With top foreign office officials, including foreign secretary RD Sathe, flying off to various non-aligned countries, India today launched a major diplomatic initiative for seeking consensus on its draft declaration to be discussed at the conference of non-aligned ministers in Delhi next month. Sathe flew to Kabul, raising speculation that it was carrying concrete proposals for starting a dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the foreign office maintains that the visit has to do with the ministers’ conference. That is, perhaps, true, but it is certain that in Kabul, Sathe will not only have detailed discussions with President Babrak Karmal on the draft declaration but he will also make an assessment of the latest situation in Afghanistan and gauge Kabul’s willingness to have talks with Islamabad.
Exim Bank cleared
The proposal for an export import bank was cleared by the cabinet on January 7. The bank, to be set up as a statutory corporation fully owned by the government will have an authorised capital of Rs 200 crore.
New Divorce rules
The government has decided to amend the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act to make irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce. An official spokesman said that the Cabinet while accepting the recommendations of the Law Commission decided to provide necessary safeguards to avoid financial hardship to the wife and children in her custody when a petition for divorces on such grounds is presented by the husband.
CM and DSP
The Bihar Government has suspended a DSP who refused to “close the files” relating to the corruption of former excise officer being favoured by Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra. The CM had earlier refused permission to prosecute this official.