Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Friday, 16 October 2009

From Today's Papers - 16 Oct 09

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Kashmir Times

Telegraph India

The Pioneer

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Asian Age

Kashmir Times

Kashmir Times

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

Terror Thursday in Pak
n Bloodbath in 3 cities; 39 dead n Lahore under siege
n Suicide blast in Kohat n Car bomb rocks Peshawar
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

The ‘Terror Thursday’, marked by audacious strikes on three heavily gaurded security facilities, left as many as 39 persons dead and scores injured in three Pakistan cities.

The terrorists began the day with a devastating suicide attack on a police station in Kohat city in NWFP, leaving 11 persons dead and 22 others injured. The high drama shifted to country’s second biggest city Lahore where gunmen carried out three simultaneous assaults on the offices of security agencies within a span of 15 minutes.

As many as 27 persons, including 10 attackers, 11 police personnel and other security employees, besides civilians, were killed in the pitched battles involving the Army and the police. A car-bomb blast in a residential area, housing government officers in Peshawar, left a child dead and sevens others injured.

In Lahore, the militants, in three teams, began their operations at around 9.30 am with an assault on the Federal Investigation (FIA) headquarters in the heart of the city. The attackers exchanged heavy gunfire with the security forces as they forced their way into Manawan Police Academy, adjacent to the city. An attack was also launched at Elite Police Training Centre in Bedian in suburban Lahore.

“Our prompt response averted a major disaster in Lahore,” Maj Gen Shafqat, GOC, Lahore, told reporters after a visit to the three sites. Though the government has described theattacks as desperate attempts by militants to pre-empt the impending military offensive in south Waziristan after its successful expedition in Swat/Malakand, the ferocity and frequency of fresh assaults have jolted the entire country.

‘The enemy has started an all-out war,’ Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Lahore, adding: “But this will not deter us and we are determined to defeat them.” Amjad Farooq Group of Punjab Taliban, which has established close links with the Tehrike Talike in Pakistan (TTP), has claimed responsibility for the attack in Lahore.

In the past 11 days, Pakistan has been rocked by at least five major deadly attacks. On Saturday (October 10), terrorist had launched a daring assault on Army’s nerve centre, the General Headquarter (GHQ) in garrison town of Rawalpindi, close to the capital city of Islamabad.

The attackers killed two senior army officers, besides many soldiers and took hostage 42 persons for nearly 24 hours before the Army was able to free them.

Lahore, the centre of Pakistan’s cultural life and its most liberal major city, has seen a string of deadly attacks throughout 2009. The Farooq group began as an anti-Shia sectarian outfit known as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi but has now coordinated its operations with Al-Qaida, Taliban, Jaish Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

India verifying reports on Brahmaputra dam
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15
In yet another instance of Beijing misleading India, China is said to be building a large-scale dam project on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra river in its territory, which could trigger a major crisis for the people of north-eastern states.

Reacting to a news report in this regard, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said New Delhi had taken up this matter with Beijing in the past during meetings of India-China experts on trans-border river issues and the Chinese side had categorically denied that there was a plan to build any such large-scale diversion project on the Brahmaputra river.

The government was looking into the news report to ascertain whether there were recent developments which suggested any change in the position conveyed to India by China, he added. The Brahmaputra flows for about 1625 km inside the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and for a further 918 km inside India.

“Keeping in mind that the river in an economic resource for the development of the local communities in the two countries, India and China had agreed in November 2006 to establish an expert-level mechanism to discuss trans-border issues in an institutional way. Three meetings have been held so far,’’ the Indian spokesman said.

He added that during these meetings, New Delhi had taken up with the Chinese side reports about the construction of the dam or diversion project in the Brahmaputra. India had also conveyed that such a project might have significant impact on the socio-economic condition of people living downstream. The Indian side had also expressed the hope that the Chinese side would not undertake a large-scale project or divert the waters of the Brahmputra.

Experts say the dam being built by China could affect the livelihood of the people living in north eastern states. It could also lead to flash floods in these states whenever China releases excess water.

