States of America, China and India. With the first signs of a thaw in Myanmar after 60 years of self-imposed seclusion, it is an open question if India can benefit more from the potential opening up of our neighbour than from being one steed in a two-horse race for influence in that country, as has been the case for the past 20 years.
China warns New Delhi against ‘providing a platform' for Dalai Lama - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
China has said that it is opposed to any country that “provides a platform” for the Dalai Lama and his “anti-China activities,” in the wake of India and China last week postponing the 15th round of border talks following Beijing's concerns over a Buddhist conference that was scheduled to take place at the same time in New Delhi.The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the Dalai Lama, who will speak at the conference, was “not a purely religious figure.”
India push spurs US to knock at Myanmar doors - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
When US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton travels to Yangon later this week, the first such visit in 50 years, New Delhi can claim some credit for the US’ change of heart. “At least our policy to Myanmar is vindicated,” said officials. Over the past couple of years, India has maintained an intensive engagement with the US on the reclusive southeast Asian nation. 
Blundering in AfPak's cultural maze - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
As with much else in Pakistan, the unfortunate deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Nato air strike on Saturday raise more questions than answers. Afghan soldiers now claim that this was not an accident; they requested a Nato air strike on to the Pakistan Army post after taking fire from that direction. But Pakistan’s military spokesperson, Major General Athar Abbas, has revealed that Nato, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, was given map references of all Pakistan’s Durand Line posts. It would seem, therefore, that Pakistan Army posts are now legitimate targets for coalition troops in Afghanistan.
For New Delhi, Kabul matters - Sankar Sen, Pioneer
Contrary to what Pakistan wants, India cannot abandon its efforts to ensure that Kabul remains friendly to New Delhi after American and Nato troops leave Afghanistan. We cannot allow the Taliban or those backed by Pakistan to occupy the political space in Afghanistan as that would be inimical to India’s interest. But India should calibrate its engagement.
Pakistan's Parallel Government - Saad Hafiz, Pak Tea House
US Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney said in a recent debate: “The right way to deal with Pakistan is to recognize that Pakistan is not a country, like other countries, with a strong political center that you can go to and say, ‘Gee, can we come here, will you take care of this problem?’” Romney should know that the Pakistan Armed Forces are the strong center in the country that one could go to take care of any problem.
Nepal's CA term extended for fourth and final term - Shirish B Pradhan, PTI

Kathmandu, Nov 29 - Ending a political deadlock, Nepalese lawmakers today gave the fourth and final six-month extension to the Constituent Assembly for drafting the country's new constitution under a peace agreement reached among the major political parties. Under the final extension in tenure, the 601-member assembly now would have to come up with the new draft, according to Nepali Congress leader Gopal Man Shrestha. With the endorsement of the fourth round of CA extension, the political deadlock has ended for the time being.

First in over 50 yrs, US state secy in Myanmar - Steven Lee Myers, Indian Express
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here on Wednesday to measure the depth of the political and economic opening the country’s new government has unexpectedly begun. After years of abysmal relations between the US and Myanmar, the Obama administration has promised to respond to progress —Clinton’s trip being the most significant reward so far —even as it presses for more significant steps to end the country’s repressive rule and international isolation.
Why the Dalai Lama makes China see red - Hindustan Times
New Delhi has twice had to fend off diplomatic protests from China on the Dalai Lama's public appearances in barely a fortnight. However, Beijing's acute attack of "Lama-itis" is a global affliction. China recently forced South Africa to refuse the Tibetan leader a visa.
Myanmar: The pivot of change in Asia - Shyam Saran, Indian Express
The efficacy of the latest US “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific may well be determined by the political dynamics likely to be generated by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s two-day visit to Myanmar (Burma) on December 1 and 2. The visit is the first at this level in over half a century. Its significance should be assessed against the backdrop of recent developments in Myanmar and the region. Myanmar has leapt to the centre of the political and strategic radar screen in the Asia-Pacific over the past year as its new president, Thein Sein, has taken a series of unexpected measures. This has coincided with a push back against China’s more assertive posture in the region, which the US is exploiting.
More reforms, more rewards: US to Myanmar - Times of India
US president Barack Obama offered Myanmar a new era in relations if it reforms and promised democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi his eternal support in letters hand-delivered by his top diplomat on Thursday. The high-stakes personal intervention in a country long regarded by the West as a pariah state came during a historic visit by Hillary Clinton, the first US secretary of state to set foot in the isolated nation for 50 years. 
Sherry Rehman: A lovely girl, but very much like Jinnah - Aditi Phadnis, Bus Std
“Oh, she’s a lovely girl” exclaimed Mani Shankar Aiyar, Congress MP who has known the new Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman, for many years. “But mind you, she’s a Pakistani” he added, “cast very much in the mould of Mohammad Ali Jinnah of August 1947”.
Can Nepal's assembly get the job done by May? - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) extended its tenure by six more months, promising yet again that its intentions are sincere and that it will complete the constitution-drafting process and the peace process by May 28, 2012. Extending the deadline, the fourth since the CA’s original timeframe, was a lot easier this time as the supreme court had given an unsolicited relief, asking political parties to go for the “last extension” to complete a process in which an enormous amount of time, energy and expectations have been invested.
Pakistan sovereignty in tatters - Balbir K Punj, Pioneer
It needed the death of  24 soldiers in Nato air raids for Pakistan to be reminded of the danger to its ‘sovereignty’ from the Americans. The country’s Prime Minister, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, assured his outraged people, “No one will be allowed to cast an evil eye on Pakistan’s security and sovereignty”. The Americans have expressed regret but made it clear that they will not apologise, despite Pakistan closing the border-crossing that allows Nato supply trucks to move into Afghanistan.
Pakistan Army back in the saddle - Anita Joshua, Hindu
In one fell swoop, the United States has squandered whatever gains it had made on May 2 by way of forcing the Pakistani nation to question the main arbiter of its destiny — the military establishment — and the choices it has made. The raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a breach of sovereignty the Pakistanis were able to live with but what happened in the wee hours of November 26 along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not just difficult to stomach but has also allowed the Pakistan Army to reclaim the national narrative.
Sri Lanka: The peace dividend - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
The LTTE is no more. The war against terror has been long won. But Sri Lanka is yet to ensure devolution of political power to the country’s Tamil minority. We have to thank a Sri Lankan scholar who must remain unnamed for reminding India that it has an unfinished task in Sri Lanka: That of helping the Tamils secure political devolution through a negotiated settlement for sustainable peace. 
Myanmar: New gambit in the great game - David I Steinberg, Times of India
Eighteen months ago, no one would have anticipated that two of the world's most eminent women, each arch critics of the Myanmar government from opposite sides of the world, could have reached supportive conclusions about changes in one of the world's previously most repressive states. The western world's icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, after being held under house arrest for some 15 years since 1989, spoke positively about the reforms instituted by the new president of Myanmar, Thein Sein, a former military man who was prime minister under a junta anathema to the internal opposition and external western powers.
Ijaz says ‘S Branch’ of ISI out of control, asks US to act - PTI
Washington: Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz at the centre of “memogate” controversy has alleged that ‘S Branch’ of Pakistan’s military-run ISI is so powerful that it can’t be controlled by anyone and wants the US to take the lead to leash it. Saying that the branch along with CT (Counter-terrorism) section were critical wings of the ISI, Ijaz has alleged that the S Branch conspires intervention in other countries like Afghanistan.

Bhattarai Government: A hundred days later - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
How does one measure the success of a leader heading a government? The yardstick should be what he or she has delivered, the promises that have been assiduously kept. Baburam Bhattarai became the prime minister of Nepal a hundred days ago with the promise that he would complete the peace process, deliver the constitution by November 30 (a deadline that has now been extended to May 2012), eradicate corruption and check the price of essential commodities. At home and abroad, nobody doubted his words, intentions or ability.
There is little doubt that Pakistan's army wants Asif Zardari out - Tariq Ali, HT
The war in Afghanistan was a potential threat to the stability of the system in Pakistan. Events have long confirmed this view. The US raid on a Pakistani border position a few weeks ago that killed 24 soldiers was only the latest disaster. Motives for the attack remain a mystery but its impact is not. It will create further divisions within the military, further weaken the venal regime of president Asif Ali Zardari, strengthen religious militants and make the US even more hated than it already is in Pakistan.
Pakistan army's existentialist dilemma - Vinod Sharma, Hindustan Times
Conspiracy aficionados have called it a silent coup. But do they have a cogent, convincing answer to Asif Zardari's retort that leaders on the run do not leave behind their families? The "ailing" Pakistan president's son Bilawal Bhutto met prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad the day his father left the country for treatment in Dubai.
Change Afghanistan can believe in 10 years later, life isn't just better - it's much better - Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy
After 10 years of war and reconstruction, and as tens of thousands of international troops and aid workers in Afghanistan gear up to spend yet another holiday season a long way from the comforts of home, a lot of people are wondering: Was it worth it? Certainly Dec. 5's international conference in Bonn, Germany, on the future of Afghanistan was a subdued affair - boycotted by Pakistan after NATO aircraft killed 24 troops on its border and rapidly overshadowed by a rare act of sectarian violence in Kabul (against Afghan Shiites) that killed 59 people. 
Chinese military base in Indian Ocean? - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
China on Monday said the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles has invited its navy "to resupply and recuperate'' other ships during escort missions there, even as media reports from Beijing suggested that China was establishing its first overseas military base there. While the Chinese ministry of national defence insisted that its activities in the region were restricted to "seeking supplies or recuperating at appropriate harbors in the Seychelles or other countries as needed during escort missions" , the move is bound to create a degree of unease in New Delhi. 
Those worse off than us - Rasheeda Bhagat, Business Line
I am yet to meet a CEO or top honcho from India Inc who is not optimistic about the India growth story. Oh yes, there is policy paralysis; our politicians are among the most corrupt in the world; and yes, we have to get our act together when it comes to crossing the Ts and dotting the Is. But nobody, nothing, can hold us back.. the coming decades belong to us.
China’s objection to Dalai Lama’s visit Outrageous - Soli J Sorabjee, Express Buzz
Chinese Obsession about the Dalai Lama: The Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated that he is not advocating an independent Tibet but is seeking autonomy for Tibet and protection of the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people. Yet the Chinese government continues to malign him as an anti-national criminal. Beijing is upset that the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and is revered and admired throughout the world, not only by Tibetans but by numerous persons. Beijing’s antipathy to the Dalai Lama is manifested in its warnings issued to heads of foreign governments not to associate with the Dalai Lama or attend any functions where he is speaking.
Myanmar on the road less travelled - Rajiv Bhatia, Hindu
During the past year, starting from the elections in November 2010 and ending with the visit of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in early December 2011, Myanmar has undertaken an exciting journey. Developments relating to its internal politics, external relations and regional equations have received close scrutiny. As optimists and pessimists debate the nature and direction of change, a realistic appraisal is advisable in order to appreciate where Myanmar is heading now.
Chinese Premier's Nepal visit postponed - Prashant Jha & Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
The Nepal government has announced that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Kathmandu slated for next week has been postponed. While the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Beijing on Tuesday the dates for the visit had not been confirmed, Nepal had earlier made it public that it would take place in the third week of December. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan is understood to have conveyed to Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha ‘Prakash' that the reasons for the delay were internal.
Nato's fraught roads to Afghanistan - Natalia Antelava, BBC
Pakistan's decision to shut down Nato supply routes going through its territory means that for the coalition the only remaining overland route to Afghanistan is through Central Asia. The US military is now preparing to shift more traffic along the roads, rail and air routes that run between the Baltic Sea and Afghanistan via the Caucasus and Central Asia - the so-called Northern Distribution Network.
Myanmar’s big step toward Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi - Evelyn Lin, Taiwan News
Myanmar authorities have agreed to Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition to rejoin mainstream politics, setting the scene for the Nobel laureate to run for a seat in the new parliament, as U.S. was "encouraged" by steps Myanmar has taken, Suu Kyi said, “I am very confident that if we work together... there will be no turning back from the road to democracy.”
Prisoners of correct history - Naeem Mohaiemen, Hindu
At a seminar discussing the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war, an older gentleman advised me, “You must strive to present shotik itihash (correct history).” I shivered and wondered who was going to decide for us, once again, what was correct history. Later, during a research session combing through photocopies of archival documents, I asked the custodian where the originals were. The documents he had shown me were pristine yet distant, copies of copies of copies.
Bangladesh’s second chance at justice - David Bergman, Hindu
Bangladeshis will come together this year to mark the nation's 40th anniversary of independence. The celebration comes at a time when the Bangladesh government, now under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, is making its second attempt to bring to account Bengalis alleged to have collaborated with the Pakistan military during the 1971 war of independence. The struggle against the Pakistan military, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, had widespread national support.
A macabre scenario in Pakistan - Karamatullah K Ghori, Express Buzz
President Zardari’s mysterious dash to Dubai from Islamabad — ostensibly on medical grounds — last December 6, have unleashed a tsunami of speculations in Pakistan’s ersatz capital city.Even in normal times, Islamabad’s rumour mills hardly ever stop churning out their reams of ‘breaking news’. Islamabad, on its credentials, could easily be the rumour capital of the world. But in this extra-ordinary situation spawned by Zardari’s virtual panic flight from Islamabad, the rumour mills have, indeed, been working overtime. It looks like a deluge having engulfed not just Islamabad but all of Pakistan.
Wen and why - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal’s Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is in the centre of a controversy after the cancellation of the much-awaited visit of Wen Jiabao this month. It would have been the first by a Chinese premier in over a decade. China’s ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan, has told Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha that Wen’s visit, scheduled from December 20, has been postponed.
Memogate: Pak army, government lock horns - Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India
Pakistan army chief general Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has backed calls for a judicial probe into an alleged memo seeking American help to prevent a military coup following Osama bin Laden's killing in May. But the government has asked the country's top court to drop opposition Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Nawaz Sharif 's petition seeking the probe. The divergent views could add to tensions between the army and the government amid reports of a military coup last week, as embattled president Asif Ali Zardari quietly flew out to Dubai for treatment.
Liberation of Bangladesh - Hiranmay Karlekar, Pioneer
Friday, December 16, was the 40th anniversary of the surrender of the Pakistani Army to the Indian Army at Dhaka, which marked the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation. The war preceding it saw the Pakistani Army perpetrate atrocities rarely seen in history. Mr Bruce Riedel, who spearheaded the formulation of US President Barack Obama’s AfPak policy announced in March 2009, writes in <i>Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Global Jihad</i>, “Close to three million people were reputedly killed and 4,00,000 Bangladeshi women raped by the Pakistani Army. Even at half that number of deaths, it would have been an appalling slaughter, bordering on genocide.”
For India, a year of talking to Gilani, but with eyes on Kayani - Uday Abhyankar, Business Standard
Our prime minister recently described Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as a “man of peace”. The prime minister may be justified in his assessment; after all he has met Mr Gilani rather more often than you or I. But it is not Mr Gilani’s pacific nature that is important — but rather his will and capacity to deliver peace.
JuD backs Pak army, blasts India - Express India
About 50,000 Islamists staged a protest in Lahore on Sunday to condemn the US and India, while showing support for Pakistan’s military, which has reasserted itself after a cross-border NATO attack and a controversial memo that has weakened the civilian government. Speakers included Hafiz Saeed, a fiercely anti-American cleric. Also at the podium was Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, known as the father of the Afghan Taliban.
India in Afghanistan is like light amid gloom - Bibhu Prasad Routray, Express Buzz
India’s Afghan policy has invited more critiques than appreciation over the years. It is criticised of being far too dependent on the military effort of the US-led ISAF forces. Predictions have been repeatedly made that once the Taliban-led insurgency makes a comeback to that country, either subsequent to the US downsizing its presence by 2014 or through a reconciliation process, India will have little leverage left in Afghanistan. However, as 2011 ends, the future of India’s presence in Afghanistan appears a little more stronger than before, for the US option of abandoning Afghanistan to its fate in near future looks highly improbable.
Bangladesh and Pakistan: Same differences - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
December 16 is a day of remorse in Pakistan’s calendar on that day, 40 winters ago, Pakistani forces surrendered before their Indian counterparts at Dhaka, and Bangladesh was proclaimed by Bengali nationalists in the former East Pakistan, then the country’s majority province. Bangladeshi historians have since termed their struggle against the Pakistan army as the struggle for independence.
India’s democracy push in Myanmar paying off - Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
With an eye on China, India is playing its democracy card to the hilt in Myanmar, where pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is set to contest in the by-elections early next year. New Delhi believes its position of engaging the leadership in Myanmar — a key neighbour and an important country in its Look East policy matrix — is paying dividends, even with the US.
The gloves are off in Pakistan - PTI
Islamabad - Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in an unprecedented tongue-lashing against the military on Thursday said that it is “unacceptable” if the army “considers itself a state within a state” and warned that “conspiracies” are being hatched to “pack up” his government. Gilani also strongly criticised the army for failing to detect Osama bin Laden’s presence in the country and said the government stood firmly with the institutions and fully protected them after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Kayani pushes for SC probe; MoD says no control over army - PTI
Islamabad - Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has made a fresh request to the Supreme Court to probe the Memogate scandal, in a sign that the military and the civilian government are at loggerheads on the issue. Kayani conveyed his stand in a rejoinder submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The powerful army chief said the memo made public by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz is a “reality” and it should be thoroughly investigated as it had a bearing on national security and sovereignty.
Pakistan on steroids - Rajiv Dogra, Pioneer
From the very beginning Pakistan has suffered from a confusion of identities. A single mesmerising bond apart, it is otherwise a mish-mash of conflicting regional interests and contrasting ethnicities. Yet, throughout its short history Pakistan has bewildered its critics by lurching from crisis to crisis, but surviving somehow. Rather, it seems to have emerged militarily charged after every trial. That’s why Pakistan’s Army chiefs and its military dictators have invariably exercised unbridled control over the country.
Mush knew of Osama hideout: Pak ex-general - PTI
New Delhi -  In a sensational claim, a former Pakistan army general has said that Osama bin Laden had been kept in a "safe house" of Intelligence Bureau in Abbottabad with "full knowledge" of the then ruler Pervez Musharraf and possibly current army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Gen Ziauddin Butt, who was appointed as the Pakistan army chief by the then PM Nawaz Sharif but could not take over as Musharraf seized power in coup on the same day on October 12,1999, has reportedly made the claim at a conference in October. 
What’s happening in Pakistan? - Imtiaz Gul, Times of India
In 2011, Pakistan took a big leap forward. Despite serious political and economic crises, relentless power outages and great popular discontent, the country fended off the threat of yet another direct military intervention. And none other than the chief justice of the supreme court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry , delivered a clear 'no' to any extra-constitutional measure against the democratic system.
Massive Imran Khan rally challenges govt - Indian Express
Pakistan’s former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan brought at least 1,00,000 people into the streets of Karachi on Sunday in a massive rally that increases pressure on the civilian government and cements his standing as a political force.
Khan, 59, is riding a wave of dissatisfaction with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, who co-chairs the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Police estimated the rally had been attended by between 1,00,000 and 1,50,000 people. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, estimated the crowd at more than 5,00,000. Even at the lower estimate, it is among the largest political rallies held in Karachi in recent years.
ISI chief crossed line by reporting to Kayani: Pak govt - Indian Express
The embattled Pakistani government today said ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had stepped beyond his jurisdiction when he briefed army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani about his meeting with memo scandal whistle-blower Mansoor Ijaz in London. “He should have known who he was supposed to report to,” the federal government stated in a reply submitted to the Pakistan supreme court in the form of an affidavit, The Express Tribune daily reported.
Imran's second innings - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Even sceptics of Imran Khan Niazi admit that the former playboy cricketer is now a serious contender for prime minister in Pakistan’s 2013 elections, if not sooner. The massive turnout at his Christmas Day rally in Karachi highlights not just deep-rooted, Anna-style, public outrage at corruption, but also seething anger at Islamabad’s spinelessness in the face of repeated violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty by America. Sensing political change, malcontents like former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Javed Hashmi, of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have already joined Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (“Movement for Justice”, abbreviated PTI). Others, including Musharraf’s former information minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed – always a reliable political bellwether – are looking to follow suit.
Shaky Zardari on edge but will hold on - Badar Alam, India Today
Three huge political rallies - all led by the Opposition - took place on Sunday in Lahore and Karachi, the two largest cities of Pakistan. Over 2 lakh people attended these rallies. The biggest of them was held in Karachi next to the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Its chief attraction was Imran Khan, the former cricketer and a big crowd puller.
Delhi to Dhaka, with love - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
Looking back in the 40th year of independence of Bangladesh, the War of Liberation in 1971 in what was then East Pakistan can be militarily encapsulated into two stages, first as a predominantly low-intensity conflict of insurgency and terrorism by the Mukti Bahini, from around April to December of that year, and the next as a decisive, high-intensity conflict of two weeks, from December 3-16, in which the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force participated in support of the ongoing freedom struggle.
Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban - Sanjeev Miglani & Hamid Shalizi, Reuters
Afghanistan will accept a Taliban liaison office in Qatar to start peace talks but no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent, the government's peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a solution to the decade-long war.
For Af-Pak, a future that looks exactly like the past - Mahammed Hanif, Hindu
“When we arrive at the endgame, these kinds of things are inevitable.” Pakistan's former intelligence chief, General Hamid Gul, was on a TV talkshow referring to the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a midnight NATO attack along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. General Gul sounded reassuring. He made the endgame sound exciting — it was as if we were already playing in extra time and soon we would all be able to do high-fives, go home and watch the highlights.
The Imran juggernaut - Cyril Almeida, Indian Express
What for years was the political equivalent of a jalopy — a much lampooned party that attracted snickers from pundits and indifference from voters — has, in the matter of a couple of months, threatened to grow into a juggernaut. Imran Khan’s mammoth rallies in Lahore on October 30 and in Karachi on December 26 have catapulted him ahead of his contemporaries in at least the crowd-pulling stakes: the only modern-era politician in Pakistan who drew comparable crowds was Benazir Bhutto, but she only managed it two decades apart in her homecomings from exile: in Lahore (1986) and Karachi (2007).
Confrontation in Pakistan - Hiranmay Karlekar, Pioneer
The confrontation between Pakistan’s civilian Government and the Army has thrown that country into yet another crisis triggering intensified global concern about its future. There has been talk of the civilian Government of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani removing the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Equally, there has been speculation about a coup leading to another spell of military dictatorship.
Sri Lanka’s ghosts of war - Namini Wijedasa, New York Times
The Sri Lankan government’s defeat of the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009 ended a three-decade war that took tens of thousands of lives. But only now is the government beginning to acknowledge its huge human cost. Two weeks ago, a government-appointed reconciliation commission released a long-awaited report, giving voice to the war’s civilian victims for the first time.
Soon a bus from Imphal to Mandalay - Esha Roy, Indian Express
The Manipur government is set to have a long-awaited link to Myanmar, with a luxury bus service set to be launched from Imphal to Mandalay. This will be the first proper link between the two countries, said Manipur Chief Secretary D S Poonia. Hectic work is on for the double-laning (and in some parts four-laning) of the existing 326-km road from Imphal to the border town of Moreh. The upgradation of the last 18 km is likely to be completed by March 2012, said officials.
Open spats - Economist
On December 19th the president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, returned to the country after a two-week absence in Dubai. Officially, Mr Zardari (pictured above, left) had been getting treatment for a mild stroke. But the belief was growing that the army was forcing him into exile.
Can Pakistan step back from the brink - BBC
One year ago, Pakistan was shaken when leading politician Salman Taseer was murdered by his own bodyguard. His violent death and the lack of government response were merely the beginning of a turbulent year for the country. Writer Ahmed Rashid considers whether Pakistan can step back from the brink in 2012.
A long, sad year after Salman Taseer's killing - Pervez Hoodbhoy, Hindu
One year ago, the assassination of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, shook liberal and secular Pakistan to the core. Never had the country looked so rudderless. Fearlessly championing a deeply unpopular cause, this brave man had sought to revisit the country's blasphemy law which he perceived as yet another means of intimidating Pakistan's embattled religious minorities. 
Taliban to open political office in Qatar - Julian Borger, Guardian
The Taliban have said they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar for the purpose of negotiations "with the international community" in what could be the most significant breakthrough towards a peaceful end in 10 years of war in Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, announced on Tuesday morning that the insurgent leadership had reached an agreement with the Qatar government and other "relevant parties" about the opening of the office but did not say when it would happen.
Counting chickens before they hatch - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Tourism is Nepal’s golden goose. The country has been named as one of the best countries for adventure destination (National Geographic) and one of the 50 places to see before you die (BBC Holiday). The sector accounts for nearly seven pc of Nepal’s GDP. 
Pakistan to US: Give us nuke deal if you want better ties - PTI
Islamabad, January 06, 2012 - Pakistan is expected to link its future relationship with the US to the transfer of civil nuclear technology by America to help it overcome a crippling energy shortfall. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which has been tasked by the Prime Minister to recommend new “terms of engagement” with the US, has “declared that the basis of the new relationship should be conditional on the agreement to transfer civil nuclear technology to Pakistan,” The News daily quoted its sources as saying.
US-Taliban: A difficult conversation - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
Once the terms and conditions for the Taliban acquiring an address in Qatar are sorted out in the coming days, the stage will be set for a complex set of negotiations that could reorder the power structure within Kabul and reorganise its external relations. The impending talks with the Taliban are premised on the belief that the international community cannot sustain its military intervention in Afghanistan for too long.
Nepal: Maoists in a dilemma - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
Capture of power has been the dominant theme of the Maoist lexicon and strategic discourse in Nepal. Flexibility underlines the tactics used to acquire power — military force, subterfuge and electoral means. Contingent upon whether Maoists are in power (as part of a coalition or heading a Government) or out in the cold, pursuit of revolt or the democratic path, cornerstones of the Maoist two-line strategy, have alternated as the preferred option.
'Ties with Israel will help tilt its K-stand for Pak' - PTI
JERUSALEM: Pakistan should be open to the idea of establishing relations with Israel in order to counter the "pro-India" stand usually adopted by it on key issues like Kashmir , former president Pervez Musharraf has said. Musharraf said the Jewish state is a fait accompli and relations with it can help Islamabad come closer to the strong Jewish lobby in the US and in its conflict against India.
New Pak doctrine: Deploy at border if terror strike in India - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
After a thorough year-long re-evaluation of its “war concepts”, Pakistan is learnt to have adopted a revised doctrine that calls for immediate mobilisation of one-fourth of its battalion reserves to defensive positions along the Indian border in case there is a major terrorist attack in India.
Taliban receiving Pakistan military equipment, U.S. investigation reveals - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Taliban insurgents may be receiving weapons, ammunition and combat equipment from elements in the Pakistan army, a report by the United States military has suggested.
Blackout nation: Pak running out of gas and oil - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Pakistan is heading for a major power crisis as there are shortages of natural gas supply at home and friendly countries have refused to extend any more credit for petroleum imports from abroad. Pakistan had asked Kuwait to extend its credit terms from two months to six months while a request was made to Saudi Arabia to it extend its credit facility to a year. 
Pak: Arrest awaits Mush as soon as he returns home - Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India
Pakistan's government said on Monday that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf will be arrested from the airport when he returns to the country.  Addressing a public rally in Karachi on Sunday via a video link, Musharraf had announced that he would return to Pakistan between January 27 and 30, despite 'baseless' court cases against him. "I would face all the 'fake' cases in the courts filed against me," the retired general had claimed. His return to country will end his fouryear-long exile in London. 
Tectonic rumblings in the region - Harsh V Pant, Indian Express
In one of the most far-reaching readjustments of American defence strategy, US President Barack Obama recently announced a new military approach that will rely on a leaner fighting machinery to achieve foreign policy goals. After a decade of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and faced with a dire economic crisis, the Obama administration has decided to make some tough choices, to bring America’s ends and means into balance.
Can dismiss Gilani, says Pak SC - Indian Express
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is not an honest man as he had not lived up to his constitutional oath, Pakistan’s Supreme Court said Tuesday, as it warned of action against him for failing to issue an order to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pak stoked terror in J&K, time for new ties: Imran - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
WASHINGTON: Implicitly conceding that Pakistan erred in using terrorism to foment unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Imran Khan, the country's former cricket hero-turned-rising political star called for a ''completely new relationship'' between the two countries in keeping with the times.
The arming of the Mujahideen - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
Pakistan and the United States may appear to be on the same side in the “war on terror” in Afghanistan but they are by no means “natural allies”. Pakistan was never really serious about the alliance except for whatever it could extract in terms of military and economic aid from the US, even as it provided the Taliban a trans-border safe haven in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) region.
The Karachi submarine sale scandal - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
In May 2002, 11 French engineers working on the assemblage of Agosta class submarines sold by France to Pakistan died in a bomb blast in Karachi. Initially presumed to be the work of Islamist terrorists, the blast was later revealed to be an act of retaliation by elements in the Pakistani military and the ISI in response to the French state's failure to pay Pakistani officials $33 million in promised kickbacks for a €1.8-billion contract for the purchase of Agosta submarines in 1994.
Pak on edge, Army-PM faceoff again - Rezaul H Laskar, Indian Express
Political tensions in Pakistan appeared to move close to a flashpoint Wednesday after the army warned Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that his criticism of the army and ISI would have “grievous consequences”. Gilani, who seemed willing to take the army head on, responded by sacking Defence Secretary Lt Gen. (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, over memogate.
Because Agartala is special - Syed Badrul Ahsan, Indian Express
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s two-day trip to the Indian state of Tripura could not have come at a better time. With the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia gathering its supporters for a wider movement to dislodge the government, and with the ruling party’s own student front creating chaos, Sheikh Hasina must be glad for the brief respite in Tripura.
Ominous turf war between Pakistani state institutions - M Ilyas Khan, BBC
Pakistan's political scene looks like the OK Corral, with the main organs of state and other players heading for an inglorious showdown. In the past few weeks, the powerful military has heaped pressure on the civilian government by participating in a Supreme Court inquiry which could see President Zardari condemned as a "traitor".
Burma government 'signs ceasefire with Karen rebels' - BBC
Burma's government has signed a ceasefire deal with Karen rebels, a government official told the BBC. The agreement came at talks between officials and the Karen National Union in Hpa-an, the capital of eastern Karen state. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire, to open communication offices and to allow passage through each other's territories, the official said. The Karen have fought for greater autonomy for more than 60 years. Prior to this deal, it was the only major group that had not reached a peace agreement.
Mush-Benazir deal comes to haunt president - Times of India
Former president Pervez Musharraf had issued the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as part of a power sharing deal with former PM Benazir Bhutto in 2007. The US-backed deal saw Musharraf relent on allowing Benazir and another former PM, Nawaz Sharif, return to Pakistan. Benazir was shortly assassinated in a bomb and gun attack in December 2007. 
Pak shaken by the PM's gambit - Najam Sethi, Friday Times
On January 9, the prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gillani, accused the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, and DG-ISI, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, of acting "unconstitutionally and illegally" in the Memogate affair. The following day, the Supreme Court handed down a six-point "do-or-die" ultimatum to the government. The day after, Jan 11, Gen Kayani and Gen Pasha warned that the PM's allegations against them could have "serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country". Shortly afterwards on the same day, the media reported a change of command in the notorious 111 Brigade that is trained to carry out coups. 
China’s Wen Jiabao lands in Nepal today, visit kept under wraps - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is arriving in Nepal on Saturday on a five-hour visit that is shrouded in secrecy. There is no official word from either side though preparations, The Indian Express has confirmed, are on to receive Wen at 11 am and see him off at 4.30 pm.
Pakistan: Trouble comes in threes - Murtaza Razvi, Indian Express
The year is off to a scintillating start in Pakistan, where a game of musical chairs is being played out in the courtroom, the army headquarters and the palaces of the president and the prime minister, with the media in full attendance. If last year was the year of Osama and Obama, this promises to be that of Zardari and Kayani. The Supreme Court has given the government until January 16, to show cause for non-compliance with its earlier verdict ordering the government to write to the Swiss authorities to open the corruption cases pending against the president of Pakistan.
Wen loosens purse strings on Nepal visit - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
China on Saturday agreed to provide Nepal $135 million in aid, during a surprise visit to the tiny Himalayan nation by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. State-run Rashtriya Samachar Samiti said the two sides signed agreements under which Beijing will provide economic and technical assistance and strengthen Nepal’s police.
Malaysia: A tiger may change its stripes - Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
Writing articles about Southeast Asian politics was once a journalist’s purgatory. The sun’s rise was less predictable than a Singaporean election. Nothing was less important than a Thai change of government. Vietnam and Myanmar were in authoritarian straitjackets. And Malaysia was dominated by one party and one man.
Hasina recalls liberation of Bangladesh in Tripura - Anil Bhat, Asian Age
As we touched down at Agartala airport last evening, a flush of emotions overwhelmed me as I recalled the tremendous sacrifices during our glorious struggle for independence,” said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, in a voice choked with emotion, after receiving the degree of Doctor of Literature by Tripura Central University for her “great contribution to the protection of multicultural democracy and peace” from vice-president Hamid Ansari at Agartala on January 12, 2012.
Tibetan protesters fired at in China, one dead - Hindustan Times
Chinese security forces on Saturday fired into a crowd of Tibetans in Sichuan Province as they tried to take away the body of a Tibetan man who died after self-immolation. This was claimed by reports from two Tibet advocacy groups and Tibetan officials in the exile government in India.
A monopoly on heroism - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
We did not raise arms simply to be a part of the parliamentary system,” says C.P. Gajurel, secretary of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M). The Maoists insist Nepal must have an executive president directly elected by the people and a prime minister elected by parliament and close the debate on the model of governance future Nepal should have.
Pak Taliban chief reported killed in drone strike - Indian Express
Intercepted militant radio communications indicate the leader of the Pakistani Taliban may have been killed in a recent US drone strike, Pakistani intelligence officials said Sunday. A Taliban official denied that. The report coincided with sectarian violence, a bomb blast in eastern Pakistan that killed at least 18 people in a Shia religious procession.
US set to irk Pakistan as it takes note of Baloch plight - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Baloch separatists achieved a significant diplomatic breakthrough on Friday, getting the US administration to recognize their grievances against Pakistani and persuading Washington to urge Islamabad to address their issues through dialogue. At a time of tense relations with Islamabad, the Obama administration chose a social media platform to air its concern about the plight of the Baloch, whose complaints about targeted killings and other human rights abuse has gone largely unnoticed by the world.
Pak Taliban chief killed in N Waziristan drone strike? - Times of India
Intercepted militant radio communications indicate the leader of the Pakistani Taliban may have been killed in a recent United States drone strike, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Sunday. A Taliban official denied that. The claim that the Pakistani Taliban chief was killed came from officials who said they intercepted a number of Taliban radio conversations. In about a half a dozen intercepts, the militants discussed whether their chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed on January 12 in the North Waziristan tribal area. 
The Imran Khan Phenomenon - Arif Rafiq, Foreign Policy
In 1992, with his cricket career at its twilight, an aging Imran Khan boldly pledged that the Pakistani national team would win the World Cup for the first time. In March of that year, before a packed stadium in Melbourne, Pakistan defeated former colonial master England, taking the cup and shocking the world of cricket. Khan returned home with a trophy in his hands, enshrined forever as a national hero.
A strategic failure - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
India declined Sri Lanka’s offer to build Hambantota Port, but China grabbed the opportunity. With strategic foresight, Beijing has stolen a march over New Delhi. Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna is in Colombo on a four-day visit after more than a year to chivvy up reconstruction projects in the north. He will also be visiting Galle but not Hambantota. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June 2010 that India would construct 50,000 houses for internally displaced persons. That project was cleared recently.
