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Showing posts from 2009

US justice dept unravels Headley’s terror plot

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the US Department of Justice and the FBI on Monday sent a team to New Delhi to share with Indian law-enforcement counterparts information disclosed by Headley relating to his alleged roles in the Mumbai attacks and plots in Denmark.

US: Al-Qaida helping Lashkar against India

The US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates says the Al-Qaida is supporting Lashkar-e-Toiba in a bid to provoke a war between India and Pakistan - an effort, he believes, is aimed at destabilising Pakistan and gaining access to its nuclear arsenal.

US cautious over Karzai’s talks offer

The Taliban are not the only ones cool to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's invitation to hold talks; Washington has also adopted a cautious approach to such suggestions even as President Barack Obama voices his support for outreach to those militants who renounce violence.

US will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan: Obama

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday committed 30,000 additional US troops to the war in Afghanistan, set a July 2011 deadline for start of their withdrawal and acknowledged that success in the war against the Al-Qaida and the Taliban was "inextricably linked" to cooperation from Pakistan.

Obama to Pak: Stop using insurgents as strategic tool

US President Barack Obama has issued a stern warning to Pakistan that it “cannot continue” to use insurgent groups to pursue policy objectives in its neighbourhood.

Ghosts At The Banquet

Despite a sudden nip in the air, PM’s visit created some tangible gains on the ground.

Pakistan cannot fight terrorism selectively

Ashley J. Tellis, currently a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, served as a senior adviser to R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the George W. Bush administration. In that role, Tellis was intimately involved in negotiating the civil nuclear agreement with India.

In an interview Tellis says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington this week helped create a better understanding of India's positions on key policy issues.

As for the arduous negotiations between the U.S. and Indian sides over the reprocessing of spent uranium supplied to India under the nuclear deal, Tellis says he is confident an agreement will soon be reached. "This is not something that keeps me up at night," he says.

Come back, PM to diaspora

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrapped up his visit to Washington on Wednesday night with an appeal to Indian Americans to return to their roots and contribute to the development of India.

PM regrets Liberhan leak

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday described as regrettable the leak of the Liberhan Commission’s report that indicts senior leaders of the BJP for their role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

India flavour of the day at White House

First lady Michelle Obama's strapless, floor-length, champagne-coloured gown - the creation of Indian-born designer Naeem Khan - was accessorised with shiny Indian churis. The deep purple flower arrangements at each dinner table paid homage to the peacock, India's state bird. And, perhaps most notably, in a sign of bipartisan support in Washington for the U.S.-India relationship, guests at President Barack Obama's first state dinner, held in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, dined off plates belonging to George W. Bush and Bill Clinton's state china services.

Never endorsed China’s role in Indo-Pak ties: Obama

President Barack Obama has assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the US-China joint statement issued on his visit to Beijing earlier this month was not an endorsement of Chinese mediation in the India-Pakistan dispute.

Weather plays spoilsport

Dark clouds and a cold, steady drizzle played spoiler on Tuesday as the Obama White House was forced to scrap plans for a lavish outdoor welcome for its first official guest and move proceedings into the ornate, but confined space of the East Room.

Committed to 123: Obama

Building on the special relationship forged between New Delhi and Washington by his predecessor, US president Barack Obama today reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the full implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement and also assured India that it had no intention to mediate in its dispute with Pakistan.

Holbrooke allays Pak fears

President Barack Obama’s administration on Monday sought to assure Pakistan that the grand welcome reserved for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington this week should in no way be interpreted as a “diminution of the importance” the US attaches to Islamabad.

PM woos US investors

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured a group of US businesspersons here that India was committed to economic reforms.

Pak has not done enough: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says Pakistan has not done enough to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, and when asked in an interview whether he believes he has a partner for peace in Islamabad, he replied that he was unsure.

Visit to set framework for Indo-US ties

The first substantive bilateral engagement between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House on Tuesday is expected to cover a broad range of issues and set the framework for the US-India relationship.

ISI helped Omar ‘hide’ in Karachi

The Taliban's one-eyed leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has abandoned his border hide-out and taken refuge in the port city of Karachi, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

House adopts resolution welcoming PM

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington.

