Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

Interested parties are invited to comment.

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Monday, 31 August 2009

Gordon Brown on the Japanese Elections Results

British PM Gordon Brown has issued these words on the election results, after coyly avoiding comment in his last press conference at Downing Street before recess when several Japanese journalists asked him about his predictions and thoughts on the elections.

"The Prime Minister has congratulated the Democratic Party of Japan on their victory in elections in Japan. He looks forward to working closely with Japan on the packed international agenda in the months ahead - including on the world economy, climate change, non-proliferation and North Korea."

Friday, 28 August 2009

Whom Zardari met with in London; Daughter and US Envoy also present

Geo News reports the teams that met during President Zardari's visit.
Zardari met with poerful MQM leader Altaf Hussain, as earlier reported, and in addition to the UK Pakistani High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's envoy to the US, the very articulate and urbane Hudson Fellow Husain Haqqani.

Also accompanying Zardari in his London meetings is his daughter Asifa, as well as the Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

President Zardari is in Meeting with PM Gordon Brown

The meeting is happening now, perhaps we will hear later on about what was discussed. I was told by the Pakistani High Commission that Zardari is not giving any press conferences this visit.

Update 13.00 GMT 28.8.2009; a joint statement has been issued.
Downing Street Spokesman:

"At the meeting both the Prime Minister and President Zardari reinforced that Britain and Pakistan are close friends and partners. Between our two countries there is a strong bond, both in terms of our people and cooperation between our governments.

"The Prime Minister and President Zardari agreed that our two countries continued to face the shared threat of extremism and terrorism. As we have said before our highest priority in Pakistan is to work with the Pakistani government to tackle the threat of violent extremism in its border areas with Afghanistan – a threat which affects both Pakistan’s security and that of the UK. The Pakistan government and the Pakistan army are already taking intensified action against the Taliban and the Prime Minister made clear his support.

"The Prime Minister and the President agreed the need to tackle the underlying causes of extremism. The Prime Minister reiterated our support for Pakistani efforts and repeated the UK’s commitment, £665m over 4 years. Our development programme in Pakistan is our second largest in the world; we aim to spend around half of this in the critical border areas.

"There requires a comprehensive approach including better governance, economic development such as a single financing mechanism, and when necessary appropriate military pressure.

"There was discussion and support expressed for our education programme. A programme announced back in April that focuses on the border area of Pakistan. In particular we announced that we will provide textbooks in the border areas for school children and that we would support 300,000 girls from poor families attending secondary school. More does need to be done and we have asked our international partners to step up and do more and follow up on the Tokyo Donors’ Conference which delivered $5 billion of pledges over the next two years."

While the statements sound good, there is concern about accountability and about how the money is being spent. Who is measuring the results of the monetary donations, when GB and US interests rest mainly in counter-insurgency? ie Pakistan fighting back the Taliban.

PM Gordon Brown on Senator Edward Kennedy; for the Boston Globe Today

"Across America today Senator Edward Kennedy is rightly mourned as one of America’s greatest advocates of social justice. Around the world he is mourned as a great internationalist who inspired social progress in every country.

Northern Ireland is today at peace; South Africa is free of apartheid; more children not only in his nation, but in the poorest nations, are going to school and have health care. We owe a great debt to the vision and courage of Ted Kennedy.

I was fortunate to get to know Ted years ago. He invited me to visit him on Cape Cod during a number of summers in the 1990s. Almost immediately, even as he masterfully navigated us around the Cape in his boat, our discussions focused on what America and Britain could do together to tackle the scandal of child poverty. At the dinner table where he had sat with his father, brothers, and sisters and been interrogated himself, he interrogated me about current events — as I suspect his father had done with him.

He asked in detail what Britain was doing on health care, welfare, and education, about our international engagement on disarmament and later, terror. His abiding interest in an Irish settlement helped the United Kingdom enormously. He was a massive force in bringing the factions together to make peace in Northern Ireland possible. This was one of the many reasons why this year Her Majesty The Queen awarded Senator Kennedy an honorary British knighthood.

