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SOURCE: Express News Service

When I spoke to his family, I took the liberty of addressing him as ‘Babji’. That was how Atal Bihari Vajpayee treated people who knew him. All the people who worked with him in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) can vouch for the fact that he treated them like family. He always made you feel good, he made you feel important and gave you respect.

It was nothing but fantastic working with him.Now that the great man is no more, his memories come flashing across my mind. There are so many memories. In fact, working with him created memories on a daily basis. What else can one say? Continue reading


Asserting that infiltration by terrorists was a major concern, India today told Pakistan that intrusions have increased in the north of Pir Panjal mountain ranges and Islamabad must take measures to prevent it.

A statement by the Indian Army said the Director Generals of Military Operations of the two armies held talks and expressed pleasantries on the occasion of Independence Day. The Pakistan DGMO made an assurance that the Pakistani army would take prompt action against any move of inimical elements in proximity to the Line of Control and respond to information shared by the Indian side, thereby facilitating the conduct of anti-terrorist operations, the statement said. Continue reading

SOURCE: Telegraph India

His latest fiction revolves round the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and the yet undiscovered RDX stash, post the 1993 blasts. As the journalist and writer avatars of S. Hussain Zaidi meet, the result is a riveting crime thriller — Eleventh Hour. Here’s what the author has to say about his new release…

What inspired you to write Eleventh Hour?

The idea of this book was inside me for a long time but I wasn’t getting enough time to write it down, given other ongoing commitments. But I had to write it eventually, as the story is also of topical relevance. Continue reading


I think that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an outstanding man. Being from the right wing of the Indian political spectrum, the kind of realistic appreciation of relations with Pakistan he had can only be lauded.The bus journey to Lahore, the things he said in front of the Pakistan Minar. That could have been the beginning of a new relationship. This was really screwed up by Kargil.

But knowing that the person responsible for Kargil is now the head of Pakistan, yet to invite him for the Agra summit, that was again something commendable. Something could have come out of the Agra summit if –we subcontinentals, both Pakistanis and Indians—sometimes we take pride in displaying our small-mindedness. It was the smallness of our minds which led to the sabotaging of the Agra summit. Continue reading


Saudi Arabia hopes India and Pakistan will resume peace talks and will be happy to help the process but only if it is asked to do so, Saudi ambassador Saud bin Mohammed al-Sati said on Thursday.

He said he had noted the “reference that the Prime Minister-elect of Pakistan, Imran Khan, made regarding India — that if India takes one step, we will take two”. It was encouraging, he said, that this was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phone call to Khan to congratulate him on his electoral success. Continue reading


A 32-year-old man, arrested in May for allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in several cities, had received training in “explosive making” and “suicide bombing” in Pakistan, the Maharashtra Police said in its charge sheet filed in a court today.

Faisal Mirza underwent terror training in the neighbouring country for 12 days, the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said in the 1,155-page charge sheet filed in the special court of Sessions Judge MB Dattye here. Continue reading


The Foreign Office of Pakistan on Thursday advised India to set their own house in order rather than dishing the dirt at Pakistan.

In the weekly media briefing, the Foreign Office spokesman said levelling baseless accusations against Pakistan would not serve any purpose. The spokesman admitted officially for the first time that the US had cut off Pakistan from the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme. Continue reading

SOURCE: Bloomberg

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former prime minister who transformed India into a nuclear-armed nation and ignited a weapons race in South Asia, died Thursday.The 93-year-old had been ailing for some time and on June 11 was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences suffering a range of illnesses, where his condition deteriorated.

Known for his engaging speeches, Vajpayee led India’s right-wing coalition governments from 1998 to 2004, overseeing sweeping policy changes in telecommunications, education and privatization of state-run firms. He will be remembered for his repeated efforts at talks with neighbor Pakistan, improved relations with the U.S. and India’s second nuclear weapons test in 1998, more than two decades after the first detonation in 1974. Continue reading


History remembers the Agra Summit as one of the greatest missed opportunities of India-Pakistan relations.

Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, in his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ wrote the “solution to Kashmir was in the grasp of both governments”. Why, then, did the solution slip away from both New Delhi and Islamabad? Different sides have different theories. But starting a dialogue with India’s most bitter adversaries is seen as one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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With his mantra of ‘Insaniyat, ‘Jamhooriyat’ and ‘Kashmiriyat’, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee endeared himself to the people of Kashmir who finally saw a leader willing to look beyond political calculations in his attempt to solve the vexed problem of the strife-torn valley.

People of the valley vividly remember Vajpayee as the man, who despite his Jan Sangh past, extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and offered dialogue to the separatists in a historic speech here in April 2003. Continue reading


The surprise announcement that India will buy the US/Norwegian Sparrow air defence missile system for $1 billion may have been expedited to mollify the United States.

Given Washington DC’s unhappiness with India going ahead with a $6 billion, five battery S-400 SAM (surface-to-air missiles) purchase from Russia even though the US has issued a waiver (Countering America’s Adversaries through the Sanctions Act), there will be speculation that the Sparrow air defense missile deal is meant to appease the Americans. Continue reading


Kashmiris are not terrorists, said National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Thursday, while adding that he will not accept the idea of a nation sans equality.Farooq, while addressing an event here in Delhi, urged for adopting ideals of Mahatama Gandhi who strongly propagated secularism.

“We (Kashmiris) are not terrorists. We don’t want to separate from the nation. But at the same time we will not support the idea of a nation where its people are not treated equally. No matter if a person is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or a Sikh all should be treated equally. We want Gandhi’s India, a secular India,” said Farooq. Continue reading


A desire of the Indian Navy to procure an additional 12 Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft is lying in cold storage following a recent audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), an authority that audits all receipts and expenditure of the government.

The report has reprimanded the then-Congress government for ordering an initial eight P-8Is, despite their being priced higher than the competing EADS-CASA (now Airbus Defence and Space) A319. India’s rules state that the lowest price (L-1) equipment has to be considered for procurement. Continue reading


India’s longest-range Intercontinental ballistic Agni-V missile is just one test away from been officially inducted into the nuclear arsenal of the country, but the successor program is nowhere to be seen even though DRDO almost 5 years ago had confirmed it has all the building blocks to develop next longest-range ballistic missile.

While DRDO and Defence Ministry have not acknowledged but sure have denied the existence of any Agni-VI program but off late media reports do hint that program doesn’t have the political backing in light of maintaining continuous International backing to the country’s Nuclear program which has received a major boost after several agreements of cooperation were sealed with many countries off late. Continue reading


India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed the arrest of Habibur Rahaman, alias Habib, a terrorist handler for the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group. He was arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 6. Originally from Odisha’s Kendrapara District, Habib had been residing in Saudi Arabia for quite some time, hatching plots to hurt India right under the Saudi regime’s nose.

Habib’s capture and the revelation of him having a Saudi link should compel India to again review its policies with Saudi Arabia, may be along more aggressive lines. Continue reading