West's romancing of the Taliban - Praveen Swami, Hindu
In the spring of 1839, the extraordinary Indian adventurer and spy, Mohan Lal Kashmiri, engineered one of the greatest intelligence coups of the 19th century: using nothing more lethal than cash and intrigue, he brought about the fall of Kandahar and secured the Afghan throne for Imperial Britain's chosen client, Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk. Less than three years later, in the bitter winter of 1842, Kashmiri found himself working undercover in insurgent-held Kabul, seeking to ransom the remnants of his masters' once-magnificent army — children, women and men at threat of being sold as slaves in Central Asia.
Pak turmoil should put India on guard - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
The appointment of Brigadier Sarfraz Ali as Commander of the Rawalpindi-based 111 Brigade on January 11, just after Prime Minister Gilani fired Army Chief Kayani's handpicked Defence Secretary, Lt General Naeem Khalid Lodhi, is a throwback to the past. It brought memories of witnessing a newly-appointed 111 Brigade Commander spearheading a coup to overthrow and arrest Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in October 1999.
Islamist link to foiled anti-India coup plot in Bangladesh? - Times of India
 In what sent shockwaves in both Bangladesh and the Indian security establishment, the army in India's neighbouring state claimed to have foiled an attempt by some of its officers, apparently driven by religious considerations, to overthrow Sheikh Hasina's government. Government sources here confirmed that those held for the attempted coup were "anti-India'' and wanted to undo the changes effected by the Hasina government last year in the Constitution to make it more secular.
PPP unveils its secret weapon - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
Just as pundits were proclaiming the inevitable and swift demise of the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, as a prelude to regime change via fresh elections, the wily Zardari government has unveiled its secret weapon to diffuse the simmering crisis with the Supreme Court and extend the endgame. It is none other than Aitzaz Ahsan, the silver-tongued barrister who successfully led the Lawyers Movement in 2007-09 for the restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to office.
When Wen came - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Kathmandu may have rescued Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai from a huge embarrassment, but no one believes that it was the motive of the official visit — which was less than five hours in duration. Unlike earlier high-level Chinese visits, Wen’s was below the radar. There were no cheering crowds. There was no international media covering the event. From the airport, Wen went to the prime minister’s office, and then to the president’s office for a courtesy call — and he was off to Qatar.
Begum Zia’s party behind coup plan: Hasina - Times of India
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has accused the "desperate" opposition of "plotting" against her government after the army foiled a coup plot by some "fanatic" serving and retired military officers. Criticizing Khaleda Zia led Bangladesh Nationalist Party ( BNP), the ruling Awami League president said the opposition was plotting against her government.
US briefs India on Afghan reconciliation - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPak) Marc Grossman on Friday briefed top Indian foreign policy officials here on Washington's opening of dialogue with the Taliban and sought greater cooperation from New Delhi in effecting political reconciliation.
More milestones in Burma - BBC
As the European Union suspends visa bans on leading politicians in Burma, South Asia specialist Marie Lall looks at recent dramatic changes in the country and what lies behind them. Nowadays Burma is in the news almost daily and at the very least weekly. There have been regular and significant milestones since 30 March 2011, the date on which military leaders formally handed power to the civilianised government led by President Thein Sein.
Court of contempt - Moeed Pirzada, Week
The political drama in Pakistan continues to unfold, as the focus remains on the confrontation between the government and the Supreme Court. On January 19, Yusuf Raza Gillani became only the second serving prime minister to appear before the Supreme Court in a contempt case. He was summoned to explain his failure to implement the court's repeated directions since 2009 in the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance case, especially his failure to write to the Swiss authorities on the money laundering case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Road ahead for Myanmar - Rahul Mishra, Indian Express
With the release of a thousand political prisoners, including U Gambira and Min Ko Naing recently and Aung San Suu Kyi earlier, Myanmar is all set to witness a new phase in its domestic politics and foreign policy. After half a century of self-imposed isolation, it is opening up to global concerns on issues of human and individual rights.
Gingrich splits GOP race wide open - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Former US House Speaker and college professor Newt Gingrich chalked up a surprise win in the South Carolina primary to blow open the race for the Republican Party nomination to challenge Barack Obama in the November 2012 elections. Gingrich was expected to do well in the southern state, dubbed "Buckle of the Bible belt", but the wide and decisive margin of his victory (41% to rival Mitt Romney's 27%) jolted the party, which now has to brace itself for a debilitating internal scrap to find a winnable option against Obama. 
US miffed as Israel hints at unilateral strike on Iran N-sites - Ashis Ray, Times of India
Israel could launch a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear facilities without much prior notice to its closest ally for over 60 year, US, according to information reaching here from Tel Aviv. While the Israeli leadership has signaled support for US president Barack Obama in his re-election bid by urging Jewish voters in America to vote for him, Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak is said to have told general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, that Israel will give the US no more than 12 hours notice before it ventures to demolish Iran's nuclear installations.
Pakistan's political soap opera - Owen Bennett Jones, BBC
Earlier this week, Pakistan's prime minister appeared before the country's Supreme Court to defend himself against allegations of contempt - it is symbolic of a dispute that is on-going at the centre of the country's powerful elite. When great institutions of state clash, history is made. It is the stuff of school history lessons - the Magna Carta, the Star Chamber, the Great Reform Act - that kind of thing.
Rattling crumbling Pakistan - Maloy Krishna Dhar
A writer and journalist friend residing in Lahore called from Dubai to inform that he had escaped the country temporarily to avoid kidnapping by the ISI goons and final evaporation. He was haunted for writing against the army after Osama bin Laden’s assassination by the US Marines at Abbotabad. He had raised questions about the incredibility of official claims that the ISI and army had no knowledge of Osama hideout near an army training camp in Abbotabad. 
Under army’s gun, Pak power couple on run - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The murky existential battle between Pakistan's liberal, pro-western elite and its domineering military supported by the country's Islamist hypernationalists took another bizarre turn on Monday when the wife of Islamabad's deposed envoy to Washington denied reports that she had fled Pakistan to escape the army's wrath.
Syria: The lost bequest of Hafez Assad - Fouad Ajami, Daily Beast
Bashar, son of Hafez Assad, has a son by the name of Hafez. But as the defiance and bloodletting in Syria would seem to suggest, Bashar needn’t worry about training his son for future rulership. The house that Hafez Assad built, some four decades ago, is not destined to last.
The Complete Obama - Uri Friedman, Foreign Policy
Today on Foreign Policy, Rosa Brooks argues that Barack Obama doesn't have a "grand strategy" when it comes to foreign and national security policy. But grand strategy or not, the president has certainly delivered his fair share of foreign-policy speeches since assuming office -- 205 to be precise, according to one tally by the Washington Post. And a look back at his most sweeping, agenda-setting addresses reveals that No. 44 has consistently devoted more ink and rhetorical flair to certain issues that, when pieced together, help illuminate Obama's worldview. (For a breakdown of Obama's foreign-policy views, go here.)
All silk roads lead to Tehran - Neil Padukone, Foreign Policy
Speaking last September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Secretary Hillary Clinton articulated the U.S. government's vision of a "New Silk Road" running through Afghanistan. In a throwback to the circuit that once connected India and China with Turkey and Egypt, she argued in favor of a network of road, rail, and energy links that would traverse Central Asia and enable Turkmen gas to fuel the subcontinent's economic growth, cotton from Tajikistan to fill India's textile mills, and Afghan produce to reach markets across Asia.
Tibetans live in fear as China cracks down - Hindustan Times
Tibetan monks in a Chinese region rocked by a deadly protest said Tuesday they were too afraid to leave their monastery where injured people had taken refuge, as hundreds of armed forces patrolled outside. The increased security comes after police opened fire on Tibetans protesting against religious repression and as Chinese authorities sealed off another Tibetan-inhabited area which was also rocked by a demonstration, the London-based Free Tibet campaign group said.
All the president’s men - Cyril Almeida, Indian Express
Pakistan’s government dodged a bullet last Thursday as the prime minister escaped immediate sanction for failing to implement a Supreme Court order to seek the reopening of a corruption case against President Asif Zardari. But the long-running saga of tensions between Pakistan’s SC and the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has entered a decisive phase and the legal options for the government appear to be few, if any.
Leadership matters - Roger Cohen, New York Times
In the other election of 2012, there are only two words worth remembering. The first is leadership. The second is change. The rest, as the French say, is du blah-blah. If the French decide leadership is more important in a time of crisis they will grit their teeth and re-elect Nicolas Sarkozy. If they want change from a president never close to their hearts, they will embrace hope over experience and elect the Socialist candidate, François Hollande.
Tibetan protesters take refuge in monastery - Indian Express
About 30 Tibetans injured after Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesters in a restive southwestern region were seeking shelter Tuesday in a monastery while military forces surrounded the building, a Tibetan monk said. Chinese authorities said Monday’s unrest was caused by a “mob”. The violence in Luhuo county in the politically sensitive Ganzi prefecture of Sichuan province comes amid high tensions after at least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans self-immolated in the past year. Most have chanted for Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
Nepal: A transit point of worries - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kristian Peter Stiegler, 45, thought he had a foolproof plan. But after successfully ­executing it for nearly two years, it fell through, and the US citizen was arrested this week by Nepal Police from his rented accommodation at Swayambhunath in Kathmandu.
Clashes between Tibetans, government spread in China - Times of India
Deadly clashes between ethnic Tibetans and Chinese security forces have spread to a second area in southwestern China, the government and an overseas activist group said Wednesday. The group Free Tibet said two Tibetans were killed and several more were wounded Tuesday when security forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Seda county in politically sensitive Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province. It quoted local sources as saying the area was under a curfew. 
Obama Makes Populist Pitch - Carol E Lee & Laura Meckler, WSJ
President Barack Obama offered Americans a populist economic vision in his State of the Union address Tuesday, seeking to draw a contrast with his eventual Republican rival and demonstrating the widening policy gulf between the two political parties.
China’s consumption ratio is no longer falling. Its reserves are no longer rising - Economist
Data points sometimes change faster than debating points. It is conventional wisdom that China’s export-led growth squeezes consumers at home and competitors abroad, even as it adds inexorably to the country’s huge foreign-exchange reserves. But figures released this month complicate these arguments.
Davos 2012: Who's afraid of China? - Tim Weber, BBC
So, who's afraid of China's economic power? Mention the topic in polite conversation, and chances are that you'll hear complaints about dumping cheap products, stealing jobs and grabbing resources. If you talk to politicians and economists, you may hear complaints that China is keeping its currency undervalued. There are worries about the size of its foreign currency reserves - currently approaching a massive $4tn (£2.55tn).
Haunted by their histories - Syed Badrul Ahsan, Indian Express
The disclosure by the Bangladesh army of a coup attempt by mid-ranking and retired military officers has left the country in a state of disbelief. The disbelief stems not so much from the thought that such a conspiracy had been in the works, but that such moves should be made at all, two decades after the restoration of democracy.
EU-Iran: A silent war - Mark A Heller, New York Times
Tel Aviv — This week, the European Union went to war against Iran. There was no formal declaration, of course, nor even any undeclared use of military force. But the EU decision to place an embargo on Iranian oil imports, ban new contracts, and freeze Iranian Central Bank assets is effectively an act of war and may very well result in the military hostilities that sanctions are meant to forestall.
In China, human costs are built into an iPad - Charles Duhigg & David Barboza, New York Times
The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws. When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.
Fear in Davos - Felix Salmon, Reuters
It’s highly unscientific and anecdotal, but the winner by far of the most-talked-about-person-in-Davos award, at least when it comes to people in my earshot, is George Soros. Soros is out of the investing game, living now as a full-time philanthropist and sage, while still keeping an eye on the fund company which bears his name and which provides him with a ten-digit income each year. 
Zardari has weathered the storm as 'Memogate' appears to have blown over - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
Notwithstanding any last minute gasps, Memogate is about to expire. Except perhaps for Mansoor Ijaz and Husain Haqqqani who are in the eye of the storm and may face some irreparable damage from its blowback, all the other protagonists have extracted their pound of flesh and decided to apply closure.
China plays the bully on Arunachal - Saurabh Shukla, Mail Today
There were speeches, smiles and the usual chants of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai after the 15th round of Sino- Indian special representative talks in the Capital in mid-January. What actually transpired amid this show of bonhomie was that the boundary dialogue ended in a deadlock after Beijing declared it would settle for nothing less than 'its share' of Arunachal Pradesh.
The gathering storm - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), during its five years in “democratic politics”, has never been without internal rifts. But they appear orchestrated and tactical mostly, because the party’s chairman has been able to use the differences to bargain with other parties. “Please understand my problem. If the other groups succeed in ousting me from the party leadership, the peace process will not move forward,” is the usual plea from Prachanda, used almost every time the peace process is in crisis.
Freeze speech? In US, it's still free speech - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The words are so hallowed and carry so much conviction and gravitas that they are consecrated in marble - one ton per word - in front of the Newseum on Washington DC's Pennsylvania Avenue. Simply known as the First Amendment, this paean to free speech is an article of faith for every American, some of whom have turned this sacred right into a profane excess.
Prachanda homes in on luxury mansion, sparks row - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Nepal’s Maoist leader with a well-documented weakness for capitalist luxuries, has triggered a new debate in the local media with an allegedly questionable acquisition of a new, ultra plush home in the heart of Kathmandu.
Europe could learn from America’s debt scramble - Gillian Tett, Financial Times
Last summer, some of America’s largest banks secretly stocked their ATM machines with the maximum possible supply of cash. The reason? In July 2011, the bankers feared that the US might be about to suffer a technical default, because Congress could not agree on measures to raise the debt ceiling.
Tibetans living in fear amid China crackdown - Sebastien Blanc, AFP
Sitting in a teahouse in Chengdu's Tibetan quarter, a nervous young monk spoke of how police arrests of innocent people were adding to the climate of fear in China's Tibetan-inhabited regions. The Lama temple where the monk lives is a 15-hour drive away, high up on the Tibetan plateau in the southwestern province of Sichuan where rights groups say police have fired on demonstrators three times in the past week, killing at least three and leaving dozens wounded.
Suu Kyi promises Myanmar rights as she runs for parliament - Euronews
On her first political outing since announcing she will run for parliament, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for changes to the 2008 military-drafted constitution. Suu Kyi, who heads up the National League for Democracy (NLD) was greeted by jubilant crowds on what is only her fourth trip outside since her house arrest ended over a year ago.
Imran Khan's New Pakistan - Kiran Nazish, Foreign Policy
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is batting to strike out two major "conventional" political parties -- the leftist Pakistan People's Party and the conservative Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz -- simultaneously. He talks about eradicating corruption, handling the grievances of the Baloch and the tribal areas, "friendliness" as the ultimate foreign policy, and his plans to combat four of Pakistan's biggest "emergencies" in 90 days, should his party, Tehreek-e Insaf, win Pakistan's general elections planned for 2013.
China: The paradox of prosperity - Economist
In this issue we launch a weekly section devoted to China. It is the first time since we began our detailed coverage of the United States in 1942 that we have singled out a country in this way. The principal reason is that China is now an economic superpower and is fast becoming a military force capable of unsettling America. But our interest in China lies also in its politics: it is governed by a system that is out of step with global norms.
Tibetans brave curfew, bullets - B Raman, Pioneer
The rising wave of protests by Tibetans has spread in western Sichuan, resulting in one more incident of firing by the local police and the death of one more Tibetan. According to my sources, there have been three incidents of police firing since January 23, resulting in the deaths of 12 Tibetans, but the Chinese authorities have admitted to only three deaths in three incidents. They have strongly denied reports of larger fatalities.
Former Pak envoy allowed to travel abroad - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
There is talk of a compromise between Pakistan’s political and military leadership. As a result of which the prime accused in the Memogate affair, former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, was allowed to leave the country on Tuesday morning.
Grabbing Grameen - Economist
He is probably Bangladesh’s most celebrated citizen. Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel peace prize, founded Grameen Bank in 1983 to provide tiny loans to poor rural women. Grameen became a global model for microfinance. It also spawned 48 other firms in sectors that stretch from textiles to mobile phones. Yet the Bangladeshi government seems determined to take Mr Yunus down a peg.
Germany's role in Europe and the European debt crisis - George Friedman, Stratfor
The German government proposed last week that a European commissioner be appointed to supplant the Greek government. While phrasing the German proposal this way might seem extreme, it is not unreasonable. Under the German proposal, this commissioner would hold power over the Greek national budget and taxation. Since the European Central Bank already controls the Greek currency, the euro, this would effectively transfer control of the Greek government to the European Union, since whoever controls a country's government expenditures, tax rates and monetary policy effectively controls that country. The German proposal therefore would suspend Greek sovereignty and the democratic process as the price of financial aid to Greece.
Classified US document says Taliban ready to take power in Afghanistan, backed by Pakistan - Fox News
A highly-classified US report that said the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, is ready to take control in Afghanistan was not an analysis of the military campaign's progress, a NATO spokesman said Wednesday. The document, leaked to The London Times, "may provide some level of representative sampling of Taliban opinions and ideals but clearly should not be used as any interpretation of campaign progress," Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings told AFP.
Policing the media through policy? - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Apart from trying to stay alive, the five-month old Baburam Bhattarai government in Nepal has got caught in a web of self-created problems. Besides attempting to curb information on several issues, it is also facing flak for a new policy to regulate media.
Romney bags easy win at Florida - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Republican contender for White House Mitt Romney regained momentum and frontrunner status in his effort to challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election by comfortably winning the Florida state primary on Tuesday against main rival Newt Gingrich and two other aspirants for the party nomination.
An elegy for a new Nepal - Rrishi Raote, Business Standard
This review was supposed to open with a good little gloat about India as “the foreign hand”. Then I re-read the relevant pages of Manjushree Thapa’s new book of essays and reportage on Nepal, and realised that India’s covert role in Nepali affairs amounts to, by and large, shooting itself in the foot. Support the king and the status quo; oops. Support Nepal’s army against the Maoists; oops.
China's 65K-tonne secret - Paul M Barrett, Business Week
An Admiral Kuznetsov-class warship, the vessel was to be 1,000 feet long, with a displacement of 65,000 tons. For a carrier of that vintage, the Varyag would be a middleweight, envisioned as the platform for several dozen short-takeoff, vertical-landing fighter jets, as well as 8 or 10 helicopters. By contrast, a U.S.S. Nimitz-class supercarrier has a load displacement of nearly 100,000 tons and room for at least 70 planes, many of them longer-range.
New khao suey diplomacy - John Lee, Hindustan Times
India’s two-decade-old ‘Look East’ policy has enhanced New Delhi’s influence in every major capital in East and Southeast Asia with one notable exception: Burma. But the tide could be turning.
Inside the camps that foment terror - Nikhil Raymond Puri, Hindu
Syed Salahuddin, supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), reaffirmed his organisation's “healthiness” last Tuesday, telling Kashmir News Service that HM's “infrastructure is intact” and that “J&K will be freed soon.” He made a similarly convincing statement last May, claiming to possess “hundreds of training camps” where he could freely “recruit and train the mujahideen.” Salahuddin knows that his group's strength must be seen before it can be disbelieved. So long as Pakistan's evolving terror apparatus remains shrouded in secrecy, he is at liberty to exaggerate HM's muscle.
In clash of institutions, Pakistan's Supreme Court sets the pace - Nirupama Subramanian, Hindu
In the last few weeks, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken up three important matters. The first was to do with the infamous memo that a Pakistani-American businessman claimed to have carried to a United States military official on behalf of the Pakistan government, asking for assistance to prevent a military coup in the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid in Abbottabad.
Is Burma turning on China? - John Lee, National Interest
Last October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the New York Economic Club. She spoke on the need for the United States to improve its statecraft by using economic policy to enhance its diplomatic leverage abroad. The speech was delivered in the context of widespread concern inside the State Department that Beijing’s economic and aid policies have proven more effective than the muddle-through approaches of Western democracies.
Chill in Kathmandu - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal faces a daily 14-hour power cut crippling industry and normal life. A group of consumers took control of a vehicle headed towards the depot, and each of them “bought a cylinder” on the street itself. Nepal’s gas stations have thousands of vehicles parked outside waiting for their turn to refuel. The government has not been able to ensure adequate supply even after it hiked the price of petroleum products recently.
19 American NGO workers to be tried in Egypt - Indian Express
Egyptian investigating judges on Sunday referred 43 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, to trial before a criminal court for allegedly being involved in banned activities and illegally receiving foreign funds, security officials said.
MFN status, lost in translation - Nirupama Subramanian, Hindu
Not for nothing is the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) known as the Harvard of Pakistan. It attracts the best students in the country. It is also stiff on the pocket, so it is an island of privilege, though the University financially supports deserving, but not well-off, students. LUMS has also mopped up some of the best brains in Pakistan for its faculty. Despite some Jamat-e-Islami inclined students, it remains a liberal bastion in the heart of Punjab.
Banking on India Post - Hindu
India's search for viable methods of creating a financially inclusive economy has a ubiquitous, albeit underutilised, ally — India Post. The world's largest postal network has over 1.55 lakh post offices, 89.76 per cent of which are in rural areas. On an average, a post office serves 7,175 people and covers an area of 21.21 sq. km, giving it a natural advantage to take financial services closer to the unbanked.
How 'magic' made Greek debt disappear - Allan Little, BBC
"We used to call him the magician, because he could make everything disappear. "He made inflation disappear. And then he made the deficit disappear," recalls Greek economist Miranda Xafa. In the 1990s Miranda Xafa was working for an investment house in London, watching from a distance, as her native Greece got ready for membership of the euro.
Rafale win leaves UK smarting - Vidya Ram, Business Line
Last year, a group of Indian journalists were taken on a tour of BAE System's Warton Aerodrome on Britain's northwest coast, where Eurofighter Typhoons for British and Saudi contracts were being assembled. We watched a Typhoon swoop above, tried on and played around with the jet's pilot helmet, a Darth Vaderesque object with an optical tracking system fitted inside, and generally had as much of an adventure park-like experience that one could have at an aerodrome assembling war planes.
Pak can’t afford another war over Kashmir: Gilani - Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India
Pakistan prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday described Kashmir as a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, but called for a need to resolve the dispute "through diplomacy and dialogue" as his country "cannot afford wars in the 21st century''. Gilani was addressing a gathering in Islamabad to mark Pakistan's Kashmir Solidarity Day that has been observed since 1990 to keep the issue in public discourse and call for implementation of UN resolutions on J&K and a plebiscite in the region. 
Reading Myanmar’s reforms - Harsh V Pant, Indian Express
Tectonic plates are shifting in the Indo-Pacific and nowhere is this more palpable than in the ongoing transformation in Myanmar. Internal changes of great significance are taking place in this country at a time when the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China has attained a sharper edge.
Maldives: India worked backstage - Manu Pubby, Indian Express
India worked behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition in Maldives with President Mohamed Nasheed resigning in favour of Vice-President Mohamed Waheed on Tuesday afternoon after weeks of unrest in the island nation. While New Delhi has made it clear that there is no case for intervention in what is an “internal matter” of the nation, it is believed that the Indian High Commission was in the picture during consultations between opposition parties and the government on Tuesday to ensure that the situation did not break down into chaos. 
On Republican front, rivals fight it out - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Who can forget the epic battle between Mr Barack Obama and Ms Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008? Now, Republican Newt Gingrich likes to think that he can replicate something similar and give front-runner Mitt Romney a run for his money.
For 26 yrs, India overlooks squatter China - Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times
The Chinese army occupied a strategically important slice of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986 and has remained entrenched in the area since then as successive governments in Delhi have denied the army permission to evict the intruders for what are being quoted as “pragmatic” reasons.
India played neutral as Nasheed's men sought military intervention - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
Fearing for the personal liberty of the deposed Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, close aides said some of his Ministers had sought Indian military assistance when the “coup” was under way on Tuesday but none came. “Some Cabinet Ministers told us that India had gunboats in the vicinity and would intervene,” Mr. Nasheed's aides told The Hindu from an undisclosed location as they feared arrest.
China’s Soft-Power Offensive in Taiwan - Yuriko Koike, Project Syndicate
China’s behavior during the recent presidential election in Taiwan demonstrates that its leaders have learned some lessons, if only the hard way. They have learned that China can have a greater impact on Taiwanese voters through trade and making people feel richer than by threats – even threats to fire missiles – which had been China’s electoral tactics in previous Taiwanese elections, particularly when a pro-independence candidate looked popular enough to win.
US Senators irked by India’s Iran ties - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times Of India
WASHINGTON: India's continued engagement with Iran in the face of American pathology against Tehran and New Delhi's insistence on putting safety before commerce in nuclear energy trade surfaced as wrinkles in an otherwise smooth and upbeat assessment of US-India ties during the confirmation hearing of Nancy Powell, the US ambassador-nominee to India.
Myanmar - India's neglected neighbour - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
Few people in India know that we share a border of over 1,600 km with Myanmar (aka Burma), comparable in length with our borders with Bangladesh, China and Pakistan. The latter three are very much part of our daily diet of news and discussion. Almost every Indian is an expert on Pakistan. There is no lack of Bangladesh analysts. And even the tribe of China watchers is on the rise. But Burma analysts in India? It’s hard to find any outside a small group of serving and retired foreign service, intelligence and military officials.
Tibetans and the Chinese state - Economist
If only, Chinese leaders might be thinking, Tibetan medicine had the power to pacify. In recent years rural incomes in eastern areas of the vast Tibetan plateau have been soaring, thanks to a surge in Chinese demand for Tibetan herbal remedies. But in late January the same region experienced the biggest outbreak of violent unrest since a surge of Tibetan discontent across the plateau in 2008. Police have shot dead several demonstrators. There is every sign the unrest could spread.
The Russians are leaving … Russia - Vladimir Radyuhin, Hindu
Highly qualified middle-class professionals, feeling ignored by the country's economy and political system, are emigrating in search of greener pastures. Andrei and Nadezhda are, by any measure, successful professionals and a happy family. They are the kind of people who are supposed to be the mainstay of new Russia and the driving force of its resurgence. Except that they are planning to leave this country for good.
Paradise is perched on the edge of hell - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Political chaos in the Maldives, security services across the region fear, could open the way for a resurgent Islamist movement. The young man in the striped brown t-shirt had patiently waited his turn to put a question at a giant gathering the Mumbai-based neo-fundamentalist preacher Zakir Naik addressed in Malé on May 28, 2010. “I'm a Maldivian”, Mohamed Nazim said, “[but] I am not a Muslim”. He demanded to know what Dr. Naik believed ought be his punishment under shari'a law.
Nuclear weapons: U.S. must put its house in order first - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
Even as the United States continues to exert pressure against India and other emerging powers for not falling in line with its vision for a global nuclear order, a stinging report by a major watchdog has revealed that the U.S.' own nuclear weapons are potentially unstable and critical intra-agency guidance on maintaining nuclear safety has been “vague.”
Pak brutality in Balochistan angers US lawmakers - PTI
WASHINGTON: Accusing Pakistan of using brutal force in Baluchistan, eminent US lawmakers have expressed serious concern over the human rights violations in the restive province. "Baluchistan deserves our attention because it is a turbulent land marked by human rights violations committed by regimes that are hostile to America's interests and values," Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said at a Congressional hearing.
China readies for Tibet 'war', PM meets Panchen - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
BEIJING: Chinese premier Wen Jiabao met Beijing-appointed Panchen Lama in Beijing on Friday in the backdrop of top Communist party officials describing the situation in Tibet as "grave". The meeting took place after a senior Communist party official advised the government to prepare for "war against secessionist sabotage" by the Dalai Lama.
‘Made in India’ show in Pakistan as both talk to boost trade - Surojit Gupta, Times of India
Trade ties between India and Pakistan are expected to get a boost as New Delhi reaches out to the business community across the border, starting Monday to assure them about the positive impact of normal trade ties. Commerce minister Anand Sharma will undertake a rare journey to Pakistan, leading a large delegation of senior officials and top businessmen as the two hostile neighbours take baby steps to normalise trade and economic relations.
US rejected more visas to Indians in Obama regime - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
A new study shows that the US has discriminated against Indians in the grant of professional visas over the last four years, roughly coinciding with President Barack Obama's tenure. The study uses US Citizenship and Immigration Services data to show rejections in the L-1 and H-1B visa categories have spiked across the board, with Indians hit the hardest.
US to discuss Tibet situation with China - Times of India
DHARAMSHALA: The issue of increased tensions and violations of human rights in Tibet will come up for discussion during Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US next week, a post on the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) official website said Saturday. "It is an area of grave concern for us to witness the increase of tensions in Tibet and Xinjiang. We are watching this, tracking very closely, with real concern," said the post quoting Daniel Russel, special assistant to US President Barack Obama.
‘Prachanda’s house may get confiscated’ - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The ‘rented’ house that Maoist chief Prachanda moved in to last month has caused fresh trouble for the Nepal government, headed by his party. “Serious irregularities have been found in the purchase and occupation of the house as the alleged land-lady is traceless and the tenant claims he will be paying Rs 1,03,000 per month as rent,” Nepal’s TV channel Image quoted a senior government official as saying. “There is no source of income invested in the purchase of the property, and such property can be confiscated under law.”
Islands in the storm - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
India believes that the resignation of Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives and the leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has paved the way for a “legitimately formed government” under the new president, Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and that after the restoration of calm and stability in some months, fresh elections should be held in the Indian Ocean island.
China connection stalled Indian help to Nasheed? - Rakesh K Singh, Pioneer
India has decided against armed intervention to diffuse the crisis in Maldives due to beleaguered ex-President Mohamed Nasheed’s proximity to China and his anti-India stance. Indian Intelligence agencies, particularly the Research & Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau, advised the Centre against any military intervention to resolve the political imbroglio in the island nation.
Coup plotters targeted Delhi-Dhaka relations - Rakhi Chakrabarty, Times of India
Bangladesh may have foiled a coup by army officers aligned with fundamentalist outfit Hizb ut Tahrir, but it's worried about men and officers with radical religious views in the armed forces. The coup was plotted to derail the trial of "war criminals" (those who sided with Pakistani Army in the 1971 liberation war) and scuttle Sheikh Hasina government's efforts to strengthen ties with India.
Rise of Islamism in Maldives a cause of worry for India - Indrani Bagchi, ToI
On May 27, 2009, a suicide attack on the ISI headquarters in Lahore had a relatively unknown bomber, Ali Jaleel, a Maldivian terrorist, who had joined al-Qaida some time earlier.
The madding crowd - Karl Wilson, China Daily
More than half the world’s population now live in urban areas, for the first time in history, and by 2050, it is estimated that the figure will be around 70 percent. Nowhere has the rate of urbanization or its challenges been more pronounced than in Asia — home to half of humanity. According to the United Nations, 12 of the world’s 21 megacities (cities with populations of over 10 million) are now in Asia and their number is expected to grow, especially in China.
The Indian Ushtrapakshi-asana - Jaideep A Prabhu, Centre Right India
On February 7, 2012, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives resigned from office after what appears to be a bloodless coup d’etat in the tiny island nation. As a small crowd gathered in front of the army headquarters and chanted anti-government slogans, some members of the police force mutinied and joined the demonstrators (probably in anger at the arrest of a judge who the government alleged helped hide evidence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s corruption).
US would block Iran from mining hormuz strait, Commander Says - Tony Capaccio, Business Week
The U.S. Navy would move to stop any Iranian attempt to lay mines in the Strait of Hormuz or Persian Gulf as an “act of war” the international community wouldn’t tolerate, the U.S. Navy’s top Gulf commander said.
A Post-American World? - Victor Davis Hanson, National Interest
In a scathing denunciation of Mitt Romney last week, Fareed Zakaria praised Barack Obama for his nuanced understanding of what Zakaria has called the “Post-American World”.
US used Kashmir quake to send killer-spies into Pakistan - Uttara Choudhury, First Post
The Pentagon used the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 to send operatives from the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC — the secretive, über-elite military unit that killed Osama bin Laden – into Pakistan, reveals a new book.
Bull in the China Shop - Daniel Blumenthal, Foreign Policy
Last month, as Barack Obama's administration began to prepare for Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington, someone close to the U.S. vice president leaked that Joe Biden would "take over" China policy. The leaker made the case that Biden had a good rapport with Xi, thus priming the U.S. vice president to add the China mandate to his portfolio. 
The litmus test in Sri Lanka - Ahilan Kadirgamar, Hindu
Soon after meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna disclosed to the media, “The President assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach.” He also claimed that the “government of Sri Lanka has, on many occasions, conveyed to us its commitment to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and building on it, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers.”
A hearing on Balochistan that stirs up new tensions between U.S. and Pakistan - Malik Siraj Akbar, Hindu
An extraordinary hearing of the U.S. Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs on February 8 exclusively focusing on Pakistan's restive Balochistan province has triggered new diplomatic tensions between Washington D.C. and Islamabad. At least five members of the U.S. Congress belonging to both the Democratic and the Republican parties and a retired colonel of the military directly or indirectly called for supporting the Baloch right to self-determination.
Week before ouster, faced pressure to sign defence deal with China: Nasheed - Manu Pubby, Indian Express
A week before he was ousted, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed was under pressure from his armed forces to sign a defence agreement with China, a pact that he had been refusing to clear for the past three months.
Momentum is growing for an Israel - Economist
Is it all part of a carefully calibrated campaign of bluff and rumour intended to support tightening sanctions and bring Iran to the negotiating table, or is the ground really being prepared for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in the next few months? Perhaps it is neither and the people who count, yet to make up their minds, are frantically hedging and debating.
Disillusioned former Maoist fighters of Nepal - BBC
More than 7,000 former Maoist fighters in Nepal, who have begun demobilising five years after they ended their armed revolt, have received money to help them return to civilian life. But as the BBC's Sanjaya Dhakal reports from Kathmandu, what was supposed to be a harmonious transition has ended up mired in rancour.
Rooting for Xi - Jeffrey Bader, Foreign Policy
The man expected to be China's leader for the next 10 years, Xi Jinping, arrived in the United States on Monday, Feb. 13. This will be an excellent occasion for Americans to assess him and take stock of the relationship with the rising power of the 21st century. Needless to say, there are complex and polarizing reactions toward China in the United States: The racially tinged advertisement by Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra depicting a happy, young Chinese woman speaking broken English as she celebrates American decline is but the most recent example of an attempt to manipulate Americans' emotions rather than activate their brains.
Prospects of Pakistan's Islamist resurgence - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Early in 1939, on the eve of the great war that would lead on to the death of the British empire and the birth of his homeland, the politician and religious ideologue, Abdul Ala Maududi, delivered a lecture that has become a foundational text for South Asia Islamism.
Month after border talks, Chinese paper says Aksai Chin is a closed chapter - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
A month after India and China held the fifteenth round of border talks, a commentary in a Chinese newspaper has questioned India's claims on Kashmir and asserted that the only dispute was over the status of Arunachal Pradesh. An article in the Communist Party-run Jiefang Daily, or Liberation Daily newspaper said the disputed western section of the border — including the Aksai Chin region which is now under China's control — was not part of the dispute, underscoring how far apart both countries' positions remained even after 15 rounds of negotiations.
In the face of sanctions, defiant Iran flaunts its nuclear ‘advances’ - Indian Express
Displaying defiance against toughening western sanctions, Iran on Wednesday proclaimed two major advances in its nuclear programme, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster. The country’s official IRNA news agency reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad oversaw the insertion of the first domestically made Iranian fuel rod into a research reactor in northern Tehran.