He is remembered in America for a record as a lawmaker that surpasses those of many presidents. He inspired us in Britain when he pioneered Head Start to give children a better chance in life and fought on to extend internet access to students in their classrooms. Of course, the cause of his life has been universal health care for all American citizens. He knew what America did would have an influence on the progress of health care in every part of the globe. He pioneered and won the fight for children’s health, from the children’s nutrition program in 1972 to passing the children’s health insurance plan in 1997. He never ceased fighting for universal health care. As he said only last month, “we’re almost there.” He did this not only for America but for the world. He knew that if a system of universal health care as a right and not a privilege could be achieved in the United States, others everywhere would be encouraged to take it up.

I found that Ted had very strong connections with Britain; he remembered how he lived here during his father’s period as ambassador. He was a young boy, and his brother Bobby 12 or 13, when they performed the opening ceremony for London’s famous zoo — only a stone’s throw from the ambassador’s residence.

A few years ago, Ted came back to host a luncheon of Kennedy Fellows in the conference room of the zoo. On that occasion, I asked him to meet churches and nongovernmental organizations in Britain. He played a powerful part in building a global coalition to confront child poverty in every country. As he said, the cause of those children shall be our cause — for as long as one child in one country still lacks basic health provision, basic education, basic human rights, our fight must go on.

This is how I will remember Ted Kennedy: ‘‘The pursuit of the presidency is not my life; public service is,’’Ted once said to his great friend Bob Shrum. And his work teaches timeless lessons about serving the public — the need to reach out beyond ancient loyalties and old enmities, the need to unite rather than divide, our capacity to master the great issues. Kennedy’s family inspired a whole generation of people into public service. In his inaugural, President Kennedy told of how the “trumpet summons us again” to join in a “struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” In Cape Town six years later, Robert Kennedy spoke against apartheid and said that the world could be made anew because we could “sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

In the way his brothers did in their time, Senator Kennedy’s speech at the 1980 Democratic convention set the tone for radical politics for the next two decades. It was a great speech that had a great influence on me — one of the great speeches of our generation. It laid out his life’s work, and ours.

“It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition,’’ he said then, ‘‘to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.” He said: ‘‘The dream shall never die.’’

Last year after he was struck by illness, he spoke at another Democratic convention and said something even more powerful: that we are entering “a season of new hope.” The dream lives on, he said — and it will, because of his achievements and inspiration."

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Zardari in London; "The News" confirms a Comment

A regular commenter on this site, one "captainjohann, " signposted a meeting between President Zardari and the MQM leader Altaf Hussain who lives in exile in London during the President's three-day visit to the capital. The News is confirming the story, providing detail and background.

ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain is likely to meet President Asif Ali Zardari in London today (Thursday) to discuss with him, among other issues, a possible probe into the 1992 action against the MQM during the PML-N rule, The News learnt here on Wednesday. The meeting between the two key political players is taking place on the heels of a startling disclosure by former Intelligence Bureau boss Brig Imtiaz the other day that the Jinnahpur map issue was merely a drama to malign the MQM...

MQM’s Media Coordinator Zahid Malik, when contacted, told this correspondent that the Quaid-e-Tehreek would like to get President Zardari’s backing for the formation of a panel to investigate the military action against the MQM in 1992.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Hakimullah and his Co-Taliban Chief say Mehsud is Dead

Al Jazeera reports online

The Pakistani Taliban has admitted that Baitullah Mehsud, the group's militant leader, died after being hurt in a missile attack carried out by a US pilotless drone earlier this month.
Two Taliban commanders said on Tuesday that Mehsud died on Sunday after he was wounded on August 5.

"Amir Sahab [Baitullah] was injured in the drone attack but he was martyred only on Sunday," Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali ur-Rehman told reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Hakimullah said that the Taliban had denied the death since early August because Mehsud had been only injured and under treatment. Rehman confirmed the statement.

Hakimullah Mehsud is said to be a powerful commander who operates from the Orakzai tribal district. Contrary to reports, I don't think that the Taliban, a collection of tribes, will be particularly weakened by the loss of one leader, since they will have lieutenants in place who will regroup to continue their fight. They have modern technology and the advantage of knowing the terrain, along with local family loyalties which count for a lot in the mountain villages.