Rodrigues in the news again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
English news channel CNN-IBN today came out with a sensational report claiming that the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, General SF Rodrigues (Retd), had been “summoned” by the Prime Minister over his alleged role in “irregularities” in allotment of land to two private companies for setting up mega projects in Chandigarh.

The news report, which claimed that Rodrigues had been “summoned’ at the PMO on Monday, tended to put the blame on the Administrator for giving prised land for a song to two builders for setting up a Film City and an Amusement-cum-Theme Park. The news report dubbed the price of the land at “Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000” crore and claimed that it was allotted for a few hundred crores.

However, officials in Delhi categorically denied the report, claiming no “summons” had been sent to Rodrigues. The Secretary to the Governor, MP Singh, also denied the report, saying: “As of now (8.30 pm), no summon has been received and the Administrator is not going anywhere.”

The news report, quoting a CVC inquiry, claimed that all rules were “violated” while allotting land to the two private companies. The CVC, the news report claimed, had asked the CBI to register a case and begin a pre liminary enquiry (PE).

Quoting “sources” from the Home Ministry, the report even claimed that Rodrigues had “rushed” to Delhi last Tuesday to give an explanation to the PM, hence pleading before the latter that there was “ no direct evidence” (against him).

Denying these charges, sources close to the Governor claimed that there was no truth in the report and they would be filing a “criminal defamation” case against the channel tomorrow.

Recently a special audit by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had found large-scale irregularities in the allotment of land to major corporates at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here. The Film City, the Amusement Park and the IT Park are considered to be a brainchild of the UT Administrator.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee had yesterday demanded registration of an FIR against Rodrigues and a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities committed in the allotment of land for mega projects in the city.

CTCC vice-president Subhash Chawla had said an FIR should be lodged against him on the basis of the MHA report. He said since a number of officials associated with these projects had now been repatriated, the CBI should probe their roles too.

China reassures India about Brahmaputra dam

NDTV Correspondent, Thursday October 15, 2009, New Delhi

India has conveyed its concern to China over its reported plans to build dam on the Brahmaputra River.

India has said that such a project may have significant impact on the socio-economic condition of people living downstream and has expressed hope that China won't undertake this project or divert waters.

The Chinese side has, however, categorically denied that there's any plan to build such a large scale project on the river.

A meeting between Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit on October 23, when this issue and the tension between the two countries on Arunachal Pradesh could be discussed.

Gulzar pens a new song for NSG

Press Trust of India, Thursday October 15, 2009, Manesar (Gurgaon)

The elite black cat commando force National Security Guards (NSG) has got an inspiring new song penned by renowned lyricist Gulzar and sung by noted playback singer Shankar Mahadevan.

The four-minute song is about the courage and valour of the NSG commandos who valiantly fought terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and will be unveiled by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram here on Friday.

"The song encapsulates the grit, courage and the history of the National Security Guards. While Gulzar has written the lyrics, Shankar Mahadevan has composed and sung it," an NSG source said.

The song has a patriotic tune with military beats in the background, symbolising the work style and special operations of the "men in black", the sources said.

While the song uses words like "shaurya" (courage) and the NSG's slogan "Sarvatra Sarvottam Suraksha" (best security everywhere), it also speaks about the commando forces' stride to the other parts of the country with the establishment of new NSG hubs.

The force celebrates its silver jubilee on Friday. The NSG has undertaken special operations since 1984. The last operation by the force was "Operation Black Tornado" in Mumbai to eliminate the terrorists who attacked the city on November 26, 2008.

Agni-5 can target our Harbin city: Chinese daily

Press Trust of India, Thursday October 15, 2009, Beijing

Agni-5, India's latest long-range nuclear-capable missile under development, can target China's northernmost city of Harbin, a leading Chinese newspaper has claimed amid a slew of strident anti-India articles over the status of Arunachal Pradesh.

"India's Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) has made its forthcoming Agni-5 missile highly road-mobile, or easily transportable by road, which would bring Harbin, China's northernmost city within striking range if the Agni-5 is moved to northeast India," the People's Daily reported.

Harbin is the capital of China's Heilongjiang Province.

The paper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, noted that the Agni-5 which has a range of 5,000 km is similar to the Dongfeng-31A showcased during China's National Day Military Parade on October 1 in Beijing.

