Sanjeev's Feed
Mar 6, 2011

India Congress aims to shore up govt after ally quits

NEW DELHI, March 6 (Reuters) – India’s Congress party moved
to shore up its ruling coalition on Sunday after a key partner
said its ministers will formally quit the cabinet on Monday, the
latest setback for a government beset by corruption scandals.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is not in
immediate threat of collapse because the Dravida Munnetra
Kazagham (DMK) party has said it will continue to offer
conditional support even after its six ministers leave because
of a row over local elections.

Mar 6, 2011

Congress tries to woo back ally, shore up coalition

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday tried to patch things up with a key ally that said it would quit his cabinet, aiming to avert another crisis for a government shaken by a raft of corruption scandals.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) party, which gave the Congress party-led coalition a slim majority in parliament, said on Saturday it was pulling out its ministers because of a dispute over seats to be contested in state assembly elections next month.

Mar 6, 2011

India Congress tries to woo back ally, shore up coalition

NEW DELHI, March 6 (Reuters) – India’s embattled prime
minister on Sunday tried to patch things up with a key ally that
said it would quit his cabinet, aiming to avert another crisis
for a government shaken by a raft of corruption scandals.

The southern Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) party, which
gave the Congress party-led coalition a slim majority in
parliament, said on Saturday it was pulling out its ministers
because of a dispute over seats to be contested in state
assembly elections next month.

Mar 2, 2011

India struggles with Libya evacuation, concerns mount

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s government is facing criticism at home for failing to evacuate citizens swiftly out of Libya as China did, but it said such a comparison was unfair.

A quarter of about 18,000 Indians, most of them employed in the oil, construction and health sectors in Libya, have been brought out after the government chartered cruise ships, and through special flights of the state carrier Air India.

Feb 28, 2011

With an eye on China, India steps up defence spending

NEW DELHI, Feb 28 (Reuters) – India increased annual defence
spending by about 11.6 percent on Monday, aiming to overhaul the
military to counter the rapidly growing capabilities of giant
neighbour China.

The hefty increase suggests the government plans to move
ahead with some of a slew of planned defence acquisitions,
analysts said, including a $10.5 billion fighter jet contract,
one of the world’s largest on offer.

Feb 25, 2011
via Afghan Journal

Flash, bang, but Afghan night raid comes up empty

Photo

Reuters correspondent Matt Robinson provides a rare glimpse of night raids by U.S. forces in Afghanistan that are again on the rise in an effort to break the back of the insurgency. Here’s his story from a village in Paktika province near the eastern border with Pakistan. (Picture by Matt Robinson)

First the men were separated from the women and children and made to crouch outside on the frozen ground, wrapped in blankets. Then the soldiers went room-to-room, torches shining from raised rifles.

Feb 18, 2011
via Afghan Journal

U.S. drones fall silent in Pakistan; only a brief respite?

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For more than three weeks now, there has been no U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s northwest, triggering speculation that the pause may be related to the tensions between the two countries over the arrest of an American embassy employee for murder. Washington is seeking the release of Raymond Davis, a former Special Forces soldier who killed two Pakistanis on Jan 27 during what he said was an attempted robbery in a Lahore street, arguing he is covered under diplomatic immunity.

Pakistanis,  deeply resentful of the heavy U.S.  involvement in the country, are refusing to hand over Davis, saying he should face trial in Pakistan as he didn’t have immunity.

Feb 13, 2011
via Afghan Journal

India’s best and brightest at the UN

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The foreign minister of India took the floor at a UN Security  Council meeting this week, but in a rather embarrassing faux pas he  began reading out from the speech of his Portuguese counterpart instead of his own. Three minutes into the address, Indian diplomats realised that S. M.Krishna was reading off the wrong speech, and stopped him from proceeding further. He began again, this time with the right script.

It’s not known what the Portuguese thought of the Indian official  reading their address as his own. Thankfully, the Portuguese minister had spoken earlier, or else Krishna might have been accused of stealing his thunder !

Feb 11, 2011
via Afghan Journal

An American in Pakistani custody

Photo

Who exactly is Raymond Davis, the main at the centre of a flaming row between the United States and Pakistan that threatens to derail ties altogether ? It’s an obvious question to ask given the lengths the Obama administration has gone to secure the release of Davis held in Pakistan for shooting and killing two men who he said were trying to rob him. As Reuters reported this week, Washington had put on hold some bilateral engagements, and even hinted that a $7.5  billion civillian aid package could be jeopardised if Islamabad continued to hold Davis disregarding his diplomatic immunity. The New York Times and the Washington Post said a much-sought after state visit by President Asif Ali Zardari planned for the end of March was on the line now. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cancelled a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at an international security conference in Munich late last month, the Post said.

The Americans are saying Davis is a diplomat and hence arresting him is a violation of international norms and the Vienna Conventions.  The U.S. embassy had initially identified him as a staff member of the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Lahore where the incident occured.

Feb 2, 2011
via Afghan Journal

Slamming the door on reconciliation with Taliban

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Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Rangeen Dadfar Spanta has said that the Taliban would have to lay down arms, accept the constitution in its current form and run for elections if they wanted a share of power.  If the Taliban thought they could get cabinet berths for the asking in return for a peace deal, they have another thing coming, he told the McClatchy newspapers in an interview.

If that’s the Afghan government’s stand,  a deal with the insurgents seems to be a non-starter. Imagine the Taliban agreeing to take part in a Western-style election  campaign under a constitution they have long denounced as forced on the country following their ouster in 2001. The idea of the Taliban – more known for their brutal methods –  knocking on doors seeking votes seems a bit far fetched at the moment. Last week’s reports of the Taliban stoning a young couple to death in rather barbaric fashion in northern Afghanistan on charges of adultery have only reinforced the image of a group unyielding in its interpretation of sharia  law.