McClatchy attempts to differentiate between the two Taliban chiefs, describing Hakimullah as

a trigger-happy tribesman with the reputation of a thug.

Maulana Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the other Taliban leader, who is described as more sedate, has control of the Waziristan region. McClatchy theorises that Rehman will hold the real power in terms of the area he will control.

Update 27.8.2009; The Dawn writes of impressions of a 2008 visit to meet Hakimullah Behsud as part of a press pack.

The Taliban both sides of the AfPak border are in contact, and though the Pakistani Taliban often targets the Pakistani authorities/military, and the Dawn writer notes Hakimullah castigating the provincial government of the NWFP, the recent reported conversation between Hakimullah, Rehman and reporters in which Hakimullah talked of his "men" being close to Paris, New York and London, demonstrates international aspirations for the Taliban, and ever- closer links with Al-Qaeda.

Interpol Chasing LeT Chief Saeed and Mumbai 'Mastermind' Lakhvi

The Hindu and other outlets report that Interpol has issued a red notice for two individuals;

NEW DELHI: The Interpol on Tuesday night issued Red Corner Notices (RCN) against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder chief, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi...

Saeed had allegedly provided training to terrorists between 2007 and 2008 at Muridke (LeT headquarters), Manshera, Muzzafarabad, Azizabad, and Paanch Teni in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

In December last year, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the front organisation of the banned LeT, declaring it a terrorist outfit, and labelled Saeed and Lakhvi as terrorists. The Council asked all its member countries to freeze their assets and impose a travel ban and arms embargo against them.

Ted Kennedy; The Final Passing

I happened to be reading what has to be the best book on Ted Kennedy, The Kennedy Legacy by Vincent Bzdek, published by Palgrave Macmillan, which covers all three of the brothers, but focuses on Ted's perspective, when I heard the sad news.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Zardari in UK for Three Day Visit

President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari is in London for three days, it has been announced that he will meet the 'British Leadership' for talks during the visit.

South Asians love to come to London during Summer months to escape the heat back home.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Being Irreverent for Total Politics

Mostly, when I'm writing or broadcasting, the matter to hand may include high business, politics, or murder and mayhem, sometimes a combination, which require a suitably serious disposition and tone.

But occasionally my editors at The Spectator and Total Politics like a lighter outlook. So while reporting with great concentration and earnestness for the Indian Elections, I could take a sideways look for Total Politics and relax a little. In case you missed them, here are the blogs;

Slipper and Shoe-Throwing commonplace during Indian Elections

Crime in Indian Politics

Acting- Perfect Preparation for Indian Politics

Friday, 21 August 2009

British Royals love them; Military Chiefs Make Good CEOs

I find that private equerries and senior aides close to the British royal family tend to be drawn from the higher echelons of the British military. Having spent time with Chiefs of Staff and generals while reporting, I have observed their sense of discipline and planning ability.

It isn’t surprising to find that the CEO of the Greater London Reserve Forces & Cadets Association and Chairman of Youth Organisations Uniform (YOU) London is an army Chief; Colonel (Retired) Hugh M Purcell OBE MA DL. His YOU Chairmanship is pro bono.

YOU was launched at Buckingham Palace recently. I was invited along by Commander Rod Jarman, Senior Metropolitan Police Officer, a progressive with lots of ideas for his cadets and the force. He showed HRH The Prince of Wales around. TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall spent a long time talking to the many uniformed youth groups present, who seemed to be having a great time. There was rock climbing, there were sumo-wrestlers wearing inflated costumes, scouts and guides, cadets from all branches of the defence forces and a lively band to keep everyone entertained. Colonel Purcell was looking after HRH The Duchess of Cornwall who was sporting a badge saying “I met the girl guides at Buckingham Palace.”

The launch wasn’t just a celebration of the participating youth groups; it was also a call to encourage adult volunteers. Young people in Greater London are flocking to join the groups which are suffering from a paucity of adult leaders. It does require dedication and commitment to volunteer, as the work is weekly, year-round and involves going away periodically to camps, but the pay-off in terms of confidence-building and giving youngsters a structure within which to grow their characters and learn about teamwork is immeasurable.

