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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

India’s track record in NPT better: Sen
As the speculation swirls over the fate of the US-India civilian nuclear deal, India's Ambassador in Washington has said while New Delhi will keep its end of the bargain, the agreement’s fate in the U.S. Congress will depend on the President George W. Bush's administration.

Iran offers power to Pak
Islamabad, November 5
Iran has offered to provide cheap electricity to Pakistan that could also be extended to India like the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline. The offer was made by Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Masha Allah Shakeri in his meeting with federal Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi here on Saturday. Both countries agreed to extend cooperation in water and power sectors.

Baby boom in quake-hit PoK
Islamabad, November 5
A ''baby boom'' continues in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region devastated one year ago by the earthquake. A huge share of those killed in October last year were children, and many grieving parents now want new babies to take the place of those who perished.


EARLIER STORIES


Himesh, Sunidhi, Sukhwinder win awards in USA
Atlantic City, November 5
Bollywood favourite Himesh Reshammiya and singers Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan have won top honours at the star-studded Bollywood 2006 Music Awards here. Reshammiya, who has composed and sung many chart-topping tunes in Bollywood, was adjudged the Best Music Director for Imraan Hashmi-starrer “Aashiq Banaya Aapne”.




Singer Sophia accepts her award for best remix album during the Bollywood Music Awards in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Saturday. — Reuters photo
Singer Sophia accepts her award for best remix album during the Bollywood Music Awards in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Saturday.

 

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India’s track record in NPT better: Sen
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

As the speculation swirls over the fate of the US-India civilian nuclear deal, India's Ambassador in Washington has said while New Delhi will keep its end of the bargain, the agreement’s fate in the U.S. Congress will depend on the President George W. Bush's administration.

Ambassador Ronen Sen while speaking at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in the Washington suburb of Arlington on Friday said that though he had met a large number of American lawmakers he had "not taken the initiative of actively lobbying for the passage of the nuclear deal." "We recognise the separation of roles in this country," he said, adding that the deal was a commitment made by the Bush administration and is an internal matter of the USA. But, Mr Sen concedes when asked about the deal and tells lawmakers to "support it but only if you think it is as good for the USA as it is for India." If it is not mutually advantageous it won't last, he explained.

Mr Sen said the Indians' job was to remove the suspicions of the members of Parliament in New Delhi. The nuclear deal had met with a less enthusiastic response from the BJP and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Communist allies. According to Mr Sen the opposition was due to the "scars" left after the USA withdrew its support on the Tarapur nuclear project and imposed sanctions following India's nuclear tests in 1974.

Noting that India is able to produce all stages in the nuclear cycle, the Ambassador said critics question the timing of the nuclear deal with the USA which forces India to place its civilian nuclear facilities under international safeguards. "People are asking why have this deal with the USA now if you can again have the rug pulled out from under your feet," he added.

Mr Sen assured the gathering that India's track record in non-proliferation was better than members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group." The House of Representatives in July approved a Bill that seeks to change the US laws and allow civil nuclear cooperation with India. The Senate was yet to take up a similar Bill for a vote. The next opportunity for such an action would come on November 13 when the Congress meets in a lame-duck session. However, the Congress has little time to deal with a packed agenda and passage of the nuclear bill is not guaranteed.

Mr Sen assured the audience, which included policy analysts and diplomats, that while India recognised the USA as the world's sole superpower, it "can never be a follower." "Decisions regarding India will be taken in India and not in any other capital," he said, adding that India will be a reliable partner of the USA. "We have shared concerns in the long run. I don't see any conflict and though we might have differences on how to get there our ideals and interests coincide. You don't have to go into contortions to reconcile the two." Noting that President Bill Clinton’s visit to India in 2000 was a transformational event in the US-India relations, Mr Sen said the Bush presidency took the relationship to unprecedented heights.

On terrorism, Mr Sen said India was worried about the resurgence of the Taliban in Pakistan. He noted Pakistan had given assurances that it would crack down on terrorism, but, he added, "it makes very difficult for any government to proceed with a meaningful dialogue in the backdrop of violence." Mr Sen dismissed as a "figment of the imagination" reports that Mr Bush recently called Mr Manmohan Singh and pressed him not to support Venezuela's bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council. "We don't use language like that... it's totally invented," he told the reporters.

