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Russia, China, Pakistan forms strong alliance




Russia under Vladimir Putin is expanding military assertiveness and political influence to challenge US led NATO world order.On the other hand Russia even though cautiously expanding ties with China,keeps an eye on China’s past record.

Aware of the fact that both the countries desire to attain second super power status  and are thus found competing with each other in so many regions and policies .But they both also present a joint challenge to the US super power status.For their international expansion, China  and Russia are now linked with Highway  bridge across the Heilongjiang river . After 28 years of talks , construction has finally started to construct 1,283 meters bridge that links Heihe to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk which is a part of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor to provide boost to economic activities both in cargo and passenger traffic.

Moscow and Beijing have their own strategies and policies for the expansion of their international interests.China is economically stronger with surplus trade with US while Russia is somewhat isolated and is under US and EU sanctions after the Crimean annexation. Russia is one of the 5 highest recipients of Chinese investment  with regional and Chinese belt and Road initiative  connecting Asia  and Europe.

China has acquired dominating position with its maritime military bases  in Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, Balochistan , Burma (known as string of pearls) further with connecting Middle East and Europe. Under string of pearls ,China has accomplished  maritime superiority thus challenging the US :China has established airstrip on Woody island in the Paracel archipelago located 300 nautical miles west of Vietnam, shipping facility in Chittagong, Bangladesh,Port in Sittwe ,Myanmar, Gwadar in Pakistan, Pipeline through Islamabad  to Kashgar in Xinjiang and facilities on islands in the Bay of Bengal near the Malacca Strait  and the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka .

Besides this China has already embarked on creating its suzerainty over South China Sea and even expanding its influence to Pacific region that also includes Australia.

It has also aggressively started  pursuing One-China policy that includes Taiwan and Hongkong to counter Trump’s changed postures  over these China’s claimed parts of erstwhile One China.

Internationally, Russia has won a major victory against US and the European Union in Syria by liberating Aleppo .After the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Russia is trying to drive a wedge between Turkey and the NATO countries of Europe and is desirous of reviving its old region of countries in the erstwhile Soviet Union and to counter balance American influence in this region. The importance of Central Asia  and the Caucasian region in the foreign policy of Moscow has been increasingly tremendously since 2004.

Inspite of close economic ties with China, Russia is also  working on having friendly relations with US but China fears that Putin-Donald Trump equation  can harm Beijing’s global interests.

While US President Barack Obama has signed into law the $618 billion defence budget 2017 and also the National Defence Authorization Act  which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State  to take necessary steps  to recognise India  as “America’s major defence partner.”Pakistan, China and Russia are set to hold talks in Moscow on December 27,2016 to discuss regional peace and stability ,including situation in Afghanistan

It will be interesting  to watch Donald Trump’s policy for Pakistan and China .

arti bali

By : Arti Bali Senior Journalist


24% scheme performance indicators of Delhi government ‘off track’



Manish Sisodia

An average 23.7 per cent of output and outcome indicators for various programmes and schemes of the Delhi government departments were “off track” till December last year, analysis of a report tabled in the Delhi Assembly on Wednesday suggested.

The 23.7 per cent of indicators were off track for schemes and programmes of 14 major departments, including Health, Social Welfare and Education, for which funds were allocated in the Delhi Budget 2017-18, according to an IANS analysis of Status Report of the Outcome Budget 2017-18.

The Status Report was presented by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

In the report, the indicators — output and outcome of schemes and programmes — of a department were used to denote whether their schemes were on or off track. Here off track implies the performance or progress of indicators of major schemes of a particular department (till December 2017) was less than 70 per cent of the expected progress.

With 45 per cent indicators off track, the Public Works Department’s schemes performed worst, followed by the Transport Department and the Environment Department, each having 40 per cent of indicators for schemes off track.

The departments whose schemes performed well include the Directorate of Education with 89 per cent indicators of schemes on-track, followed by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) with 87 per cent schemes on track and the Delhi Jal Board with 82 per cent programmes on track.

Sisodia said that idea behind the Outcome Budget was to bring a high degree of accountability and transparency in public spending.

The Outcome Budget, which coveres 34 departments of the government, was termed as the “first of its kind” in the country.

Citing an example of Mohalla Clinics, Sisodia said a regular budget tells only about the money allocated for the construction of clinics, while Outcome Budget is about the number of clinics built and the number of people expected to benefit from it.

The Outcome Budget measures each scheme using two indices: output and outcome.

The infrastructure created or services offered due to spending on a particular scheme is termed as output, whereas the number of people benefited and how is termed as outcome.

(Nikhil M. Babu can be contacted at [email protected])

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Modi Govt officially confirms death of 39 Indians in Iraq



It took four years for the Modi government to confirm the death of 39 Indian workers who were abducted by the terror organisation ISIS in June 2014 from Mosul in Iraq. The grieving families of massacred Indians are in pain and agony against the government over not informing them first directly rather External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a suo moto statement in the Parliament.

