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China’s defiant attitude in South China Sea to achieve maritime hegemony

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By Arti Bali
Senior Journalist

 

Why China is behaving like  North Korea  when it comes to the way it is handling South China Sea disputes.Defiant China has blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea   by politically motivating the arbitration case while the US chief of naval operations John Richardson stated that US military forces will continue to patrols close to  Chinese-held islands in accordance with the International law.

China has been aggressive  in proclaiming its suzerainty in the South china sea since after the World War II by demarcating 9 dash line  that included several islands of strategic importance to display its territorial expansion and dominating authority in the SCS . To substantiate this claim, China  submitted a map to the UN claiming 9 dash Line in the south China Sea in May 2009.

 

However later in 2013 China declared  that the entire SCS was under its jurisdiction and considers the other countries situated there in were not fully independent  and were under the dominating authority of China .

Systematically and in a planned manner, China started transforming reefs into artificial islands  with military runways  and naval harbors to assert its authority and control in these areas..

 

In fact , China has been harboring ambitions to achieve super power status and for that its experts considered it imperative to establish itself as a major naval power in pacific region which could also bolster its economy. As the strategic SCS is a reservoir of oil and gas  and mineral resources . they therefore have been working on a long drawn strategy since 1947.

 

China has been augmenting its naval presence in Sri lanka’s Hambantota and Pakistan via Gwadar and thereafter  with the countries of Middle –east to ensure constant supply of fuel and to that purpose  Chinese naval assets is being deployed in the regions.

 

Proceeding further ahead in November 2013 , China declared  and Air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the East china Sea and now after the ruling , China is contemplating to declare ADIZ in the South China Sea asserting its right to track, monitor and take military action against  the planes entering the region,logistics are  still needed for that .  But this could rapidly escalate crisis in the disputed territory .

 

In short , this is a prelude  to the imperialistic designs of China. China’s increasingly claims of  sovereign rights over the high seas have antagonized competing claimants  Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan,  Brunei, and Philippines.

 

The issue is not only related to territorial claims , otherwise it could have been resolved  through negotiations  or resolutions. Access to the sea’s oil and gas reserves  as well as fishing and ocean resources  are really complicating the situation. Further the regional conflict has been transformed into a direct confrontation between China and US.

 

The South China Sea has become a focal point for US-China rivalry in the Western pacific . Thus United States  has also been reaffirming its interest in the Asia Pacific  and strengthening security relations with the ASEAN claimants  in the dispute.

 

To counter United States hegemony, China is aggressively developing an extended naval strategy whereby deploying new naval capabilities. Now with international tribunal ruling delivered on the Philippines vs China in SCS is likely to stoke further tensions in South east Asia.The Hague based permanent court of arbitration concluded  that there was no legal basis for China  to claim historic rights within sea areas falling within the 9 dash line.

Further ruling that China has caused  severe harm to the coral reef environment by building artificial islands.

 

Rejecting the tribunal verdict, China issued a white paper asserting its claim over the SCS for the last 2000 years stating that Philippines, which had filed the petition , was occupying Chinese territory. Rather termed  it as Philippines invasion and illegal occupation by force that started in the 1970s of some islands of china’s Nansha Islands.

 

But the Tribunal ruled that historic claims do not carry weight in international law.

 

As the irreconcilable stands between China  and ASEAN head towards a deadlock, the situation can any time escalate  into a serious crisis  involving China on one side  and US and other countries son the other side.

 

To counter China’s moves in strategic SCS and re-balance Asia-Pacific region, US troops deployment is underway in Australia and Singapore as well as deployment of US naval assets  and aircraft  at Australian and Philippines bases  from where forces may be pushed  forward into conflict zones  in the Western pacific to meet any eventuality.

 

Actually it all started  after the Taiwan crisis in 1995-96, China’s naval strategy has 3 aims

  • To deter the United States from supporting Taiwan  with naval deployments in the event of a conflict
  • To protect China’s trade routes  and energy supplies that run through the Indian ocean and the Strait of Malacca
  • To deploy a sea-based second strike nuclear capability in the western Pacific

Moreover China has built up an extra 800 hectares on their occupied outposts across the South China Sea and Mischief reefs are growing bigger and is surrounded by fleets of dredgers and tankers.

