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India's recent supercharged bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has drawn both admiration and flak back home. Despite New Delhi's efforts failing, many have cited this as an example of bold and imaginative foreign policy. Others have castigated Indian foreign policy framers for a lack of objectives and foresight. Both arguments have some truth to them.
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Politics in India wasn't always like this. Every Indian knows of the inspiring stories of sacrifice and selflessness which adorned India's noble struggle for freedom. Our freedom fighters did not define their nationalism on the lines of casteist, religious or linguistic identity. Rather, they strove to unite a difficultly diverse country into a single nation, defined on the lines of noble values and principles, such as liberty, equality, fraternity and justice. <em>That</em> was Indian nationalism.
Governments cannot be expected to provide <em>ad hoc</em> employment to millions of people until they retire, nor is such a policy beneficial for the larger economy and its productivity. What <em>is</em> a basic function of the Indian government, however, is providing the same people with the skills and education that they need to make themselves employable in the larger economy. India has fallen woefully short in this measure, and the spotlight being on MGNREGA hasn't helped at all.
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Only days Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Lahore promised to put India-Pakistan relations back on track, a terrorist attack on an Indian Air Force base in Punjab this week has threatened to derail talks all over again. The challenge for New Delhi would be to learn from history and ensure that terrorists don't get their way again. A good starting point would be to frame some clear ground rules towards talks with Pakistan. Here are some pointers.
Fiery sloganeering against the government might make for good television, but it doesn't help in enforcing accountability on the government for its primary job of governance. What India needs is a coherent and informative voice from the opposition in Parliament on issues of policy and governance. The answer: a shadow cabinet.
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Whether climate change or ISIS, global problems now need global solutions, arrived at through meaningful multilateral deliberation and consensus. All of this needs the UN to adapt and reform to changing times - and India could potentially lead that process.
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Talks between India and Pakistan have broken down in the past, and promising efforts to restart dialogue have often been lost in the noise of rhetoric. Why do India and Pakistan find it near impossible to sit across the table and talk it out? The answer lies beyond a lack of trust or political will.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan delivered his bimonthly monetary policy review this week, keeping the key lending rates of India's central bank unchanged. But the debate on the review this time was less over Governor Rajan's monetary policy and more over whether monetary policy should even be his job at all.
India and Pakistan are all set to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as full members next year after the regional grouping voted to include them in its latest summit in Ufa, Russia. Many believe that this is the SCO's attempt to secure China's New Silk Road project. But if all goes well, the SCO could do a lot more than just that - it may even help resolve the India-Pakistan conflict.