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As summits go, India is in an anomalous position wherein PM Modi attended a virtual summit of China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on September 17 — a week before the US-led Quad summit in Washington (PTI) PREMIUM

September: The month for geopolitical summitry

By C Uday Bhaskar
UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 10:21 PM IST
While security-related tensions simmer and can be regulated by astute political choice, the more serious global challenges are the yet-to-be-contained Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis
Zohra, Afghan women’s orchestra, performs during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, in 2017. (HT Archive)
Zohra, Afghan women’s orchestra, performs during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, in 2017. (HT Archive)

A tale of Afghan women, music, and freedom

UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 05:52 PM IST
Music was an act of resistance for the girls in Afghanistan’s first all-women orchestra. Some managed to leave the country, but others lie low, their future uncertain, as they await clarity from the Taliban
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. There is a pressing need to upgrade capacity at top tourist locations, while simultaneously developing alternate tourist destinations to take the load off. (Representational image/PTI)
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. There is a pressing need to upgrade capacity at top tourist locations, while simultaneously developing alternate tourist destinations to take the load off. (Representational image/PTI)

A domestic tourism opportunity has presented itself. India must seize it

By Rajesh Magow
UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 05:49 PM IST
While the pandemic is far from over and the memory of the devastating second wave is still fresh, the country doesn’t have a moment to lose to claw back lost ground while placing big bold bets into the future of travel and tourism in India
Representational Image. (File photo)
Representational Image. (File photo)

The age of competitive communalism

UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 05:13 PM IST
Think of the agony and struggle of an Indian Muslim today, sandwiched between the Hindu Right and Islamist extremism
The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Illinois returns home to Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam from a deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (AP)
The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Illinois returns home to Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam from a deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (AP)

AUKUS roils the Indo-Pacific

By C Uday Bhaskar
UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 05:01 PM IST
The strategic implications of AUKUS for the geopolitics of the extended Indo-Pacific region in general, and the maritime domain in particular, are significant and multi-layered
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP)

Aimed at Joe Biden, a new act in North Korea’s nuclear drama

By Shashank Mattoo
UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2021 05:08 PM IST
At the end of August, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it had detected suspicious activity from North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear plant. Yongbyon had been temporarily shuttered in 2018 in the heyday of Kim’s bonhomie with the then President Donald Trump
The announcement of AUKUS is evidence the Afghan exit will not stop the US investing strategic capital in the Indo-Pacific (AFP)
The announcement of AUKUS is evidence the Afghan exit will not stop the US investing strategic capital in the Indo-Pacific (AFP)

The Greatest Game: The Indo-Pacific

By Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
UPDATED ON SEP 16, 2021 07:14 PM IST
While India has to fashion its own Guard Northwest Policy, the United States exit from Kabul is a net strategic negative for China
Representational image. As India moves towards an increasingly digital society, how privacy and data governance laws may impact women’s safety and agency on the internet should not come as an afterthought. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image. As India moves towards an increasingly digital society, how privacy and data governance laws may impact women’s safety and agency on the internet should not come as an afterthought. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Balancing privacy and agency: Data governance needs a gender lens

By Mayank Mishra and Aparajita Bharti
UPDATED ON SEP 16, 2021 05:38 PM IST
Given sensitivities around women’s data and its impact on their ability to use the internet, India’s various data governance proposals that are under discussion currently must be evaluated from a gender lens
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

Supplement competitive politics with collaborative economics

By Sandip Ghose
UPDATED ON SEP 16, 2021 05:28 PM IST
There is a discernible shift in approach under the Modi regime. There is a visible increase in the engagement of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with global investors. Contrary to what sceptics may suggest, not all of it is limited to photo opportunities
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo)

How Modi restored the credibility of Indian capitalism

By Rajeev Mantri
UPDATED ON SEP 15, 2021 06:13 PM IST
Where the credibility of capitalism has been undermined in the US, its credibility has been burnished in India due to measures such as the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC)
Representational Image. (File photo)
Representational Image. (File photo)

For climate finance, create a level playing field

By Manjeev Singh Puri
UPDATED ON SEP 15, 2021 05:34 PM IST
John Kerry must back enhanced access to financial markets for developing countries, stepped-up grants, and multilateral financing
Smoke is seen billowing out of the ground and first floor of the Taj Hotel in south Mumbai during security personnel's Operation Cyclone following the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. (File photo)
Smoke is seen billowing out of the ground and first floor of the Taj Hotel in south Mumbai during security personnel's Operation Cyclone following the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. (File photo)

26/11: What Mumbai Diaries gets right, and what it gets wrong

UPDATED ON SEP 15, 2021 10:52 AM IST
When the new web series, Mumbai Diaries 26/11 dropped last week, it wasn’t the first attempt to portray the horrific events surrounding the 2008 attacks on India’s financial capital when terrorists unleashed an attack that left 172 dead and changed India’s security outlook and apparatus forever
Around 85% proteins are considered “undruggable” because scientists haven’t been able to get any candidate drug to stick to them well. (Representational Image)
Around 85% proteins are considered “undruggable” because scientists haven’t been able to get any candidate drug to stick to them well. (Representational Image)

