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Nuclear deal and Asian conflicts

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By K.N. Pandit

Indo-US civilian nuclear deal promises further cementing of good relations between two major democracies of the world. At the same time it is a boost to democracy in principle as the time tested political dispensation that ensures equitable justice and protection of human rights.

The deal is expected to meet India’s energy requirement, contribute to economic development and raise the quality of life of millions of Indians. That is how ordinary people will interpret the claim of ending India’s nuclear segregation.

Any deal of this importance and depth should not be taken into account either in isolation or in narrow national perspective. India is not a small country that will exert minimum impact on neighbouring countries and the region. What will be the implication on the region which, as we all know, is not only very sensitive but also involved in chronic conflicts and contradictions?

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J and K heading for assembly election

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By K.N. Pandit

After nearly two months of half-hearted affirmative and negative posturing, political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are gearing up for 7-stage elections to the state assembly beginning with first tie on November 17 in Ladakh region.

Two mainstream political parties, Congress and National Conference have kick-started election campaigning, while PDP, the accidental political pigmy, is still busy debating the option whether it should or should not participate. Its hesitation comes from commitment made to separatists of securing pre-requisites before going to polls.

In more than one way, the forthcoming election will be unique in the history of post-accession election process in the state.  Separatists have vowed to enforce poll boycott, which is their patent policy ever since the rise of armed insurgency in Kashmir.

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Internally displaced Persons from Kashmir

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By K.N. Pandit

The Hindu religious minority of Kashmir Valley, known as Pandits formed nearly 07 per cent of the total population of Kashmir province at the time of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to the Indian Union in October 1947. Owing to discriminatory policies of successive regimes in J&K ever since, a good percentage of the Pandits was forced to leave their homeland and seek livelihood in other parts of the country. As a result of eruption of armed insurgency in late 1989-90,  Theo-fascists made the Pandits their selective targets killing more than a thousand innocent members within a couple of months of insurgency. Their objective was to enforce ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in order to pave the way for Islamic homogenization with sharia replacing secular democratic dispensation. Radical and Wahhabi Islamic ideologues in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who have sponsored the jihadi terror world over, consider Kashmir integral to the concept of Islamic Caliphate. The Pandits were considered a symbol of secularist presence in Kashmir.  Religious extremists decided to efface this symbol once for all because it obstructed their scheme of things.

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The mess about J&K elections

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By K.N. Pandit

While elections for the state assemblies in five states will be held according to the schedule of the Election Commission of India, J&K has been left out of the process. Normally elections in this state should have been announced around 10th of September and the polling would have taken place sometime in November 2008.

By not announcing whether elections in J&K will or will not be held on time, the Election Commission has created a situation of suspense and uncertainty. Deferring elections for a specific period of time for the state assemblies or for parliament is nothing new or extraordinary. Deferment of elections owing to some specific reasons and for specific time is generally happens on the advice of the government. Nevertheless, the Election Commission has the discretion allowed to it by the Constitution to decide about the dates.

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Does India need revised frontier policy?

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By K.N. Pandit

The fact of the matter is that during the national struggle for freedom led by Congress, our leaders did not give any serious thought to India’s frontier policy once power passed into their hands. Perhaps they were pre-occupied with a host of baffling internal problems and with the framing of the constitutional structure for the independent country.

Within weeks of freedom, the first signals of vulnerability of India’s north-western frontier were in sight. Pakistan-sponsored incursion of Kashmir by NWFP tribesmen in October 1947 should have prompted Indian policy planners to think beyond Kashmir and beyond the tribal invasion.  Alas, they did not.

If there had been a serious thinking on new situation arising on our north-western frontier after the departure of the British, we would not have gone to beg peace at the doors of the United Nations. It was a clear sign of our weakness and lack of vision about our frontier policy. Our adversaries exploited this weakness to the hilt.

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