There is now enough distance to look back at the event — and the larger Indian policy on terrorism (Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times)
There is now enough distance to look back at the event — and the larger Indian policy on terrorism (Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times)

The lessons from Pulwama | HT Editorial

The Pulwama-Balakot episode showed the danger of both sides stepping on to an escalatory spiral, with unpredictable consequences
By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON FEB 15, 2021 06:33 AM IST

Two years ago, on February 14, the terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad, attacked a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing 40 security personnel. The attack provoked a strong Indian response in the form of the Balakot airstrike at a terror camp, an aerial incursion by Pakistan into Indian territory, the capture and subsequent release of an Indian fighter pilot, and eventually shaped the course of the Lok Sabha elections. The government framed the airstrike as a continuation of the surgical strike after Uri in 2016, and portrayed it as an example of “new India’s” tough approach to terror.

There is now enough distance to look back at the event — and the larger Indian policy on terrorism. There is little doubt that like preceding governments, the Narendra Modi government has taken a strong position against cross-border terror. It has also gone a step forward in determining that unless there are costs inflicted on Pakistan for its continued support to terrorists, the incentive structure for Pakistan’s military-intelligence complex — which protect these groups — won’t change. This has taken the form of aggressive Indian diplomacy at the Financial Action Task Force, a military response to terror attacks, cutting off official dialogue with Islamabad unless it shows tangible action in terms of cracking down on terror, putting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) in deep freeze and evolving regional mechanisms which don’t include Pakistan, and continued international mobilisation against Islamabad-Rawalpindi’s dubious ways. Coupled with more effective internal security mechanisms, this has had the impact of forcing Pakistan to think hard before it engages in its adventurism.

At the same time, the Pulwama-Balakot episode showed the danger of both sides stepping on to an escalatory spiral, with unpredictable consequences. India may have conventional military superiority and has done well in calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. But, at a time when India faces a threat from China, and the situation in Kashmir remains fragile, this strategy must be used in a calibrated manner. It is also important to recognise the heterogeneity within Pakistan, and perhaps have a form of back-channel dialogue mechanism to ensure that events don’t spiral out of control. Responding to terror is essential; ensuring this response is smart and proportionate remains equally important.

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To improve and also cater to several emerging needs, India’s cities need to go for city-to-city partnerships, mainstream the liveability indicators in planning and policy, develop urban planning frameworks and guidelines that have space for contextualised approaches of cities and can be adapted easily, improve citizen engagement, build capacities of ULBs to catalyse the vision of the 74th Amendment Act, 1992, and remove constraints in governance to not just improve service delivery, but also make it equitable. (Sakib Ali/HT Archive)
To improve and also cater to several emerging needs, India’s cities need to go for city-to-city partnerships, mainstream the liveability indicators in planning and policy, develop urban planning frameworks and guidelines that have space for contextualised approaches of cities and can be adapted easily, improve citizen engagement, build capacities of ULBs to catalyse the vision of the 74th Amendment Act, 1992, and remove constraints in governance to not just improve service delivery, but also make it equitable. (Sakib Ali/HT Archive)

Shaping India’s urban future

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:35 PM IST
The the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020 for India’s cities reveals gaps in planning and regional disparities. Evolve a holistic strategy to improve service delivery, but also make them equitable.
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It is tempting in an electoral democracy to leverage group identities, particularly on the contested axis of religion (Samir Jana/HT Photo)
It is tempting in an electoral democracy to leverage group identities, particularly on the contested axis of religion (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

In polls, don’t disturb social harmony | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 07:38 PM IST
The BJP, as well as parties which claim to be secular or represent minority interests, must exercise responsibility in their campaign, for Hindu-Muslim harmony is essential for national unity
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Rejecting a petition that sought action against former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister and one of the country’s senior-most leaders, Farooq Abdullah, for his comments opposing the Centre’s changes in the erstwhile state, a two-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench on Wednesday said that dissent cannot be considered sedition (PTI)
Rejecting a petition that sought action against former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister and one of the country’s senior-most leaders, Farooq Abdullah, for his comments opposing the Centre’s changes in the erstwhile state, a two-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench on Wednesday said that dissent cannot be considered sedition (PTI)