Scientifically Speaking | A new drug takes on one of cancer’s toughest targets

By Anirban Mahapatra
UPDATED ON SEP 15, 2021 10:02 AM IST
Around 80% of the time in cancer cells, the mutations occur at a single building block of KRAS located at position 12 of the protein. One little mistake causes so much damage
Miranda House, North Campus, New Delhi. (File photo)
Miranda House, North Campus, New Delhi. (File photo)

How Miranda House went from 33 students in 1948 to a top public HEI

By Chandrachur Singh and Hena Singh
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2021 05:55 PM IST
Topping the charts is not an easy enterprise. However, Miranda’s rise proves that educational institutions can excel by motivating stakeholders to act in concert for setting and achieving goals of collective excellence
The impact of the income tax portal fiasco on assessees must be the sole factor in finding solutions. No penal action must taken for glitches related to non-compliance for genuine assessees. (HT archive)
The impact of the income tax portal fiasco on assessees must be the sole factor in finding solutions. No penal action must taken for glitches related to non-compliance for genuine assessees. (HT archive)

Infosys row: The unanswered questions on the tax portal

By Prabal Basu Roy
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2021 05:23 PM IST
Equating perceived incompetence with extremist motives such as an anti-national agenda to destabilise the economy is unpardonable when commenting on icons such as Nandan Nilekani, or Infosys. Hold the company accountable, but don’t demonise it. The government is an equal partner in this
India has, with the dishonourable exception of the 20-month Emergency in 1975-77, been a glowing example of a successful democracy. (File photo)
India has, with the dishonourable exception of the 20-month Emergency in 1975-77, been a glowing example of a successful democracy. (File photo)

To save democracies and warn autocrats, the political will of citizens is key

By Ram Madhav
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2021 02:50 PM IST
It was the undaunting spirit of the people of India in democratic values and institutions that was responsible for the restoration of democracy in 1977. That political will of the masses is the only guarantor of the survival of democracy, and also a warning for future authoritarians. Leaders must strive to uphold that power, not undermine it
This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features Pegasus spyware. (AFP)
This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features Pegasus spyware. (AFP)

Pegasus vs Privacy: What the government can expect from the Supreme Court

By NS Nappinai
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2021 01:15 PM IST
That the government’s refusal to furnish more details would result in an adverse inference being drawn by the SC is a certainty. What the consequences of such adverse inference is likely to be is the question that now takes primacy
The Constitution mandates that the officials who man the secretariats shall be different from those who man the executive. (HT archive)
The Constitution mandates that the officials who man the secretariats shall be different from those who man the executive. (HT archive)

Securing the independence of legislative secretariats, the Patel and Naidu way

By PDT Achary
UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 06:39 PM IST
The Constitution provides for a separate secretariat and separate rules of recruitment of officials for each House. The V-P seems to have fully understood the purpose of this constitutional provision, and has upheld a great tradition
The past year has been a stark reminder about the links between environment, health and prosperity. Climate action — cleaner power, industries and transport — will greatly help with air quality. (HT archive)
The past year has been a stark reminder about the links between environment, health and prosperity. Climate action — cleaner power, industries and transport — will greatly help with air quality. (HT archive)

Next month, air pollution will be back

By Arunabha Ghosh
UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 06:04 PM IST
Authorities must take pre-emptive action, help farmers tackle farm fires and support the poor with cleaner fuel. Citizens have a right to breathe
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin, China, on July 28, 2021. China’s enhanced diplomatic efforts primarily focus on securing Xinjiang against any jihadist influence, and Beijing does not seem to have any intention to involve itself in the treacherous territory of Afghanistan based on miscalculations of power and interests. (VIA REUTERS)
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin, China, on July 28, 2021. China’s enhanced diplomatic efforts primarily focus on securing Xinjiang against any jihadist influence, and Beijing does not seem to have any intention to involve itself in the treacherous territory of Afghanistan based on miscalculations of power and interests. (VIA REUTERS)

For China, the challenge has just begun in Afghanistan

By Harsh V Pant and Vinay Kaura
UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 04:21 PM IST
Conflict resolution and political problem-solving in other countries are not traits that Chinese diplomats excel at. It remains to be seen how China walks this tightrope in Afghanistan, which remains a fractured crucible of contradictory ethnic and political interests
The Tribute In Light shines up from Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2021 in New York City. (AFP)
The Tribute In Light shines up from Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2021 in New York City. (AFP)

