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Posts Tagged ‘New Delhi’

Brutal Delhi Gangrape Outrages Indians, Spurs Calls for Action

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 20, 2012

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Indian women shout slogans outside the Delhi Police headquarters as they block a main road during a protest in New Delhi, Dec. 19, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near fatal beating of a student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country.

Indian women shout slogans outside the Delhi Police headquarters as they block a main road during a protest in New Delhi, Dec. 19, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near fatal beating of a student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country.

Last Sunday in New Delhi, at around 9.30 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was gang raped for almost an hour on a moving bus and then thrown semi-naked on the road to die. Hideous violence against women is nothing new in India, but this particular outrage has caused widespread anger. Perhaps it was the casual ferocity of it. Or the fact that it took place on some of the teeming capital’s busiest streets. Or perhaps a nation at great pains to modernize is finding it hard to stomach what feels like an increasingly predatory sexual culture.

The rape sparked protests in the capital and outrage in Parliament, with several politicians demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators. The police have arrested four of the accused, and the trial, Indian home minister Sushil Shinde said, will be fast tracked. “The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city,” a National Human Rights Commission statement said, “…especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the National Capital in the recent past.”

Indeed, the rape of the 23-year-old—now fighting for her life with grievous injuries not only to her genitals but her intestines—is just another horror in a grim litany of Indian sexual violence. There were 17 cases of rape reported in the state of Haryana, which borders much of Delhi, in October alone. Across the nation, a woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. These frightening figures have risen steadily in recent years: in 2010, 24,206 rapes were reported, an almost 10% increase over 2001. The number of unreported rapes is without a doubt greater. Read the rest of this entry »

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Does India Want to Be a Part of America’s Plan for Asia?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

The U.S. Secretary of Defense swung through New Delhi on his eight-day visit to Asia to encourage Indian leaders to help the U.S. with its military and strategic goals in the region
image: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012.

JIM WATSON / POOL VIA REUTERS
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrapped up a short visit to India this week, calling for Washington and New Delhi to deepen security ties and defense cooperation in the region. As NATO-led troops get ready to leave Afghanistan and the Obama Administration continues its effort to counterbalance China’s growing military heft, Panetta’s goal was to shore up India’s support in the region during his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony, among others.

In a speech on Wednesday at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an Indian defense think tank, Panetta urged India to help Afghanistan during and after NATO’s exit by supporting its neighbor through trade and investment, reconstruction and help for Afghan security forces. “We both realize how important it is to ultimately have a stable Afghanistan if we are to have peace and prosperity in this region,” he said. To achieve that, Panetta said both India and the U.S. “will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective and often deep differences.” He applauded India’s recent progress in boosting trade ties with its neighbor as being key to “helping Pakistan turn around its economy and counter extremism within its borders.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Can India Balance Its Ties with the U.S. and Iran?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 9, 2012

Shannon Stapleton / AFP / Getty Images

SHANNON STAPLETON / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (L) meets with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on May 7, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her visit to Kolkata and New Delhi this week to urge India to up its efforts in reducing oil imports from Iran. In remarks made in Kolkata, Clinton commended the cuts India has made in the last few years, but said that it is part of “India’s role in the international community” to go further and join the U.S.-led effort to pressure Tehran to open its nuclear program up to inspections.

(READ: To confront Iran, will the U.S. risk ties with India?)

In late June, the U.S. will be imposing sanctions targeting the financial institutions of nations that don’t cut back on their Iranian oil imports. The heat got turned up a notch for both India and South Korea — both big customers for Tehran — since Clinton announced in March that 10 European nations as well as Japan, which is in the midst of an energy crunch after last year’s tsunami and nuclear crisis, earned an exemption from the sanctions after slashing their imports. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Pakistan and India’s Back-to-Back Missile Tests Spoil the Mood?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 26, 2012

Reuters

REUTERS
A Hatf-VI (Shaheen-II) missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,242 miles) takes off during a test flight from an undisclosed location in Pakistan, April 21, 2008.

Another nation decided to flex its ballistic muscle this week in what is shaping up to be a missile-happy month in Asia. On Wednesday, Pakistan announced it had successfully launched what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile into the Indian Ocean, just days after India conducted a similar test launch of its long-range missile, the Agni-V. Like that weapon, Pakistan’s Hatf IV Shaheen IA is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and is part of Islamabad’s ongoing strategy of deterrence in the region.