Scrap the sedition law | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 07:38 PM IST
Dissent is, indeed, not sedition. Sedition, a colonial-era law, often used to implicate citizens who are exercising democratic rights of dissent, should have no space in the Constitution. Now rethink the legal framework itself.
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A range of fundamental rights enable citizens to move freely, work anywhere in the country, and be entitled to be treated with equality and without discrimination. (ANI)
A range of fundamental rights enable citizens to move freely, work anywhere in the country, and be entitled to be treated with equality and without discrimination. (ANI)

The dangers of populism

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 02:13 PM IST
Constitutionally suspect and economically unwise, reservation for locals evades the real crisis. Like the rest of India’s political class, Haryana’s leaders are evading the real crisis of jobs to offer prescriptions which may only make the problem worse.
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The party establishment has co-opted a set of G23 leaders. At the same time, the Congress leadership should recognise that its real challenge is not the dissenters, but the party’s failure to win the confidence of citizens in elections. (HTPHOTO)
The party establishment has co-opted a set of G23 leaders. At the same time, the Congress leadership should recognise that its real challenge is not the dissenters, but the party’s failure to win the confidence of citizens in elections. (HTPHOTO)

The challenge within the Congress

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:06 PM IST
If this rift in the Congress leads to a stronger opposition, it is good for democracy. But the challenge for the challengers is that they seem to lack the mass base outside the party and internal strength within the party to force a change in leadership.
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The SC bench would do well to rethink its approach and ensure that all such future cases are dealt with strictly within the letter and spirit of the law (File Photo)
The SC bench would do well to rethink its approach and ensure that all such future cases are dealt with strictly within the letter and spirit of the law (File Photo)

Women’s right to autonomy, justice | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 04:13 PM IST
There must be a greater effort at gender sensitisation across all levels of the judiciary to prevent such attempts to grant amnesty for violent crimes against women
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Brigade rally called by Left Front, Indian National Congress and Indian Secular Front (ISF) ahead of West Bengal Assembly Election in Kolkata. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)
Brigade rally called by Left Front, Indian National Congress and Indian Secular Front (ISF) ahead of West Bengal Assembly Election in Kolkata. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

Discrediting secularism | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 06:55 PM IST
The Left and the Congress must carefully introspect about their political choices, for allying with extreme identity-based groups on one side will not help in their aim of defeating an identity-based formation on the other side
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According to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Centre, as of 2020, China ranks only second to the US in having the skills to pursue cyber objectives. But where it lacks skill, it makes up for intent — earning an overall cyber power index rank of two among 30 countries. India, with low intent as well as capability, ranks 21 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
According to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Centre, as of 2020, China ranks only second to the US in having the skills to pursue cyber objectives. But where it lacks skill, it makes up for intent — earning an overall cyber power index rank of two among 30 countries. India, with low intent as well as capability, ranks 21 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Boosting cyber capabilities

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:08 PM IST
A report indicating a Chinese attack on critical Indian infrastructure should lead to a review. Cyber experts have long pointed out this asymmetry in capabilities between India and its adversaries and how engagement in the cyber domain is not limited to rules of real-world conflict.
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To kickstart this green housing revolution, states must adopt the Eco-Niwas Samhita Part I, an energy conservation building code for residential buildings, which was launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2018. This sets standards to limit heat gains (for cooling-dominated climates), limit heat loss (for heating-dominated climates), and ensure natural ventilation and daylight potential. Unfortunately, the codes are voluntary, and many states have not dovetailed them into their by-laws. (Bloomberg)
To kickstart this green housing revolution, states must adopt the Eco-Niwas Samhita Part I, an energy conservation building code for residential buildings, which was launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2018. This sets standards to limit heat gains (for cooling-dominated climates), limit heat loss (for heating-dominated climates), and ensure natural ventilation and daylight potential. Unfortunately, the codes are voluntary, and many states have not dovetailed them into their by-laws. (Bloomberg)

