The decision to call off the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan appears to have taken many by surprise, and left many in India quite unhappy. They seem to be unable to understand that a meeting between the Pakistan High Commissioner and various Hurriyat leaders could call forth such a response from the Indian Government. These persons have accepted the Pakistani argument that it was routine for Pakistani leaders to meet the Hurriyat, and so there was no call for the talks to be cancelled.
The House of the People (the Lok Sabha) has 543 elected members and two nominated seats. Article 331 of the Constitution stipulates that the nominated seats are exclusively for members of the Anglo-Indian community. This provision was made in 1950 in order to reassure the Anglo-Indians that their voice would continue to be heard in Parliament even after the departure of the British. Similarly, Article 333 of the Constitution provides for nomination of one member of this community to the assembly of a state, where such nomination is deemed necessary.
A few months before the 1999 military coup, a monthly newsmagazine in Pakistan carried a cover story titled ‘Creeping Coup’. In his second stint as Prime Minister from 1996-99, Nawaz Sharif had started involving the military in all sorts of things that ideally should have been handled by the civilian government. From checking electricity meters to unearthing ghost schools to cleaning canals, the army was being deployed in the role of a sort of National Guard. The then Army Chief, Gen Pervez Musharraf was always ready to oblige, quite willingly it appeared.
The principle of application of Uniform Civil Code contained in the Directive Principles under Article 44 of the Constitution, describes “The state shall endeavour to secure a uniform civil code for all citizens throughout the territory of India”.
“Build strong National Defence and powerful Armed Forces that are commensurate with China’s international standing and meet the need of its security and development interests is a strategic task of China’s modernisation drive.
-President Hu Jintao At the 18th National Congress of CPC March 2013.
Perhaps no other head of Indian state has displayed such a keen and well informed interest in space activities as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The worst fears about Afghanistan appear to be coming true. For more than a year now, there was a virtual consensus, not just in the international community but also within Afghanistan, that the future of the country was critically dependent on a credible presidential election in 2014. So much so that the prospects for relatively smooth security and economic transition was also contingent on an orderly political transition from President Karzai to his successor.
The world is in a state of continuing flux. The economies of the major powers are still fragile and vulnerabilities exist in those of the bigger emerging powers in the Asia-Pacific like China and India. The balance of power is concurrently undergoing a shift with competing focal points of power surfacing in the East. The fragile nature has been accentuated in the past few years with Beijing’s accelerated push for recognition as the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific. This is resisted by the US, Japan and India and has made South East Asian countries nervous.
India-US relations need to be put back on track. The relationship has lost steam in recent months with many contentious issues surfacing that remain unaddressed. We have now to see whether with the change of government in Delhi a new start can be made. The 5th India-US strategic dialogue on July 31 will provide an occasion to review the state of our bilateral ties. The composition of the US delegation indicates the subjects the US side intends emphasizing.