 

It is pertinent to mention  that Hainan which is Chinese naval base is having proximity to the Strait of Malacca and the sea lanes reaching the Indian Ocean  and the Paracel Islands to the south assume much significance  as it is important in providing air cover and sea protection  for Hainan. This it has become compulsion  for China to safeguard its investments  in these Islands  and in the event of  a confrontation  China will land itself in a serious trouble.

 

Both Indian and US support freedom of navigation and over flight and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international law  as reflected notably in the  United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

 

 

IF US and China’s PLA warships come in direct confrontation due to any miscalculation it will plunge the entire  world into World war II  with dire consequences . Considering the instability existing in almost various countries of the region ad well as in Europe it  will become impossible for the countries  to retrieve their exuberated situations.

 

Considering the instability existing in  various regions and simmering borders  due to ISIS  global threat , China is treading on slippery grounds and it should rather avoid igniting flash points  that will prove detrimental to its own interests.

 

To throw more light on China’s policy, China who has border with only 14 countries,it is claiming territory from at least 23 individual nations based on unsubstantiated  “ historical claims dating back centuries.’

Now in an established  world , countries where the old empires existed  like Ottoman, Persia etc cannot put forth their claims over various  territories on their stated assumptions of their having ruled  the areas in good old days.

 

Therefore , China should be wise enough to accept the tribunal ruling and it is the right time for the world to stop aggressive China’s move sin South China Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Tribal Affairs Ministry to ink 2 MoUs with KVIC

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

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Employment Generation programme

New Delhi, Jan 17 : Giving a major thrust to the government’s ambitious Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Tribal Affairs Ministry is all set to sign two MoUs with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for procurement of Khadi fabric for tribal students and for partnering with KVIC in implementing the flagship employment generation scheme – Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP).

The ministry will purchase over 6 lakh metres of Khadi fabric worth nearly Rs 15 crore for uniforms of tribal students studying in Eklavya residential schools across the country.

As part of the second MoU, National Scheduled Tribe Finance Development Corporation (NSTFDC), an agency of the Tribal Affairs Ministry, will be roped in as KVIC’s partner in implementing PMEGP scheme. NSTFDC is an agency that provides concessional loan schemes for economic development of tribals in India for funding entrepreneurial ventures of aspiring scheduled tribes in all sectors of the economy.

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

The MoUs are in line with the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by creating local and self employment for Khadi artisans and the tribals. The huge purchase of Khadi fabric will create additional employment and income for artisans, a government official said. Similarly, roping in the Tribal Affairs Ministry with PMEGP will increase its ambit and also include more entrepreneurs from the ST community with local manufacturing.

Officials said the first MoU for purchase of Khadi fabric will be between NESTS and KVIC while the other one one will be between NSTFDC and KVIC.

The source said that the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which runs Eklavya residential schools where at present 75,000 students are studying, proposes to establish a total of 750 schools by 2022. He said that with 750 more schools, a total of 3.6 lakh students will be enrolled in these schools, which has been envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The source said that each school will have 480 students.

He further explained that the ministry has recently standardised school uniform design for the students in the schools with a distinct logo in partnership with National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) based in New Delhi.

The source said that keeping in view the focus of the government and the call of the Prime Minister to embrace Khadi as a philosophy and recently as a critical component of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat strategy, the Tribal Affairs Ministry felt it appropriate to source the fabric for uniforms of Eklavya residential schools from KVIC after several rounds of discussions.

He said that current requirement of around 6 lakh metres will increase in subsequent years as enrolment in the schools will go up.

“In order to take this forward, the Ministry through NESTS shall be entering into an MoU for procuring the fabric at an approximate cost of Rs 14.77 crore for 2020-21.”

The source further said that as two dresses are given each year and number of students will increase every year with establishment of new schools, this would be an annual affair and procurement is likely to multiply every year and expected to be of Rs 50 crore by 2022.