China ties not at India’s cost: US

The US on Wednesday sought to defuse a mini crisis on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington, after New Delhi lashed out at President Barack Obama's support for a wider role for China in South Asia, by assuring New Delhi that while it is interested in a relationship with China, this does not come at the expense of its ties with India.

Headley had co-conspirator in Pak army

David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani American accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Denmark and India, had a second co-conspirator in the Pakistani military - a senior officer who recently retired.

Top US lawmaker refuses to dine with PM

A top Republican lawmaker has turned down a much-coveted invitation from the White House to dine with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and the Democratic leader in the Senate will also be conspicuous by his absence.

Indian American to head USAID

President Barack Obama has entrusted a young Indian American doctor with the task of leading the US Government's foreign aid agency, which is the central component of the President's plan to repair America's image overseas.

25 yrs later, victims still await justice

A leading human rights group on Monday described the failure of successive Indian governments to bring to justice those responsible for the anti-Sikh backlash that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi 25 years ago as a “severe blot on India's legal system and democracy.”

US for restoring Karzai govt’s credibility

Anxious to bridge the yawning credibility gap in the recently reappointed administration in Kabul, the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to work with his main election rival in a so called post-election “compact.”

A silver lining in Kabul?

By Ashish Kumar Sen

There may be a silver lining to the dark cloud that hangs over the legitimacy of a second term for Hamid Karzai.

A decision by Karzai's top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, to abandon plans to participate in a runoff with his former boss paved the way for Karzai to embark on another five-year term at the helm. A frustrated Abdullah dropped out critical of a system he believes is rigged in favour of the president. But the former foreign minister's actions have led to a situation in which Karzai retains the presidency without the support of a majority of his countrymen (and women).

That Karzai's powers had been significantly diminished well before the election was no secret except to the Afghan president, who has spent the past five years holed up in the Arg, his writ crashing against the walls of the presidential palace, while a resurgent Taliban has regained control of vast swathes of his country. The August election, in which investigators later found almos…

Afghan star fulfils his American dream

"When I tell people I am from Afghanistan the first words out of their mouth are 'Osama, Taliban, war'," says Daoud Sediqi, former presenter of Afghan Star, his country's version of the Pop Idol talent show.

Pak headquarters of Al-Qaida: US senator

A leading U.S. senator on Monday described Pakistan as the "headquarters" of Al-Qaida and warned that the country could become the hub of international terrorism.

US bid to soothe a ruffled Pak

A top Obama administration official on Friday dismissed suggestions that an amendment to the Defence Authorisation Bill places conditions on how Pakistan uses US military aid, and one of the sponsors of the amendment agreed reports to this effect were inaccurate.

Back to the dance floor

By Ashish Kumar Sen

Uh-oh. Here we go again.

Having just concluded a delicate diplomatic fox trot to soothe Pakistani egos bruised by the weight of a hefty Kerry-Lugar aid package, the Obama administration was catching its breath when it was jolted into action on Friday by developments on Capitol Hill.

Two U.S. senators, who in their well-intentioned zeal sought to ensure accountability for every U.S. dollar sent to Pakistan, run the risk of upsetting Islamabad.

Sens. Bob Corker (Tennessee Republican) and Bob Menendez (New Jersey Democrat) attached an amendment to the Defence Authorisation Act of 2010 that seeks to ensure Coalition Support Funds (money given to defray the cost of fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda) sent to Pakistan will not "adversely affect the region's balance of power." That's diplospeak for: Don't use U.S. weapons/cash to engage in an arms race with India, or worse, provoke a conflict.

A reference in the amendment to India, even in the most abstrac…

US for India’s help on NPT

The Obama administration wants to work with India to try and come up with "the 21st century version" of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Bangladesh fights for survival against climate change

NOAKHALI, Bangladesh | After his home slipped into the powerful currents of the Meghna River four years ago, Monoranjab Dus came looking for new land along this waterlogged stretch of coastline slowly emerging from the sea.

Obama first US Prez to attend Diwali bash

President Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first US president to attend a White House Diwali celebration, though the tradition was started during the tenure of his predecessor George W. Bush.

