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Decoding India’s China threat

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Prior to the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and its military occupation of Tibet, there was hardly any friction between the two ancient civilisations of China and India. They enjoyed cultural exchanges for millennia and kept a politically safe distance from each other, thanks to the natural barrier of the Himalayas.
But since the 1950s, as Tibet was swallowed by the dragon and ceased to be the buffer, the dominant theme driving bilateral relations between the Asian giants is of threat. The militaries of the two Asian neighbours stands face-to-face with no resolution to a simmering border dispute. Ideology, geopolitics and ambition have pushed China and India into a permanently edgy confrontation.
The book, China’s India War, by Swedish journalist Bertil Lintner, who has conducted decades of field work and research on the borderlands and fault lines of South, Southeast and East Asia, offers ample proof of why China and India cannot be friends. Its contention is that the two are politically and ideologically distinct like thesis and antithesis, and hence bound to compete.
The author starts his wide-ranging analysis by challenging the spin on the 1962 Sino-Indian war by British journalist Neville Maxwell in his 1970 classic, India’s China War, which claims that India provoked China into attacking it through its ill-conceived “Forward Policy”.
Lintner shows that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru adopted the “Forward Policy” along the border with China only in November 1961, while China’s Chairman Mao Zedong was planning war against India much before that.
China’s military buildup and manoeuvres along the McMahon Line started as early as 1959. The Chinese premier deployed no less than 80,000 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to overwhelm India. The locations and targets for the Chinese to hit in India were carefully selected, meticulously planned. The PLA’s knowledge of terrain inside India was “remarkable”as Chinese intelligence-gathering on the Indian side of the McMahon Line was done over several years in the 1950s, says the author,
Indian intelligence agents had relayed to the Nehru government at least three years before the fateful war that China was massing forces for an impending attack. The saga of how India missed these obvious signals and was caught napping to suffer a devastating military defeat is, of course, now known and lamented among strategic circles in India. But Lintner’s point is to refute the historical fallacy propagated by Maxwell that China was justly responding to India’s unjustified aggressive patrolling and outposts near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The main motive for China to conceive and execute the coldblooded war in 1962 was conveyed by Mao in a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) meeting in March 1959: “India was doing bad things in Tibet and, therefore, had to be dealt with.” Tibet was the crux of the matter because India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama who fled the PLA’s invasion of Tibet in 1959.
As a utopian socialist who believed that India and China had more in common, Nehru failed to understand Mao’s hardnosed (albeit mistaken) conviction that India was colluding with Britain and the US to overturn China’s takeover of Tibet.
The CCP had branded Nehru a “running dog of Western imperialism” in 1949 itself. In 1959, when an armed Tibetan uprising broke out against Chinese colonialism in Lhasa, Beijing accused Nehru of “inheriting England’s old policy of saying Tibet is an independent country” and adopting “the strategic aspirations of British imperialism.” India, actually, never assisted armed anti-China Tibetan rebels before the 1962 war. But for the radical communists under Mao, India was pigeonholed as a “bourgeois” accomplice of the West “to invade Tibet and enslave its people.”
The author illustrates with examples that for China, “political motives were more important than the exact alignment of the border” with India. The 1962 war was not meant to grab territory but, in Mao’s famous words, “teach India a lesson” and weaken Nehru’s credentials as a leader of the Third World.
The author points to the irony that China settled its border dispute with Myanmar in 1960 by accepting the same McMahon Line which it slams as an obsolete and “unequal” boundary drawn up by Western colonialists, when it comes to reaching a final agreement with India. He does not extrapolate from this insight but it is obvious that China uses border disputes and sovereignty claims to try and coerce India against strategically embracing other powers. A piece of land here or there is not the principal Chinese goal. Rather the larger objective is to tie India down to stay strategically inferior and incapable of equalling or overtaking China.
China’s India War contains fascinating details of the proxy wars waged by China and India after the 1962 war. Naga, Mizo and Manipuri secessionist rebels were trained, armed and financed by China via Myanmar until Mao died in 1976. It is noteworthy that post-Maoist market-oriented China has not severed ties with separatists of Northeast India. The “Chinese private arms dealers” and “black market” which sustain anti-India guerrillas today through third party intermediaries may be after cash, but the author demonstrates that they are a product of Chinese security services “turning a blind eye to the traffic.” He predicts that China will continue opportunistic ties with anti-India insurgents for leverage on border talks and as a bargaining chip vis-a-vis the presence of the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile in India.
Lintner devotes one chapter each in this book to the intriguing methods by which China converted Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal into battlefields for pressurising India. With the intention of countering New Delhi’s influence in these Himalayan middle zones, Beijing has courted a vast variety of local players in these lands and tried to stoke anti-India sentiments. Lintner’s key observation in this context is that “the Chinese always hedge their bets and never put all their eggs in one basket.”
The central takeaway from this rambling but informative book of historical revisionism is that India faces a sophisticated and relentless adversary in China which has many aces up its sleeve besides the Pakistan card. India must grasp China’s multifarious means and dissect its true intent, which remains essentially unchanged since the fateful decade when Buddhist Tibet was gobbled up by the godless Communists.


