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Having dithered for long from entertaining the idea of SAARC on the grounds of an apprehension that it may be used to fetter the Indian growth by tying it up to regional group dynamics that were not disposed in its favour to a great extent, India under its current leadership has however, made neighbourhood its first priority, writes Chayanika Saxena for South Asia Monitor. 

 

Russia’s intervention in Syria has been a means to reassert Moscow’s role as a power with a say in global affairs and that, most detractors of the Putin government would grudgingly concede, has been achieved. While Russia may have emerged on the scene as a potential peace-maker, but Syria is yet to be done and dusted with for it and the whole world, writes Monish Gulati for South Asia Monitor.

 

While the General Budget that was laid out by the Indian Finance Minister recently saw a dip in the amount of funds allocated to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for its overseas ventures, yet among all the South Asian countries, the economic assistance extended by India to those in its immediate neighbourhood stands the tallest.

 

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 Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
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The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
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As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
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The United Nations Security Council concluded a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in a show of support for the war-torn nation where it denounced the activities of terrorists there, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced Monday.
 
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While appreciating the remarkable turnaround by Indian exports during November 2017, Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that India has seen a major breakthrough in its exports to China during last few months whereas the surge in imports for Chinese products in Indian market is on deceleration.
 
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“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
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In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
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Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
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A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
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Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
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Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599

 
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Title: The Power Paradox; Author: Dacher Keltner; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 208; Price: Rs 499