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China’s ‘geopolitical threat’ to India

China can harass northeast India by diverting water through dam over Brahmaputra river and instigating insurgencies like the one in 1960s and 70s.

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Dalai Lama

China and India relations have already been deteriorating due to Beijing’s adamant stand on not allowing the United nations to impose sanctions on Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar  including designate him as a terrorist and Tibetan spiritual Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit  to Arunchal Pradesh  and Tawang Monastery has given China an added pretext to warn India of adverse diplomatic consequences and initiate  a “geopolitical game” that may involve military.

State media issued a warning saying China with its superior military could enegage in a “geopolitical game” as India’s turbulent northern state (Jammu and Kashmir) borders the country.” If China engages in a geopolitical game with India will Beijing lose to New Delhi?”state-run Global Times said.Dalai Lama’s fifth visit to Tawang means India is questioning One-China policy. There are many Tibetans who are eager  to take up arms against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army even though the Tibetan movement has sought to retain the protest peaceful with frequent and tragic self-immolations.

China has been threatening Indian territories in Ladakh’s Chumur (In September 2014, 100 personnel of China’s People’s Liberation Army pitched seven tents in chumur, strategic important post which enables India to keep a vigil inside he occupied territory of Chinese.), In 2015 about 300 Chinese transgressions and incursions took place  and in 2016 Chinese troops even intruded in Chamoili district of Uttarakhand besides Arunchal Pradesh.

In the meanwhile, India has also been strengthening its presence along the Line of Actual Control by building airstrips, roads  on the 158 mile long Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie and carried Operation Bunker Bust  exercise to ensure Indian Army’s combat readiness to face any eventuality. The Indian Army deployed tank brigade in early 2014 after PLA’s incursions near Daulat Beg Oldie in 2013.

China can harass northeast India by diverting water through dam over Brahmaputra river  and instigating insurgencies like the one in 1960s and 70s.

There exists a great level of distrust between India and China due to non demarcation  of boundary line, China disputes McMahon Line which India recognizes as the basis for its territorial claim. India claims 43,180 squares km of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by China including 5180 sq Km ceded to China by Pakistan under a 1963 China-Pakistan boundary deal. On the other hand China claims 90,000 sq km of territory in the Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh.

Another source of trouble can arise from water sharing of four major rivers  that flow from China to India  and India fears that China may construct  dams to divert water for their own advantage.

China objected to US envoy Richard Verma ‘s visit to Tawang in India’s Northeast  in 2016 and claimed that US’s involvement  would further vitiate the dispute.

China has been blocking India’s progress internationally including  India’s application for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers group  and constructing infrastructure in Pakistan occupied Kashmir for Gwadar .Thus India should formulate a tough foreign ppolicy towards China even by increasing its military preparedness manifold and having an understanding with US and other countries. The US President Donald Trump summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping holds much significance as the outcome of their meeting can include India’s interest.

The United States in 2016 announced that Tawang was indisputably part of India and then Trump first questioned One-China policy  and then warned that US can unilaterally tackle North Korea.

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By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

 

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Look, who is talking about diminishing the authority of the judiciary

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS)

There is no procedure under the law except through an impeachment motion to remove an errant judge. When all processes are politicised and the media is held captive with its key players enlisted as spin doctors for the government, then no process will succeed. A key person in the government has said the motion represented politics of revenge. I would like to ask — “revenge against whom”? It is the obduracy of the system to ensure that there is no inquiry that makes the government’s motive political, and not the motive behind the motion. The charges against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) have nothing to do with politics. No person who appreciates the nature of the charges can allege that the motion has been moved for political considerations.

There was no politics of any political party behind the statement of four distinguished judges of the Supreme Court, who were obviously so frustrated with the goings on in Court that they considered it their constitutional duty to address the nation. The minister cannot possibly suggest that the judges had some ulterior motive except to ensure that the independence of the judiciary is preserved. They must have found it extremely uncomfortable to watch this government’s constant interference in judicial processes, which is why they publicly stated that if they did not speak out, future generations would have said they had sold their souls. The fact they went on to say that democracy is in peril suggested that the independence of the judiciary is in peril. Any member of the Cabinet analysing the sentiment behind these statements would understand that this had nothing to do with politics, but represented indignation at the brazen attempt of the government to influence the judiciary for their partisan ends. It is this government that is playing politics with the judiciary.

Now the charges.