Islamabad gave New Delhi due warning that it would be testing the new missile this week, as did New Delhi before its test of the Agni-V, in accordance with a 2005 agreement that the neighbors would notify each other before missile tests. Like India, Pakistan has been developing an indigenous missile program since the 1980s, but analysts have questioned the the veracity of some of Islamabad’s claims about its military’s homegrown technological achievements in the past. Read the rest of this entry »

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Indians’ ordeal rattles New Delhi-Beijing ties

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 6, 2012

Two traders were allegedly beaten and detained for two weeks by Chinese businessmen demanding payment. The episode complicates the nations’ already wary relationship.

By David PiersonLos Angeles Times

Members of the Nationalist Soldiers of Shiva burn a Chinese flag in New Delhi to protest the handling of Indian diplomat S. Balachandran at a Chinese court. (Saurabh Das, Associated Press / January 4, 2012)

In a case that highlights the perils that await foreigners doing business in China, two Indian traders who were allegedly beaten and detained for two weeks by Chinese businessmen are set to stand trial accused of owing $1.58 million in debts after their Yemeni boss fled, according to news reports.

Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agarwal were reportedly seized Dec. 14 in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, a massive trading center, and held captive in a hotel by local businessmen demanding to be paid back.

It wasn’t until Indian officials arrived that the two were released. The pair were taken to a Shanghai hospital, where they were reportedly found to have internal injuries.

In a peculiar twist before their arrival in Shanghai, an Indian diplomat was caught trying to sneak Raheja and Agarwal out of a Yiwu court hearing under the pretense of going to the toilet, the Chinese state-owned Global Times reported Thursday.

The diplomat, S. Balachandran, reportedly fainted and alleged he was harassed and denied food and water. Read the rest of this entry »

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India and China wrestle for influence in turbulent Nepal as civil war fears rise

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 23, 2011

Two giant neighbours employ different tactics in popularity contest, with Beijing pulling ahead

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun

As the Himalayan nation of Nepal struggles to find a political solution to years of civil war, the country has become a battleground for strategic influence between its two giant neighbours, India and China.

All the indications are that China is winning as it employs far more deft tactics of diplomacy, and economic and military aid than its rivals in New Delhi.

India, in contrast, has on several occasions been exposed as using the kind of heavy-handed and hectoring tactics it employs all too frequently when dealing with its junior partners in the South Asia region.

This is more than a popularity contest between Beijing and New Delhi among the power brokers of Kathmandu. Nepal and its 30 million people occupy some highly strategic geography between India and Chinese-occupied Tibet.

This is a region where New Delhi and Beijing have several unresolved territorial disputes and there are regular skirmishes. Both countries are upgrading their roads, railways and airstrips along their borders so as to be able to move their armies swiftly to the front if need be.

Nepal became particularly fertile ground for Indian and Chinese rivalry after November 2005, with an agreement to end the country’s decade-long civil war in which Maoist insurgents battled the forces of a corrupt and dissolute monarchy.

Elections early in 2008 for a 601-member Constituent Assembly led to the end of the monarchy.

King Gyanendra was replaced by President Ram Baran Yadav as head of state.

But there has been almost no progress in drawing up a new constitution since then. That work was meant to be completed within two years. But there was a political vacuum for the first eight months as assembly members made 16 failed attempts to select a prime minister.

They were then given a yearlong extension to the end of May this year, but they only met eight times for a total of 95 minutes.

President Yadav has now given the assembly a further three months to come up with an outline constitution. But few expect to see any significant developments by the end of August. Read the rest of this entry »

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For Pakistan, time to try India as a friend

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 21, 2011

By Adnan Rehmat | DAWN.COM

Is Pakistan set to implode in its exasperating persistence to define itself in only security terms vis-à-vis

A cricket fan gets his face painted with the colors of the Pakistan and Indian national flags ahead of the ICC World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan, in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. – AP Photo/File.

India as did the Soviet Union with the United States in a nuclear-shadowed Cold War that lasted 40 years, a numbing fear that consumed three generations, but ended in a barren inevitability 20 years ago of the former collapsing into 13 new countries?

It seems more likely than not, given the few signs that a fundamental rethink in underway in Pakistan in determining what it stands for rather than what it doesn’t stand for, which passes for its schizophrenic identity.

Two specific WikiLeaks cables published in Dawn in recent weeks reveal more than just what is already known about Pakistan’s paranoid obsession with India and the authorship and control of the policy of paranoia by the military establishment. In the first, President Asif Zardari, the commander-in-chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, counters the suggestion of Senator John Kerry that New Delhi is interested in pursuing peace with Islamabad by arguing that India has five times more tanks than Pakistan and that these are Pakistan-specific because the Sino-India border terrain cannot support a tank battle. In the second cable, severe civil-military tensions are revealed over access to and control of American aid flows to Pakistan with the army insisting for, and getting, direct aid and refusing to share details with the elected government even during drafting of the annual budgets.

