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...With the ever changing geo-political landscape, increasing globalisation coupled with securing the interests of the growing Indian diaspora, Sushma Swaraj has proved to a responsive leader at the helm of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Our diplomatic corps compared to many countries is small, yet our missions abroad have demonstrated tremendous capacity for the task at hand. From my home state of Odisha, every year thousands of men are lured by agents, many unscrupulous, to work abroad on the promise of a better life and pay. In less than two months of this year, I have written about a dozen letters to our Ambassadors and High Commissioners across the world, seeking their intervention to help Indian citizens in distress. ...NDTV on March 14, 2016, midnight
...An excellent example is an incident that happened some years ago. Former President Dr. Kalam was once frisked by an airline, thereby creating a major furore. The impressive part of this episode is that the former President did not even object to being frisked. This says a lot about the person, and my respect for him only went up higher. And I am sure I can say the same for most people in this country. Is it possible that shunning VVIP culture in small but significant ways may be a strong reason for the respect he commands by us citizens? Special privileges that have become so ubiquitous range from substantive to the frivolous. Politicians and bureaucrats do not have to stand in line for anything, live in heritage buildings, move around in cars with red beacons, and of recent relevance, enjoy subsidized food in canteens starting from the Parliament to government offices around the capital. The issue of food subsidy offered to Members of Parliaments reeks of privilege. ...NDTV on July 18, 2015, midnight
...The Super Cyclone was the worst ever in the Northern Indian Ocean since records had been kept, and ripped through Odisha, killing thousands.It not only laid waste to vast swathes of the state, but also cut it off from the rest of the world for three days, before communication and transport links could be restored.What stood out in the public mind in the midst of that devastation was the ineptitude of the state government, which appeared unprepared and taken mostly by surprise. ...Indian Express on Oct. 14, 2013, 1:35 a.m.
...The frustration and anger that we feel in India at repeated betrayals, both big and small, of countless promises of peace from across the Line of Control is, of course, understandable.From Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bus diplomacy being followed by Kargil, to Pervez Musharraf's assurance of no longer allowing Pakistani territory to be used for terrorism being followed by 26/11, the pattern has remained the same.Nevertheless, the recent past had seen a decline in cross border infiltration and attacks, attributed by many to Pakistan's increasing preoccupation with its own crumbling internal security.Widely regarded as the global epicentre of jihadist terror outfits, Pakistan's past has finally caught up with it, and the chickens have been coming home to roost in ever-larger numbers. ...Indian Express on Aug. 13, 2013, 4:17 a.m.
...But some politicians are taking a closer look.This is, of course, an old story elsewhere.In the 2008 US presidential election, a relatively unknown, middle-class candidate made history, first, by massively outspending opponents backed by the establishment in both major parties.Though Barack Obama also went on to make history as the first African-American president, neither would have been possible without his path-breaking use of new technology.The skyrocketing numbers of Indians using social media points to a stunning conclusion.By 2014, they will be more numerous than the total votes garnered by any one party in 2009.The study by the IRIS Knowledge Foundation and the Internet and Mobile Association of India makes some compelling arguments about the impact this can have on voting.Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter helped Candidate Obama level the playing field in many ways. ...Indian Express on May 10, 2013, 3:19 a.m.