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New Delhi: In 2006-07, India approved the construction of 73 strategic roads along the Sino-Indian border, but 82 percent of these – scheduled to be ready by 2012 – are unfinished. The new deadline is 2018.
Despite ambitious plans, India cannot seem to catch up with China in building infrastructure and militarising the 3,488 km border between the two countries.
The roads are part of a quiet but extensive Indian border-strengthening plan, which includes a new army corps of 35,000 (down from 90,000) soldiers, specifically to counter China’s burgeoning conventional forces across the Himalayas, and 14 strategic rail links to deploy troops and supplies.
There is little doubt that India is wary of Chinese abilities and intentions, despite recent declarations of peace.
“It is not a volatile border. Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter of a century now,” Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said in an interview with a magazine ahead of a visit to China.
Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also agreed to “resolve outstanding differences” and maintain “peace and tranquillity” but on the border, “transgressions” – as Chinese pasturers and troops foray along the unmarked Line of Actual Control (LAC) are called – are common.
As many as 1,612 transgressions by Chinese troops inside Indian territory took place between 2010 and August 2014, according to data released by the home ministry.
New roads are being built, but progress is slow
“While our neighbouring countries can reach the borders within two or three hours, our army takes more than a day to reach there. This is a matter of great concern with regard to our defense preparedness.”
This is the observation of a parliamentary committee on defense, alluding to the situation in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
No more than 19 of 73 approved roads have been built, according to the report.
Delays on 40 roads have pushed deadlines by as far as six years, while construction of two roads has not started.
In Assam, India’s longest bridge, 9.15-km long, will be thrown open later this year. It’ll cost Rs.876 crore (nearly $140 million) and is meant to bear the 41.5 tonne T-72 tanks and cut travel time to the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh, which lies along the LAC.
Rail plans are still only plans, while China nears the border
India envisages urgently building four rail lines in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir, stretching 1,352 km, to be built collectively by the ministries of railways and defence.
While final surveys continue, China is already extending existing rail lines to the border: ToYatung, a trade centre close to Sikkim, and Nyingchi, a small town bordering Arunachal Pradesh. Both projects are expected to be completed by 2020.
China recently completed a railway line connecting the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to Shigatze, a town close to Nathu La, a strategic border post connecting Sikkim with the Tibetan Autonomous region.
Besides the contentious border, the Sino-Indian border dispute is also fuelled by the Chinese claim to nearly 90,000 sq. km of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as South Tibet, and India claims that China illegally occupied nearly 30,000 sq km of the deserted Aksai Chin region of northern Jammu and Kashmir after the 1962 war.
Chinese airfields grow stronger
Six key civilian Chinese airfields in Tibet are being expanded to handle military operations, according to Air Marshal M. Matheswaran (retd), former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff for Policy, Plans and Force Development.
Alongside, he said, China is deploying advanced military aircraft and support systems such as air-to-air refueling capabilities, airborne advance warning systems, sensors, air-defence systems and missile stocks.
By contrast, India recently opened three advanced landing grounds (ALGs) in J&K’s Ladakh region at Daulat Beg Oldi, Fuk Che and Nyoma, all close to the LAC.
Daulat Beg Oldi is the world’s highest airfield at 16,614 feet. It is about 10 km from the Sino-Indian border and has seen regular landing of heavy transport aircraft.
But such landing grounds are not full-fledged air bases. They are landing strips that can be used to drop-off troops and supplies.
This is why the Indian Air Force wants to upgrade the Nyoma landing ground by 2016-17 to station fighter jets and provide logistical support to the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Ladakh Scouts, an Indian Army unit.
In Arunachal Pradesh, advanced landing grounds are being developed at Tawang, Mechuka, Vijaynagar, Tuting, Passighat, Walong, Ziro and Along, at a cost of Rs.720 crore.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has to deploy its frontline Sukhoi SU-30 MKI aircraft at Chabua and Tezpur air bases in Assam, up to 405 km from the border. The combat jet can cover this distance in less than 15 minutes. (IANS)
The symbol of Swastika is known to signify peace, prosperity, and good fortune in the religious cultures of Eurasia. In fact, this symbol is considered very significant in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. But, at the same time, it has become one of the most misunderstood religious symbols and has been globally banned in many countries.
The reason why the symbol of Swastika is banned in many countries is because of its association with Adolf Hitler's extreme political ideology, Nazism, as Swastika as its official symbol.