Colonel Purcell was a Chief of Staff before becoming part of a Netherlands- based NATO policy team for post Cold War restructuring.

He commanded the 1st Battalion the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) and an Operational Training Advisory Group responsible for preparing UK Land Forces for Peace Support Operations worldwide. This included work with US forces in Iraq, and with security forces in China, Chile and Mongolia. Working in the Czech Republic, he built a business for MoD, FCO and DfID stakeholders. He influenced ministerial and senior military mindsets, building country partnerships stretching from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus across Eastern Europe through the Balkans and into Africa, to Libya, Morocco and Nigeria.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Al Jazeera English First Off the Starting Blocks Again

As I have written before, here and in print, Al Jazeera English are again first off with an important story out of India...the Maoist threat and counter-measures announced by PM Manmohan Singh today. I will be talking to Doha in a live two-way for the news programme which is at 4.0pm GMT on this issue between 4.15 and 4.30 pm GMT.

Following India's placing of the Maoist group on the terrorist list, the outfit has retaliated by saying the the PM and Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress Party are now their number one targets.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Indian Navy Chief; Neither Capability nor Intention to Match China Militarily

Retiring Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has stated that his country is no match for China on the defense front. The Hindustan Times states;

It is rare for service chiefs in India to articulate their concerns loudly. The government disapproves of it. But when a chief makes such a prophesy, he has to be taken seriously.

He said Beijing was in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capability. “Once that is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood,” said Mehta, who as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, is the country’s senior most military commander...

Mehta backed his claims with figures. He said India’s annual defence expenditure of roughly $30 billion paled in front of China’s defence spending. He said the Americans pegged China’s defence budget between $70 billion and $200 billion.

UK PM Gordon Brown on Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Commenting on the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver the Prime Minister said;

"Her pioneering work for the Special Olimpics has changed the lives of millions throughout the world. She will be mourned throughout the world. My thoughts are with her family."

Monday, 10 August 2009

British High Commission Fails to issue visas so Pakistani Blind Cricket Tour to UK in Jeopardy

The Pakistani blind cricket team, due to play in the UK needed to fly out from Pakistan Monday 9th August and to date have not been issued with entry visas to the UK.

the team was due to play three One - dayers and one Twenty20 match against England during August.

Security concerns have been suggested in the media, and the phrase 'blind terrorist' appeared at one site.

The Pakistani veterans over 50s team were also scheduled to fly out to the UK.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

English Badminton Team Withdrawal; India Regrets

Though India has described the English badminton team's withdrawal from the World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad as an 'Over reaction,' as Tarique Ghaffur describes in his papers and to me, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and like-minded groupings are moving towards soft targets such as sporting events where international teams are playing and there are the inevitable big audiences.

Though India has security in place, and cannot afford both the tragedy as well as the embarrasment of another major security breach, her enemies do not sit still but continue to group, regroup and plot against her. It is a game of chess; measure and counter-measure. and militant outfits have the advantage of surprise, while authorities can only play catch-up. While authorities may observe and listen, and in the case of the Australians in Melbourne this week, can prevent a tragedy happening, they are trying to follow and prevent, while the militant groups are in the business of conceiving as well as giving birth to deadly plans.

India and China set up Hotline

According to the Hindu, India has, at China's suggestion, agreed to set up a hotline with her eastern neighbour. According to the newspaper, India's only current hotline friend is the Russian Federation, while China has a 'functional' hotline with the US. (What is the difference between a functional hotline and a non-functional hotline?)

'NEW DELHI: India and China have decided to set up a hotline between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao as a confidence building measure. The decision was taken during the 13th Round of India-China Special Representatives talks on the boundary question which concluded here on Saturday in a “cordial and friendly atmosphere.'

Indo-Sino trade came to $52b in 2008.

North Korean Ship Detained at India's Port Blair for Unrecorded Trips between North Korea and China

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean are a set of very interesting little land masses. One of them, where the capital Port Blair is situated, used to serve as a deadly prison for India's political inmates; it was said that they would never return once incarcerated in the 'Black Waters.'

