The Hindu – India accounts for 45.8 million of the world’s ‘missing females’, says UN report

The number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years – from 61 million in 1970 to a cumulative 142.6 million in 2020.

New York – United Nations, 30 June 2020. India accounts for 45.8 million of the world’s 142.6 million “missing females” over the past 50 years, a report by the United Nations said on Tuesday, noting that the country along with China form the majority of such women globally.

The State of World Population 2020 report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world organisation’s sexual and reproductive health agency, said that the number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years, from 61 million in 1970 to a cumulative 142.6 million in 2020.

Of this global figure, India accounted for 45.8 million missing females as of 2020 and China accounted for 72.3 million.

Missing females are women missing from the population at given dates due to the cumulative effect of postnatal and prenatal sex selection in the past, the agency said.

Girls ‘missing’ in India at birth

Between 2013 and 2017, about 460,000 girls in India were ‘missing’ at birth each year.

According to one analysis, gender-biased sex selection accounts for about two-thirds of the total missing girls, and post-birth female mortality accounts for about one-third, the report said.

Citing data by experts, it said that China and India together account for about 90-95 per cent of the estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection.

The two countries also account for the largest number of births each year, it said.

The report cites data by Alkema, Leontine and others, 2014 ‘National, Regional, and Global Sex Ratios of Infant, Child, and under-5 Mortality and Identification of Countries with Outlying Ratios: A Systematic Assessment’ from The Lancet Global Health.

Highest rate of excess female deaths

According to their analysis, India has the highest rate of excess female deaths, 13.5 per 1,000 female births, which suggests that an estimated one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 may be attributed to postnatal sex selection.

The report notes that governments have also taken action to address the root causes of sex selection.

India and Vietnam have included campaigns that target gender stereotypes to change attitudes and open the door to new norms and behaviours.

They spotlight the importance of daughters and highlight how girls and women have changed society for the better.

Campaigns that celebrate women’s progress and achievements may resonate more where daughter-only families can be shown to be prospering, it said.

The report said that successful education-related interventions include the provision of cash transfers conditional on school attendance; or support to cover the costs of school fees, books, uniforms and supplies, taking note of successful cash-transfer initiatives such as ‘Apni Beti Apna Dhan’ in India.

It said that preference for a male child manifested in sex selection has led to dramatic, long-term shifts in the proportions of women and men in the populations of some countries.

Demographic imbalance

This demographic imbalance will have an inevitable impact on marriage systems. In countries where marriage is nearly universal, many men may need to delay or forego marriage because they will be unable to find a spouse, the report said.

This so-called “marriage squeeze”, where prospective grooms outnumber prospective brides, has already been observed in some countries and affects mostly young men from lower economic strata.

“At the same time, the marriage squeeze could result in more child marriages, the report said citing experts.

Some studies suggest that the marriage squeeze will peak in India in 2055. The proportion of men who are still single at the age of 50 is forecast to rise after 2050 in India to 10 per cent, it said.

The UN report said that every year, millions of girls globally are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities.

At least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, according to the UNFPA report, which focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage, and extreme bias against daughters in favour of sons.

Harmful practices against girls cause profound and lasting trauma, robbing them of their right to reach their full potential, says UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.

Female genital mutilations

This year, an estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation.

Today, 33,000 girls under age 18 will be forced into marriages, usually to much older men and an extreme preference for sons over daughters in some countries has fuelled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect that leads to their death as children, resulting in the 140 million missing females.

The report said that ending child marriage and female genital mutilation worldwide is possible within 10 years by scaling up efforts to keep girls in school longer and teach them life skills and to engage men and boys in social change.

Investments totalling USD 3.4 billion a year through 2030 would end these two harmful practices and end the suffering of an estimated 84 million girls, it said.

A recent analysis revealed that if services and programmes remain shuttered for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an additional 13 million girls may be forced into marriage and 2 million more girls may be subjected to female genital mutilation between now and 2030.

The pandemic both makes our job harder and more urgent as so many more girls are now at risk, Kanem said.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-accounts-for-458-million-of-the-worlds-missing-females-says-un-report/article31951401.ece

Scroll.in – ‘China’s historical memories of subjugation have fuelled its obsession with territory’: Rana Mitter

An interview with the China expert at the University of Oxford

Arunoday Majumder

Oxford – Oxfordshire – UK, 29 June 2020. China is dominating news cycles globally, beginning with the corona-virus outbreak in Wuhan early this year and Donald Trump’s accusation that it has “total control over the World Health Organisation”.

Earlier this month, military tensions with India along the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh escalated after the death of 20 Indian soldiers.

There is now growing anti-Chinese rhetoric in India amid calls to boycott Chinese goods. China also recently engaged in territorial disputes with Nepal and Japan.

This interview with Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, explores China’s social, political and economic history to help determine a global response to the country’s recent actions.

Mitter describes China’s evolution from “command socialism to market-driven socialism”, its rise as the driver of a global consumerist economy, and how the “century of humiliation” continues to be the dominant narrative of its nation building.

Excerpts

These days the focus is almost entirely on the Chinese state and its diplomatic, military and trade arms. Do you think that the responses to China will be far more fruitful if the world tries to know a little more about the society in which the Chinese state operates?

That’s a very shrewd question and I think it gets to the heart of something very important. Within the last 30 or 40 years, China has turned from command socialism to market-driven socialism.

I think if you look at the society as a whole, there are a lot of phenomena that do not immediately seem to be obvious results of that kind of one-party system.

One thing is that economic freedom has grown very considerably in the last 30 or 40 years.

There has been a sort of bargain, unspoken but real, particularly after the Tiananmen Square killing incident in 1989, that the party-state is ordering its people not to get involved in politics. But it is promising a sort of economic harvest.

Like an economic growth that will emerge as a result of their policies. So that means a very great deal of most exciting part of Chinese life on the ground is in the small and medium enterprise sector.

It’s a country which has generally been very amenable to starting up and doing business and that has been one of the reasons behind its huge economic growth in the last 30-40 years.

Particularly in the manufacturing sector?

Traditionally in the manufacturing sector. I think that’s moving and changing very much into a whole variety of areas considered to be more high value.