US nuclear warship bears down on defiant Iran - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
A defiant Iran and a prickly US-Israel alliance moved further down the slippery slope to a shooting match on Wednesday as Washington sent a second aircraft carrier into the Strait of Hormuz even as Tehran announced key nuclear technology advances and threatened cuts in oil supplies to six EU nations. 
Europe economies contract - Brian Blackstone, WSJ
Economic activity fell across much of the debt-plagued euro zone in the final quarter of 2011, with contractions stretching from fragile Greece to mighty Germany. Euro-zone gross domestic product fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from the previous quarter, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said.
Tibetan Protests Begin to Spread - Emily-Anne Owen, IPS
An escalating number of unprecedented self-immolations and violent protests that have gripped Tibetan regions of Western China over recent weeks show no sign of abating, as the country reels from the worst Tibet crisis since the 2008 riots.
In Pakistan, rightwing alliance is revived - CBS News
Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.
Pakistan: The revolt of the middle class - Roedad Khan, News International
A long line of thinkers, going back to Aristotle have spoken of the middle class as an enforcer of democracy and the rule of law. The middle class is the backbone of Pakistan. It provides the social glue that holds society together.
Prisons, Drones, and Black Ops in Afghanistan - Nick Turse, TomDispatch
In Afghanistan, “victory” came early -- with the U.S. invasion of 2001.  Only then did the trouble begin. Ever since the U.S. occupation managed to revive the Taliban, one of the least popular of popular movements in memory, the official talk, year after year, has been of modest “progress,” of limited “success,” of enemy advances “blunted,” of “corners” provisionally turned.  And always such talk has been accompanied by grim on-the-ground reports of gross corruption, fixed elections, massive desertions from the Afghan army and police, “ghost” soldiers, and the like. 
India brokers deal, early Maldives polls likely - Snehesh Alex Philip, Economic Times
The new Maldivian regime on Thursday came out with a roadmap that could lead to early elections, which ousted president Mohammad Nasheed's MDP favours. The deal brokered by India envisages the government of national unity holding discussions with all relevant parties to conduct early elections. 
Ahmadinejad, Karzai in Pak for talks - Indian Express
The Afghan president appealed for Pakistan’s help Thursday in negotiating a peace deal with Taliban militants ahead of a summit that will be also include the leader of Iran. The meetings in Islamabad come at a time when momentum for peace talks with the Taliban seems to be growing, even as all parties to a stuttering process marked by intense mistrust say success in ending the war in Afghanistan is far from certain.
Pak: A nation at war with itself - Economist
On December 29th Syed Baqir Shah, a police surgeon, was gunned down in Quetta, the capital of the province of Balochistan. A few days later the police said that some 50 suspects had been arrested but there had been no “major breakthrough”. Few were surprised. Among the prime suspects were the police themselves and the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary outfit that in theory reports to the provincial government but takes orders from the army.
Go back to the barracks - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
The Pakistan army's vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years. On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.
India bats for $300 bn power grid in South Asia - SPS Pannu, Business Today
India has made a strong pitch for setting up a $300-billion trans-national power grid in South Asia which would enable the region to trade in electricity. Addressing the sixth SAFTA ( South Asia Free Trade Agreement) ministerial council on Thursday, commerce minister Anand Sharma said, "India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan have a combined hydropower potential of 200GW, of which more than three-quarters is yet to be harnessed.
Too little, too late? - Mehmal Sarfraz, Mid Day
"Now dreams are not available, To the dreamers, Nor songs to the singers. In some lands, Dark night and cold steel prevail, But the dream will come back, And the song break its jail" ('Oppression' by Langston Hughes)Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced this week that the government will soon convene an All-Parties Conference (APC) on Balochistan. 
US lawmakers ask India to stand firm with anti-Iran coalition - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
With the US Congress keeping a close tab on Indian moves vis-à-vis Iran, two lawmakers have written to Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao, urging New Delhi to stand firm with the international coalition against Iran.
On return from India, Tibetans detained, get re-education classes - Indian Express
China has detained and forced into re-education classes hundreds of Tibetans who went to India to receive religious instruction from the Dalai Lama, a US-based human rights group said. It is the first time since the late 1970s that Chinese authorities have detained large numbers of ordinary Tibetans and placed them into re-education classes, Human Rights Watch said in an online statement. Tibetan monks and nuns are routinely made to attend patriotic education classes.
Special report: For Iran oil trader, Western ties run deep - Emma Farge, Reuters
The newspaper notice sat next to advertisements for tarot-card readings, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and children's tap-dancing lessons. The Naftiran Intertrade Company, an oil-trading firm owned by the Iranian government, announced plans to close its registered headquarters in the British tax haven of Jersey and move to a tax haven in Asia.
Pak jolted as US House speaks for rights of Balochis - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
A resolution moved by a group of US Congressmen calling for right to self-determination for the Baloch people has driven Pakistan to hysteria,with its leaders from the prime minister down questioning Washingtons commitment to the countrys sovereignty.
With friends like these... - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Two litigants went before a high priest. After hearing the first testimony, the priest says, "It seems that you are right.
Eurozone crisis: Will it create a United States of Europe? - Swaminathan SA Aiyar, Economic Times
The Eurozone crisis has led some to predict its collapse, and others to fear that Europe will become a German empire. But a third line of thought, from those wanting a far more integrated Europe, holds that the crisis is actually a god-given opportunity that will force European countries into a far closer political union than they would have contemplated otherwise.
The princeling set to ascend the Chinese throne - Jamil Anderlini, Financial Times
When Xi Jinping was catapulted to the top of the Communist party hierarchy in 2007 the only thing most people in China knew about him was that he was married to a hugely popular military folk singer called Peng Liyuan. So the party’s propaganda machine turned to Ms Peng, a major general in the People’s Liberation Army, to introduce the man selected by a conclave of political power brokers to be the next leader of the world’s most populous nation.
European Union's fancy flight emissions - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
Twenty-six countries, including India, are meeting in Moscow tomorrow to discuss the EU's unilateral action to control greenhouse gas emissions from aeroplanes flying over European airspace. Under the scheme that came into effect in January 2012, airlines flying to the EU will have to buy tradable carbon credits as part of the EU's broader emissions trading system (ETS). Worse, they will have to pay even for air-miles clocked outside European airspace. 
From Argentina to Athens? - Mohamed A El-Erian, Financial Express
Let me set the scene: an increasingly discredited economic policy approach gives rise to growing domestic social and political opposition, street protests and violence, disagreements among official creditors, and mounting concerns among private creditors about a disorderly default. In the midst of all of this, national leaders commit to more of the same harsh austerity measures that they have been unable to implement for two years. Official creditors express scepticism, in private and public, but hold their collective nose and get ready to disburse yet another tranche of money into what they fear is a bottomless pit.
Uncle Sam, Global Gangster - Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch
If all goes as planned, it will be the happiest of wartimes in the U.S.A.  Only the best of news, the killing of the baddest of the evildoers, will ever filter back to our world. After all, American war is heading for the “shadows” in a big way.  As news articles have recently made clear, the tip of the Obama administration’s global spear will increasingly be shaped from the ever-growing ranks of U.S. special operations forces. 
India’s decision on Iran oil a slap in the face for US: Burns - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
India’s decision to continue importing Iranian oil is a slap on the face for the United States and a major setback for its attempt to isolate Tehran over the nuclear issue, says former US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. The Indian move also raises questions about its ability to lead, Burns argues in an article, noting: “For all the talk about India rising to become a global power, its Government doesn’t always act like one. It is all too often focused on its own region but not much beyond it.”
Secular-bashing in multi-faith Britain - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Asian Age
The secular-bashing sounds Indian — and saffron Indian at that — rather than British. But everyone is at it, from Queen Elizabeth II to Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, the bright young Muslim co-chairman of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, with approving nods from Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican. The message I read is that British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to put religion back on the political agenda.
High-profile abductions give Taliban cash for jihad - Declan Walsh, NYT
A campaign of high-profile kidnappings has provided the Pakistani Taliban and its allies with new resources, arming insurgents with millions of dollars, threatening foreign aid programs and galvanizing a sophisticated network of jihadi and criminal gangs whose reach spans the country.
ISI behind new political party, Difa-e-Pak - Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
The sudden rise to prominence of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), a collection of religious parties and militant groups, has raised fears in Pakistan's political arena that these parties will be used to tilt the balance in the coming elections by intelligence agencies.
Nepal: Death of a radical dream - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Ministers are in jail for abducting people, police chiefs are in jail on corruption charges. We are headed towards a failed state,” Nepal’s Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said at a public meeting recently. He was referring to the ongoing trial of Constituent Assembly member Shyam Sunder Gupta on a kidnapping-for-ransom case, and the verdict of a special court pronouncing three former police chiefs guilty of purchasing substandard equipment for Nepali police personnel deployed in Sudan on a UN mission four years ago.
Taking the cheap out of China - Michelle Dammon Layalka, Financial Express
When China’s vice president, Xi Jinping, visited the White House on Tuesday, President Obama renewed calls for China to play more fairly in the world economy. But while China’s industrial subsidies, trade policies, undervalued currency and lack of enforcement for intellectual property rights all remain sticking points for the US, there is at least one area in which the playing field seems to be slowly levelling: the cheap labour that has made China’s factories nearly unbeatable is not so cheap anymore.
For the sake of debate - Thomas L Friedman, New York Times
Eventually the “circular firing squad” that is the Republican primary will be over and the last man standing will be the party’s nominee for president. If that candidate is Rick Santorum, I think there is a good chance a Third Party will try to fill the space between the really “severely conservative” Santorum (or even Mitt Romney) and the left-of-centre Barack Obama.
Yusuf Raza Gilani: Quiet man standing - Nadeem F Paracha, Economic Times
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister of Pakistan, is a stark reflection of the surprising staying power that his government has demonstrated in the always topsy-turvy political scenario of Pakistan. Belonging to the ruling leftliberal Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Gilani has been heading a fragile coalition government ever since March 2008, when his party won the majority of seats in the February 2008 elections.
China’s growing growth risks - Yao Yang, Mint
If everything goes right for China, it will surpass the US as the world’s largest economy, in current dollar terms (and more quickly in real terms), by 2021. Its per capita income will reach that of today’s lower tier of high-income countries. But, despite its forward momentum, the Chinese economy faces looming risks in the coming decade.
China military budget tops $100bn - BBC
China's official defence spending will rise by 11.2% in 2012, pushing it above $100bn (£65bn) for the first time, the government has announced. Beijing's defence budget has risen each year for two decades to become the world's second-biggest, behind the US.
Nepal ex-King defies PM, attends yagna - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Former Nepal King Gyanendra paid no heed to a warning by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Sunday and attended a ‘maha yagna’ in the capital where organisers and other devotees welcomed his presence.
China house arrests poetess, cuts off internet in Tibet - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
Chinese authorities have put a highly respected Tibetan poetess under house arrest and initiated measures to cut off internet services in Tibet ahead of the annual session of the parliament beginning on Saturday.
Balochistan: A festering wound - Anita Joshua, Hindu
If Pakistan manages to weather the crisis it is facing with the demand for an independent Balochistan gathering steam, the nation may have to thank an American for it. An American who is presently a dartboard for the political class and opinion makers of a country that has mostly turned a Nelson's eye to this festering province.
Sri Lanka and the West head for a showdown over human rights - Economist
BURY the past. Those killed nearly three years ago in the last, savage days of Sri Lanka’s civil war will never return. Foreign and local critics who harp on about horrors are doing down a fragile country. “Any sensible person will realise the advantage our people got. Today there is no more killing, fighting. It is peaceful, people are free.”
Romney Regains Stride With Victories in 2 States - Jeff Zeleny, NYT
Mitt Romney fought back a vigorous challenge from Rick Santorum in Michigan on Tuesday, narrowly carrying his native state, and won the Arizona primary in a pair of contests that reasserted his control over the Republican presidential race as it advances to critical Super Tuesday contests next week.
Centre urged not to bail out Sri Lanka - Hindu
Shocked by reports that India is set to strongly back Sri Lanka in case a United States-backed resolution is taken up in the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva seeking an inquiry into allegations of war crimes in the last stage of the civil war, leaders from Tamil Nadu on Wednesday appealed to the Centre not to bail out the island nation.
In China's parliament, a long list of millionaires - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
When the National People's Congress (NPC), the Chinese Parliament and top legislative body, convenes in Beijing on March 5 for its annual session, it will be bringing together not only China's most powerful political leaders but also some of the nation's wealthiest individuals. The net worth of the 70 richest delegates at the NPC, the country's 3,000-member legislative house, rose by a stunning $11.5 billion last year, according to a new report from Hurun, a Shanghai-based company that publishes a Chinese rich-list every year.
Pakistan faces Chinese fury over abductions and killing of its citizens - Ananth Krishnan & Anita Joshua, Hindu
China on Wednesday called on Pakistan to take “credible measures” to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and companies, a day after a Chinese woman was shot dead in Peshawar. In what diplomats described as an unusually strong message from Beijing to its “all-weather” strategic ally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it took the incident “seriously” and asked Pakistan to “spare no efforts” to investigate the attack.
With two key wins, Romney edges closer to nomination - Indian Express
Mitt Romney scored a hard-fought victory in his native state of Michigan and won handily in Arizona, slowing the advance of his top Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum and gaining precious momentum ahead of a key set of primary contests next week.
The long silence must be broken - Kamila Hyat, News International
Duality or hypocrisy, whatever we wish to call it, has become a part of our lives – it is something we live with constantly. We see it right now in the government’s dramatic announcement on the one hand of an amnesty for Baloch leaders currently in exile, while almost simultaneously the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has issued a “press advice” to seven major television channels, ominously reminiscent of actions under our worst dictatorships. 
Israeli opinion and war with Iran - Paul Pillar, National Interest
Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, in cooperation with the Dahaf Institute of Israel, has just released the results of a poll taken within the past week of Israeli opinion toward Iran and American politics. Israeli attitudes toward the efficacy of a military strike against the Iranian nuclear program parallel the range of views one hears on that subject in the United States.
Switching sides: Now, India to back Arab League’s stand on Syria - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
With India having switched its stance on Syria to being more critical of the Bashar al-Assad regime, New Delhi is ready to lend considerable diplomatic clout to support the Arab League, which is driving the international community's response to the ongoing unrest in Syria.
China house arrests poetess, cuts off internet in Tibet - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
Chinese authorities have put a highly respected Tibetan poetess under house arrest and initiated measures to cut off internet services in Tibet ahead of the annual session of the parliament beginning on Saturday.
Kidnapping of Hindu girls on the rise in Pakistan - Imtiaz Ahmed, Hindustan Times
Lata Kumar, a medical student on her way to college, was kidnapped earlier this week by unidentified persons from a busy Karachi street in the upmarket Defence Housing Area. In February in a similar incident, Rinkle Kumari was abducted in Mirpur Mathelo, a small town in interior Sindh.
The final countdown in Nepal - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Five years after a peace accord marked the end of a decade long civil war, Nepal's political transformation has entered its final phase. On May 27, 2012, the term of the Constituent Assembly — extended four times beyond its original two-year term — will expire.
Obama cautions Israel against 'loose talk of war' - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
With an eye on his re-election campaign, U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech to arguably the most powerful pro-Israel lobby sought to carefully balance his commitment to Israeli foreign policy interests with a stern note of caution to stem “too much loose talk of war” with Iran and his intention to continue pursuing diplomatic solutions with the Ahmedinejad regime.
Licence to kill Americans if they plot attacks against nation: US - Indian Express
The Obama administration asserted late Monday a right to kill Americans overseas who are plotting attacks against the US, laying out specific details for the first time about a policy that critics argue violates US and international law.
Japan’s Rubble Economy - Yoriko Kioke, Mint
On 11 March, a year will have passed since Japan was struck by the triple tragedy of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. According to figures announced by the country’s National Police Agency, the Great East Japan Earthquake left behind 15,848 dead and 3,305 missing—the largest loss of life due to natural disaster in Japan since World War II. Searches for the missing—mainly at sea—are still continuing.
‘Weak' Italy seen failing diplomatic battle of wits with rising India - Hindu
Experts say Italy's government is failing its first big foreign policy test, as the fate of a pair of marines arrested for killing two Indian fishermen risks a diplomatic crisis with a resurgent India. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were deployed as guards on an Italian oil tanker under a new agreement against piracy when they allegedly shot and killed two fishermen they mistook for pirates on February 15.
India yet to decide on rights resolution against Sri Lanka - Hindu
Pakistan, along with OIC, Russia and China, backs island nation. India is yet to take a position on the U.S.-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). “But the general view in [the] country, specific to human rights resolutions, is that they do more harm than good. This has been our response to such resolutions for a number of years,” said official sources.
‘Thousand links’: China ties Pak to Xinjiang terror - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
BEIJING: A senior Chinese official on Wednesday said that extremist groups in Xinjiang province have "thousand and one links" with Taliban forces in Pakistan. The statement comes at a time when Pakistan is trying hard to convince Beijing that it won't allow export of extremism across the border.
Pak brigadier tried to create Islamic caliphate - Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's military court has temporarily stopped court martial proceedings against Brigadier (retired) Ali Khan, who plotted to create an Islamic caliphate, after his health deteriorated during the trial on Wednesday. Khan and four other officers were detained in May, 2011 for suspected links to banned group Hizbut Tahrir (HuT) and for planning to topple the government and mount attacks on the army HQ in Rawalpindi.
Israel’s best friend - Thomas L Friedman, NYT
The only question I have when it comes to President Obama and Israel is whether he is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most. Why? Because the question of whether Israel has the need and the right to pre-emptively attack Iran as it develops a nuclear potential is one of the most hotly contested issues on the world stage today. It is also an issue fraught with danger for Israel and American Jews, neither of whom want to be accused of dragging America into a war...
The apostates of Pakistan - Aakar Patel, Mint
I wrote this piece for the two Pakistani newspapers where I write columns, but they did not publish it. These papers are quite liberal, and their editors open-minded. This is the first time they’ve done this, and I see their point.
Hindus target of mullah ire in Pakistan - Anuradha Dutt, Pioneer
To be a member of a minority community and live in Pakistan is now extremely dangerous as fanatical Islamists step up their violence against non-Muslims of all varieties. The PPP Government is reluctant to act against killer and rapist thugs. Recent horror stories emanating from Pakistan indicate our Government’s abysmal failure to safeguard the rights of Hindus and Sikhs in the Islamic nation. Some pertain to abduction of girls, even married ones, and their forcible conversion to Islam; and others to kidnapping for ransom, extortion and killing on grounds of religion.
China cyber warfare skills a risk to US military: Report - Times of India
China's cyber warfare capabilities have reached a point where they would pose a danger to the US military in the event of a conflict, according to a report prepared for the US Congress released on today. The report by defence contractor Northrop Grumman for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has placed great emphasis on what is known as "information confrontation". 
Gas prices sink Obama ratings - Dan Balz & Jon Cohen, Hindustan Times
Disapproval of US President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the President “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Write to Swiss, reopen Zardari cases: SC to Gilani - Indian Express
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday issued an ultimatum to embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani directing him to “immediately” write to Swiss authorities to revive graft cases against the President, deepening tensions between the government and the judiciary.
Why China will have an economic crisis - Michael Schuman, Business Time
The view in most of the world is that China is indestructible. Shrugging off the crises multiplying elsewhere, China seems to surge from strength to strength, its spectacular growth marching on no matter what headwinds may come.
Zaheerul Islam succeeds Pasha as ISI chief - Indian Express
Pakistan appointed a new head of intelligence on Friday, injecting some uncertainty in America’s dealings with an agency crucial to its hopes of negotiating a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban and keeping pressure on al-Qaeda.
Another oil shock? - Economist
TWICE in the past four years surges in the price of oil have walloped the world economy. In 2008 the cost of a barrel of Brent crude soared to $147, enfeebling global growth even before the financial crisis killed it.
TN parties for support on resolution against Lanka - Pioneer
Most of the political parties from Tamil Nadu including the arch-rivals AIADMK and DMK find common cause on UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution against Sri Lankan Government war against LTTE. The Council is scheduled to take up this issue in a meeting in Geneva on Sunday.
Across watery borders, a feast and a reunion - Gopu Mohan, Indian Express
Way back in 1983, it was here on the islet that Julius met his grandmother for the first time. It was the only time the two met, she died the next year. Years later, as he drove his boat to Katchatheevu, ostensibly to take part in the St Anthony’s feast on this controversial islet, the experience is not just devotional, but deeply personal as well.
China’s economy a bigger worry than yuan - Samuel Sherraden, Financial Express
When it comes to economic relations with China, US political leaders are responding to the problems of yesterday rather than preparing for tomorrow. Lawmakers in both parties—from Republican Mitt Romney to leading Democrats on Capitol Hill—continue to criticise China for its currency manipulation just as economic problems in China are deepening, potentially leading to dangerous spillover effects for the US.
In nod to India role in liberation, Bangla to honour Lt Gen Jacob - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
Bridging a significant gap in its history to credit India’s role in the creation of Bangladesh, the Sheikh Hasina government has decided to honour Lt Gen (retd) J F R Jacob — one of the main architects of the 1971 operations — at its Independence Day celebrations later this month.
Exodus from north signals Iraqi Christians’ slow decline - Jack Healy, NYT
Iraq’s dwindling Christians, driven from their homes by attacks and intimidation, are beginning to abandon the havens they had found in the country’s north, discouraged by unemployment and a creeping fear that the violence they had fled was catching up to them.
Whiff of Chinese hand as the Siang river in Arunachal dries up - Kaushik Deka, Mail Today
On March 1, when Oyen Moyang, 48, came to see his farmland on the bank of the Siang at 21 Miles in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, he got the shock of his life. The mighty river had dried out. Nearby was standing a dejected fisherman Gorakh Sahani.
Tibetan refugees in Nepal live under China’s shadow - Hindustan Times
At a cafe near a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, Tsewang Dolma stirs her iced tea nervously as she talks of her fears for the future of her people. She worries she will be followed home and arrested again, yet the 27-year-old is one of the few Tibetans in Nepal keen to speak about the government’s “hardline” approach to them.
No constitution before integration of former rebels: Nepal - Pioneer
There can be no positive movement on completing the constitution drafting unless the issue of integrating former Maoist rebels into the Army is settled, Nepal’s former prime minister and leader of the opposition CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal said on Monday.
India to spread tentacles into Central Asia via Iran - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
India is making a concerted push into Central Asia by taking charge of a crucial transportation network through Iran into the region and beyond. After getting an enthusiastic thumbs up from 14 stakeholder countries in the region in January, experts from all the countries will meet in New Delhi on March 29 to put final touches to the project known as the International North-South Corridor.
Lankan forces killed LTTE chief's son in cold blood? - Callum Macrae, Times of India
It is a chilling piece of footage that represents yet another blow for the beleaguered Sri Lankan government in its attempts to head off a critical resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week. The short clip dates from the final hours of the bloody 26-year civil war between the government and the secessionist rebels of the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE.
Chinese lawmakers propose all-weather border highway - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
China's lawmakers have proposed the construction of a new highway linking southwestern Yunnan with Tibet, which would for the first time provide year-round access to a remote region which borders Arunachal Pradesh.
Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Pakistan's state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad's depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.
Ambitious train to Bhutan shunted off the track - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
India's train to Bhutan has clearly been marred in bureaucratic hurdles and procedural delays. With little focus being given in the railway budgets on cross-border rail links, the fate of the 'Golden Jubilee Railway Link' continues to hang in the balance.
The end of cheap China - Economist
TRavel by ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in one of the regions that makes China the workshop of the world, and an enormous billboard greets you: “Time is Money, Efficiency is Life”. China is the world’s largest manufacturing power. Its output of televisions, smartphones, steel pipes and other things you can drop on your foot surpassed America’s in 2010. China now accounts for a fifth of global manufacturing.
In India’s northeast, peace and foreign ties quietly spread - Samrat, NYT
In this three part series, the author, a journalist from the Northeast, looks at the quiet transformation happening in once strife-torn region, which could affect trade and geopolitics throughout Asia. Suddenly, there’s a flurry of activity between Northeast India and Myanmar, as barriers have started to lift.
Better late than never or too little too late - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
A common refrain one gets to hear in Nepal is how the country is blessed with hydro power potential of over 83,000 MW, arguably the second highest in the world. But that richness hasn’t transformed into anything good for the country.
Vatileaks: Rocking the Holy See - Economist
On March 7th, Anonymous, a hackers’ network, took credit for temporarily bringing down the Vatican’s website, calling the Catholic church "corrupt" and "retrograde". But the more dangerous attacks come from within the Holy See. Its police force, the Gendarmerie, is hunting for the source of an unprecedented string of leaks, most of them apparently intended to get Pope Benedict XVI to dismiss Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is the Vatican’s most senior official.
Tamil alliance wants UNHRC to 'act now' - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
Pressure is mounting on Sri Lanka to deliver on its promises to the Tamils of the northern province. In a detailed statement calling the government's bluff, the Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella organisation of political parties representing Tamils of the province, urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to “act now.”
China develops cold feet on Iran-Pakistan pipeline project - Anita Joshua, Hindu
The state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) seems to have backed out of its offer to provide financial advisory services to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project that is being stiffly opposed by the U.S. and faces the threat of sanctions owing to the stalemate over Tehran's nuclear programme.
Wen warns of second Cultural Revolution - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao marked the start of his last year in office by warning that the failure to bring about continued political and economic reforms could result in a second Cultural Revolution in China, in remarks seen as a strong push back against newly ascendant conservative forces within the Communist Party.
1848: History's shadow over the middle east - Robert D Kaplan, Stratfor
1848 in Europe was the year that wasn't. In the spring and summer of that year, bourgeois intellectuals and working-class radicals staged upheavals from France to the Balkans, shaking ancient regimes and vowing to create new liberal democratic orders.
Shocking images from Channel IV Sri Lanka film - Hasan Suroor, Hindu
Flies swarming over dead bodies of small children; a man screaming for help while carrying his badly wounded child ; a mother sitting besides her dying children and crying uncontrollably; makeshift hospitals swamped with wounded civililans; people trapped without food or medicine; and supposedly ``trophy videos'' of captured rebels, including the slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's 12-year-old unarmed son Balakandran Prabhakaran allegedly “executed'' by Sri Lankan forces.
Desi whiz kids sparkle at ‘junior Nobel prize’ - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The old acronym ABCD that has long stood for American-Born Confused Desi?... you may want to change that to American-Born Competitive Desi. Continuing the extraordinary saga of academic excellence in the US, yet another Indian-American youngster has snagged the top prize in a scholastic contest, further fuelling the debate on overachieving Asian kids sparked by the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua.
Bo Xilai sacked: China's power struggle escalates - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has replaced a high-profile politician amid a scandal involving a senior police officer he promoted reportedly seeking political asylum. In India, politicians sacked from their parties are often rehabilitated in time; here Thursday’s sacking of Bo Xilai from the post of party secretary of Chongqing city – the largest directly-controlled city located in southwest China with a population of millions -- signals the end to, or at least the slowing down of, his political career.
Beware of cyber China - Paul Rosenzweig, Hoover
his is the third in a series of articles about cybersecurity and cyber warfare that will be published periodically in Defining Ideas. Earlier articles in the series are available here. Cyberspace is awash in vulnerabilities. Actors in the cyber domain are wise to protect against crime, espionage, and hacktivist intrusions. But while those vulnerabilities are all too real, they are not driving the policy debate today in Washington. Instead, what seems to have seized the imagination of so many is the prospect of a true cyberwar.
Misreading Tehran - Jason Rezaian, Foreign Policy
 Iran's parliamentary election this month may not have provided the political earthquake that attracts blanket coverage on the cable news networks, but it did provide several dozen Western correspondents with an increasingly rare window into a country that is much discussed, but poorly understood.
Extremist factions derailing peace process, says Nepal Premier - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Nepal's Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has categorically ruled out stepping down from office at a time when a section of his own party has asked for his resignation.
Fear and the rising price of oil - Mint
Today’s fragile global economy faces many risks: the risk of another flare-up of the euro zone crisis; the risk of a worse-than-expected slowdown in China; and the risk that economic recovery in the US will fizzle (yet again). But no risk is more serious than that posed by a further spike in oil prices.
Tibetan protest erupts after farmer burns self - Hindustan Times
A protest calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and an end to Chinese rule has erupted as thousands of Tibetans gathered to mourn a farmer who burned himself to death, according to rights groups. Nearly 30 Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the past year to protest against the suppression of their religion and culture and to call for the return of their spiritual leader, who fled into exile in 1959.
Nepal PM, Prachanda in fresh rows - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Nepal’s Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and party colleague Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai are in a fresh controversy courtesy their children. A cabinet decision to grant NRs2 crore (R1.25 crore) to Prachanda’s son Prakash, 30, and a team of Maoists to aid their Mount Everest expedition has dragged his father to the headlines.
Beware of this Khan - Utpal Kumar, Pioneer
When Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan called off his Delhi visit this Wednesday because he wasn’t willing to participate in a conference that included Salman Rushdie (incidentally, Imran was a member of the Rushdie fan club in the early 1980s), it didn’t come as a surprise to most.
India turns its back on people of Gilgit-Baltistan - KG Suresh, Pioneer
Armed gunmen dressed in Army fatigues killed 18 Shias from Gilgit-Baltistan on the Karakoram Highway in the Kohistan area of Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa province of Pakistan while the Shias were returning in a convoy from a pilgrimage to Iran on February 27.
Newspapers Lose $10 Dollars in Print for Every Digital $1 - Edmund Lee, Business Week
US newspapers lost $10 in print advertising revenue last year for every $1 they gained online, a deeper loss than in 2010, as competition from Internet companies increases, a study by Pew Research Center found. Newspaper revenues declined more sharply last year than in 2010 when publishers lost $7 in print advertising for every $1 generated from online outlets, according to Pew’s study entitled “State of the News Media,” which is published today.
Exodus and eviction in Sri Lanka's civil war - Nirupama Subramanian, Hindu
At a time the debate on Sri Lanka is focussed on the first five months of 2009 during which a yet undetermined number of Tamil civilians lost their lives in the final phases of the Army's military push against the LTTE, an anthropological discussion of how the island's two main minorities – Tamils and Muslims – view family, home, and homeland from the prism of their 30 year-experience of conflict might seem esoteric.
Message from Berlin - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Germany is a major stakeholder in Nepal’s development and peace process, and enjoys a reputation distinct from that of other big powers. It has contributed 14 million euros to the management of cantonments, the home of Maoist combatants for nearly three years, which are now being dismantled, and another 10 million euros through the Nepal Peace Trust.
Greece’s default: The wait is over - Economist
Most came quietly in the end. After a tortuous process, the majority of private holders of Greek government bonds had agreed by March 9th to trade in their bonds for new longer-dated ones with less than half the face value of the old ones and a low interest rate. The biggest sovereign-debt restructuring in history allowed Greece to wipe some €100 billion ($130 billion) from its debts of around €350 billion.
Blowback on US if Israel attacks Iran: War simulation - Hindustan Times
A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the US and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.
Obama blames it on foreign hand - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Imagine faraway India and China playing a role in the American presidential election — that too by way of putting a spoke, if you will, in President Barack Obama’s re-election wheel. Here’s how the thesis goes. As US gasoline prices go through the roof, hovering around the $4 a gallon mark, Mr Obama is drawing flak and it is not just from the Republicans. In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 54 per cent of Americans expected their President to do a lot more about gas prices.
Chinese influence in Nepal grows - Economist
A Strange cast of Western tourists, Nepalese pilgrims, Tibetan refugees and Chinese spies is forever circling the great stupa at Boudha in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. As people walk clockwise around the building, as prescribed by Buddhist tradition, Nepalese plain-clothes security men mingle among them.
Game over for a Chinese princeling - Anurag Viswanath, Financial Express
This autumn, China readies itself for the much-awaited leadership transition: a passing of the baton from the current combine of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. In this transition, the inner wheels of Party politics are beginning to take centrestage. Like India, China’s Communist Party is not impervious to wheeling-dealing.
Brazil's european dream - Eduardo J Gomez, Foreign Policy
The news that Brazil has overtaken Britain to become the world's sixth largest economic power is being touted as a sign that that the longtime "country of the future" has finally arrived. While the celebrations have been somewhat muted by concerns over slowing GDP growth and the country's still-heavy dependence on high energy and food prices, Brazil is heading into the coming global showcases of both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics with more than its usual swagger.
Romney routs Santorum in Illinois, fires salvos at Obama - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Republican front-runner Mitt Romney has won a massive victory against principal opponent Rick Santorum in President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, taking another major step in his slow but sure march towards securing the party nomination.
US puts India, China on notice on Iran oil curbs - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The Obama administration is keeping India on tenterhooks after excluding it from an ''initial'' list of eleven countries it said would be exempt from sanctions because they had ''significantly'' reduced oil purchases from Iran. Countries off the hook are close US allies Japan and the United Kingdom, and nine other EU countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain.
End of the road for Gorkhas in Indian Army? - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Gorkha soldiers from Nepal who have been an integral part of the Indian Army for over six decades could soon become a thing of the past. And a glorious chapter of valour and sacrifice by soldiers of a friendly neighbour would come to an end. 
Romney wins where it counts: Collecting money, delegates - Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg
With yesterday’s 12-percentage-point victory in Illinois over chief rival Rick Santorum, which netted about 42 of the 54 delegates at stake, Romney is almost halfway to obtaining the 1,144 he needs to capture the Republican presidential nomination. To finish the job, he must get 46 percent of the remaining delegates. By contrast, Santorum, who trails Romney by more than 2-1 in delegates, would have to win about 69 percent of the remaining number.
The new globalist is homesick - Susan J Matt, NYT
According to a recent Gallup World Poll, 1.1 billion people, or one-quarter of the earth’s adults, want to move temporarily to another country in the hope of finding more profitable work. An additional 630 million people would like to move abroad permanently.
Seoul searching - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second visit to Seoul in barely 15 months underlines South Korea’s rising international profile as well as its growing strategic importance to India. Singh was in Seoul to attend the G-20 economic summit in November 2010. Before he joins the world leaders at the Second Nuclear Security Summit next week in Seoul, the prime minister will have bilateral consultations with President Lee Myung-bak.
Myanmar's future is now - Rajiv Bhatia, Times of India
Burma or Myanmar, our important though neglec-ted neighbour, faces by-elections for 48 seats of parliament and regional assemblies on April 1. Their extraordinary importance stems from the likely impact on the fortunes of the main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), led by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The results will also be a pointer to where the reform process - which began last year and brought about perceptible improvement - is headed. Given its vital interests, India should watch these elections with considerable interest.
In Sri Lanka reversal, India goes with US - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
India will vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today, March 23, against Sri Lanka and alongside the US, in what amounts to an unprecedented critique against a fellow South Asian nation with which it has a long, intimate history spanning several millennia. But to really understand why India is now willing to publicly chastise Sri Lanka in a multi-lateral forum, one has to return to the last days of the Sri Lankan army’s civil war against the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) in April-May 2009.
Minorities bear the brunt in Pakistan - Anita Joshua, Hindu
In a telling statement on the growing intolerance, the State of Human Rights in 2011 report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) shows that 389 members of various Muslim sects were killed last year. This includes 100 Hazara Shias in targeted attacks in Balochistan alone.
Global souls, sick for home - Susan J Matt, NYT
According to a recent Gallup World Poll, 1.1 billion people, or one-quarter of the earth’s adults, want to move temporarily to another country in the hope of finding more profitable work. An additional 630 million people would like to move abroad permanently.
China sees red over coup rumours - Saibal Dasgupta, TOI
Chinese censors have blocked internet content speculating a military coup amid reports of serious power struggle within the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that threatens to disrupt a smooth transition of power when its general secretary and President Hu Jintao completes his term later this year.