The oversimplification of the link between military prowess and bilateral relationship – no doubt handed to Zardari in briefings from the military leadership – is disturbing. If Pakistan has to match India tank to tank, plane to plane, soldier to soldier, frigate to frigate and missile to missile before making peace, then it’s a lost battle in perpetuity. If matching military might was the precondition to peace then the world would have been blown up 200 times over because the unending Indo-Pak tensions and Indo-Pak like wars would have been replicated on every shared national border on the planet. What use was there to acquire super-expensive nuclear capability if it didn’t solve the problem of imbalance in conventional military capability? No two nuclear powers have fought a conventional war. Tensions are one thing but war is another. So why still sacrifice national prosperity at the cost of national dignity, as Army chief General Kayani said days after Osama bin Laden was taken out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Chinese foundation plans to raise $ 3b to make Lumbini ‘magnet for Buddhists’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2011

Months after plans of a Chinese private sector company to invest Rs 8 billion to develop Lumbini as an International

Buddha Center hogged media headlines there comes news that a Chinese-backed foundation is planning to raise $ 3 billion to help Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace.

According to Reuters, the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation plans to raise the aforesaid amount at home and abroad “to build temples, an airport, a highway, hotels, convention centres and a Buddhist university in the town of Lumbini.”

Interestingly, UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is the vice-chairman of the foundation which aims to transform Lord Buddha’s birthplace in southern Nepal “into a magnet for Buddhists in the same way as Mecca is to Muslims and the Vatican for Catholics”, the report adds.

The foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with Nepal government last month to jointly develop and operate Lumbini.

According to the report, the foundation also pledged to bring communications, water and electricity to Lumbini.

“Lumbini will transcend religion, ideology and race. We hope to rejuvenate the spirit of Lord Buddha,” Xiao Wunan, a devout Buddhist who is executive vice president of the foundation, told the news agency.

The development of Lumbini will also help boost government revenues, create jobs and improve infrastructure in the impoverished corner of Nepal, the report cited the memorandum as stating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wikileaks Nepal Document:In Nepal, ‘India’s Frankenstein’s monster’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2011

P. Sainath

MUMBAI: “New Delhi seems oblivious to how close the Maoists are getting to victory here. That makes sense: New Delhi godfathered the working relationship between the Maoists and the Parties and doesn’t want to acknowledge that it might have created a Frankenstein’s monster. Moreover, India’s Marxist party (a key supporter of the governing coalition) has proclaimed that everything here is going just fine. In that context, I hope that a discussion on Nepal will feature prominently in future conversations with senior Indian leaders.”

That was James F. Moriarty, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, writing home to the State Department, in his cable headlined “Crunch time in Nepal?,” dated September 22, 2006 (79370: secret/ noforn).

“We need to do more to keep the Indians in lock step with us,” the cable goes on. “I coordinate closely with my Indian counterpart here and in private he pushes the exact same message I do: that the police need to enforce law and order and that the GoN [Government of Nepal] should not let armed Maoists into an interim government.”

“I was more than a little annoyed to find out, however, that the Indian Embassy had complained to the PM’s office about our training activities with the Nepal Army….” This last one was “the incident” which “underscored the fact that, while worried about current trends, New Delhi seems “oblivious to how close the Maoists are getting to victory here.” Read the rest of this entry »

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ASSAM: Rallies planned in New Delhi demanding autonomous states

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 27, 2010

THE ASSAM TIMES

AGARTALA, Oct 26 (IANS) Thousands of activists fighting for autonomous states in different parts of the country have planned sit-in programmes in New Delhi Thursday and Friday and will submit memorandums to the prime minister for creation of separate states, an activist from Tripura said here Tuesday.

“Thousands of activists from 18 different areas of the country are on way to New Delhi to participate the two-day protest demonstration Thursday and Friday,” said Narendra Chandra Debbarma, president of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal-based regional party.

Before leaving for New Delhi Debbarma told reporters: “More than 500 activists of different regional and local parties of northeast India have left for New Delhi.”

“We would submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and other central leaders to create separate states in different parts of the country,” Debbarma said, adding that they have planned sit-in programmes and rallies in New Delhi.

The tribal leader said party leaders and activists belonging to about 100 regional, local political parties and social organisations would gather in New Delhi to press their demands. Read the rest of this entry »

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