A lot of manufacturing these days, meaning within the last five to 10 years, is moving off-shore from China to places like Vietnam and Cambodia.

China is now developing hugely profitable and productive domestic services. Companies like Alibaba, Tencent are taking advantage of the fact that one quarter of the earth’s population is in China.

That means China has also driven a very powerful, sort of, consumerist economy that I think isn’t often appreciated.

So the Chinese are opening the economy and at the same time not allowing people the freedom that Western democracies or even India or other postcolonial nations have experienced. How does the Chinese state maintain that?

It’s a very interesting question which is asked frequently. But the answer I shall give is that you are starting from what many Chinese would regard is the wrong premise in the first place.

If your point of comparison is why China could develop one of the world’s most innovative and powerful consumer-driven economies while having very heavy censorship and authoritarian party-state, arbitrary arrest of many academics and lawyers; ask the question differently.

Ask it this way: 50 years ago in the early 1970s, China was in the middle of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most destructive periods. Even the Chinese themselves, the Chinese Communist Party, rejected it as a massive, destructive era.

And 50 years after that, which in historical terms is not really a very long time, they have the second biggest economy in the world and a country with geopolitical influence.

Now that doesn’t happen by accident. Many Chinese, the ordinary Chinese, the middle-class Chinese, are very proud of what their country has managed to achieve.

So their point of comparison is not saying whether we necessarily have everything the liberal society has but rather how does China look now compared to what their parents had or what their grandparents had. That would be their logic.

So what you are then saying is that their comparison is not with their contemporaries. It’s not a horizontal comparison in time that they are making but their comparison and sense of satisfaction grows from a vertical comparison through time, that is to go back in history?

Broadly speaking, yes. I mean today even the middle-class Chinese, particularly ones living in big cities like Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing, travel overseas very frequently and it’s actually quite normal.

The fact that they can go on quite expensive holidays is also regarded by them as sign of their developing middle class lifestyles that their parents could never afford. But they also go to these places and see clearly what it is like having uncensored TV.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they come to China and say, “We have it so much worse.” In some cases they do.

But in other cases, they come back and say, “Well that’s just one of the differences, but what we’ve been living with actually does show year on year, decade on decade improvement in terms of our industrial lifestyle compared to what we were used to.”

There’s a lot of focus about China being primarily an authoritarian, communist political culture.

But I am also interested to know whether China is only a communist, political culture which looks up to Mao very favourably or is it that it is equally nationalistic and we are forgetting about the influence of Chiang Kai Shek?

You have to dig a little bit into modern Chinese history to understand some of what you have implied.

But essentially up till 1949, China was ruled by a succession of nationalist leaders like Chiang Kai Shek, who you mentioned, and probably the most prominent till 1927 and 1949; particularly during the period of WWII in China.

After that Chairman Mao came to power and the Chinese Communist Party has been in power ever since.

But one of the phenomena that’s most notable in the last 25 to 30 years is that as China has moved from a socialist top-down command economy as it was under Mao, to being a country that is authoritarian but has a certain amount of leeway for non-state organisations, more under previous presidents than under Xi Jinping, many people have looked back at the earlier period and said in some senses that it looks more similar to the kind of nationalist governments of pre-communist era than Mao period.

The major difference was that Mao’s China was dedicated to revolutionary social change.

One thing that is very clear is that Xi’s government does not want any kind of revolutionary social change. It wants evolution and not revolution in terms of economy and in terms of social welfare.

So to that extent, I suspect that that the mindset would have been much more familiar to Chiang kai Shek than it would have been to Chairman Mao.

There seems to be almost an obsession with territory as far as China and the Chinese state is concerned. Is there any historical ambition which they think is unfulfilled and which they now wish to fulfill?

I think history is very important. You are right. The Chinese still talk today and they talk extensively about the early 20th century, about what they call the “century of humiliation” lasting from “the opium wars” of 1840s to the World War II in the 1940s.

And this is the idea very much understood by all educated Chinese that China had been previously invaded and occupied by Western powers.

In fact, they look at India under the British as an example of how a nation could become completely occupied and lose its national status because of the actions of outside imperialists.

The “century of humiliation” still lives very strongly in the historical memories of the Chinese and it has created this huge, as you have implied, sensitivity about territory because they still have memories of imperial powers essentially deciding what China’s borders were going to be.

And having regained their autonomy from 1945 to 1949, they are determined that one thing one they are unwilling to make any sort of compromise is the question of borders.

That’s one of the reasons, I think, why it has become such a strong and in many ways, obstinate obsession on the part of the Chinese state.

There seems to be some sort of sympathy towards both Mao and Stalin in academic circles. I study in a university which had Mao and Stalin on its library walls even a few months back. Why is that?

Not the academic circles in which I move, I can tell you that. I think anyone would have to say that it’s an objective fact that Stalin and Mao were responsible for millions of deaths and that they operated totalitarian systems of government which created immense suffering amongst their people. I think that that’s something which is historically demonstrable.

Arunoday Majumder is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University and an assistant professor of sociology at the School of Law, NMIMS Bengaluru.

Waliya Hasan has helped transcribe the interview.

https://scroll.in/article/965645/chinas-historical-memories-of-subjugation-have-fuelled-its-obsession-with-territory-rana-mitter

The Telegraph – Myopic vision

India’s fundamental problems are social and economic

Sunanda K Datta-Ray

New Delhi – India, 27 June 2020. Rajnath Singh’s mission to Moscow recalls Xan Smiley’s famous dismissal of the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. Xan is editor at large of The Economist and a great-grandson of Lord Minto.

The bon mot he coined in an article in Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph in 1987 (and which has since been attributed to august personages like Henry Kissinger and Helmut Schmidt) seems apposite for an India that thinks sophisticated arms will solve problems rooted in economic backwardness.

Singh was primarily on a junket. The excuse was last Wednesday’s Victory Day Parade, the original of our own Republic Day jamborees, in Moscow’s Red Square to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of what the Soviets called “The Great Patriotic War”.

India’s 75-member tri-service delegation marched with other celebrants, but given New Delhi’s special relationship with Moscow, Russia provided 62 per cent of India’s total weapons imports during the last five years , India had to be represented at a high political level too.

