The Big Story: Jaw jaw

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have now addressed last week’s Uri attacks, which saw cross-border militants kill 18 Indian soldiers in Kashmir, on three separate occasions after a few initial tweets: At a Bharatiya Janata Party event in Kerala, where the prime minister spoke for the first time in public about Uri; on Modi’s fortnightly Mann ki Baat radio address; and through External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who delivered an address at the United Nations General Assembly. On all three occasions, India has stayed away from bellicose rhetoric and simply focused on calling out Pakistan for its terrible record on terror.

“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it,” Swaraj said at the UNGA. “To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account.” Swaraj, unlike Modi – who asked the people of Pakistan to consider why their country has become known for exporting terror – didn’t even directly name Islamabad as being the source of terror.

Instead, she questioned Islamabad’s human rights record in Balochistan, a response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spending much of his UN speech talking about Indian conduct in Kashmir. Swaraj also asserted that Kashmir is an integral part of India and insisted that India had approached Pakistan without any conditions over the last few years. “And what did we get in return?” she asked. “Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri.”

This is stern stuff from the Indian government, which has chosen not to echo the trigger-happy comments that Modi himself was known for before he became prime minister and which turned up in the statements of senior leaders from the BJP after Uri. Modi called on Pakistan to declare war on poverty on Saturday and on Monday at the UNGA, Swaraj insisted that the world needs to come together to call out nations that sponsor terror. Whether this effort, which was in place even before Uri, will pay dividends even as India is up against an unrepentant Pakistan remains to be seen. But it certainly seems like a more sensible approach than rushing into a war based on purely emotional reactions.

The Big Scroll

  • The UN in Kashmir: A potted history of resolutions that led nowhere, by Ipsita Chakravarty. 
  • “India and Pakistan are like the left and right eyes”: A short survey of cross-border cultural ties by Nandini Ramnath. 
  • Liberals need to support – not mock – Modi for his U-turn on war with Pakistan after the Uri attack, says Shoaib Daniyal 

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Political Pickings

  1. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s new party, Awaaz-e-Punjab is considering allying with Congress or AAP for the 2017 state polls. 
  2. Congress, determined to attack the BJP for its response to Uri, is demanding special session of Parliament to declare Pakistan a terror state.
  3. Cannot release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till year end, Karnataka tells Supreme Court, after its Assembly passed a resolution effectively defying an order from the apex court. 
  4. US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sparred in their first debate, and it was as messy as just about everything in this election so far. 


  1. India urgently wants sporting greatness – but its desire is fraught with danger, writes Shivani Naik in the Indian Express. 
  2. A leader in Mint calls for the government to ensure the new Monetary Policy Committee is put together in a way that it is truly independent.
  3. Jagdeep S Chhokar and Sanjay Kumar write in the Hindu that attempting to hold simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the states goes against the political diversity India needs. 
  4. Is inequality at the bottom of the slowdown in world trade, asks Manas Chakravarty in Mint. 


Don’t Miss

Vaishnavi Sundar writes of the nightmare of trying to find an i-pill in Chennai.

“I assumed the rants by women about not finding emergency contraceptive pills were occasional and trusted Chennai to be as progressive as it claims until I set out to look for it myself. An over the counter prescription free drug, which is available in some of the regressive cities in India, is not available in its health capital. I walked into a regular medical shop and I was told that they were ‘out of stock’. Soon, it became an interweb of obnoxious recommendations that were useless. A male friend walked up to the same medical store and asked for i-pill –  but was denied too. We went to prominent hospitals and walked up to their 24x7 medical stores  –  still no. Most women in Chennai know of that one store that definitely sells it but I had to wait till the morning and chances are, they may be out too. It is funny that about a year ago, another woman on a reddit thread said the exact same thing about preserving the details of the store.”