India Insight

Kashmiri separatists seek Saudi mediation to end dispute

Mirwaiz Umar FarooqMirwaiz Umar Farooq, a senior Kashmiri separatist leader, has urged Saudi Arabia to use its influence and bring India and Pakistan closer to solve the decades-long conflict over the disputed Himalayan region.

Farooq arrived in the Kingdom last Thursday to perform the Umrah pilgrimage and his visit, two weeks after the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is being considered significant.

Farooq is chairman of Kashmir’s moderate separatist alliance — the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

Saudi Arabia has old and close ties with Muslim Pakistan and has also been mentioned as a possible mediator in any political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, where India and Pakistan have been battling for influence since long.

Singh’s visit, the first to Saudi Arabia by an Indian leader since 1982, sought to build economic ties and to enlist Riyadh’s help in improving regional security.

Kashmir marks 20 years of conflict, peace still distant

A policeman walks behind a razor wire fence near the venue of India's Republic Day celebrations in Srinagar January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliOne of the world’s longest-running separatist insurgencies, one that has killed tens of thousands of people in Kashmir, completed two decades last month.

The strife-torn region witnessed a period of relative calm, but a recent spate of rebel attacks is a grim reminder of the tensions in Kashmir at the heart of enmity between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan.

A series of skirmishes across Kashmir’s border between the South Asian rivals, which claim the disputed region in full but rule in parts, also underline decades of mistrust between two countries which have fought two wars over the region.

26/11 – Lasting images, limited impact?

Ahead of the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, India’s financial hub is on heightened alert.

Metal detectors and scanners “beep” in office blocks and malls, snipers and sniffer dogs keep guard at hotels, and barricades are in place around high-profile locations. And various talking heads have made power point presentations to show the city is now safer.

In the past year, several measures have been put in place to tighten security in Mumbai, including a hub for elite commandos, and new weapons, armoured vehicles and speedboats for the police.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India, Pakistan : re-opening the wounds of Partition

Was it necessary to divide India and Pakistan ? Was Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, really the obdurate Muslim leader who forced Partition along religious lines in 1947 or was he pushed into it by leaders of India's Congress party, especially first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

A new book by former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh re-opens that painful, blood-soaked chapter whose price the region is still paying more than 60 years on.

Singh, a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, challenges the widely-held belief in India that it was Jinnah's insistence on a  separate homeland for Muslims that forced the breakup of India and the mayhem that accompanied it.

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