India is going to test-fire the missile in early 2011, the report claimed.

The report came two days after China raked up its claim over Arunachal Pradesh, questioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit there on October 3.

Reacting strongly to the Chinese objection to Singh's visit, India said the comments were disappointing as the state is an inalienable part of the country and such remarks do "not help" the process of talks on boundary issue.

A number of state-run Chinese papers have stepped up rhetoric against India on the boundary issue through their articles.

Moscow Visit
PM to sign 2 defence pacts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15
Two major agreements to boost defence cooperation between India and Russia are likely to be signed during the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow later this year.

Decks for the signing of the two agreements were cleared today during the ongoing visit of Indian Defence Minister AK Antony to Moscow. One agreement will be on extending the Military Technical Cooperation for 10 years from 2011 to 2020 and the second relates to after- sales product support for defence equipment of Russian origin, spokesperson of the Defence Ministry Sitanshu Kar said here today.

The outlines for the two agreements were hammered out during the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) which concluded in Moscow today. The two-day meeting was presided over by Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.

The meeting reviewed the status of various ongoing bilateral defence cooperation projects. The Commission also reviewed the status of two major projects for joint design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MRTA).

The Russian side has agreed to schedules for the indigenous production of T-90-S tanks and SU-30MKI fighter jets in India.

On the sale of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, both sides agreed that the cost negotiations would continue to find a mutually acceptable solution. Issues relating to defence supplies in a number of other projects were also reviewed in detail by the Commission.

Anti-piracy Drive
IAF to undertake joint exercise with Oman
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15
Expecting that it will be asked to play a role in anti-piracy operations, the Indian Air Force (IAF) would, for the first time, be undertaking a week-long joint exercise with Royal Oman Air Force (RAFO) starting October 22.

Crucial from a military point of view, Indian pilots will get their first sight on the latest version of the US-built F-16 fighters that Oman will deploy. The fighters called “Block 52 series” of the F-16 are with Oman and the USA will supply the first batch of the same to Pakistan in the next few days.

Oman is one of the few middle-east countries that are not “pro Pakistan”. It is located close to piracy infested waters in the Gulf of Aden and had provided berthing facilities to Indian Naval warships patrolling the piracy infested waters off the coast of Somalia in the past one year.

Asked if the IAF was preparing for anti-piracy operations in support of the Indian Navy, which has deployed its warships in the Gulf of Aden, IAF vice-chief PK Barbora said, “We do not know whether we would be called for such operations. But it’s better to be prepared”.

“In case of a requirement ( for anti-piracy operation), we can send our fighters for patrolling and surveillance. We can also help our Navy in terms of speed and manoeuvrability,” he added.

He said both air forces will undertake air-to-ground missions and practice integrated training and operations in desert terrain during the joint exercise, for which the IAF would field six single-seater Jaguar fighter bombers while the RAFO would deploy Jaguars, as also F-16s. The exercise, code-named Eastern Bridge, would be held at a base in Thumrait, nearly 1,200 km from capital Muscat, which is home to over 3,50,000 NRIs.

The Lahore strike
Pakistan pays for pampering Taliban

THE expected ground offensive by the Pakistani army against an estimated 10,000 hardcore Taliban in their stronghold South Waziristan is yet to begin, but the militants seem to have already launched an offensive of their own, that too right there in the heart of the country. On Thursday, they carried out a series of attacks on police offices in Lahore, traditionally the seat of power, including the regional headquarters of the Pakistani Police’s Federal Investigation Agency, in which at least seven persons were killed. The same building was targeted in March last year also, killing 21 people. Gunmen also attacked two police training centres in Lahore taking several hostages. The Lahore incidents came shortly after a suicide car bomber set off his explosives outside a police station in Kohat in the troubled northwest region killing 10 persons. The number of casualties has already reached 24 and is expected to mount further.

It has been a bloody week for Pakistan in which more than 100 persons have died. By first launching a brazen assault on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi and now on the police establishments in Lahore, the militants seem to be throwing an open challenge to the might of the government and warning it not to launch its anticipated assault on the Taliban by sending in ground troops. They have also vowed violence in revenge for the killing of their leader Baitullah Masud in a US missile strike in August.

