Our Voices

John Elliott Gang rape case reveals the real India, and the glimmers of change

DELHI: Friends abroad have emailed me in the past few days horrified that India could be such a cruel and unsafe place for women. They have been reacting to international news of the gang rape, and subsequent death, of a 23-year old paramedical student in Delhi, that led on to a flood of other rape reports. Similar international reactions were to be heard from two years ago when there were widespread reports of massive corruption, and mass demonstrations called for the system to be cleaned up.

John Elliott Delhi Police fire tear gas and fire water cannon at peaceful

I have just returned from India Gate in central Delhi where police and paramilitary forces fired tear gas and water cannon at peaceful demonstrators, spectators including families, and mobile television studios at around 5pm at the end of six days of country-wide mass protests sparked by the gang rape of a young woman last Sunday night and subsequent government and police indifference.

John Elliott Narendra Modi challenges the Gandhis’ Idea of India

It is beginning to look as if the next general election could turn into a battle over the “idea of India” between the Hindu-nationalist, efficient, and growth-oriented approach of Narendra Modi, who was re-elected yesterday as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister of Gujarat, and the more all-embracing secular and populist but less efficient and often corrupt model offered by the Congress Party and its dynastic leader-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi.

John Elliott Pakistan minister fuels a bad relationship with India

NEW DELHI: “I cannot understand the time, energy and cost spent in maintaining a bad relationship”, a leading Indian businessman said in Delhi yesterday when he opened a seminar on building a good relationship with strong economic ties between India and Pakistan, South Asia’s two fractious nuclear power neighbours. Salman Bashir, a former Pakistan foreign secretary and now the high commissioner in Delhi, told the seminar that it was an “extremely delicate” job to manage the two countries’ bilateral relationship - it needed “vision” and “leadership” in both countries.

Anne Penketh Why Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is President

President Obama was out on the campaign trail yesterday with his new friend, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Sorry, scratch that, Obama announced he was suspending the campaign and his spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that "this is not a time for politics." So what we saw yesterday was a Democratic and a Republican politician putting America before politics as they discussed putting New Jersey back on its feet after Hurricane Sandy. Now that's a rarity in this polarised country.

John Elliott China telecoms pose risks to Indian defences 50 years after Himalayan

There has been a stream of articles in India’s newspapers over the past week marking the 50th anniversary of country’s humiliating defeat by China in a brief Himalayan border war that shattered India’s self-confidence so devastatingly that the country has yet fully to recover. Headlines have included “The war we lost – the lessons we didn’t learn” and “Lessons from 1962 - India must never lower its guard”.