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Opinion

SRO 202 against the basic rights of employees

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By Bhat Zaieem

The youth of J&K have consistently raised the voices against the anti-youth job policy in vogue for the last four years. But it seems, no one in the administration is bothered to even listen to their genuine concern. The youth of J&K have always suffered due to the absurd and unjustifiable policies of J&K government. A similar iniquitous policy was framed in June 2015 by then PDP-BJP Government which has adversely affected the dignity, honour and social setup of employees recruited under it. SRO 202 is a gross injustice to employees who are facing the brunt of such policies while government has absolutely no satisfactory reason to issue such orders.

The scene of the policy is that a candidate selected for a government service will get only basic pay for the first five years of his or her service. They will be devoid of their right of getting different allowances during this period. Also, they will not be entitled to New Pension Scheme (NPS) benefits for the timeframe.

 

It is most unfortunate that the youth who have doctorate, post graduate and professional degrees are petted against such policies as a reward to the hard work of their academic career spanning over 20 years. Such employees get selected through JKPSC and JKSSB where the the success rate is just 2-5%.

Making the policy selective for non-gazetted cadre posts and certain gazetted posts shows its unequal behaviour, absurdness and nonsensicalness. Some government institutes like Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Kashmir University are not enforcing any rule of the SRO 202. There is no uniformity at all. But irony is that rich are made richer and poor poorer. They just doubled the salary of MLAs at the same time to ensure maximum turnout for themselves and leaving the issue of working staff brooding over the shelf.

Leaving the efficient youth in trouble for their sake is no less than a turmoil. And I remember when the candidates would frequently pressurise the government to scrap the policy, they would utterly eulogise that it was meant to curb the financial crunch in J&K and where not you already acknowledged with the terms and conditions of your job. Such imprudent and hypocritical character of policy makers was always disheartening besides taking  off their belief on democratic institutions.

The policy has inflicted vigour of corruption and nepotism in the minds of new employees. The mark of disloyalty with their service will touch new heights and they do have a solid reason for it and that is ignorance of the government. When they are not treated with equal pay as their old counterparts, the have started the other mediums of earning on the same table. ‘Right to Equality’ has been shattered deeply. The Supreme Court judgment ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ has been rendered meaningless with negligible application here. In short this policy has been a bruise over the policies of the governance. Moreover, according to the rules of this ordinance any recruitment made under it must be completed within a period of three months and appointment order to be issued within 15 days from the date of issuance of selection list. The government posts are supposed to be filled on fast-track basis. But they failed here too as almost all the selections done under this policy took more than one and half years on average to complete and appointment orders also were issued accordingly with same sluggish speed and took two to three months for formal appointment orders for all the advertisements.

Coming to the financial burden, it is very meagre almost negligible with respect to total financial implications of J&K. Till now merely ten thousand appointments have been made under this policy. With implementation of seventh pay commission, the difference in salary between SRO 202 employees and their Non SRO 202 counterparts has been severely reduced and is ranging between four thousand and six thousand. So increasing these few thousand rupees for some ten thousand employees has very less financial implications for the government.

The government must come to the rescue of the career of faithful and hardworking employees and the removal of this policy is the only way out. Both students and impacted employees expect that Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu who is talking much of corruption, transparency and equal opportunities for all will come to their rescue.

