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India in the age of bread and circus - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is the age of powerlessness at the Centre. For all practical purposes, a lame duck Manmohan Singh is presiding over a system where chief ministers call the shots. Nearly a dozen chief ministers, led by Mamata Banerjee, may have just ensured the freezing of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). And if any proof of the Union government’s weakness was required, the Prime Minister provided it himself. Read Full Article››
Open up radicalisation debate - Tufail Ahmad, NewIndianExpress
On December 10, India’s junior minister for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told Parliament: “There are no intelligence inputs to suggest that Al-Qaeda and ISIS terror groups are working together to target Indian cities.” Intelligence agencies are engaged in a difficult task of tracking terror networks. Let’s assume that Chaudhary was presenting a correct assessment of the jihadist threat before the nation. However, 2014 has been an extraordinary year during which the threat of radicalisation...
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Pakistan needs a new story - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
It is foolhardy to write on Pakistan. The country reveals the limits of most political analysis. Most political analysis explains violence in terms of something else: fundamentalism, tribal anti-imperial resistance, injustice, military use of mercenary groups etc. That “something else”, offered as an explanation, often turns into a rationalisation. With certain sorts of violence, we have to admit that our social explanations cannot do away with the obscurity of violence. Many societies deploy violence in different ways.
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GSLV MK III Launch: Our big leap upward - Prakash Chandra, Economic Times
To paraphrase a famous quote, it may have been one small step in launching rockets, but a giant leap for a country’s space ambitions. The debut experimental flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) on Thursday must have dispelled whatever doubts that lingered in the minds of India’s space scientists about their flagship launcher’s capabilities. For, India’s most powerful rocket was yet to prove its reliability, having failed in four of its previous seven flights.
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The denial of cultural heritage - JS Rajput, Pioneer
Informed people the world over know about Bhagvad Gita, its context and also its basic philosophy. A Turkish Prime Minister comes to India and unhesitatingly proclaims that whenever confronted with apparently formidable problems, he finds both solace and solution, in the Gita! In India, whenever someone speaks respectfully and adoringly about Bhagvad Gita, an ideologically-constrained group immediately grabs the opportunity and in its familiar style, proclaims that ‘secularism is in danger’.
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ISI asserts total control on Pakistan’s policymaking - Tufail Ahmad, Indiafacts
In modern memory, December 16 was the darkest day for Pakistani children. A group of Taliban suicide bombers entered a military-run school in Peshawar and slaughtered 132 children and nine adults. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the massacre and were rightly blamed, yet the ideology of this carnage is authored by the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services intelligence (ISI). Among the analysts of Pakistan affairs, there is consensus that the ISI has created, nurtured and shepherded jihadist groups in order to use them against...
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Terror — a creation of Pak politicians - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
In our public discourse on terrorism from territory under Pakistan’s control, there is a tendency to hold the military establishment solely responsible for the rise of terrorist outfits -- as though that country’s political establishment and parties have nothing to do with the radical Islamic militant groups there. It is no secret that the Deobandi oriented Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman has backed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir...
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Will the world wake up after Peshawar? - Kanchan Gupta, ABP Live
Proximity to tragic events tends to magnify the cruelty inflicted on innocent people. So it is that we are horrified by the ghastly slaughter (there can be no other word for what the barbarians did) of 141 people, among them 132 children, at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday, December 16. Most of the students felled by the bloodthirsty jihadis were aged 10 to 13. The heart-rending wail of a father captures the sorrow of the parents who lost their children, “My son went to school in his uniform, he has returned home in a coffin.
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By the states, for the states - Bhaskar Dutta, Indian Express
One of the first decisions of the new government has been the decision to scrap the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission, set up in 1950, has increasingly become an anachronistic behemoth, although it did play a crucial role in the initial years when public investment was an overwhelmingly large part of overall investment in the economy. Those were the days when centralised planning, and hence the Planning Commission, had an important role.
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New wars on the Cold War relic - TP Sreenivasan, Hindu
Revisiting the Indian Ocean zone of peace concept, which has led to long debates since 1971, may prove hazardous in the present context, because the rivalry that is taking shape in the region is between the U.S. and its allies, and China. The National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, has sought to revisit the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2832 (XXVI) declaring the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace, and which has called upon the great powers not to allow an escalation and an expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean.
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Revisit the endgameplan - Bruce Riedel, Indian Express
The longest war in American history is approaching its moment of truth. Next year, the American- and Nato-built Afghan army will face Pakistani-backed Taliban insurgents with only modest and decreasing foreign assistance. President Barack Obama has promised even that small troop presence will end by 2017. He needs to revisit this decision. From January 2015, Nato will have 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, of which 10,800 will be Americans. Germany will be the second-largest troop contributor with 850, and Italy third with 500.
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