Narendra Modi himself might have cut a dash in an outsize safa if he had not been inching closer to the United States of America and Israel, probably as much for their weapons as because Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he fawningly calls “Bibi”, are just his kind of people.

The jaunt’s real purpose was evident in the defence minister’s jubilation over a “positive and productive” outcome: Russia agreed to expedite delivery of the five regiments of the Russian S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile system India contracted to buy for more than $5 billion, with an $800 million advance payment, when Vladimir Putin visited New Delhi in 2018.

It isn’t clear whether the assurance also applies to India’s additional purchase of 33 Russian-made Su-30MKI and MiG-29 UPG class jet fighters. Or whether they, too, are scheduled to be delivered at the end of next year like the S-400.

But the urge to lay hands on the S-400 as quickly as possible seems to have been triggered by the clashes in Ladakh.

So is the clamour to boycott Chinese goods, shun Chinese cuisine and deny Chinese visitors hotel accommodation. Popular frenzy is only to be expected in times of crisis.

Dachshund dogs (originally developed in Germany more than 300 years ago) were hung from London lamp posts during the First World War when even the Royal Family thought it prudent to adopt an English name.

There was a move during the Zinoviev letter controversy on the eve of Britain’s 1924 general election to repaint letter boxes, red being associated with the Soviet Union.

Japanese residents in Calcutta put up ‘JAPAN’ stickers on their cars in 1962 so that they were not mistaken for Chinese. Greater sense is expected of government leaders.

But not perhaps from those who don’t realize that given India’s dismal record, it is counter-productive to keep harping on luring foreign firms away from China.

Of the 56 companies that left in 2018-2019, only three came to India. Eight went to Thailand, two to Indonesia and 11 to Taiwan. Vietnam gained most with 26.

Indian spokesmen from the prime minister downwards speak in so many tongues that nothing seems certain.

But it passes understanding how an anti-aircraft weapon system or jet fighters can be any more relevant than clichés like ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Atmanirbhar’ in a border skirmish fought with fists, rocks, clubs and barbed wire in the most primitive fashion imaginable.

So far as anyone knows, India is not fighting an all-out war. There has been no indication of any intention of bombing Chinese cities. Nor of any need to defend our cities from the Chinese.

Why then the sudden scramble for a sophisticated air defence system unless, like Smiley’s Upper Volta aka the Soviet Union, izzat demands the most ostentatious that money can buy?

It also passes understanding why India did not sit up and take note when Lieutenant-General Xu Qiling replaced the 63-year-old General He Weidong as head of Western Theatre Command and supremo in Xinjiang and Tibet.

New Delhi’s China-watchers must have known that the 57-year-old Xu, the PLA’s rising star and reputed favourite of Xi Jinping who promoted him lieutenant-general last year, was chief of staff of the elite 54th Army Corps involved in suppressing the 1959 Tibetan uprising and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

His predecessor has been given a less arduous pre-retirement posting in the Eastern Theatre Command.

“[T]he Western Theatre Command needs a younger commander to lead frontier soldiers and officers in this current sensitive period,” a military insider told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

“The working environment in the Western high altitude is very tough and even young people age prematurely there.”

Inattention to such details is part of a sorry tradition of overlooking or ignoring significant developments on the border.

The most notorious oversight was of the construction between 1951 and 1957 of China’s National Highway 219 through the Aksai Chin plateau.

The 1999 infiltration of Pakistani soldiers disguised as shepherds in Kargil also went unnoticed.

Much of the current controversy centres on the more recent surreptitiously-built four-kilometre road between two mountain spurs, Fingers 8 and 4, fringing Pangong Tso (lake) that has unilaterally shifted the Line of Actual Control in China’s favour.

The main relevance of missiles and fighters in this situation is to make a political point, like the transfer of MiG-29s to Indira Gandhi’s government before any Warsaw Pact member had them or the needs of even the Soviet air force had been fully met.

“What kind of people are these Soviets who said that they have no such thing as a MiG-29 in October and agree to their manufacture in India by December of the same year?” she asked ingenuously, affecting not to understand Moscow’s volte face to pre-empt Ronald Reagan.

Last year, Putin expedited the delivery of the S-400s to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, a Nato member, and snubbed Trump. New Delhi expects Trump to issue a waiver as he can under US law, presumably because of his own bitter wrangling with Beijing.

But offending China will not strengthen India so far as the present limited confrontation is concerned.

Singh’s jubilation hints at other ‘proposals’ India has made and the Russians have received positively. But however much Moscow’s position may have changed since 1962, it is shortsighted to place too much reliance on weaponry alone.

India’s fundamental problems are social and economic. Oxfam’s appeal for donations says politely that the pandemic “has shown that India’s public health system is not equipped to fight a health crisis”.

Truth to tell, it isn’t equipped even to look after the minor ailments of 1.3 billion Indians on a regular permanent basis.

The obtuseness of the administrative officer in Delhi who refused to visit Shanghai because it was only “a bigger Mumbai” prevents us from acknowledging that India lags behind China in every index of growth and development.

Without admitting that China’s urban development, industrial infrastructure and special economic zones are superior to ours, we will never catch up, leave alone surpass China.

India was in recession even before Covid-19 cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 30.03 lakh crore with dire predictions of the economy shrinking this year to 3.1 per cent and consequent incalculable human misery.

China has also suffered grievously, but its GDP is 4.78 times greater than India’s, and 2.38 times higher when purchasing power parity is taken into account. That economic muscle is reflected in China’s military might, not the other way round.

It’s only demographically that the two countries are comparable and that screams of India’s weakness.

Intense congestion means less of everything for most people. In short, today’s equivalent of rockets instead of houses, jobs, schools and hospitals.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/indian-economy-in-recession-clash-with-china-and-rajnath-singh-mission-to-moscow/cid/1784020?ref=opinion_home-template

The Print – Flagging Chinese incursions for long – Galwan flare-up was waiting to happen: Ladakh leaders

Local leaders, cutting across party lines, say authorities at all levels ignored red flags, but Ladakh development council chief claims such inputs were never received.

