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Andrew North

Andrew North South Asia correspondent

Come here for my latest thoughts and reflections on India and the rest of South Asia

Murder charge no bar for Modi's aide Amit Shah

11 July 2014
Amit Shah (left) with Narendra Modi
Amit Shah (left) is a close aide of Narendra Modi (right)

It was a hard road for Prashant Dayal to realise his dream of becoming a journalist.

After flunking his school exams, his parents nearly threw him out.

He eventually paid his way through journalism school by working nights as a rickshaw driver, but had to offer to work for free to secure his first reporting job in his native Gujarat.

That tenacity helped him land a scoop leading to one of the closest confidants of India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, being charged with murder.

The indicted aide is Amit Shah, who Mr Modi appointed earlier this week to the powerful post of president of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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All hues or some shades in North Waziristan?

2 July 2014

The BBC has obtained exclusive footage of the aftermath of Pakistani air strikes against the Taliban in North Waziristan - but some say it's still protecting certain militants it has supported in the past.

Major General Asim Bajwa painted a clear picture.

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Cola and ketchup with one of America’s most wanted

30 June 2014

For a man with a $10m (£5.8m) US bounty on his head and any American assets of his organisation frozen, Hafiz Saeed seems to take a very relaxed approach towards American companies.

When we sit down in one of his offices which doubles as a madrassa, his aides bring bottles of Coca-Cola and a big pack of Heinz Ketchup to go with a plate of chicken drumsticks.

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Why India-Pakistan friendship still looks a long way off

26 June 2014
Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi
The Sharif-Modi meeting was a "clear signal" that the two countries are willing to resume dialogue

It started with a handshake, followed by gifts for their mothers - a shawl from Narendra Modi and a sari in return from Nawaz Sharif.

Then came warm words between the two prime ministers on social media and in old-fashioned letters.

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Drug cash turning Taliban into wealthy criminals - UN report

19 June 2014
Poppy field Afghanistan
Despite its ban on opium poppy cultivation when in power, the Taliban's best earner is Afghanistan's illegal drugs trade

As Nato retreats from Afghanistan, the Taliban are rolling in cash and the movement is turning into a wealthy criminal enterprise, according to a United Nations report.

After a "bumper year" for earnings from narcotics and other illicit activities including kidnapping and unlicensed mining, some factions have become "mafia-like crime syndicates" motivated more by money than by religion, says the UN body monitoring sanctions on the Taliban.

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How rape and violence returned India to the headlines

13 June 2014
village of Rajpur Milakh in Uttar Pradesh

"We're doing all we can," protested the police officer, pinching his nose uncomfortably as he leaned closer to the crowd.

But sitting back with their arms folded, his audience of men and women from the village of Rajpur Milakh in Uttar Pradesh didn't seem convinced.

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Sherpas make a stand as Everest avalanche takes its toll

22 April 2014
Mountaineers approach the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Mount Everest - 19 May 2009
The avalanche that struck above Everest base camp last week killed 16 local guides

All climbing on Mount Everest has come to a halt amid chaotic scenes at base camp, according to climbers there, four days after the worst-ever accident on the mountain.

Some local guides are calling for a boycott but most foreign mountaineers remain on the mountain and are still hoping to resume climbing in the next week or so.

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Siachen dispute: India and Pakistan’s glacial fight

12 April 2014
Indian soldiers are seen at the Forward Logistics Base.
Indian troops on the Siachen - the world's first "oropolitical" conflict

On 13 April 1984, Indian troops snatched control of the Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, narrowly beating Pakistan. Thirty years later, the two sides remain locked in a stand-off, but the Indian army mountaineer who inspired the operation says his country must hang on whatever the cost.

Virtually hidden from public view, the world's highest conflict is moving into its fourth decade.

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On the campaign with Rahul Gandhi

31 March 2014

"We've come to see the helicopter," said two friends matter-of-factly as they waited for Rahul Gandhi to arrive at a political rally in Ghaziabad, near Delhi, this weekend.

The atmosphere was a little flat, with the warm-up speakers struggling to provoke much return volume from a crowd that contained more than a few dozing heads.

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About Andrew

Andrew is the BBC's South Asia correspondent based in Delhi and covering India and its neighbours.

He has previously reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the United States.

His BBC career started as a producer at the World Service, when only a select few had email and the word blog had yet to be invented.

Andrew's life in journalism began on his student newspaper while doing a geography degree at the University of London.

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