The Great Debate (India)

Who will be India’s PM?

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As election fever reaches its peak amid the counting of votes on Saturday, all eyes are now on which party will cobble up a majority and stake claim to form the new government. And who will be India’s new prime minister? Will it be –

MANMOHAN SINGH INDIA/

The father of India’s economic reforms, Singh’s image of a compromise prime minister opened him up to criticism that he took orders from Congress party boss Sonia Gandhi and he has been criticised as a weak and directionless leader.

He regained stature by pushing through a civil nuclear deal with the United States, despite opposition from his left allies.

Singh, 76, takes a keen interest in economic issues — a rarity in India where prime ministers focus mostly on foreign affairs and domestic politics.

Greatest democratic show on earth to begin

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(C. Uday Bhaskar is a New Delhi-based strategic analyst. The views expressed in the column are his own.)

Uday BhaskarIf elections are the single most visible element of the democratic experience, the biggest show on earth is all set to unfold on Thursday when a large percentage of more than 700 million voters will participate in the first phase of the 15th Indian general elections to the Lok Sabha – the lower house of the Indian parliament.

What I would do if I were India’s PM

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INDIA/As the world’s biggest democracy goes to polls in April and May, Reuters India gives its readers the chance to say what they would do differently if elected the country’s prime minister.

Will you speed up foreign investment projects? Will you focus more on agriculture, putting more money in the pockets of farmers? How will you tackle militancy? And what will you do vis-a-vis Pakistan?

Indian dilemma — To Nano or not to Nano

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Tata Motors is launching the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, on March 23. Bookings open in the second week of April and the 100,000-rupee car is slated to hit Indian roads before July.

nano2As D-day draws near, excitement is palpable among the middle-class. Dealers are reporting thousands of enquires daily for the “people’s car”.

Is cricket in South Asia critically injured?

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This is not the first time cricket or cricketers were targeted in the subcontinent, especially Pakistan.

PAKISTAN-SRILANKA/SHOOTINGDespite the threat to players’ security, something which has led to postponement or cancellations of many tours, the subcontinent has always presented a united front which many will say was instrumental in the centre of gravity of world cricket shifting from England to South Asia.

Will ‘Slumdog’ win Best Picture at the Oscars?

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Few would bet against “Slumdog Millionaire” winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards on February 22.

OSCARS/The rags-to-riches tale of a young man from a Mumbai slum winning a TV game show swept the BAFTA film awards and the Golden Globes this year.

Outsourcing faces new era of scrutiny

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Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own

Outsourcing, Indian-style, is challenged as never before by an erosion in business confidence that makes corporate spending, even to generate quick cost-savings, harder to justify.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India turns up the heat on Pakistan, where will this end?

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The language is deliberate, the signals unmistakable: India is turning up the heat on Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks that have  killed at least 195 people, and there is no knowing where this downward spiral in ties between the uneasy neighbours will end.

Beginning with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's warning that a cost will have to be paid by neighbouring nations that allow militants to operate,  to Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's direct call to Islamabad to "dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism", there is a sharp, cold edge to the tone that you can't miss even factoring in the immediate anger and sense of outrage the attacks have evoked  across India.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Mumbai attack and Obama’s plans for Afghanistan

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As if the challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama of stabilising Afghanistan was not difficult enough, it may have just got much, much harder after the Mumbai attacks soured relations between India and Pakistan -- undermining hopes of finding a regional solution to the Afghan war.

As discussed in an earlier post, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed a group outside India for the attacks which killed at least 121 people. The coordinated attacks bore the hallmarks of Pakistani-based Kashmiri militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India says was set up by Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.

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