The Pakistan forecast - C. Raja Mohan, Indian Express
Stephen Cohen has been researching and writing about the subcontinent for nearly five decades now. His books on India, Pakistan, and the relations between them have been required readings for anyone interested in South Asia’s international relations.
Pakistan seeks petrol and India says ‘yes' - Sujay Mehdudia, Hindu
Pakistan on Friday sought immediate supply of petrol from India through the land route to meet the widening deficit and flaring demand. New Delhi readily agreed in principle.
Tibet turmoil: China tightens controls as immolations rise - Andrew Jacobs, Hindustan Times
Like many children of Tibetan nomads, Tsering Kyi started school relatively late, at age 10, but by all accounts she made up for lost time by studying with zeal. "Even when she was out at pasture with her parents' flock, there was always a book in her hand," a cousin said.
US intel: Water a cause for war in coming decades - Guardian
Drought, floods and a lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades, as developing countries scramble to meet demand from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate change, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a report Thursday.
Chinese influence in Nepal grows - Economist
A strange cast of Western tourists, Nepalese pilgrims, Tibetan refugees and Chinese spies is forever circling the great stupa at Boudha in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. As people walk clockwise around the building, as prescribed by Buddhist tradition, Nepalese plain-clothes security men mingle among them.
First time, Pakistan opens Karachi port to let India - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
In a quiet, yet significant, exception to its transit policy for Indian goods, Pakistan has let Indian wheat pass through its territory to Afghanistan. Source said about 100,000 tonnes of wheat have, for the first time, moved over the past few months from Kandla to Karachi and from there by rail and road to Torkham, the transit point on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
UN vote: Will ‘break limbs’ of activists, says Lanka minister - Press Trust of India
A senior Sri Lankan minister has threatened to “break the limbs” of three right activists who he claims campaigned against Colombo at the recently concluded UNHRC session. The minister, Mervyn Silva, said the activists — Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Nimalka Fernando and Sunila Abeysekera, all journalists — had lied at the UNHRC session which passed a US resolution condemning Colombo for violating the rights of its Tamil citizens during the war with LTTE.
Dalai Lama is US-controlled Nazi: China - Saibal Dasgupta, TOI
China's state-run media on Saturday described the Dalai Lama as a US-controlled "Nazi" and blamed the Buddhist leader for inciting Tibetans to commit self-immolations to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.
Sri Lanka warns of Kashmir backlash on India’s UN vote - TOI
Sri Lanka on Saturday warned India of possible repercussions over Kashmir after India voted for a US resolution in Geneva accusing Colombo of rights abuses during its war with the Tamil Tigers.
US 'fuels' self-reliance dream - Clifford Krauss & Eric Lipton, NYT
The desolate stretch of West Texas desert known as the Permian Basin is still the lonely domain of scurrying roadrunners by day and howling coyotes by night. But the roar of scores of new oil rigs and the distinctive acrid fumes of drilling equipment are unmistakable signs that crude is gushing again.
Coup rumours in China, sign of internal party confusion - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
The tanks didn’t roll down central Beijing. Heavy military boots didn’t patrol empty streets. At least nothing of that sort has happened yet. After days of frenetic rumours about an imminent coup here
100 km from Karachi, 500 years back in time - Sajjad Ashraf, Indian Express
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, constituting 43 per cent of its territory with just 4 per cent of its population, is undergoing another spell of violence, leading to calls for independence by the Baloch nationalist leadership.
China offensive roils Africans - Bruce Loudon, Real Clear World
For Beijing, in its drive to secure economic and political influence in Africa, it must have seemed a good idea at the time. However, after stumping up $200 million to build luxury headquarters in Addis Ababa for the 53-nation African Union - micro-managing building work down to the last detail, even to the point of bringing in all the construction teams from Beijing - China is in trouble over the most prestigious project it has undertaken in Africa.
UNHRC resolution anti-government, but pro-people, says Sri Lankan MP - B Kolappan, Hindu
Rejecting the notion that the Sinhalese community as a whole would harden its stand as a result of the resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the country's Tamil Nationalist Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran on Sunday said that on the contrary, there was realisation that the resolution had come about because of the Sri Lankan Government's failure to do the right things at the right time.
Don’t venture into South China Sea, Beijing warns Delhi - Manash Pratim Bhuyan, Pioneer
Terming the South China Sea as a disputed region, China has warned India to refrain from undertaking oil exploration in the resource-rich Vietnamese blocks in order to ensure “peace and stability” in the area. “The area is disputed one. So we do not think that it would be good for India to do (explore oil) that,” Deputy Director General of Asian Department in Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong said.
Santorum wins Louisiana primary - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Former Senator Rick Santorum inflicted a crushing defeat on front-runner Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries in Louisiana on Saturday but failed to garner a substantial number of delegates to narrow the wide gap. Although Santorum proclaimed yet again that the race is far from over after beating Romney (49 per cent to 27 per cent), he could capture only 10 delegates against five for the former Massachusetts Governor because of Louisiana’s own distribution pattern.
In Pakistan, Hindus say woman's conversion to Islam was coerced - NDTV
Banditry is an old scourge in this impoverished district of southern Pakistan, on the plains between the mighty river Indus and a sprawling desert, where roving gangs rob and kidnap with abandon. Lately, though, local passions have stirred with allegations of an unusual theft: that of a young woman's heart.
Dismantling the barriers of hate - Ghazala Akbar, Pak Tea House
Midway between the cities of Lahore in Pakistan and Amritsar in India each about 25 km away is the village called Wagah. It stands on an ancient pathway that stretches from Kabul in the North West to Calcutta in the North East and beyond to Shonargaon in Bangladesh. Known variously in history as Uttara Patha, Sadaq – e -Azam or the Grand Trunk road, it was until very recently, the only road link between India and Pakistan. The other one fittingly, is in Kashmir.
Turning the cross hairs on the ISI - Anita Joshua, Hindu
No one quite knows how far Mehrangate or the missing persons case will go in righting the civil-military relationship that has long been skewed in favour of the latter in Pakistan, but for the first time “those who must not be named” are not only being named but also shamed in public.
More protests to come, Won’t let tibet be a lost cause - Rajat Arora, Hindustan Times
The countdown to the BRICS summit is spelling trouble for the Capital. Tibetan activists have drawn up a thorough plan to protest Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to New Delhi for the summit. The activists, some of them from the Tibetan Youth Congress and other youth organisations,have warned that there could be more suicide bids on the streets of Delhi followed by a mass immolation.
CIA’s Al Qaeda hunter is an Islamic convert - Greg Miller, Washington Post
For every cloud of smoke that follows a CIA drone strike in Pakistan, dozens of smaller plumes can be traced to a gaunt figure standing in a courtyard near the centre of the agency’s Langley campus in Virginia.
Bangla economy runs out of gas - Pratim Ranjan Bose, Business Line
Najmul is unhappy. The lanky 24-year-old driver of a Toyota Corolla taxi in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, is finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in the face of unrelenting price rise. Najmul is not so troubled by the food inflation, which has lately shown signs of subsiding, thanks to a bumper busy season crop. His greatest worry is the rising price of CNG (compressed natural gas), the most popular auto-fuel of the city, used rather indiscriminately by private as well as commercial vehicles.
US health law heads to court - Jess Bravin, WSJ
In taking up President Barack Obama's health overhaul Monday, the Supreme Court wades into an issue that not only could sway this fall's elections but also could help define for generations what Congress is and isn't entitled to do. The court this week hears three days of arguments on the law's constitutionality, with a ruling expected in late June.
Lifting up the Indo-Pak trade game - Ijaz Nabi, Hindu
Few policy decisions in Pakistan have been subjected to as much rigorous analysis and public debate as liberalising trade with India. Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party government launched the discourse in 1996 with a major report that concluded that gainers (consumers, farmers, most manufacturers and the government as revenue collector) would far outweigh the losers (some manufacturers) and had strongly recommended normalisation of trade. That robust conclusion has been corroborated subsequently by several studies.
Osama lived in five safe houses in Pakistan, reveals wife - DNA
In one of the most detailed accounts of Osama bin Laden's life on the run, his youngest wife has told Pakistani investigators that the al Qaeda leader lived in five safe houses as he travelled across Pakistan with his family for nine years following the 9/11 attacks. The detailed account of bin Laden's life on the run has been given by his 30-year-old wife Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, and is contained in a police report dated January 19.
Hu at BRIC summit unlikely to pacify Tibetan protesters - Venky Vembu, First Post
A bit of gasoline and a matchstick is all it takes to symbolise the end of hope. And in recent months, a rash of Tibetan monks and nuns within China – and at least one Tibetan in exile in New Delhi on Monday – have given expression to the end of hope in incendiary fashion by setting themselves on fire.
The thieves of Burma - Christian Caryl, Foreign Policy
This week I'm in Burma, where Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is running for a seat in parliament. This is the first time she's been allowed to participate in an election in 22 years. The last one, in 1990, brought a landslide victory to her National League for Democracy (NLD). But she wasn't really in a position to enjoy it. As the results came in she was already under house arrest, and many of her colleagues had disappeared into prison.
European see crisis near end - Shamim adam & Andy Sharp, Bloomberg
European leaders signaled rising confidence that their region's crisis is near an end, while Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S Bernanke warned that a US recovery isn't assured. The euro area's woes are "almost over" after a slow initial response by policy makers, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said in Tokyo on Wednesday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that the crisis is ebbing and her country's borrowing costs will probably rise as its status as a haven wanes.
The new anti-semitism - Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover
Not long ago, the Economist ran an unsigned editorial called the “Auschwitz Complex.” The unnamed author blamed serial Middle East tensions on both Israel’s unwarranted sense of victimhood, accrued from the Holocaust, and its unwillingness to  “to give up its empire.” As far as Israel’s paranoid obsessions with the specter of a nuclear Iran, the author dismissed any real threat by announcing that “Iran makes an appealing enemy for Israelis,” and that “Israelis have psychologically displaced the source of their anxiety onto a more distant target: Iran.”
Forced conversions hike Pakistan minorities' fears - NDTV
It was barely 4 am when 19-year-old Rinkal Kumari disappeared from her home in a small village in Pakistan's southern Sindh province. When her parents awoke they found only her slippers and a scarf outside the door. A few hours later her father got a call telling him his daughter, a Hindu, had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim boy.
BRICS eyes bank, wants Iran talks - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
While making a strong statement on Iran and adopting a middle-of-the-road resolution on Syria, the fourth summit of BRICS here on Thursday largely eschewed political content and focussed on economic and development issues which included beginning the process for setting up a bank and inking two pacts to ease trade among each other.
Pakistan media feels 'smug' over letter leak - Sameer Arshad, Times of India
Indian Army chief General V K Singh's leaked letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about ammunition shortage among other things has made headlines in the Pakistani media. Most newspapers have quoted Gen Singh's letter highlighting "two inimical neighbors (Pakistan and China)" and the "lack of preparedness of the Indian Army". Express Tribune had a headline, 'India's million-strong army exposed as hollow', outlining details from the letter like Indian tanks lacking ammunition, the IAF's defences being "97% obsolete" and India's elite forces short of essential weapons.
Pakistan addicted to using terrorist groups against India: US - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Pakistan is addicted to using terrorist groups against India and the policy is not going to change any time soon, a key Pentagon official told the US Congress in a blunt and bleak assessment of the situation in the region. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Sub-Committee on emerging threats and capabilities, the Obama administration's assistant secretary of defense for special ops/low-intensity conflict Michael Sheehan barely minced words on Tuesday in calling out Pakistan's now widely-known policy of using terrorism as a policy tool. But what was astonishing was his candid admission about US helplessness in changing the Pakistani mindset. 
Syria Uprising: It’s Alawite against Sunni now - Anne Barnard, NYT
Sunni Muslims who have fled Syria described a government crackdown that is more pervasive and more sectarian than previously understood, with civilians affiliated with President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect shooting at their neighbours as the military presses what many Sunnis see as a campaign to force them to flee their homes and villages.
Osama widow lived in Karachi for months - Azaz Syed, Dawn
l Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden moved to Pakistan in 2002, a few months after US started large-scale air strikes on Afghanistan, particularly in the Tora Bora region, during its anti-Taliban war which it launched in 2001 in the wake of 9/11 attacks. The information about Osama crossing over into Pakistan and staying in different cities and towns before moving to Abbottabad came in the testimony given by his widow Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah during interrogation by a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising civilian and military officials.
The Revenge of wen Jiabao - John Garnaut, Foreign Policy
If Premier Wen Jiabao is "China's best actor," as his critics allege, he saved his finest performance for last. After three hours of eloquent and emotional answers in his final news conference at the National People's Congress annual meeting this month, Wen uttered his public political masterstroke, reopening debate on one of the most tumultuous events in the Chinese Communist Party's history and hammering the final nail in the coffin of his great rival, the now-deposed Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai.
Beware the Wounded tigers - Benjamin Dix, Tehelka
The recent conflict in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 at Puttamattallan, a beautiful stretch of beach in the northeast. It left a community destroyed and a country further fractured. The three-decade conflict between successive governments and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) climaxed, trapping thousands of Tamil civilians between the Indian Ocean to the north and the Sri Lankan Army in all other directions.
A Saudi Spring waits to arrive - Gullshan Dietl, Hindu
The term exceptionalism in the Arab context harks back to Samuel Huntington's thesis that envisages the progression of democracy in waves. The third wave was frozen after its initial advances in the 1970s. It never washed the shores of the Arab/Muslim world, according to this thesis. Hence the Arab exceptionalism. Today, the term has been reinvented in the context of the Arab Spring. The Spring is a year old, and not a single crowned head has rolled so far. Hence, the monarchical exceptionalism.
Untrue and unreconciled - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
The United Nations network’s enhanced presence in Nepal after early 2006 was seen as a credible guarantee for the success of the peace process that meant honest transformation of the Maoists into a non-violent democratic force, institutionalisation of democracy and improvement in the human rights situation. Two new UN agencies, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Mission to Nepal were set up with the latter assigned to assist the peace process and manage the arms and armies of the Maoist party that had joined the process in June 2006 pledging it would stop its decade-long insurgency.
Fai tries to implicate Indian, US officials - Chidanand Rajghatta, TOI
A self-confessed and convicted agent of Pakistan and its spy agency ISI launched a courtside diatribe on the Indian "occupation" of Kashmir and tried to implicate senior Indian ministers , officials, diplomats and journalists in his illegal lobbying efforts after being sentenced to two years in prison by a US court.
China detains six people, shuts websites over coup rumours - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
Chinese authorities said on Saturday they had detained six people and closed down 16 websites for spreading rumours on the Internet of an attempted coup in Beijing earlier this month. They also announced new restrictions to “punish” two popular Twitter-like microblogging services.
NLD claims landslide in Myanmar by-elections - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) are set to sweep the historic by-elections held in Myanmar on Sunday for 45 parliamentary seats. After a day of peaceful voting, interspersed with some allegations of irregularities, the NLD said Ms. Suu Kyi won her seat of Kawhmu on the city outskirts. While the official results are not expected for a few days, the party, based on reports sent in by its representatives from counting centres in different townships, has claimed a landslide win.
Im the Dim proves to be street smart - D Suba Chandran, Pioneer
After going through a long, bad patch, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan suddenly hit form last year. He has remained in form since then. The huge political rallies that he addressed in Lahore in October last year and two months later in Karachi should be seen as double political centuries. There have been defections by a few leaders from the mainstream parties, who have joined Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in recent months. Young Pakistanis, especially those on Twitter and Facebook, have been weaving a huge web of support for him.
Muslim Brotherhood fields candidate for presidential polls - Pioneer
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has nominated its deputy chairman Khairat al-Shatir as its candidate for the first post-Mubarak presidential elections, reversing its earlier stance not to contest the poll to calm western governments’ fears of a complete Islamist takeover.
British govt planning electronic surveillance programme - Indian Express
The British government is preparing proposals for a nationwide electronic surveillance network that could potentially keep track of every message sent by any Brit to anyone at any time, an industry official briefed on the government’s moves said Sunday. Under the planned new law, Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) access to communications on demand, in real-time.
France : A country in denial - Economist
Visit the euro zone and you will be invigorated by gusts of reform. The “Save Italy” plan has done enough for Mario Monti, the prime minister, to declare, however prematurely, that the euro crisis is nearly over. In Spain Mariano Rajoy’s government has tackled the job market and is about to unveil a tight budget (see article). For all their troubles, Greeks know that the free-spending and tax-dodging are over. But one country has yet to face up to its changed circumstances.
Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all - Jonathan Owen, Independent UK
A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow. "Curveball", the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi's lies used to justify the Iraq war.
Two sides to labor in China - Keith Bradsher, NYT
The shorter workweeks and higher pay that Apple’s biggest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, has promised would mean fundamental changes to factory work in China — assuming enough workers can be found in the first place. No worker is likely to oppose higher hourly pay, of course. But one reason that workweeks of 60 hours or more have been possible at factories run by Foxconn and others is that at least some laborers already on the payroll have wanted the extra hours.
Behind self-immolations, a mosaic of despair - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
Jetsun Dolma, a Bodhisattva and female deity known for her compassion, is said to watch over the square that sits at the entrance of the sprawling 700-year-old Rongwo monastery in Tongren. A golden statue of Dolma stands at the square's centre, drawing the gaze of pilgrims and passers-by who mill around the edges of the plaza, which looks out over a quiet valley surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Tibetan plateau.
In rich Europe, growing ranks of working poor - Liz Alderman, NYT
When Melissa Dos Santos leaves her job at the end of each day, she goes home to an unlikely place: a tiny trailer in a campground 30 miles north of Paris, where scores of people who can barely make ends meet are living on a sprawling lot originally designed as a bucolic retreat for vacationers.
China boosts trade with Nepal - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
China will provide Nepal with technology and assistance to build a border land port that will boost trade and serve as a transit point on a proposed railway line, Chinese officials have said. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan told Nepali officials last week that China is taking forward plans for a “dry port” at Tatopani near the border with Tibet, following discussions held during Premier Wen Jiabao's brief half-day visit to Kathmandu in January.
'Hoodie' jackets in focus after US teen's shooting - Stephanie Griffith, ABS CBN
Until just a few weeks ago, the "hoodie" was seen as just another article of clothing, a favorite garment of rumpled American teenagers and casually clad vacationers. But the popular cloth jacket with attached hood has become a subject of controversy -- as well as a badge of protest and outrage -- following the fatal shooting in late February of a hoodie-wearing African-American youth by a community watch volunteer.
Bangladesh remembers - Arundhati Ghose, Indian Express
At a glittering ceremony on the 41st Independence Day of Bangladesh on March 26 this year, held at the Bangladesh International Conference Centre in Dhaka, the president and prime minister of Bangladesh publicly thanked those foreigners who had supported them in the brutal year of 1971.
Obama warns Supreme Court - Laura Meckler & Carol B Lee, WSJ
President Barack Obama predicted Monday that the Supreme Court would uphold his signature health-care law and said that overturning it would be a prime example of judicial overreach. It was a rare instance of a president laying out his own arguments about a Supreme Court case before the justices are set to reach their decision.
China and US locked in distrust, says study - William Wan, Washington Post
China and the United States are locked in a pattern of rising distrust that, if left unchecked, could result in a dangerously adversarial relationship in coming decades, according to two analysts with access to high-level leaders in both governments.
Lashkar monster on a ruin India mission - Mail Today
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed's vision is destruction of India, says US counter-terrorism expert Bruce Riedel, maintaining that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e- Tayyeba (LeT) founder is an al- Qaeda ally, who was in close touch with Osama bin Laden.
Romney tightens grip with three-state sweep - Pioneer
With a clean sweep of Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, DC primaries, front-runner Mitt Romney moved one step closer to the Republican presidential nomination. By most accounts, the former Massachusetts governor has tightened his grip on the Republican nomination, but his chief challenger Rick Santorum is not willing to call it quits, asserting that the race is just half-way through.
Pashupatinath: Nepal allows Indian priests to continue - Yubaraj Ghimire, IE
In a U-turn, the government led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) decided on Wednesday to legalise a centuries-old practice that only permits Shaivite Dravidian Brahmins to be priests at the revered Pashupatinath temple. The new law that will come into force from April 8 says that those eligible to be appointed as priests, called Bhatts, have to belong to the Dravid Shaivite Brahman community from the Trilinga area — a territory that comprises parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Hafiz Saeed’s brother-in-law is LeT-Taliban conduit - Sachin Parashar, ToI
While JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has become the most visible symbol in India of terror emanating from Pakistan, his brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki (64) is seen as an equally dangerous and rabid anti- India face of terror by Indian agencies. Government sources say that one of the main reasons for the US announcing a reward of $2 million for Makki is said to be his proximity to none other than Taliban supreme commander Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri. 
Keep off South China Sea, India warned - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
India will pay a heavy price for exploring oil in the disputed areas of South China Sea, said a leading Chinese official a day after China lost political round on the issue at the Asean summit that ended in Cambodia on Wednesday. "China will not stand any joint cooperation in our claimed maritime areas," said Wu Shicun, president of the government-run National Institute of South China. Wu was referring to joint exploration project by ONGC-Videsh and a Vietnamese oil company in South China Sea.
Our war against the Pashtuns - Anatol Lieven, NYR
The situation in Afghanistan is beginning to remind me of an old Russian joke about the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. The optimist says, “Things are so bad, they couldn’t possibly be worse.” And the pessimist says, “No, they could be worse.” That thought came to me when I read yet again someone expressing the fear that after US and NATO troops leave Afghanistan, the country “may descend into civil war.” What exactly do they think is happening now between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces?
Moment of reckoning for Pakistan - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
Matters are coming to a head in Pakistan. The deadlock in US-Pak relations over resumption of the NATO pipeline and condoning drone attacks is veering towards a confrontation. And the confrontation between a parliament-government led by the PPP and a Supreme Court-opposition led by Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry is edging towards a clash.
US: No strategic message in $10m bounty on Saeed - Chidanand Rajghatta, TOI
The United States has welcomed Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari's one-off private trip to India this weekend while insisting the $10 million bounty on terrorist provocateur Hafiz Saeed has nothing to do with the politics of the region and was aimed strictly at inviting information to prosecute him.
China links Pak to Uighur terror - Saibal Dasgupta, TOI
China, for the first time, named six Xinjiangbased terrorists with close links to terror groups in Pakistan . Beijing has also signaled its dissatisfaction over the Pakistan government's reluctance to curb militancy along the Chinese border.
The making of a terror icon - Maroof Raza, TOI
By announcing a bounty of 10 million dollars for 'information' on Hafiz Saeed, the US government now hopes evidence will be provided to the courts in Pakistan to finally nail the man - a terror ideologue who enjoys the protection of the Pakistan army and the ISI.
Bounty draws in the hunters - Chidanand Rajghatta, TOI
The young major who had been deputed to the ISI made sure his wife and two kids were away in Dubai, ostensibly to enroll the elder son in a school there, before he made his move. It was during a routine call on his covert CIA opposite number at the US Embassy in Islamabad to discuss security logistics that he took the bait.
Catch me if you can - Hindustan Times
Terrorism emanating from Pakistan was one of the talking points during three-and-a-half hour long delegation level talks between Indian Foreign Secretary Rajan Mathai and visiting US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman last April 2, 2012.
117 Pakistani soldiers missing as avalanche hits Siachen Glacier - Anita Joshua, Hindu
Over 100 Pakistani soldiers guarding the frontiers on the Siachen glacier have been trapped under heaps of snow after a massive avalanche hit a military camp early morning on Saturday. Despite daylong searches, not one of the 117 soldiers was located but the Army has not given up hope, though condolence messages have begun coming in as prospects of survivors began fading with every passing minute.
Outcry as Gunter Grass poem strongly criticises Israel - Luke Harding & Harriet Sherwood, Hindu
During his long literary career, Gunter Grass has been many things. Author, playwright, sculptor and, unquestionably, Germany's most famous living writer. There is the 1999 Nobel Prize and Mr. Grass's broader post-war role as the country's moral conscience
North India and south Pakistan - Uzairakhan, Dawn
The two regions of the sub-continent, Uttar Pradesh in India and Sindh in Pakistan to be precise, have a unique bond, and a disconnect too. First, the bond: A huge number of Muslims from Uttar Pradesh migrated in 1947 to Sindh in Pakistan. People with Urdu as their mother tongue are 21 per cent of the province’s population now. Or every fifth inhabitant of Sindh belongs to third or second generation of migrants from India at large and UP in particular.
No country for Hindu minorities - Abhijit Dasgupta, Pioneer
Very few communities have suffered so much in their own homeland as Hindus of Bengal, and that too at the hands of their Arabised/Islamised compatriots. While Hindus in West Bengal are declining both in number and the politico-administrative system, in Islamic Bangladesh they are victims of a systematic ethno-religious cleansing.
China shuts Maoist sites amid political crisis - Indian Express
Chinese authorities have ordered a leading pro-Maoist website shut down for one month because of critical essays posted on it, the website’s founder said, amid the country’s worst high-level political crisis in years. The move comes after the firing of a once high-flying official, who promoted Mao Zedong-era songs and stories.
China’s friendship with Pakistan will prove disastrous - KG Suresh, Pioneer
Ahead of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit to India and lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Islamabad made a rather flamboyant statement that Beijing’s enemies were Islamabad’s enemies as well. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was in China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, said at a meeting with Vice Premier Li Keqiang that “China’s friend is our friend and China’s enemy is our enemy.” Incidentally, Mr Li is expected to replace Wen Jiabao as China’s next Premier later this year.
Big Bang theories - Jonathan Freedland, Business Standard
Last fall, television stations carried a 60-second ad for Audi’s A6 car. The opening images showed a pitted, potholed American road while the voice-over gloomily intoned, “Across the nation, over 100,000 miles of highways and bridges are in disrepair.” Fear not, said the voice; Audi’s smart gizmos would help. The spot’s message was clear: roads in the US are now so bad, you need a foreign car to negotiate them.
Was introducing Bilawal the aim? - Anand K Sahay, Asian Age
It was extraordinary, and not a little curious, to see the young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, stand right behind Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, his father, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the leaders of India and Pakistan emerged from their conversation to address the assembled media at 7, Race Course Road.
Experts indifferent to Zardari visit - Asian Age
Was Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit and meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just a photo-op and a “feel good” visit or is something substantive expected to emerge in terms of Indo-Pak ties? By Sunday evening, different shades of opinion were emerging on either side of the border regarding the outcome of President Zardari’s India visit on Sunday.
Climbing mount improbable - Economist
Not a single poll suggests he will win France’s upcoming presidential election. But Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president, hardly looks like a man contemplating defeat. By turns punchy and humorous, he sweeps into a meeting with workers at a solar-energy plant in eastern France, lauding the country’s industrial prowess while surrounded by workers in hard hats. Later, to cheers from a flag-waving crowd at a rally in Nancy, he declares that he is “fighting morning, noon and night” for France, and that “in my vocabulary, the term ‘surrender’ does not exist.”
Balochistan: 'We only receive back the bodies' - Economist
Zulfikar Langau was 17 when he ran away “to the mountains”, a euphemism for joining independence-seeking insurgents in Balochistan, a vast, thinly populated province of deserts and mountains in the west of Pakistan. The death of a tribal chief, Nawab Akbar Bugti, in a cave during a clash with the Pakistani army in 2006, transformed Zulfikar’s mind, says his family. That event ignited the latest bloody phase of Balochistan’s on-off revolt against Pakistan, which has seen hundreds of mutilated bodies dumped on roadsides, thousands of people go missing and revenge killings by security forces and by competing tribal and religious factions.
Criticism over US's World Bank pick swells - Sudeep Reddy, WSJ
The front-runner to lead the World Bank, which lends tens of billions of dollars a year around the world, once admitted that he "had no idea what a hedge fund was" until three years ago when he became a university head. Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, got a two-day crash course in finance back then, when the physician and anthropologist was grappling with budget troubles stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.
In shift, China backs trilateral talks with India, U.S. - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
A top Chinese official on Tuesday said China was open to the idea of a trilateral dialogue mechanism with India and the United States to build trust between the countries, in remarks that have been seen as reflecting a larger, subtle shift in Chinese foreign policy away from a traditional “zero-sum” view of its relations.
Changing Myanmar - Rajiv Bhatia, Indian Express
In the fascinating drama of by-elections held in Myanmar, there was only one protagonist who mattered — Aung San Suu Kyi. Riding on her charisma and aura created by lineage, suffering and sacrifice, her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), secured 43 of 45 vacant seats in the parliament. “The Lady”, as she is often referred to, has expressed the hope that this marks the beginning of “a new era”.
China’s Bo Xilai fired, wife accused of murder - Sharon Lafraniere & Jonathan Ansfield, NYT
Bo Xilai, a high-ranking Communist Party official, was stripped of his most powerful posts on Tuesday, and the authorities said his wife was being held in connection with what they called the suspected murder of a British businessman, the latest revelations in a political scandal that has rocked China’s leadership.
Bhattarai calls in troops to control Maoist camps - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Clashes erupted at several Maoist camps after combatants accused party leaders and commanders of “corruption” and bias in the process of their integration with the army. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Tuesday ordered the Nepal army to move in and take control of 15 cantonments — seven main and eight sub-camps — with immediate effect, two days before the scheduled time-frame.
Europe rights court clears UK terror suspects’ extradition to US - Indian Express
Britain can send five suspects to the US to face terrorism charges, European judges ruled on Tuesday, a judgement that may ease domestic pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to take a tougher line on the extradition of terror suspects. The most high-profile suspect covered by the European Court of Human Rights ruling is Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, a one-eyed radical with hooks for hands who applauded the 9/11 hijacked airliner attacks on the US.
Nepal Maoists under army now - Manesh Shrestha, Times of India
Nepal's Maoists, their weapons and the seven camps they are living in came under the command of the Nepal army on Tuesday as the country's five-year-old peace process neared conclusion. "The process of bringing the Maoist rebels under the command of the army has begun," said Nepal army spokesman Ramindra Chettri.
China, Philippines locked in naval standoff - Edition
The Philippines said Wednesday that its largest naval vessel is engaged in a standoff with two Chinese maritime surveillance ships in a remote lagoon in the South China Sea. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said the country's navy had sent the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a 378-foot cutter, to the area of Scarborough Shoal on Sunday after surveillance aircraft spotted eight Chinese fishing boats anchored inside the lagoon.
Pak spending $2.5bn a year on N-arms: Report - PTI
Washington, April 11, 2012 - Estimated to have more nuclear weapons than India, Pakistan is rapidly developing and expanding its atomic arsenal, spending about $ 2.5 billion a year to develop such weapons, a report has said. "Pakistan has been rapidly developing and expanding its nuclear arsenal, increasing its capacity to produce plutonium, and testing and deploying a diverse array of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles," said the report Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Modernisation Around The World.
A reformist wind blows - Jonathan Fenby, New York Times
The dust hasn’t settled on the dramatic Bo Xilai affair in China. Indeed, it may never fully do so, despite a report from Beijing that the Communist Party has decided to suspend him and that his wife is in detention. It is 41 years since a previous shooting star of Chinese politics, Mao’s anointed successor, Lin Biao, died in a plane crash after apparently attempting a coup, and we still do not know exactly what happened.
Currency disunion - Economist
The Irish left the sterling zone. The Balts escaped from the rouble. The Czechs and Slovaks left each other. History is littered with currency unions that broke up. Why not the euro? Had its fathers foreseen turmoil, they might never have embarked on currency union, at least not with today’s flawed design.
Nancy Powell tasked with defrosting ties - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
When Nancy Powell came to her first India posting in 1992 as the US Consul General in Calcutta, she helped celebrate 300 years of American trade with India, exchanges that included export of ice from New England to the sub-continent on whaling ships. Indeed, ice (and spice) predated software and spirituality as first items of trade between the two countries, a commerce consecrated in the form of now defunct ice-houses in Kolkota and Chennai and spice companies in Baltimore.
The Pak gameplan in Afghanistan - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan's military strategists and ISI justified their efforts to install a radical Islamic Government in Kabul, saying it would provide “strategic depth” against India — Pakistan's armed forces would have additional territory available to them in the event of an Indian attack.
Running scared of Pashtuns - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military strategists and ISI justified their efforts to instal a radical Islamic Government in Kabul on the grounds that a client Islamist Government in Afghanistan provided ‘strategic depth’ against India. While the concept of ‘strategic depth’ was initially said to mean that Pakistan’s Armed Forces would have additional territory available to them in the event of an Indian attack, the reality turned out to be different once the ISI, with the acquiescence of the Clinton Administration, installed its protégé, the one eyed ‘Ghilzai’ Pashtun leader Mullah Omar, in Kandahar, with a so-called Taliban ‘President’ Mullah Rabbani in Kabul.
Why US bounties on terrorists often fail - Scott Stewart, Stratfor
U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman announced April 3 that the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" (RFJ) program was offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In other Rewards for Justice cases involving Pakistan, suspects such as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdel Basit and Mir Amal Kansi have hidden in Pakistan and maintained relatively low profiles. In this case, Saeed is a very public figure in Pakistan.
French poll could produce a cliff-hanger second round - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
With just 9 days to go before the first round of voting in the French presidential poll, political observers say a second round run-off between incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist challenger, Francois Hollande, appears inevitable. “None of the three second rankers — the extreme Left's champion Jean-Luc Melanchon, the extreme Right National Front's Marine Le Pen or the centrist Francois Bayrou — has managed to break away and make enough of an impression on the electorate to create an unexpected upset in the line up and a Sarkozy-Hollande battle seems almost certain,” Renaud Dely, who edits the influential Left-wing magazine Le Nouvel Observateur told The Hindu.
New Delhi's balancing acts in West Asia - Shashank Joshi, Hindu
India's foreign policy in West Asia lies at its most crucial juncture in two decades. In recent months, the debate has focused on India's delicate balancing act between Iran and the United States. This should not be taken lightly. American technology, weaponry, and diplomatic backing will be important to India's security and prosperity over the coming decades. At the same time, India is in danger of overlooking another balancing act.
End of 'one state, two armies', says Nepal Premier - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Two days after the Nepal government took control of Maoist army cantonments, combatants and weapons, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai declared that the situation of “one state, two armies” had ended. While certain “technical” issues remain, the Dr. Bhattarai asserted that the task of army integration was complete. In a special address to the nation on Thursday evening, Dr. Bhattarai also asserted that there was now an environment to promulgate the Constitution within the stipulated deadline of May 27.
Battle of the beards - Alexandria, Cairo & Mansoura, Economist
Few could have predicted when protesters toppled President Hosni Mubarak last year that Egyptians would replace him with a Salafist preacher. But the clamour in Egypt’s streets suggests that Hazem Abu Ismail, a lawyer-cum-sermoniser committed to replicating the seventh-century ways of the Prophet Mohammed, could be the country’s next pharaoh.
The race to the top - Andrew Hammond, Times of India
Following the departure of Rick Santorum from the presidential field, Mitt Romney has now effectively won the Republican nomination to challenge Barack Obama in November. The presidential election season thus now moves to the next phase, between now and the party conventions in August, whereby Romney and the Republicans must decisively turn their focus of attention onto Obama and winning the White House.
Philippines blinks in sea spat with China - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
The Philippines on Thursday withdrew its largest warship from the disputed South China Sea after the Chinese navy dispatched another vessels to counter it. The vessels were dispatched after the Philippines warship intercepted Chinese fishing boats for illegally fishing in its waters.
