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Calcutta Diary

Having surrendered to pax Americana, dear prime minister, you have few options left. The Indian economy is in the direst possible mess. The only way you can salvage the situation is to appeal to president Bush's sense of philanthropy. If the price for this munificence is Kashmir and full-scale Yankee arbitration over the disputed territory, we Indians have to go along. Beggars cannot simultaneously be choosers.

Audit of Human Rights

Has the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) made a significant impact on the state of human rights in India? Is it at all relevant to the Kashmiri who has to bear the brunt of systematic custodial deaths, encounters, disappearances and other forms of brutal repression. The South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre has published a much-needed audit of the NHRC's work.

India, Kashmir and War against Terrorism

India's positions and postures in the post-September 11 period have neither promoted the national interest nor raised the country's moral and political stature in the world.

India and the War against Terrorism

India's foreign minister has described the war against terrorism as between a coalition of democracies and terrorism. But that does not isolate terrorism. There are many countries which are not democratic or are semi-democratic whose support needs to be enlisted. India's main enemy today is not Pakistan, or Afghanistan, but terrorism. It should contribute in building the broadest possible anti-terrorist coalition.

Kashmir: The Moment of Truth

As we near the endgame in Kashmir, the choice before all those who believe in people's right to a life of dignity and freedom is simple: to regain their humanity by asserting their opposition to oppression so that silence can no longer be a tool in the hands of the government to carry on brutalising a people.

Peace in South Asia

For better India-Pakistan relations, of which Kashmir is undoubtedly a critical component, and peace in South Asia, good intentions are no substitute for intimate knowledge of the ground realities. The case of Stephen Cohen's 'Moving Forward in South Asia'.

Agra vs Kashmir

Questions like the free movement of people in the two Kashmirs, disengagement of armed forces along the LoC, withdrawal of security forces in the Valley, termination of Pakistani support to armed groups, found no place in the agenda of the Agra summit. How, without addressing the real problems of the people in the region, can the two governments ever hope to move towards a resolution of tensions?

The Valley, the Hills and the Summit

Over the past fortnight and more, the purveyors of views, official and unofficial, have been dishing out commentaries that look at the valley and the hills from the unreal vantage point of the 'summit'. Unless we learn to see the summit the way it looks from the valley and the hills, we will never understand all that needs to change before any just and honourable resolution of the dispute is even thinkable.

Lessons from Agra

After the trumpets and the fanfare has come the mournful dirge lamenting the ‘failure’ of the India-Pakistan summit at Agra. An expected reaction perhaps, but a trifle hasty. For after all, it would seem that the summit floundered on two old issues, cross border terrorism and the centrality of a resolution on Kashmir to the mitigation of IndiaPakistan tensions. Given this it is hard to see why there is such a desperate urgency about issuing a final report card on the summit. Surely, the two days of president Musharaff’s visit were not expected to unravel the many snags and snarls in the fabric of India-Pakistan relationship? Then again, in the light of the history of other high-level meetings between the two countries, the success or failure of a summit can only be reckoned by what happens afterwards. And in that sense surely it is too early to issue a report card on Agra?

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