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With Pak visit, Modi’s foreign policy circle is complete

Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he has been insisting on Foreign Policy and it has been on the top agenda. He has already visited almost 55 States but was criticised for not having visited Pakistan. In fact, in the earlier Indian government between 1998 to 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Pakistan twice in 1999 and 2002, once before and after the Kargil war. He was the one who constituted the process of peace building with Pakistan. So it was expected that Modi would carry forward the same legacy.So Modi’s visit to Pakistan was not spontaneous, it was a well decided and pre-determined sort of move, but was obviously kept out of media glare as there was tremendous public pressure and in a way India had to break the ice.Another important reason we have to look at is that Modi first visited Russia followed by Afghanistan and then Pakistan. In the last six months, India has been growing close to the United States of America (US) and Russia is getting closer to Pakistan so that made India look at relations with Russia from a whole new perspective. India has a very crucial role to play in Afghanistan, which is being opposed by Pakistan and to avoid this, India has to normalise it’s relations with Pakistan. This will be necessary to maintain balance on regional and international issues.In the last one year, Modi may have realised that cutting off the peace process and breaking ties with Pakistan did not yield any result. On the contrary, it ultimately increased the importance of the military in Pakistan and not of the political executive.India’s policy to keep its neighbours in confidence cannot be completed until and unless it normalises its relations with Pakistan. The ultimate reality is that there is no alternative solution for resolving Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek issues which have been pending for decades. Initiating the talks is the only solution to find the remedy for all pending issues with Pakistan.Since Russia and China are getting closer to Pakistan the triangle that is emerging from their relations, if developed, can be disastrous to India. So it is important for India to neutralise that aspect also. Hence Modi’s visit was well-planned in the order it took place, that is, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. With this the foreign policy circle is completed, which had been left incomplete by the UPA government.One more important aspect to be considered in the Kashmir issue is that just talking to the political executive is not enough, but the army, that is, the top military generals have to be involved in it. India-Pakistan policy is not being decided and dictated by the political executive but by the army. Army plays a very crucial role in framing Indian, Pakistani, American and Israeli policy. So it is important to involve the army in talks and also to take it into confidence.The ice between the countries has been broken, a very positive development and the hope is that it will continue.-As told to dnaThe author is a foreign policy analyst<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Act against Microsoft, US agencies for showing wrong Jammu and Kashmir map: BJP

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BJP MP Tarun Vijay on Friday asked the government to take up with the US a wrong map of Kashmir allegedly published by Microsoft and other American agencies, saying it was a “cartographic attack” on India’s sovereignty.

Tarun Vijay
File Photo

BJP MP Tarun Vijay on Friday asked the government to take up with the US a wrong map of Kashmir allegedly published by Microsoft and other American agencies, saying it was a “cartographic attack” on India’s sovereignty.”There is a cartographic attack on India’s sovereignty and unity. Microsoft and other American agencies are publishing a wrong map of India, and surprisingly, we are not making the correct and right noises against it. This is the map where entire Kashmir and our Aksai Chin are shown in China and Pakistan. This is an attack on India’s sovereignty. The Government must take up this issue very, very seriously,” he said in Rajya Sabha during the Zero Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vijay said he was in a NATO meeting in Brussels a month ago where “I saw the NATO Generals in a briefing showing India’s wrong map. I protested then and there. I said this was against India and if you think that you are a friend of India, you should not be showing these wrong maps,” the BJP member said and demanded that the government must protest against it.”To protect the sovereignty of India and to stop the cartographic attack on India by Microsoft and other American agencies, we must give them notice and we must boycott their products,” he said, adding that the wrong maps should be corrected.

Sena slams ‘double-faced’ Maharashtra government over Ghulam Ali, Shah Rukh Khan row

While the editorial criticised Khan for his ‘outrageous advocacy’, saying he often dips in ‘whirlpool of controversies’, they also strongly condemned the verbal attack on him.

