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Column: It is not just about LAC – Spy’s Eye

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India China Ladakh Border

The continuing escalation of India-China tension on the border leading to a large-scale physical attack by PLA men on Indian personnel on the LAC in Galwan valley in Ladakh on June 15 — that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers including the Lieutenant Colonel in the field — is a new development that calls for a relook at our China policy.

American media has talked of the Chinese having sustained large casualties which only shows that the Indian troops did not take it lying down when aggression was unleashed by the opposite side. To India”s consternation, China had stepped up its muscle flexing at multiple points on our border in recent months, mobilised PLA units all along the LAC and launched a substantial military build-up in the Ladakh segment. Considering the fact of Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping having held several meetings over the last couple of years, the resurfacing of Sino-Indian border conflict points to a recalibration of China”s global strategy by President Xi putting India in the ”opposite” camp — in disregard of all the Indian hospitalIty extended to him on his visit here and the peace overtures made by our Prime Minister in his bilateral ”summit” interactions.

None of what is happening, therefore, pertains to LAC alone — it is part of the larger Chinese policy of dealing with the emerging global scene in the long term. India has to get this new profile of China right to frame its strategic responses.

Considering the fact that a country would not allow its military to indulge in an activity on the ground that ran counter to its overall strategy, the display of muscle power by PLA in Ladakh sector of LAC is evidently a part of the Chinese plan to geo-politically strengthen its position in the Pak-Afghan-Kashmir tri-junction that had in the historical perspective been a crucial flag mark of superpower rivalries of the Cold War.

There is little doubt that after the demise of USSR, the Chinese leadership, particularly Xi Jinping, has been pursuing the economic and military path to making China the second superpower. Its military alliance with Pakistan and the base of economic convergence laid by CPEC, both resting on the enormous gain of territory acquired by China from Pakistan in POK, give it the benefit of having an intrinsic influence in the Pak-Afghan belt. The abolition of Art 370 of the Constitution by the Indian Parliament and the conversion of Ladakh into a Union Territory outside of J&K, to be governed directly by the Modi government, evoked an open protest from China and established a new degree of meeting of minds between Pakistan and China in countering Indian security initiatives in this vitally important border region.

The flashpoints created by China on LAC were primarily meant to enable it to stay put in Galwan valley apparently by using the ”two steps forward one step backward” doctrine — significantly, this was also a hotspot in the 1962 Sino-Indian military conflict. Something stronger than the verbal consensus at the local Commander”s level about vacating the encroachment here, was required. The incident on June 15 reportedly occurred when the Chinese army men used force to browbeat the Indian personnel who had asked them to move away. Chinese soldiers were clearly trained to attack and kill the opponents with specially forged personal weapons used in hand-to-hand combat. They obviously had instructions not to move back and to take advantage of the situation where the patrols by convention did not use firearms.

There is substance in the view that the Chinese highhandedness on LAC has been timed to take advantage of the trouble caused to both US and India, politically and economically, by the corona pandemic, in the backdrop of rapid growth of US-India strategic partnership during the Modi regime. The convergence between the two biggest democracies of the world on many global matters in the post-Cold War era is natural and cannot be faulted on the outdated plea of the need for adherence to ”non alignment” that India had to adopt as an ”ideological” line in the face of a complete division of the world between Communism and Capitalism at the height of the Cold War. The policy of equidistance from both might have been alright in the given context then but the Modi government has done well to shed the baggage of the past and adopt the policy of having bilateral relationships with all — based on mutual economic and security interests, in today”s world.

It is in keeping with these interests that India has, like the US, tried to correct the trade imbalance with China on one hand and moved closer to QUAD, which is a US-led multilateral grouping working for preservation of ”rule based order” in the Indo-Pacific maritime region — on the other. From India”s angle, checking the aggressiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific is crucial for the security of Indian Ocean nearer home.

Post-Covid developments created an environment in which the US-led campaign, blaming the pandemic on China, wanted the global business to shun the latter — the Indian response of welcoming the investors who wanted to opt for India as the alternate destination and at the same time discouraging the Chinese portfolio investors was a valid strategy of safeguarding India”s economic interests. China seems to have decided to disturb the border scene to damage the environ of peace in the subcontinent and impede India”s economic recovery.

The emerging regional and global scenario makes it clear to India that the Sino-Pak military alliance and the US-India strategic partnership have become the counterbalancing factors impacting the security of entire South Asia. Pakistan had stepped up cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and was in concert with China on all points of conflict with India just as China had joined in the Pak campaign against India”s moves in J&K by labelling them as infringement of ”China”s sovereignty”. India has, at the highest levels in the Modi government, raised the issue of illegal occupation of Aksai Chin by China. Things could thus be moving in the direction of irreversibility as far as Sino-Indian relationship is concerned unless China signals a pushback in Galwan.

