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Tue, 21st November 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “india” Tag

India and China agree to end border standoff

India and China have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops in a disputed border area where their soldiers have been locked in a stand-off for more than two months, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations – a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa – in China next month, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

 Indian and Chinese troops have been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan and China, in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades along their disputed Himalayan border.

The Indian ministry said the two sides had agreed to defuse the crisis following diplomatic talks.

“In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam,” the ministry said in a statement.

“On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going,” it said in a statement.

China woos Bhutan with $10 billion in standoff with India

Locked in a two-month border standoff with India and tiny Bhutan in the Himalayas, China is offering its little neighbor $10 billion in economic assistance to soften its stance.

Sources say that since the offer, Bhutan has toned down its allegations that China is violating its territorial claims.

 The development complicates Bhutan’s relations with India, which blocked Chinese troops after Bhutan — a long-time security ally of India’s — notified New Delhi that the troops were attempting to construct a road in a part of the Doklam Plateau claimed by both China and Bhutan.

India and China have accused each other of violating the border, with troops from both countries in a face-off since June. Winning over Bhutan would lend more credence to their claims, and it appears Beijing’s overture is having the desired effect. Speaking to Indian reporters earlier this month, a Chinese diplomat said that Bhutan clearly acknowledged to Beijing that the area where Indian troops entered is not part of Bhutan.

If the claim is correct, it would signal a weakening of ties between India and Bhutan.

Although a Bhutanese government official immediately issued a denial to Indian media, New Delhi remains unconvinced. A government source told the Nikkei early this month that China’s $10 billion package — which includes a grant, low-interest loans and direct investment — is tempting Bhutan.

When External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with her Bhutanese counterpart, Damcho Dorji, on Aug. 11 on the sidelines of a regional meeting, she told Dorji not to be betrayed by China, asking further that Bhutan retain its alliance with India. Dorji, however, only said that he hoped the standoff would be resolved peacefully and amicably, refraining from any comment that would provoke China.

In June, Bhutan’s foreign ministry blasted China, saying that the construction work violates an agreement between the two countries.

China, India near armed conflict over border dispute

Chinese and Indian troops are readying themselves for a possible armed conflict in the event they fail in their efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to their border dispute on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas, observers said.

On Friday, India’s defence minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the country’s armed forces are “prepared to take on any eventuality” of the stand-off, Indian Express reported the same day. 

Sources close to the Chinese military, meanwhile, said that the People’s Liberation Army is increasingly aware of the possibility of war, but will aim to limit any conflict to the level of skirmishes, such as those contested by India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

“The PLA will not seek to fight a ground war with Indian troops early on. Instead it will deploy aircraft and strategic missiles to paralyse Indian mountain divisions stationed in the Himalayas on the border with China,” a military insider told the South China Morning Post on condition of anonymity, adding that he believes Indian troops will probably hold out for “no more than a week”.

India steps up troop deployment along China border in Sikkim

In a strategic move, India has raised its “operational readiness” by bringing in more troops along its entire border at Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, according to reports.

It’s been nearly two months since India-China face-off began.The standoff started after Indian soldiers stopped the Chinese army from constructing a road in Doklam plateau. Neither India nor China has shown any signs of backing out from the issue.

Reports state that the standoff so far has involved as many as 300 soldiers guarding the borders on either side, with each troop standing a few metres apart.

China says that the plateau, going by the name Donglang, is a part of its land and it holds all rights to continue the construction of road. India-Bhutan both claim that the land belonged to the Himalayan kingdom and had warned Beijing about the serious security concerns that changes the status quo at the tri-junction area of India China and Bhutan.

‘Caution level’ increased

China steps up troop presence at Doklam 7 weeks into standoff

Doklam, Sikkim, China, India, India China doklam, China India doklam

Seven weeks into the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam, there has been increased Chinese presence in the vicinity of the standoff site at the trijunction with Bhutan. At a distance of around one kilometre from Dolam plateau, north of Doka La post, the Chinese have pitched around 80 tents for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. The Indian Express has learnt that the number of Chinese troops in the area is estimated to be less than 800, which means that it is not a full PLA infantry battalion. In addition, around 300 PLA soldiers are deployed at the standoff site, facing around 350 Indian soldiers who are staying in nearly 30 tents pitched in the area. Refusing to comment on the presence of Chinese soldiers, official sources said “there is no movement from the other side that has been picked up by us”.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army has also advanced its schedule for Operational Alert, popularly called Op Alert, for units of 33 Corps looking after Sikkim’s border with China. An Op Alert is a two-week long annual training event in which all Army units move to familiarise themselves with their likely area of operation. The two-week period does not include the time for movement and acclimatisation for deployment at higher altitudes. 

India’s rubber growers test government’s will on tariffs

Faced with falling prices and rising imports, Indian rubber farmers and traders are blaming the federal government for their troubles.

From a high of 208 rupees ($3.24) per kilogram in 2011 prices for the benchmark RSS-4 (ribbed smoked sheet) natural rubber product have fallen to 125 rupees in July. In January 2017 local prices spurted to 145 rupees per kilogram, following reports of widespread flood damage to the rubber crop in Thailand. But the rally proved short lived.

 George Valy, a rubber expert and a former official of India’s Rubber Dealers Association, says these prices mean that rubber is being produced at a loss. “The cost of production is 175 rupees per kilogram, without taking into account the investment in land. If interest is added to the cost, it will come to around 225 rupees a kilogram,” Valy said.