Sravasti Dasgupta and Sajid Ali

Leh – Ladakh (J&K) – India, 28 June 2020. The violent face-off with China that left 20 Indian soldiers dead in Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on 15 June shocked the world and the country in equal measure.

But as India and China lock horns in a dangerous flare-up not seen in decades, several local leaders in Ladakh and villagers along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) said the writing was on the wall.

Speaking to ThePrint, local leaders claimed that the Chinese have been intruding into Indian land for years, and that they had raised red flags with authorities at all levels, from the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), which governs the region, to BJP MP from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and even the central government.

Their concerns and red flags, they added, were ignored time and again, though LAHDC chairperson Gyal P. Wangyal said the council never received any such input from any local leader.

Chinese prevent nomads from grazing on Indian land

Ladakhis living along the border areas claim that they have been losing their grazing land due to increased Chinese presence for the last many years.

Spearheading the cause of the nomads has been the Nyoma Block Development Council Chairperson Urgain Chodon, who in a series of Facebook posts since last year has claimed that the Chinese were increasingly threatening nomads in the Nyoma block.

The Nyoma block abuts the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and is about 60 km from Pangong Lake.

The Facebook posts by Chodon, a BJP leader from a nomadic family, date back to May 2019.

Four days before the Galwan Valley attack, on 11 June, she had shared her earlier post from 11 July 2019, in which she had written that Chinese PLA soldiers had entered 6 km into Indian territory at Dhola village in Nyoma Block, unfurled their national flag and stopped locals from hoisting the Indian, Tibetan, and Buddhist flags to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday.

The post also says that later in December 2019, they claimed the adjoining land as theirs.

In another post on Facebook, she said PLA soldiers had threatened villagers and warned them against grazing in territory that they claimed was Chinese land.

“Not just for the past couple of months, I have been raising these concerns since 2015,” Chodon told ThePrint. “As recently as April, I posted about how we noticed 300-350 Chinese vehicular movement but I deleted the posts later because I was told my posts are creating panic.”

Konchok Stanzin, executive councillor, LAHDC, also of the BJP, too acknowledged that small flashpoints have been occurring for a couple of years now.

“There have been small skirmishes over Chinese flags and banners being unfurled in Chumul, Demchok (at Nyoma Block), Chushul (at adjoining Durbuk Block) and even Pangong since 2017. But they have been short-lived and have been resolved locally,” he said.

Not just local BJP leaders, even Congress leaders have claimed that Chinese presence has only increased over the years.

Rigzin Spalbar, former chief executive chairman of the LAHDC, said a canal he inaugurated in Demchok in 2013 was occupied by the Chinese in 2018. “I inaugurated the canal on Gandhi Jayanti in 2013,” he said.

“In 2018, the Chinese were sitting over there and had taken away our nomads’ summer pasture land. What more proof do you want?”

Not just leaders, but locals too have raised concerns about increased Chinese presence on Indian grazing lands.

A local resident from Changthang region’s Phobrang village, about 15 km from Pangong Lake, told The Print that his family has been stopped by Chinese from grazing their herds.

“Earlier my family could go as far as the Green Top area near the LAC to graze our herd. But then the Chinese began stopping us,” said the resident, who didn’t want to be named.

“My father used to say that he would earlier see the Chinese below Green Top Hill, now they’re right on top of Green Top Hill so we stopped grazing there.”

Green Top Hill is above the finger area of Pangong Lake.

Local Ladakh leaders claimed that they have raised these concerns with the top leadership-even as high as the local MP, the defence minister and even the Prime Minister, but to no avail.

“Every year Chinese have been moving inch by inch towards Finger 4. We have raised these concerns that China is moving in and our nomads are not being allowed to move, not just with the LAHDC chairperson but also with former J&K Governor Satyapal Malik, present Ladakh L-G R K Mathur, MP Namgyal and even the PM when he visited in 2019,” said Tashi Namgyal, councillor of Tangtse constituency, to ThePrint.

“We have given reports but we don’t know what has happened.”

According to New Delhi’s claims, Finger 4 on the northern bank of the Pangong Lake is part of Indian territory as India’s claim line is at Finger 8.

Local leaders claimed that they have been raising this issue for years. “In August 2015, when then defence minister Manohar Parrikar visited Leh, I informed him about increasing Chinese presence and how they were not allowing our nomads to graze their herds by occupying areas near the border,” said the Congress’ Spalbar.

“The Army’s GoC Northern Command was also present when I brought this to the Minister’s notice. But nothing came off it.”

Residents claimed that when MP Namgyal visited Changthang last year, they wanted to take him to show the exact spots where the Chinese had allegedly come in.

“When the MP visited earlier this year, we wanted to show him the spot where Chinese had come in and were not allowing us nomads to graze our herds,” said the local resident from Changthang. “But since it was 40 km away, the Army did not allow.”

LAHDC chairperson Gyal P Wangyal, however, denied receiving any such input from any local leader. “We have not ignored any red flags. I don’t know how they have made such claims.

My source reports don’t claim any such instances. PM Modi too has said there has been no territory claimed by the Chinese and we should believe him,” Wangyal said in an interview to ThePrint.

ThePrint tried to reach MP Namgyal over phone and through WhatsApp messages for a comment but he did not respond. This report will be updated if he replies.

Allow our nomads to move freely to avoid Chinese occupation

The way out of “the Chinese inch-by-inch occupation”, local leaders said, was to allow Ladakhi nomads to graze in their traditional pastures in areas close to the LAC.

“The biggest issue is that the Army is stopping our nomads from going to traditional pasturelands citing security,” Spalbar said.

“When China sees there are no nomads, they send their nomads from Tibet. Our Army doesn’t object and our nomads aren’t there so then the PLA soldiers come in and pitch tents and set up camps.”

Some leaders also claimed that ITBP and Army personnel often look at villagers with suspicion and stop them from proceeding further.

“Instead of looking at villagers with suspicion, the government should ensure nomads aren’t stopped,” Tashi Namgyal said.

“Look at China, they always send their nomads first and then PLA soldiers follow. The government must come up with a similar policy.”

The leaders also said the time is ripe to acknowledge the role of nomads in border villages in maintaining national security. “Nomads are the vanguards of our borders.

