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India Today March 18, 2019

India Today is the leading news magazine and most widely read publication in India. The magazine’s leadership is unquestioned, so much so that India Today is what Indian journalism is judged by, for its integrity and ability to bring unbiased and incisive perspective to arguably the most dynamic, yet perplexing, region in the world. Breaking news and shaping opinion, it is now a household name and the flagship brand of India’s leading multidimensional media group. Additionally, the weekly brings with it a range supplements like Women, Home, Aspire, Spice and Simply which focus on style, health, education, fashion, etc. and Indian cities.

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The 18th India Today conclave was held in Delhi last week at an opportune time. The nation was abuzz with an ongoing crisis—India and Pakistan were the closest they had been to war since the 2001 attack on Parliament. Just 72 hours earlier, Indian jets had lobbed bombs into a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in retaliation to the bombing of a busload of CRPF personnel in Pulwama, in which 40 troopers were killed. The February 26 air strikes were followed the next day by a dogfight between the Indian Air Force and its Pakistani counterpart in which one of our pilots was shot down, taken prisoner and, fortunately, released in 48 hours. ‘Hard Choices’, the theme of our conclave this year, thus, appeared eerily prescient. As I highlighted in my…

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the fallout of a ban

On February 28, amid a continuing crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and other hardliners and separatists, the Union home ministry notified a five-year ban on the organisation. Over 350 JeI functionaries, including its incumbent chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, and cadres were arrested. Many of them were picked up from their homes in operations that began February 22, in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack. Acting on instructions from Delhi, district officials in the Valley also seized/ sealed JeI property. Back in the summer of 2016, months before the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani, an intelligence dossier sent to the MHA had warned of the trouble ahead “A consequence of the coming together of the PDP-BJP last year was that a section, especially youth on the fringes who…

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activists or criminals?

In a letter last week to, among others, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, a group of European parliamentarians expressed concern over the “coordinated arrests of human rights defenders across the country”. These arrests, they argue, are indicative of the “shrinking civil society space in India”. Last month, international scholars signed a similar statement decrying the arrests of social activists and accusing the government, at the Centre and in states such as Maharashtra, of inventing conspiracies to put the likes of writer and academic Anand Teltumbde behind bars. Hundreds have been arrested for sedition since 2014. While almost no one is actually convicted, what explains the easy and frequent recourse to an anachronistic colonial law, if it’s not to simply choke dissent? 20 EUROPEAN parliamentarians write letter, dated February 7, to…

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oic: new ties, new challenges

The first Islamic summit at Rabat in 1969 established Saudi leadership over the Islamic world and its control over the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). From 1971, this became the principal platform for the world’s Muslim nations. The kingdom used the OIC platform to promote its own interests: the OIC robustly backed Iraq during its war with Iran and then turned against it when it occupied Kuwait. Recently, it has fully supported Saudi positions in Syria and Yemen. In return for their backing of the Saudi agenda, OIC members are free to issue any resolution they want against non-members. Pakistan, using its special ties with the kingdom, began to get one-sided, anti-India resolutions passed from 1990, coinciding with the commencement of its jihad in Kashmir. The resolutions covered the Pakistani position on…

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india and the cold war

In the past few years, the ministry of external affairs has declassified a considerable collection of files now available to researchers in the National Archives of India. Though much more remains to be done, the material available on Indian foreign policy in the Archives and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library has, at last, attained a critical mass. Making full use of these resources, Zorawar Daulet Singh has made an outstanding contribution to diplomatic history. The author argues that the key variable factor determining India’s policy choices was the image that policy-makers envisaged for India The core of Power and Diplomacy: India’s Foreign Policies during the Cold War consists of six thoroughly researched case studies related to Indian foreign policy in the Cold War era. Three of these—the Indo-Pakistan crisis of 1950;…

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take a hard ride

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s pet project of making the state roads pothole-free has fallen way behind target. An urban development department survey of 6,455 km of roads under 16 municipal corporations has sounded an alarm over the March 2017 election-eve promise. The department has apparently rid 1,116 km roads of potholes, but this is still only 17 per cent of the target. The top worst performing municipal corporations are, hold your breath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, and Yogi’s former constituency, Gorakhpur. Only 28 per cent of Varanasi’s roads are pothole-free, which is a tad better than Gorakhpur’s 26 per cent. Sounds like a job for Nitin Gadkari.…