Housing must be climate-resilient

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:01 PM IST
Delhi recorded its second warmest February since 1901. To adapt to a warming world, India needs to construct buildings that are thermally comfortable; have natural daylight; and proper ventilation.
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On the basis of this, Friday’s data, anecdotal evidence, and high-frequency indicators, while it does seem likely that India’s recovery will be patchy, the overall number for 2020-21 may actually end up being a little better than -8%, or even -7.7% (PTI)
On the basis of this, Friday’s data, anecdotal evidence, and high-frequency indicators, while it does seem likely that India’s recovery will be patchy, the overall number for 2020-21 may actually end up being a little better than -8%, or even -7.7% (PTI)

Reading the numbers right | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:20 AM IST
India’s third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers, released on Friday, are interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least being the fact that while the GDP number was marginally lower than estimates, the gross value added (GVA) number was marginally higher
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The expansion of the drive, and the involvement of the private sector is a welcome move, and will help, but it is time India started thinking about opening up vaccination for all takers (Sant Arora /Hindustan Times)
The expansion of the drive, and the involvement of the private sector is a welcome move, and will help, but it is time India started thinking about opening up vaccination for all takers (Sant Arora /Hindustan Times)

Covid-19: Open up vaccination for all | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:20 AM IST
As this newspaper has repeatedly said: Approve more vaccines; make them available in the open market; and open up vaccination
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It is not unknown for even this Indian government, which has taken one of the strongest positions on Pakistan in recent decades, to engage in secret talks with the Pakistani side (ANI)
It is not unknown for even this Indian government, which has taken one of the strongest positions on Pakistan in recent decades, to engage in secret talks with the Pakistani side (ANI)

The India-Pakistan thaw | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:25 AM IST
The sudden announcement of the Indian and Pakistani armies recommitting themselves to the frayed 2003 ceasefire agreement on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) took many by surprise in New Delhi and Islamabad, especially as it came at a time when both countries have shown no signs of being able to agree on anything
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ndian governments, irrespective of their hue, have had a troubled relationship with privatisation. Much of this, on the basis of the history of privatisation, appeared to stem from a lack of belief in it. Which is why Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s repeated emphasis on privatisation — a handful of times in speeches in the past few weeks — is both important and welcome. (PTI)
ndian governments, irrespective of their hue, have had a troubled relationship with privatisation. Much of this, on the basis of the history of privatisation, appeared to stem from a lack of belief in it. Which is why Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s repeated emphasis on privatisation — a handful of times in speeches in the past few weeks — is both important and welcome. (PTI)

The benefits of privatisation

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:32 AM IST
It can help the State to reassign funds, monetise its assets, and improve the competitiveness of firms
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India’s benchmark inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stayed above the upper limit of the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance zone continuously between April and November 2020. This inflationary phase was driven by a spike in food prices, and it has ended with a collapse of the same from December. (MINTPHOTO)
India’s benchmark inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stayed above the upper limit of the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance zone continuously between April and November 2020. This inflationary phase was driven by a spike in food prices, and it has ended with a collapse of the same from December. (MINTPHOTO)

Keep an eye on global commodity inflation

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:33 AM IST
Recent movement in global commodity prices suggests that we could be heading for a long-term rally after a benign run, followed by a collapse during the pandemic.
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As alarm grows over what appears to be the beginning of India’s second Covid-19 wave, the Union government on Wednesday lifted some key restrictions to speed up vaccination and expand the parameters of who is eligible for inoculation (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
As alarm grows over what appears to be the beginning of India’s second Covid-19 wave, the Union government on Wednesday lifted some key restrictions to speed up vaccination and expand the parameters of who is eligible for inoculation (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

A welcome step on vaccination | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:10 PM IST
t is important that India leverages its relative success against Covid-19 to equip its citizens in the face of a race against time against a possible second wave. Wednesday’s decision by the Union Cabinet marks a step in the right direction
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