The author is a teacher in Department of Education and can be reached at [email protected]

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Opinion

Let education be never hampered

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By Abid Hussain Rather

As it is said education leads us from darkness to light and nowadays right to elementary education is fundamental right of every human being. Educational standard of a nation depicts its developmental level. When we have a look at the history we see that only those civilizations were able to progress where knowledge was given first priority and those civilizations where other things dominated to knowledge vanished within the corridors of time. It is the education which moulds the behavior of man, the social animal and makes him superior to the other creatures in the universe. It is said that educational institutes are more sacred to religious places because these educational institutes lead us to the religious places and teach us how to pray. If a nation wants to develop and progress it should always try to create and maintain an atmosphere which is most conducive for education and education system should always be given the first priority. Educational processes and educational institutes should be spared and always kept away from the dirty games of politics and other likely things.

Our valley, though famously known as paradise on earth, has always seen political and climatic instability which have turned this paradise into hell and made the lives of people miserable here. Keeping the climatic instability aside which is natural in cause and on which we human beings have no control, the political instability in Kashmir is now a big name world over. Whatever the reasons for this instability may be, undoubtedly it has hit each and every corner of our life and spared no one. Whether it may be socio-cultural, economic, or any other sector, this political trauma has caused big losses in every sector of the valley. Among all it is the educational sector which has been most affected by the political instability of the valley.  We can somehow repair the economic losses caused due to the unstable conditions of the valley. We can put our extra efforts and can work in off times to repair the loss.  But we can’t regain the losses to the education system, because a student can’t regain his academic year. Career building of our youth is a pre planned process in which each and everyday counts. Closing of educational institutions for one day means too much which can be understood only by  developed nations. But here in our valley due to bandhs and curfews, our schools and colleges remain closed for months, and we and our government seem to be least concerned about this matter. Looking at the past many years, we can aptly say that these uprisings occur concurrently at the peak academic session of the year and our educational institutes remain closed for months, which adversely affect the studies. It is not wrong to say that now our educational institutes have just become examination conducting centres without any teaching-learning process and students are just promoted to next classes with zero quality. Sometimes the political atmosphere of the valley becomes so unfavourable that conducting of classwork becomes a day dream for months and even conducting of the annual examinations becomes hard and impossible. In such situations most of the academic courses in the valley become time consuming and causes mental stress on our young generation.

 

Last year after the abrogation of Article 35A on August 5, the whole valley was put under siege, curfew was imposed in the valley for a long period and along with other government offices all the educational institutes remained close for many months. Though the whole valley became standstill and the normal life became paralysed, I think it was the education system which suffered the most. Though it was ‘Kashmir bandh’ for months, shopkeepers used to keep their shops open in the early morning hours and in the late evening hours.  No doubt their business was affected, but they somehow compensated it. Some of the shopkeepers misused the abnormal situation of the valley and sold their goods at higher rates as in some regions of the valley rice was sold at the rate of Rs. 3500 per quintal by private dealers which was earlier sold below Rs 2500. Government employees got their salaries without attending their duties as their offices remains closed. Even though some employees used to attend offices, it was only for the purpose of marking their attendance. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that even some people enjoyed this unstable situation of the valley. Though all the sectors suffered partially, it was the student community which suffered the most. They couldn’t attend even a single class for months and their loss was the biggest. They became wanderers of the valley. Funniest thing to see was that at the end of the session the students in lower classes were provided with question papers and were asked to solve them at home and then bring them back to school in order to get promoted to next classes. It was beyond the understanding of common masses what was the fun of all that process.

Currently we are unable to understand the loss which our education system suffers from the political unrest in our valley. Its jolts will be felt in the near future when our nation will have only quantitative literates but without quality. Then there will be no way to repair the damage. It is high time for all of us to understand this grave issue. We should try our best to create a favourable atmosphere for education in our valley and as far as possible we should try to spare our educational institutes from this political instability. Our young generation has enough potential to be our future scholars, doctors, engineers and scientists. This potential shouldn’t be marred by political unrest of the valley rather it should be sculpted in best possible way by our educational institutes for the betterment of our nation.

(The author teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Opinion

Understanding Drug Addiction

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By Faizaan Bashir

The need of the hour is to understand what drives youth to drugs. Understanding and avoiding the reasons is far crucial than treating the actual addiction.

