Players force council on backfoot
Tiger pulls power plug
Broadcaster banks on patch-up
Bengal land reforms outlive utility
Curtain goes up on Queen’s consort
For BJP, poll rule interpretation changes from Gujarat to UP
Prabhu pays for tiff with Thackeray
Murdoch loosens Dalmiya grip
Sinha extends hand, cuts out talks with Pak
Calcutta Weather

Leeds, Aug. 20: 

ICC ready to confine terms to Colombo meet

Clearly concerned over the possibility of second-string teams in next month’s Champions Trophy in Colombo, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided that the contentious Player Terms will be applicable for that tournament only.

This has already been conveyed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is in the midst of a major crisis. President Jagmohan Dalmiya himself confirmed having been informed.

“Yes, the ICC has clarified its position,” Dalmiya told The Telegraph, when contacted in Bangalore late this evening. However, till late tonight, this latest development had not been intimated to the Indian cricketers here.

“Before even thinking of reacting, we must first hear from the BCCI,” is what one of the seniors said, speaking exclusively. He added: “In any case, right now, we are focusing on the Headingley Test (beginning Thursday).…”

Still, this development raises the possibility of an overhaul, specifically keeping the 2003 World Cup’s interest in mind. Of course, it is to be seen whether the ICC will (at this point in time) backtrack any more.

In any case, the Colombo meet has reportedly even run into other problems. Should this standoff with the cricketers escalate — even the ones in Australia and England haven’t yet signed — the tournament may just have to be put on hold.

Meanwhile, though all 18 cricketers currently in England have unambiguously conveyed that they will not sign the terms, and thereby won’t be available for the Champions Trophy, the BCCI is keeping the door open.

Towards that end, while the process of formally shortlisting 20 fresh probables will begin tomorrow afternoon, no announcement is going to be made till the ICC sets a revised deadline for the squad of 14. The earlier deadline was last Monday.

Moreover, should anybody here have a rethink, he will be considered for selection. “No deadline has been framed, but if somebody wishes to make himself available, he must do so in a couple of days,” Dalmiya pointed out.

The cricketers, however, are unlikely to break rank. It’s significant that all 18 signed the letter faxed to the BCCI last evening. It was, essentially, a one-point communication: No one is signing.

For its part, the BCCI’s working committee (which met in Bangalore) today reaffirmed that India will field a team in Colombo and that “every effort” will be made to send the “most formidable side”. The mood, one learns, was to protect the cricketers’ interest — to the extent possible — without compromising on the commitment (lopsided though it is) made to the ICC.

Apparently, the members were informed that the BCCI had offered to “directly or indirectly” underwrite any loss cricketers might suffer on account of not endorsing their own sponsors’ products. That the president had offered to “help” the cricketers should any one of them be taken to court for violating contracts with personal sponsors was also placed on record.

Indeed, one understands that the BCCI had even suggested only those affected by the conflict of (sponsorship) interest make themselves unavailable. This, too, was rejected.

Incidentally, going by Dalmiya’s response when first informed that the cricketers would nominate former captain Ravi Shastri as their spokesman, the BCCI has decided not to “interact with outsiders”.

“All along, we were negotiating with captain Sourav Ganguly and senior pro Anil Kumble. If anything is to be discussed, it will be with them only,” explained a senior BCCI functionary. He added: “Tomorrow, Shastri could turn around and say we should speak to Tim May. Well, that just won’t be acceptable.”

May is involved both with the Australian cricketers’ body and the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (Fica). It’s no secret that many within the BCCI haven’t been very pleased over May’s interaction with our cricketers.


New Delhi, Aug. 20: 
Suresh Prabhu has quit as Union power minister at Bal Thackeray’s directive. He handed his resignation to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over the weekend, saying the Shiv Sena boss needed him for party work.

Vajpayee is yet to accept the resignation. It has not yet been sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan and is not going immediately, “at least not tonight”, official sources said. “The idea is to give some cooling-off period and hope that Thackeray will have a rethink.” Prabhu is counted among the efficient ministers and is pro-reforms. Many states signed up reform agreements with the Centre during his stint.

An intermediary from the Prime Minister’s Office, who spoke to Thackeray, was politely told there was no scope for a review of the decision.