Mr. Bo leaves behind a storm - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
The purge of Bo Xilai, who was suspended this week from the Communist Party of China's (CPC) powerful 25-member Politburo for “serious discipline violations,” has become a kind of Rorschach test for China-watchers. For critics of the CPC, it is being seen as evidence of factional discord that will upend the once-in-a-decade leadership transition which will take place this year. State-run media, on the other hand, have portrayed his sidelining as reflecting the party's commitment to maintaining discipline within its ranks. For the many detractors of the ambitious Mr. Bo, his purge is a victory for reformers against a dangerous neo-Maoist demagogue.
Pak sets terms for reset in ties with US - Anita Joshua, Hindu
Pakistan's Parliament on Thursday night gave a unanimous but conditional nod to re-engaging with the U.S. in what was described by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani as a milestone event as “we have brought real and substantive oversight, and democratic accountability to our foreign and security policy''. In the new scheme of bilateral relations, Parliament has asked the government to ensure an immediate end to drone attacks within Pakistani territory, stop infiltration on any pretext including hot pursuit, and ban transit of weapons by land or air into Afghanistan.
Courage or compulsion? - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Maoists have either resisted the demand or backed out of the promise to have their private army dismantled and to hand over their arms to the state. But on April 10, things moved at an unexpected speed in Nepal. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai told the high-powered Army Integration Special Committee that the Nepal army was going to move into all 15 Maoist cantonments, take control and seize the the weapon containers lying there.
US kicked star out of stardom: SRK - Chidanand Rajghatta, Indrani Bagchi & Bharati Dubey, ToI
All the time, money, and effort that he expended in declaring "My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist" evidently had little impact on US airport officials. The Indian government on Friday intervened strongly on behalf of Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan after he was stopped for extended questioning by US airport authorities who, by the star's own account, "kick the star out of stardom". 
A time for hard lessons in China - Nayan Chanda, Times of India
Until last month, all seemed to be in order for a smooth succession of the top leadership in China. Riding three decades of strong economic growth, expanding military power and influence, China's one-party system seemed to have found the perfect formula for a stable government. A unified party leading a harmonised China towards rebalancing the economy and claiming world leadership was the accepted narrative. Suddenly, things look rather uncertain.
Suu Kyi gets India, China invite - Indrani Bagchi, ToI
Fresh from her election to Myanmar's parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi is in great demand - both in India and China. Both the Asian giants, deeply engaged with the military regime in Naypyidaw have also been first off the block to issue invitations to Suu Kyi to visit. All eyes are on which nation she chooses to visit first.
Egyptian election is ruled by Chaos with no clear favorite - Alastair Beach, Daily Beast
As Mohammed’s taxi darted in and out of Cairo’s grinding riverside traffic, scores of fundamentalist Salafi Muslims weaved through the honking cars and chanted like triumphant soccer fans. One group, crammed into the back of a pickup truck, waved placards featuring the face of Abu Ismail, the embattled presidential contender facing disqualification from next month’s poll.
Pak trusts India more than ever: Hina Rabbani Khar - Zia Haq, Hindustan Times
Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said Islamabad now trusts New Delhi more than ever before and believes the Kashmir dispute cannot be a roadblock. “We will trust India more in whatever we do. We are clear on this,” Khar told HT
India plans strategic rail lines to stop China in its tracks - Pioneer
With China aggressively building up infrastructure on its side of the border, Defence Ministry has decided to build 14 strategic rail lines along the border, and bolster road and infrastructure networks in Ladakh. China has built more than 10,000-km-long rail lines in Tibet and other areas across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Dethroned king Gyanendra will be jailed, warns ex-PM of Nepal - PTI
Kathmandu - A top Communist leader has threatened to jail Nepal's dethroned king Gyanendra, weeks after the former monarch was accused by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of conspiring against the landmark peace process.  66-year Gyanendra, who has increased his appearances at public and religious functions over the last few months, has been targeted by Neplese political leaders amid growing speculation over his future plans at a time when the country's peace process has been delayed due to deadlock among the parties. 
Taliban military chief held after secret talks with Afghan envoys - Praveen Swami, Hindu
The head of Taliban's military council is to be tried by the jihadist group for having engaged in unauthorised negotiations with Afghanistan's Higher Peace Council, intelligence sources have told The Hindu. Maulvi Muhammad Ismail was held by the Taliban in early April, two weeks after he returned to Pakistan after a meeting with envoys from the Higher Peace Council in the United Arab Emirates. His secret negotiations with Kabul, the sources said, may have led the Taliban to stage Sunday's attacks in Kabul — unprecedented in their scale — to warn against future attempts to infiltrate its ranks.
In Afghanistan, a kind of suicide - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Late one June evening last year, as Taliban negotiators hopped between Islamabad, Doha and Munich for secret talks meant to bring peace in Afghanistan, a rocket arced over the east-central city of Ghazni. It ended its journey at Khatera Rezai's home in Tauheedabad, just as the nine-year-old was getting ready for supper. She died eight hours later, her legs torn apart by shrapnel.
To Russia via Iran: India bets on ambitious route - Shruti Srivastava, Indian Express
India is working with Central Asia on a transportation network that will pass through Iran and reach beyond the Caspian sea to Russia and Europe. It is in talks with Iran to develop an ambitious International North-South Corridor (INSC) that will unite Europe and Asia in a unique way and will reduce the time and cost dramatically. Moreover, according to official sources, it may also prove to be an effective way through which India can pay for Iranian oil by contributing towards the project.
Taliban blitz targets embassies in Kabul,govt forces fight back - Times of India
In a wave of attacks that rolled through the diplomatic and government centres in the Afghan capital and struck at least three eastern provinces as well,the Taliban on Sunday launched a complex assault using teams of suicide bombers and gunmen who held buildings for hours after the first explosions.However,the Afghan government late on Sunday said security forces had repulsed the attacks and inflicted losses in return.
China's observatory plan in Aksai Chin raises brows - Saibal Dasgupta, ToI
China is pushing Japan and South Korea to establish an astronomical observatory in Aksai Chin, a remote part of Jammu & Kashmir that Beijing occupied after the 1962 war and had Islamabad cede parts of the region to it a year later. A Chinese scientist on Sunday said the East Asia Core Observatories Association -- with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as it members - has recommended the site for the observatory.
Taliban storm Pakistan prison, free 384 inmates - Omer Farooq Khan, ToI
Scores of Taliban insurgents, armed with automatic weapons and rocke tpropelled grenades, stormed a prison in Pakistan's northwestern town of Bannu and freed around 400 prisoners, including dozens of terrorists, on Sunday. Officials described at least 23 of the escapees as "very dangerous militants" and identified one as Adnan Rashid, who was sentenced to death for an attack on former president Pervez Musharraf. 
Egypt bars 10 from presidential race - Matt Bradley, WSJ
Egypt's Presidential Elections Commission will exclude 10 candidates, including three prominent frontrunners, from presidential elections next month, a decision that is likely to stoke popular outrage across Egypt's political spectrum. Farouq Sultan, a judge and the head of the commission, said Saturday night that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat Al Shater, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and hardline Islamist preacher Hazem Abu Ismail will be barred from running.
The Bobby Jindal-Nikki Haley show in US polls - Raju Chebium, Economic Times
After a year-long campaign that saw dollars edging out debates, Mitt Romney has emerged as the obvious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. All that he needs is a mate by the time GoP veterans convene in Tampa, Florida, in August to formalise the nominations. And in the spotlight are two young Indian American governors.
Asian powers anxiously contemplate Afghanistan sans America - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Last week, President Vladimir Putin stunned Russia's Parliament with these words for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) soldiers his own army is trained to fight: “God bless them,” he said. “We understand what is happening in Afghanistan — right?” he asked legislators. “We are interested in things there being under control, right? And we do not want our soldiers to fight on the Tajik-Afghan border, right?” “It is in our national interests to help maintain stability in Afghanistan,” he continued. “Well, NATO and the Western community are present there. Let them do their work.”
NATO failed to stop attack: Karzai - Indian Express
Hours after Afghan forces repulsed major suicide attacks by Taliban on the capital, President Hamid Karzai blamed “intelligence failures” for the assault, particularly on the part of US-led NATO alliance. “The terrorist infiltration in Kabul and other provinces is an intelligence failure for us and, especially, the NATO and should be seriously investigated,” Karzai said in a statement. His remarks came as Afghan forces regained control over parts of the city overrun by the Taliban in a brazen 18-hour attack, which left 51 people dead including 36 insurgents.
Presidential election: The campaign looks likely to sharpen America’s divisions - Economist
America’s primary elections are not yet formally over, but with the exit of Rick Santorum it is at last plain that Mitt Romney will be the Republicans’ nominee. After the bruising primaries, Mr Romney starts from behind. Barack Obama leads in the head-to-head polls. But there are still seven months to election day, and Mr Romney has a fair chance of victory in November. Less than half of America’s voters approve of the way Mr Obama is doing his job. 
Warming? Karakoram glaciers are expanding - Times of India
Some glaciers in the Himalayas mountain range have gained a small amount of mass between 1999 and 2008, new research shows, bucking the global trend of glacial decline. The study published in the Nature Geoscience journal also said the Karakoram mountain range in the Himalayas has contributed less to sea level rise than previously thought. With global average temperature rising, glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets melt and shed water, contributing to the increase of sea levels , threatening the populations of low-lying nations and islands. 
UK party suspends peer over bounty on Obama - Ashis Ray, Times of India
A British Labour peer of Pakistani origin, Lord Nazir Ahmed, was suspended by the party on Sunday night for offering a £10 million "bounty" for the capture of United States president Barack Obama while visiting Pakistan. The party also announced an inquiry into the peer's alleged offer. While Lord Ahmed denied that he had announced a "bounty" , he said all that he had called for was the prosecution of former British PM Tony Blair and former US president George W Bush for war crimes. 
Trade not raid - Imtiaz Ahmad & Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
Then The good thing about relations between India and Pakistan is that expectations are low. Even by those standards Mumbai 26/11 left advocates of a new relationship, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a very distant doghouse.
Once an economic leader, Japan is now in dire straits - Martin Fackler, NYT
A few years ago, the densely built-up coastal region around this port was called Panel Bay because of its concentration of factories making the sophisticated flat-panel screens that were symbols of Japan’s manufacturing prowess. But now the area has become a grim symbol of its industrial decline.
The new cold war: Militaries eying Arctic resources - Fox News
To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.
Taliban dish out tough lessons in Kabul - PJ Crowley, BBC News
Recent attacks in Afghanistan by insurgent groups raise troubling questions about the future of the country. Last autumn, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the Obama administration's strategy in Afghanistan is "to fight, talk and build all at the same time."
Indian MPs delegation presses forward on Tamil question - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
The Indian joint parliamentary delegation spent Tuesday listening to arguments from people on both sides of the Tamil question and exploring the way forward to achieving the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. While an overseas visit by an Indian Parliamentary delegation normally involves a few courtesy calls, attempts at bonhomie, and a little bit of studying the country, this particular delegation has come to represent India. 
Taliban attack: Scale, sophistication of attacks surprise Western officials - Alissa J Rubin, Hindu
Western military and intelligence officials have acknowledged on Monday that they were surprised by the scale and sophistication of the synchronised attacks in Afghanistan on Sunday, seeing it as a troubling step in the evolution of the Haqqani network of the Taliban from a crime mob to a leading militant force.
Sarkozy set to lose race - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Has the die been cast? It would seem so. In all probability, President Nicholas Sarkozy will be retiring in May, after the second round of the 2012 French presidential election. At least this is what surveys predict. After the first round, to be held on April 22, ‘Sarko’, as he is popularly known in France, will be left to fend with Mr François Hollande, the Socialist candidate and favorite for the May 6 round.
The gloves are off, gauntlet is thrown - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
It may still be a few more months for the Republican Party to complete the formalities of primaries and anoint front-runner Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee. But the gloves, to be sure, are already off for what everyone now reckons is going to be an Obama-Romney showdown in November. And President Barack Obama himself has thrown down the gauntlet in recent days, now that Mr Romney’s principal rival, Mr Rick Santorum, has bowed out of the Republican race.
Nepal: Red to Green - Utpal Parashar & Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
Then If the Nepal-India relationship was listed on the Sensex it would be a market leader in volatility. Seven years ago the stock could not have been higher. India had brokered an end to a decade- long civil war, brought Nepal’s Maoist guerrillas into the mainstream, abolished the monarchy and paved the way for a new democratic order in the Himalayas.
US, China wage cyber war games - Nick Hopkins, Hindustan Times
The US and China have been discreetly engaging in “war games” amid rising anger in Washington over the scale and audacity of Beijing-co-ordinated cyber attacks on western governments and big business, the Guardian has learned. 
To Malaysia, via the Brahmaputra - MK Sharma, Indian Express
The Indian government’s policy decision to improve its ties and business relations with neighbouring countries and beyond, to include most Southeast Asian countries, is called the “Look East” policy. With the United States and Europe, with whom we had fruitful and rewarding business relations, being hit by the recession, trade and commerce have suffered. Thus, the decision to look towards Southeast Asia to develop active business relationships with those countries is as much out of compulsion as necessity.
China key supplier of n-tech to Pak - Indian Express
China has been a “key supplier” of nuclear arms and missile technology to Pakistan and Iran, said a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on Tuesday. The report ‘China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues’ was prepared by CRS — an independent research wing of the US Congress — for its lawmakers.
Nancy Powell shoots for stronger US-India ties - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
It's a slick, urbane touch from someone regarded as a superannuated diplomat of the old school. Nancy Powell, the new U.S ambassador to India, who arrives in New Delhi this week, is introducing herself to Indians through a you tube video in which she reveals her strong connections to the subcontinent and an ambitious agenda built on a ''rock solid foundation.'' 
Foreign investment into China falls again - Yajun Zhang, WSJ
Foreign direct investment into China in March was off from a year earlier, marking the fifth straight down month, hit by the European debt crisis, a sluggish global economy and a weakening domestic property market. "Investments from the European Union were down a lot in the first quarter, falling 31.3%, and that was related to the debt crisis," Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters after the data's release Tuesday.
Sri Lanka: T-Junction in the Road - Sutirtho Patranobis & Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, HT
Then At one point in May, four years ago, it seemed a golden age in India-Sri Lanka relations was imminent. Tamil Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran had been killed and the 26-year-old Lankan civil war had come to an end. India was pleased. Both sides were one the need to defeat the LTTE.
More egg on faces of Nepal's Maoist leaders - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
After being forced by circumstances beyond their control to hand over control of their former Peoples' Liberation Army combatants to Nepal Army in a sudden move last week, Nepal's Maoist leadership was trying to take credit and perhaps hoping for a happy ending.
It's time to resolve Siachen, says Kayani - Anita Joshua, Hindu
Calling for demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier for the development of Pakistan and environmental reasons, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday advocated peaceful coexistence with India, adding that the civil and military leaderships of the two countries should discuss ways to resolve the issue.
Arab Spring comes to Burma first - Mayuri Mukherjee, Pioneer
If, on April 23 as scheduled, Burma’s best known dissident Aung San Suu Kyi is indeed sworn in as a newly-elected Member of Parliament, it will undoubtedly be a watershed moment in that country’s history. Ms Suu Kyi has been a glorious icon of democracy. For her to finally occupy a seat in her country’s Parliament is by far the most potent symbol of democratic reform that could have possibly come from Burma which, after five decades of military rule, has now launched a process of top-down political transition.
Rare remarks: Kayani for resolution of ‘all issues’ - Rezaul H Laskar, IE
In a rare public statement, Pakistan’s Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said today that all issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved to ensure “peaceful co-existence” which would allow the two countries to focus on development and public welfare. These were his first public remarks on the peace process resumed by New Delhi and Islamabad. “All issues should be resolved and peaceful co-existence is very necessary for both countries. There is no doubt about that.”
Egypt’s presidential race: Rules tie Egypt’s politics in knots - Economist
As in the 1001 Nights, Egypt’s presidential race features tales within tales and plots within devilish plots. Predictably, suspense reigns over which of the 23 registered candidates will win. But just now it is not clear if any will even survive the first lap. The insurgent campaign of Hazem Abu Ismail, a rotund lawyer-turned-preacher whose jolly demeanour belies a radical Islamist agenda, is foundering on news that his late mother may have been—horrors!—an American citizen. This would bar him from running under Egypt’s strict nationality rules.
India pitches for membership of global non-proliferation regimes - I Bagchi, ToI
India on Wednesday made the most persuasive case for India's "full membership" of the global non-proliferation regimes. In a major policy statement, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai told a gathering of nuclear experts that "the logical conclusion of partnership with India is its full membership of the four multilateral regimes."
Deposed president calls Maldives ‘another Pak’ - Atul Sethi, Times of India
In his trademark black suit and yellow tie, Mohammed Nasheed warms up to his favourite topic almost instantly. The former president of Maldives is on a visit to India to apprise the country of the events of February 7 - when he was ousted by a section of the military and police believed to be loyal to former ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. 
India seeks exclusive N-clubs' memberships - Ajai Shukla, Bus Std
Three weeks after the prime minister suggested to world leaders at a nuclear summit in Seoul that India should get membership in the world’s four major export control regimes, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai on Wednesday fleshed out that statement into a detailed case. Addressing a gathering of diplomats and proliferation experts in New Delhi, Mathai described the export control safeguards that India had instituted in recent years, which qualified it for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group (AG), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
Obama, Romney are in a tight contest, poll shows - Dalia Sussman, Times of India
Mitt Romney has solidified support within his party for the presidential nomination after Rick Santorum's exit from the race, but is locked in a tight race with president Obama as attention turns to the general election phase of the campaign, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.
Agni-V: US lauds India’s non-proliferation record, but stresses restraint - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
As India successfully launched the 5,000-km range Agni-V missile, the United States lauded the  country’s “solid non-proliferation record” but sought to  caution all nuclear-capable nations to exercise restraint. “India has a solid nonproliferation record. They’re engaged with the international community on non- proliferation issues.
Stuck at a turn - Jayanth Jacob & Pramit Pal Chaudhuri,, Hindustan Times
Then Few countries have more reason to be close and have such a touchy relationship. The Indian elite often saw Bangladeshis as ungrateful for India's assistance in winning them independence. Dhaka's leadership complained about New Delhi's highhandedness on water, immigration and land issues.
Public debate on future of Siachen in Pakistan - Imtiaz Ahmed, Hindustan Times
A statement by Pakistan’s army chief, General Kayani on Wednesday seems to have set the ball rolling in Islamabad over moves to demilitarise the world’s highest battlefield. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said on Wednesday said Pakistan wants a resolution on the Siachen issue and other matters with India.
Former dictator plotted coup, says Nasheed - Praveen Swami, Hindu
The former Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, has said he received detailed warnings of an imminent coup from the country's military intelligence service weeks before he was ousted on February 6. “I was given a seven-page letter by the General then in charge of military intelligence warning of a plot, to overthrow my government, by [the former dictator] Maumoon Abdul Gayoom,” he told The Hindu in an interview on Thursday. “However, the officer concerned was promptly replaced [by the Army].”
Francois Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election - Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian UK
François Hollande has moved a step closer to becoming the first Socialist president of France in a generation by beating the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the first round of elections for the Elysée. But the surprisingly high vote for the extreme-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, boosted the overall figures for the right and meant that the final runoff vote on 6 May remains on a knife edge.
A day to vote, Sarko prospects dim - Steven Erlanger, NYT
The candidate - energetic, bold, indefatigable - is sure he will win, aides say, as he pulls energy from his big crowds. But the team around French president Nicholas Sarkozy has quietly started to have doubts about victory, and is debating the best strategy to try to overcome serious odds. It seems as Sarkozy could become the first one-term French president since 1981. He appears to be running neck and neck with his main challenger, the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, in the first round of voting on Sunday, when 10 candidates are competing. But all the opinion polls show Sarkozy losing to Hollande in a face-off two weeks later. 
Pakistani media hails Kayani for his stand on Siachen - Sameer Arshad, ToI
The Pakistani media has hailed army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for seeking "peaceful coexistence with India'', defence budget cut, besides withdrawal of troops from Siachen, with one newspaper describing it as "revolutionary'' and "pertinent'' to Pakistan's interests. The Express Tribune said Kayani needs to be saluted for backing peace with India and noted that his call "is no small matter'' as the army has traditionally been regarded as dominated by hawks, unwilling to be friendly with India. 
Peace on horizon, but it’s a hard trek - Indrani Bagchi, TOI
The backdrop was the killer avalanche that swallowed 135 Pakistani soldiers at Siachen. But it was the laconic tones of Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani that reignited the prospect of peace on the sub-continent . This is the man who became famous in 2008 when he said he was "India-centric" in his outlook.
Sarkozy battles ‘repugnance factor’ as France votes for President - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
Newspaper headlines suddenly seem bland, the airwaves have fallen strangely silent and television news is subdued — almost denuded of substance — now that campaigning for the French presidential elections has ended 48 hours before the country's 44 million-strong electorate goes to the polls on Sunday.
Five things to know about the French election - Kyle Almond, CNN
It has been 17 years since France had a president from the left, but that might be about to change. Opinion polls continue to favor Francois Hollande, a candidate from the center-left Socialist Party, over center-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the upcoming French presidential election. If elected, Hollande would be the first left-wing president since Francois Mitterrand in 1995. Sarkozy is seeking his second five-year term, following Jacques Chirac, who served 12 years in office.
India cut its Agni-V range under NATO pressure - Mail Today
Continuing its tirade against the successful launch of Agni-V, Chinese state media accused New Delhi of buckling under NATO pressure to cut down the missile's range from 9000 km to 5000 km. The state-run Global Times had derided the missile even before it was launched saying that Chinese nuclear power is stronger and more reliable and India had no chance to catch up.
China begins crack down on terror in areas bordering PoK - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
China has launched a “strike hard” campaign to crack down on terrorism in its far-western Xinjiang region, officials have said, outlining new plans to boost security deployments in remote areas and towns near the border with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to combat “growing” and “imported” extremism.
Rising tide of Indo-Pak trade - N Chandra Mohan, Business Standard
Political tensions have cast a long and troubled shadow over cooperation between India and Pakistan. Cross-border terrorism, Kashmir and water rights remain the core issues of contention. Despite these hardy perennials, the good news of late is the determined, time-bound steps being taken by both nations to normalise trade relations.
China's crisis of legitimacy - William Pesek, Bloomberg.
It’s the rare scandal that involves murder, corruption, Harvard University and comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy. The Bo Xilai kerfuffle now mesmerizing China offers all this and perhaps more: It could forever change an entire political system. Until March 15, Bo was the top official in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing and a political rock star. The 62-year-old was poised to join the Politburo Standing Committee, the nine- member group that exercises supreme power in China. 
A tale of two very different summits - Jorge Heine, Hindu
Summit diplomacy has become the coin of the realm. More and more key global and regional issues are thrashed out among heads of state and government, skipping the intermediaries. Professional diplomats don't like summits. Yet, given the urgent tasks, the crowded international agenda, and the increased tempo of diplomacy, there isn't much choice: summits are here to stay.
Game of numbers ahead of French run-off - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
The French extreme-Right leader Marine Le Pen has upset the apple cart in the first round of the French presidential poll by winning an astonishing 17.90 per cent of the vote, a feat never achieved by a National Front candidate before.
In run-off, uphill task for Sarkozy - Steven Erlanger, New York Times
The Socialist candidate, François Hollande, won a narrow victory in Sunday’s first round of France’s presidential elections, riding promises of economic growth and a general dislike for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, into a favorable position before a runoff with Sarkozy on May 6.
Few love Obama any more, but he may still win poll - Barry Rubin, Pioneer
It’s really interesting when one talks to Obama supporters who are soft-core. This means that they are open to discussion and not completely closed-minded or ideologically set in granite. There are several themes that constantly recur in such conversations, though one rarely or never sees these points in print. Of course, these people get their information from the mainstream media, which protects the Obama Administration and repackages its talking points while largely censoring out critical responses and the failures or scandals.
In China, kin of Party officials build lucrative biz - Andrew Higgins, Washington Post
When Chinese authorities launched an investigation in 2006 into potential foreign currency violations by Beijing Henderson Properties, the real estate developer called in some curious outside help. It turned to a Chinese investment company with no evident expertise in currency regulations and to a murky Hong Kong foundation with no dis­cern­ible offices and no listed telephone number.
US hails India closing missile gap with China - Hindustan Times
The US is supportive of India's efforts to close missile gap with China and is comfortable with the progress being made by New Delhi in this regard, a Washington-based think tank has said. India's successful test of the Agni-V, a nuclear-capable long-range missile, is a major step forward for New Delhi in attaining nuclear deterrence against regional rival China, Lisa Curtis and Baker Spring of The Heritage Foundation said.
Egypt race sees battle over Islam’s role - David D Kirkpatrick, Indian Express
He has argued for barring women and non-Muslims from Egypt’s presidency on the basis of Islamic law, or Shariah. He has called for a council of Muslim scholars to advise Parliament. He has a track record of inflammatory statements about Israel, including repeatedly calling its citizens “killers and vampires.”
Experts see US nod to India closing missile gap with China - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
The US’s muted comment on India’s recent Agni-V missile test is being viewed by some American experts as a quiet endorsement by Washington of New Delhi’s need to close the missile gap with China. “The lack of US condemnation of India’s latest missile test demonstrates that the US is comfortable with Indian progress in the nuclear and missile fields and appreciates India’s need to meet the emerging strategic challenge posed by rising China,” say Lisa Curtis and Baker Spring of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.
The India-China rivalry - Robert D Kaplan, Stratfor
As the world moves into the second decade of the 21st century, a new power rivalry is taking shape between India and China, Asia's two behemoths in terms of territory, population and richness of civilization. India's recent successful launch of a long-range missile able to hit Beijing and Shanghai with nuclear weapons is the latest sign of this development.
Romney sweeps five Northeast primaries - Susan Page, USA Today
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney swept five Northeastern primaries Tuesday as he pivoted from a hard-fought GOP nomination battle and moved to challenge President Obama in November. He declared the nomination battle over at a celebration in New Hampshire, the site of his first primary victory in January and a battleground state in the general election.
How Britain erased a shameful paper trail - Ian Cobain, Owen Bowcott & Richard Norton-Taylor, Hindu
Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded. Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.
Political and monetary backlash in Euro Zone - James Saft, Reuters
It's not simply an austerity backlash in the euro zone; it is a policy backlash, as everyone appears to blame everyone else for a host of overlapping and conflicting policies which clearly aren't working. A series of political and monetary ructions are showing that it is very difficult to predict with any confidence what path Europe will choose, much less who will lead it there or even how the euro zone will be constituted and organized.
A newly nervous Beijing - Claude Smadja, Business Standard
Crisis might be too strong a word, but it is not an exaggeration to say that China is going through its most uncertain and most tense period since the Tiananmen crisis of June 1989. The Bo Xilai episode continues to feed the rumour mill in Beijing and is keeping China watchers busy on analyses that mix the most tantalising ingredients of roman noir with the most intriguing aspects of the best political fiction novels. Above all, this episode comes at a critical moment in China, and it highlights three major new issues or challenges that the leadership is struggling to confront.
Pakistan PM Gilani convicted, but spared jail term - Omer Farooq Khan, ToI
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of contempt but awarded him a symbolic detention "until the rising of the court" for defying its orders to write to the Swiss for the reopening of a graft case against his party co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari. 
Flip back please - Economist
To understand why Mitt Romney has triumphed over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, look no further than March’s disappointing job numbers. With growth fragile and petrol prices soaring, the economy is Barack Obama’s gaping weak spot, and Republican primary voters have backed the candidate best equipped to exploit it.
Petrodollar profusion - Economist
First, the good news: China, the country at the centre of the debate about global imbalances, has a current-account surplus that has fallen sharply over the past few years. Now the bad: China was never really the prime culprit when it comes to imbalances at the global level. The biggest counterpart to America’s current-account deficit is the combined surplus of oil-exporting economies, which have enjoyed a huge windfall from high oil prices (see left-hand chart). This year the IMF expects them to run a record surplus of $740 billion, three-fifths of wh
US talks fail as Pakistan seeks apology - Declan Walsh, Eric Schmitt & Steven Lee Myers, NYT
The first concentrated high-level talks aimed at breaking a five-month diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike. The White House, angered by the recent spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, refuses to apologize.
Escaped Chinese lawyer ‘in U.S. protection' - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
The visually-challenged Chinese lawyer and crusader against forced abortions, Chen Guangcheng, who this week escaped from more than a year-and-a-half of house arrest is now under the protection of United States officials and is likely to be in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, rights groups said on Saturday.
More than 25000 rally for Malaysian electoral reforms - Pioneer
Police unleashed tear gas and chemical-laced water on Saturday at thousands of demonstrators who staged one of Malaysia’s largest street rallies in years, demanding fair rules for national elections expected soon. Malaysian police said in a statement that 222 people were arrested.
India bids to expand strategic footprint in Afghanistan - Elizabeth Roche, Mint
In a clear sign that it is expanding its strategic footprint in Afghanistan despite an anxious Pakistan, India on Tuesday announced it will host a meeting of investors to drive investments and also initiated discussions to not only train, but also equip Afghan security forces.
American speed machine set to crash through missile control - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
Even as nuclear-watchers obsess over India and North Korea, it is the U.S. which is about to change the game with a stealth weapon straight out of Hollywood sci-fi. The murky world of missiles and missile technology was suddenly spotlighted in two significant news events in recent weeks.
Deny the British empire's crimes? No, we ignore them - George Monbiot, Hindu
New evidence of colonial atrocities has not changed the U.K.'s ability to disregard it. There is one thing you can say for the Holocaust deniers: at least they know what they are denying. In order to sustain the lies they tell, they must engage in strenuous falsification. To dismiss Britain's colonial atrocities, no such effort is required.
Europe enveloped in murky politics of austerity - Vidya Ram, Business Line
A right-wing upsurge is not the only feature of Europe's political landscape. What to make of the recent developments in France where the xenophobic anti-immigration, anti-euro National Front party of Ms Marine Le Pen scored a whopping 18 per cent in the first round of the presidential elections on April 22 — its best electoral performance to date at the national level?
The rather dangerous Monsieur Hollande - Economist
It is half of the Franco-German motor that drives the European Union. It has been the swing country in the euro crisis, poised between a prudent north and spendthrift south, and between creditors and debtors. And it is big. If France were the next euro-zone country to get into trouble, the single currency’s very survival would be in doubt.
Quiet, please - Indian Express
Political minorities get marginalised in the drafting of Nepal’s constitution. The constitution-making process in Nepal is fraught with disagreements among ethnic, caste, regional and political groups. The Rastriya Janamukti Party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition led by Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, recently issued an unseemly warning to two prominent leaders — Chitra Bahadur K.C., a member of the constituent assembly, and Kamal Thapa, chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) — that they would be hanged if they continued to oppose the proposed federal set-up for the country.
‘India has high chance of becoming a breakout nation’ - Indian Express
It was the rising tide of global liquidity and not anything unique to India that accelerated its growth rate from a level of around 5.5 per cent to 8-9 per cent between 2003 and 2007. The country has a high chance of becoming a “breakout nation” only if it does not grow complacent, avoids becoming a welfare state, brings reforms systematically and globally, and commodity prices fall, said Ruchir Sharma, Global Head, Emerging Markets, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and author of Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of The Next Economic Miracles.
Are the Republicans mad? - Economist
What happens to a two-party political system when one party goes mad? That is the question posed in a powerful and angry new book by two scholars at two respected think-tanks, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. The book’s cheery title is “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” (Basic Books), and its argument is encapsulated in its subtitle: “How the American constitutional system collided with the new politics of extremism”.
Breaking through the great wall of China, dissident style - Andrew Jacobs, NYT
The improbable escape of a well-known dissident from government detention—aided by a network of activists who helped him evade security forces for days—is emboldening China’s often beleaguered human rights community.
Pak seethes as US resumes drone attacks - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Undeterred by Islamabad's shrill protests about breach of its sovereignty by American drone strikes, culminating in a parliamentary resolution calling for a halt to such attacks, the US conducted yet another such operation over the weekend. The attack has virtually torpedoed Pakistan's participation in Nato's 25th summit in Chicago on May 20-21 where far reaching decision are expected on the transition in Afghanistan and beyond.
What to expect from Francois Hollande - Mohan Murti, Business Line
It was at the 2010 annual meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos that I understood how concave a man Mr Nicolas Sarkozy was — with neither style, nor substance, and arrogance on a Gallic scale. Listening to him giving an opening speech, he sounded vague and incoherent. Most of his speech reminded the movers and shakers of the world sitting in the audience of a particularly odious wine waiter in an awful French restaurant who flew into a blaring rage when informed about the quality of service.
Gimme Shelter - Uri Friedman & Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy
The whereabouts of Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng is currently the subject of intense speculation. Some believe that the prominent blind dissident, who escaped from 19 months of house arrest last week, has taken refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, while others say he may be hiding out in the residence of U.S. ambassador Gary Locke or another American diplomat. 
Most expensive campaign so far - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Come Saturday, US President Barack Obama will formally kick off his re-election campaign with back-to-back rallies in Ohio and Virginia. If this is going to be the launch, what has he been up to for the past several months hopping across the country for a slew of campaign fund-raisers, ask his Republican detractors. Their worry is that while Mr Obama has been raking in oodles of money, their own challenger-to-be, Mr Mitt Romney, may be lagging behind in the race for campaign funds, preoccupied as he has been with the primaries thus far.
Popstar Obama, plumber Romney - David Brooks, Indian Express
Do voters want a guy they can love, or just someone to fix the pipes? What sort of thing is a presidential campaign? Maybe a campaign is like a courtship. A candidate’s job is to woo the electorate, to win the people’s affection with charm, familiarity and compassion.
Pak's embattled Hindu women get BJP backing - Pioneer
The BJP on Wednesday sought a response from the Government on the violation of human rights of Hindu women in Pakistan, some of whom had fled to India. Raising the matter in the Lok Sabha, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi also expressed concern over the decreasing percentage of Hindu population in the neighbouring country.
Activists dispute America-China version on dissident lawyer Chen's deal - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
A brewing diplomatic crisis that threatened to derail crucial talks between China and the U.S. this week appeared to be averted on Wednesday after Chinese activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng left the American embassy in Beijing following a six-day stand-off with Chinese authorities.
SAARC trade, a sorry story - R Srinivasan, Business Line
Here's a quick quiz question: How many brands from India's neighbouring countries can you name? Without using Google, most Indians would be hard-pressed to stretch the list beyond Nepal's Wai Wai noodles, Bhutan's Druk jams and juices, and, thanks to their sponsorship of their national cricket team, Sri Lanka's Dilmah tea. Rum aficionados and those who had spent time in the Army might add Nepal's Khukri rum, but that's about it.
Delhi drags feet on Nepal envoy - DNA
India and Nepal appear to be in a state of deadlock over Nepal’s choice of its envoy to New Delhi: senior Maoist leader Ram Karki. Nepal’s foreign ministry says they “have not heard” from New Delhi on Kathmandu’s “diplomatic agreemo” on Karki for the past four months, leaving the ambassadors post vacant.
Citizen Chen - Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy
After six days of negotiations between the United States and China, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon. Details remain sparse, but the deal is already proving controversial. Chen apparently told reporters that he believed his wife would be beaten to death if he stayed in the embassy.
Nasheed gives India a second chance to correct diplomacy - Venky Vembu, FirstPost
Having played a stupendously bad hand in the diplomatic game with Maldives a year ago, when former President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in a coup, India has been given a rare second chance to get its priorities right in the Indian Ocean island. On Wednesday, Nasheed sauntered into the Indian High Commission in Male and sought refuge there from imminent detention by the police. An arrest warrant had been issued in his name for failing to appear before a local court in connection with events that preceded the coup that displaced him in 2012.
