Indo-Pak relations: Glaring face-off for Asia’s feuding neighbours

Inder Malhotra looks at the thorny relationship between India and Pakistan, which has become increasingly antagonistic in recent weeks in the wake of alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Many years ago, Natwar Singh, then Indian ambassador to Pakistan and much later foreign minister, described the relations between the two South Asian neighbours as ‘devilishly complex’. Nothing could have underscored this more vividly than the dramatic and agonizing turbulence in this relationship that has taken place in a mere few weeks. At the time of writing there is an uneasy standoff between the two basically adversarial countries. Although they have managed to avert the threat of war, there is as yet no return to normalcy or to a dialogue. Let the facts speak for themselves.

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Violence against women: Stop this global misogyny

Culturally ingrained misogyny and male brutality across South Asia and beyond, including the West, must be challenged, warns Shyam Bhatia, if the world does not want to see a repeat of atrocities such as December’s horrific gang-rape and killing of a young student in Delhi.

Indian and foreign opinion has been rightly outraged at the gang rape and subsequent death of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, Jyoti Singh Pandey, who was assaulted together with her fiancé Awindra on a New Delhi bus.

Details of what happened on the bus have been revealed by Awindra, the only witness, who told the media, ‘They beat us up, hit us with an iron rod, snatched our clothes and belongings and they threw us off the bus on a deserted stretch.

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Pakistan: Qadri’s ‘long march’ takes no significant steps

A much-supported protest by a leading Pakistani intellectual has garnered attention but no real change, writes Rahimullah Yusufzai.

Religious scholar and former member of parliament Dr Tahirul Qadri ended his five-day Lahore-Islamabad ‘long march’ and ‘sit-in’ protest in the federal capital, Islamabad, on January 17 after reaching a five-point agreement with the beleaguered Pakistan People’s Party-led government.

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India: Indo-Pacific’ ties tighten at ASEAN summit

While last year has been an annus horribilis for New Delhi on the political and economic fronts, G Parthasarathy looks ahead to a brighter future as India strengthens links with its ASEAN partners, though with some concerns about China.

The year 2012 was a virtual nightmare for India’s political and diplomatic establishment. Over the past decade, international attention on India has largely focused on what was seen as an almost irreversible process of annual 8 per cent economic growth. As the economy grew rapidly and trade and investment ties across the globe and particularly in its eastern neighbourhood expanded significantly, India was seen as an emerging player in the world economy.

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India: The Punjab through NRI eyes

A visit to his Punjab village has highlighted for Dr Ramindar Singh the many worrying changes that have affected the region in recent years.

Landing at Delhi airport now is just like disembarking at any modern European airport. Its floor space is mostly carpeted, international stores and eateries bask invitingly in the dazzling lights of arcades, and the staff handling visitor formalities such as security checks and immigration are a lot more professional and courteous. If you are taking a connecting flight to Amritsar, compared with only a few years back, you will also be impressed by the substantially improved service and welcoming environment. The changes are remarkable, symbolising modernity and progress.

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India: Protests must culminate in political action

The brutal rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi has caused national outrage throughout India, but, warns Kuldip Nayar, demonstrations alone are not enough to transform a failing system

India’s capital, New Delhi, has recently witnessed an amazing phenomenon: students from well-off families coming out on to the streets to demonstrate. They were agitated, not to mention horrified, over the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman and her subsequent death. This is not the first time a woman has been gang-raped and left on the roadside, and this girl was not even from the elite class with which these students generally associate.

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War on terror: West must beware of Afghanistan part deux

As the West faces Islamic radicalism in Mali and Algeria, David Watts considers the real agenda on both sides and stresses the importance of keeping a sense of perspective.

The ‘War on Terror’ (WOT) comes to Africa or is it more to do with the competition with China for the resources of the continent?

Either way, as in Libya, it was the French who were the first out of the traps with their air attacks on jihadist rebels threatening the government of Mali, a former French colony.

In reality this is not the first time that the WOT has come to the continent; there were strong hints of it at the end of the war on Muammar Gaddafi, and indeed the weaponry and training showered on the rebels by the West, and their Gulf monarchist allies, is now fuelling the latest iteration of the conflict. Many of the fighters are graduates of the Libyan campaign just as others went on to the conflict in Syria.

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