India’s imports of natural rubber contracted by 7% in the year ending March 2017, responding to higher international prices and rising domestic production. But planters are apprehensive about government moves to reduce subsidies to the industry and shut regional offices of the Rubber Board, a government agency charged with developing the sector. Natural rubber production rose by 23% to 690,000 tons in 2016-2017.

Planters in the southwestern state of Kerala protested publicly about suggestions that 14 of 26 Rubber Board offices in the state might be closed. “They (the central government) are planning to shut down the Rubber Board offices,” Kerala’s Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said. Ajith Kumar, chairman of the Rubber Board, told the Nikkei Asian Review that it is considering “restructuring” to reduce establishment and operating costs.

India is the world’s sixth largest rubber producer, with Kerala accounting for 80% of domestic production and the remainder grown in neighboring Tamil Nadu state and Tripura state, adjacent to Bangladesh.

The Myth Of India’s IT Industry

A Shift in Perception – Indians in Silicon Valley

When I was studying in the UK in early 90s, I was often asked about cows, elephants and snake-charmers on the roads in India.  A shift in public perception – not in the associated reality – was however starting to happen. India would soon become known for its vibrant IT industry.

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Friends and family are helping students taking university exams with cheating. 2.5 million candidates, many of them with PhDs or post-graduates, recently applied for 6,000 of the lowest level job positions (“grade D”) available in West Bengal, which require no more than an early-stage school education. While India produces the largest number of PhDs, engineers, etc. in the world, the educational system is in reality in a shambles and a complete joke. Most of these people are in fact unemployable. [The incredible scene above took place in Bihar and is explained in greater detail here. Relatives of students are scaling the walls of the examination center to pass on cheat sheets to their offspring. Policemen who were supposed to guard examination buildings were often bribed to look the other way. A total of 6 to 7 million people across India were estimated to provide  cheating assistance. [PT]]

A similar scene at another examination center in Bihar. In several locations parents and relatives even clashed with police who tried to keep them from scaling the walls (which is actually quite risky). Here is a You-tube video showing a TV report on the “massive family affair” the exam turned into, which is in parts quite funny. You will inter alia notice that students who get caught cheating by their teachers sometimes have to expect the kind of traditional instant punishment that would be frowned upon in politically correct Western societies, but which probably has the advantage of being memorable (here is another video of the collective cheating effort; and here is Mr. Bean taking an exam). [PT]

As more IT graduates from India moved to the US to work, they lobbied to change how India was viewed, not because India had actually changed or because they cared for India, but because from their tribal perspective, this reflected well on them. This process went hand in hand with the emerging trend toward political correctness in the West – people in the West became keen to exaggerate the successes of India and other “emerging markets” to prove their non-racist orientation.

Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”

It could be argued that there’s never been a time in history, where so many Americans thought that we were on the brink of another major war. If you pay attention to the constant news stream of stories regarding Syria, North Korea, or Russia, you’d be hard pressed to deny it. In fact, a recent poll found that 76% of Americans are worried that another war will break out in the next 4 years, and 80% were afraid that we could be embroiled in a conflict with North Korea in the near future.

There’s no doubt that Americans are fraught with fear over the thought that a new war is on the horizon, especially if that war could lead to another global conflict. But most Americans forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They worry a lot about their nation engaging in another world war, but they forget that there are several powerful nations that could spark a global conflagration without America’s input.

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Among them are China and India, who have been engaged in a border dispute for decades. That dispute has flared up once again, as China hurls threats of war with India.

 The ruling Communist Party of China has issued a stern warning to neighboring India, with which it is engaged in a bitter border dispute that has recently seen Chinese live-fire drills and media speculation of extensive Indian military casualties denied by both sides.

After accusing Indian troops of crossing over the disputed Sikkim border last month, Chinese Communist Party outlet Global Times published a commentary Tuesday urging restraint by both belligerents, but warning that China was prepared to engage India in a battle for the contested land. The piece chalked up the conflict to a greater competition for economic and political dominance between the two leading Asian powers and said that Beijing would amass troops and armaments at the border in anticipation for what could turn into an all-out war.

China’s dangerous taunt: Modi’s Hindu nationalism can trigger war

The Chinese media has ratcheted up its discourse against India, this time by taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and what it calls “Hindu nationalism”. An opinion published in China’s English language daily Global Times, titled “Hindu nationalism risks pushing India into war with China” also expressed the view that the border row “is an action targeted at China that caters to the demand of India’s religious nationalists.”

The election of PM Modi has “fueled the country’s nationalist sentiments”, said the article, published on Wednesday. His government, it added, “can do nothing if religious nationalism becomes extreme, as shown in its failure to curb violent incidents against Muslims since he came to power in 2014”.
 Pointing out that “New Delhi is demanded to act tougher in foreign relations” especially with nations like Pakistan and China, it said India’s strategists and politicians have shown “no wisdom in preventing India’s China policy from being kidnapped by rising nationalism”.

The Chinese media has been shrill about the stand-off at the border in Sikkim, which has been on for more than a month. Three days ago, another article in Global Times said China needs to prepare for the stand-off becoming a long-term situation and more such conflicts can trigger “an all-out confrontation” along the entire Line of Actual Control.