Pakistan’s difficulty is that most of the Frankensteins which are now mounting a challenge to its very existence happen to be its own creations. They have turned against their mentors following the US drive against them. The US has made its frustration known to the Pakistani authorities over their failure to eliminate Taliban sanctuaries on its side of the border and the latter has now no choice except to go along with the American offensive. That was bound to cause reaction against its own forces. The Taliban offensive is going to be painful for Pakistan, but may perhaps teach its ruling establishment a lesson that promoting terror as an instrument of state policy is fraught with grave risks which are better avoided. India has been giving this advice for years now but sadly it was always ignored by Pakistan.

India's 'hegemony' is a threat, says China daily


SLAMMING NEIGHBOUR: Chinese daily says, the dream of being a superpower held by Indians is "impetuous".

New Delhi: India's 'hegemony' poses a threat to its neighbours, says a premier Chinese daily, citing India's "recent provocation on border issues with China" as proof.

In an opinion piece, the People's Daily says, "In recent years, Indians have become more narrow minded and intolerable of outside criticism as nationalism sentiment rises, with some of them even turning to hegemony.

"It can be proved by India's recent provocation on border issues with China.''

The newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, says that India's hegemony "is a hundred per cent result of British colonialism. Dating back to the era of British India, the country covered a vast territory including present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh as well as Nepal.''

A previous victim of colonialism and hegemony, it said, India started dreaming about developing its own hegemony after the British left.

"Obsessed with such mentality, India turned a blind eye to the concessions China had repeatedly made over the disputed border issues, and refused to drop the pretentious airs when dealing with neighbours like Pakistan.''

To bolster its argument, the newspaper says that even Jawaharlal Nehru had once said that "India could not play an inferior role in the world, and it should either be a superpower or disappear.'

Calling the dream of being a superpower held by Indians "impetuous", the daily says, "The dream of superpower is mingled with the thought of hegemony, which places the South Asian giant in an awkward situation and results in repeated failure.

Since India has constantly been under foreign rule, the newspaper said, "the essence for the rise of India lies in how to be an independent country, to learn to solve the complicated ethnic and religious issues, to protect the country from terrorist attacks, to boost economic development as well as to put more efforts on poverty alleviation.''

But India's hegemonic designs face geopolitical limitation. "It has the Himalaya mountain to its north, a natural barrier for northward expansion; it has Pakistan to the west, a neighbour it is always at odds over the disputed border issues,'' the article says.

Blaming India for pursuing a foreign policy of "befriend the far and attack the near", it said, "It engaged in the war separately with China and Pakistan and the resentment still simmers. If India really wants to be a superpower, such a policy is shortsighted and immature.''

If India wants to be a superpower, the daily said, it needs to have "its eyes on relations with neighbours and abandon the recklessness and arrogance as the world is undergoing earthshaking changes.

"For India, the ease of tension with China and Pakistan is the only way to become a superpower.''

It said China is "proactively engaging in negotiations with India for the early settlement of border dispute and India should give a positive response".

'Al-Qaeda leaders are in Pak, why send troops to Afghan?'

Last updated on: October 16, 2009 01:50 IST

Tags: Steanley McChrystal, Robert Byrd, al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, US



Save to

My Page



Write a


An influential US Senator has asked the Obama Administration to explain how sending more troops to Afghanistan would help in defeating al-Qaeda when its top leaders have moved to Pakistan's unruly tribal areas.

The Senator was reacting to the Obama Administration's recent statement that al-Qaeda has now moved to Pakistan and most of its top leaders are in its tribal areas.

"I am compelled to ask: Does it take 100,000 US troops to find Osama bin Laden [ Images ]? If al-Qaeda has moved to Pakistan, what will these troops in Afghanistan add to the effort to defeat al-Qaeda?" Senator Robert Byrd said on the floor of the US Senate.

In his speech, Byrd opposed the recommendation of Gen Steanley McChrystal, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to send 30,000 to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to bolster the more than 65,000 American troops

already there.

"What is meant by the term 'defeat' in the parlance of conventional military aims when facing a shadowy, global terrorist network? And what of this number 100,000? Does the number 100,000 troops include support personnel? Does it include government civilians? Does it include defence and security contractors?" he asked.

