Stand off b/w India and China: Explained

Image: india china stndoff explained
Image Source: IndiaToday

What is the reason behind over 5-weeks long standoff?

Behind this over 5-weeks long standoff lies a geostrategy to control Doklam Plateau. The plateau holds strategic importance for both India and China. It became a bone of contention b/w India and China after 1962 border war, prior to which no one showed interest in the plateau.

China claims Doklam plateau, which is currently disputed b/w Beijing and Thimpu, to gain a strategic edge over India. The road China claims to be building in its “own territory” in Doklam Plateau would give it a strategic advantage against India in a possible military conflict in future. Doklam is critical as it brings China even closer to the Indian border in a vulnerable location towards the direction of the 27-km-long Siliguri Corridor or “chicken’s neck” that links the northeastern state to the rest of India.

For India, Doklam Plateau holds immense importance as Chinese control over Doklam plateau will undo the terrain and tactical advantage that India has in the region. Chinese foray into the Doklam plateau will also impact India economically as the Chumbi Valley, which is close to the plateau, has served as a trade route from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok through Yadong and Gyantse on to Dalai Lama’s court at Lhasa.

 

What led to this stand-off b/w India and China?

It erupted when India opposed China’s attempt to extend a border road through the Doklam Plateau.

In June this year, India accused China of constructing a road in the disputed territory towards Doklam plateau, an objection that the Royal Bhutanese Army has also raised. India intervened in the crisis supporting Bhutan’s stand and asking China to halt its construction work. China claims Doklam plateau, an 89 sq. km pasture that falls close to Chumbi valley at the corner of India-Bhutan-China tri-junction and is not very far from the Sikkim sector.

Subsequently, Chinese troops asked India to remove two bunkers that were setup in 2012 at Lalten in Doklam Plateau. Later, on the night of June 6, the bunkers were reportedly destroyed by Chinese bulldozers after China stated that neither India nor Bhutan had any claim over the region. This escalated the tension and soon there was a standoff b/w troops of both countries with PLA and Indian Army sending immediate reinforcements to the region.

 

What is India and China saying on the matter?

Image: India and China spokesperson

India is supporting Bhutan’s claim that it’s their (Bhutan’s) land and alleged that China is trying to alter the status-quo. India also rejected China’s claim that it has trespassed into Beijing’s territory and trying to grab it. At the same time, China has reiterated its sovereignty over the area, saying that the road is in its territory and accused Indian troops of “trespassing”.

China said India would do well to remember its defeat in the 1962 war, warning Delhi that China was also more powerful than it was then. To this, Indian Defence Minister gave a befitting reply that India of 2017 is different from the India of 1962.

China has also claimed that India is violating an 1890 border agreement b/w Britain and China that previous Indian governments have pledged to uphold, and it should be respected to end a “very serious” incursion by India. To this Indian government responded by underlining that the two governments had agreed in 2012 that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the countries concerned. “Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding,” it said.

What next?

As of now, there is no push and shove at the border although tensions are high. Both countries have said they would use official diplomatic channels to find a solution to the dispute.

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is scheduled to visit Beijing on July 26 to attend the meeting of NSAs from BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. He is expected to raise the issue with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

 

References:

http://indianexpress.com/article/what-is/what-is-india-china-bhutan-border-standoff-sikkim-doklam-chumbi-valley-4736620/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40478813

https://www.thequint.com/explainers/2017/07/06/india-china-standoff-explained

 

 

 

WEAPONS NOT FOR SHOWING OFF, SAYS HIGH COURT

Object of the Arms Act was to ensure that weapons were available to citizens for self-defence . However, today it has become more of a way to show-off!!

Image: Delhi HC

The Delhi Court observed that one doesn’t have a fundamental right to keep a weapon and its possession nowadays is more for “showing off” as a “status symbol” than for self-defence.

The judgement came while rejecting a private company official’s plea for an arms licence. Earlier, his request for the same was denied by the licencing authority of the police as well as L-G Anil Baijal. The petitioner had sought an arms licence on the grounds that he deals with cash ranging b/w Rs. 2-3 lakh on a daily basis and needs a weapon for his safety and to secure the money.