First, in the case of Prasad Education Trust, a sitting judge of the high court is being prosecuted and along with him, a retired judge of the Odisha High Court and two others who conspired to bribe the judge. The taped conversations, a portion of the transcripts of which were placed on record with the motion, would make it clear to any reasonable person that the conspiracy was much wider and that if any government is committed to root out corruption from the judiciary, such government would welcome a probe to find out who all were involved in the conspiracy. The fact that this government does not want the probe speaks volumes of the intent behind this position.

Second, the extraordinary step of a Constitution Bench rising at 12 noon, knowing that in another court a matter was mentioned and was listed for hearing, to preempt the hearing.

Third, when the matter was called for hearing before that bench, an order that in the circumstances appears to have been antedated, informed the judge not to deal with the matter. Obviously, what is happening within the judicial system today is unprecedented. Such unsavoury goings on have not happened since our Republic was born. For a minister to brush aside such serious happenings and allege there are political motives behind the motion is, in fact, evidence of the extent to which the political process will go to ensure that the truth doesn’t emerge.

Fourth, that a false affidavit was filed to obtain allotment of land does not need any proof. The fact that the CJI surrendered the plot only in 2012 when elevated to the SC also does not need any further proof. How can a motion which seeks to delve into these matters be called political?

And last, that sensitive cases were sent to particular judges, which was also the refrain of the four judges addressing the press, was surely not the result of any politics by the Opposition. Therefore, the suggestion that the Opposition is playing politics is ex facie laughable. The truth is the government is playing politics to ensure that there is no inquiry that will embarrass the government.

The MPs who have signed the motion know that the motion, even if the charges are proved, may still be lost because the voting will be motivated by politics. One must be cognisant of the fact that there is no other way to deal with an errant judge except through such a motion. If we deny an inquiry, it will send a message to the entire judicial system that no matter what the charges against any judge, this government will save that judge. This is the unprincipled stand of persons who in Parliament have previously made speeches to the effect that the “premise of the utmost impartiality, free from aberrations, under which the institution of judiciary was created, is no longer available”. If the premise of impartiality is no longer available, then this government must explain why it is compromising with alleged misbehaviour.

It is this government that is diminishing the institution of the judiciary. We have seen recommendations blocked. We have seen a previous CJI lament of a “lock out” of the judiciary by refusing to accept recommendations of the collegium. We have seen a previous CJI breakdown, which was evidence of the attitude of this government towards ensuring that judges of their choice are appointed. It is better to stand on principles knowing that a motion may be defeated than play politics knowing the judicial system needs surgical attention. This is a wake-up call for the country.

Courtesy: This article is published in The Indian Express dated 26th April 2018

The writer is senior congress leader and MP from Rajya Sabha

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Xi-Modi Summit: China regional power, India to remain cautious

The Modi-Xi Jinping Wuhan summit could be as significant as the one between former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then leader of China Deng Xiaoping in 1988, the meeting can be as significant as the one in 1988… and will set the course for bilateral ties.

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Modi Xi

There should not be high expectations from the informal summit between PM Modi and President Xi in the Wuhan on the banks of Yangtze as India has already bowed to please regional power China by cancelling the events of Dalai Lama in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi jinping are likely to discuss US President Donald Trump’s “protectionist” trade policy, changes in the world order, bilateral issues including China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

India and China have been competing for political, economic and strategic influence in the region.

Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is desperately searching for a new slogan to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is eager to enter into elite club of 48-member NSG Nuclear Suppliers Group and China remains biggest obstacle as it has been opposing India’s bid primarily on the grounds that Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

China has knitted close ties with countries in India’s neighbourhood and invested billions of dollars in the economies of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In Addition, Beijing has been pursuing territorial and maritime claims.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who invited the leaders of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional cooperation) countries and Mauritius to attend his swearing-in ceremony to convey the message that he is the leader of this region and foreign policy remains his top priority. But, alas, his foreign policy has failed so miserably that China, not only influences this region but also through One Belt, One Road project, China has inarguably increased its global influence, social and cultural cooperation.

Xi Jinping’s ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt has three routes connecting China to Europe (via Central Asia), the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean (through West Asia), and South Asia.

Beijing and New Delhi are rivals and are already engaged in territorial disputes and the India-China border covering the 3488 KM-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) is disputed between the two sides and notably, Beijing claims Arunachal Pradesh to be the part of its southern Tibet. The territory, a key focus of a 1962 war fought between the Asian giants.

Another hotly contested territory by both countries is Aksai Chin, which New Delhi considers part of its Jammu and Kashmir state while China believes the zone belongs to its Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Talks to resolve the boundary dispute have been stalled but standoffs between the Indian forces and the Chinese PLA has emerged as a common phenomena. China has taken the 72-day military confrontation in 2017 on the Doklam plateau at the trijunction of Bhutan, India and China seriously and President Xi Jinping vowed to protect “every inch” of his country’s territory in a nationalistic speech at the annual National People’s Congress in which he claims that his nation was ready to “fight bloody battles” against its enemies.