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Iran offers power to Pak
By arrangement with The Dawn

Islamabad, November 5
Iran has offered to provide cheap electricity to Pakistan that could also be extended to India like the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline. The offer was made by Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Masha Allah Shakeri in his meeting with federal Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi here on Saturday.

Both countries agreed to extend cooperation in water and power sectors and to establish a joint investment company for achieving the objectives in the near future.

Regional and global situation along with bilateral trade relations particularly investment opportunities in the power sector came under discussion in the meeting. The law and order situation was also discussed.

Mr Jatoi, while welcoming the Iranian envoy, said that Pakistan enjoyed brotherly relations with Iran and stressed the need for exchange of expertise.

He said that the power sector was a viable business as the growth in the country’s power sector had been 10 per cent to 12 per cent and at present 16 independent power producers (IPPs) were generating 6,500 MW electricity under the power purchase agreement.

The minister said that investment procedure in the power sector had been simplified which attracted foreign investment in the power sector. He said the demand for electricity had crossed 18,000 MW while the existing availability of power was 13,500 MW.

Mr Jatoi invited the Iranian government to come forward and participate in the mega hydro power projects through international competitive bidding (ICB), including the Basha dam project.

The Iranian ambassador appreciated the growing economic development of Pakistan and offered Iranian investment in water and power sectors, particularly in the construction of dams.

Mr Jatoi said that Pakistan had already signed agreement to purchase 25 MW electricity from Mund (Iran) and recently signed another agreement for purchase of 125 MW from Iran.

The minister assured his full support and assistance to facilitate Iranian investors to invest in water and power sectors in Pakistan.

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Baby boom in quake-hit PoK

Islamabad, November 5
A ''baby boom'' continues in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region devastated one year ago by the earthquake.

A huge share of those killed in October last year were children, and many grieving parents now want new babies to take the place of those who perished.

Pakistan Press International (PPI) quoted a UNFPA report as suggesting that at least 5,000 women give birth each month in the affected areas.

The UNFPA is one of the many aid groups that responded to the crisis. They are working in partnership with the government to restore medical services throughout the affected region.

Rebuilding will take years, but health care for many women and their children is already better than before the quake, the report says.

The UNFPA had moved quickly to establish and equip emergency medical facilities in two of the most severely damaged districts Muzaffarabad in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province with a focus on enabling women to deliver safely. — UNI

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Himesh, Sunidhi, Sukhwinder win awards in USA
Dharam Shourie

Atlantic City, November 5
Bollywood favourite Himesh Reshammiya and singers Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan have won top honours at the star-studded Bollywood 2006 Music Awards here.

Reshammiya, who has composed and sung many chart-topping tunes in Bollywood, was adjudged the Best Music Director for Imraan Hashmi-starrer “Aashiq Banaya Aapne”.

Sukhwinder Singh won the Best Male Singer for his rendition of the title song of the critically acclaimed film “Omkara”, while Sunidhi got the honours for “Kaisi Paheli”, which was picturised on the enigmatic Rekha in “Parineeta”.

It turned out to be a double whammy for Sukhwinder whose “Omkara” song was also voted Best Song of the Year in the glittering five-hour extravaganza at Trump Taj Mahal Casino last night.

The awards are based on polling conducted among non-resident Indians.

Indian-origin jazz diva Asha Puthli was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Puthli, who is also a writer and producer, immigrated to the US to pursue jazz and scored big in the 1970s.

Indian Idol 2006 Sandeep Acharya won in the Best New Talent category for his debut pop album “Mere Saath Sara Jahan”.

Kailesh Kher’s “Kailasa” was adjudged the Best Pop Album and Babul Supriyo was voted the Best Male Pop Singer for his album “Kuch Aisa Lagta Hai”.

There was finally some good news for Mika Singh after the Rakhi Sawant controversy as his troupe got the Best Bhangra Group award.

Britain’s Desi hip hop group Sona Family won the award for Best Dance Video for their hip-shaker “Ek Glassy”, Grammy award-winner Michael Bolton, Slinger Franscisco, popularly known as Mighty Sparrow, and Pakistani singer Shahlda Mini were presented with special awards.

Accepting the award, Bolton said he might visit the country next year. — PTI

 

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