Byrd said the US should refocus its efforts on al-Qaeda and reduce its participation in Afghanistan.

"Given the lack of popularity and integrity of the current Afghan Government, what guarantee is that additional Afghan troops and equipment will not produce an even larger and better armed hostile force?," the Senator said.

"There is no guarantee," he said. Meanwhile, Senator Kyl has supported the Gen McChrystal report, saying "I think we need to listen to the advice of the commander in the field, General McChrystal, who produced a very straightforward assessment of the situation in Afghanistan."

Referring to the series of situation room meetings by President Barack Obama [ Images ], Kyl said: "Obviously, the President is the Commander in Chief, and the decisions are his to make. It is appropriate for him to rely upon others for advice as well as on the commander in the field. But there is a point at which the President's own strategy, which he announced in

March, needs to be adequately resourced and we need to move forward."

CBI seeks Singapore help in probe against former ordnance board chief

P. S. Suryanarayana

The allegation is that ill-gotten money is deposited in a bank in the city state

A Singapore company is on our radar: CBI chief

ST Kinetics offers to assist in any Indian investigation

SINGAPORE: The Central Bureau of Investigation is seeking Singapore’s cooperation in the investigation of the allegation that the ill-gotten funds of a former chairman of the Indian Ordnance Factories Board (IOFB) were deposited in a bank here.

CBI Director Ashwani Kumar told The Hindu here on Thursday that a Letter of Request (LR) “is on the way through the diplomatic channel.”

Mr. Kumar, who is here in connection with the just-concluded Interpol conference, said he requested the Singapore authorities, “in advance” of the arrival of the LR, to “expedite” their response. The help of the Singapore police and courts was being sought.

Asked whether a Singapore company was also on the CBI radar, he said: “Yes.” Citing the rules of propriety, he did not identify either the firm or the former IOFB chairman or even the suspected middleman, whose versions formed the core of the charge.

Conceding that the names were already known because of the arrest and release on bail of the former IOFB chairman, Mr. Kumar indicated that the case was related to certain defence deals. The CBI might take six or seven months to file a charge sheet.

The LR would seek relevant documents from the Singapore banking institutions, he said.

Unrelated to the CBI’s moves, Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (ST Kinetics) has “offered to assist in any [Indian] investigation as appropriate.” On June 30, ST Kinetics referred to the media reports that sought to link it to the case and said: “We only participate in open international tenders governed by regulations set out by the Indian government, and we have been in total compliance with these regulations.”

Asked whether the CBI would object to field trials of ST Kinetics’ ultra-light howitzer for evaluation by the Indian Army, Mr. Kumar said: “I won’t know that …. They [ST Kinetics] feel that they are being targeted without any evidence. So, to be fair to them, we have to ensure that we say they will be under investigation only after we have some evidence. … That is why I told the Singapore [authorities] that it is good for all of us if we come to know those banking [details]. Who opened the [alleged] account? Who are the sponsors? Who all operated the account? … In the international transparency perception, [anti-] corruption index, Singapore is very, very, very high. It is in the top bracket.”

A Repetition Of 1962 Is Highly Probable

Chinese provocations should not be countered with wishful thinking



Former Law Minister

THE MUCH maligned Jaswant Singh of the BJP, in his book Defending India (1999) with sadness warned the nation that New Delhi’s management of Sino-Indian relations has been a dismal failure and the nation continues to pay the price for it. In 1950 India fought with all its strength to seat China in the Security Council thus putting it in a position to veto even legitimate protection India may need for its security and survival. China is today a nuclear power and has proliferated nuclear technology and weapons to India’s traditional foes. It has swallowed vast stretches of Indian territory and is feverishly trying to grab more. Our response is the silence of lambs being led to slaughter.

Ten more years have passed since the warning was published by a responsible minister of the Government of India. As of today China has assembled massive military forces on the de facto border. Its army has indulged in arrogant incursions into Indian territory almost every month. They deliberately leave, only to insult and annoy us, tell-tale evidence of their visits. Cigarette packets, empty cartons of food and even cases of bullets fired are left strewn all over. They have left signs in Chinese on boulders proclaiming – ‘This is China’. For some time it was the foot soldiers of the Chinese infantry that indulged in these provocative actions. Now mounted troops have joined them.