The Sena chief has been unhappy with Prabhu for some time. Two months ago, Prabhu had told Vajpayee he wanted to step down after Thackeray reportedly conveyed to the power minister he was not happy with his work. But Thackeray and Prabhu reached some kind of a truce then.

Yesterday, Thackeray said his main grouse against his Central ministers was their “failure” to create a “lobby of Maharashtra bureaucrats” in Delhi by getting them important postings.

Sena sources said minister of state for finance Anant Geethe might be elevated to Prabhu’s place. “I have no idea about it but if the Sena chief thinks he should give me anything more important, I will take it as and when it is given,” Geethe said.

Anandrao Adsul, a Dalit from the Vidarbha region, might take Geethe’s place. The name of Rajya Sabha MP R.N. Dhoot of Videocon is also being reportedly considered.

Sources said a minor Cabinet shuffle is on the cards following Vajpayee’s meeting with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam tonight. Vajpayee reportedly sought a convenient date from Kalam to carry out the exercise. However, it was unclear if Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee would be considered for a berth.

Vajpayee and Kalam also discussed the presidential reference seeking the Supreme Court’s view on Gujarat polls. Kalam has forwarded the Cabinet’s request to the apex court, but with Chief Justice B.N. Kirpal out of station, there might be some delay in the constitution of a bench to deal with the issue.

Political circles said Gujarat might come under a brief spell of President’s rule as the Supreme Court reference may take time.


New Delhi, Aug. 20: 
A compromise solution to the vexed cricket controversy hung tantalisingly in the air as the BCCI’s working committee went into a huddle in Bangalore and ICC chief Malcolm Speed conferred with officials of Sony Entertainment Television (SET), which has a five-year agreement for cable and satellite telecast rights for all ICC tournaments.

Sources said the ICC, which has been insisting on including a clause to pre-empt ambush marketing by rivals of tournament sponsors, could work out an arrangement to compensate the players for the loss of income arising from a breach of commercial contracts.

Sources clued into behind-the-scenes confabulations said the payoff could be upwards of Rs 3 crore for the top four Indian players if they sign the contract.

The official sponsors of the Champions Trophy that begins on September 12 are Pepsi, LG Electronics, South African Airways and Hero Honda.

It is still unclear who will make the payout; each of the parties involved has its own compulsions. The ICC is committed to organising the tournament; the BCCI to fielding a full-strength team; the broadcasters to telecasting the matches; the cricketers to playing the game; and the sponsors to financing the whole event.

“Sony is confident that all cricket boards will field their best teams. We expect a compromise to be reached,” Kunal Dasgupta, CEO of SET, told The Telegraph after his half-hour meeting with Speed.

The assertion appeared to lift a cloud of worry that had hung over Sony, one of the main broadcasters of the event — the other is expected to be Doordarshan — after two weeks of wrangling over the ambush marketing clause.

Sony won the telecast rights from WSG Nimbus for ICC tournaments till 2007 after stumping up with a $255 million (Rs 1,240 crore) bid in March.

The idea of being saddled with a tournament minus Sachin Tendulkar had sent chills down the spine of the media industry. Sony and Nimbus, which still holds the terrestrial rights, are in danger of being big losers if the stars don’t shine in Sri Lanka.

The broadcasters had been mulling the possibility of renegotiating their earlier agreements. WSG Nimbus is contracted by Rupert Murdoch-owned Global Cricket Corporation to market “ICC brand cricket”.

Over the weekend, WSG Nimbus had sounded Prasar Bharati — the national broadcaster — that it would like to renegotiate the contract it was on the verge of signing with Doordarshan.


Aug. 20: 
Yesterday’s pride, today’s dilemma. Land reforms have won the Left Front five Assembly elections, but they now pose problems for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s dream of making West Bengal the “food bowl of India”.

Thanks to land reforms, the farmer has his own land all right, but it no longer gives him enough to make a living. If he is not getting a good price for his crop, he does not want to grow more. If he does not grow more, his earnings drop even further.

If, on the other hand, he grows more than the market demand, he does not know what to do with the surplus. Keeping it in cold storage means higher costs and a still higher surplus next year, unless he decides to reduce production.