On the contrary, the official Chinese media commented, “The Modi-Xi Jinping Wuhan summit could be as significant as the one between former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then leader of China Deng Xiaoping in 1988, the meeting can be as significant as the one in 1988… and will set the course for bilateral ties.”

Modi government had criticised President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative but how Xi is going to convince Modi for a India-Nepal-China economic corridor. China has proposed a India-Nepal-China economic corridor with multi-dimensional connectivity through the Himalayas after Nepalese Foreign Minister held talks with his Chinese counterpart.

Ahead of Xi-Modi summit on April 27-28, Chinese officials have made enough positive signals : promised to resume the Kailash Mansarovar yatra through the Nathu La route for pilgrims and data sharing on rivers such as Brahmaputra and Sutlej which originate in China and flow into India and to consider India’s major concerns seriously.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, during her address at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting also attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, raised the issue of global terrorism and protectionism.

Terrorism is an enemy of the basic human rights: of life, peace and prosperity, the criminal terrorist militias are not impeded by borders as they seek to destroy the architecture of international stability and build walls of fear in societies that believe in pluralism, Sushma said.

“We strongly believe that our fight against terrorism should not only seek to eliminate terrorists but should also identify and take strong measures against States that encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups without mentioning any country”, Sushma said.

It is pertinent to mention that Delhi has also embraced the Trump Administration’s concept of Indo-Pacific and revived the quadrilateral security dialogue with Washington, Tokyo and Canberra.

While North Korean leader Kim Jong un’s friendly meeting with Xi Jinping in Beijing has brought China into a central position by reinserting into the diplomatic negotiations.

India is trying to reset relations with Beijing but China’srise as Asian great power status  and influence in the region has diminished India’s geographical advantage.

While rolling out its “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy at the US-India-Japan trilateral dialogue, US official Alex Wong said “it is in the US’ interest that India plays a more weighty role in the region.”

US President Donald Trump initiated US-China trade war which has wider implications as US Department of Commerce banned American companies from selling components to state-owned Chinese phone maker ZTE for a period of seven years.

India, which is an ally of US and after it signed an agreement on sharing military logistics (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), it will be interesting to watch the outcome of Modi-Xi summit but Prime Minister should be cautious to safeguard national interests as it should not give ammunition to the Opposition that may attack the BJP led NDA government for any wrong decision.

Blog : By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

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86% NCR residents cite lack of severe punishment for sexual harassment: Study

For the survey, 5,221 responses were collected from Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida to understand the factors and possible remedies of sexual harassment against women and girls in public places.

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sexual harassment

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Lack of severe punishment is considered as the most rampant cause of sexual harassment by 86 per cent respondents in the NCR region, as per as study.

The study, done by Indian Institute for Integrated Women and Child Development (ISI-WCD) and released by the Women and Child Development Ministry, was one of 18 projects the ministry had sponsored, between 2015-17, in areas like economic empowerment of women, skill development, child trafficking, nutrition management and others.

For the survey, 5,221 responses were collected from Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida to understand the factors and possible remedies of sexual harassment against women and girls in public places.

According to the survey, 84 per cent of the responsdents think that availability of pornographic materials on mobile phone is also a cause of sexual harassment in NCR region while 83 per cent believes it is because of easy access to social media site Facebook or the internet.

“Revealing dresses of women has been seen as the reason for sexual assault by 53 per cent, 35 per cent and 37 per cent by residents of Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida respectively while informal behaviour of women has also been seen as the reason by 49 per cent, 30 per cent and 70 per cent from the three locations respectively,” the study notes.

The study also revealed that 35 per cent of men and 50 per cent women have perceived sexual aggression in men as responsible for sexual harassment of women.

It is also found that 70 per cent of the respondents have said to face sexual abuse from work partners or colleagues, 63 per cent from office seniors, 48 per cent from friends and 38 per cent from teachers.

According to the study, 87 per cent respondents agreed that women suffer from verbal abuse, 88 per cent have suffered from physical abuse and 94 per cent stated that they are being stared at.

On enhancing safety for women in public places, 96 per cent respondents suggested that crowded buses or stations should be under constant camera surveillance, 93 per cent wanted public places well lit, 90 per cent prefers frequent police patrolling, 94 per cent said legal punishments should be made harsher while 92 per cent said judicial disposals should be made quicker.

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