What Is India News Service
Thursday, March 02, 2006

India News Summary



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Business and Economy
  • Australia has beaten the US to supply the 500,000 tons of wheat to Southern States. Australia has cost advantages over the US and ports where methyl bromide can be used to fumigate the wheat. The import of wheat is embroiled in major controversy as the timing, quantity, and quality of this wheat procurement is suspect. India is expected to consume 74.5 million tons while production is expected to be 73 million tons. Farmers had been steadily veering away from wheat to more lucrative sugar production causing large scale environmental and health damage. India is soon earning the dubious distinction of being the diabetic king of the world and the increased sugar production depletes water tables and affects water sources with fertilizer and pesticide runoffs.

Terrorism, Defense, Security and Science & Technology
  • Portugal deported gangster Abu Salem confessed that he had given 3 AK-56 assault rifles and several grenades to actor Sanjay Dutt just before the serial Mumbai blast in 1993. However, he claims that he did not know that he was delivering arms and ammunition. He insinuated that Dutt knew what he was getting and seemed unfazed as he was.

  • Days before the US President George Bush's arrival in Pakistan, the military reported that it had attacked a terrorist camp on the border with Afghanistan killing 25-30 terrorists. Army sources said that they responded to intelligence from Afghanistan that a party had returned from Khost and Pakistan dispatched helicopter gun ships and ground troops to rout them. Pakistan denies there is any link between the Bush's visit and this action.

  • Bangladesh launched a major hunt to nab terrorists responsible for the bomb blasts at Northeastern town Sylhet. Over 1000 security forces laid siege to a house suspected of harboring 9 terrorists of a banned Islamic group Jamat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) including their leader Shayekh Abdur Rahman. Hundreds of JMB and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) have been detained since the bomb blasts including top JMP leader Hafiz Mahmud. The occupants of the besieged house have not surrendered.

  • Close to the crucial March 6 Vienna meeting to discuss Iran's nuclear program, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it has not found evidence that Iran was diverting material for nuclear weapons. However, it requested Iran to give it more access to "conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." Without further study, the IAEA said it couldn’t confirm that Iran's past activities were linked to a nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, Iran and Russia held a series of negotiations to create a joint venture to process nuclear fuel in Russia and there seemed to be some consensus. However, some last minute glitches appeared when Iran wanted to enrich limited amount of nuclear fuel—a position opposed by most of the world. The IAEA confirmed that Iran is enriching small amounts of uranium but not enough to make a bomb. World's suspicion on Iran increased when they found centrifuges sold by disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan and unilaterally abrogated the Paris Agreement requiring it to stop enrichment.

  • On the way to India, US President George Bush made a surprise stop in Afghanistan and vowed to dismantle the al Qaeda. He reiterated American commitment to the development of Afghanistan.

  • While no one has assumed responsibility, suspected Baloach rebels in Pakistan blew up a gas pipeline near Pakistan's main gas field at Sui. Baloachistan has never truly integrated into Pakistan and its tribes have been in incessant fight with various civilians military Governments in Islamabad. The Baloach say that Pakistan exploits their resources but give them nothing in return; a charge that is similar to the one from the Shias in Sindh. Minority sects in Pakistan accuse the dominant Punjabi clans of cornering limited national resources because of their presence in the military. The Shias of Sindh and Northern Areas, the Baloach in South West, Pushtuns in North West, Ahmediyas in Punjab, and a smattering of Hindus blame the majority Sunni population of lack of tolerance. The National Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that women are similarly or in some cases worse off than minorities.

  • Editorial: The Nepal Stalemate

  • Editorial: Iran's Nuclear Program

  • US President George Bush landed in India to be received by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bush enjoyed 71% popularity in India (interestingly more than he did in the US) but is now being spurned by a vocal minority. The communists for political grandstanding, Muslims for American action in Iraq and muscle flexing against Iran, and some regressive political parties for selfish gain are planning demonstrations against his visit. Bush has been favorable to India on three critical issues-- Kashmir, terrorism, and nuclear co-operation. Unlike past Administrations, Bush has spoken out against Pakistan's continued support for terrorism in India, called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement on Kashmir, and officered the civilian nuclear deal. The nuclear deal is under intense debate over last minute differences on the inclusion of fast breeder reactors (FBRs). Unless there are some serious compromises from the US, the deal is as good as dead. India is unanimously opposed to including FBRs in the civilian list and there is no political space for Singh to compromise on this issue.

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South Indian Inscriptions
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  • Egypt is working on a plan that would require Israel to give the Hamas-led Government 6 months to meet Israeli requirements. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority itself is in Constitutional turmoil as Hamas is refusing to form a Government under conditions laid down by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

  • Editorial: Hamas's victory in Palestinian Territories

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