He also said that it would not only give quality dress material to the students but also give employment to thousand of artisans and workers across the country.

The source said that based on the success of school uniform initiative, other requirements of schools like bedding, towels, ‘dari’, and others can also be procured from KVIC in future.

“Therefore the proposed MoU between NSTFDC and KVIC will formalise this arrangement and will be a landmark initiative to bring synergy between NSTFDC and KVIC in reaching out to tribal entrepreneurs under the larger ambit of PMEGP scheme,” the source added.

The source further said that the MoU will be signed in presence of Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Munda.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Horror of Jan 1990 continues to haunt migrant Kashmiri Pandits

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

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kashmiri pandit

Jammu, Jan 17 : The world for 70-year-old Autar Krishan Raina has never been the same place, not after he left his home in Srinagar in the aftermath of that horrifying night in January 1990.

“I never believed that old wounds could hurt so hard. I have often been jolted out of sleep as if those frightening slogans are still going on outside my home.

“We lived peacefully among our Muslim neighbours in Aaali Kadal area of downtown Srinagar. I had grown up alongside my best friend, Afzal, who would sit beside my mother like her second son.

“My mother loved Afzal like she would have if I had a blood brother,” Raina recalls the good old days walking down the memory lane to identify his home in Aali Kadal which today is a half-fallen ruin.

He now lives in Jammu city where his son and daughter grew up.

The daughter is a doctor while his son is working in Mumbai as a software engineer. Raina lost his wife two years after the family migrated with hundreds of other Kashmiri Pandits to take shelter away from home.

“My tragedy is that I did not only lose my home and friends. I have lost faith in the goodness of humankind,” he recalled with moist eyes requesting not to be pushed to relive the horror he has been through.

The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has haunted both local Hindus and Muslims. For centuries, the two communities had co-existed with intertwined destinies. Eid and Maha Shivratri had been common festivals.

The shrine of Sheikh Humza Makhdoom atop the Hari Parbat hillock in old Srinagar city has wonderfully blend with the neighbouring temple of Sharika Devi.

Muslims and local Pandits have paid obeisance at these two places of faith to pray for brotherhood, love and mutual respect. Their societal interests have been common. Imagining life without each other was impossible till 1990.

All that was shattered and lost during the January of 1990. Slogans of ‘Azadi’ (Freedom) had achieved just one objective, Kashmiri Pandits lost their home and hearth while the local Muslims lost their innocence.

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

Local Muslims have suffered immensely at the hands of those who hated their lofty traditions and the ideals of religious tolerance. Local Hindus have become refugees in their own country.

“We lost our homeland. Living as refugees in your own country is perhaps a tragedy only the Kashmiri Pandit has suffered. The future of my children is safe, but they have lost their roots,” Raina ends his story as he closes the door of his house away from home.

Will Kashmir ever be the same as it was before January 1990? Might be it will, but the wounds in the hearts and minds of those who suffered the horror of those days and nights will continue to fester because some wounds are never fully healed.

(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at [email protected])

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Congress’s women wing to observe ‘Mahila Kisan Diwas’ on Monday

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

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Mahila Kisan Diwas

The women wing of the Congress has decided to observe “Mahila Kisan Diwas” (Women Farmers’ Day) on Monday, to show solidarity with the thousands of farmers’ protesting against the three controversial farm laws.

All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said: “The All India Mahila Congress which has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights wholeheartedly welcomes this and will support this call to observe Mahila Kisan Diwas.”

The Congress’ women wing said that the farmers have played a critical role in the fight for justice and have shown the country the importance of women in agriculture and in revolution.

They have not only left their homes to protest against the farm laws, but also worked to ensure more awareness amongst people on how these legislations will destroy their livelihood.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Rahul Gandhi said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respect the farmers… the party is in farmerss support till these laws are withdrawn.”

Slamming the BJP, the Congress leader said the government is working for businessmen and these laws are not in favour of the farmers.

The Congress on Friday staged protests at all Raj Bhavans (Governor’s House) across the country and demanded the withdrawal of the farm laws.

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