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Meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, the Foreign Secretary of India, S. Jaishankar met his counterpart from Pakistan, Aizaz Chaudhry in New Delhi on April 26, 2016. Lasting for a good 90 minutes, this conversation that followed on the heels of a surprising declaration of 'suspension' of the peace talks by the Pakistani High Commisioner to India, Abdul Basit was however, reduced to an 'unofficial courtesy call', diluting the fanfare that was attached to it, writes Chayanika Saxena for South Asia Monitor.

 

Kashmir has been variously described as enchanting, breath-taking, paradise on earth; at its glorious best if the sun is out in April. The grass is green, the fruit blossoms are out; tulips, daffodils and narcissi are in full bloom.

 

Since the Panama Papers, an avalanche of comments, reports and statements has expressed righteous indignation, outraged innocence and demands for proof, inquiry, and investigation and demands that the immediate focus should concentrate on the prime minister and his family, etc.

 

The Panama Papers revelations have sent shock waves around the world and while there seems to be no political risk to anyone in India, in neighbouring Pakistan, political parties and judges alike are getting the heebie-jeebies.

 
Instead of splitting hairs over fine details of the Line of Actual Control or blocked UN sanctions against Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, India, in its discussions with the leadership in Beijing, should focus on understanding the large-scale military reforms underway in China  
 
Marking the beginning of the infamous ‘spring offensive’ of the Afghan Taliban, which in its 2016 edition has been termed as 'Operation Omari', a massive vehicle-borne IED explosion ripped through the heart of Kabul yesterday, followed by stray gun fires, writes Chayanika Saxena for South Asia Monitor.   
 

US-India defence ties have taken another small step towards consolidation with the visit of US secretary of defence Ashton Carter to India this week. The two countries finally managed to agree “in principle” on a logistics agreement, and it could now be finalized in weeks. It is expected to help the two militaries coordinate better, including in exercises, and also allow the US to more easily sell fuel or provide spare parts to the Indians.

 
The situation as it stands is far from being clear. However, the observations made by the High Commissioner cannot be taken lightly but, in the absence of an official word from the government of Pakistan, the fate of the on-and-off peace talks remain clouded and uncertain - just like everything else concerning ties between the two perennial political rivals, writes Chayanika Saxena for South Asia Monitor. 
 
The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project has suffered for long years. Although Pakistan claims that everything is going well on this front and often chides India for delaying and not cooperating on the project, there is a hint that everything is not healthy and fine between Pakistan and Iran, writes Mahendra Ved for South Asia Monitor. 
 

Set within the larger geo-political context of South Asia, terrorism and violent manifestation of extremism have increased in intensity and occurrence, more so as attempts are being made to clamp down on elements of instability that are spread across the region. Challenges are being mounted on governments across South Asia through discriminate and indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population of the region, writes Chayanika Saxena for South Asia Monitor

 
 


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Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
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  Nearly 58 per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.
 
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A unique and passionate gathering of acrophiles, or mountain lovers, took place in neat and picturesque Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state in north-eastern India in September.
 
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India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
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With over 100 incidents of braid chopping reported in different parts of Kashmir, there is widespread fear and anger among the people.
 
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According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters of 2017, an increase of 0.2 percent above that of the corresponding period of last year.
 
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As political roller coasters go, there is none as steep and unpredictable as the one shared by the United States and Iran.
 
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In West Asia, the end of one war paves the way for the next. Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-styled Islamic State (IS), has fallen to a coalition of rebels, the Syrian Democratic Forces that is backed by the United States.
 
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On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
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Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
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Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
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Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
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As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
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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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