Obama signs into law Pak aid bill

US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law legislation that will provide $7.5 billion in US aid to Pakistan over the next five years.

Congress allays Pakistani fears over aid

Congress moved Wednesday to soften opposition in Pakistan to a U.S. aid package over conditions for receiving future assistance, including $7.5 billion for civilian reconstruction and job-creation projects over a five-year period.

US allays Pakistan fears over terms for aid

Barely a week since he defended a US aid package to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was back in Washington to convey his country's concerns over conditions for disbursing the aid.

Commandos free hostages in Pakistan

Pakistani commandos freed 22 soldiers and civilians being held hostage by militants inside army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing four of the militants in a dawn raid Sunday, the military said.

Taliban hits Pakistan military

Taliban militants, heavily armed and disguised in military uniforms, struck at the heart of Pakistan's military establishment in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Saturday, taking up to 15 soldiers hostage and killing six, including two ranking officers.

US, NATO allies ‘okay’ with 2nd term for Karzai

Washington and its NATO allies appear to have accepted the inevitability of a second term for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and are not pressing for a runoff election, despite charges that nearly a third of the votes in the August 20 elections were fraudulent, a US official and Afghan specialists say.

Obama is Nobel peacemaker

United States President Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Ignoble Dissent

By Ashish Kumar Sen

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize has provided Barack Obama's critics a fresh opportunity to reach into their bottomless reserves of cynicism.

It would be disingenuous to say news of the award was not a surprise. Even Obama, woken up before 6 a.m. with word that he had been crowned the champion of world peace, was surprised, as one is apt to be at that time of the morning.

Those who lashed out at the still-bleary-eyed president for winning a peace prize for which, one sincerely hopes no one goes out of their way to compete, were quick to point out the brief nine months he's spent in office. In the same breath some noted a lack of action from Obama on many issues dear to their hearts. So which one is it — he hasn't been in office long enough to accomplish anything; or he's been in office nine months and not done this, this and that?

One TV commentator breathlessly observed that many Americans do not like the fact that Obama has become the "darling of Europ…

U.S. prepares for second Karzai term

Washington and its NATO allies are preparing for a second term for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and will not press for a runoff election despite evidence of widespread fraud in the Aug. 20 polls, a U.S. official and Afghan specialists say.

Qureshi concerned over clauses in US aid bill

Under fire from the military and opposition for accepting US aid with several strings attached, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi admits he is concerned about the language used in the legislation, but is hopeful the US president will use a waiver provision to bypass strict reporting conditions.

Qureshi allays concerns over US aid bill

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday defended U.S. legislation that will triple aid to his country and dismissed suggestions that conditions written in the bill trample on Pakistan's sovereignty.

Mufti: More Afghan troops not the answer

A senior Egyptian Muslim cleric says President Obama should not send more troops to Afghanistan and instead focus on helping Afghans.

Anti-Americanism on the rise: Study

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved another step closer to tripling financial aid to Pakistan even as a new survey found anti-Americanism soaring in the US ally.

Ex-Pak army men, ISI ‘trained’ 26/11 attackers

Former members of Pakistan's military and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency trained the gunmen who attacked Mumbai in November, a senior member of the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba has told a US newspaper.

Zardari for resumption of composite dialogue

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday that his country desires “friendly relations” with India and looks forward to resuming the composite dialogue, which was disrupted in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks last year. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, was hopeful that a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan on Sunday would put this dialogue back on track.

US aid to Pak comes with ‘accountability’ rider

Legislation that triples US aid to Pakistan authorises military assistance to help the country in its fight against Al-Qaida and other terrorists, but it also includes new and painstakingly negotiated accountability measures to ensure that this aid is not misused. India had expressed concern that Pakistan would divert US military aid toward bolstering its defences against a perceived threat from India.

Saeed should be tried for 26/11: Krishna

Even as a State Department spokesman applauded Pakistan's determination to eliminate militants, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said India "cannot be lulled into some kind of satisfaction" that Pakistan is proceeding against them.