“It’s become a vicious cycle. Land reforms did boost the farmer’s initiative in the early years. But fragmentation of his land over the years and the absence of capital and marketing facilities led to declining yields,” argues Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya vice-chancellor Debabrata Dasgupta.

The small size of his land makes Bengal’s farmer particularly vulnerable. Nearly 94 per cent of the state’s farmers have very small tracts, against a national average of 78.2 per cent, and they till 72 per cent of the total crop area, against an all-India average of 32.5 per cent.

The average size of individual holding in the state is 0.85 hectare, compared to the national

average of 1.55 hectares. This excessive fragmentation of land, agriculture scientist Dr M.S. Swaminathan also thinks, has increasingly reduced both production and productivity.

So much so that Bengal’s food production is falling behind the requirement of the rising population. In 1999-2000, it was 148.46 lakh tonnes, which fell 7.30 lakh tonnes short of the requirement.

In the first flush of land reforms between 1979 and 1990, the state’s agriculture grew by 5.84 per cent, but dropped sharply to 2.39 per cent in the next 10 years. If the present trend were to continue, the state’s food production will have a deficit of 27 lakh tonnes in 2007.

“Unless drastic steps are taken to remedy the situation, we could be back to the scenario of the 1950s when farmers had to be doled out milo and donor wheat,” warns Mrinal Kanti Basu, a bio-scientist formerly with the Indian Council of Agricultural research. “The small farmers are already leasing out their land to jotedars because they can’t bear the costs themselves.”

The problems multiplied, he says, because “the Left struggled for the rights of farmers, but not for the interests of agriculture”. The debate over the new agriculture policy, though, still confuses the economics of land with the demands of politics.

Despite the state’s climatic advantages for paddy cultivation, small holdings, most agricultural economists agree, are responsible for the low average yield — 23 quintals per hectare — compared with Punjab’s 30 or Haryana’s 33. Ironically, the farmer often faces a situation in which he produces more and more of certain crops but earns less and less from them.

Overproduction and lack of marketing facilities led to falling prices and distress sales. Under-production, on the other hand, has created problems in other areas. The shortages in other crops such as wheat, cereals, pulses and oilseeds, the draft of the new policy admits, are even worse.

The other problem that land reforms seem to have caused is the pathetically low investment in agriculture. The farmers themselves are incapable of investing much, while bank credit too has declined rapidly in the state as in other parts of the country.

While the reforms secured small farmers’ or sharecroppers’ right to land and crop, they scared away private investment, either as credit or as capital for the inputs. With institutional credit fading away and falling prices adding to his burden, the farmer is once again looking up to the village moneylender for succour. Panchayats may now be an overriding presence in their lives, but they are not much help for financing agriculture.

Now that the Left Front government wants major changes in its farm policies, some of the gains of land reforms have become its dilemma. All front partners agree that both production and productivity have to be raised. They also want changes in the crop pattern.

“We need a major policy shift in land use patterns to ensure the selection of crops to suit the character of land”, says the CPM’s veteran peasant leader Benoy Konar, “just as we need different approaches to irrigation, seeds and fertilisers”. But how to do all these without taking away the farmer’s right to his land and crop is a problem the government and the party are now grappling with.

The biggest problem, though, is with private investment in agriculture, which, according to the new policy, is badly needed to ensure both the state’s food security and the farmer’s economic wellbeing.

The emphasis on agri-business such as horticulture, food processing and agricultural marketing is basically aimed at bringing to agriculture the dynamics of commerce and industry. The challenge here is to match the business interests of the investor with the rights and interests of the farmers.

McKinsey’s proposals for agribusiness are actually a small part of the larger framework of the proposed reforms. The debate they have generated reflects the Left’s uneasy march on the reform road.


Mumbai, Aug. 20: 
There was an Indian man in Queen Victoria’s life — for whom she had risked her court’s wrath.

His photograph still hangs in the queen’s dressing room. But Abdul Karim — the dark, swarthy, ambitious young man from somewhere in north India who went on to become Victoria’s trusted “Munshi” (teacher) — has so far lived in the shadows of history. He is now set to occupy centrestage — with a play that dwells on his relationship with his queen.

Victoria’s Indian servant is the subject of a play by Farrukh Dhondy, a British media personality of Indian origin, to be performed here by Mahabanoo M. Kotwal’s group Poor Box Productions in November.