The court while rejecting his plea said – “We do not live in a lawless society where individuals have to acquire or hold arms to protect themselves.” It went on to say – “Possession of arms has become a status symbol. Individual seeks to possess arms mostly for the purposes of showing of that they are influential people…..”

About Arms Act:

The Arms Act, 1959 is an Act of the Parliament to consolidate and amend the law relating to arms and ammunition in order to curb illegal weapons and violence stemming from them.

The Act has undergone many changes since 1959, the most recent being in 2016 when the Union Home Ministry brought into force Arms Rules 2016 through a gazette notification.

Through this notification, the government not only made it difficult to get a firearm licence under the existing Arms Act, 1959 but also brought air rifles, blank firing guns (which are mostly used by the film industry), certain types of battery powered batons that deliver electric shock and even paintball guns used in games under the ambit of licence.

Takeaways from Modi’s U.S. visit

During the three-day visit of PM Narendra Modi to the U.S., several crucial developments took place. Here are the important highlights:

  1. Use of strong words for Pakistan

                                Pic Credit: India TV News

The joint statement went beyond the US’ usual lines and entailed strong wordings against Pakistan. Both the leaders pulled Pakistan for making its territory safe haven for the radical terrorist outfits and asked it to ensure that its territory is not used for the same.

They further asked Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups.

  1. Meeting of minds on dealing with terrorism

                                              Pic credit: The Quint

Stressing that terrorism is a global scourge, both the leaders gave out a call to root out the safe havens from every part of the world. Also, both the leaders re-affirmed their commitments to strengthen their cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including al-Qaeda, ISIS, JeM, and others.

India appreciated the US’ move to designate Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist

  1. Sale of 22 Guardian unmanned aerial systems

Pic Credit: FirstPost

The US has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India, with the deal being termed as “game changer”. These drones will help the Indian Navy in keeping watch over the Indian Ocean. The deal would be the first such purchase by a country that is not a member of the NATO alliance.

  1. Positive response of top CEOs about India

Pic Credit: TOI

After PM Narendra Modi met top American CEOs of global giants, including Apple chief Tim Cook, Google head Sundar Pichai and told them about the opportunities both the countries have and role that the companies need to play in reaping them, they (CEOs) seem to be upbeat about continued future investment in India.

  1. Maritime Security and Data Sharing

Pic Credit: DefenseWorld.net

The two leaders also announced their intention to build on the implementation of the “White Shipping” data sharing arrangement. White Shipping data sharing arrangement refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of cargo ships.

They also determined to expand their engagements on shared maritime objectives and explore new exercises, while noting the importance of upcoming Malabar naval exercise. Malabar exercise is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners, and Singapore and Australia as non-permanent partners.

  1. Shifting focus from the Indo-Pacific

While vowing to strengthen their relationship in the Indo-Pacific region, the language seems to be bit softer. This time the wording is more in line with Trump’s take on China.

  1. U.S. LNG for India

It is expected that from next year liquefied petroleum gas (LNG) from the U.S. will start flowing to India. Natural gas being the cleanest fossil fuels among available fuels, LNG import is much-needed to meet the increasing energy demand in India.

  1. Climate change not the agenda

Climate change, which was a major component of Mr. Modi’s engagement with Mr. Obama, has not been part of the agenda during this bilateral meet. US President Donald Trump has been quite vocal in opposing Paris climate treaty and termed it as a hoax perpetrated by China during his election campaign.

  1. Ivanka Trump in India                                                   Pic Credit: The Quint

The President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, will lead the U.S. delegation to Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). GES is key foreign policy initiative of former President Barack Obama to bring together global entrepreneurs and innovators, and India will be hosting its next edition.

  1. North Korea comes up

The two leaders also condemned the North Korea’s “continued provocations”. The leaders pledged to work together to counter North Korea’s weapons of mass destructions programs, including by holding accountable all parties that support these programs.

 

References:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/top-10-takeaways-from-modis-us-visit/article19154197.ece