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TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO ‘ONE CHINA’

We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’?

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft.

China wants the world to repeatedly chant ‘One China’ which is expansionist. China gobbled Tibet, Xinxiang, Inner Mongolia and part of India soon after becoming a People’s Republic. It is now in the process of gobbling up Hong Kong, a sliver of eastern Ladakh and the South China Sea illegally. Next in line are Taiwan and Senkaku islands. Xi Jinping’s ambitious consolidation plan of the Chinese nation includes also sovereign Indian territories of eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. China covets parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Central Asian Republics and Russia based on some mythologically-obscure history drummed up through propaganda. In future, ‘One China’ will encompass all areas taken over through debt traps. Starting with Hambantota, China is eyeing islands in the Maldives, Pakistan and beyond. It will also seek and stake sovereignty over areas where people of Chinese origin reside. Even now it seeks allegiance from them. The future map of ‘One China’ will extend to wherever the BRI has spread its tentacles and people of Chinese origin reside. The world cannot afford a constantly bloating ‘One China’ except of course Pakistan. 

UNTRUSTWORTHY

China has a history of deceit and violating/dishonouring all treaties and agreements. It militarised the South China Sea despite promises not to do so. It disregarded the International Court of Justice and the UNCLOS in its South China Sea claims. Imposition of the National Security Law broke international promises made on Hong Kong to continue with the UK system till 2047. It violated all trade and investment treaties selectively. As per Chris Patten, one thing is clear: the world cannot trust Xi’s dictatorship. The sooner the world recognizes this and acts together, it will be safer. Do not forget China’s role and lies in spreading the Wuhan virus. The predicament, which you and I as world citizens find ourselves in, originated in China.

TIBET-RELATED ISSUES

The relationship between Tibet and China has varied between suzerainty and sovereignty. When China was strong Tibet was sovereign to it. When China was weak, Tibet functioned as an independent state under Chinese suzerainty. The 1914 Shimla Agreement is the fundamental agreement on borders between India, China and Tibet. Iven Chen, the Chinese representative initialled the pages but decamped overnight from Shimla without signing the agreement. He left ‘Chinese ambiguity’ behind, which persists till date. Much later China invaded Tibet and usurped it. The Dalai Lama fled to India and the rest is history. Despite being defeated in the 1962 war, India never accepted Tibet as part of China. However it did not meddle in Tibet. Later, in 1987, Arunachal Pradesh was granted statehood. China never objected to it. A thaw took place when Rajiv Gandhi met Deng Xiaoping. China and India entered into Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreements in the 1990s. In 2003 India recognised Tibet as part of China. After that, it kept distance from the internal affairs of Tibet or China. India kept up the bargain. India has never had a direct connection with Taiwan, Xinxiang and Inner Mongolia. However we have begun a fledgling relationship with Taiwan now.

CHINESE PERFIDY

China never allowed a treaty/ agreement to stop it from interfering in the internal affairs of India. It started interfering when it trained Naga Militants in the 60’s and 70’s. Since the 2000s, China has been claiming sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, as part of ‘South Tibet’. A term which never existed earlier. It is currently fomenting trouble in Tawang on religious and political grounds.  China has now violated all border agreements to maintain Peace and Tranquillity by repeated military aggression. In 2017, it attempted changing the International Boundary at Doklam. Take note. In Sikkim there is an International Boundary and not an LAC. What’s more, it blamed India for violating the 1890 Agreement during the Doklam standoff. China attributes its current military aggression in Eastern Ladakh to Indian transgression of the LAC! That’s rich! Now it does not recognise the UT of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh since they are supposedly illegal. China objects to infrastructure development deep in Indian territory. It has not kept up the bargain on many border related issues and has interfered abnormally in our internal affairs. It has been simply perfidious.

There are reports that China and Pakistani are conducting joint patrols in POK. It is also helping Pakistan in setting up surface-to-air missile launch sites and a missile defence system thee. Besides this, the flagship CPEC runs through POK. They have also signed a deal to build three dams in POK  at, Diamer Bhasha, Azad Pattan and Kohala. The dam activity poses a direct military threat to India. Chinese activity in POK grossly violates Indian sovereignty as also UN resolutions on J&K. No UN resolution says that POK belongs to Pakistan. Yet, China has entered into illegal agreements on land that does not belong to either party.

The litany does not end here. China has been into extensive hacking and electronic surveillance in India. Chinese hackers stole 68 Lakh Records from an Indian healthcare site. As per media, Chinese cloud servers are sending data of Indian users to China. It could involve the technology giant Alibaba. A Chinese ‘hybrid warfare’ data firm with government links has tracked over 10,000 Indians including PM Modi. 40,000 cyber-attacks were attempted by Chinese hackers on Indian banking, IT sector in five days in the current tense times. Further Chinese are even involved in hawala rackets in conjunction with a Chinese bank. The Chinese ambassador even issues diktats to the media and the embassy threatens it as if he is a Viceroy of China. Now, Xiaomi Smartphones have banned  Arunachal Pradesh from their weather app. It has gone to the extent that Jammu and Kashmir is being shown as PRC even by Twitter.

