Monday January 22, 2018
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India says terrorists can’t be backed for political convenience

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Zhengzhou (China): India on Tuesday said political convenience can no longer be an alibi for backing terrorism and called for closer coordination between the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to fight the scourge.

“International terrorism has emerged as the most serious threat to our peaceful and pluralistic societies,” Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said while addressing the meeting of heads of government of the SCO grouping in this Chinese city.

“Closer coordination between SCO member states and zero tolerance towards terrorism will go a long way to addressing this menace. Political convenience can no longer provide an alibi for backing terrorist groups ideologically, financially or through material support,” he said.

The SCO is an intergovernmental organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by six countries — China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Among other things, the SCO aims to enhance regional security through the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and build connectivity.

India and Pakistan were given the full membership of the organisation at its plenary held in the Russian city of Ufa in July this year.

“One of our most important goals remains a stable and peaceful Afghanistan free of external interference,” Singh said in Tuesday’s meeting also attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“This is absolutely essential to advance peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”

Singh also said India looked forward to the speedy completion of its full membership “so that we can involve ourselves fully in SCO’s programmes and activities at the earliest”.

According to him, there was enormous scope to push forward SCO’s economic and developmental agenda.

“India’s fast-growing market provides an immense economic opportunity, especially for the relatively smaller economies of Central Asia. India’s energy requirements can be met by new and more ambitious energy projects within the SCO bringing on board the interests of energy exporting, transit and importing nations,” the minister said.

He said India, on its part, could bring to the region its strengths in financial management, especially micro-finance, pharmaceuticals, services such as information technology and healthcare, as well as capacity building.

“The SCO should create a facilitating environment for trade and investment. We should bring down barriers to trade and enhance links between our businesses, especially our small and medium enterprises.

“We can also work together on issues of food security and agriculture,” he said.

He said that though the past few years have witnessed a steady growth of new modes of connectivity in the region, progress in this regard was still limited.

“As we move ahead, we should invest in improving regional transportation and communication networks through mutual consultation and sharing of benefits,” he said.

“On this basis, we can create new networks of physical and digital connectivity that extends from Russia’s northern regions to the shores of Indian Ocean. The International North-South Transportation Corridor is an important step in that direction.”

Singh said, “a young and dynamic India, constituting one-sixth of humanity, which is growing at nearly 8 percent per year is joining the SCO to usher in a new phase of friendship with our partners”.(IANS)

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.