As the joint statement at the end of the India-Central Asia virtual summit on Thursday noted, ties between India and the region have been historically close, with “civilisational, cultural, trade and people-to-people linkages”, but the lack of access to land routes, and the situation in Afghanistan are among the biggest challenges. Hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Presidents of the five Central Asian Republics (CARs), it was a first, building on years of dialogue. The summit also came after the meeting of NSAs in Delhi, where they built on several common themes of concern and priority. To begin with, there is the problem of routing trade — a paltry $2 billion, spent mostly on Kazakhstan’s energy exports to India. In comparison, China’s CAR trade figures have exceeded $41 billion — they could double by 2030 — apart from the billions of dollars invested in the Belt and Road Initiative. With Pakistan denying India transit trade, New Delhi’s other option is to

The Bharatiya Janata Party is eyeing its second straight term in Manipur. In 2017, the party had finished second with 21 seats in the 60-strong Assembly, behind the 28 seats won by the Congress. Forming an alliance with the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) that had four MLAs each, one MLA each from the Trinamool Congress, the Lok Janshakti Party, an Independent and a Congress defector (who was Minister until his disqualification three years later), the party managed to cross the halfway mark. Defections continued, including from parties allied with the BJP. The BJP now has 30 MLAs while the Congress has 13 — but an MLA has now joined the Janata Dal (United), the BJP’s national ally. The party in power at the Centre manages to exercise undue influence in Manipur politics, and that trend could continue this time too. The BJP has no pre-poll alliance, while its principal rival, the Congress, has announced a tie-up with five smaller parties, including the
 
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To the poll booth, with no donor knowledge

Suhrith Parthasarathy
 
Comment

Graft talk and the top court’s inexplicable silence

Dushyant Dave
 
Lead

Punjab is more than just another election

Ashutosh Kumar

Thus spake the speaker

G. Sampath

Rahul Dravid and a period of necessary churning for Indian cricket

Conversation beyond performance

Usha Raman
 
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Wardrobe function

Himani Datar
Fireworks celebrating an event such as New Years or other important calendar events.A city profile is in the background. Art is on layered groups for easy editing.
Open Page

Rethinking resolutions

Divya Venkattu
Vector Elephant
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Fable of Padayappa

George N. Netto