Because of the islands' strategic location in the Indian Ocean, East of India, they have always formed a strategic naval base for India and for many years tourists were not allowed.

I spent an interesting summer there when my uncle Harmander Singh was Chief Commissioner.

At Port Blair, a North Korean ship, the MV Mu San, has been detained, according to the Times of India,

'for unauthorised anchoring off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Wednesday, (it) had made several voyages between North Korea and China without maintaining proper records, investigators have found...

Meanwhile, the interrogation of the ship's captain, Yon Jung Sun, and 38 crew members is proving to be a daunting task as there is only one member who speaks a little English. Arrangements are being made to bring in an interpreter. A special team of officials from the Research & Analysis Wing and Army intelligence, which will visit Port Blair in a couple of days to interrogate the crew. North Korea, now facing sanctions for building nuclear arms, has been a beneficiary of Chinese materials and research.'

In the past, some North Korean vessels have been found to be carrying fissile material.

RAW handles external intelligence matters for India.

Friday, 7 August 2009

India and China Resume Peace Talks

Amidst rising tension along the border between the two countries, with incursions and muscle fexing, those same old peace talks carry on just as if nothing was happening. I guess it keeps the waiting staff and aides busy with something to do, but in reality achieves nothing.

India and China could not possibly afford to go to war again yet trouble at the border remains a problem. In highly hostile mountainous terrain, where the only humans around are those dressed in khaki, it seems that the game of ritual tit-for-tat shooting will continue so long as there is an appetite for both countries to keep soldiers up at that altitude. The Indian Express writes,

'India and China began talks on Friday to resolve their long simmering border dispute, but hopes of any progress are expected to grind against a recent spike in geopolitical tensions as well as muscle flexing along the border.
India's National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo resumed the talks after a year's gap, focusing on narrowing down differences along their Himalayan border. Twelve rounds of talks have been held before.'

India's northern borders from west to east will remain a source of tension for her, given the inhospitable terrain and the arguments over territory which remain unresolved with her neighbours. Add in a large dose of militant insurgency along the border regions, from the Islamist separatists in Kashmir in the west to the Maoist rebels in the east, and India has a bit of a sticky problem which she doesn't seem able to solve. Up in the no man's land at the border, the air is so rarified it is sometimes hard to breathe, and civilians can't approach unescorted. Enemy soldiers eyeball each other, they are so close. But the views are out of this world.

Baitullah Mehsud

The media is in a tailspin over whether or not Tehreek-e-Taliban head Baitullah Mehsud is dead. The Taliban leader was a fearsome foe and held much sway amongst his tribe. It was said that he was responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination. I was asked to profile him for television a short while ago.

Somehow, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik was able to confirm the death of Mehsud's second wife. We can only be sure about Mehsud when we have conclusive evidence from those concerned.

Though Mehsud was a mighty power in the region, the Taliban are a collection of tribes, each with a nominated leader and often at odds with each other. Certainly in Waziristan itself, there are other highly armed factions. Mehsud's fighters were not engaged so much in frontline activity anyway; up towards the Afghan-Pakistan border, there are other Taliban factions engaged.

And while one leader may pass, there will be others to take his place as Reuters discusses.

UPDATE 12.46; Mehsud's second has confirmed his death.

UPDATE 8.8.09 11.30am; Hakim Ullah, one of the touted seconds to Mehsud and possible successor in the event of his death, has told news outlets his commander Baitullah Mehsud is still alive. The BBC has run it, as has AP

UPDATE 8.8.09 6.08; AP, HuffPo's preferred supplier of immediate information, discusses likely Mehsud successors; in any event, they are significant players in the region so worth noting

UPDATE 9.08.09; Geo News says that Pakistani Interior Minister says that within 48 hrs he will give confirmation of Mehsud's death.

The back and forth on this subject shows how war can move from the ground to the PR machinery.

Tamil Tiger Chief Arrested and in Interrogation

With the arrest of the current Tamil Tiger chief, Selvarajah Pathmanathan, the Sri Lankan government has a great new source of information. How interesting it would be for an impartial observer to watch the interrogation. (I don't think I have the stomach for it).

However, the issue of what happens to Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka is still very much on the table.