Big words like patriotism and nationalism are used but when it comes to the issue of borders only border people are bothered,” Chodon said.

“Nobody comes to our aid. We have been losing our land for years but nobody cares.”

Army sources in the Northern Command, however, told ThePrint that nomads were never stopped from carrying out their grazing activity.

“Army has never stopped them and Indian grazers are continuing their activities unhindered in these areas.”

The Statesman – Joe Biden seeks restoration of peoples’ rights in Kashmir; disappointed with CAA, NRC

Some Hindu Americans have reached out to the Biden campaign expressing their displeasure over the language used against India and have urged them to reconsider their views.

New Delhi – India, 26 June 2020. The United State’s Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden has expressed disappointment over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the implementation of the NRC in Assam and wants India to take necessary steps to restore rights of all Kashmiris.

“These measures are inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy,” according to the policy paper, ‘Joe Biden’s agenda for Muslim American community’ posted recently on his campaign website.

Some Hindu Americans have reached out to the Biden campaign expressing their displeasure over the language used against India and have urged them to reconsider their views. This group has also sought a similar policy paper on Hindu Americans.

The Biden campaign didn’t reply to questions in this regard.

The policy paper clubbed together Kashmir and Assam in India with the forced detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims in western China, and discrimination and atrocities against Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority, observing that Biden understands the pain Muslim-Americans feel towards what is happening in Muslim-majority countries and countries with significant Muslim populations.

“In Kashmir, the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights of all the people of Kashmir.

Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weakens democracy,” said the policy paper.

“Joe Biden has been disappointed by the measures that the government of India has taken with the implementation and aftermath of the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act into law,” it said.

Biden as United States Senator for decades and as vice president under President Barack Obama for eight years has been known as one of the best friends of India and Indian-Americans, reads the policy paper.

Highlighting Biden’s role in India-US ties, the policy paper says that he played a key role in the passage of the India-US civilian nuclear deal, and as vice president, he advocated increasing the bilateral trade to USD 500 billion per annum.

Well connected with the Indian Americans, Biden regularly hosted Diwali at his vice-presidential residence, it said.

“Biden understands the issues impacting India, issues of cross border terrorism, influx of terrorism across borders in Kashmir, issue of Hindu minorities sufferings in Kashmir, issues in Indo Pacific region with China, and the rising role of India as stronger US ally in all areas including economic growth, counter-terrorism, fight for human rights, climate change and global security,” Biden supporter Ajay Jain Bhutoria was quoted by PTI as saying.

“There are groups within various elected officials groups in US pushing language and agenda’s highlighting misinformation and damaging facts on how India handled its own internal matter on Kashmir, Ladakh or immigration reforms related to NRC,” rued Bhutoria, who is also on the National Finance Committee for Biden.

Bhutoria said US recently updated its immigration policy to block the H-1B and other visas for rest of the year to safeguard its own workers, which is completely questionable and will hurt the economy.

India too has a right to define its own Immigration policy to support its population and economy, he said.

“I grew up in Assam, Guwahati and I have seen the influx of people across the border and taking away important jobs, resources from local people in northeastern states,”said Bhutoria.

“The immigration reforms and NRC are welcome steps. Execution of these reforms and strategies need to be improved and India needs to do better in change management and rolling out of reforms,”he added.

The 2020 US presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday 03 November.

The Print – India, China disengagement at LAC could take until winter, de-escalation will happen first

The defence and security establishment said India was prepared for a long, drawn-out process of disengagement. China has continued to maintain build up on the Indian side of LAC.

Snehesh Alex Philip

New Delhi – India, 26 June 2020. The border stand-off between India and China could last until winter sets in as full disengagement will take time, an assessment by the Indian defence and security establishment suggests.

The two countries are currently holding military, and diplomatic level-talks to find a solution to the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

According to sources, India’s first aim is to ensure de-escalation to an extent, and then the disengagement process will begin.

De-escalation ensures a reduction in terms of military build up. Disengagement is the process under which the status quo ante is maintained.

China has carried out minute de-escalation in the Galwan Valley and Hot Spring Area, pulling back about a dozen vehicles by 1.5 km from the LAC in depth areas.

However, it is continuing to maintain the build up inside the Indian side of the LAC.

There is no visible de-escalation by the Chinese in the finger areas of Pangong Lake, which continues to be a problematic area, said the sources.

They described the Chinese move as steps towards de-escalation but not disengagement as transgressions of the LAC continue.

On Thursday, Army Chief General M M Naravane returned to the national capital following a three-day visit to Ladakh. He will brief Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the situation Friday, said the sources.

Asked about disengagement, a source told The Print, “This is a long drawn process. There will be a number of meetings that will be held at various levels over a period of time.

“Moving back of a few vehicles and men from forward areas within the Chinese side is a positive signal, but let us not get hopes high of a disengagement process happening quickly,” said the source.

A second source said full disengagement wouldn’t happen in weeks. The process could actually last until winter sets in.

While it is hoped that the disengagement will happen quicker and the status quo as of April would be maintained, India is not ruling out the possibility of a long drawn process, said the source.

Enough deployment

The second source also said that India has enough deployment in forward and depth areas, along with supplies to back the process of disengagement and for any eventuality.

“We are not talking about one area or two. There are a number of friction points that need to be talked and solved. Chinese have some concerns, we have ours. This will take time,” said a third source.

During his Ladakh visit, the Army chief visited forward areas and interacted with the troops.

He was given a detailed briefing on the situation at the Corps Headquarters in Leh, which was attended by local ground commanders and the Northern Army Commander, Lt General Y K Joshi, and the Corps Commander, Lt General Harinder Singh.

The Print reported Thursday that India and China have discussed the possibility of not deploying additional troops and equipment in the area where the stand-off in eastern Ladakh is ongoing, besides stopping new tents and bunker construction activity in friction areas.

This was to ensure that there is no escalation. During the Corps Commander-level meetings, the existing modalities were re-emphasised to ensure that patrolling parties from both sides don’t indulge in violence when they come across each other, ThePrint had reported.

On Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that since early May, the Chinese side has been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC.