China has also had the temerity to tell India to remain non-aligned and not get close to the US. China blocked India from becoming a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. It opposed our entry into the UN Security Council and even helped Pakistan blatantly in UN and other forums. China believes the Dalai Lama is a terrorist whilst shielding Masood Azhar from being designated as one. It is an unabashed nuclear proliferator. It instigated Nepal to lay claims on Kalapani.

PREPARING AHEAD

Currently China is stymied by India militarily in eastern Ladakh. Its endeavour has been a miscalculation. It is trying for a face saving accommodation to buy time. Next time it will come fully prepared. When Xi says “solidify border defences and ensure frontier security… ensuring national security and enduring peace and stability” regarding Tibet and that Buddhism must “adapt to socialism and Chinese conditions” through political and ideological education: he has said a lot. There will be a next time when China will be better prepared and more aggressive. The only way to keep China at bay is to make it look inwards. The US has recognised this and has started its action. 

 Our External Affairs Minister says that what happened this year was a sharp departure over a course of relationship over 30 years. He talks of a very deep public and political impact and a relationship profoundly disturbed. He is incorrect. It is more than that. There is now a generational cleavage between India and China. Most Indians feel that unless the border issue finds some resolution, other issues—economic, cultural, diplomatic and political—must take a back seat. Tibet is an important tool in our kit to deal with any Sino Indian situation. Hence it is imperative that India adopts a suitable stance. While we do not aspire for Tibet, we should not treat it as part of China either. For that matter Xinxiang or Taiwan or Inner Mongolia are also not part of China. We need not blanche at ensuring that people of Tibet and Xinjiang get their due rights as per common human decency. We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’ which is legal to it? It is time to say ‘One China, get lost’.

THE WAY FORWARD

The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft. We may have also feared that China and Pakistan will wreak havoc. In that respect, things cannot go worse and we have been able to handle them well. Times have changed. Interests have changed.  The past mistakes of deferring to Chinese highhandedness need instant correction. It is apparent that the Chinese are not ten feet tall. Also, the Chinese Virus has generated immense negative political and human sentiment against China. The faster we decouple from China, and regain trade balance through ‘aatmanirbharta’ the better it is for us. It is now clear that there are finite limits to which China can use strong arm tactics against us or anyone. In any case a major part of hybrid/ asymmetric options against China stem from the rimlands of Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Inner Mongolia. These options will keep China focused inwards and at bay. We must not eschew them. It is poor statecraft to do so. In fact, it would be dumb to do so.

The US has appointed a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. He is to promote dialogue between China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama, protect religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans; address humanitarian and human rights issues and repression of Tibetans,  look into severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China. That is a packet. A similar one exists for Xinjiang in all probability. A German delegation at the UN General Assembly delivered a joint statement on behalf of 39 countries conveying their “grave concern on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong”. It called on China to “respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet”.

The statement was signed by the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Britain and Germany. There is a definite move afoot to make China look inward. Why are we not there? A question cropped up from an intellectual on the Social Media “What is stopping media, academics, think tanks, intellectuals in democratic India, from criticizing CCP China›s genocide, religious cleansing, ethnic cleansing etc in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria etc? Why can›t they start supporting Taiwan independence? ” Time to smell the coffee.

There is a strong public opinion across India—vociferous and unanimous against this lopsided concept of ‘One China’. The Indian opinion in any media—social, mass, electronic or print—openly favour Taiwan’s independence,  Tibet’s autonomy, Xijiang’s freedom, Hong Kong’s autonomy and Mongolian rights. 3THM is the coinage as it is emerging. The surge of Tibetan and national feeling which burst forth when the SFF was used in the operations to occupy Kailash Range is a pointer. The ultra-cautious approach of the government is indeed baffling. The people of India must nudge the Government into action on this issue. It is understandable that we work our way forward with caution and incrementally. However, intent has to be conveyed. Alternatively, the government should explain itself as why it wants to continue to be an ostrich. The nation needs to know.  

Our External Affairs Minister has been talking of a ‘New Equilibrium’ with China. Well, every system exists in a state of equilibrium—natural or unnatural. That is physics. Currently, the ‘Sino-Indian Equilibrium’ is heavily lopsided against us. The Indian armed forces have given an opportunity to India to correct this imbalance. Some correction has already happened due to force multiplication of military action with economic, diplomatic and political actions. Beyond this much more cannot happen if we remain hesitant and cautious. A ‘New Equilibrium’ which is ‘balanced’ can be achieved only if China is made to look inwards. The ‘common man’ of India has been wise enough to recognise this. The poster on Shanti Path on Taiwanese National Day conveys a lot—not only to China but also to the Government of India and the world. Indians have made their choice. It is time the people’s voice is heard loud and clear by everyone who matters. One China, get lost. Onwards to 3THM.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.

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Defence

‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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Defence

SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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Defence

IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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Defence

ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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Defence

BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit

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The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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Defence

IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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