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Indian President's Visit to Myanmar

President APJ Abdul Kalam began his three day (March 8-10, 2006) state visit to Myanmar on March 8 at the invitation of Sr General Than Shwe who himself had visited India in October 2004. The visit began on International Women's Day: whether this was a mere coincidence or carried any hidden symbolism (to draw attention to the continued house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi) is open to interpretation. However, one thing is certain.

March 09, 2006

The Bush Offering: Uninterrupted Power Supply

With President Bush having concluded, in the eyes of both governments, a highly successful visit to India, the time has come to take stock of developments and to assess whether, as has been asserted over and over again, the outcome has been a win-win for both countries.

In the course of his visit to the United States last July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush signed a landmark agreement whose intent was to "transform" the relationship between the two countries.

March 08, 2006

The Bomb and the Bird

In the backdrop of President Bush's successful visit to India and the finalizing of the 'nuclear energy' deal minus the US Congress approval, many opinion-makers are coming out with bizarre theories about this deal either in its favour or against it and appear to be making a few mistakes knowingly.

In contrast, intellectual debate is entirely missing on bird flu and its future, particularly when the spread of bird flu has already started in the country. This clearly indicates the triviality of intellectual thinking, be it among academics, scientists or the media.

March 08, 2006

Defence Budget 2006-07

The Indian defence budget for FY 2006-07 is Rs 89, 000 crore (cr). This is 7.23 per cent more than the budget in FY 2004-05. As a percentage of GDP, the budget is 2.29 per cent as against 2.39 per cent in the previous year. Taking the revised allocation of Rs 81, 700 at RE (Revised Estimate) stage in FY 2004-05, the increase is 8.94 per cent.

March 07, 2006

Indo-US Attempt to Bite the Illegal Bytes

Of the several agreements signed during the recently concluded US presidential visit to India, one initiative that has been lost to sight is on Cyber Crimes. As part of the larger counter-terrorism effort and realizing the importance of cyber security and cyber forensic research, India and the US have agreed to enhance cooperation to tackle Cyber Crime. This will lead to a greater sharing of expertise in the areas of tracing computer viruses and software worms and network analysis.

March 07, 2006

The Sri Lankan Peace Process: Looking Beyond Geneva

While much analysis has gone into the recently held talks at Geneva on February 22 and 23, 2006, the consensus lies in the recognition that the talks were an important beginning to make a political solution possible to this intractable conflict. At Geneva the two sides had taken divergent positions prior to the talks, with the government desiring an amendment of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) and the LTTE seeking better implementation of the same.

March 06, 2006

Unfazed New Delhi Continues the Dialogue Process Despite Hurriyat's Absence

The All Party Hurriyat Conference's (APHC) refusal, apparently under 'outside' pressure, to participate in the February 25 roundtable can be held to be detrimental to none but itself and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi for its part justifiably went ahead as per schedule, driving home the point that the creation of a 'Naya' and 'Khushaal' Kashmir will not be held hostage to the whim and moods of any individual or group.

March 03, 2006

Between Walls and Bridges of Business

President George W. Bush will be on his first official trip to India from March 1 to 3. India has travelled the road from natural partner to strategic partner to a global partner of the US in merely a few years. The new equation between India and the United States depends to a large extent on the manner in which business and trade ties progress in the future.

February 28, 2006

Khaleda's Pakistan visit Shifts Focus to Economic Synergy

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's state visit (February 12-14, 2006) to Pakistan after a gap of a decade signals subtle changes that are driving bilateral relations. Both sides are consciously moving away from the political issues that had undermined ties for long and are looking to economic cooperation as the engine of change. The composition of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister and the focus of the official dialogue reveal a focus on strengthening economic ties.

February 27, 2006

Whither Baluch Resistance?

Baluchistan is back in news. Most resolute among the Baluchis would tell you they are fighting a last ditch battle against Pakistan. They would try to convince you the flame of Baluchi resistance would live on. Will the Baluch resistance live on or will it be put out by the might of the Pakistan military for the time being only to rise again in the future.

February 21, 2006

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