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India kneels: Ready to discuss Kashmir

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

India kneels: Ready to discuss Kashmir

After taking the stand that “Kashmir was in internal matter”, the Bharati Foreign Minister has made about about face. The 180 degree turn in the Bharati position changes its long standing stand that “Kashmir was Bharat’s attot tung” and therefore there was nothing to discuss with Pakistan.

PM Singh used to say “that there can be no change in borders”. However the current statement by Mr. Krishna changes Bharat’s basic condition.

However the current fire in Indian Occupied Kashmir has apparently forced Delhi to begin talking to Pakistan.

Despite increasingly fiery statements from Pakistan on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said that he was open to talking about Kashmir. “We are willing to talk on Kashmir also with Pakistan,” he said in an interview to HT.

Asked what the contours of discussions on Kashmir could be, he said, “It’s going to be a free-wheeling discussion. There are not going to be any parameters.”

He said if Pakistan was attempting to impose conditions in advance, it would result in “injecting an element of distrust” within the process of talks.

Pro-Pakistani Kashmiri leader Geelani said in a statement that Krishna’s demand for withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Azad Kashmir reflected the “imperialistic mindset and rigid stand of government of India on Kashmir issue”.

Pakistan confronted with worst ever flood in the history of the world

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

KPK Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Arshad Abdullah has said that Pakistan confronted with a worst ever flood in the history of the world.

He, however, paid rich tributes to the people for their brave and courageous role and voluntary spirit in taking part in rescue activities side by side with the government. This, he said, while addressing at the inaugural ceremony of the newly constructed building of Jamia Sayyeda Khunsa at Dosehra Charsadda on Sunday. Provincial Minister on this occasion also gave away gifts and prizes to the parents of female students who have completed their courses.

Arshad Abdullah said that government will make all out efforts to help the flood affectees at this critical juncture adding that provincial government have diverted all the funds towards rehabilitation of flood affectees by suspending new ADP. He added that Rs. 20 each would be distributed among flood affectees just after Eid whereas more cash assistance would be given to the affectees for the construction of houses. He further said that 100 houses were being constructed for the affectees in District Charsadda with the assistance of brotherly country Turkey.

In response to a question he said that government through successful operation cleared Swat from the clutches of terrorists. He expressed his apprehension about the re-emergence of terrorists if given free hand which would definitely endanger the future of the country particularly KPK province.

Commenting on the recent visit of PML(N) Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif to district Charsadda he said that instead of scoring political points he should concentrate on helping the flood affectees of Punjab. He said that Charsadda received major chunk of flood assistance due to the efforts of ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.

India PM warns China wants foothold in South Asia

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW DELHI: China is seeking to expand its influence in South Asia at India’s expense, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned in rare public criticism of his country’s rival for regional resources and geopolitical clout.

Singh’s comments follow repeated diplomatic sparring between the two Asian powers in the last two years, reflecting growing friction over their disputed borders and roles as emerging global powers despite bilateral trade that has grown 30-fold since 2000.

“China would like to have a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality,” Singh was quoted as saying by The Times of India on Tuesday. “We have to be aware of this.”

“There is a new assertiveness among the Chinese. It is difficult to tell which way it will go. So it’s important to be prepared.”

The newspaper also quoted Singh as saying that China could use India’s “soft underbelly” of Kashmir, a region disputed with Pakistan, “to keep India in low level equilibrium.”

But it also quoted Singh as saying he believed the world was large enough for India and China to “cooperate and compete”.

An official at the prime minister’s office, on condition of anonymity, said the newspaper quotes were correct. The Chinese foreign ministry had no immediate comment.

Analysts said that despite decades of mistrust, the current spat is unlikely to snowball if past diplomatic sparring is anything to go by. China is now India’s biggest trade partner.

“The reality is that there are problems between the two countries that have been left over from history, but these shouldn’t be a barrier to developing broader relations,” said Zhao Gancheng, an expert on Sino-Indian relations in Beijing.

“Mutual confidence between the countries is far from sufficient,” he added. “That problem is rising in importance.”

Simmering Tensions

China defeated India in a 1962 war, but they still spar over their disputed 3,500 km border and the presence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in India.

China’s support for India’s arch-enemy Pakistan, which backs separatists in disputed Kashmir and also claims the region in full, has not helped defuse tensions.

India holds 45 percent of the disputed Himalayan region while Pakistan controls a third. China holds the remainder of Kashmir, an icy desert plateau known as Aksai China. India and Pakistan, have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Singh’s comments may reflect government displeasure at China’s current stance on these issues.

“Singh’s understanding is China has crossed the red lines that affect India’s core sovereignty concerns,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, chairman of the Centre for East Asian Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.”

“There are green lines such as trade but there are concerns there as well such as the (trade) imbalance and anti-dumping concerns. There is also a realisation in India that you have to make your displeasure more explicit to be taken seriously.”

Last month, India criticised China’s denial of a visa to an Indian army general who had operated in Kashmir. New Delhi later said it was worried by China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region.

China has invested in the ports in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as the mining and energy sectors in Myanmar, irking India as it seeks to protect shipping lanes in a region that feeds 80 percent of China’s and 65 percent of India’s oil needs.

Last year, the Indian media reported on Chinese incursions along the border, incidents the India government shrugged off.

But Indian worries constantly surface, particularly over Chinese development projects in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and near their disputed border.

Politics aside, the value of bilateral deals between China and India was expected to exceed $60 billion this year, a 30-fold increase since 2000, raising the stakes in maintaining peace.

However, India has imposed tougher security measures on some business with China, including telecommunications imports. —Reuters