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PM Modi to visit Pakistan next year: Sushma Swaraj

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Islamabad: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here on Wednesday.

Modi will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, Swaraj told the media.

This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the South Asian neighbour in January 2004 to attend that year’s Saarc summit.

The foreign minister said she would accompany Modi during his visit, Geo TV reported.

Swaraj is in Islamabad to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Swaraj’s is the first ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since the visit of then external affairs minister S M Krishna in 2012.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held in Ufa, Russia, in July, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited Modi to attend the Saarc summit next year which the latter had accepted.

After the Ufa meeting, both the prime ministers directed their foreign secretaries to initiate the process of renewing talks, including meetings between the national security advisors of the two countries.

However, NSA-level talks between Doval and then Pakistani NSA Sartaz Aziz scheduled in New Delhi in August were cancelled after the Pakistan high commissioner in New Delhi insisted on inviting Hurriyat leaders for a reception in honour of Aziz.

The two prime ministers again had an impromptu meeting on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP-21) climate summit in Paris on November 30.

Both leaders were seen warmly shaking hands at the summit venue as world leaders converged for the opening of the event.

The two leaders then sat on the same sofa and were seen engaging in an animated discussion.

Following this, on December 6, National Security Advisors (NSAs) Ajit Doval of India and Naseer Khan Janjua of Pakistan held a meeting in Bangkok which was also attended by Foreign Secretaries S Jaishanker and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said the two NSAs held discussions “in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere”.

According to the statemernt, the NSAs “were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia.

“Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues including tranquillity along the LoC (Line of Control).

“It was agreed to carry forward the constrictive engagement,” said the statement.

The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.(IANS)

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An insight into the biggest political parties of India

The next state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul Gandhi to prove his mettle as a leader

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The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons
The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Indian being a political democratic country, houses a lot of political parties. Since independence, many new parties have emerged to take up the fight for various sections of the society. One of the examples of such a party is AAP (Aam Admi Party). AAP came up with strong political ethics to root out issues faced by a commons man but now the very existence of this party is in question due to poor performance and incompetence of some of its top leaders. But the most prominent of all of the political parties in India are BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) and the Indian National Congress.

BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons
BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, BJP surfaced from a former party known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. BJP’s agenda during the 1980s focused on the ‘Ram Janambhoomi movement’. The party encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. This issue gave the Hindu colour denomination to BJP and in 1996; it emerged as the largest party in the parliament. After being kept away from the power for long, Narendra Modi led the BJP to unprecedented heights in the last elections and the competition was put up by him was unmatchable.

On the other hand, Congress is a more matured political party of India. It got established in the year 1885. After the independence, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Nehru was the front face of the political governance in India but after his assassination, his daughter Indira Gandhi took the charge and became the prime minister in 1966. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi also got assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi took up the reigns of the party. In the sequence of assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was the next target. Sonia Gandhi came to power in 1998 and she led the party from the front in 2004 elections. This resulted in the political rule of Congress under Manmohan Singh.

After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons
After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons

The recent Assembly election of Gujarat was a real eye-opener for many, as the people’s right to vote was seen quite considerably y exercised. The Congress resistance in the very own fortress of Narendra Modi was a heavy blow to the Modi wave that swept the country. Although, BJP had the last laugh in the election results but the close fight Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Congress side was appreciable. The new trend seems to be rebalancing the political scenario in India. The tussle between the BJP and Congress will definitely go down in the history of Indian politics.

Nowadays, Twitter is another playground for political parties. The rule of social media platforms has pushed Indian leaders to communicate in the same manner. It’s vividly seen that people take up to twitter to express their views and differences. Rahul Gandhi vetted his displeasure over the performance of BJP in the latest series of attacks by Rahul against Prime Minister Modi.

Last month only, Rahul Gandhi was crowned as the party head. Therefore, the state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul to prove his mettle as a leader. It will be interesting to see the new strategies that will be deployed by Congress to take an edge over their arch rivals, BJP.