Chinese soldiers deliberately leave tell-tale evidence of their incursions to insult and annoy us

In May last year at a meeting of officers, the Chinese openly laid claim to a part of Sikkim. They have often laid claims to Arunachal. Vast infrastructure projects are in operation in the region and roads are being constructed right into the state. China has rudely objected to President Prathiba Patil’s visit to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh in April. And now, China is protesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on October 3.

But our government is busy downplaying all these provocative activities. Just a couple of days ago journalist Manu Pubby asked our home minister about the Chinese acts of trespass. In his answer the minister spoke instead of the poor reporting by the Indian press which had claimed, perhaps mistakenly, that some of our soldiers had been killed in the skirmishes. The minister’s answer was plainly evasive. Fortunately the protocol of the interview did not seem to permit any supplementary questions. I mean, fortunate for the minister.

Our armed forces, in contrast, are concerned at the smugness of the civilian authorities. The Air Force chief complains that we have less than a third of the Chinese air strike power. The naval chief announces that the naval power of the Chinese is vastly superior to ours. The figures of the two armies should remind us of the humiliating defeat that we suffered in 1962. Some perceptive citizens are rightfully panicked and recall the disaster, that the credulity and criminal negligence of the Nehru government inflicted upon India. It is not the purpose of this article to advocate war with the Chinese Dragon. What I advocate is that a repetition of the Chinese aggression of 1962 is highly probable. We are lucky if it is not imminent. We must get ready to counter the threat and summon to our help all the soft power we can commandeer.

Mao Zedong, the creator of Communist China has left a will and testament for succeeding communist administrations. “Tibet,” he said “is the palm of the hand which has five fingers – Ladhakh, Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and NEFA, [present day Arunachal]. These areas must all be liberated and absorbed into China.” It is foolish to imagine that Chinese leaders have abandoned this dream or rejected the will of their supreme leader. The way China is building up its military power far beyond the needs of legitimate defense is almost conclusive proof of its hostile designs on Indian territory and our national integrity.

China is a nation on the move. It is estimated that about 200 million have left their villages in search of work in cities around China. It is the largest migration in human history. Pushed by the timeless poverty of the countryside, this army of migrants is now fuelling the economic boom that is putting cheap toys, clothes, television sets, computers and consumables of all kinds on the shelves of the world stores. After Chairman Mao’s death in 1976, his successors have discarded the Marxist economic model and have adopted a unique brand of man-eat-man capitalism, officially misdescribed as socialism with Chinese characteristics. Today the Chinese GDP is three times bigger than ours, its foreign exchange reserves are six times bigger and its annual growth is 15 percent against our measly 5 percent. This newfound wealth produces arrogance and aggression far more vicious than in 1962. If you don’t believe it ask the Uighurs of Xinjiang, the survivors of Tiananmen or the harmless Falungong. As China’s wealth grows, and so does it’s firepower. The five finger hand becomes easier to grab. We have done nothing to make them even wonder if we are less unprepared and stupid than we were five decades ago.

We have done nothing to make the Chinese wonder if we are less stupid than we were five decades ago

Soon after Pandit Nehru became the prime minister of India, he called a conference of Asian political leaders. It was a grand affair. India-China friendship was its conspicuous feature, but significantly the flag of independent Tibet proudly flew alongside that of China. In less than four years, Tibet lost its independence and was forcibly annexed by the Chinese. Its conquest and forcible occupation were completed in 1959, when the Dalai Lama and his small band of followers escaped and sought safety and refuge on Indian territory. While we did grant asylum to the refugees from Tibet, we shamelessly acquiesced in its unlawful annexation, an unintended effect perhaps of Panchsheel and Hindi-Cheeni Bhai Bhai slogans.

The palm has been taken but the fingers yet remained to be twisted and mastered at some more propitious time. The nibbling at our borders continued. The aggressive Chinese actions were not even clandestine. The whole world could see it, so did Pandit Nehru’s government. But he was too embarrassed to share the dangerous truth with the people of India.

