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India needs to be cognizant of the fact that any intelligence arrangement on security issues with Pakistan will add credence to the Pakistani assertion that it is a victim of terror attacks and not their sponsor; a claim that could have serious implications for the stalled peace process considering that the dithering Pakistani side can now find refuge in its 'acts of intelligence assistance'. 

 
Running their course from being on the diametrically opposite ends of the international political spectrum to becoming allies in many causes, the bilateral relations between India and the USA have much hope to offer even as they continue to embroiled in many concerns that could distance them from one another, writes Rashmi Saksena for South Asia Monitor.  
 
The 12th South Asian Games ended in Guwahati, in India's northeastern state of Assam, Tuesday evening amid a show of pageantry and fireworks, bringing the curtains down on the region's biggest sporting event.   In the 12-day long sporting spectacle, held after some uncertainty, the host and the region's largest country, India, retained the top spot in the medals tally 12th time in a row. With 308 medals to its credit, the Indian athletes clinched a whopping number of 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals. Coming a distant second was Sri Lanka with a medal haul 186, of 25 were gold medals, and 63 silver and 98 bronze medals. Pakistan finished third in the medal table with a final count of 106 medals of 12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze medals.   With participants pouring in from all the member countries of SAARC, the display of regional camaraderie through this sporting event was declared the 'best ever' by sports bodies throughout South Asia. Reflecting the increasing Indian emphasis on its 'neighbourhood first' policy, not only did India generously ferry participants from Afghanistan in chartered planes to and fro, but it also facilitated the movement of Pakistani athletes by granting them special permission to land directly in Guwahati and not in Delhi/Mumbai as the general norm is.   Promoting regional integration in the times of crises that were mounted by incendiary blockades, terrorist attacks, diplomatic showdowns and the like, the successful organization and conclusion of the South Asian Games underscored both the importance and relevance of softer, track-II mechanisms in bringing about positive changes in a rather volatile region.   Not only did this sporting event manage to get participants from the eight South Asian countries at one place - a task which is otherwise difficult to pull off - it could also provide a social push for countries like Afghanistan to inject its country's women into public spaces and allow them a chance to compete with and learn from the athletes who have been leaving their mark on the global sporting landscape.    India's Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal declared the Games closed at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium to mark the formal end to the 12-day biggest multi-sporting spectacle of the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, jointly co-hosted by Guwahati and Shillong.
 

The video deposition by Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, the key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks made to an Indian court via video-conferencing from a Chicago prison, is a landmark for three reasons. First, Headley has vindicated India's stand by stating that the State of Pakistan via its military intelligence outfit was directly involved in the 26/11 attacks. This blows the lid off Islamabad's long-standing defence that terror attacks directed at India from its soil are by non State players.

 


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spotlight image India’s Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari visited Armenia recently to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
 
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The US has slammed Pakistan for failing to crackdown on terror groups operating from "safe havens" inside its territory, and said the Nawaz Sharif government did not take any action against the LeT and JeM, which continue to operate openly.
 
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In dispatching its  PLA (Peoples Liberation Army)  marines to Djibuti in the Horn of Africa on Wednesday (July 12 ) by amphibious ships, from the southern port of Zhanjiang, China has taken a significant step in enhancing its  trans-border military footprint.
 
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It is becoming increasingly obvious that China is experiencing a sort of superiority obsession, imagining it can dominate and conquer the world. Several Chinese acts in the recent past indicate such an attitude. Asian nations, which are now apprehensive about China’s aggressive postures, are unclear how matters will shape up.
 
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It is appalling to see how the struggle for self-determination in Kashmir has been reduced to bitter recriminations between Pakistan and India.
 
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As Aadhaar becomes the norm in India, and gets skewered for the involuntary nature of its imposition, our northern neighbours, as is their wont, want to do a number that will make this appear benign.
 
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South Asia is situated in a strategically important location and has always been bone of a contention for control by major powers.
 
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It was just at the end of spring that the unquiet American President was talking big about being the man who can seal the deal on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
 
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S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore on "India, ASEAN and Changing Geopolitics”
 
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Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
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This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
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History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
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Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
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Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
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