This insensitivity of the government has made the victims’ families furious as they claimed that they had met the Union Minister Swaraj 11 to 12 times but were given false assurance that according to their sources the missing Indians were alive and Harjit Masih, the lone survivor, is a liar.

The government came under a direct attack from the Congress as it termed the government of crossing all limits of “insensitivity, inhumanity, and being merciless” and politicising the issue.

The government met the families and gave misleading assurances in front of cameras so as to give an impression that government is doing more than enough for searching the 39 construction workers.

“All the 39 Indians abducted by the Islamic State in Mosul in Iraq three years ago are dead and their bodies have been recovered, said Swaraj in the Rajya Sabha. Their identities were established through DNA testing and their bodies recovered from a village called Badosh- northwest of Mosul, she said.

Indian and Iraqi officials did not disclose details of when and how the victims were killed.

Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, non-Iraqi shoes, and IDs. The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing.

DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation has established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70 percent matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she said.

Whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been boasting off for assisting foreign countries by evacuating 1,947 foreign nationals from 48 countries from Yemen.

When can the government not promise the safety of Indian citizens at home and abroad how it can brag about assisting foreigners?

There are some serious questions that need to be answered by the government as Why did the Modi government took four years to confirm the death of 39 abducted Indians?

Why was Masih’s revelation about the status of missing Indians was rejected despite confirmation from Bangladesh sources?. Harjit Masih, an Indian national who was also captured in Mosul and escaped, had stated in November 2014 that the other workers had been shot and killed.

Sushma has dismissed the allegations that the lone survivor, Harjit Masih, who escaped from Iraq’s Mosul, was harassed and kept in a protective custody.

While addressing the media on the issue of 39 Indians killed in Mosul, Swaraj said, “It is baseless that Harjit Masih was harassed, he was kept in protective custody. I had said this in Parliament earlier.”

Why did they give false hopes to the families’ and misleading statements to the people of India?

The Government gave no logical explanation, other than the fact that the government wanted DNA proof.

Instead of bragging about their floated schemes, Prime Minister Modi should list out the shortcomings of his government and should think of providing compensation to the victim’ families. He should rather learn to be truthful and own up to his government failures.


Arti Bali

Sr Journalist


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Afghan government’s peace offer to Taliban

China and the European Union believe the Taliban should accept Ghani’s offer to recognize the movement as a legitimate political group.



Ashraf Ghani

US is concerned over the increasing number of high-profile attacks in Kabul orchestrated by Taliban that is aimed at undermining the Afghan government and international resolve to bring peace to war-torn Afghanistan after 16 years of war as Jakarta is preparing to host a trilateral conference where religious scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia would seek to establish peace and security, and the end of terrorism.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has assured unconditional talks to the Taliban and offered to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.The president also offered to provide passports to Taliban members and their families, along with an office in Kabul, but the Afghan Taliban remains skeptical about the Indonesia conference.

The Taliban has been waging a bitter fight in Afghanistan with the ultimate goal of ruling the country and imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The group controlled Afghanistan until 2001, when it was overthrown by the US-led coalition that invaded the country following the 9/11 attacks.

Afghanistan’s Taliban agreed to discuss peace and reconciliation with the leaders of Afghan jihadi organizations opposed to the U.S.-led “foreign occupation” of the country but maintained its silence over Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent offer of a reconciliation dialogue.

Kabul is our main effort. To harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the international community that are here,” US General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan stated.

To defeat ISIS and Taliban, Washington has shifted resources from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan by adopting the regional approach, Considering the complexities of political realities in Afghanistan, US is working to achieve a reconciliation, a political reconciliation, not a military victory.

As regards with strategic framework of U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s South Asia strategy unveiled in August 2017, it was hoped that Ghani would embark on a path toward more inclusive politics by shaping a broad-based consensus to prepare the grounds for the success of the new U.S. strategy.

General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan said the United States held a series of private talks with Pakistani officials about the elimination of insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.

US asserted that the recent pressure applied to Pakistan has not resulted in the reduction of violence in Afghanistan and reiterated that Washington will take steps to cut the aid coming from Pakistan to the Taliban and other groups.

Meanwhile, Head of Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has called on the Taliban to accept government’s peace offer.Hekmatyar said he has sent a peace outline to government and to the Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada and asked him to use the opportunity and join the peace process.

According to Hekmatyar, war is of no benefit to anyone and only the Afghan people are victims of the ongoing conflict. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s support of an Afghan-led peace deal. “I commend President Ghani for his courageous leadership. His offer to the Taliban is the clearest invitation to peace yet. So I call on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. There is an opportunity now to end the conflict”, he added.

China and the European Union believe that Taliban should accept Ghani’s offer to recognize the movement as a legitimate political group.Where as US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities include clamping down on the Taliban and Haqqani network  for stabilizing  Afghanistan.


Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

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