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Column: This axis is unleashing an offensive – Spy’s Eye

The military and operational collaboration between China and Pakistan has widened the arc of threat to our internal security. Apart from pumping in arms and ammunition as well as militants, these hostile neighbours can disrupt our cyber systems, attack economic assets and use their agents to foment domestic agitations and communal disharmony.



It is clearly established that apart from the external dimension of the threat to India’s national security emanating from the Sino-Pak alliance, a huge problem has arisen for India on account of the total collusion that now exists between these two hostile neighbours in the matter of planning a covert offensive against this country. Our Intelligence agencies have reportedly unravelled a new Pak plot in Jammu and Kashmir in which the Pak ISI was being actively guided by China to execute a plan of flooding the state with arms and ammunition to foment anti-India activity and unrest there. China would like Pakistan to infiltrate maximum number of terrorists before the onset of winter by overcoming the anti-infiltration grid established by the Indian Army on the LOC. It wants ISI to use drones and other means like hexacopters to send in weapons separately.

In what is an alarming development, recent seizures made by security forces in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are mostly of weapons with Chinese markings. It is also said that local recruitment of militants is on the rise in the Valley. Clearly, the ongoing ‘proxy war’ against India is now a Sino-Pak joint venture. Cooperation between Pakistan and China on CPEC now extends to military collaboration in putting India down. In a brazen display of aggressiveness, China has questioned the right of India on Ladakh itself. India’s strategy, therefore, has to focus on taking care of external threats as well as the threat to internal security posed by the China-Pak axis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the UNGA’s 75th anniversary session on September 26 with a complete grasp of the present global and India-specific security scenarios. He sharply reminded the world organisation that India could no longer be kept out of the UN’s decision-making body and emphasised that the UN of 1945 needed to stay relevant to the present era where terrorism, illicit arms and drug trade had become the biggest threats to global peace. He felt the UN had yet to show an adequate response. In an oblique but definite reference to China, he remarked that India did not strengthen partnerships with the intent of ‘landing the partner in a debt trap’ and pointed out that ‘when we were strong we were never a threat to the world and when weak we were never a burden on the world’.

The Prime Minister highlighted India’s commitment to the welfare of the world — he pointed out how India had, on the one hand, lost the most number of soldiers in UN peacekeeping missions and how it had, on the other, already sent medical supplies to 150 countries during the Covid crisis. Contending that the UN should have done more for the pandemic, Prime Minister Modi announced that India, the largest vaccine producing country, intended to use its vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all humanity. The address projected India as a global power that practised the doctrine of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and at the same time exposed Pakistan and China as the epicentres of threats to international peace.

Current developments require India’s defence and security establishment to prepare for stretching and countering PLA on the LAC with focus on Ladakh sector where the Chinese aggressiveness is predictably acute, taking on Pakistan’s terror infrastructure beyond LOC as part of India’s counter-terrorism operations, stepping up our Navy’s support to US-led QUAD plans for the security of the Indo-Pacific maritime zone, taking our cyber security planning to a new level of coverage and intensifying counter-intelligence operations against the joint effort of China and Pakistan to cause internal stability here. China cannot sustain a mountain warfare against India and is, therefore, militarily involving Pakistan in its plan of securing CPEC that had become vulnerable because of Indo-Pak and India-China tensions. The challenge for India is to deal with the PLA’s presence and activity on LAC on a long-term basis since this will remain a lasting India-specific problem.

Time, however, has come to launch a diplomatic offensive against the unholy combine of an expansionist China and the chief promotor of radical Islamic terror that Pakistan was now known to be — internationally. There is no need for India to try to be ‘politically correct’ by not drawing world attention to the card of faith-based militancy that Pakistan was playing against India in Kashmir and elsewhere. As the second largest country in terms of Muslim population, democratic India should be able to take on an army-controlled Pakistan upfront, on the issues concerning equality of rights enjoyed by all communities here and expose the hypocrisy of the Imran Khan regime in blatantly using religion for politics.

India’s diplomatic response to the Sino-Pak axis has to be to lead the voice of the democratic world against this combination of two dictatorships — one ‘godless’ and the other staunchly faith-based — and to join hands with the US, the oldest democracy, and other democratic regimes big or small, around us, in this regard. India under Prime Minister Modi and the US led by President Donald Trump have a deep convergence on security and economic policy, primarily because Trump has denounced radical Islamists and shown China its place by exposing its policy of subjugating smaller nations through the economic route and pursuing an expansionist agenda.