“Obviously, the Indian side had to undertake counter deployments and the resulting tension has thereafter expressed itself,” he added.

The Indian Express – Acknowledging Beijing’s rise, scale of challenge it presents, are first steps in crafting a new China policy

India must also recognise that China, like the great powers before it, wants to redeem its territorial claims, has the ambition to bend the neighbourhood to its will, reshape the global order to suit its interests.

C Raja Mohan

New Delhi – India, 23 June 2020. The brutal Chinese ambush that killed Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh last week will hopefully compel Delhi to confront the enduring tragedy of India’s China policy.

That tragedy is rooted in persistent political fantasies, refusal to learn from past mistakes, and the belief that the US and the West are at the source of India’s problems with China.

This is not about blaming one party or another that ruled Delhi in the last seven decades. There is plenty of blame to go around; and the problem predates independence.

Each generation has compounded the challenge with the reluctance to discard the illusions that India’s China policy has nurtured over the last century.

Let us start with Rabindranath Tagore, who went to China in 1924 with the ambition of developing a shared Asian spiritual civilisation.

Tagore returned deeply disappointed as radical groups, including members of the newly formed Chinese Communist Party, turned on the poet and his hosts for conspiring to divert Chinese attention away from the imperatives of modernisation and, yes, westernisation.

Next was the turn of Jawaharlal Nehru, who approached China as a modernist and nationalist.

He met a delegation of Chinese nationalists at Brussels in 1927 and issued a ringing statement on defeating western imperialism and shaping a new Asian and global order.

But when the Second World War broke out a decade later, the Congress was unwilling to join hands with China in defeating Japanese imperialism.

For all the exalted rhetoric of anti-imperialism, Indian and Chinese nationalists could not come together for they were fighting different imperial powers.

As India’s first PM, Nehru reached out to the Communist rulers of China, campaigned against the western attempt to isolate them, serenaded Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai at the Afro-Asian conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955.

Within five years, India and China were at each other’s throats and a war broke out in 1962.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee traveled to China in February 1979 to re-engage Beijing. Before he could head home, Beijing had launched a war against a fellow communist regime in Vietnam.

So much for Asian solidarity! Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 sought to normalise relations with China while continuing to negotiate on the boundary dispute.

That defined a template that in the end neither normalised the relationship nor resolved the boundary dispute. To make matters worse, other issues have taken a life of their own, for example, the massive annual trade deficits.

If India thought economic cooperation will improve mutual trust and create conditions for resolving political differences with China, it has been in for a rude shock.

India’s massive trade deficit with China is now a little over half of its total trade deficit.

Worse, India is finding it hard to disentangle the deep economic dependence on imports from China and resurrect its manufacturing sector.

As the Cold War came to a close, India bet that political cooperation with China on global issues will provide the basis for better bilateral relations.

It could not have been more wrong. P V Narasimha Rao and his successors joined China and Russia in promoting a “multipolar world”, the code for limiting America’s power after Washington came out victorious in the Cold War and facilitated the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Nearly a quarter of a century after embarking on a strategy to blunt America’s “unipolar moment”, Delhi is now struggling to cope with the emergence of a “unipolar Asia”, with Beijing as its dominant centre.

China’s rapid rise has also paved the way for the potential emergence of a “bipolar world” dominated by Washington and Beijing.

That brings us to the perennial illusion in Delhi about Asian and anti-Western solidarity with China.

Despite the failure of the repeated efforts to construct such unity with China, in the interwar years, the decade after independence, and the post Cold War years, the Indian elite persists with the myth.

Linked to this is the unyielding claim that the USA is seeking to divide India and China; but for the evil imperialists, the fantasy goes, Delhi and Beijing would be enjoying everlasting peace and friendship.

The fact is, we don’t need America to divide India and China; our respective territorial nationalisms and irreconcilable conflicts of interest do that job rather well.

There are other interesting facts, too. The British imperialists, for example, wanted Indian and Chinese nationalists to unite against Japanese imperialists during the Second World War.

London encouraged Chiang Kai-shek to visit India and meet with Mahatma Gandhi; Gandhi met Chiang but refused to cooperate.

While the Congress opted out of the war, British India, Great Britain and the US embarked on a massive effort to support the beleaguered Chinese government in Chungking.

China never really bought into the Indian ideas of building coalitions against the West. While India never stopped arguing with the West, China developed a sustained engagement with the USA, Europe and Japan.

Mao broke with Communist Russia to join forces with the US in the early 1970s, less than two decades after he fought the American forces in the Korean War.

Deng Xiaoping promoted massive economic cooperation with the US to transform China and lay the foundations for its rise.

While China has leveraged the deep relationship with the West to elevate itself in the international system, Delhi continues to think that staying away from America is the answer for good relations with Beijing.

Beijing sees the world through the lens of power, while Delhi tends to resist that realist prism. India has consistently misread China’s interests and ambitions.

The longer India takes to shed that strategic lassitude, the greater will be its China trouble.

Delhi needs to come to terms with the fact that a gigantic power has risen on its door step.

India must also recognise that China, like the great powers before it, wants to redeem its territorial claims, has the ambition to bend the neighbourhood to its will, reshape the global order to suit its interests.

China has certainly not hidden these goals and interests; but India has refused to see what is in plain sight.

Acknowledging China’s dramatic rise and recognising the scale of the challenge it presents are the first steps for Delhi in crafting a new China policy.

For the Modi government, this should be a valuable opportunity to get back to basics on restoring internal political coherence, accelerating economic modernisation and expanding India’s national power.

This article first appeared in the print edition on June 23, 2020 under the title “End of make-believe”. The writer is Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore and contributing editor on international affairs for The Indian Express.

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-china-lac-border-20-armymen-killed-galwan-valley-6471415/

Scroll.in – The Political Fix: With 20 Indian soldiers dead, is Modi now taking a realist line with China?

A newsletter on Indian policy and politics from Scroll.in
Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t have an easy week.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

The Big Story: Permutations and combinations

New Delhi – India, 22 June 2020. Covid-19 cases in India crossed the 400,000-mark, with more than 13,000 deaths as of 21 June.

Nepal’s president approved a Constitutional Amendment altering his country’s map to include territory that India insists is actually part of the state of Uttarakhand.