Training their guns yet again on the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra Government, the Shiv Sena on Friday attacked the Chief Minister for having a ‘double-faced’ policy saying Pakistan maestro Ghulam Ali was being warmly welcomed but on the other hand Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan was being told to go to the hostile neighbour.”On one side the Chief Minister invites Ghulam Ali from Pakistan, saying they would be providing full security to him and on the other hand they order Shah Rukh Khan to go to Pakistan. This is double faced politics that is going on”, The Shiv Sena said in their mouthpiece Saamna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the editorial criticised Khan for his ‘outrageous advocacy’, saying he often dips in ‘whirlpool of controversies’, they also strongly condemned the verbal attack on him.”Targeting him because he is a Muslim and telling him to go to Pakistan is unfair,” it added.”Hafiz Saeed and many like him are trying to create a divide between the Muslim community in India and strong steps should be taken to stop it. The politicians should not criticise Khan over the debate of intolerance,” the editorial said.Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kailash Vijayvargiya had earlier slammed the actor saying he ‘lives in India but his soul is in Pakistan’.However, after facing national flak for his controversial statement, Vijayvargiya retracted his statement saying he had been misquoted and that he had not intended to ‘hurt any sentiments’ with his remark.BJP MP Yogi Adityanath also raised a furore after comparing Khan to 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, and said he is ‘welcome’ to go to Pakistan.

Unaware of his identity until now? Naseeruddin Shah does protest a bit much

Naseeruddin Shah is one of India’s best actors, even an actor’s actor, a thinking man’s actor, and one of my personal favourites. So one was disappointed to hear him make the same cliched statements of mild victimhood that one gets to hear so much of these days.

In an interview to India Today TV, where he was asked about criticism of his views on Pakistan at a Mumbai discussion on a book by former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, he said: “My name is Naseeruddin Shah and I believe that’s why I was targeted. It really pains me to say this. I have never been aware of my identity until now.”

Naseeruddin Shah. Solaris ImagesNaseeruddin Shah. Solaris Images

Naseeruddin Shah. Solaris Images

To say the least, this is disingenous. While it is no one’s case that some of his critics may have been venting their spleens only because of his identity, surely he cannot assume this to the whole truth. After all, it was his host Sudheendra kulkarni who got his face blackened by Shiv Sena thugs and he was not targeted for his identity, but his views on Pakistan and for inviting Kasuri over.

The point is in India views on Pakistan and Pakistanis are invariably coloured by our neighbour’s consistent sponsorship of terrorism on our soil. And the Shiv Sena, not known for its gentle argumentative powers, was trying to show the BJP up as soft on Pakistan. This is not to justify its acts, but to point out that a former BJP man got physically assaulted in this case while Shah received only verbal trolling.

The short point is, at least in this case, Shah was not criticised on trolled for merely being someone with a Muslim name.

Also, his claim that he was made to feel like a Muslim for the first time is clearly miles away from the truth. If any Indian claims that he was never made conscious of his religious or caste identity, he is lying or living in La-La-land.

In India, our politics is steeped in caste and communal identities, and most parties are identified with these groups. It may sound nice to say I have always thought of myself as an Indian, but the reality is your sub-identity is always noted, even if it does not always matter.

In 2014, when Narendra Modi was being subtly promoted for his humble caste origins, Mayawati wanted to know his sub-caste. In Tamil Nadu, if you are a Brahmin you will be called out and identified. In the last Mizoram elections, some candidates wanted to assert the state’s Christian identity. In Kerala, every caste and religious group has its own political party. In Shah’s own Bollywood, the fact that the box office is dominated by three Khans is often mentioned to point out how secular the film industry is. Of late, several Muslim parties are trying to seek the community’s vote by touting their Muslim credentials. So sub-identity is never too far away from our thoughts as Indians.

If I say or write anything about the utility of reservations in uplifting Dalits, my caste origins are enough to make my arguments almost worthless. One of the things being used against the BJP in Bihar is Mohan Bhagwat’s mild statement about the need to rethink quotas. His reasoning does not matter, only his identity as a Sanghi does.

If Naseeruddin Shah has any doubts on why we are never able to dissociate ourselves from our birth identities, he could have asked his interviewer about it. Rajdeep Sardesai was roasted on the social media for mildly remarking earlier this year that two fellow GSBs (Goud Saraswat Brahmins) had been elevated to the cabinet (Manohar Parrikar and Suresh Prabhu). It may be politically correct to say I am nothing but an Indian first and last, but few people actually think this way in real life.

In which world is Shah living in that he claims, in all innocence, that this is the first time he was being made aware of his identity? If he has been making his living in India – which he appears to be – he is clearly wrong.

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