Obama vows to enforce CTBT

US President Barack Obama, in his maiden address to the United Nations, declared his commitment to moving forward with the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that will prohibit nuclear testing. He also set a January goal for starting negotiations on a treaty to end production of fissile material weapons.

Apple Pies Forever

The grim prospects for loans coupled with an economy in recession have put the brakes on the avalanche of Indian students applying to US universities. At the same time, India continues to retain its position as the leading country of origin insofar as students coming to colleges in America. For those seeking global exposure at world-class institutions, the US remains a top destination—recession or not. Given the times, it’s also ironical that business and management courses remain the most popular field of study for these students.

US scraps missile-defence shield plan

President Barack Obama, in a major policy shift, has scrapped a controversial missile-defence shield favoured by his predecessor, removing a thorn in U.S.-Russia relations but earning criticism from some who accuse him of abandoning U.S. allies in Europe.

Musharraf has ‘weakened’ Pakistan position

Pervez Musharraf"s admission that US military aid given to Pakistan during his tenure was diverted to strengthen defences against India has created ripples in the US Congress where lawmakers are finalising an aid package that would triple US assistance to Pakistan. Congressional sources and analysts say the former Pakistani president has done his country a great disservice by raising a red flag about future US aid to Pakistan.

US to help build India-Pak confidence

The Obama administration is seeking opportunities to build India-Pakistan confidence in an effort to jump-start the peace process, which has been under considerable strain since the Mumbai attacks last November.

Al-Qaida seeking nuclear secrets from Pakistan

Al-Qaida is trying desperately to get its hands on nuclear secrets from Pakistan, according to a top US official.

US takes Mush remarks seriously

The Obama administration takes “very seriously” remarks by Pervez Musharraf that Pakistan used US military aid to build up its defenses against India. The former president told Pakistan’s Express News television channel that Pakistan “did right” by using this equipment against India.

Father of Green Revolution dead

Dr Norman Borlaug, the father of the “Green Revolution” whose high-yield crop innovations were responsible for bumper harvests across the fields of states like Punjab in the 1970s, died Saturday at his home in Dallas, Texas. Dr Borlaug, a Nobel Prize-winning agricultural scientist, was 95.

On 9/11, US renews pledge to eliminate Taliban

Eight years ago 19 young men flew hijacked commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon on the outskirts of Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.

Pak must prosecute 26/11 attackers: US

Pakistan must make a concerted effort to prosecute those responsible for the Mumbai attacks and end the movement of militants across its border into India, an Obama administration official said on Wednesday. Speaking at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake said both India and Pakistan must also undertake "a sequenced series of actions to rebuild confidence and cooperation."

Time to deliver on health care: Obama

President Barack Obama on Wednesday night said he was committed to reforming health care in the United States noting that he was not the first president to take up the case, but was “determined to be the last.”

US to Karzai: Don’t declare yourself winner

Concerned about widespread allegations of election fraud in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has told President Hamid Karzai not to declare himself the winner of last month’s presidential elections despite an announcement from the country's election commission that Karzai had sailed past the 50 per cent vote mark essential to avoid a runoff. This message was conveyed to Karzai by Karl Eikenberry, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan.

“Not A Fizzle, But Certainly Not What India Claims”

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists, is in the news for an academic paper he has co-authored with Robert Norris, claiming that Pakistan has ramped up its nuclear arsenal with sophisticated bomb designs, and with its delivery systems directed against India. He spoke to Ashish Kumar Sen on the Pokhran-II controversy.

‘Lion of Senate’ passes away

Senator Edward M Kennedy, the brother of former President John F. Kennedy and a political heavyweight in his own right, died on Tuesday night. He was 77.

Sand Niggers

South Asians are often subject to random and special racial profiling at US airports.

US panel puts India on watch list

An independent and largely toothless US government commission on religious freedom has placed India on its watch list citing an increase in violence against Christians in Orissa and Muslims in Gujarat.