“There’s a suggestion of a romantic relationship between the queen and Abdul in the play,” says Kotwal. “It is a very intense relationship.”

“Victoria and Abdul” will be part of her two-play show Two Hot to Handle. The theme is the relationship between a young man and a much older woman.

Dhondy’s play brings to life a scintillating story of upward mobility.

“All the incidents used in the play are real. My sources are Victoria’s biographies and the notes of Sir Henry Ponsonby and Harriet Phibbs, her secretaries,” says Dhondy.

“There isn’t much written on him as such, but I researched this play in 1984 and wrote it for Zia Mohyeddin to do on TV.

“It was a monologue at the time and was performed on Channel 4 in UK,” the director adds.

“He arrived in England as a ‘gift’ from Lady Dufferin to the queen, but rose swiftly to have his say even in state matters. He was a bit of a manipulator,” says Kotwal.

Dhondy describes him as “brash and very ambitious”.

Along with Mohammed Buxsh, Karim had entered the queen’s service three days after her Golden Jubilee in 1887, but while Buxsh remained at the rank of bearer, Karim became an influential and hated figure in the queen’s household as an astounding choice for royal company.

Like John Brown, the rough, ill-behaved and boozed-out Scotsman in her service, whose close relationship with her was the subject of the recent film Mrs Brown.

On one of her trips to the French Riviera, the queen spent much of her time “with her strange companions, her dour Scottish gillie, John Brown, and her troublesome Indian secretary, the Munshi, Abdul Karim”, writes I.B. Tauris, author of a book on Victoria.

“John Brown, who did not like the Riviera and who thought Irish revolutionaries were plotting to assassinate the queen there, amazed the locals by wearing a kilt together with a topee. The courtiers threatened to strike if Abdul Karim came to the Riviera, but he came nevertheless.”

On the day Buxsh and Karim kissed her feet and began to serve her at Windsor, the queen wrote that Karim was “much younger (he was 24), much lighter, tall, and with a fine serious countenance”.

Soon afterwards, the queen wrote: “Am learning a few words of Hindustani to speak to my servants. It is a great interest to me, for both the language and the people.”


New Delhi, Aug. 20: 
Does the Constitution mean one thing for Gujarat and another for Uttar Pradesh? The Centre thinks so.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government has cited Article 174(1) of the Constitution — which stipulates that not more than six months should pass between two sittings of an Assembly — to question the Election Commission’s decision to put off polls in Gujarat.

It has gone to the Supreme Court via the President with the plea that the rule is being violated because the six-month period since the last sitting ends in October.

But the Centre has taken an opposite view on the same statute for Uttar Pradesh.

The top two law officers of the Vajpayee government — attorney-general Soli Sorabjee and solicitor-general Harish Salve — filed an affidavit in a Delhi court on behalf of the Rajnath Singh government, asserting that Article 174(1) applies to two sessions of the same Assembly, not to two Assemblies.

The phrases “its last sitting in one session” and “its first sitting in the next session” relate to one and the same Assembly, the officers argued. This is clear by the use of the word “its” in both the above phrases, they said.

“It is clear that the first session of the newly-constituted 13th Assembly would not be called next to the last session of the 12th Assembly within the meaning of Article 174(1) since the life of the 12th Assembly would be extinct after its dissolution,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit was filed in October 2001 in response to a petition by human rights activist and former MLA V.M. Singh. In his plea, Singh had argued that the 13th Uttar Pradesh Assembly should have been dissolved in October 2001 because it had completed its five-year term. But the Centre’s law officers held that the term would end only in April 2002.

The controversy arose because the Assembly had been kept in suspended animation for six months after election results were notified in October 1996, with no party in a position to form a government.

Quoting Article 174(1), the former MLA argued that the gap between the last sitting of the 12th Assembly and the first sitting of the 13th Assembly had to be less than six months. Therefore, he said, the term of the House started in October 1996.

Though the government was formed six months later, the MLAs had begun to draw salary after election results were notified and the Assembly constituted. They also voted in the Rajya Sabha elections, he pointed out.

This case is still pending before the court.

The human rights activist yesterday faxed a memorandum to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to expose the “duplicity” of the BJP-led government.

“How can they have a different interpretation for Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat?” Singh asked.