In perspective: If 9/11 happened 20 years later

UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 05:07 PM IST
One hopes such an attack would never happen again, in New York or elsewhere in the world. But how would we talk about it, if conversations were no longer the preserve of the media elite as they were back then?
If these conditions persist, it will become difficult for India to capitalise on its youthful demographic, called its demographic dividend, and become a 10 trillion-dollar economy. Economic anxiety has outsized consequences which can stifle the growth and potential of an entire generation. We must not allow that to happen. (Hindustan Times)
If these conditions persist, it will become difficult for India to capitalise on its youthful demographic, called its demographic dividend, and become a 10 trillion-dollar economy. Economic anxiety has outsized consequences which can stifle the growth and potential of an entire generation. We must not allow that to happen. (Hindustan Times)

The young, anxious Indian millennial

By Vivan Marwaha
UPDATED ON SEP 12, 2021 07:45 PM IST
Economic insecurity, in the form of lack of stable, decently paid jobs, is driving the young to search for stability in their social and political lives
Twenty years ago, the events of 9/11 changed the world, hurtling it into a new era. A “global war on terror” was launched. That era has ended, and presumably, so has America’s global war on terror. (REUTERS)
Twenty years ago, the events of 9/11 changed the world, hurtling it into a new era. A “global war on terror” was launched. That era has ended, and presumably, so has America’s global war on terror. (REUTERS)

From 2001 to 2021, the return of the age of strategic rivalry

By Rakesh Sood
UPDATED ON SEP 12, 2021 07:46 PM IST
The Taliban, ably helped by Pakistan, the US’s frontline ally in its global war on terror, has badly dented the notion of US invincibility. Despite President Joe Biden’s efforts in recent months to reassure allies that “America is back”, there is a wariness about both US commitment and its competence.
Celebrating 15 years, BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — countries held their 13th summit on September 9 virtually. (REUTERS)
Celebrating 15 years, BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — countries held their 13th summit on September 9 virtually. (REUTERS)

At 15, BRICS has made incremental progress. But there is palpable disconnect too

By Rajiv Bhatia
UPDATED ON SEP 12, 2021 07:47 PM IST
To those in governments, holding a meeting of partner nations is a win in itself. If the meeting produces a consequential outcome, it is an achievement. However, to citizens, what matters is whether the agreements reached are being implemented and, more importantly, whether their implementation will bring some benefit to the people at large. So viewed, BRICS is a work in progress.
Insurrectionists are ingenious and detecting their plots is impossibly hard. But the trope provides an incomplete picture of how  trillion was spent fighting a war against terror, in which almost one million people have died, only for us to end up almost where we started (AFP)
Insurrectionists are ingenious and detecting their plots is impossibly hard. But the trope provides an incomplete picture of how trillion was spent fighting a war against terror, in which almost one million people have died, only for us to end up almost where we started (AFP)

9/11: How Deep States fought, won, and got lost in a war on terror

By Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark
UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2021 07:34 PM IST
Even as the capabilities of spy agencies have ballooned, truth has become more elusive. Agencies tailor facts, politicians suppress intelligence, rules are broken, and terror persists
Evaluating diets with the latest estimates reveals no rampant deficiency. (Burhaan Kinu / Hindustan Times)
Evaluating diets with the latest estimates reveals no rampant deficiency. (Burhaan Kinu / Hindustan Times)

Rice fortification isn’t the way to fight iron deficiency

By Anura Kurpad and Harshpal Singh Sachdev
UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2021 07:34 PM IST
Adding iron through fortification on top of existing iron tablet supplementation programmes (as an extra layer) for women and children is redundant, wasteful, and potentially dangerous. Overeating rice means even more risk of excess
There’s only one thing that’s, arguably, more troubling. Why are Justice Yadav’s peers — leave aside his superiors in the Supreme Court — silent? (Getty Images/Purestock)
There’s only one thing that’s, arguably, more troubling. Why are Justice Yadav’s peers — leave aside his superiors in the Supreme Court — silent? (Getty Images/Purestock)

A troubling account of prejudice in court

UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2021 07:33 PM IST
Rejecting the bail petition of a man booked under the Uttar Pradesh Cow Slaughter Act, Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav delivered a series of opinions that smack of prejudice and ignorance
The first concert was held in IIT-Delhi. It was a disaster, with some five-to-10 people sitting in an auditorium of 1,200 seats (Arvind Yadav/HT photo)
The first concert was held in IIT-Delhi. It was a disaster, with some five-to-10 people sitting in an auditorium of 1,200 seats (Arvind Yadav/HT photo)

Bridging the gap between the sciences and arts

By Mark Tully
UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2021 07:34 PM IST
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi has become the first major technology educational institution to have a chair in Indian classical music and arts
Platforms deprive delivery workers of protection under labour law by classifying them as “independent contractors” or as “partners”. (Mint Archive)
Platforms deprive delivery workers of protection under labour law by classifying them as “independent contractors” or as “partners”. (Mint Archive)

Platform workers need justice, not charity

By Gautam Bhatia
UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 07:59 AM IST
Tipping delivery workers, offering them shelter during rough weather conditions, and other basic gestures of humanity, have all been mooted. While important in their own right, it is crucial to note that the problem is institutional, and requires an institutional solution
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