Mehsud killing result of better intelligence sharing

A U.S. missile strike that reportedly killed Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan on Wednesday was the result of a high-level intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Pakistan. Both countries' intelligence agencies have increasingly collaborated in recent months, resulting in missile strikes by unmanned U.S. Predator drones that have eliminated threats to the Pakistani state. Now, U.S. analysts say, the big challenge is for Pakistan to provide intelligence that will help the U.S. forces go after the Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

Old Pak hand Robin Raphel returns

Robin Raphel, who in the 1990s irked India by describing Kashmir as “disputed territory,” is back.

No proof from Pak on India’s role in Balochistan: US

Richard Holbrooke, President Barack Obama’s special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, says he received no credible information to substantiate accusations of India’s involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan while on a recent visit to Pakistan. But in a sign that India-Pakistan tensions may be easing, Holbrooke said Pakistan has moved a “very large number of troops” from its border with India to its border with Afghanistan.

The House That George Built

The importance of Indo-US relations is an issue both Republicans and Democrats agree on.

Jakarta blasts show Jemaah Islamiyah still a threat

Twin hotel bombings that killed eight people in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta Friday are evidence that the country's main terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, is viable and still may be benefiting from support from al Qaeda, a U.S. counterterrorism official said.

US wants Pak to speed up trial

The Obama administration wants Pakistan to move ahead with prosecuting those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attacks, according to a US official.

Hillary spells out US international agenda

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a major foreign policy speech in Washington on Wednesday in which she pledged her commitment to "smart power" while acknowledging an international agenda that is "unforgiving."

Uighur leader wants U.S. to pressure China

The leader of an organization representing the Uighur ethnic minority called Monday for urgent U.S. action to press China to provide a full accounting of those killed, injured and missing in the ethnic strife gripping Xinjiang province.

Beijing threatens to execute 'key rioters'

China's crackdown on Muslim protesters in the western province of Xinjiang took an even more ominous turn Wednesday as a Communist Party official vowed to execute those responsible for the deadly riots.

Smart public diplomacy & outreach

President Barack Obama’s nominee for the post of U.S. ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, is looking forward to sharing with his Indian counterparts the lessons the US learned in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks as part of a joint effort to prevent terrorist attacks like those in New York and Mumbai from happening again.

Hillary ‘excited’ about India visit

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is scheduled to visit India next week, on Tuesday said she was very excited about the trip.

Access Denied

Why is India afraid of a US commission on religious freedom?

King of Pop Jackson dies at 50

Michael Jackson, King of Pop who first enraptured audiences as a child star and eventually Moonwalked his way into the hearts of millions around the world, died of an apparent cardiac arrest in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was 50.

Subway crash kills 7 in US

At least seven persons were killed and more than 70 injured when a Metro train crashed into another in Washington on Monday evening. The rush-hour accident is the deadliest in the history of Washington's public transit system.

Time to upgrade ties with India: US

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday said the official US-India relationship was "due for an upgrade" and suggested four platforms for cooperation - global security, human development, economic activity, science and technology.

US aid to Pak in final lap

A US Senate committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a Bill to triple non-military aid to Pakistan.

It’s up to Iranians to pick their leader: Obama

President Barack Obama on Monday broke his silence on the political unrest in Iran saying he is deeply troubled by the violence, which has claimed the lives of several people. But, he added, it is the Iranians, and not the United States, who should pick leaders in Tehran.

Pak has reduced troops on Indian border: Holbrooke

Pakistan has moved a significant number of its troops from the Indian border in order to tackle in-land militants, a senior US official has said.

Take on groups that target India, US tells Pak

As it tackles terrorists on its soil, Pakistan must also take on groups that target India as their actions endanger not only Pakistan but its relationships in the region, a US official said.

Obama admn keeping New Delhi ‘informed’

President Barack Obama's administration is keeping New Delhi "fully informed" as it shapes its strategy for dealing with the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan, a senior U.S. official told lawmakers on Tuesday. Richard C. Holbrooke, special envoy on Pakistan and Afghanistan, also acknowledged that the deployment of 21,000 additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan could further destabilise Pakistan by forcing militants east.

Demand to deactivate Pak’s N-warheads

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of legislation that established a programme to provide US expertise to help safeguard and dismantle stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons wants to expand this programme to include Pakistan.