“It (the opposite argument) is in the government’s knowledge. They are deliberately fooling the country,” Singh said.

The former legislator added that “this duplicity” is the reason for the government not directly petitioning the Supreme Court against the Election Commission decision on Gujarat. They are now riding piggyback on President Kalam, he said.


Mumbai, Aug. 20: 
Union power minister Suresh Prabhu thought his “good work’’ at the Centre could win over party chief Bal Thackeray and the two could get over their differences.

But he learnt the hard way that in the Shiv Sena, there is place only for one: One opinion, one agenda, one power centre.

Unme ek saal se anban chal raha tha (They were having differences for the past one year),” a Sena source said, explaining why the Union minister was asked to resign. “Balasaheb kafi naraz the (Balasaheb was very angry).’’

But it is not just Prabhu that Thackeray seems to be unhappy with. In a hard-hitting series of editorials and interviews in Sena mouthpiece Saamna, he has been critical of the performance of the party’s ministers and its 20-odd MPs.

“What are the Sena leaders doing at the Centre? They have failed in taking up the cause of Maharashtra and Maharashtrians in New Delhi,’’ Thackeray said. “Once the party sends its leaders to New Delhi, it expects that they work on our agenda even there,’’ he added.

Thackeray refused to speak to journalists on Prabhu’s resignation today, as did most other Sena leaders. Party spokesman Subhash Desai only said asking for the resignation was Thackeray’s prerogative and the party does not need to have a stand on it. “It is Balasaheb’s decision, we can’t comment on it before he does,’’ Desai added.

However, most Sena leaders said in private that Prabhu’s “recall” was expected. Twice earlier rumours had been rife about his impending exit from the Cabinet. Sena watchers said Thackeray was unhappy with the “failure’’ of the MPs to launch a “Maharashtra banao package’’ in New Delhi.

The Sena chief said as much in a recent outburst in Saamna. In a marathon interview, Thackeray said: “Kendra mein Maharashtra lobby nahi ban paya (There has been a failure to create a Maharashtra lobby at the Centre).” “What work have they done? Mostly nothing.” Had there been a “Maharashtra lobby’’ among bureaucrats, businessmen and politicians in New Delhi, “yahan ka kaam ho jaata”, added the Sena chief.

Thackeray also said he did not care what happened to Sunjay Dutt, whom he had helped free from prison when he was booked under Tada. “He (Dutt) can be hanged if he is guilty, I really am not bothered.’’

Every time the Sena-BJP Opposition has asked the government why no action was initiated against Dutt after tapes recording his conversation with underworld don Chota Shakeel were released, the Congressmen have pointed out that Thackeray had worked overtime to get Dutt released from prison.

“This time, though, the situation is different and I am not bothered what happens to him,’’ an angry Thackeray said.

Prabhu’s exit will not ruffle many feathers in the party because he has never been a Sainik. The first time he got a ticket from Rajapur, he was the chairman of the hugely-popular Saraswat Bank. Before that, Prabhu had held charge of the Maharashtra State Finance Corporation.

“Though you cannot fault Prabhu in doing his duties, it is also a fact that he has not attended a single Sena shakha and that there are many, especially in the senior leadership rung, who have a problem with his style of functioning,’’ a Sena leader said.

With his party’s fortunes waning and the rift between son Uddhav and nephew Raj out in the open, Thackeray has adopted an aggressive stance.

He slammed the Centre’s disinvestment moves. Claiming that disinvestment was adding to the nation’s unemployment problem, Thackeray said: “What kind of disinvestment is this which makes our workers sacrificial lambs instead of protecting them? Workers should be protected, not sent to the abattoir.’’


New Delhi, Aug. 20: 
After the current spat between the players, the Indian board and the International Cricket Council finally unravels, one of the most powerful sports organisers — Jagmohan Dalmiya — is likely to find he has been upstaged in his backyard.

The man who is set to do the upstaging is Rupert Murdoch.

Fast-paced developments that have taken place in the world of cricket over the last couple of months have crowned the News Corporation chairman as the overlord of the game steadily moving towards owning it altogether.

In this, Murdoch has taken a leaf from Kerry Packer’s book: the chapter he has chosen is “Lessons learnt and unlearnt”.