And American agency Fitch Ratings lowered India’s outlook from stable to negative, explaining that the Modi government’s focus on a Hindu-nationalist agenda “risks becoming a distraction for economic reform implementation and could further raise social tensions”.

But of course, at the very top on the agenda was China, after the first deaths along the disputed border in more than 40 years.

On last week’s Friday Links edition, we brought you the details: brutal combat in Eastern Ladakh with improvised weapons (and, as per convention, no firearms) after, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry, Chinese troops crossed over to the Indian side “to erect a structure”.

The subsequent violence left 20 Indian soldiers dead, with New Delhi saying there had been casualties on both sides. Ten Indian soldiers were held captive by the Chinese and returned later.

Meanwhile, independent reports have pointed to Chinese incursions at several points along the disputed border, with some claiming that Beijing is now in control of 60 square kilometres previously held or patrolled by Indian troops.

This was the build-up to an all-party meeting called by Modi on Friday to take the country’s political leadership into confidence about the developments. Midway through the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office decided to brief the media about how it was going.

But the most important development was when Modi addressed the incident itself, making this unexpected statement.

“Neither has anyone intruded upon our borders, not is anyone currently intruding, nor is any Indian post in the hands of anyone else.

In Ladakh, 20 of our soldiers have died but those who have raised their eyes at Bharat Mata, they have been taught a lesson.”

Of course, it was possible to quibble on semantics, was Modi speaking in the abstract? what did he mean by “borders”?, yet the effect of his statement was meant to be simple: the Indian prime minister was claiming there had been no Chinese intrusion, and no land or border posts captured.

I put down five questions about this statement here.

For anyone following developments closely, Modi’s comment was surprising. Not just because reporting had suggested that as much as 60 square kilometres had been grabbed by the Chinese, but also because the Indian External Affairs Ministry had spoken of an incursion as being the cause of the violence.

Yet here was India’s prime minister insisting there had been no intrusion. What explains this?

Was it a mistake?

The first indication that the statement hadn’t gone as expected was when the official press release did not carry Modi’s comments verbatim, in English.

Then, as numerous analysts, commentators and army veterans asked whether India’s was capitulating to the Chinese by claiming there had been no intrusions, the government put out a two-page clarification to explain just one sentence of Modi’s statement.

The clarification tried to address the controversy over the comments, without actually addressing why Modi had claimed that there had been no intrusion.

Concerns that it may play badly for India also arose from the fact that the Chinese media immediately latched onto Modi’s comments, translating and spreading them, as a way of re-affirming Beijing’s official stance that Indian troops had crossed over into their territory.

Was it deliberately muscular?

Never mind the quibbling over whether it is actually true. The effect of Modi’s comments was to create the impression that the Indian Army has repelled the Chinese at the border, never allowing them to cross over. This is why 20 soldiers are dead.

It may lack accuracy, after all, the ministry of external affairs has clearly said that there were intrusions and the reports suggest that incursions have taken place at many parts of the disputed border.

Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav in fact said that the incursions now are “as bad” as they were in 2013, when Chinese troops were 19 km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.

But it allows Modi to create the image of Indian soldiers valiantly keeping the Chinese out. How much will the confusing follow-up clarification, in English, actually make its way around compared to Modi’s video comments in Hindi?

Could Modi have been willing to deal with the diplomatic and military fall-out of such a statement in order to set the political narrative through an inaccurate re-telling?

Moreover, the soldiers were from the Bihar Regiment, a unit named after the northern Indian state, even though it includes troops from all over the country.

Coincidentally, elections are due to be held in Bihar this year, making this muscular narrative of a courageous stand, and no inch yielded to the Chinese, even more compelling for Modi, who is always in campaign mode.

Was it deliberately realist?

Some observers see Modi’s comments as a way of protecting his government’s image, while also creating the space for de-escalation.

By not admitting to incursions, even if they have happened, the prime minister reduces the public demand for more retribution, though on the ground this may mean capitulation to the Chinese efforts to the change the status quo.

This realist reading presumes that the Modi government has accepted the asymmetry of power between India and China and, knowing that New Delhi has few strategic options here, would rather de-escalate (and save face) than let the situation fester.

This quote, from Ananth Krishnan’s summary of coverage in the Chinese media, suggests that this is also how Beijing is reading it:

“‘Modi’s remarks will be very helpful to ease the tensions because as the Prime Minister of India, he has removed the moral basis for hardliners to further accuse China,’ Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University’s Center for South Asian Studies in Shanghai, told the paper.”

It is worth noting though that, at least as far I know (and send me links if you have seen otherwise), no right-wing observer is making this realist argument.

Pro-government publications like Swarajya are in fact calling for India to take on China, despite its bigger economy and military.

Ram Madhav, the BJP ideologue mentioned above who is considered one of its top minds on foreign policy, has expressly decried an approach that accepts Chinese military superiority as defeatist, saying “post-2014, a policy shift has been witnessed at Chushul in 2014, Doklam in 2017 and Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso lake now.

Unlike in the past, our border security establishment actively engages and physically prevents incursions by the other side.”

What does China want?

Amid all these questions about India’s approach, it also remains unclear what Beijing’s intended outcome is here. We could fill up a whole other newsletter with the analysis and speculation around this:

Was China only taking advantage of a tactical opportunity? Was it angered by the changes to Article 370 that altered Ladakh’s status? Was it “salami slicing”, by pushing the envelope and then retreating half way?

Was it taking the global distraction due to Covid-19 as an opportunity to expand? Did it spot a weakened India and decide now was the time to press on? Or was it reacting to India’s improved infrastructure along the border and a more stridently anti-China line in Indian domestic politics?

Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Centre, offered his conclusion in this War on the Rocks piece:

“Beijing believes India is exploiting a temporary period of Chinese weakness and is responding forcefully as a result. Strategically, it may not help China’s desired goal to keep India neutral.

But since Beijing sees a neutral India as untenable to begin with, tactical gains that can bog India down along the disputed border, frustrate New Delhi’s regional and global ambitions, and remind India of the eventual need for compromise may not be the worst case in China’s cost-benefit analysis.”