Challenges remain: Hillary

President Barack Obama's administration appears to have made little headway in persuading the Pakistani government about the urgency to shift focus away from a perceived threat from India toward a more real problem of the Taliban.

US seeks Saudi help to unite Pak leaders

President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking Saudi Arabia’s help to unite Pakistan's political leaders against what it sees as a mortal threat posed by the Taliban. Before President Asif Ali Zardari's meetings at the White House, a US official clarified that Washington is not ditching Zardari in favour of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

Obama holds talks with Zardari, Karzai

US President Barack Obama met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House on Wednesday and urged them to jointly tackle the threat posed by the Taliban in their countries. Neither Zardari nor Karzai are seen likely to be able to deliver on American requests, but the Obama administration is aware of its limited options in the region.

Doubts shadow Zardari summit

President Obama's assessment of the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari provides an unusually harsh backdrop for a summit between the two leaders at the White House Wednesday.

Zardari is politically weak, but US has no choice

As per the official transcript of President Barack Obama’s prime-time press conference sent out by the “Office of the Press Secretary” at the White House, Mr. Obama told reporters on the evening of April 29: “I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan not because I think that they’re immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban would take over in Pakistan; more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and doesn’t seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services — schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of people. And so as a consequence it is very difficult for them to gain the support and loyalty of their people.”

Fabled American dream dims

The recession has put the brakes on the number of foreign workers flocking to the US in pursuit of the fabled American dream. A month since it started accepting applications, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has received approximately 45,000 H-1B visa petitions, far less than the congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap.

Times Roman Empire: Is It The Decline?

It's gloomtime for IT firms with low profits and layoffs.

India’s anti-terror efforts hit by outdated laws: US

Although clearly committed to combating extremism, the Indian government's counterterrorism efforts remain "hampered by its outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems," says a State Department report.

Islamabad wish-list

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani laid out a laundry list of items Pakistan needed from the US to fight the terrorists -- "night-vision equipment, jammers that can knock out FM radio transmissions by the terrorists, and a larger, modernised fleet of helicopter gunships for ground support in the massive sweeps that are necessary to contain, repel and destroy the enemy”.

Obama sure Pakistan’s N-arsenal safe

At a press conference to mark his first 100 days in office, President Barack Obama on Wednesday admitted he was "gravely concerned" about the situation in Pakistan, but said he was confident Pakistan's nuclear arsenal would remain secure.

Now, Obama wants to relax Pak aid terms

Having initially promised that US aid to Pakistan would no longer be a "blank cheque," President Barack Obama's administration is now trying to persuade members of Congress not to attach strict conditions to billions of dollars Washington wants to give Islamabad.

If Kashmir blows up, all bets off: US

Warning that if Kashmir “blows up” then “all bets are off,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the US is encouraging Pakistan to mend relations with India so that it can focus on the terrorists that threaten Pakistan.

Pak ‘mortal threat’ to world

As the Taliban spreads its tentacles toward Islamabad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday accused the government of “abdicating” to the extremists and urged the people of Pakistan to speak up against the militant menace.

The political bond

After a full day’s work at Penn State University, where he is a professor of engineering and department head, Dinesh Agrawal returns to his home in State College, Pennsylvania, and promptly turns on his computer to indulge his passion for politics. But it’s not the daily duels between Democrats and Republicans in America that transfix him. Dr Agrawal’s attention is focussed laser-like on the election season drama playing out halfway across the globe.

Election grips US-based Indians

After a day's work at Penn State University, where he is a professor of engineering and department head, Dinesh Agrawal returns home and turns on his computer to indulge his passion for politics.

'Unrealistic To Expect India To Move Without Pak Resolving Mumbai'

Obama's Af-Pak expert says India has a security interest in Pakistan's future, and no interest in seeing Pakistan as a failed state.

‘CIA no longer using secret prisons’

The CIA no longer operates secret detention facilities outside the United States where terrorist suspects were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, outside the reach of US law, CIA Director Leon E Panetta said on Thursday.

N-Korea defies world, fires missile

North Korea launched a long-range missile on Sunday defying international warnings and prompting a stern rebuke from US President Barack Obama who condemned the “provocative act”.