Fierce competitors back home, Murdoch and Packer have much in common — both are Australian, both are billionaires, both are media magnates, both have gambled, both have sons named James and both sink cool cash into cricket.

It’s Murdoch now who has the hot money.

In the way he plays his cricket, Murdoch is Packer’s very antithesis.

Back in 1977, miffed by the Australian Cricket Board’s refusal to accept his bid for television rights, Packer signed on more than three dozen cricketers, began the World Series, installed floodlights, brought in coloured clothing and sexy waitresses and kicked off pyjama cricket.

Packer went for the players and defied the establishment.

A quarter century later, Murdoch’s News Corporation coaxes the ICC into selling its marketing rights to Global Cricket Corporation in which he owns 50 per cent, buys out World Sport Group (WSG) — which owns the other 50 per cent — promises cricket’s governing body that he will brand the game, give it a new logo for all of $550 million. In exchange, he gets a commitment from the ICC that it will mortgage cricketers’ rights to GCC for the duration of ICC tourneys.

Murdoch has gone for the establishment, damn the players.

The funny thing in all this is that Dalmiya, who raised cricket’s saleability to greater heights than ever before because the game has its largest market in South Asia, is suddenly in danger of seeing his powers whittled down. What he gained from cricket’s “white world” in the swings is at risk in the roundabout.

So far this game has been played best by Dalmiya. He won for the subcontinent two World Cup tourneys by raising the ante and putting more cash on the table. In Murdoch and his ways, the ICC can discover a mint. Only the ICC with Murdoch bankrolling it can beat the cash-rich BCCI.

There has to be a pay-off. Money will change hands, will transfer from ICC and from one set of sponsors to players, boards and another set of sponsors.

There ain’t no ambush mate, there’s only a deal.


Kathmandu, Aug. 20: 
Foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and the Pakistani minister of state for foreign affairs, Inamul Haq, shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, but did not have an exclusive meeting on the sidelines of the Saarc foreign ministerial session.

Both ministers arrived here this afternoon within half-hour of each other and joined their counterparts from the other Saarc countries. The foreign ministerial meeting begins tomorrow. This evening there was an informal interaction among the foreign ministers and senior members of delegations, where Sinha and Haq came face to face.

“Complete stoppage of cross-border-terrorism is still the precondition for beginning talks,” Sinha said on arrival in Kathmandu.

He pointed out that there was no sign of infiltration across the Line of Control ending permanently. “We will wait for that day,” he added, hinting that a meeting with Haq on the Saarc sidelines was not on his agenda.

Referring to President Pervez Musharraf’s comment in an interview to a foreign agency today, in which he admitted that infiltration may still be continuing since the border was so “porous”, the foreign minister claimed vindication of India’s stand.

“This is the first statement that has come from him reflecting the ground situation properly,” Sinha said.

The Indian establishment is a little surprised at this shift in Musharraf’s stand.

This is perhaps the first time the Pakistan President has admitted that infiltration across the LoC is continuing. However, they did not miss Musharraf’s attempt to shirk responsibility for the infiltration.

The Pakistan President said Islamabad should not be held responsible for mujahideen crossing over to the Indian side. He has argued that since India with a strong presence of its troops has so far failed to check the infiltrators, Pakistan should not be blamed for the mujahideen’s action.

Whatever the reason for Musharraf’s remarks, it became clear at the Saarc senior officials’ meeting that Islamabad will try to avoid any controversy at the forum.

Pakistan foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar reacted to his Indian counterpart Kanwal Sibal’s comment yesterday that if the hostility between India and Pakistan continues, Atal Bihari Vajpayee may not attend the forthcoming Saarc summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad early next year.

“The venue of the next Saarc summit was decided at the summit early this year in Kathmandu. We have invited all the seven member countries. Now it is up to them whether they want to come or not. But we hope all of them will come for the summit,” Khokhar said.

He also took pains to explain that during discussions over the last two days among the senior officials, there was not a single instance where there were serious differences between India and Pakistan.

He pointed out that there were at least 24 important subjects on the agenda and the discussions were “very good and comprehensive”.

He said: “There was no issue on which India and Pakistan differed. There was no controversy. The discussions were held in a spirit of give- and-take.”




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A few spells of light to moderate rain or thundershowers

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