India is rightly shedding the ideological baggage of the Cold War era by opting for bilateral relations on the mutuality of security and economic interests and favouring the shift of the world towards multipolarity — this has the merit of checking the unhealthy prospect of China creating another Cold War type of environ in pursuit of its ambition of becoming the second super power. India has to take note of the reality that it will have to deal with the twin threats of Pakistan and China on its own strength and capacity building while actively supporting counterbalancing forces elsewhere — in Indo-Pacific, in India’s neighbourhood and in vital parts of the Islamic world such as Afghanistan, the Gulf and Central Asia. Defence acquisition, manufacture at home and enlargement of defence forces have to be a part of India’s security strategy.

The military and operational collaboration between China and Pakistan has widened the arc of threat to our internal security. Apart from pumping in arms and ammunition as well as militants, these hostile neighbours can disrupt our cyber systems, attack economic assets and use their agents to foment domestic agitations and communal disharmony. Drug money and fake currency have been used by Pakistan to finance ISI operations in India. A stricter watch has to be kept right at the police station level to detect signs of any unusual activity or presence indicating a possible ‘sleeper cell’ operation. It is important to check the spread of radicalism amongst youth of the minority community.

An average Muslim in India, like any other citizen, is engaged in livelihood issues — it is a few leaders in the elite or the ulema who had been running his politics. Internal vigilance has to concentrate on exposing enemy agents trying to subvert India’s socio-cultural potential. Institutions speaking for the minorities should be persuaded to take the stand that Pakistan should desist from using the call of Jehad as a political instrument against India in Kashmir or elsewhere. Advocates of radicalisation must be severely dealt with and the cover organisations they worked under put down with a strong hand. India’s fight for security is not only on our borders but inside our own boundaries as well.

There is learning for India from the rise of Sino-Pak alliance that is targeting India at a time when the global scene is in a flux because of the Corona pandemic, preoccupation of the US with elections and absence of international opinion against the spread of radicalism in the Islamic world. What is happening on the Indian subcontinent has grave implications for the world but from outside it may still look like a problem essentially affecting South Asia alone. India has to tackle the China-Pak axis through a multi-pronged strategy of which long-term military preparedness would be the core concern. India has done well to demonstrate its capacity to take on the adversary at a height of 15,000 ft and stretch China on the LAC from Ladakh to Arunachal. India can hit China where it hurts most — the CPEC illicitly created on POK territory — and keep a tight grip on the doings of Pak ISI in Kashmir. As India remains engaged in reviving its economy, using its indigenous base as a substratum, it has no option but to steadily strengthen its defence forces and auxiliary infrastructure in the long term to safeguard national security and to buttress its position and say in world affairs.

(The writer is a former Director Intelligence Bureau)


Indian-origin man in FBI ’10 Most Wanted’ list carries $100k reward

The FBI’s notice says that the accused “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous”.




Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel,

New York, Nov 28 : The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reminding the public of a $100,000-reward offer for information leading to the capture of Indian-origin Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, who has been listed by the agency as one of the “10 Most Wanted” since 2017.

Patel has been on the run since 2015 when he allegedly killed his wife, Palak, with a knife inside a Dunkin Donuts coffee shop in Hanover, Maryland state.

He has been charged with murder.

Although he was put on the list in 2017 with the $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture he has not been caught and on Friday the FBI tweeted information about him and the reward to draw attention to the case and the reward offer.

The FBI is asking anyone who knows where he is to contact the agency or the nearest US consulate or embassy.

Patel, who was 24 at that time, allegedly hit his 21-year-old wife in the face with a kitchen knife and stabbed her several times in the backroom of the shop where they both worked while customers were still there, according to officials quoted by WTOP radio.

He was last known to have taken a taxi from a hotel in New Jersey to a train station in Newark in the state.

Tim Altomare, who was the police chief of Anne Arundel County at that time, told the radio: “The violence in this case was stark. It was heart-wrenching and it was a shock to our collective conscience on the police department.”

WTOP reported that investigators think that Patel was still in the US in 2017 when he was put on the FBI list and according to Altomare investigators believe that someone was knowingly helping Patel or was interacting with him without knowing about his alleged crime.

The radio reported that according to Gordon Johnson, who was the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office in 2017, Patel was put on the list because of the brutality of the crime and the likelihood that someone outside the US knows where he was.

The couple’s visas expired about a month before the killing and investigators believe that Palak Patel wanted to return to India, but her husband opposed it, WTOP reported.

The FBI’s notice says that the accused “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous”.

According to the FBI he was born in Kantrodi Ta Viramgam in Gujarat.

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National Milk Day: Know history, significance of this day; Interesting facts about milk here

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.