Independent scrutineers and journalists are still barred from free access to camps and other areas outside Colombo.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

India Ready for Chemical Warfare Attacks; Defence Minister says

The National Disaster Management Authority has just released a report called the Management of Chemical Terrorism Disaster, the Times of India reports. The Defense Minister, A.K. Antony, attended the launch.

The comprehensive guidelines deal with several issues like counter-terrorism strategies, surveillance and environmental monitoring, prevention of illegal trafficking of hazardous waste, and human resource development, which includes education and training, knowledge management and community awareness. "The defence ministry shall also prepare itself for the management of (any) chemical terrorism disaster," Antony added.

That last sentence, using the words 'shall also prepare' is troubling, depending on your point of view of course.

The Mumbai attacks occurred less than a year ago and while an enquiry has found that certain modifications to the security services are required, many of these have yet to be implemented.

India is a bureacracy-ridden country, there are issues of communication between the centre, Delhi, and the states, and no-one would dispute the facts that have emerged about antique armoury and a lack of adequate resources for security personnel.

So is India really prepared, now, for a chemical attack?

India's new Foreign Secretary Takes up Post at Time of Mixed Messages from Delhi

Nirupama Rao has been appointed India's top diplomat; she started August 1st.
She is walking into a minefield since PM Manmohan Singh has adopted a more conciliatory approach with Pakistan in recent times, which goes against the anti-neighbour rhetoric Delhi normally favours.

It will be interesting to watch the statements that Sonia Gandhi makes on the issue; they will give an acute reading on Indo-Pak relations and the way ahead.

Nirupama Rao is a career civil servant. Dawn writes

NEW DELHI: India's new foreign secretary takes office this week facing a huge task of improving ties with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks as political opposition grows that the government is appeasing its neighbour.
Nirupama Rao, a career civil servant and now the Asian power's top diplomat, starts her new job after a raucous week in parliament in which the opposition accused the Congress-led government of selling out India's national interests.

Police Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor Thinking Hard about Ethnics in Police Force and Anti Knife- Crime Measures

West London police Chief Superintendents tend to rise quite meteorically within the Metropolitan Police, and the latest one to watch is Sultan Taylor, Chief Superintendent within the Metropolitan Police Service. He is currently in command of Ealing, one of the busiest and most diverse areas of London.

Born in Trinidad & Tobago of Asian descent Sultan was educated to degree level before joining the MPS in 1983. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles ranging from Operations, CID, Transport Services and Criminal Justice.

In 1988 he achieved a place on the High Potential Development Scheme and in the same year became a founder of the Metropolitan Police Black Police Association.

C.S. Taylor has a Masters degree and received a distinction in his dissertation which was entitled ‘Barriers to Advancement of Ethnic Minority Officers in the Metropolitan Police’. His hard work and determination focus very much on a community engagement strategy.

Sultan regularly meets with different community groups in Ealing and was recently involved in trying to set up an indoor cricket facility in a bid to engage young people. The anti-knife crime charity Through Unity successfully launched their poster campaign with Sultan’s aid and commitment in June this year and whilst Borough Commander at Havering Sultan set up a street pastor scheme. He likes to engage with the Community for the benefit of all.

On the 24th July the India International Foundation presented the Chief Superintendent with an award in recognition of 25 years service to Policing and his significant contribution to the Community. The IIF tends to recognise great and good non-resident Indians, NRIs, as the press calls them.

Sultan told me that he hopes to continue realising his vision of progressing to a higher rank and to further contribute to building police / community relations and engagement.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

How Clinton's India Schmoozing was seen in Pakistan

Here is an interesting take from the Pakistani point of view. I feel that the countries in the region, Pakistan, China and India, are at different times like schoolboys being handled by teacher USA, all interacting in different ways with the new administration while watching what is happening to the other two. I would suggest that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are not really in the frame, they are at the back of the class. India seems to be teacher's pet in terms of what it has negotiated so far, which includes the way the US is handling Pakistan.

US Special Envoy to the region Richard Holbrooke was mooted to have been given a wider remit than the fairly wide remit he has ended up with, due, I would suggest, to behind the scenes activity on India's part.