In the meanwhile, India is required to put a three-fold course of defence in play — continuing the upgradation of infrastructure on the Indian side of LAC, adequate deployment of troops to deal with any infringement of the border there and doubling down on the counter-terrorism drive in Kashmir. China is as much under a constraint not to create a war-like situation as India is to avoid going beyond an effective answer to repel any encroachment on the LAC.

We need to launch a diplomatic offensive against the Sino-Pak collusion against India and highlight China’s support to Islamic terrorists fostered by Pakistan. India should step up efforts to talk to US, Russia, Iran, Israel and other stakeholders to get on to the roundtable on Afghanistan. The democratic world should be warned against the peril of ”radicalisation” that Pakistan and its ally, China, were instigating for their narrow ends. The Pak-China axis is to be countered on the Afghan front and all the internal players in Afghanistan”s polity should be contacted and cultivated.

It is good that we are concentrating on economic recovery by combining indigenous production with globalisation, particularly in the sphere of reconstructing the global supply chain. India has to be prepared to give a message of firm reciprocity to China militarily, take to a punitive response to Pakistan for its mischief in Kashmir and pursue international relations in the long haul in a manner that added to political and economic costs for the Sino-Pak alliance. The Chinese have many territories usurped by them on their periphery and India has several cards up its sleeve to stretch the Chinese capability of handling multiple fronts at one go. In the new Cold War, developing between China and US there should be no doubt about India favouring the democratic camp this time around.

By D.C. PATHAK

(The writer is a former Director Intelligence Bureau)

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Male sex hormones may help treat breast cancer: Study

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

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breast cancer

Sydney : Researchers have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens, commonly thought of as male sex hormones but also found at lower levels in women, in breast cancer treatment.

In normal breast development, estrogen stimulates and androgen inhibits growth at puberty and throughout adult life.

Abnormal estrogen activity is responsible for the majority of breast cancers, but the role of androgen activity in this disease has been controversial.

The new research published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that androgens have potential for treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

A cancer is called estrogen receptor positive if it has receptors for estrogen, according to Breastcancer.org.

Using cell-line and patient-derived models, the global team, including researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, demonstrated that androgen receptor activation by natural androgen or a new androgenic drug had potent anti-tumour activity in all estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, even those resistant to current standard-of-care treatments.

In contrast, androgen receptor inhibitors had no effect.

“This work has immediate implications for women with metastatic estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, including those resistant to current forms of endocrine therapy,” said lead researcher Theresa Hickey, Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide.

“We provide compelling new experimental evidence that androgen receptor stimulating drugs can be more effective than existing (e.g. Tamoxifen) or new (e.g. Palbociclib) standard-of-care treatments and, in the case of the latter, can be combined to enhance growth inhibition,” said Wayne Tilley, Director of the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.

Androgens were historically used to treat breast cancer, but knowledge of hormone receptors in breast tissue was rudimentary at the time and the treatment’s efficacy misunderstood.

Androgen therapy was discontinued due to virilising side effects and the advent of anti-estrogenic endocrine therapies.

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

“The new insights from this study should clarify the widespread confusion over the role of the androgen receptor in estrogen receptor driven breast cancer,” said Elgene Lim, a breast oncologist and Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute.

“Given the efficacy of this treatment strategy at multiple stages of disease in our study, we hope to translate these findings into clinical trials as a new class of endocrine therapy for breast cancer.”

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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Elizabeth Olsen: Nepotism creates fear that you don’t deserve the work you get

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

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Elizabeth Olsen

Los Angeles, Jan 19 : Hollywood star Elizabeth Olsen says she once thought of changing her surname and distance herself from the success of her family because it was insanity growing up in the spotlight.

“It was insanity. There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out. It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career,” said the actress, whose older sisters are Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

Elizabeth opened up om the fears of nepotism.

“The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don’t earn or deserve the work. There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought if I’m gonna be an actress I’m going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name. And then, once I started working, I was like, ‘I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?’ It’s fine now,” she said.

The actress said fame has made her more of a homebody.

“Fame has also made me someone who is more of a homebody than maybe I would like to be but I know where not to go. If I could do whatever I wanted for the day, I’d start with the gym, then I’d go to the grocery store, because it’s my favourite thing,” Elizabeth told The Sun.

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