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Indo-Pak relations: Real journalism or propaganda of blame game ?

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By Surbhi Moudgil

A montage of the India-Pakistan international relations can be sketched upon the blame game trepidations of either sides. This never ending disquieting argument of finding each other at fault is a trait which is logical at time and at times completely absurd.

With no tangible international organisation in existence to have a superior authority over the two countries to execute a line-up, the gruesome animosity is merely going to distress the people, and not the politicians.

With all said and done by the respective governments, it’s the media which feeds itself out of this interphase between the silence of proposition. Recently, an editorial called “Security State” in a leading English daily of Pakistan, mentioned India as their foremost nemesis. This proposition was put forth on the basis of apparent, ulterior motives of India to hamper the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, highlighted by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

The tapping of media in the political interphase, between the two nations on unproven allegations simply crushes the neutrality of media. To allege a country as nemesis just on the basis of speculation and truling to force an argument on the state of conflict amongst them only represents failure of media ethics.

For how long can the organized outrage of media be justified as real journalism?

Fuelling the hatred towards India is turning into the crust of Pakistan’s domestic as well as foreign policy. By the tossing of blame on to the other side of LOC, Pakistan keeps itself in peace.

This unparalleled strategy of Pakistan military to attack the integrity of India is a primordial strategy of Pakistan and fuelling of such statements by the media, validates it. The editorial also glorified the Pakistan Army over their elected members of parliament, stating “When the divide between the civilian leadership and the army is discussed, it is clear that the army functions effectively and fills the gaps in all arenas where the civilian leadership fails time and time again.”

The media needs to take a high road of unprejudiced journalism, focusing only on evidence and not fall prey to political motives of a state, be it on this side or that side of the border.

 

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Mango Diplomacy through National Fruit of India

Both India and Pakistan recognize Mangoes as the national fruit. It is also a diplomatic approach for the two countries

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Mangoes: National Fruit of India is Mango
It is common to see bright mangoes stocked up during season in India. Wikimedia
  • Mango is the national fruit of India as well as Pakistan
  • Both countries have also used mango diplomacy, often in the form of gifts to their leaders
  • The two countries compete for the export market of the world

June 12, 2017: Despite political upheaval between the two countries, India and Pakistan love their mangoes. The mangoes from these two nations are popular and thus in demand all over the world. In the early start of the year (February-March) and monsoons, the mangoes are popular and an essential fruit in every home. But it is really about Mango diplomacy.

India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes while Pakistan grows one-third of that. India is the world’s largest mango producer (13 million tons a year) while Pakistan stands at 5th spot (1.6 million tons).

Historically, the fruit has been given prime importance even by the ‘outsiders’. The plantation of mangoes was encouraged by the Mughals who also used the fruit as a gift to the nobles of the court.

India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes. Click To Tweet

Mangoes were also being exported out of the country by air as well as sea. Bombay was sending crates of mangoes as a gift to Sweden and Holland in an effort to develop mango markets.

As early as 1935, crates of mangoes (along with pearls and nuts) were part of consignments in JRD Tata’s air cargo after the launch of Tata Aviation. The Alfonso mango was selected as the ideal gift by the government to be sent to London by shipment for the crowning of George VI. This may have led to a global demand for mangoes.

The fruit has also carried a diplomatic tradition. It was particularly a favorite for Dr. Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru may have been biased to guavas personally (hailing from Allahabad) but he understood the diplomatic importance of mangoes. Any visit by a foreign leader to India was greeted by gifting mangoes. Nehru also took mangoes when it was his turn to make the visit abroad. In some instances (when it must not have been mango season) Nehru has carried mango saplings to be gifted abroad.

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Particularly different is how mangoes are to be eaten. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev adopted the Indian method of squeezing and then sucking on the fruit. Unlike most leaders who would use spoon and fork, Nikita loved the Indian way.

It has become a cross-border gift for India and Pakistan since the 1980s when Zia ul-Haq exchanged crates of mangoes with the former Indian Prime Minster Indira Gandhi.

On Eid 2015, PM Nawaz Sharif sent 10 kgs of mangoes to Indian PM Narendra Modi. Further, 15 kgs to President Pranab Mukherjee and 10 kgs each to former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Atal Behari Vajpayee was also sent.

It seems Pakistan wants to take its mango diplomacy with India seriously irrespective of the insecurity between the two nations. Every year, India receives Mangoes from Pakistani leaders, but India does not always respond by an exchange.

With security tensions mounting in South Asia, some suggest returning to Mango diplomacy (especially with China) may benefit India.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

 

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India-Pakistan peace process: US President Donald Trump may get involved, says US Representative to UN Nikki Haley

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Donald Trump. Wikimedia
United Nations, April 4, 2017: The US is concerned about the state of India-Pakistan relations and President Donald Trump himself may get involved in a peace process between the two South Asian antagonists, Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the UN said on Monday.

“This administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward,” Haley, who holds a cabinet rank in the Trump administration, said.

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“I would expect that the administration going to be in talks and try and find its place to be part of that (process).”

She added, “And also wouldn’t be surprised if the President participates as well.”

India has opposed external involvement in bilateral issues with Pakistan.

During his campaign in 2016, Trump had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, but was careful to add that it was only if the two nations wanted him to.

In an interview to The Hindustan Times he said that he “would be honoured” to be a moderator. “I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator.”

Haley was answering a question from a reporter at her news conference on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of April.

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The reporter pointed out that India does not want an interlocutor for talks with Pakistan, while Islamabad wanted the US or another country to facilitate talks between them and asked if the US would get the leaders of the two countries to talk.

With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson keeping a low public profile and generally avoiding the media, Haley is emerging as the public face of US diplomacy making her presence felt in the media aided by her cabinet status.

Her statement about India-Pakistan relations, therefore, assume importance and it is the first high-level Trump administration statement on India’s relations with Pakistan.

While it is not clear what steps the US could take, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Trump in Washington in May when the two could discuss it.

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Former President Barack Obama also had said during his 2008 campaign that the US should mediate the Kashmir dispute. The offer met with strong opposition in India and he did not actively follow it up when he became President.

“We don’t think we should wait until something happens” Haley said. “We very much think we should be pro-active in what we are seeing, tensions rise and conflicts seem to bubble up and so want to see if we can be a part of that.”

“So, that will be something you will see, that is something that members of the National Security Council participate in,” she said. (IANS)

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Pakistan in a “goodwill gesture” returns Indian Soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan

Indian soldier Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, who surrendered himself willfully to Pakistan army due to his grievances of maltreatment will be returned

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(representational Image) The team from the Pakistani air force makes their way to the first sector of the security forces combat arms event course. Wikimedia

Islamabad, Jan 21, 2017: Pakistan on Saturday in a “goodwill gesture” returned Indian Soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan, who inadvertently crossed the LoC in September last year.

According to an ISPR statement, Sepoy Chavan, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, “deserted his post at the LoC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders”.

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“He willfully crossed LoC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army,” the Pakistan Army’s media wing said.

It said that “as a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity along LoC and WB (International Border), Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds.”

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Chavan, 22, was posted with 37 Rashtriya Rifles at Mendhar, Jammu and Kashmir and on September 29, just hours after the Indian Army’s surgical strikes had “inadvertently crossed LoC” to the Pakistan side.

His grandmother suffered a cardiac arrest and died after the family was informed that he was captured by the Pakistan Army.

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India had been in regular touch with Pakistan for the release of Chavan. (IANS)