Berman’s bill to monitor counter-terrorism

A top US Congressman has introduced legislation in the Congress that seeks to triple economic aid to Pakistan, establishes a democracy fund and boosts military aid intended for use in the fight against Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Unlike in the past, however, this bill includes rigorous auditing to ensure that US taxpayers’ money is “truly benefiting the Pakistani people.”

'We Failed To Communicate The Essence Of The N-Deal'

India's outgoing ambassador to the USA, the high point of whose tenure was no doubt the N-Deal, talks about his various diplomatic assignments.

‘Pak sees India as main threat’

Even as Pakistan is hit regularly by terrorists operating on its soil, many Pakistani leaders consider India a "principal threat" and some see the extremist groups as "a potential strategic asset against India," according to a top US general.

‘High-value targets’ in Pak to be attacked

President Barack Obama will not be sending US troops into Pakistan but says if America has a "high-value target" within its sights it will go after it after consulting with the government in Islamabad. Noting that his administration's recent review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan does not change its recognition of the Pakistani government as a sovereign one, Obama said in an interview on Sunday that the US has to hold Pakistan "much more accountable."

US counting on AfPak policy to divide Taliban

President Barack Obama's administration is counting on its AfPak policy to produce a rift in the Taliban resulting in those not ideologically wedded to the extremist group to break rank and join hands with the government in Kabul.

US to steer clear of Kashmir issue

The United States remains supportive of efforts made by India and Pakistan to reduce tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals but, mindful of India’s sensitivities on the matter, has not offered to help resolve the Kashmir issue, a senior State Department official said on Friday.

US offers Pak cheque on terror

US President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled his plan for winning the war on terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan describing Al Qaida and its extremist allies as a “cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within” and noting that the future of Afghanistan is “inextricably linked” to that of Pakistan. “If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it is likely to have ties with Al Qaida’s leadership in Pakistan,” Obama said, adding: “The safety of people around the world is at stake”.

ISI ‘helping’ Taliban spread terror in Afghanistan

Operatives in Pakistan's military intelligence agency are helping the Taliban continue its campaign of terror in Afghanistan, and other terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, which India blames for the Mumbai attacks, according to US government officials.

Manmohan to meet Obama On April 2

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be part of an exclusive group of world leaders that will hold bilateral meetings with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in London next month. The meeting between Manmohan Singh and Obama will take place on April 2.

US tilt towards Taliban irks Delhi

While New Delhi doesn’t see a distinction between so-called good and bad Taliban, Washington is committed to reaching out to moderate members of the Taliban, a US official said, reiterating a position that has become the cause of much concern in India.

War on terror must not be segmented: India to US

The United States must not give up on Afghanistan and needs to confront the challenges posed by the situation in Pakistan, a senior Indian official advised as President Barack Obama's administration wraps up its inter-agency review of US policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan. The results of this review are expected this week.

Obama offers new start with Iran

President Barak Obama has offered Iran a "new beginning" in an unprecedented taped message on the occasion of the Iranian new year. In the message, delivered at midnight on Friday, Obama used the occasion of Nowruz to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran.

Covert operations in Pak to be expanded

The US is considering expanding covert operations in Pakistan beyond the tribal border regions to Baluchistan, where the Taliban has established a firm foothold, according to a New York Times report.

‘Pakistanis deserve credit...’

Relieved that feuding Pakistani leaders had averted a political crisis, the Obama administration on Monday expressed satisfaction with the outcome of what a State Department spokesman described as a "very difficult weekend."

To Ride The Job Bronco

The disquieting clamour against outsourcing prescribes measures US firms cannot afford to adopt.

What's On The Buffett

India-born Ajit Jain. Omaha's Oracle is dropping' nuff hints on a likely successor.

Liquor baron wins over Gandhi

In an ironical twist, it was left to liquor baron Vijay Mallya to bid over Rs. 10 crore ($2 million), which includes the commission to be paid to the auction house in New York, to buy the lot of personal belongings of Mahatma Gandhi that were put on auction by Los Angeles-based filmmaker and pacifist, James Otis.

M.K., The Spring Collection

A Gandhi memorabilia auction meets official torpor, private concern.