Five people who are not in jail in Pakistan - Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA collect data that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, was convicted of high treason today and sentenced to 33 years in prison. Given the severity of the sentence, it's worth considering a few of the people who the Pakistani justice system has not seen fit to put behind bars:
Fierce Hollande surprises in debate - Charles Onians, Mint
Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election bid got tougher Thursday after he failed to land a much-needed knockout blow on Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande in a fiercely fought televised debate. Wednesday’s debate was ferocious, with many French commentators surprised at Hollande’s combativeness, and allies of Sarkozy—called hyperactive and aggressive in the past—now accusing Hollande of being the same.
Capitalism steeped in red - Shankar Sharma, Business Standard
Sometimes it takes an insider-turned-outsider to expose the rot within any system. The authors, both ex-bankers with decades of experience in China, are quick to point out that this book is not intended to be a shock exposé of the worms in the core of the Chinese financial “miracle”. But the consequence, intended or otherwise, of this book is that the reader comes away feeling rather good about practically any other economy in the world!
Oil's not well on South China Sea - Abhishek Shukla, Business Line
China has once again warned companies looking to explore for hydrocarbons in the South China Sea (SCS) to stay away from the disputed waters. The South China Sea is believed to hold large reserves of undiscovered oil and gas. The US Geological Survey pegs the discovered and undiscovered resources at 28 billion barrels of oil and 7.5 trillion cubic metres of gas in the offshore basins of the SCS — reason enough for the dragon to spew fire.
Breaking the impasse in Indo-Pak relations - Saad Hafiz, Pak Tea House
The heavy baggage of history in Indo-Pak relations includes Partition, Kashmir, armed conflict and ongoing arms race, Bangladesh, Siachen, Kargil and Mumbai. Mostly shrill jingoism and xenophobic nationalism on both sides has historically overshadowed sane discourse or encouraged conflict resolution. The institutionalized machinery of hatred on either side of the border comprises politicians, generals and the media who can easily overwhelms any small efforts towards peace and co-existence. It seems that the people in both countries have been conditioned to hate and despise the other.
The elephant and the dragon - Neil Padukone, National Interest
The Pentagon’s Defense Strategic Review, released in January, recommended a “strategic pivot” to East Asia. A turn away from the military conflagrations that have been occupying America in the Middle East over the last decade, the focus of this long-term pivot is of course a rising China.
More rubble, less trouble - Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover
Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Civilian control of the military, open dissent, and personal freedom were also characteristic of European militaries. For over 2,500 years, those protocols contributed to a dynamic way of fighting that led to Western dominance, from Alexander the Great at Babylon to the Americans in Baghdad.
Abbottabad now subject of political mudfight - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. That was US Vice President Joe Biden’s take at a New York campaign event one week before the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout.
Babri Masjid ghosts emerge from tale of Bolton terror suspect to be extradited to India - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Early in 2010, detectives walked into a grocer's store in Bolton, 16 km from Manchester, looking for a man his closest friends called “Tiger.” For 17 years, police in Gujarat had been hunting for Muhammad Hanif Patel, wanted for his alleged role in a 1993 grenade attack on a train which left an eight-year-old girl dead and 12 people injured.
Too many cooks - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Around 9.30 pm on May 2, an excited Baburam Bhattarai called the Indian ambassador, Jayant Prasad, to say that hopes of his survival as prime minister were now high — other political parties, namely the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), were likely to join his cabinet.
Siachen thaw? Pak stokes Line of Control fire - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
Has India toughened its stand on Siachen? Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has been quoted as saying that India was now asking for a "demarcation" of the Line of Control. This, he said, was a more "hardened" version of India's traditional stand of "authentication in the area north of NJ 9842" - the northernmost point of the LoC, beyond which is the Siachen glacier.
Tomari shutdown leaves Japan without nuclear power - BBC
Japan is switching off its last working nuclear reactor, as part of the safety drive since the March 2011 tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant. The third reactor at the Tomari plant, in Hokkaido prefecture, is shutting down for routine maintenance. It leaves Japan without energy from atomic power for the first time for more than 40 years.
Abominable snowmen - Mariana Baabar, Outlook
Clad in a white snow jacket, Pakistan’s most powerful man, army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, gazed helpessly at the snowy wilderness of what used to be a battalion headquarters in the Gayari sector on the Saltoro Ridge near the Siachen Glacier, where 139 of his men lay buried by an avalanche on the night of April 7.
All eyes on Europe: France, Greece go to poll today - ToI
Voters in France's overseas territories began casting ballots for Nicolas Sarkozy or Francois Hollande on Saturday in a presidential election that could affect everything from Europe's efforts to fight its debt crisis to how long French troops stay in Afghanistan. 
No network in Nathula so jawans borrow phones from Chinese soldiers - A Sasi, IE
The telecom revolution may have networked the length and breadth of the country but it hasn’t quite touched jawans at the China border at Nathula who are forced to borrow handsets from their Chinese counterparts on the other side of the fence to stay in touch with their families.
Bhattarai forms national govt - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai inducted 11 ministers into his cabinet Saturday, two days after ministers quit as part of a negotiated effort to quell political turmoil in the country. The move helped create a national government as proposed by a recent deal reached by four major political parties. The deal would enable the constitution writing process in the country to be completed by a May 28 deadline.
French elections down to the wire - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
Pollsters will emerge with egg on their face as never before if Francois Hollande fails to win Sunday's presidential election. For almost a year, opinion polls have been placing Socialist Mr. Hollande ahead of Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's final run-off and though the gap separating the two candidates has narrowed
Fiery protest spreads beyond the walls of Tibetan monasteries - A Krishnan, Hindu
When classes started in March after the winter break, Tsering Kyi was missing. Instead of heading to school, Tsering, dressed in traditional Tibetan robes, walked down to the crowded vegetable market in Maqu, a small Tibetan settlement a few hours drive from this monastery town in western Gansu province.
Pakistan is our enemy: US lawmaker - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has sharply criticised the Obama administration’s just-concluded US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, saying it’s time for Washington to chuck Islamabad and closely align with New Delhi as part of Afghan peace moves.
Iran-US row: India walks diplomatic tightrope - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
As US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s three-day visit to the country is set to coincide with that of a 56-member trade delegation from Tehran, India will have to carefully balance its diplomatic and trade agendas next week. While India is keen to boost its exports and reduce the trade imbalance tilted in favour of Iran
Socialist Hollande edges out Sarkozy - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
Socialist challenger Francois Hollande on Sunday became President of France, ousting Conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. He won with 51.9 per cent of the votes against Mr. Sarkozy's score of 48.1 per cent. There was loud cheering at the Socialist headquarters in Paris and Thomas, son of Segolene Royal and Mr. Hollande who were partners for some 22 years, burst into tears of joy.
Don’t believe China’s promises - Wei Jingsheng, NYT
FEW people understand the predicament of Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist who sought and then gave up American protection in Beijing, as well as I do. No matter what he has decided, whether to stay in China or to leave, he has made both the right choice and the wrong choice. I faced a similarly difficult situation. In March 1979, I was arrested and spent more than 14 years in solitary confinement for promoting freedom and democracy, and denouncing Deng Xiaoping’s attempts to create a new type of dictatorship in China.
Challenge to austerity, and Germany, is sharpened - Matthew Karnitschnig & William Boston, WSJ
Europe's voters delivered another rebuke to their leaders Sunday for failing to overcome a debt crisis that has thrust much of the region into an economic tailspin. Less obvious is what Europeans expect their governments to do differently. From Greece to France, incumbents lost power—joining a long list that includes the former leaders of Spain and Italy. But their successors will likely find it difficult to pursue policies that deviate much from the austerity-focused course championed by Germany, Europe's paymaster.
A taste of Hollandaise - Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
The French should be pleased: their country is again the swing State in the European Union (EU), though they may be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Francois Hollande's election as the new French president is not much about the Right and the Left but a lot more about the debate over the euro crisis - and the decline in Europe's economic standing in the world.
Austerity faces sharper debate after Europe polls - A Cowell & Nicholas Kulish, IE
Hours after socialist François Hollande was elected as president of France, promising relief from austerity to address Europe’s financial crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Monday pointedly insisted that neither she nor her government favored a renegotiation of a fiscal pact underpinning the continent’s belt-tightening.
Putin's evolving strategy in Europe - George Friedman, Stratfor
This week, Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term as Russian president, and France's presidential election continued the trend of losses for incumbent European governments when French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost to socialist challenger Francois Hollande. Putin's return to the presidency was not unexpected; he was never really unseated as Russia's leader even during Dmitri Medvedev's presidency. Nevertheless, the changes in Europe exemplified by the French presidential election will require Russia to change its tactics in Europe.
Why the US is chasing India's regions - Bharat Bhushan, BBC
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Calcutta to meet the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was not just one successful woman politician on Time magazine's Power List paying a courtesy call to another. US secretaries of state are not known to waste time promoting sisterhood unless it serves American interests. In July 2011, Mrs Clinton paid a similar visit to J Jayalalithaa, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
Hard landing for Hollande - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
It is barely 24 hours since François Hollande was elected President of France and the sniping has already begun. Economists, especially from the right but some from the left too, have begun expressing doubts on how he will be able to withstand the buffeting the markets now appear determined to give him. Shares slumped on European bourses the day after his election but rallied somewhat later only to slide again on Tuesday morning.
All's not well? US envoy to Pakistan quits mid term - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
The US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has told his staff that he is leaving Islamabad , after serving just over 18 months in a country that has proved to be one of Washington's most challenging and difficult partners in the world. Munter, a career diplomat , reportedly did not see eye-to-eye with Washington, where the Obama administration has taken a tough line on a once-storied ally. 
US envoy to Pak to quit prematurely - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has decided upon an early end to his exceptionally tension-filled stint in Islamabad. Munter has announced that he would leave his post in the summer, less than two years after taking up the assignment.
Dreaming of a sultanate - Economist
From Pui’s fruit stall in central Yala it is easy to see, just up the road, the charred remains of the shophouses blown apart by car bombs on March 31st. Eleven people were killed, and about 100 more injured. Yet Pui appears unperturbed. After all, she explains, she has already seen seven bombs go off just in her half of the street over the past few years, including two outside the same car-repair business only yards away (one person was killed). She just has to live with it, she says.
The earthquake in Greece - Louis Klarevas, Foreign Policy
Sunday's elections in Greece have shaken markets around the world, fearful that a country suddenly thrust into political chaos won't be able to pay its crushing debts and might even exit the euro. No wonder: They also mark a leap into the unknown for Greece itself. For 35 years, two political parties have dominated the game: the conservative New Democracy (ND) party and the centrist Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).
Revolt against austerity sweeps Europe - Seumas Milne, Guardian
Revolt against austerity is sweeping Europe. The election of François Hollande has not only opened up the chance of a change of direction in France, but even in the citadels of fiscal orthodoxy in Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin. In Greece, Sunday's electoral earthquake has all but destroyed the political establishment that dominated the country for 40 years.
The Asian Arms Race That Wasn't - M Taylor Fravel & Vipin Narang, Foreign Policy
Most importantly, neither India nor China have nuclear strategies that target each other's nuclear forces. This would make nuclear stability critically dependent on the numerical balance of forces, as was the case during periods of the Cold War. Instead, with assured retaliation strategies, nuclear stability can be established much more easily, once both states acquire secure second-strike capabilities.
Pakistan gambles Sir Creek talks for Siachen? - Times of India
Pakistan's latest move of rescheduling talks on Sir Creek is intended to put pressure on Siachen, said sources. This week, Pakistan, after announcing Sir Creek talks with India on May 14 - unilaterally announced that it would not hold the discussions on that date - and later pushed the dialogue to June 22.
40 flee PoK for Dubai, enter India via Nepal - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
For the first time, a large group of about 40 persons, including former militants and their families, have fled Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir together and surrendered before Indian authorities last month for amnesty under the J&K government’s rehabilitation policy.
Chen, China and America - Economist
At rare moments the future of a nation, even one teeming with 1.3 billion souls, can be bound up in the fate of a single person. Just possibly China is living through one of those moments and Chen Guangcheng is that person. A blind activist from Shandong province, Mr Chen emerged from poverty, fought for justice and paid the price with his own liberty. Last month he made a bid for freedom and became ensnared in the impersonal machinery of superpower politics. What now befalls him and his family raises questions about Sino-American relations and the character of Chinese power.
Obama supports same-sex marriage - Pioneer
President Barack Obama has become the first president in US history to come out in support of the same-sex marriage, injecting one of the most contentious issues into political debate ahead of the November poll. 
Hillary applauds Mamata for ousting Left - PTI
Terming her trip to Kolkata as remarkable, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was all praise for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying despite being a women she successfully ended 34-year-old Left rule in the state. Clinton was on a 3-day visit to India from May 7. This was the first-ever visit by a US secretary of state to Writers' Buildings to hold a meeting with a chief minister. Both Clinton and Banerjee are listed among the 100 top influential people in world by Time magazine.
Strong desi flavour at the American elections - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Ami Bera took a much needed break from campaigning past week to show up at an Asian American community gala in Washington DC. It’s important to be seen at such events. It helped, of course, to been seen around the most famous Democrat in town and country, President Barack Obama, the keynote speaker, who is seeking a second term.
Bill blockbuster: O’s an ‘amateur’ - Carl Campanile, NYPost
Bill Clinton thought so little of President Obama — mocking him as an “amateur” — that he pressed his wife last summer to quit her job as secretary of state and challenge him in the primaries, a new book claims, “The country needs you!” the former president told Hillary Clinton, urging her to run this year, according to accounts of the conversation included in Edward Klein’s new biography of Obama.
Spy in the sky - Graham Bowley, Hindu
The traders crouched beneath the walls of an old fort, hunkered down with the sheep and goats as they talked, eyes nervously flitting up from time to time at the blimp that has become their constant overseer. “It is there every day except the days when it is windy and rainy,” said Suleman, 45, who goes by only one name.
Facebook co-founder says Bye to US - Danielle Kucera, Christine Harper & Jesse Drucker, Bloomberg
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill. Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for an Internet company. Saverin’s stake is about 4 percent, according to the website
Wealthy Americans Queue to Give Up Their Passports - Giles Broom, Bloomberg
Rich Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion four years ago. About 1,780 expatriates gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy, citing figures from the government’s Federal Register. The embassy in Bern, the Swiss capital, redeployed staff to clear a backlog as Americans queued to relinquish their passports.
China could have killed Dalai Lama if it wanted: State media - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
China could have eliminated Tibet’s spiritual leader Dalai Lama,76, a long time ago if it so wanted, the state media said on Monday reacting to his claims that bogus women devotees were being trained by China to poison him. The Dalai Lama had told the UK’s Sunday Telegraph that China-trained women assassins were ready to poison him on the pretext of meeting him and seeking his blessings. He didn’t attribute the claims to any specific source. The Chinese government’s views, if less strident than the media, also dismissed the claims as groundless.
Setback for austerity drive as Merkel loses key state - Financial Express
Voters in Germany's most populous state inflicted an embarrassingly heavy defeat on chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on Sunday and strengthened a regional government that the German leader's party had portrayed as irresponsibly spendthrift. The outcome boosted Germany's centre-left opposition, and was a bitter pill to swallow for Merkel's Christian Democrats as the country looks toward national elections late next year and the chancellor grapples with Europe's stubbornly persistent debt crisis Narayan reportedly went so far as to say that Gowda’s horoscope was far stronger than former Union minister Ananth Kumar’s.
A censored race war? - Thomas Sowell, RealClearPolitics
When two white newspaper reporters for the Virginian-Pilot were driving through Norfolk, and were set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks -- beaten so badly that they had to take a week off from work -- that might seem to have been news that should have been reported, at least by their own newspaper. But it wasn't. "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel was the first major television program to report this incident.
France's strategy - George Friedman, Stratfor
New political leaders do not invent new national strategies. Rather, they adapt enduring national strategies to the moment. On Tuesday, Francois Hollande will be inaugurated as France's president, and soon after taking the oath of office, he will visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. At this moment, the talks are expected to be about austerity and the European Union, but the underlying issue remains constant: France's struggle for a dominant role in European affairs at a time of German ascendance.
Nepali parties finalise constitutional deal - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Less than two weeks before the term of the Constituent Assembly expires, Nepal's political parties have finally reached an agreement on the major contentious issues related to the future of the state structure. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) along with the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) decided to adopt a ‘mixed' form of government, create a bicameral central Parliament, and have 11 states in a future federal system. The pact has however sparked immediate protests.
He is Normal, situation isn't - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Francois Hollande takes over as France's President at a critical time. The economy is low and people's expectations from him are high. He has to manage both. François Hollande has taken over as the second Socialist President of the French Republic; François Mitterrand was the first in 1981. Usually a new President is granted a période de grace (a grace period). During the first months, the presidency runs smoothly and the incumbent remains high in the surveys. It is only after the first year that the new President’s weaknesses or the impossibility for him to implement his electoral promises become apparent to all.
Obama’s gamble to win over liberals - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Has President Barack Obama helped himself or his Republican rival Mitt Romney by coming out in support of same-sex marriage? Pollsters and pundits are currently busy trying to determine if Mr Obama’s sudden announcement, hastened as it was by the remarks of Vice-President Joe Biden during a television interview, will help him or hurt him in his re-election quest in November. The indications thus far point to a mixed picture. While support for legalisation of gay marriage is thought to be growing in the US, particularly among key constituencies like the young voters, reports from some key swing States point in the opposite direction.
Pak blinks on Afghanistan routes, gets Nato invite for talks - Chidanand Rajghatta & Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India
Pakistan won for itself an invitation to the Nato summit in Chicago this weekend to discuss the future of Afghanistan after Islamabad signaled that it was standing down from its confrontation with Washington and re-opening US/Nato supply routes. Pakistan indicated that it might review its decision on Nato blockade that has put its relations with not "only US but another 42 countries' ' in a tailspin. "It's not a matter of one, but 43 countries," Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as telling journalists in Islamabad.
Romney vs. Obama - Joe Peyronnin, Huffington Post
"I'm for Mitt Romney," former President George W. Bush said to an ABC News reporter as the elevator doors closed. It was the first time he had publicly said he endorsed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But don't look for the former president to campaign for Romney this year. Why? Two words: Bush recession. Americans don't need to be reminded that when Bush entered office the U.S. government was operating at a surplus.
Greece moves closer to euro zone exit; to form caretaker govt - Indian Express
Greece will hold a new election after politicians failed to form a government on Tuesday, nine days following an inconclusive vote, prolonging a political crisis that pushes it closer to bankruptcy and exit from the euro. After a third day of failed talks with political leaders, a spokesman for President Karolos Papoulias said the process of seeking a compromise had been declared a failure and a new vote must be held.
Jindal has chance to be selected as Romney's running mate - ET
Indian American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has a good chance of being selected as vice-presidential running mate of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, a media report has said. "Though the nation's first Indian-American governor may be flying a bit under the radar in the VP speculation game, his chance of being selected may be as good as any of the more buzzed-about prospects," RealClearPolitics.Com has said. "He's certainly on the short list as far as qualified people that could be a complement to Governor Romney," Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who endorsed the now-presumptive nominee in early February was quoted as saying.
What the West isn’t telling about Syria - Amrit Dhillon, Tehelka
The tricky thing about a one-party State is that even when it has a legitimate argument, it fumbles and fails to get it across. The moment it opens its mouth, the world erupts in understandable and reflexive incredulity. Many West Asian observers and independent journalists have been arguing that the rebels who have been trying to overthrow the Syrian government since last March are being financed by anti-Syrian regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar at the behest of the US. The rebellion, they say, is not an ‘Arab Spring’ or a popular uprising.
No alternative to bold steps - Haroon Habib, Hindu
Eight months after Manmohan Singh's much hyped Bangladesh tour in September 2011, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's May 5-6 visit to Dhaka has raised a new hope. The senior politician has cleared some, if not all, the fog that keeps India-Bangladesh ties from growing to its full height. Mr. Mukherjee's visit was to bring to a closure the year-long joint celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the shared icon.
Troubled peace in Gilgit-Baltistan - Mayuri Mukherjee, Pioneer
Khan Muhammed was gathering firewood in the forest overlooking a deserted stretch of the Karakoram Highway when, on that cold February morning, he witnessed something that would forever be etched in his memory. About a dozen men, dressed in military fatigues and armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, intercepted a passenger bus that we now know was ferrying passengers between Rawalpindi and Gilgit city. As the vehicle screeched to a halt, the men boarded the bus. They demanded that the passengers show their identity cards, and eventually hauled out 16 men from the bus.
Ethnicity-based federalism and Nepali identity - Utpal Parashar, HT
Commenting on the futility of names in defining qualities, the Bard of Avon had famously written in ‘Romeo and Juliet’---“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Names are something that our parents decide when we are too young to have a say. While few change theirs when they come of age, most of us stick to our most prominent identity. But for the past few days, I couldn’t help noticing a trend among Nepali friends on Facebook. Many of them either gave up their surnames or added a new one to the ones that disclose their caste and ethnic identities.
Europe’s Achilles heel - Economist
The respite in the euro crisis lasted a few short months. Now, despite a €130 billion ($169 billion) second bail-out for Greece, a fiscal compact agreed on by the euro-zone leaders in December, and €1 trillion of cheap long-term loans from the European Central Bank, the night terrors are back. How dispiriting that Europe is still so ill-prepared for the ordeal to come. Time is short. In France voters have given their new president, François Hollande, a mandate to alter the “austere” course set by his ousted predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and to focus on growth.
National Mood a Drag on Obama's Re-Election Prospects - Lydia Saad, Gallup
Some six months before voters head to the polls to choose the next president of the United States, Gallup finds several indicators of the economic and political climate holding steady at levels that could be troublesome for President Barack Obama. According to Gallup polling in early May, Obama's approval rating is below 50%, Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the country is barely above 20%, and the economy remains a dominant concern.
Why China's economy may be heading for a hard landing - Peter Ford, CSMonitor
An alarming batch of economic indicators from China in the past 10 days has cast a pall over the country’s economic growth prospects, rekindling debate about whether one of the few bright spots in the world economy may be heading for a hard landing. And the government’s initial efforts to pull out of the dive suggest that it may be putting off – once again – long promised policies to rebalance the Chinese economy by relying more on consumption than on its traditional growth drivers, exports, and investment.
Pakistan is a black hole for US aid - Gary Ackerman, Times of India
Americna lawmakers of both Democratic and Republican parties have slammed the Obama administration's request for $2.4 billion for Pakistan, calling it a "black hole" where the US has "sunk" $24 billion over the last decade. "Pakistan is like a black hole for American aid," Gary Ackerman, top Democrat on the house foreign affairs panel on the Middle East and South Asia said during a hearing on Wednesday.
Greece's eurozone exit could cost $1 trillion - Hindustan Times
Governments around the world are making urgent preparations to cope with the fallout of a possible Greek exit from the single European currency. One estimate put the cost to the eurozone of Greece making a disorderly exit from the currency at $1 trillion, 5% of output. A Greek departure would take Europe into uncharted legal waters. The size of the burden other euro zone states could bear gives them a powerful incentive to keep Greece in the currency club.
US Congress eases off on India-Iran oil link - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
India seems to have survived the onslaught over crude oil imports from Iran with mollified US lawmakers showing recently-found understanding of New Delhi's position. At a congressional hearing on South Asia on Wednesday lawmakers seemed generally satisfied with administration's explanation of India's reduction of Iranian imports. India might have helped its case by actually cutting imports from Iran - the government told Parliament on Wednesday it plans to bring it down by 11.1% this year.
Slain terrorist Merah planned to attack Indian embassy in Paris - Vaiju Naravane, Hindu
Mohamed Merah, the terrorist who was shot dead by the French Special Forces in Toulouse on March 22, had also planned to attack the Indian Embassy in Paris, French daily Le Monde reported. Quoting sources from the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence and the Special Forces who took part in the 32-hour siege of Merah, Le Monde alleges that the young killer's Taliban handlers in Pakistan had ordered him to attack the Indian mission here.
Reshaping Islam for the modern age - Hasan Suroor, Hindu
This was heading of a Times opinion piece on the controversial case of a group of Muslim men jailed last week for sexually abusing young and vulnerable white girls. The writer, David Aaronovitch — a social liberal and ex-communist to boot — suggested that Islam was inherently misogynist: a culture that treated its women as “red meat.” But here's the irony: it was a Muslim Chief Crown Prosecutor who paved the way for their conviction by insisting on reopening the case after it had been closed.
Past may haunt Tamil parties in Sri Lanka - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
Most Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka could become things of the past if the Supreme Court acts on a petition that seeks disqualification of the parties for retaining the demand for a separate state in their party documents, called constitutions. Long after the Tamil political parties dropped their demand for a separate state, their unamended party constitutions, in which the demand for a Tamil Eelam are stated, have come to haunt them. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in August 1983, prohibits political parties from having as one of their aims the establishment of a separate State.
The northern areas great game - Rohit Singh, Economic Times
Recent incidents of sectarian violence in which 16 people were killed and 50 others injured in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-occupied Northern Areas of Kashmir have turned the spotlight on the brewing discontent among local Shias against Sunni jihadi groups allied with the Pakistan army. To this decades-old unrest has been added, over the past few years, China's attempt to exploit this region's untapped natural resources and carve out a transportation route to the Persian Gulf through Pakistan. Both these developments have important ramifications for India's security.
French intelligence warned India of plot to target embassy in Paris - Praveen Swami, Hindu
France's intelligence services had warned of an imminent plot to attack the Indian embassy in Paris late last year, highly placed government sources have told The Hindu. The warnings, the sources said, were issued on the basis of French intelligence surveillance of Pakistan-trained jihadist Mohammed Merah
A Congressman’s personal campaign against terror - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
California Representative Dana Rohrabacher has served it to Pakistan straight, calling it a ‘failed state’ to the face of even visiting Prime Minister Gilani. Now that his legislative bid has failed, it would be interesting to see his next move. Quite an interesting Budget, I would say. I see traces of reform, and I also see populist measures.
India-Italy ties turn sour over naval guards case - Sachin Parashar, ToI
India and Italy seemed headed for a diplomatic showdown on Saturday with Rome stepping up the pressure to secure the release of two of its naval guards, who were arrested for the killing of two Indian fishermen, while expressing strong "displeasure" over how the Indian government handled the situation.
Pity the nation - Riaz Ali Toori, Pak Tea House
Our history is replete with judicial transgressions and military interventions, the implications of which can be very unnerving. A quick glimpse at Pakistan’s history would reveal that when the dictator, General Ayub Khan deposed Iskandar Mirza, the change was welcomed but what did we ultimately reap?
Teheran stands between Washington and New Delhi - Harsh V Pant, Business Standard
India’s ties with Iran have been hogging the limelight once again. Even as New Delhi was playing host to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, a trade delegation from Iran was visiting India to boost bilateral trade ties. For a long time now, India has been trying to strike a delicate balance between its burgeoning ties with the US and its historical relationship with Iran.
Democracy’s arsenal - Arthur Herman, Economist
WHAT is America but beauty queens, millionaires, stupid records and Hollywood?” asked Adolf Hitler in 1940. With hindsight, this ranks as just about the most foolish rhetorical question posed during the second world war. But it did not seem so at the time. As Arthur Herman shows in his wartime history, when Hitler mocked its prowess America had experienced not so much a double-dip as a double-dive depression.
Political stability still continues to elude Nepal - Suhas Chakma, Pioneer
Ethnic and linguistic aspirations are not likely to be met by the mere creation of Provinces. The various warring groups could ruin the peace initiatives. On May 15, the three major political parties of Nepal — United Communist Party of Nepal  (Maoists), Nepali Congress and United Marxist Leninist reached an agreement to bring the fragile peace process to conclusion. The agreement, among others, provides for 11 Provinces, a mixed system of governance with a directly elected President sharing powers with a Prime Minister elected from the bicameral Parliament comprising a 371 member Lower House and a 60-member Upper House.
China spying on Dalai Lama's health - S Gopal Puri, Times of India
The Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamshala on Sunday claimed that China is gathering intelligence on the Dalai Lama's health and secretly trying to procure his blood, hair and urine samples. The spiritual leader had recently said that Chinese-trained Tibetan women might try to kill him. Acting Tibetan PM Pema Chinjor said China was trying to get a status report on Dalai Lama's health with a view to harm him through sophisticated drugs and chemicals.
Iran's 'Great Game' in Afghanistan - Amie Ferris-Rotman, Reuters
(Reuters) - With most foreign combat troops set to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, Iran is using the media in the war-ravaged nation to gain influence, a worrying issue for Washington. Nearly a third of Afghanistan's media is backed by Iran, either financially or through providing content, Afghan officials and media groups say.
Read Myanmar right - Rajiv Bhatia, Indian Express
As Manmohan Singh prepares for his historic visit to Myanmar towards the end of May, the first by an Indian prime minister in a quarter-century, there should be clarity on the nature of change in Myanmar — and its limits. In June last year, even Myanmar experts laughed off the possibility of such a visit. By then Aung San Suu Kyi had been freed from house arrest, but she was yet to be part of the reform train.
Nepal president objects to parties using allies to support bandh - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
President Ram Baran Yadav objected to political parties in the coalition government using their sister organisations and allies to participate in a bandh in the country and forment violence. Yadav made clear his disapproval to the chiefs of four major parties, who are part of the coalition government, on Monday and also raised the issue separately with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai at his office.
Egypt votes, fever rises - David D Kirkpatrick & Mayy El Sheik, NYT
“Good morning! Who are you going to vote for?” That is the new standard Egyptian salutation, said Shafiq Abdel Khaleq, 50, an engineer playing chess at a streetside cafe in the working-class Cairo neighborhood of Sayeda Zeinab. “There isn’t anyone left who doesn’t talk about politics,” he added, moving a piece.
Obama says Afghanistan 'won't stand alone' even as isolated Pakistan plays spoiler - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
US President Barack Obama on Monday pledged that Afghanistan "wont' stand alone" even as Pakistan continued to play spoiler at the Nato summit in Chicago, complicating the alliance's draw-down from region with its dogged refusal to reopen supply routes. Not even its growing international isolation and the threat of a public humiliation by President Obama, who held back from a bilateral meeting with President Zardari, could budge Pakistan as it drove a hard bargain to extract money and strategic leverage from the Afghan situation. 
Greece must buy into austerity or exit euro: Britain - David Usborne & Andy Mcsmith, Independent
British PM David Cameron has issued his bluntest warning yet to Greece that voters need to "meet their commitments" as a member of the eurozone in elections next month or leave the currency union. Speaking at the Nato summit in Chicago, and three days before a crucial EU meeting, the PM said the leaders of the eurozone must now prepare for either outcome and be ready for the repercussions of the Greek vote, set for 17 June. The poll was called after Greek parties failed to form a new government earlier this month. 
Off this block, lock, stock and barrel - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
By withdrawing from an oil exploration block in the South China Sea, India might have extricated itself from a messy 50-year-old territorial dispute involving multiple players in a region in which the diplomatic cost of staying on would have been more than the commercial benefit.
US - Pakistan Rift Clouds NATO Summit - Carol E Lee & Adam Entous, WSJ
U.S. tensions with Pakistan complicated the opening day of a NATO summit, hosted by President Barack Obama in his hometown, where allies gathered to solidify a strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan. The Obama administration has so far been unable to reach an agreement with Pakistan to reopen key supply routes into Afghanistan that were closed after a Nov. 26 U.S. strike on two border posts that killed two dozen Pakistani troops.
Why do Chinese leaders lack confidence in the country's future? - Roderick Macfarquhar, Economic Times
In the heyday of the Soviet era, Communist leaders were described by the dissident Yugoslav theorist Milovan Djilas as the "New Class", whose power lay not in ownership of wealth, but in control of it: all the property of the state was at their beck and call.
The new great game - Jerry Meyerle, National Interest
President Obama described his recent pact with Kabul as the symbol of a new chapter in the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan. Others have portrayed it as an omen of things to come. But for the region’s power brokers watching the U.S. drawdown and coldly weighing their options, the accord marks little more than another stage in the great game—one in which the United States will no longer be the dominant player.
NATO summit: Obama's Pakistan gamble falls flat - David S Cloud & Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
When the White House sent a last-minute invitation for Asif Ali Zardari to attend the two-day NATO summit, they were taking a highly public gamble. Would sharing the spotlight with President Obama and other global leaders induce the Pakistani president to allow vital supplies to reach alliance troops fighting in Afghanistan?
Obama must apologize for Nato attack: Bilawal Bhutto - Times of India
Pakistan and the US continued to trade barbs and insults even as officials from the two sides wrangled over dollars and apologies in a relationship from which the wheels are threatening to come off.
Nepal govt extends CA term, defies SC order - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
In breach of its own repeated assurances and the Supreme Court order, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Tuesday decided to extend the tenure of the Constituent Assembly (CA) by three months beyond May 28, its current date of term expiry.
Maldives: Between Delhi and the deep blue sea - Economist
One of the presidents must be wrong. The ruler of the Maldives, Waheed Hassan, says nothing would please him more than calling early elections. “The Maldives is now more democratic than ever,” he gushed during his first official trip abroad, in Delhi, on May 14th. With a firm handshake, a dapper red tie and a straight-in-the-eye stare, he says he would cheerily go to the polls tomorrow—if only he were not blocked from doing so by the constitution of the sprawling archipelago, and by some regrettably reluctant coalition allies.
In China, fear at the top - Roderick Macfarquhar, NYT
In the heyday of the Soviet era, Communist leaders were described by the dissident Yugoslav theorist Milovan Djilas as the “New Class,” whose power lay not in ownership of wealth but in control of it: all the property of the state was at their beck and call. There was the apocryphal but appropriate story of Brezhnev’s showing his humble mother around his historic office, his magnificent collection of foreign luxury cars and his palatial dacha with its superb meals, and asking for her impressions — to which she replied: “It’s wonderful, Leonid, but what happens if the Bolsheviks come back?”
Slaying the dragon - Moazzam Husain, Deccan Chronicle
At a quiet lunch recently, a top Western diplomat expressed his amazement at the sight of lawyers showering Salmaan Taseer’s killer Mumtaz Qadri with rose petals. “I thought most Pakistanis were Barelvi — moderate Muslims — and the Salafist thinking would not find resonance here. Tell me then,” he went on to ask me point-blank, “does Al Qaeda’s retributive ideology find resonance with ordinary Pakistanis?”
Election risk: Could Europe sink Obama campaign? - Charles Riley, CNNMoney
Trillions in looming tax hikes and spending cuts. Washington saber-rattling over the debt ceiling. A slowdown in the world's second largest economy. President Obama's re-election campaign may have to run through a number of potentially ugly economic events.
Zeal as two-day Egypt election begins - Atul Aneja, Hindu
Forming serpentine queues outside polling stations soon after daybreak, Egyptian voters on Wednesday began participating in the first free presidential elections since 1952, when young officers led by Gemal Abdel Nasser overthrew the monarchy. Under the strict vigil of the police and the Army, young, middle-aged and elderly voters queued patiently to savour the fruits of the popular rebellion that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak from the presidency more than a year ago.
Uncertainty grips Nepal - Prashant Jha, Hindu
A day after major parties reached a tentative agreement to amend the interim Constitution and extend the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA), political uncertainty has once again gripped Nepal. Two major parties in government — the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) — has opposed any extension of the CA and demanded Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's immediate resignation. The term of the CA is set to expire on May 27.