Amid all this reading of Beijing’s tea leaves, Arunabh Ghosh, a historian of modern China, made an important larger point:

“Knowledge about Chinese society and politics in contemporary India is extremely poor and, for the most part, dependent on scholarship produced in other parts of the (mostly Anglophone) world.

Unable to draw upon meaningful research or domestic experts, India’s public discourse on China is driven by a dangerous mix of superficial perspectives dominated by racism, stereotypes, ignorance, and, more recently, envy.”

https://scroll.in/article/965301/the-political-fix-with-20-indian-soldiers-dead-is-modi-now-taking-a-realist-line-with-china

The Print – In Ladakh’s Leh, people are caught between coronavirus and border tensions with China

With restrictions being imposed due to a spike in Covid cases and the border issue with China, and no tourists coming in, residents of India’s newest UT are having a tough time.

Sravasti Dasgupta and Sajid Ali

Leh – Ladakh – India, 22 June 2020. On 21 June, when people rolled out their mats to mark International Yoga Day, Ladakh’s capital Leh woke up to an eerie silence, the result of its first Sunday curfew, imposed due to the rising cases of the novel corona-virus.

Shops remained shut and all passenger and commercial vehicular movement were barred throughout the day. The only disruptions were the Indian Air Force’s sorties, tearing across Leh’s skies every few minutes.

On the road, Indian Army’s trucks and buses moved men and equipment around the town as check posts at every 20 metres ensured no civilian vehicular movement.

Amid all of this, beyond Leh’s city limits, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal put out his yoga mat and performed asanas against the spectacular backdrop of the Himalayan mountains behind.

Over the course of the past week, Ladakh has been fighting on two fronts.

On the one hand is a virus that is spreading its tentacles across the small union territory with cases of the novel corona-virus reaching 836 as of 20 June.

But 149 of the cases were recorded on Friday and Saturday alone, prompting the local administration to reimpose lock-down restrictions.

On the other hand is the conflict with China raging in Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed last Monday.

For locals, fighting the combined might of the coronavirus and border face-off with China has meant days of uncertainty writ with nervousness.

Uncertainty amid border tension

Lubzang works at the petrol pump in Leh’s main Chowk area. His family lives in Durbuk, just 120 km from Galwan Valley, the epicentre of the India-China tensions.

“Mobile connectivity has been cut off since May. My brother went back to the village on 15 June, the day the soldiers died,” he said. “He had told me that things were tense, but now I don’t know what has happened.”

Like Lubzang, Norbu, an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel, too hasn’t spoken to his family in over a month.

“My house is only 30 km from the border at Rango village. I last spoke to my parents on 6 May,” he said. “Since then, there’s been no communication and now I can’t even go back.”

For locals who have seen the 1999 Kargil War, the build-up is familiar but the lack of information is only adding to the tension.

Abdul Rahman, a constable with Ladakh Police, keeping guard at a makeshift tent with five others on Old Leh Road, said, “My house is near Tololing.

During the Kargil War, I could hear grenades day and night. Here we can only see the choppers, planes and the Army vehicles, but we don’t really know what’s happening. This uncertainty is uncomfortable.”

Students who have come back to Leh after the coronavirus lockdown eased say that they don’t know where their future lies.

“We have always heard of small incursions by China along the border while growing up. But things were never this serious. We never considered Ladakh to be a conflict zone like Kashmir but now the conflict is at our doorstep,” said Dechen, a student of Delhi University.

The Telegraph – Galwan Clash: Turns out, nothing happened

And yet there seemed to be a lot of sound and flurry over the nothing that happened

Upala Sen

Galwan Valley – Ladakh – India, 21 June 2020. Addressing an all-party meet against the backdrop of the India-China face-off and killings of Indian soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, “Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now, nor have our posts been captured.”

Nothing happened and yet 20 Indian soldiers died?

Sunil Kumar, Chandan Kumar, Kundan Kumar, Aman Kumar, Jai Kishore Singh, Satnam Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurbinder Singh, Gurtej Singh, Ganesh Handsa, Kundan Kumar Ojha, Chandrakanta Pradhan, Nuduram Soren, B. Santosh Babu, K Palani, Bipul Roy, Deepak Kumar, Rajesh Orang, Ganesh Ram, Ankush.

Now, the air in Ladakh is paper thin, and who knows someone might suggest that they vanished into thin air. Except that they didn’t.

The recovered bodies had grievous injuries, mutilations. There were reports that the Chinese attacked them with iron rods studded with nails and rocks.

And the PM himself said, “Twenty of our jawans were killed but not before they taught a lesson to those who had dared to raise an eye towards Bharat Mata.” But a lesson taught for what, if what happened was nothing?

Line of actual control

A day later, the PIB issued a statement clarifying that the “Prime Minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces.”

But “nothing happened” seems to be the line of actual control peddled by the Chinese as well. Ten Indian soldiers were held captive by the Chinese and released three days later.

But according to China, nothing happened. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “As far as I know China hasn’t seized any Indian personnel.”

A news producer from CGTN (China Ghobal Television Network) tweeted: “No outsider was inside #Indian territory in #Ladakh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The statement illustrates that the incidents happened in Chinese territory (sic).” The Chinese President Xi Jingping’s birthday came and went, but no greetings were conveyed from the Indian side.

Nothing happened. In Asansol, BJP workers registered their protest by burning effigies of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. What goes of Xi? Nothing.

Good fences make good neighbours

Nothing happened. And yet there seemed to be a lot of sound and flurry over the nothing that happened. The USA has called China a “rogue actor” since. Moscow has assured India of support.

Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria has visited Ladakh more than once to review preparations of the IAF and assured the nation that India’s armed forces are determined to deliver.

Much Ado over nothing! In the meantime, India is reverberating with calls to boycott Chinese products.

According to China’s Global Times, by the end of 2019, “roughly 1,000 Chinese firms invested in India or opened facilities in the country, involving investment of over $8 billion”.

The buzz is that what nothing couldn’t do, this might have done, made China uneasy. That would be something.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/india-china-clash-turns-out-nothing-happened-in-the-galwan-valley-according-to-the-centre/cid/1782436?ref=opinion_home-template