Neena Gopal


Who will ace Zardaris’ ace?

As Bilawal Bhutto Zardari steps up to the plate to take on a more active role, becoming the face of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on his mother Benazir’s fifth death anniversary at the family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Buksh, Sindh, the populism that has been the hallmark of the PPP will be served up, heavily garnished with the dark story about his mother’s assassination.

Southern doorstep

That India’s new foreign minister Salman Khurshid called his Maldivian counterpart and strongly advised Male to re-examine its decision to scrap that country’s $500-million airport contract with GMR I

A bargain in Geneva

As the UN Human Rights Commi-ssion starts sessions in Gen-eva from November 1 to access Sri Lanka’s human rights record, one of the three countries tasked with formulating a report will be India — which is chairing the committee — with the two others being Spain and Benin.

Kabul: Great game reset

When news of Ru-ssian Presi-dent Vladi-mir Putin’s October visit to Pakistan raised eyebrows all around, a Russian diplomat’s throwaway line over how mistaken one was, and that, in fact, Pakistan and Russia had a lot more in common than everyone thought, seemed more wishful thinking than fact.

Smiling Mahinda

The visit by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to Sanchi this coming week when he inaugurates an international Buddhist university and holds talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi has already set off angry protests in Tamil Nadu. But the question is — is this going to be the only test faced by increasingly straitened Indo-Sri Lanka ties?

An intersection with Iran

Trust the United States to try and put a spoke in India’s carefully calibrated response to the challenges posed by two conflicting alliances that are tearing apart West Asia.

Syrian spring, Iran’s winter?

The first unwitting casualty of the rising tensions in the Arabian Gulf in a US election year was a hapless Indian fisherman who died in a hail of bullets unleashed by nervous American sailors aboard the USNS Rappahannock at the mouth of the UAE port Jebel Ali.

Shadow boxing

When former Paki-stan Prime Minis-ter Benazir Bhutto, who would have turned 59 on Thursday (June 21), wanted to share what she was privy to, she paid scant respect to the Makhdooms or anyone whose name had a string of prefixes or an overlong honorific.

Irrawaddy dreaming

When Prime Mini-ster Manm-ohan Singh arrives in Yangon this coming week for a historic three-day visit, he will have effectively reversed India’s policy towards its largest eastern neighbour, impoveri

The Afghan chessboard

The co-ordinated Taliban blitz on the heavily guarded diplomatic quarter of Kabul and across far-flung towns in Afghanistan this week was clearly an attempt to test the security forces’ preparedness a

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.