Four Navy ships in South China Sea to mark Indian presence - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
Despite getting out of oil exploration blocks in the South China Sea, India is keen to maintain a strong role for itself in the region. Four Indian Navy ships, INS Rana, Shakti, Shivalik and Kurmak are currently scudding across the South China Sea on their way to Shanghai, where they will arrive for a goodwill visit in a couple of weeks. This week, two of the four ships -- INS Rana and Shakti -- have been saying hello to the Philippines navy in Subic Bay.
Change for the worse - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
The Government has faced criticism in Western capitals and even from its own ‘liberal intelligentsia’ for not supporting Western attempts for ‘regime change’ in those countries labelled as ‘rogue states,’ or are said to be acquiring ‘weapons of mass destruction’. This Western propensity for ‘regime change’ was justified ideologically, as the Soviet Union was falling apart and finally collapsed on December 25, 1991. 
Look east on Stilwell Road - Rajiv Kumar, Financial Express
Never before has a road meant so much to external relations: there’s a move to re-open Stilwell Road, which connects India, Myanmar and China, and which passes through Thailand and Cambodia. Hence the feeling of keen anticipation, bordering on euphoria, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embarks on a three-day official visit to Myanmar from May 28.
Obama's Afghan debacle - David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy
He cut out the generals. He cut out the secretary of defense. He cut out the secretary of state. And in the end, he produced a schizophrenic policy that will almost certainly go down as the greatest foreign-policy debacle of his administration. Afghanistan may not be Barack Obama's Vietnam, but that is only because it has failed to stir national tensions in the way the war in Southeast Asia did. 
A love-hate relationship - Damian Grammaticas, BBC
As China's economic, political and military influence rises, one important question is - what sort of power China will be? How will it interact with foreigners and foreign nations? Will it be benign - as China's own officials say when they talk of China's "peaceful rise" - or will it be an assertive, nationalistic, even xenophobic power? In recent days, we've seen two very different Chinas on show when it comes to interacting with foreigners here, inside its borders.
Bear in a China shop - Arthur Kroeber, Foreign Policy
Time and again, China has defied the skeptics who claimed its unique mixed model -- an ever-more market-driven economy dominated by an authoritarian Communist Party and behemoth state-owned enterprises -- could not possibly endure. Today, those voices are louder than ever.
Attacks on Romney's business past not sticking - Jan Crawford, CBS News
President Obama is losing ground in the latest polls to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who's pushing back against Democrats criticizing his business experience. As the president has stepped up his attacks on Romney and his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, Romney has indicated, during this crucial period to define himself to the electorate, he is not going to take the attacks lying down.
Eye on China, US sending Panetta to push India ties - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
US defence secretary Leon Panetta will visit India in early June, for two days, to further develop US-India ties that American officials, with an eye on China, say is a "priority" for Washington and which the Obama administration repeatedly describes as "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century for the US". 
Re-imagining Pakistan - Ayesha Siddiqa, Hindustan Times
The provincial assembly of Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan, recently passed a resolution calling for the creation of a new province — South Punjab — and restoring the provincial status of Bahawalpur. This will effectively divide Punjab into three parts: North and Central Punjab, South Punjab and Bahawalpur. Although the assembly, which is dominated by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), passed the resolution, the idea was initially broached by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), especially prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is from South Punjab.
The story from Chicago - Dhruva Jaishankar, Indian Express
There were few surprises emerging from the Chicago NATO summit, held between May 20-21, where the agenda focused on setting Afghanistan on a path to security self-reliance and on burden-sharing between the United States and its European allies amid looming budget cuts.
Cut $1m aid for each year of Pak doc term - Indian Express
A Senate panel expressed its outrage on Thursday over Pakistan’s conviction of a doctor who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden, cutting aid to Islamabad by $33 million — $1 million for every year of physician Shakil Afridi’s 33-year sentence for high treason.
Nepal: Supreme Court stays CA extension plan - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Responding to a writ petition, Nepal's Supreme Court on Thursday issued an interim stay order against the government's proposal to amend the interim constitution and extend the term of the Constituent Assembly. A single bench of Chief Justice Khila Raj Regmi passed the order.
Pakistan puts off visa pact for now, seeks political move - Indian Express
Talks between the home secretaries of India and Pakistan ended on Friday without the much-awaited liberalised visa agreement being signed. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said India had gone to Islamabad “fully prepared”, but the agreement could not be signed due to “some delay in the procedure”.
Demands for ethnic provinces are deepening divisions in Nepal - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Ke Nepal Bachla (Will Nepal Survive?)” reads a slogan painted on many walls in Kathmandu. Almost every caste and ethnic group demanding a province for themselves and the resultant social divide are now pushing the country, once known for social and religious amity, towards an uncertain future. On Monday, journalists — mainly Hindu and upper caste
US cuts aid to 'terrorist state' Pak - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
A key US Senate panel has voted to impose pointed and punitive cut in aid dollars to Pakistan for its continued support to state-engineered extremism, although the country described bluntly by one lawmaker as a "terrorist state" will still get at least $ 1 billion in American taxpayer money for 2013.
Nepal stares at constitutional crisis as party positions harden - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Two days before the term of Nepal's Constituent Assembly (CA) expires, with the possibility of an extension ruled out by a Supreme Court order, differences between political parties have sharpened on the issue of federalism and the text of the constitution.
A new spring for Indo-Arab ties - Ambika Sharma, Business Standard
There was an air of optimism among the delegates from 22 Arab states and India and the cross-section of ministers, officials and business leaders of Arab states when they met with their Indian counterparts during the just-concluded Arab-India Partnership Conference 2012: Development through Trade & Investment in Abu Dhabi.
Myanmar and India - a bridge, and a gateway to the East - K Yhome, Business Standard
Myanmar has witnessed dramatic developments in the recent past as the country moves towards a more open political system and re-engages the international community after long years of isolation. These developments have been taking place alongside rapidly changing strategic and economic dynamics in the region.
China needs Dalai Lama - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
In March 2012, reported the Chinese-sponsored Tibet Daily, Hu Jintao encouraged a Tibetan delegation to promote the “old Tibetan spirit” when it met the President during the annual National People’s Conference. Hu explained: “It is necessary to be firm on anti-secession.”
Nepal misses statute deadline, polls in November - Manesh Shrestha & Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
Nepal will go in for general elections on November 22, after the constituent assembly failed to wrap up negotiations on a constitution before the deadline of May 28. The constituent assembly was dissolved after major political parties failed to get agreement on state formation.
Karachi: City at war - Economist
Civilians armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s firing at police in armoured personnel carriers are not images associated with the urban hearts of commercial capitals. But Karachi is no ordinary city. Earlier this month its crime-infested quarter of Lyari, a sprawling network of alleyways housing 1m people, saw battles that pitted police against a powerful local gang. In one scene locals flattened a carrier’s tyres with gunfire. Then they kept firing at the stationary vehicle, killing an officer inside.
India wants to reopen Lhasa consulate, China not game - Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
India has sprung a surprise on China by seeking to re-open its consulate in Lhasa, Tibet that was closed after the 1962 war between the two countries. India’s demand came after a Chinese request to open a third consulate in Chennai.
Vatican in chaos after butler arrested for leaks - Times of India
The Vatican's investigation into the source of leaked documents has yielded its first target with the arrest of the pope's butler, but the investigation is continuing into a scandal that has embarrassed the Holy See by revealing evidence of internal power struggles, intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church governance.
Sri Lankan Tamil party retains ‘separate state' constitution - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance — the lone credible representative of Tamil people in the Northern Province — has refused to revisit its constitution, which seeks the establishment of a separate state, at its 14th national convention in the Eastern headquarter town of Batticaloa.
The myths of wild roses and Pakistani presence in Siachen - Claude Arpi, DNA
Indians are nice people. ‘It’s time to resolve Siachen’ says Pakistan army chief Parvez Kayani and immediately voices rise all over India to say, ‘Yes, it would be so nice to finally befriend Pakistan; are we not brothers?’ The good general called for demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier and advocated peaceful coexistence with India. He solemnly stated: ‘The world knows why we are in Siachen,’ inferring that Pakistan troops are positioned on the glacier. 
Nepal PM's poll call stirs an avalanche of protests - Manesh Shrestha, ToI
Nepal's opposition on Monday called Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's call for general elections on November 22 "unconstitutional" and demanded his resignation to pave the way for national consensus government. While addressing a function to mark the Republic Day on Monday, Bhattarai said the constitution could not be prepared due to disagreement between "progressive" forces and "status quoist" forces.
Secret ‘Kill List’ proves a test of Obama’s principles and will - Jo Becker & Scott Shane, NYT
WASHINGTON — This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.
Singh makes up to Myanmar - Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
With gifts for Myanmar’s economy, people and its physical links with India, PM Manmohan Singh sought to make up for 15 years of stunted relations. The first joint statement between the two neighbours in a quarter-century played up roads, trade and education. 
Vatican in a spot, cardinal suspected of leaks - Indian Express
One of the Vatican’s biggest scandals in decades widened Monday with the pope’s butler — arrested last week for allegedly stealing confidential documents — agreeing to cooperate with investigators. Paolo Gabriele’s pledge to cooperate with the investigators raises the specter that high-ranking prelates may soon be named in the investigation into leaks of confidential Vatican correspondence that have shed a light on power struggles and intrigue inside the highest levels of the Catholic Church.
China stirs its nationalism cauldron - Andrew Jacobs, NYT
As an English-speaking talk show host on China Central Television, Yang Rui likes to think of himself as a bridge between East and West. He has a soft spot for tweed newsboy caps and Sherlock Holmes-style pipes and takes pride in his communications degree from Cardiff University in Wales. He may exult in China’s growing might, but made sure his son attended college in the United States. His program on the state-run CCTV, “Dialogue,” often includes both foreign and Chinese guests.
US to have lasting presence in Afghanistan - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Although the United States is committed to ending its combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has spoken of an “enduring presence” in that country. “Well, the most important point is that we’re not going anyplace. We’re gonna, we have an enduring presence that will be in Afghanistan,” Panetta told ABC News in an interview, adding: “We’ll continue to work with them on counterterrorism. We’ll continue to provide training, assistance, guidance. We’ll continue to provide support.”
A new blame game in Nepal - Prashant Jha, Hindu
A day after Nepal's Constituent Assembly was dissolved without the constitution being written, top parties traded accusations and failed to arrive at a common roadmap. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) blamed “reactionaries” for stalling a federal constitution. The Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) said that they saw the CA dissolution as a “Maoist conspiracy to capture state power”.
Immolation protest spreads to Lhasa - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
Two Tibetans set themselves on fire near an important Tibetan Buddhist monastery at the heart of Lhasa on Sunday, in the first self-immolation protests reported in the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Tobgye Tseten, a monk from Xiahe, a Tibetan county in southwestern Gansu province, died after he burned himself in front of many worshippers who had gathered at the Jokhang Temple to mark Saka Dawa, an auspicious month for Buddhists, State media reported on Monday.
The name is Bond. Eurobond. - Heather A Conley & Uttara Dukkipati, Foreign Policy
The word on the lips of many of the 17 leaders of the eurozone following this week's meeting of heads of state -- the 18th summit, for those who are counting -- is Eurobonds. The ideas behind them, though, are out of sync. "Europe can have Eurobonds soon," Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti insisted. "[The] taboo surrounding Eurobonds has been lifted," European Council President Herman Von Rompuy declared. Not so fast, German Central Bank chief Jens Weidmann chimed in, "It is an illusion to think Eurobonds will solve the current crisis."
No need to panic about global warming - WSJ
A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
Asia exposed - Stephen S Roach, Financial Express
Asian authorities were understandably smug in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Growth in the region slowed sharply, as might be expected of export-led economies confronted with the sharpest collapse in global trade since the 1930s. But, with the notable exception of Japan, which suffered its deepest recession of the modern era, Asia came through an extraordinarily tough period in excellent shape.
Chinese have right to abduct Indian defaulters: Report - Sutirtho Patranobis, HT
India on Tuesday sharply reacted to a state media report that hinted that local Chinese traders had the right to take radical steps like abducting Indian businessmen who delayed or defaulted on payments promised on purchases in advance.
Irate India questions rule of law in China - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
The Yiwu kidnapping controversy took a new turn on Tuesday when the Indian embassy wrote a strong rejoinder to an article by a Chinese professor criticizing its advisory to Indians visiting China. The state-run paper, Global Times, published an article by a law professor which justified the kidnapping and beating of three Indian traders over business disputes. 
Pakistan and US drifting apart - Ayesha Siddiqa, Indian Express
What seems most certain after the NATO Summit in Chicago last week is the weakening of the partnership between the United States and Pakistan. Many in Pakistan and in the US were disappointed as nothing concrete happened to realign the equation between the two countries. While the US remained determined to not apologise to Pakistan for the attack in Salala in November 2011, Islamabad did not appear too keen on conciliatory measures like opening up the NATO supply route.
Writer’s block in Nepal - Manjushree Thapa, Asian Age
What do you do if you’re the high-caste leader of a democratic party faced with a vote that will end your caste’s supremacy? You avoid voting at all costs. This is what the leaders of the Nepali Congress party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) did in Kathmandu on May 27. Their refusal to compromise with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and other parties led to the failure to pass a new Constitution and the dissolution of the country’s only democratically elected body, the 601-member Constituent Assembly.
Obama's words at medal ceremony cause trouble with Poland - Edition
The Polish prime minister on Wednesday reacted strongly to what the White House said was a mistake by President Barack Obama during a Medal of Freedom ceremony. The trouble came Tuesday when Obama paid tribute to Jan Karski, the former Polish officer who escaped Nazi imprisonment in World War II and provided firsthand accounts to the Western Allies of atrocities. Karski received the award posthumously.
Nepal: The King is gone, long live the King - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Monarchy in Nepal ended four years ago. But the last monarch Gyanendra Shah hasn’t faded quietly into the sunset. The 65-year-old still manages to pull crowds during public appearances and there are many who want him back — as king.
Despite U.S. opposition, Iran to be transport hub for North-South Corridor - Sandeep Dikshit, Hindu
A multi-nation transport corridor that would radically reduce cargo transportation time between India on one side and Central Asia and Russia on the other with Iran being the pivot could see dry runs beginning next year. A three-day meeting of experts from 16 countries discussed ways to smoothen the way for the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and at least six supplementary routes despite the U.S. pushing its Silk Road proposal in which its bete noire Iran has been excluded.
Egypt's Islamists seek ‘grand coalition' with liberals, minorities - Atul Aneja, Hindu
Choosing his words carefully to allay fears about the imposition of a narrow Islamist agenda, the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsy, on Tuesday appealed to secularists, liberals and religious minorities to join him in order to save Egypt from a counterrevolution, threatened by his rival, Mubarak-era official Ahmed Shafiq.
France's broken European dream - Martin Feldstein, Project Syndicate
The crisis in the euro zone is the result of France’s persistent pursuit of the “European project”, the goal of political unification that began after World War II when two leading French politicians, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman, proposed the creation of a United States of Europe.
China loves everybody, India a little more - Subodh Varma, Times of India
"The furthest distance in the world/ Is not %between life and death/ But when I stand in front of you/ Yet you don't know that I %love you." Reciting these immortal lines from Rabindranath Tagore is the suave and charming You Jianhua. He is the director general of coordination in the international department of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) - a pretty senior position. He is urging the point that China loves everybody, with a hint of emphasis towards India. During a luncheon banquet, he says that he has a Ganesha in his drawing room because he has great respect for India. 
Euro’s survival at risk, warn ECB, European Commission - India Today
The European Central Bank stepped up pressure on Thursday for a joint fund to guarantee bank deposits in the euro zone, saying Europe needed new tools to fight bank runs as the bloc’s debt crisis drives investors to flee risk. The European Commission’s top economic official, Olli Rehn, warned the single currency area could disintegrate without stronger crisis-fighting measures and tough fiscal discipline.
Black, White and Red Square - Indian Express
Viswanathan Anand, the man who won his fifth world title on Wednesday, is originally from Chennai, India, and now lives in Collado Mediano, Spain. Boris Gelfand, the challenger who ran Anand so very close over the past three weeks, was born in Minsk, Belarus, and now lives in Rishon LeZion, Israel. Yet, the biggest winner to emerge from the 2012 World Chess Championships was, in a way, Russia —through the erstwhile Soviet cultural system.
Iran oil issue: Rao regrets negative projection of India - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Weeks before the Obama administration determines whether or not India has substantially curtailed Iranian oil imports to avert the prospect of US sanctions, Indian envoy Nirupama Rao has regretted the tendency in some quarters to project India negatively on this issue.
Pakistan’s Dangerous Anti-American Game - Sadanand Dhume, WSJ
Last week a Pakistani court sentenced Shakil Afridi—the doctor who helped the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track Osama bin Laden last year—to 33 years in prison after he was accused of treason or possible ties with militants. In response, the US Congress docked a symbolic $33 million from Pakistan’s annual aid budget, or $1 million for every year of the doctor’s sentence.
Reach out to the Baloch - Najam Sethi, Mail Today
Intense media concern over the fate of 'missing persons' at the hands of the Frontier Corps in an environment of fear and loathing amidst an insurgency that is taking a toll of civilians and soldiers has finally pressurised the government and military to take a fresh look at the 'problem of Balochistan'.
Obama order sped up wave of cyberattacks against Iran - David E Sanger, NYT
From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.
Five things to watch in the 2012 presidential campaign - Adam C Smith, Tampabay
President Barack Obama phoned Mitt Romney on Wednesday to congratulate him on clinching the Republican nomination. For a while during the volatile primary season, it looked iffy whether the former Massachusetts governor would win the necessary 1,144 delegates before the convention in Tampa, but he did with an overwhelming victory Tuesday in the Texas primary.
A family affair - John Garnaut, Foreign Policy
In today's China, all corruption is relative. Yes, the demise of Politburo member Bo Xilai has captured international headlines for exposing how political power and family money melded together in Chongqing, his mist- and smog-shrouded pocket of southwest China. While Bo was reviving Maoist nostalgia on his official's salary of about $1,600 per month in a country whose per capita income ranks 121st in the world, his son was renting a presidential-style suite at Oxford and driving a Porsche at Harvard.
Europe mulls major step toward 'fiscal union' - Noah Barkin & Daniel Flynn, Reuters
When Jean-Claude Trichet called last June for the creation of a European finance ministry with power over national budgets, the idea seemed fanciful, a distant dream that would take years or even decades to realize, if it ever came to be.
Siachen troop withdrawal tops agenda for talks with Pakistan - Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
India has agreed to discuss the sensitive Siachen issue at the June 11-12 secretary-level meeting with Pakistan, pushing the Sir Creek issue – another flashpoint – way down the agenda. Observers say the reason for resetting the priorities is that Siachen being a far more complex issue than Sir Creek, any leeway on that front may give Pakistan the domestic leverage necessary to push ahead with the peace process.
Hasina expresses resolve to work together with India on pending issues - Haroon Habib, Hindu
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has voiced her strong resolve to work together with India for mutual development but insisted that the neighbour needs to quickly move forward on some issues. “India needs to move forward quickly on some pending issues so that the two countries can work to implement the agreed decisions,” said the Premier.
Economy to foreign policy, Obama gets Romney’s ‘F’ - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney says he would give President Barack Obama the lowest rating of “F” for his stewardship across-the-board from domestic economy to foreign policy. In an interview to CBS News, Romney, when asked what grade he would give Obama, said without batting an eyelid: “Oh, an ‘F’…No question about that”. The only credit he would give Obama was for the commando mission that he ordered to get Osama bin Laden, conceding it was “terrific”.
Most aid to Athens rolls back to European lenders - Liz Alderman & Jack Ewing, NYT
Its membership in the euro currency union hanging in the balance, Greece continues to receive billions of euros in emergency assistance from a so-called troika of lenders overseeing its bailout. But almost none of the money is going to the Greek government to pay for vital public services. Instead, it is flowing directly back into the troika’s pockets.
Vatileaks: Hunt is on to find Vatican moles - ToI
Already this year we've read about documents warning of a "death threat" against the Pope, widespread nepotism and corruption, exiled whistle-blowers , gay smear campaigns and embarrassing revelations about the Vatican's tax affairs. Most of the damaging of the " Vatileaks" were revealed by the reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi in a series of TV programmes and now his new book Sua Santita (Your Holiness).
Don’t be taken in by Pak’s peace moves - Ashok Malik, Deccan Chronicle
At the end of May, the Pakistani government finally admitted that there was enough evidence to prosecute and probably convict Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, leader of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), for his role in planning and executing the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. Pakistani interior ministry officials told the Indian home secretary that Islamabad’s Federal Investigation Agency had conclusively implicated Lakhvi, and so corroborated dossiers and evidence New Delhi had provided.
A reformed Myanmar could have a big effect on its neighbours - Economist
The visit of Aung San Suu Kyi to Thailand this week marked another extraordinary milestone in Myanmar’s (so far) peaceful revolution. For the first time since 1988, when the opposition leader returned to her homeland from Britain to nurse her dying mother, she has felt confident enough to leave the country—in the expectation that she will be allowed back. Miss Suu Kyi met low-paid Burmese workers and refugees in the Thai provinces (see picture above) and was due to attend a World Economic Forum summit in the Thai capital, Bangkok; just the sort of stuff that any freshly minted MP might undertake.
China joins the Afghan Great Game and outflanks India - Venky Vembu, First Post
“When everyone is dead,” the writer Rudyard Kipling observed in his immortal Kim, “the Great Game is finished. Not before.” On that count, there’s plenty more of the Great Game — the rivalry between empires for strategic control over resource-rich Central Asia — to be played out. The US-led coalition, which was drawn into a decade-long war after the 9/11 terror attacks, may be winding down its military entanglement in Afghanistan.
Nepal: The music stops - Economist
For the four years when Nepal’s Constituent Assembly was meant to be drafting a new constitution, the country’s political leaders were really playing a game of musical chairs around the prime minister’s seat. At midnight on May 27th the music stopped, without a constitution and with the Maoist former rebels occupying the premiership.
Bhattarai pushes Nepal for elections - Prashant Jha, Hindu
Nepal's Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has said he had no choice but to announce elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA) after other parties neither accepted a Constitution with identity-based federalism nor agreed to extend the CA's term. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu at his residence on Sunday, Mr. Bhattarai summarised the events on the final day of the CA's term.
Dalai Lama’s envoys resign over stalled China talks - Ananth Krishnan, Hindu
The two representatives of exiled Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama in on-going talks with the Chinese government have announced their resignation as of June 1, leaving uncertain the future of the talks that have remained in a stalemate for more than two years.
US team and Israel developed Iran worm - Siobhan Gorman, WSJ
The U.S. is pursuing a wide-ranging, high-tech campaign against Iran's nuclear program that includes the cybersabotage project known as Stuxnet, which was developed by the Central Intelligence Agency in conjunction with Idaho National Laboratory, the Israeli government, and other U.S. agencies, according to people familiar with the efforts.
As Vatican handles crisis, book details infighting - Rachel Donadio, NYT
In an undisclosed location here, the Vatican authorities are busy questioning Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s butler, and others in a widening leaks scandal that has made the seat of the Roman Catholic Church appear to be a hornet’s nest of back-stabbing and gossip.
US calls Pakistan bluff - Karamatullah K Ghori, Indian Express
Brinkmanship can be a perilous gambling of wits even among supposedly steadfast and old allies, such as United States and Pakistan. This was clear at the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago. Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari was given a late entry ticket to this important conclave billed to come up with a final exit plan for the US and its NATO and other ISAF allies from an embattled Afghanistan.
Keep telecom cheap - Economic Times
It is easy for the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) meeting Tuesday to decide on telecom spectrum to miss the wood for the trees. It is important to keep the big picture clearly in mind. Its main features are these. One, telecom, particularly high-speed broadband, is a growth multiplier and its spread and cost will determine the future of India's competitiveness in the global economy.
US dubs India ties faster, stronger, better - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Notwithstanding the hiccups over some key unresolved issues and brewing tensions over Iranian oil imports, the United States says it lays great store by its defining partnership with India, terming it the US's most transformed relationship in a decade.
Congressman Walsh ‘won’t smile’ till Modi is invited to US - Uttara Choudhury, First Post
Even as the dithering Manmohan Singh government disenchants foreign investors, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has become the poster child for economic development in India and is attracting vocal support from American businessman and, lately, Congressman Joe Walsh. “I looked into this. I was comfortable being an advocate for him (Modi),” said Walsh, who recently wrote a letter to secretary of state Hillary Clinton asking that she consider granting Modi a visa.
The end of counterinsurgency and the scalable force - George Friedman, Stratfor
The U.S. military for years has debated the utility of counterinsurgency operations. Drawing from a sentiment that harkens back to the Vietnam War, many within the military have long opposed counterinsurgency operations. Others see counterinsurgency as the unavoidable future of U.S. warfare.
US, China woo India for control over Asia-Pacific - Rajat Pandit & Sachin Parashar, Times of India
With the Asia-Pacific region emerging as the theatre of escalating US-China rivalry, India on Wednesday found itself in a rare and enviable situation: of being wooed by the competing giants. Visiting US defence secretary Leon Panetta said India would be "a linchpin" in America's unfolding new defence strategy that revolves around "re-balancing" its forces "towards" Asia-Pacific, while Chinese vice premier Li Keqiang told foreign minister SM Krishna that Sino-Indian ties would be the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st Century. 
Vast inequality simmers below surface in China - Subodh Varma,, Times of India
"China has the second largest GDP in the world now. But in per capita terms, its is 95th in world rankings." This statement is repeated verbatim in every meeting with Communist Party or government officials across the country. What they mean is that China still has a long way to go because its per capita GDP is still around $4000 to $5000 (depending on how you calculate and what population figures you use). 
Tamil fury forces Sri Lankan president to skip UK speech - Times of India
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was on Wednesday forced to cancel his speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum here, amid demonstrations by hundreds of Tamil and human rights activists protesting against human rights violations in his country. Hundreds of Tamils and human rights activists carrying LTTE flags gathered outside Marlborough House in central London protesting Rajapaksa's presence at a lunch for Queen Elizabeth hosted by Commonwealth secretary General Kamalesh Sharma.
To spur Pak on terror, US used troop threat - Indian Express
The US intends to keep between 10,000 to 15,000 counter-terrorism troops in Afghanistan, much beyond its troops drawdown in 2014, which could cross over into Pakistan in case of crisis, a top Obama aide had warned Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The 'omnipresent' Indian hand - Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
The morning after Nepal’s Constituent Assembly was dissolved following failure to promulgate a new constitution within deadline, my neighbour, a successful businessman, blamed India for the debacle.
Crushed by China, Tibetans feel let down by Obama - B Raman, First Post
Tibetans, both in the occupied Tibetan areas of China and in the diaspora, are increasingly frustrated by what they perceive as President Barack Obama’s ambivalent attitude on the continued unrest in the Tibetan areas of China and Beijing’s violations of Tibetans’ human rights.
Pak in a spot over Afghanistan - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
Meeting officials and academics in Washington just prior to the Chicago NATO Summit gave me an interesting insight into the mood in the city, just as the “end game” in Afghanistan begins. Amid much fanfare, the US President, Mr Barack Obama, administered two direct snubs to the Head of State of a “major non-NATO ally,” Pakistan.
US will continue drone strikes in Pakistan, says Panetta - Ajai Shukla, Bus Std
Leon Panetta, in his first visit to New Delhi as America’s secretary for defence, flatly declared that the United States would continue drone strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), even if Islamabad believed its sovereignty was being violated. The strikes were justified, said Panetta, because the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 continued to take refuge in FATA.
Dozen kids hurt in madrasa raid in China’s Xinjiang - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
A police raid on a building where children and teenagers were taught Islamic texts in the restive Xinjiang region in western China on Wednesday left 17 persons including 12 children injured after inmates set off explosives to thwart the raid.
If Pak withdraws support, war will be fought there: Salahudin - Indian Express
Frustrated by Islamabad’s recent push to normalise relations with India, top Kashmiri militant leader Syed Salahudin has said that this “new approach” sidelining “Kashmir’s struggle for the right of self determination” by Pakistan has turned him “desperate’’ and “agitated’.
Sri Lanka without the chaos - Sudeep Chakravarti, Mint
In 2005, when he became president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a document titled Mahinda Chintana, or Mahinda’s Vision. In it he proclaimed: “I will not permit any separatism.” This he held true to, corralling a brutal rebellion by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The nearly 30-year war ended in May 2009 after the decimation of the LTTE and the death of its chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran.
CCS rejects PM's line, won't go soft on Siachen - Rajat Pandit, Times of India
India is not going to give up its tactical and strategic advantage over Pakistan in the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region anytime soon, even though the PM Manmohan Singh may still want to convert it into "a mountain of peace''. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by the PM, on Thursday cleared the 'brief' for the 13th round of the defence secretary-level talks to be held with Pakistan in Islamabad on June 11-12. 
China meet acquires anti-US tone - Saibal Dasgupta, Times of India
There is a surfeit of anti-US sentiment in Beijing in the course of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet, with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denouncing America as usual and Russian leader Vladimir Putin talking of more military exercises with China. Coming within days of the US announcing plans to enhance its fleet in Asia Pacific , these posturings assume significance. 
Does India want to be a part of America’s plan for Asia? - Krista Mahr, Time
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrapped up a short visit to India this week, calling for Washington and New Delhi to deepen security ties and defense cooperation in the region. As NATO-led troops get ready to leave Afghanistan and the Obama Administration continues its effort to counterbalance China’s growing military heft, Panetta’s goal was to shore up India’s support in the region during his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony, among others.
China restricts foreigners from visiting Tibet - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Days after two Tibetans self-immolated in the heart of Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), it was learnt that Chinese authorities have alerted travel agencies that foreigners will not be issued to permits to visit the region.
A lethal game of hide-and-seek - Ramesh Thakur, Hindu
On the one hand, the United States is rightly exercised about the gruesome killings, almost certainly by government-supported thugs, of Syrians. On the other hand, the Obama administration has so greatly expanded the Bush policy of drone strikes as to leave neutral observers queasy about the legal regime governing the new tools of warfare. As in so many other aspects of human life, the march of technology has greatly outpaced the laws and institutions to regulate the behaviour they make possible.
Nepal: Anger building up against international community - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
This refers to the editorial ‘In the dock’ (IE, May 29). The arrest of Jagan Mohan Reddy may be justified, but the Congress should not take credit for it. The editorial is right to point out that the Congress turned Andhra Pradesh, a party bastion, into “a vulnerable spot” by letting Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy get so powerful. YSR is said to have left behind a legacy of nepotism.
Wary of China, US set for strategic talks with India - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The audience at the Carnegie Endowment event on US-India relations ahead of the strategic dialogue spilled out into an overflow room on Thursday evening. A key state department official working on the nuts and bolts of the relationship outlined the energy and intensity of the engagement between the two sides.
China may be in bad shape - Josephine Moulds, Guardian
As the economic crisis in Europe deepens, China has unexpectedly cut its interest rates, prompting speculation that the world's second largest economy may be in worse shape than previously thought. For the first time since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the People's Bank of China cut its one-year lending rate by a quarter of one percentage point, to 6.31%. Banks will also pay less interest on deposits, with the deposit rate dropping from 3.5% to 3.25%.
Rajaratnam swindled, cheated me: Gupta told Ajit Jain in 2009 - PTI
Former McKinsey head Rajat Gupta, upon losing $10 million in an investment fund, had told “close friend” Ajit Jain, chief of Berkshire Hathaway’s reinsurance business, he had been “swindled and cheated” by hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam. India-born Jain, seen as the successor to Berkshire Hathaway’s billionaire investor chief Warren Buffett, testified through video deposition as a defence witness in the insider trading trial of Gupta yesterday.
Siachen was almost a done deal in 1992 - Hindu
Pakistan and India had reached a near agreement in 1992 on the Siachen dispute after Islamabad assented to recording the existing troop positions in an annex, but the deal was never operationalised because the Indian political leadership developed cold feet. Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said recently that it was time the two countries resolved the dispute. He said this during a visit to the region after an avalanche earlier this year on the Pakistani side killed more than 100 soldiers and civilians.
Escape from Shangri La - Atul Sethi, ToI
Every year dozens of Tibetans risk their lives as they trudge hundreds of kilometres through snow-capped mountains, all the while averting arrest by the Chinese police, to reach Dharamsala. A batch of newly arrived refugees tell Sunday Times what it means to escape from their beloved but now bewildering homeland. She whispers something in her friend's ears, as both break out into giggles. "She's saying Indians have such big eyes," informs the interpreter with a smile.
Vatican banker running scared: Gotti Tedeschi could turn whistle-blower - Barbie Latza Nadeau, Daily Beast
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi feared for his life when he was ousted as head of the Vatican bank after a vote of no confidence May 24. The 67-year-old Italian was brought in by the pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in 2009 with a mandate to turn the troubled bank around and help “facilitate transparency” with an eye toward quashing rumors that the bank was a den of iniquity.
How Europe Could Cost Obama the Election - Niall Ferguson, Daily Beast
Could Europe cost Barack Obama the presidency? At first sight, that seems like a crazy question. Isn’t November’s election supposed to be decided in key swing states like Florida and Ohio, not foreign countries like Greece and Spain? And don’t left-leaning Europeans love Obama and loathe Republicans? Sure. But the possibility is now very real that a double-dip recession in Europe could kill off hopes of a sustained recovery in the United States.
India-US ties battle 'oversold' tag - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
India and the US will begin a week of meetings on Monday, with officials from both sides trying hard to dispel the notion of a relationship weighed down by hype. Has the relationship been "overhyped" or "oversold", the moderator asked Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao at one of the many events in the run up to the dialogue.
Covert wars, waged virally - Thomas E Ricks, Business Standard
Is the United States at war with Iran? If David Sanger’s account in his new book, Confront and Conceal, on President Obama’s foreign policy, is to be believed – and I find it very believable – we certainly are. The stunning revelations by Mr Sanger, The New York Times’ chief Washington correspondent, about the American role in using computer warfare to attack Iran’s nuclear programme already have made headlines, and rightly so. He persuasively shows that under Mr Obama, the US government has been engaged in what one presidential adviser calls “a state of low-grade, daily conflict”.
New threats to Obama's reelection bid - Joe Trippi, Fox News
As someone who wants to see President Obama win re-election, nothing is gained by denying that three things from last week his comments on the private sector, the Wisconsin results, and the campaigns’ fundraising reports hurt his re-election prospects. They did. While it’s clear that President Obama’s comment that “the private sector is doing fine” was meant relative to the decline in jobs in the public sector, you can bet that the full context of his remarks won’t make it into the attacks ads based on the comment that Romney and his Super PACs have already begun releasing.
Droning on about Pak-based terrorism - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Visiting US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, here on Wednesday, strongly backed America’s drone campaign, which flies unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s tribal areas to launch missile attacks on terrorists who feature on a detailed hit list. Successful Predator drone strikes have whittled Al Qaeda dramatically, through high-tech operations like last week’s aerial execution of its deputy leader, Abu Yahya Al-Libi, in North Waziristan.
Building long-neglected stilwell? - Reghu Dayal, Economic Times
A slew of some bold initiatives and accords towards rejuvenating old India-Myanmar bonds during his just-concluded state visit to Nay Pyi Taw signify a welcome reprieve for the beleaguered Indian Premier Manmohan Singh, a harried man at home amidst the morass of scams, policy paralysis and reform drift.
Looking to get ahead? China doesn't want you - Christopher Beam, Business Week
Joe Phillips seemed like an ideal candidate to make it in China. Half-Chinese, with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies, business experience, $20,000 in savings, and an affable disposition, he set off for Beijing with a friend from Seattle in the fall of 2010 to start a company that would bring microbrews from the Pacific Northwest to the largest beer market in the world. “The land of milk and honey was calling,” he says.
