This week, we chat up with James Astill from 'The Economist', the recepient of the annual Gerald R. Ford prize for distinguished reporting in National Defence. Jame's business card a few months ago read, 'Defence and Terrorism Correspondent'. Meeting terrorists or "fairly rough characters" as he likes to call them is an occupational hazard for someone who bears the tag of a Defence Correspondent. Over the past decade, he's visited Cuba, Sudan, Congo, Afghanistan and many more places including a 6 year stint with Islamabad. In this 20 min talk, James gives us his hands on insights on Pakistan. James feels that India's sometimes friendly neighbour is changing and that it is India's turn to extend its hand for peace. (Image Source: The Guardian.)
James keeps it jargon free and simple. He feels that an average Pakistani citizen is more aware of his Indian counterpart than vice versa. His experience with the two countries tells him that there is a huge amount of misinformed scepticism among the Indians about Pakistan. He talks about the Kite flying festival of Basant which is a big hit in Pakistan and feels that not much separates the two countries culturally! He seeks to answer the following questions (among others):
- How does a terrorist think? (Does he?)
- What's with all the educated community (Read: notorious doctors) taking to guns for mass murders?
- What is the common man's perspective in Pakistan about Musharaf and his 'rule'?
- Does the media play a part in glorifying the rivalry between India and Pakistan?
- Why does The Economist think that India is overheating when for more than 200 million Indians, survival is a novelty!
Currently, the South Asia Bureau Chief, James is based out of Delhi, India.
Listen Online (64 kbps) : Episode length: 21 mins
Downloading episode: 9.7 MB
Note: Right-click on the above MP3 link and chose "Save target as " or "save link as" to download the file on your computer.