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Hyderabad Woes: Mecca Masjid, Lumbini Park...

Hyderabad has been reeling under deadly terror strikes. Three months after the serial blasts at Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, another pair of coordinated attacks rocked the city on August 25. Repeated attacks by outfits with support from foreign covert agencies have made Hyderabad an epicentre of terrorist operations in India. The twin blasts on August 25 and the subsequent recovery of unexploded bombs from different places pointed to a security lapse as well as a delayed government response to demands for beefing up the city's protective measures in the aftermath of the May explosions.

September 13, 2007

The Re-emergence of an Assertive Russia

Russia's decision to resume the Soviet-era practice of sending strategic bombers on long-range flights well beyond its borders, just a few days after concluding an air exercise over the North Pole involving such aircraft, seems to suggest a willingness to challenge US intrusion into its neighbourhood and NATO's continuing eastward expansion. Some 14 strategic bombers took off from seven airfields across Russia, along with support and refuelling aircraft on August 17.

August 29, 2007

Student Violence Signals Growing Resentment against: the Caretaker Government in Bangladesh

"I want a country where the army cannot arrest anyone without a warrant. I want our political parties to be democratic, transparent and accountable. I want fair and neutral judges. I want the right to vote. I want there to be no such thing as a legal fatwa. I want the war criminals of the 1971 genocide to be tried, condemned and jailed. I want to vote. I want a country worthy of my desh-prem. I want a country." -- Tahmima Anam, New Statesman, January 22, 2007.

August 24, 2007

The Bishkek Summit

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is gradually gaining clout and influence in the Central Asian region, which is increasingly attracting international attention. Dramatic events during the course of 2005 in Uzbekistan, including the US withdrawal from the Manas base, and in Kyrgyzstan significantly changed the regional security architecture and provided a new geopolitical role for the SCO in the region. Russia and China have especially benefited from these changes and have increased their profiles in the region.

August 21, 2007

Hizb ut-Tahrir's Jakarta Conference

The Caliphate Conference of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) in Jakarta on August 12, 2007 brought together its global leadership from more than twenty countries. It reemphasized the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate and uniformity in governance in Muslim-majority countries of the world. The conference, which was attended by almost 100,000 supporters and sympathisers, is indicative of the increasing influence of the HuT in Southeast Asia. Another remarkable aspect of the conference was the sizeable representation of women among those who attended it.

August 18, 2007

The Assam-Nagaland Border Face Off

Come August, Assam and Nagaland breathed a sigh of relief with the heavens opening up to an extent, bringing with it much respite to the local people from recurring floods and landslide plagued roadways. But with the retreat of the heavy rains, a different if not less difficult situation has emerged. The political atmosphere in both states was charged up with tension in early August following a "war like situation" in the Assam-Nagaland border near Jorhat district in Assam and Mokokchung district in Nagaland, respectively.

August 17, 2007

The Need to Enhance Diplomatic Impetus in India's Global Energy Strategy

Overseas energy being a key factor in India's economic development, it is necessary to think whether we need to treat the country's global quest for energy resources as a purely commercial interaction with the energy market or as a larger strategy involving diplomatic activism. While not ignoring the importance of nuclear or alternative sources in the country's energy landscape, we need to understand that petroleum sources would continue to be indispensable for India's fuel economy in the foreseeable future.

August 16, 2007

The Army that can Deliver

Bangladesh's Chief of Staff General Mooen U Ahmed's visit to India scheduled in the fourth week of August now stands postponed in wake of the severe floods sweeping across the country. This visit by the army chief was keenly awaited in India and is particularly significant in the light of the political developments that have taken place in Bangladesh ever since the Khaleda Zia-led BNP coalition government demitted office in October 2006.

August 08, 2007

The Imperative of Finalising the Nuclear Deal by 2008

Even though the Indo-US nuclear deal has passed one more hurdle with the completion of the 123 Agreement to the satisfaction of both governments, the remaining hurdles include the signing of agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before the Agreement can go back to the US Congress for its final imprimatur.

August 03, 2007

Indian Defence Acquisition: Time for Change

The latest Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Performance Report on Defence Services (No. 4 of 2007) has once again exposed the problems involved in Indian defence acquisition. The report has been critical virtually of all the processes of the acquisition cycle, from planning to the formulation of Qualitative Requirements (QRs), vendor selection, conduct of trial and evaluations and processes of induction.

August 03, 2007

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