The sovereign peoples of Europe revolt - Daniel Gros, Business Standard
The European Union is a voluntary quasi-federation of sovereign and democratic states in which elections matter and each country seeks to determine its own destiny, regardless of the wishes of its partners. But it should now be apparent to everyone that the euro zone was designed with a very different institutional arrangement in mind. Indeed, that design gap has turned out to be a major source of the monetary union’s current crisis.
Start the engines, Angela - Economist
“To the lifeboats!” That is the stark message bond markets are sending about the global economy. Investors are rushing to buy sovereign bonds in America, Germany and a dwindling number of other “safe” economies. When people are prepared to pay the German government for the privilege of holding its two-year paper, and are willing to lend America’s government funds for a decade for a nominal yield of less than 1.5%, they either expect years of stagnation and deflation or are terrified of imminent disaster. Whichever it is, something is very wrong with the world economy.
Hillary: India, US interests are aligned - Parul Chandra, Deccan Chronicle
As India and the US head into the third round of their annual strategic dialogue slated for June 13, a measure of its huge importance was evident in US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s remarks wherein she said that the two countries “strategic interests are aligned.”
US, Pakistan beginning to look more like enemies - CBS News
You know a friendship has gone sour when you start making mean jokes about your friend in front of his most bitter nemesis. So it was a bad sign this week when the U.S. defense secretary joshed in front of an audience of Indians about how Washington kept Pakistan in the dark about the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden a year ago.
Will India ever really be America's partner? - Christopher Clary, Foreign Policy
Secretary of Defense Panetta told an Indian audience last week that "defense cooperation with India is a linchpin" of U.S. efforts to "rebalance" its defense presence in the Asia-Pacific. At a time when most American allies are plagued by shrinking economies, aging workforces, and contracting militaries, India stands out as a potential "net security provider" in Asia. Even though the Indian economy has hit a rough patch in the last few months, overall it is expanding -- along with the country's population and military. 
Man who could sink the world economy - Hindustan Times
In his fresh linen suit and crisp white shirt, Alexis Tsipras cuts a dashing figure. And on the podium on Sunday, exactly one week before Greeks cast their ballots in the most crucial election since their country emerged from the ashes of civil war, the young leftist leader was on vintage form, fists punching the air as the crowd cheered on the man many have come to see as Greece’s salvation in its greatest hour of need.
US gives India the Iran “exception” it didn't ask for - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
On the eve of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included India in a select group of seven nations granted an “exception” from a requirement in the U.S.' 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) that any nation importing a significant amount of oil from Iran be slapped with sanctions from next month onwards.
Race for the White House: Economy will decide the winner - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
In the run-up to the 2008 White House race, a surging Barack Obama campaign had lost little time to deride Republican rival John McCain for his assertion that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”. It being a time when America was in the throes of an economic meltdown triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis and the implosion of financial giants like Lehman Brothers, AIG and Merrill Lynch, the Democrats slammed Mr McCain for being “out of touch” with reality. Mr Obama himself came up with the teaser, “Senator, what economy are you talking about?”
A first: Obama names ‘trailblazer’ Indian American as US Judge - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
US President Barack Obama has nominated Indian American Srikanth Srinivasan for a prestigious judicial post — Circuit Judge at the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC. Born in Chandigarh and educated in Stanford, Srinivasan will be the first-ever Indian American to hold a high federal judicial post in the US.
Indian-American picked for 2nd highest US court - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
US President Barack Obama on Monday nominated India-born legal luminary Srikanth Srinivasan to the Federal Court of Appeals, the highest ever judicial appointment of an Indian-American in the US and a powerful reminder of the extraordinary strides the community has made while deeply integrating into American society.
The patience runs out - Shamila N Chaudhary, Foreign Policy
Divorces don't happen overnight, but there's always that one moment, that one comment when -- perhaps only in retrospect -- you can see the split coming. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's recent trip to Afghanistan may have been unannounced, but he wasn't shy when it came to speaking about Pakistan. Panetta said quite openly that the United States is losing patience with Pakistan, especially when it comes to Islamabad's failure -- or unwillingness -- to act against the Haqqani Network, a Taliban- and al Qaeda-affiliated group known to target Americans in Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan.
How the Euro will end - Gerald O'Driscoll, WSJ
The euro is the world's first currency invented out of whole cloth. It is a currency without a country. The European Union is not a federal state, like the United States, but an agglomeration of sovereign states. European countries are plagued by rigidities, including those in labor markets—where language differences and the protection of trades and professions in many countries impede labor mobility. That makes it difficult for their economies to adjust to cyclical and structural economic shifts.
Finally, India breaks civil nuke deal logjam with US - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
US company Westinghouse and India’s Nuclear Power Corporation signed an early works agreement on Tuesday giving the civil nuclear deal its first commercial breakthrough. The agreement commits them to work towards preliminary licensing agreements on pricing, design and technology, skirting the contentious liability law, which was holding up actualization of the deal.
US-India ties have never been so strong’ - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
India and the United States began their third annual Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday with the air cleared over the issue of Iran oil sanctions with a deft, timely move by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
India, US forging new phase of ties, says Hillary - Hindu
Focusing on five key areas including security cooperation and trade, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said India and the United States were moving to forge a new and more mature phase of ties, as the 3rd Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue kicked off here.
Passion vs caution as US, India take to strategic tango - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The senior Indian cabinet minister sighed deeply, looked out from his hotel room into the distance towards Washington DC's numerous monuments he had traversed as a student, and paused reflectively for a long time, before replying: It is the nature of the Indian state and the Indian people to be cautious and not rush things. The Indian government believes in building consensus and does not act emotionally. The process takes time. 
Looking for ‘Pak’ in US dictionary - Sumit Ganguly, Deccan Chronicle
US-Pakistan relations are again at odds. Both the civilian and military leadership in Islamabad believe that the US has treated them poorly since the Special Forces’ raid on Abbottabad and the demise of Osama bin Laden. Subsequently, the US’ use of drone attacks along Pakistan’s western borderlands has become yet another source of political contention.
Finding the right notes - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
This week, New Delhi and Washington found themselves swept up in an annual embrace of political necessity, an institutional hug that was at the same time both intimate and hesitant, broad but soft. Welcome to the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, a celebration of the diversity of bilateral cooperation between two nations which are apparently still discovering each other as if for the first time.
US persuades India to expand Afghan footprint - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
India and the United States on Wednesday pledged to hold a regular trilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, signaling a long-term commitment to stability in the war-ravaged country in the face of Pakistan's depredations. The forceful pledge, buried deep in a 13-page joint U.S-India statement of some 4200 words, signals an expanded Indian footprint amid a diminishing American military intervention in Afghanistan, and outflanks Pakistan, which is seen as a spoiler in the region.
India snubs US strategic embrace - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Any questions whether New Delhi would serve as a US stooge and become a patsy following the American strategic embrace disappeared in vapor trails as India's foreign minister flew out of Washington DC on Thursday after what officials from both sides agreed was a successful engagement. The route he took itself was illustrative of the complexity international relations. To go south to Havana, S M Krishna had to first fly north to Toronto, Canada, because the United States forbids direct flights to its bete noir Cuba. 
Britain to snoop on every email, SMS, phone call - Raphael Satter, Washington Post
British authorities on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every email, phone call and text message in the U.K. And in a sharply worded editorial, the nation’s top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.
'Soft coup' court ruling could reignite Egyptian revolution - Laura Smith-Spark, Michael Martinez and Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) -- Confusion reigns in Egypt after stunning court rulings threw the country's awkward transition toward democratic rule into turmoil. The decision sparked cries that Egypt's military leaders have engineered a "soft coup" to thwart their longtime foes -- Islamists who just weeks ago captured a majority of seats in the Egyptian parliament in the first election in Egypt in generations.
India scores a diplomatic point in Kabul Declaration - Parul Chandra, Asian Age
In a diplomatic victory of sorts for New Delhi, India has managed to ensure that Thursday’s Kabul Declaration raises pressure on Pakistan for providing a safe haven for terrorists while calling for the dismantling of these safe sanctuaries. The Kabul declaration was made upon the conclusion of a day-long conference in the Afghan capital in which leaders of 29 countries participated. It was the first ministerial meeting after the Istanbul conference in November 2011 and focused on Afghanistan’s development and future.
Obama calls PM, discusses bilateral ties, Euro crisis - Lalit K Jha, PTI
US President Barack Obama spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the phone, discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest and agreeing to work together to strengthen the resilience of the global economy to cope with shocks from the Eurozone.
No constitution, no consensus - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
Nepal currently finds itself in a deep state of constitutional breakdown. The Constituent Assembly’s failure to deliver the constitution has triggered a debate dividing the political spectrum. Does Nepal have a functional constitution at the moment? Who has executive authority: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who was unilaterally designated a caretaker PM by the president without his resigning?
US-India defence links: the next level - Premvir Das, Business Standard
As many as five cabinet-level US officials have already visited India this year, most recently US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta. The message that they have all brought is that, for the US, India will be the major relationship of the 21st century.
How Iran's revenge bomb plot over nuclear programme took shape - Jason Burke, Guardian
Race Course Road in the centre of Delhi is one of the quieter roads in a city known for its chaotic traffic. Yet the scene at 3.15 pm on 13 February was anything but calm. A grey Toyota Innova people carrier was in flames with its two occupants, the wife of the Israeli defence attaché and her driver, on the ground nearby. Police and bystanders tried to call ambulances but none were available. More people milled around another vehicle, its windows blown in.
Greeks vote in cliffhanger euro election - Hindu
Greeks fed up with austerity voted on Sunday in elections that could decide their future in the eurozone amid unprecedented external pressure not to vote for a radical Leftist party. Some 9.8 million Greeks began voting at 0400 GMT in a showdown between the conservative New Democracy party and the anti-austerity Syriza party that has spooked European leaders and the markets.
Leftists poised for victory in French elections - Hindu
French voters are choosing a new Parliament on Sunday that will determine how far Socialist President Francois Hollande can push for economic stimulus in France and around a debt-burdened, stagnant Europe. The Left is in the spotlight and expected to take the driver's seat of the 577-seat National Assembly after Sunday's second round of legislative elections.
'Corrupt' Pakistan media on judiciary radar - Badar Alam, Mail Today
Until recently, Pakistan's judiciary and media appeared to be allies in their mutual pursuit to check corruption in the government led by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Early this month, however, the bond showed the first signs of fraying when a few news channels conducted talk shows on allegations of corruption against Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The judges were furious.
How shock waves will hit US if Greece drops euro - Matthew Craft, Business Week
The unthinkable suddenly looks possible. Bankers, governments and investors are preparing for Greece to stop using the euro as its currency, a move that could spread turmoil throughout the global financial system. The worst case envisions governments defaulting on their debts, a run on European banks and a worldwide credit crunch reminiscent of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008.
China should intervene in Syria, not America - Niall Ferguson, Daily Beast
The Arab Spring has plunged Syria into a bloody civil war. Now, with allegations flying that the Russians are supplying helicopters to the odious regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a familiar debate is underway. Should we intervene? There can be no morally credible argument against intervention—by someone. Leaving Syria to descend into the kind of sectarian violence that devastated neighboring Lebanon in the 1980s would condemn hundreds of thousands to premature, violent death. Syria is five times the size of Lebanon. The risks of leaving it to degenerate into a failed state are surely higher than the risks of intervention.
India’s Tibet problem - Dibyesh Anand, Indian Express
Last week, a Tibetan herder set himself on fire in China’s Qinghai Province to protest government policies in the region. On May 27, even the presence of the paramilitary, the police, snipers and surveillance cameras could not prevent two Tibetan men from immolating themselves in front of the sacred Jokhang temple in protest against the Chinese rule in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. This marks the nationwide spread of self-immolation by Tibetans calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.
Red storm: Nepal Maoists bicker over Prachanda, split - Manesh Shrestha, ToI
A faction of Nepal's Maoist party split on Monday with the rebel group accusing Maoist leader Prachanda of revisionism and failing to live up to ideals of the communist revolution. The newly formed Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist, is headed by ideologue Vaidya who declared the dissociation from the mother party, Unified CPN-Maoist.
What type of vice presidential candidate will Romney go for? - Paul West, LA Times
Mitt Romney has already had one run-in with the vice presidential selection process, and it did not end well. In late May 2008, well after John McCain had sewed up the Republican presidential nomination, he summoned Romney and other vice presidential contenders to his Arizona ranch. None was picked, and the prize ultimately went to a little-known governor, Sarah Palin of Alaska.
Fai's U.S. judgement reveals how ISI fomented trouble in Kashmir valley - Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Mail Today
The protest movement in Jammu and Kashmir was never 'indigenous' in nature and was financially and logistically supported by Pakistan's spy agency ISI from the very outset, US attorney Neil MacBride has said. The attorney made this claim in his explanation of reasoning for the sentencing of US-based Kashmiri activist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai. Fai was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy and tax violations last March.
A Glimmer of Hope for Greece - Spiegel
New Democracy's victory in Sunday's Greek elections will only give the country a short breather. The nation is deeply divided, and coalition talks could prove difficult. Greece threatens to slide into chaos again if the country's politicians, and citizens, fail to get their act together.
Uncertainty underlines the appointment of the new Egyptian president - Kareem Fahim & Dina Salah Amer, NYT
The first celebrations for the new president were joyous but sparsely attended, saddled by fatigue and overwhelmed by traffic and heat. In Tahrir Square, flags waved and boys set off fireworks that disappeared in the midday sun.
Pakistan ranked 13th among failed States: Magazine - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Pakistan has been ranked 13th in an index of failed States, compiled annually by the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine. In a list dominated by a host of African countries, led by Somalia, Congo and Sudan, Pakistan has improved its status by a mere one slot over the past year. War-torn Afghanistan is sixth on the list.
Nepal: Into the void - Economist
For a man who has just led his country off a constitutional cliff, Baburam Bhattarai, Nepal’s Maoist prime minister, seems remarkably relaxed. Squeezing Banyan in for an interview in his Kathmandu office on June 9th, he is about to head off to grace a convocation at a medical college. So it is business as usual, despite the legal vacuum his government has inhabited since the term of a 600-member elected Constituent Assembly (CA), which also served as the parliament, expired at midnight on May 27th. So ended its abortive four-year effort to agree on a new constitution.
In a shift, biggest wave of US immigrants is now Asian - Kirk Semple, NYT
Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the largest wave of new immigrants to the United States, pushing the population of Asian descent to a record 18.2 million and helping to make Asians the fastest-growing racial group in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
Sri Lankan Minister stirs up controversy again - RK Radhakrishnan, Hindu
A rabble-rousing Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister’s utterances on the dark fate that awaits the Tamils has stirred up a controversy again in India with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagan raking up the issue. Power Minister Champika Ranawaka, known for making anti-India statements and then blaming the Indian media, at a press conference here on June 8, warned that 100 more Mullivaikals (where the LTTE’s final stand took place in Eelam War IV) will be created if Tamils in Sri Lanka followed the Tamil National Alliance and supported its policies.
Assange at Ecuador mission, seeks asylum - Indian Express
British police stood poised Wednesday to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should he step out of Ecuador’s London embassy, but authorities conceded he is beyond their grasp as long as he stays inside. Assange says he is seeking political asylum at the South American nation’s diplomatic mission.
United workers of the world - Economist
The working world was much cosier in 1980. Just 1.7 billion people were picking up a pay packet a generation ago, nearly half on farms. Globalisation has since upended labour markets. In 2010 the world counted 2.9 billion workers, with the emerging world responsible for most of the increase: it added 900m new non-farm workers, of which 400m live in China and India alone.
The sources of the global economic stalemate - Robert J Samuelson, Washington Post
We live in a world of broken models. To understand why world leaders can’t easily fix the sputtering global economy, you have to realize that the economic models on which the United States, Europe and China relied are collapsing. The models differ, but the breakdowns are occurring simultaneously and feed on each other. The result is that the global recovery flags, while pessimism and uncertainty mount. Take the United States. The U.S. economic model was consumer-led growth.
Two more Tibetans set themselves on fire, one dies - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Two young Tibetan men self immolated on Wednesday in eastern China’s Qinghai province in the continuing wave of apparent protest against China’s rule over Tibet. One man died on the spot, a rights group said, adding that the second person was critically burnt.
Stop terrorism, stop losing sovereignty: Hillary to Pakistan - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Pakistan that unless it cracks down on its terror safe havens with speed, it cannot put a stop to losing its own sovereignty to the likes of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the Haqqani Network. “What we’ve said to the Pakistanis is look, if there were ever an argument in the past for your policy of hedging against Afghanistan by supporting the Haqqani Network or the Afghan Taliban or the LeT against India, those days are over,” she said in an interview to noted talk show host Charlie Rose.
America’s long slope down - David Cay Johnston, Financial Express
A broad swath of official economic data shows that America and its people are in much worse shape than when we paid higher taxes, higher interest rates and made more of the manufactured goods we use. The numbers since the turn of the millennium point to even worse times ahead if we stay the course. Let’s look at the official numbers in today’s dollars and then what can be done to change course.
Troubled US-India-Iran triangle - Brahma Chellaney, Economic Times
The US recently took the Iran-sanctions monkey off India's back: it granted India - but not China and Singapore - an exemption from Iran-related financial sanctions in exchange for significant cuts in Indian purchases of Iranian oil. Nevertheless, Iran continues to cast a pall over an otherwise brightening US-India relationship. From India's perspective, Iran is an important neighbour with which it can ill-afford to rupture its relationship.
Coup fears return to Pakistan - Anita Joshua, Hindu
Always on the boil, the melting pot of conspiracy theories that is Pakistan is now boiling over. Suspicion that “hidden hands” were at work in ousting Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani from office — reportedly voiced by none other than the former Prime Minister at a closed-door meeting...
China-Bhutan speed dating worries Delhi - Indrani Bagchi, ToI
India confronts a new strategic situation in its neighborhood as its staunchest ally Bhutan prepares to establish full diplomatic ties with China. Until now, Bhutan had been the only South Asian country where China did not have a presence. That is about to change.
China releasing false data to downplay slowdown? - Keith Bradsher, ToI
As the Chinese economy continues to sputter, prominent corporate executives in China and Western economists say there is evidence that local and provincial officials are falsifying economic statistics to disguise the true depth of the troubles. Record-setting mountains of excess coal have accumulated at the country's biggest storage areas...
Obama attacks Romney for outsourcing jobs to India - Hindustan Times
Seizing a news report that a company founded by Mitt Romney shipped American jobs to countries like India and China, US President Barack Obama went into attack mode against his likely Republican rival. "Today it was reported in the Washington Post that the companies his firm owned were pioneers in the outsourcing of American jobs to places like China and India. Pioneers!" he said on Friday at a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida.
Let’s talk business, border row can wait, Beijing tells Delhi - Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times
China has pitched for a two-track approach to strengthen bilateral relations with India, advocating patience in resolving the sticky border dispute and simultaneously deepening economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
Trying to join twain that cannot meet - Praveen Swami, Hindu
Late in 2009, Pakistan’s army chief laid out his vision for the nation’s future to an audience of policemen in Peshawar. “Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam by our forefathers,” General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said, “and each one of us should work for strengthening the country and should make a commitment towards achieving the goal of turning the country into a true Islamic state.” This April, Gen. Kayani had a different message for the nation. 
Menon to arrive in Lanka with tough messages: report - Indian Express
India is expected to convey in “the strongest terms” its concerns to Sri Lanka on a number of issues when its National Security Adviser visits Colombo later this week, according to a media report here on Sunday. “India is sending a top-level emissary to Sri Lanka to convey in ‘the strongest terms’ New Delhi’s concerns over a string of important issues,” the Sunday Times reported.
In Pakistan schools, ‘B’ for ‘bandook’ , ‘J’ for ‘jihad’ - PTI
London, June 25 - Citing stark examples from school curriculum, a prominent Islamabad-based scholar has said that extreme religious and anti-India views fed into children in schools reinforced the cycle of extremism that showed no signs of receding in Pakistan. 
With no sign of Nepali Congress drift ending , political vacuum continues - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
If a political party has a death-wish, how can you help it live? That view just about sums up India’s current thinking about the Nepali Congress (NC), an incredible turnaround-of-sorts, considering the fraternal relations between it and the Indian National Congress are as old and as intense as the bond between Jawaharlal Nehru and one of modern Nepal’s founding fathers, B P Koirala.
China’s strong-arm tactics - Sohail Mathur, Financial Express
China’s growth and rapid development over the last two decades has been a monumental achievement. However, China’s dash towards the summit of political, economic and military primacy has not occurred without its fair share of rule breaking. Humanitarian, environmental, labour and moral concerns aside, China has broken international trade rules that it accepted as a signatory to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in order to build its domestic capability and capacity.
India, Brazil & China defend generic drugs - Amiti Sen, Economic Times
India, Brazil and China have defended the right of poor countries to access cheap generic medicines at the World Trade Organisation, resisting attempts by the US, Japan and some other developed countries to club counterfeits or copies of patented drugs with fake or spurious ones.
Will hand over Khalistan separatists in US: FBI to India - Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times
Taking bilateral ties on the homeland security front to a higher level, officials of the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have assured their Indian counterparts that they would not hesitate to extradite even American nationals to India if New Delhi proved that they were involved in terrorist activities.
Ansari arrest could reveal IM’s links to Pakistan - Johnson TA, Indian Express
The arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari is expected to shed new light on the homegrown Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror network and its Pakistan-based controllers. Ansari, who it is suspected belongs to Beed, Maharashtra, is identified in police records as an associate of Riyaz Shahbandri alias Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the alleged founders of the IM. That is also how he is identified in the Interpol lookout notice on the basis of which his arrest has been facilitated.
Nepal The Maoist split - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
There has been yet another setback — arguably the severest one — to the political career of Maoist chief Prachanda. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) has suffered a major split, with senior vice chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran breaking away with 45 of 149 Central Committee members and a substantial following to form a new party, Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists. Prachanda tried to stall the split, but neither he nor Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai were willing to quit their posts, the bottomline the rebels had set for staying in the UCPN-M.
Fakes and status in China - Economist
Most shop windows proudly showcase what can be bought inside. The window of the Silk Street Market, a touristy shopping centre in Beijing, is a bit different. It displays a pair of official notices advertising what cannot be bought inside. These non-offerings include luxury brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. The notices are meant to save customers from buying fakes unwittingly. But many still buy them wittingly. You could almost say that counterfeits remain Silk Street’s trademark, despite the market’s efforts to stamp them out.
Difficult friends - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
The whistle stop at Kolkata by the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, during her three-day visit to India in May was ostensibly to meet and express her admiration for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who had uprooted a deeply entrenched Left Front government which had held unchallenged sway in the state for more than three decades.
How China, Saudi backing keeps Pak hooked on terror - B Raman, First Post
In the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Christine Fair, the well-known US academic, has given an excellent analysis of the state of affairs in Pakistan and of the state of the US relations with Pakistan. The article, which reflects the desperation and confusion in Washington DC over the lack of credible and workable options to make Pakistan behave as a responsible member of the international community, comes out with a list of policy options for the future. Some of these options are quite drastic — like letting the state of Pakistan collapse without being inhibited by fears over what could happen subsequently. 
What to do about Pakistan - C Christine Fair, Foreign Policy
The last year and a half has been a rocky road for U.S.-Pakistan relations -- and once again, domestic and foreign policy developments seem ever more perilous. The year 2011 opened with the cold-blooded assassination of the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, by a fanatic who denounced him as a blasphemer.
Obama wins over immigrants - S Rajagopalan, Pioneer
Has an embattled President Barack Obama pulled a rabbit out of his hat with his recent immigration bombshell? Polls among Hispanics, America’s largest ethnic minority accounting for over 16 per cent of the population, suggest that he indeed has with his decision to halt the deportation of more than 8,00,000 young undocumented immigrants.
Arrest result of 7-yr India-Saudi intel embrace - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
The prize catch of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, suspected to be a key player in orchestrating the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, is the result of a covert seven-year Indian effort to appease Saudi Arabia, including an exclusive arrangement to allow Riyadh to set up a “listening post” here comprising agents from its internal intelligence agency.
Getting even gloomier about Pakistan - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Aparna Pande’s excellent book, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Escaping India, is a must read for Indian travellers to Pakistan who tend to gush to the locals, “You know, this is just like India, we don’t feel like we’ve come to another country”, and then feel perplexed by the Lahori’s cold response. Secure in our millennia-old identity, few of us Indians are aware of Pakistan’s quest for an identity; the logic of its “anti-India” worldview; and the many fictions that our neighbour has embraced in answering that simplest of questions: “Who am I?”
The brutal truth - Economist
In the photographs the young mother lies on a clinic bed, her hair obscuring her face. She appears as inert as the baby lying beside her. But 23-year-old Feng Jianmei is still alive, whereas her baby girl is not. The baby was killed while still in the womb by an injection arranged by local family-planning officials. They restrained Ms Feng, who was seven months pregnant, and then induced her to give birth to the dead baby.
No country for armed men - Ahmed Rashid, Foreign Policy
It was a sign of the misguided times in Pakistan that on June 5 -- a day when the country faced massive rolling electricity blackouts, a crashing economy, civil war in two out of four provinces, violence from the Himalayas to the Arabian Gulf, and a cratering relationship with the United States -- the Pakistani army decided it was the best moment to test fire a cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Better ties with Saudi Arabia helped clinch the Jundal deal - Jayanth Jacob, HT
Saudi Arabia has long maintained that Pakistan is its brother and India its friend. But friendship triumphed over kinship when Saudi Arabia agreed to hand over key 26/11 attack handler Zaibuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal to India.
Hamza blows the lid off ISI’s direct role in 26/11 - Pramod Kumar Singh, Pioneer
Abu Jundal, alias Abu Hamza, alias Sayeed Zaibuddin Ansari, one of the six handlers who sat in Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s (LeT) control room in Karachi has exposed Pakistan’s role in 26/11. His revelations have enough ammunition to implicate Pakistan’s ‘state actors’ for the massacre in Mumbai.
Obama slams Romney for shifting jobs to India - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
The well-worn stereotype of Democrats being more cautious about India than are Republicans raised its head again this week, as both U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden slammed election rival Mitt Romney for outsourcing American jobs to India. In campaign speeches in Miami, Florida, and Waterloo, Iowa, the President and the Vice-President respectively tore into the former Massachusetts Governor’s alleged record of job destruction during the latter’s tenure as head of private equity firm Bain and Company.
Man who sent Ansari to Pak terror camp is in Bangladesh - Sagnik Chowdhury, IE
While alleged 26/11 plotter Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal is finally in the custody of Indian agencies after he was put on a plane from Saudi Arabia, another key Lashkar operative, Raheel Abdul Rehman Shaikh, an accused in the May 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case in Maharashtra, is still believed to be holed up in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Pak may have done Sarabjit U-turn under jihadi pressure - Omar Farooq Khan, ToI
Pakistan's U-turn on an order for the release of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian dubbed a spy and condemned to death for bombings 22 years ago, set off speculation on Wednesday about whether the decision, attributed to President Asif Ali Zardari's office, was made under pressure from the powerful Islamists.
Global finance, democracy at loggerheads - P Raman, Business Line
Universal franchise and free market capitalism are considered to be the two sides of Western democracy. Conviction in the infallibility and inevitability of the model has been so strong that the dominant powers used every means to topple and democratise the ‘rouge’ regimes. But few had anticipated that the two pillars — democracy and capitalism — could come into such sharp conflict with each other in such a short time. This has been happening throughout the world in the past few years.
SC healthcare nod a pre-poll boost for Obama - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The US supreme court on Thursday upheld the so-called Obamacare law that broadly requires all Americans to mandatorily buy health insurance. The court decision, by a narrow 5-4 margin, is seen as an epic political victory for President Obama, who had staked his second term, and perhaps his legacy, on the hot button issue.
Pakistan collapsing from within - Javid Ahmad and Mashail Malik, CNN
Tensions that flare between Pakistan's ineffective civilian government and influential judiciary reached an all-time high last week when the country’s Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding office. The unprecedented ruling came less than two months after Gilani was charged with contempt for his refusal to ask the Swiss government to reopen corruption charges facing President Asif Ali Zardari.
ISI, Pak forces protect Hafiz Saeed 24x7: Abu Jundal - Neeraj Chauhan, ToI
26/11 plotter Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Jundal has said that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, one of world's most serious terror threats, is guarded round the clock by Pakistan's security forces and its spy agency, the ISI. He has also admitted to have met Saeed, and has said that the LeT founder motivated him to help the outfit carry out more terrorist acts against India.
Queen has no time for Indian envoy - Ashis Ray, ToI
Four months after the new Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Jaimini Bagwati, arrived in London, Britain's head of state, Queen Elizabeth, hasn't found time to accept his credentials. Apparently, such preoccupation on her part is the latest in a series of inadvertent or intended tit-for-tats between the two countries.
President vs Prime Minister - Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express
A month after the demise of the Constituent Assembly, Nepalese actors appear more confused about the way forward. A power-tussle between President Ram Baran Yadav and caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai further compounds the confusion. Bhattarai said he will hand over power only to a prime minister elected after the general elections scheduled for November 22.
Saudis lend a helping hand - Hiranmay Karlekar, Pioneer
By handing over Abu Jundal, Riyadh has demonstrated its firm commitment to fighting the global menace of terrorism and strengthening ties with India. The arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari underlines the increasingly cordial relations between India and Saudi Arabia and the growing cooperation between the intelligence agencies of the two countries.
U.S. push for more defence sales to India - Narayan Lakshman, Hindu
For all the buzz about the U.S.’ disappointment after New Delhi ejected Washington from the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender competition, it would appear that 2012 is the year of intensified efforts by the Pentagon to deepen its defence ties with India.
India wins another gulf war, gets Fasih - Sachin Parashar, ToI
After the arrest of 26/11 handler Abu Jundal, India is on the verge of another success in Saudi Arabia having convinced the authorities there to deport Bihar engineer Fasih Mahmood, accused of carrying out terror strikes in India and recruiting youths for terror-related activities.
Halting Syrian chaos - Robert D Kaplan & Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor
What if Syrian President Bashar al Assad really goes? There is an assumption in the West that the way to win a strategic victory over Iran and improve the human rights situation inside Syria is to remove the Syrian leader. It is true that Iran's prospects of keeping Syria as its own Mediterranean outpost are probably linked with the survivability of al Assad's regime. But his removal might well hasten the slide into chaos within Syria and in adjacent Lebanon, rather than slow it.
India inches closer to NSG membership - Indrani Bagchi, ToI
As India inches towards a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the China-Pakistan nuclear transfer is a sign of the growing impotence of the high priesthood of nuclear affairs. The US circulated a "non-paper" on India's membership at the NSG plenary meeting held in Seattle on June 22. The most controversial part of the paper is that NPT membership not be seen as a "condition" for being in the NSG.
Iran's Chabahar port eclipses Pakistan in race for Afghan profits - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
Shahbaz Yazdani, the portly CEO of the Chabahar port authority in Iran, is really upset that Commerce Minister Anand Sharma’s impending arrival at the CII-organised investment summit on Afghanistan in the capital last week to deliver the valedictory address means that he doesn’t get any time to make his presentation.
Nepal's reckless experiment - Kanak Mani Dixit, Times of India
Even for a country in such continuous turmoil, the past month has been tumultuous for Nepal. The Constituent Assembly failed to draft the Constitution, but was not even allowed a ceremonial departure. The Maoist party, which held the entire country in thrall for 10 years of war and six years of 'political transition', finally split down the middle. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced an impossible election for Novem-ber 2012 even as the other political forces organised to push him out of office.
Threat to Saudi royals led to Jundal arrest - Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times
The handing over of 26/11 accused Abu Jundal by Saudi Arabia to India on June 21 was part of the kingdom’s drive against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) after Riyadh was convinced by Indian and US interlocutors that the terror outfit was linked to al Qaeda and had members of its royalty on its hit list.
40 Indians helped 26/11 attacks: Pakistan - Times of India
Days after LeT handler Zabiuddin Ansari's revelations about the Mumbai attacks being controlled and facilitated from Karachi, Pakistani authorities have claimed 40 Indian nationals were involved in the terrorist incident. "Our information is that there were at least 40 Indian nationals who helped the attackers.
China gains edge in Sri Lanka - Jayadeva Ranade, Indian Express
Traditionally close Indo-Sri Lankan ties forged by shared culture and ethnicity and reinforced by history and legend, are showing signs of coming under strain. Partially caused by New Delhi’s failure to provide more forthcoming policy responses to Colombo’s requests, India’s diplomatic influence is now getting eroded. China stepped in to occupy the space and has, of late, begun expanding its presence in Sri Lanka. It is acquiring a meaningful presence in the political, commercial and cultural sectors. It is already influential in Sri Lanka’s defence establishment.
Clash of Pakistan's governing titans - BBC
Pakistan's government, the courts, the opposition parties and even the media have spent weeks hurling accusations at one another. As the country teeters on the brink of meltdown, writer Ahmed Rashid says early elections may be the only way out of the latest quagmire. Just days after former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to step down by Pakistan's increasingly interventionist Supreme Court, two new notices were issued by the Supreme Court and the Lahore High Court against the president and the new prime minister.
The decline and fall of China's renminbi - Gordon G Chang, Forbes
The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, decreased its daily reference rate for the renminbi by 0.48% in Q2.  That contributed to the Chinese currency suffering its biggest quarterly decline since 2005, when it was unpegged from the U.S. dollar.  Analysts, not surprisingly, have been scrambling to cut their end-2012 estimates.
India and China: Friend, enemy, rival, investor - Economist
Dealings between India and China are stunted in many ways. Rich cultural links once existed long ago, from the study of eclipses to Buddhist chanting, but hardly anyone remembers that today, laments Amartya Sen, a Nobel-prize-winning economist. After a love-in during the 1950s, China thumped India in a border war in 1962, and the two have continued to growl over their high-altitude frontier since. Indians envy China’s economic rise, but console themselves by pointing out that it is no democracy. Aside from stiff displays of fraternity at summits, most recently the G20 bash in Mexico on June 18th-19th, China seems not to think much about India at all. Investment flows are negligible. There are still no direct flights between Beijing or Shanghai and Mumbai, India’s commercial hub.
Hillary says sorry for Nato strike; Pak re-opens routes - Chidanand Rajghatta, ToI
The United States on Tuesday proffered a token ''sorry'' to Pakistan for the losses its military suffered in the American attack on the Salala checkpost last November, enabling reopening of vital supply routes into Afghanistan which Pakistan closed after the incident.
Iran: Can destroy US bases within minutes of attack - Times of India
Iran has threatened to destroy US military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day.
US pressure made Pakistan blink - Najam Sethi, Friday Times
The civil-military leadership of Pakistan has taken nine months to settle issues with the US arising out of the Salala incident last November that could have been better resolved in nine days. As a result, Pakistan's international isolation has grown, its economy has foundered and the domestic credibility of the civil and military leadership has been eroded. There will be adverse short and long term consequences of this gross policy miscalculation. Consider.
Guarding the guardians - Economist
China's leaders, it seems, are stepping up the policing of the police who help secure their rule. In the provinces police chiefs are being put more firmly under the Communist Party’s thumb. Some liberals detect in this a sign of possible reform in the way the party polices China’s citizens. More probable, however, is that after a season of tumult, the control of the police force itself is now under scrutiny. China’s vast and costly domestic-security apparatus is still behaving as aggressively as ever.