“There was a time when ‘divine signs’ were seen in children, but now, it’s like a complete obverse of it,” whimpered a very old, frizzled and pale man in a tone of despair. Watching through the window, the man enjoined upon me for having a disheartening view of two of his younger children puffing weed. So much so, their style of talking and bodily movements would quiver with each passing second. Wherefore, I was able to squueze out the memories of my teen when I too had grown the victim of these life-abrading habits. The clutches of this trap, as far as I could remember, had gripped me to the hilt. None could prevent me from doing so – almost none. It was as if the permanent seal of drugs had been tacked to my heart and mind. For the most part, a person is tend to ‘considerably’ think about crucial and critical aspects of life, but the whole self of mine was in a state of utter freeze just by its disgrace & medically proven-pernicious effects.

 

Anyway, it’s sure, many questions must be doing rounds inside your mind, and it should be so: What is it that drives a normal being into these destructive physical activities? Why is it that these life-hollowing drugs the more a man becomes addictive to, wouldn’t probably do away from us? Even after, having felt its repurcusions, why is not he able to take control over himself, or left himself uttering “I were to have stopped it that time and this time while dying in self-pity!?” Or is there some kind of mystery that lies with the drug-ridden? The answer to all these hardly-contemplated-over-questions is that: of all the drug-addicts, more than 70 percent of its populace have already been suffering from depression, stress, anxiety and many other psychological disorders that seem too difficult to put up with. So, in order to give to the mind a ceaseless rush of dopamine, a chemical in our brain responsible for mood boosting- or giving a temporary feeling of relief, consuming drugs becomes the fitting choice.

There are different drugs available to be sold and each of them has its own features. The way cannabis can give momentary a sigh of relief, couldn’t probably cigarettes do and the continuous cycle of consuming one over other becomes the nasty priority! Drugs are the cruelest killers disguising as relief and mood boosters. A sign of stress is indicative of mind demanding something to get the relaxation from; and here the depressed folk becomes an easy prey to drugs – finding it as swifter working alternative than anything else could be doing! When a man has a huge stress over something, to put in this way, he is bound to consuming the substance having mammoth influential features. So that, the temporary relief from the mess could be achieved; but, that is where a man starts to grow addictive.

Drugs, cruelest killers, have a plethora of dreadful effects on our lives. It’s been found that taking drugs reduces oxygen level in our viens, therby affecting our heart. Others (experts in morphology) would say that it alters the inner structure of mind, thus giving rise to to the life-snatching pshychological disorders – and then one grows paranoid. Many fears take up his mind and tend to neglect the society. She becomes socially bereft! Some would even – for the inability in dealing with people – consume drugs thereof in secret. Substatial number of them are seeing no way to reclaim their lives, thus adding only to the woes and life becoming sheer predicament.

Having refrained from taking these silent killers, I can say that those that are used to devouring or snuffing or whatever ways they take them in should at least check the status of thier lives. They should ask themselves what is it that prompts them to become the easy victim of drugs. Anaylysing the root causes would do plenty in helping one recover from the predicament. If there is any kind of stress or depression or strain, as the major causes remain so at most of the times, despite the fact we don’t comprehend it at the moment, self-control, meditation etc should be considered, wholeheartedly, instead; or even if one is most glued with these drugs, reduce the quantity of it each time. Wait for the due course. Rise to the occasion and stay away from these killing stuff.

It is noteworthy to mention that those who, fortunately, have not become the victim of these killers, must pay no heed to it ever, for once it has been consumed, one fails to understand what to do and what not. The need of the hour is to aware the unawares regarding the downsides – trap – of taking drugs. We must impart in our education sysyem the whole conept of drugs as to how it affects the health and pshychology; and, most importantly, how to waive off our uneasiness at times by mental excersises to keep us calm, secured from the lure of drugs.

There is an urgent need to start a campaign, protest against those dealers and smugglars who dispose of different kinds of drugs whether in manifest or secret to the mentally disturbed victims. The adminstration ought to put more effors in busting such elements. At the same time, instead of penalizing the drug takers, they should be given counselling sessions to squeeze out the things that prompt them to take these drugs. Furthermore, parents must keep a vigil eye on thier children: from where they are coming, who are they friends with, why are they coming late, what has been done to the pocket-money are the questions which every parent must pose on their children. Talking freely with your children is an another thing which is needed to reduce any strain taking up their minds.

We will have to do these things for the sake of our people in general. Our children, who are our future generations, in particular. 

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