The Chinese put across their claims to Indian territory in written communications to our great leader. Whether the whole cabinet knew of them is debatable. But what is indisputable is the fact that we did not make any serious effort to halt the march of Chinese show of force. Time came when we could not just put up a benign smile on our faces. When concealment became impossible, a confused Prime minister pretending to have power which he did not possess, insanely declared, “I have asked the Indian Army to throw out the Chinese.” This thoughtless command was issued from Madras airport while the great leader was in transit to Colombo, his destination on that occasion.

We suffered disastrous defeat. Never has India suffered such humiliation. The Parliament passed a resolution accusing the Chinese of immoral ingratitude and wanton aggression. “The flames of liberty and sacrifice have been kindled anew and this House affirms the firm resolve of the Indian people to drive out the aggressor from the sacred soil of India.” Pandit Nehru knew that this was just plain rhetoric. No wonder he died a broken man, his credulity badly exposed, his Chinese policy and Panchsheel in shambles and his life’s work ending in smoke.

None of his successors have ever dared publicly to recall the promises made to the people or take some sensible steps to fulfill them. Smt Indira Gandhi without quid pro quo, restored full diplomatic relations in 1976. The youthful Rajiv Gandhi in December 1988 only managed to set up a working committee of officials of both countries to discuss issues relating to the boundary dispute and to prepare the ground for resolving them, another semantic fraud. In the 1990s, Prime Minister Narsimha Rao chloroformed the nation with a Treaty of Peace and Tranquility which suited only the Chinese. Even a ferocious tiger that has filled its belly retires to a corner of the forest to have a peaceful snooze to digest its prey.

Mr Vajpayee returned from China only to tell the nation that both sides had realised that the issue was intractable. It would naturally take long to resolve. It was best to put it on the backburner and instead concentrate on other matters, of course of no relevance to the pledges of 1962. The NDA and the UPA governments have since seen how the Chinese wealth and military force are growing and our influence in the power centres of the world fast dwindling. It is not just panic that makes sensible people apprehensive of possible Chinese attacks on our border. Our trusting Pandit Nehru proved a disaster, can we trust Dr Manmohan Singh now?

We must loudly proclaim our peaceful intentions and desire for an honourable and urgent settlement

THIS WEEK I attended, for a while, a seminar in Delhi organised on this issue by the Dr Shyama Prasad Research Foundation. A brilliant galaxy of scholars, writers and experts in the field of foreign affairs had been brought together. The concern and anxiety on the faces of all were evident, so was the search of some credible solution. I could not be at the seminar for long. What I write here are in brief my thoughts which I wanted to express but could not for lack of time and opportunity.

First, let me repeat, I do not suggest a war with China. Our membership of United Nations and adherence to its Charter puts it out of the list of available alternatives. Secondly, we are bound by a constitutional commitment under the 51st Article of our basic law to eschew war as an instrument of foreign policy. Thirdly, the same Article mandates that all international disputes should be resolved by the pacific method of arbitration.

We must, therefore, loudly proclaim our peaceful intentions and desire for an honourable and urgent settlement. Arbitration is the best method of resolution. International tribunals are available for this purpose. In 1947 we determined the boundaries of Bengal, Punjab and Assam by appointing a commission of three judges who did a remarkable job. We graciously accepted its awards and no difficulty of any kind has arisen since then.

Let us be clear that our weaker economic and military position in any event should put armed conflict out of our thoughts. The Charter however permits defensive arrangements between nations. We must endeavour to have such defense treaties with friendly democracies of the world. The US, the European Union, the Commonwealth countries, Russia and Japan are candidates for forging with them bilateral or multilateral alliances. This is nothing but practice of the old doctrine of the Balance of Power, a dominant principle of successful diplomacy for more than 200 years. When a powerful state poses threat of aggression and war, the only solution is a coalition of other powers who individually are not strong enough to stand up to the aggressor. We had a treaty of the same kind with the Soviet Union once. Let us then offer arbitration to the Chinese. If they reject it, India will have strengthened its moral case and created reliable friends to fight on our side.

Will Foreign Minister SM Krishna care to ponder these suggestions?

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal