India and China must fully reset ties, says former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, cautioning that any move to allow buffer zones, mutual pullouts and suspending patrols at the Line of Actual Control sends out the wrong message that both sides are equally responsible for the aggression.
Well, I think there’s no question that, after this, India-China relations will be reset. I think there’s no going back to the situation before [Ladakh stand-off]. I do think this has been building up for some time, that India-China relations have been getting more and... more...
more adversarial for some years before this. But certainly what China did this time: pressing forward on multiple points along the LAC, then changing the definition of what she claims to be the LAC, the deaths for the first time since 1975 [in June 15 Galwan clash]. All this, I think, represents a significant change in Chinese behaviour and actually calls into question the whole structure of agreements and confidence-building measures that were put in place since 1988 and with the 1993 agreement, which had kept the peace on the border for some time.
It’s been very hard to be too specific because, frankly, both governments’ strategic communication has been abysmal. There’s a lot of spin, a lot of leaks, a lot of motivated articles in the press. But there’s very little authoritative commentary by the government and even what they say, they then backtrack, clarify etc. So, it is difficult at this stage to comment on the particular details of what is happening and what has happened in the last few months. But this is still a crisis. I don’t see this as having been solved yet or being behind us. And I am sure that India-China relations will have to be reset after this.
Well, I think it’s actually dangerous, to speak of disengagement pullback, withdrawal, buffer zones. These suggest that we are withdrawing from territory which we have controlled consistently, and that we were part of the problem to start with. China stopped us from doing our normal patrols in these areas, which we’ve done for years. The Chinese have stopped us from doing so at several points since April. And I don’t hear anybody saying that we are going back to those points. So, frankly, if we are withdrawing from territory that we have controlled, I don’t understand what is happening here. As I said, we talk about the fog of war; this is the fog of peace. And there isn’t enough information coming out clearly. But it seems to me that we are setting a dangerous pattern.
In fact, we are actually teaching the Chinese the wrong lesson. And this started with Doklam, where we negotiated withdrawals by both sides from the face-off point in 2017. The Chinese then proceeded to establish a very strong, permanent presence on the plateau, leaving the face-off point itself free. Before that, they used to visit once or twice a year, patrol and go back, just to signal the claim, but now they’re actually sitting on the plateau. I don’t think this is a military failure. In fact, the military knows exactly how to deal with these situations and has dealt with them very well. But I think it’s a political and diplomatic failure to not call them out for changing the status quo, something that China committed to maintain both with Bhutan and with us.
So, frankly, [China] learned the lesson that as long as the Indian [government] could walk away with a propaganda victory, they could actually make gains and change the outcomes on the ground in their favour. And I think the risk is that we see the same kind of thing happening now here in Ladakh. I’m not saying it has happened yet, but there is a real risk here. In other words, what we’re seeing is really more of the same strategy that China has followed in the South China Sea where she changes facts on the ground, presents you with a fait accompli, takes two steps forward and then negotiates one step back. And if we are agreeing to a similar kind of arrangement, no matter how temporary you say it might be, all these temporary arrangements tend to have tactually become relatively permanent.
I saw an analysis somewhere saying that in cases of such fait accompli in the last 35 years, 50% of them have actually become permanent. I mean, they’ve just stayed as they were for the last 35 years. So, there is a risk here that we’re actually you know, reinforcing the wrong lessons.
What we need to do is insist that China implements what she’s committed to implement under the agreements, what she says she is committed to do, which is to respect the LAC and maintain the status quo.
Well, you know, this is much more than just limited tactical gains of one four or five, eight kilometres in one place or another on the border. Fundamentally, I think, amounts to much more. It’s a much bigger political, diplomatic act by China than just some local military tactical gain, you know, overlooking the DBO road, and they know there will therefore be a reexamination not just of our ties with China. As a consequence, there will be a strengthening of our ties with other countries with whom China does not have such good relations — whether it’s the U.S. or other countries concerned about China.
So, you have to wonder why did the Chinese do this? What they’re doing suggests that they’ve come to the conclusion that India has already crossed a certain point in its relationship with the U.S. and is effectively working with the U.S. on China. If they have come to that conclusion, they could be doing this to actually show the U.S. that, look, they can’t count on India as an ally in dealing with China.
They could also be doing it to show other neighbours that if they want security with China, then there’s no point relying on India, India can’t even take care of its own territory. And that could be one of the reasons why they do this. None of this will ever be said in public, not even, possibly, by Global Times. But it seems to me that we have to look for broader reasons. And that is why I say that the fundamental basis of India China relations has been brought into question and must be re-examined by us. We have to re-examine our assumptions about Chinese behaviour and about why they have done this and the effects of this on our broader policy in South Asia, with China’s other neighbours, with the U.S. and so on.
Well, that’s not the entire solution because India-U.S. congruence actually applies to the maritime domain. That’s where it is most evident. You know, when you look at the exercises we do, when you look at the issues on which we have convergence, it’s really the Indo Pacific. Our problem with China right now is on the land… it’s a continental problem and that problem is not going to be solved by the U.S.. That’s something we have to solve by our own self-strengthening.
To the extent that there is a broader Chinese challenge to us, and to the extent that China is the greatest challenge that we face, both diplomatically, geopolitically and in other ways, then, yes, certainly, we will work much closer together with others who share our interests and in the Indo Pacific or the Indian Ocean. India and the U.S., Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, other countries have an interest in keeping that entire body of water open, secure and available to all of us for our trade for our peaceful uses, as it should be under international laws.
It’s never been binary, either the U.S. or Russia or even U.S. or China. We’ve worked with both and we will continue to work with both. Like it or not, China is your biggest neighbour, is your biggest trading partner and goods. If you add services, then it’s the U.S.. There are thousands of Indian students studying in China. It’s not as though these are not exclusive, mutually exclusive.
The U.S. might have an Act [CAATSA] which says that if you buy weapons from Russia, they will do various things. But they haven’t applied it to us so far. And I hope good sense prevails, they see the common interest. Russia is still the source of our major military platforms. And it’s not that we can suddenly decouple from Russia and why should we? Russia has been a reliable friend, a trusted partner in this field long before we developed this kind of relationship with U.S.. I do think that one consequence of what we’ve seen happening in Ladakh and the whole reset of India-China, will be stronger India-Russia relations as well.
That’s why I’m talking about a fundamental reset in the relationship, because public opinion itself will force some of these steps. And let’s see how far the public takes the boycott of Chinese goods, how much more they are willing to pay for things to avoid buying Chinese goods. That’s one set of issues.
Certainly from the Government of India’s point of view, it makes sense to ensure minimal Chinese presence in critical infrastructure, and to try and reduce dependencies in critical sectors, whether it is APIs for pharmaceuticals, whether it’s our telecom sector, whether it’s power, FinTech etc, we’re very dependent on not just Chinese investment in our various companies but Chinese technology. So, there’s a whole host of steps, which I think will be part of this broader reset of the relationship. In the heat of the moment, of course, people will say boycott completely and so on. I’m not sure that that’s where we will end up. But there will be a cutting of dependencies.
You know, right now we’re in the middle of the crisis. So, everything is possible. I would say all three things are possible: We could go the 1986-88 way after Sumdorong Chu when the Chinese came in and sat on territory on our side in eastern sector. And we ended up with the Rajiv Gandhi visit, and the new understanding the modus vivendi of ‘88, which kept the peace actually for several years, and enabled us both to develop and grow. Or we could go the 1959-62 way, which is a steady downward spiral in the relationship where public opinion and actions drive the two sides into conflict, which is the worst option.
Thirdly, we could go into a sort of “no war, no peace”, an indeterminate space where relations are much more adversarial. We still talk to each other, do some trade, some business. But basically it’s not a comfortable or working relationship, which goes very far. This runs the risk of deteriorating at any time without any larger sense of framework within which to operate, agreed by both sides. I think the last is the most likely at this stage.
These are not governments with very clear visions that they have spelled out of where they want to go. Both countries today are at a stage where ultra-nationalism is what constitutes legitimacy for the government’s authoritarian leaders. They find it very difficult to compromise and to actually to do the bargaining and to evolve a new modus vivendi, which takes into account the new situation, the new balance. So, therefore, my expectation is sort of muddling through for the time being, but that always contains the risk of things getting worse.
The United States will not stand by and watch China take the reins in terms of being the most dominant force, said the White House official.
Washington, DC: The United States will continue to stand strong in the ongoing conflict between India and China, said a top White House official on Monday. He further claimed that no one in China's periphery is safe from Chinese aggression. ... more...
When asked about the US Navy deploying two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea amid the ongoing tensions, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, "The message is clear. We're not going to stand by and let China or anyone else take the reins in terms of being the most powerful, dominant force, whether it's in that region or over here."
"Our military might stands strong and will continue to stand strong, whether it's in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else," he added.
Meadows went on to add that the US' mission is to make sure the world knows that it still has the preeminent fighting force in the world.
Meanwhile, India and China continue to remain locked in a stand-off in areas like Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Springs in Ladakh. The tensions have heightened between the two countries after their respective army personnel clashed in Galwan Valley resulting in the death of 20 Indian troops.
China begins withdrawing troops from Ladakh
Yesterday, the Chinese military began withdrawing troops from the Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held lengthy discussions a day earlier.
However, Ladakh standoff is not the only dispute that China is currently engaged in. It has conflicts in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Beijing has heavily increased the military presence in many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area. It should be noted that both the East and South China sea are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.
Mike Pompeo's remarks come amid increasing US-China tensions over the handling of coronavirus outbreakSecretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Monday that the United States is "certainly looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok."I don't want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it's something we're looking at," Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok's handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies "to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.Pompeo's remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China's actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade... more...
war.TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China's establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.
partner with ITI Limited to supply equipment for 4G mobile networks
The government barred state-run telcos from using equipment from Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE
ITI Limited says the initiative will help build a strategic network for defence communication
Technology company and a subsidiary of the Mahindra Group, Tech Mahindra will now bid for the revised tender to supply equipment for fourth-generation (4G) mobile networks to state-owned BSNL.
Last week, BSNL cancelled the tender for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) for the upgradation of the existing 4G network across 47,000 sites and building new capabilities in Mumbai and Delhi. This was after the government barred state-run telecom firms to purchase equipment from Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, in the wake of border clashes between the two countries in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last month. ZTE had partnered with Nokia to bid for the tender, which is estimated to be worth INR 9000 Cr.
Tech Mahindra has also partnered with ITI Limited, a public-sector undertaking (PSU) which manufactures defence and IT equipment, and other local companies for this venture, the company’s CEO CP Gurnani told Economic Times.
“We’re ready to build the digital highway for 4G or 5G. I believe that the technology is mature and we can do the transition in the network and create enough bandwidth,” Gurnani said.
In June, Tech Mahindra signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITI Limited to work together in the areas of 4G and 5G smart networks, Smart Cities and Health Care services.
According to the MoU, ITI and Tech Mahindra would collaborate to create “Make in India” stack for the upcoming 4G and 5G opportunities in India.
ITI Limited had said that the partnership would not only reduce dependence on foreign companies, including Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, for telecom equipment but would also build a strategic network for defence communications. “Through this partnership, we commit ourselves to the government’s initiative of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.”
Reports suggest that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in addition to cancelling BSNL’s tender, also reached out to the private telecom companies to try and dissuade them from using equipment from Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE. Among the major Indian telecom companies, only Reliance Jio claims not to be using Chinese equipment. Bharti Airtel sources 30% of its mobile network equipment from China, while Vodafone uses 40% of Chinese equipment.
Last week, India banned 59 Chinese apps citing threats to data security. Subsequently, the Indian IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called on companies to develop indigenous technologies and capabilities to end the country’s reliance on foreign products which push their own agenda.
Bubonic plague, which first appeared in the 14th century, is back in the news after a Chinese city in the country's Inner Mongolia region reported its first suspected case of bubonic plague.The health officials have issued an alert which forbids the hunting and eating of animals (AP/representation)A Chinese city in the country's Inner Mongolia region on Saturday reported its first suspected case of bubonic plague or 'Black Death'. As the health officials found a suspected bubonic plague case from Bayan Nur City, an alert was sounded.The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague. The officials have asked people to report any suspected cases of plague or fever, and to report any sick or dead marmots.The suspected case is a 27-year-old resident who reportedly ate marmot meat. A Chinese news agency has, however, reported two cases of bubonic plague.The bubonic plague first appeared in the 14th century... more...
in Central Asia and claimed millions of lives as it spread through the countries. Bubonic plague is also known as 'Black Death' and now it is back in the news.WHAT IS BUBONIC PLAGUE?Bubonic plague is a form of a plague that a person can contract after being bitten by infected fleas. People can contract the plague if they are bitten by infected fleas or via direct contamination by an infected rodent.Bubonic plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and leaves swollen lymph nodes close to the areas on the body where the bacteria has entered the skin. Swelling, pain, and suppuration (puss formation) of the lymph nodes or "bubo" produce the characteristic plague buboes.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the inflamed lymph nodes or "bubos" can burst open and turn into open sores filled with puss. Some cases have also reported deeper nodes.There are no reports of human to human transmission of bubonic plague. To prevent bubonic plague, people are generally advised to not touch dead animals and wear insect or fleas repellent in case of an outbreak.The onset of the bubonic plague is characterised by symptoms such as headache, chills, fever, malaise and pain generally around the affected areas on the body. The first symptoms may appear 2 to 6 days after a person contacts the plague.Bubonic plague develops into a pneumonic plague when bacteria enter the lungs. Bubonic plague has a mortality rate of 30 per cent to 60 per cent.VACCINEAccording to the WHO, a vaccine for the bubonic plague is available for individuals with high exposure to the plague.BUBONIC PLAGUE OVER THE YEARSAccording to WHO, Malawi reported nine suspected cases of bubonic plague in 1994, of which four were confirmed. In 1994, it appeared in Mutarara district of the Tete Province, Mozambique. The epidemic of the plague continued from August to October. There were 216 cases and three deaths.In Kenya, bubonic cases, mainly in women and children, were reported. About 393 cases, 10 deaths were recorded from September 1978 to March 1979. Libya registered eight cases of bubonic plague in September 1984.WHO says there were 3248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths, from 2010 to 2015.
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