Amul Milk Production

Every year, National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 across India. The largest milk producing country celebrates this day to demonstrate the importance of milk in everyone’s life. It is worth noting that National Milk Day and World Milk Day are two different events, observed on different dates with different significance.

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.

Why is National Milk Day Celebrated?

National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 all over India, and it was established by the Food and Agricultural Organisation in 2014.

The day is dedicated to honouring Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered to be the father of India’s White Revolution. November 26 is also his birth anniversary, which is why this day is even more important as it also highlights his contribution to the country’s dairy farming and production.

First National Milk Day:

The Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014, took the initiative to celebrate this day for the first time. The first National Milk Day was marked on November 26, 2014, in which various milk producers from 22 states participated.

Kerala-born, Dr Verghese Kurien is known as the ‘Milkman of India’ and the father of the 1970s White Revolution. He came with the one billion litre idea of turning a milk-guzzling country into world’s top dairy producer.

National Milk Day: Interesting facts about milk here

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium and the only drink in the world that contains such a large amount of natural nutrients.

Dr Verghese worked towards enabling the country to have its own production centres of milk. His support was crucial in making the Amul girl ad campaign-which is one of the longest-running campaigns for decades.

His accolades include Ramon Magsaysay Award, World Food Prize, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Wateler Peace Prize.

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Global availability of Covid vaccine for public only by mid-2021: Moody’s

The report said mass vaccination that significantly reduces individual and public health concerns would lift sentiment and present a significant upside to global growth.




Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi: While recent news about the high effectiveness of two coronavirus vaccines is a promising sign in the effort to combat the pandemic, a vaccine for Covid-19 will not be widely distributed before mid-2021, Moodys Investors Service said on Tuesday.

“However, these developments do not change the assumption underpinning our economic forecasts that widespread, global availability of the vaccine to the general public is only likely by around mid-2021,” Moody’s said in a report.

It added that the recent positive news about the effectiveness of vaccines under development will do little to ease the immediate concern that the current rise in coronavirus cases across the US and Europe will dampen sentiments and economic momentum in these regions this quarter and the next.

“Our baseline economic forecasts balance the downside risks of increasing infections and new lockdowns in the next two months, against the potential for widespread vaccinations over the next 12 months. If lockdowns are more severe than we expect, the negative effect on GDP could be offset if a coronavirus vaccine is available quicker and uptake is wider than we had expected,” it added.

Although successful Phase 3 trials of vaccines are a big step, there are numerous hurdles ahead, including satisfying approval requirements by regulators in individual countries, production of the billions of doses required for mass vaccination, ensuring proper storage and building distribution networks.

Distribution will likely occur in phases once regulators approve a vaccine, with health officials prioritizing access for healthcare workers and those in other high-risk professions, as well as for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as older people and individuals in care homes.

Moody’s said two important variables in overall success of vaccines in curbing the pandemic will be the public’s willingness to get vaccinated and what percentage of the population will need to be vaccinated in order for the spread of the virus to be brought under control. Vaccine availability likely will vary across countries, with cost and access major hurdles in particular for less-developed economies.

Many advanced and a handful of middle-income emerging market countries have already secured contracts for hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines. Residents of these countries will be among the first to get the vaccinations, with their economies benefiting from the associated easing of the public health crisis. The earlier the health crisis in a country subsides, the stronger the country’s economic recovery will be, it added.

The report said mass vaccination that significantly reduces individual and public health concerns would lift sentiment and present a significant upside to global growth.

As long as the coronavirus remains a health risk, social distancing restrictions and the reluctance of consumers to engage in high contact social and economic activity will mar the recovery of services sectors. As vaccines become broadly available, health fears and concerns about an uncertain economic and financial outlook should recede, allowing for a quicker resumption of activity in high contact sectors such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, mass transit, airlines and travel and tourism.

Moody’s said the pandemic has already inflicted enormous damage on the hardest-hit sectors and will continue to undermine their financial condition and prospects, with repeated virus outbreaks and lockdown measures suppressing demand. The risk of business failure increases exponentially the longer the pandemic prevents a return to some semblance of normal activity.

A vaccine will help accelerate the recovery. But for many of these businesses, survival will remain challenging until the virus is no longer viewed as a significant public health threat. It is difficult to know how many businesses will survive several more months of below-normal revenue, it added.

Small and midsized businesses across advanced and emerging market countries are at risk and more of them will undoubtedly close on account of the prolonged cash flow shock. And those that do survive will have the long and arduous task of rebuilding their balance sheets while also, in many cases, facing significant changes in consumer behavior and demand patterns. “Therefore, even if economic activity returns to healthy levels once a vaccine is widely available, the detrimental economic impact and transformed operating environment will be felt for years to come”, Moody’s said.

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