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Accustomed as we are to shrill hyperbole in India's public discourse, the description of the tense Himalayan face-off as the "incident at Doklam" and its denouement as "expeditious disengagement of border personnel" by the Ministry of External Affairs came across as refreshing examples of phlegmatic understatement. The diplomatic finesse shown by India stood in stark contrast to the Chinese spokesperson's gauche declaration that India had "pulled back all the trespassing personnel and equipment".

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The US President has spelt out the much-anticipated US Policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. Expectedly, there are enough divergent views expressed within the US and elsewhere. What does it hold for India? To recall, the substantive issues are: The policies are to best serve US strategic interests; the US commitment is "condition-based" and not time-bound; nation-building is not an agenda; and finally, there will be greater operational freedom to the US military.

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NEW YORK : United States President Donald Trump has played the India card against Pakistan in the Afghan great game, but would that become a true trump card for India?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said very proudly during a visit to Russia last month that not a single bullet had been fired along the border between India and China for 40 years. "It is true that we have a border dispute with China. But in the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired because of border dispute," Modi said in a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

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NEW DELHI : The Indian Army honoured its longest serving mule "Pedongi" by naming an Army mess after it, but there was a time when the Army had decided to mark the end of the road for the sturdy mule, that has walked miles on some of the most treacherous tracks providing logistics support in difficult situations. Just before the Kargil war, there was a proposal to disband the Animal Transport units that come under Indian Army Service Corps, consisting of sturdy mules.

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It seems to be yesterday once more with the deafening silence of the Sahitya Akademi and other cultural institutions over the provocative threat that acclaimed actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Paresh Rawal has made against writer Arundhati Roy.

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The Indian IT industry is at the crossroads. It first suffered the long-expected shock of the Trump administration's policy shift against the H1B work visa programme. The US President's executive order makes it impossible for IT firms to bring overseas low-skilled engineers into the US for on-site postings. Indian IT firms, which are the largest applicants for H1B visa, have the most to lose.

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With the Supreme Court refusing to fast-track it and pushing for out-of-court negotiations, it is evident no legal verdict can resolve the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. Way back in 1993, the apex court had indicated that any court verdict is fraught with risks. Although much water has flown down the Sayaru since then, Ayodhya remains a dispute that cannot afford a loser.

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BEIJING : India's claim to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir has created problems for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a top Chinese scholar has said. In an interview to IANS, Wang Yiwei, Dean, the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University, said: "Pakistani-dominated Kashmir was not India's." The author of "China Connects the World, What Behind the Belt and Road Initiative" urged India to join the Belt and Road project, whose artery CPEC is opposed by New Delhi.

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LUCKNOW : Blame it on the soaring mercury or power going to their heads, the saffron brigade in Uttar Pradesh is cutting loose, much to the chagrin of the bureaucracy that is facing the heat of their misconduct. And so, while it was initially dismissed as the handiwork of fringe elements and overzealous party workers by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the situation now is precarious with many of its lawmakers and ministers involved in such public incidents of high-handedness.

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PARIS : A civil servant who became a millionaire investment banker and eventually a government minister is now the youngest President of France. Welcome Emmanuel Macron, a complete unknown four years ago. The founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Macron, 39. is a centrist who never stood for elections before, did not have the backing of a traditional party and had no constituency or firm voter base.

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Taxing agricultural income has always been a politically sensitive topic. This was evident last week after NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy spoke in favour of this above a certain threshold. Immediate clarifications followed that the official stance was not the same. Throughout the history of independent India, similar suggestions have met the same fate.

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The wag has a point. The 2017 Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, we are being persistently reminded, were won by the BJP handsomely because of a single factor: a Modi wave. Fair enough. But the BJP won the two previous Delhi municipal elections also. Who generated the waves then? The anchors were hopping on their seats in orgasmic ecstasy. "Kejriwal routed, Kejriwal routed."

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NEW DELHI : The Congress suffered its worst defeat of the last three Delhi municipal polls on Wednesday, bringing to light the enormity of challenges it faces to revive itself in the national capital. But it is not just about Delhi; the party also faces challenges of revival in several states, including politically crucial Uttar Pradesh. The Congress got 30 seats in the Delhi municipal polls, far less than 77 seats it won in 2012 and 67 seats in 2007.

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LUCKNOW :If Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most publicised statement over the years has been "na khaaonga, na khaane doonga (neither will I take bribes, nor will I allow anyone to either)", for the 21st Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the credo seems to be "na soounga, na sone doonga" (Neither will I sleep, nor will I allow anyone to). A bachelor and a workaholic, Yogi is working long hours every day, say his aides.

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