Austria, France, Latvia, Spain, Germany, and Russia are amongst the many countries that have banned the display and use of the Swastika.
Moreover, last week Victoria in Australia is preparing to become the first-ever state to ban the public display of the Swastika. This is a step towards an expansion of anti-vilification laws in the state.
Representation of the Swastika on the flag of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Movement.Photo by Flickr.
Now, we must know and understand what went wrong with this symbol, which is sacred and signifies all-good things.
For a very, very long time, in India, the Swastika is the first emblem that is worshipped or even drawn before any sacred and auspicious ceremonies as this symbol in Sanskrit represents 'well-being'. But, the Swastika lost all its credibility when it was wrongfully used by Adolf Hitler.
In fact, it is believed that if this symbol is worshipped properly, then it gives positive results. But if it is abused, then it gives negative results. So, when Adolf Hitler rotated the Swastika at 45 degrees, it slowly and steadily brought misery not only to Adolf Hitler and his theory of Nazism but also to all the people who were associated with him.
Therefore, in order to give the kind of respect and credibility which the Swastika deserves, World Interfaith Harmony Week which was held in New York in February this year, interfaith groups appealed to the United Nations to recognize and acknowledge the Swastika as an important and peaceful symbol. In fact, they also differentiated it from the Hakenkreuz or "Hooked Cross" of Adolf Hitler.
India celebrated a historic day on August 7, as 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. In the men's javelin throw event, he achieved his greatest triumph, throwing the javelin 87.58 meters on his second try.
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana's Panipat district. He grew up in a Haryanavi family of farmers. He is the brother of two sisters. He graduated from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh and is now enrolled in Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Chopra was bullied due to his obesity as a kid, which prompted his father to enroll him in a nearby gym. He then joined a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, noticed his potential and coached him. When the 13-year-old Chopra finished training under Jaiveer for a year, he was enrolled at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, where he began training under coach Naseem Ahmed.
In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018. | Wikimedia Commons
Chopra's first international medal came in 2014, as he took home a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok. In 2015, he set a world record in the junior category of 81.04 meters in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet.
Since emerging into the public eye with a historic gold medal at the junior world championships in 2016, he has maintained a high level of performance, setting an Under-20 world record of 86.48m, which still stands. Gold medals in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games are among his other accomplishments, including a first-place in the 2017 Asian Championships. In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018.
Chopra has also had his share of bad events in life. In 2019, he underwent surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm, which kept him out of the game for almost a year. However, he returned more robust than ever. In November 2019, he went to South Africa to train from Klaus Bartoneitz. He spent the following year in India training at the NIS Patiala because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was allowed to go to France with his coach after weeks of trying to get a travel visa.
Neeraj Chopra made history in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics. Also, it is worth mentioning that after Abhinav Bindra, Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal.
Keywords: Neeraj Chopra, Olympics, Tokyo2020, Gold medal, javelin, India, Haryana
The emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England brought with it many apprehensions and fears that translated into a new genre in literature: the gothic. Today, the idea of the gothic does not have to much with literature as much as it is associated with fashion.
The Victorians began to wear black more often during the Industrial Revolution to hide the stains of soot on their clothes. Many of the working class were employed in factories. They were newly introduced to technology, the idea of coal as fuel, and the working of machines to serve a certain purpose. This kind of work was hard and messy. Wearing light colours burdened the tired folk when the stubborn stains did not get washed away.
The steam engine was invented to make locomotion easier for the masses, but it brought fear to the people. They had led quiet and simple lives till now, and suddenly their world was infiltrated with loud noises and smoke. Dark places became synonymous with evil deeds and mysteries. It was from this time that horror gained a place in the imaginations of people and artists.
A man sporting gothic clothes and shock coloured hair Image source: wikimedia commons
The gothics of today are those who have held on to these practices. There is no need to fear smoke and noise anymore, but the goths wear black clothes all the time, paint their skin a pale shade, to contrast their clothes, and wear bright shades of red. The traditional gothics decorated themselves with jewellery bearing religious significances, as the belief in Dracula and vampires emerged in the Victorian period. Today, it is a trend to wear studded crosses, or crosses made of black metal either as neck chokers, or earrings.
Modern goths also wear bright monotones to show their patronage of a certain style or order of the goths. They can be seen in neon shades of green, pink, and yellow, often sporting piercings, and matching hair. Their tastes are metallic, and they have an uncanny love for tattoos.
Designers consistently include gothic tastes and styles in their clothing lines to create inclusivity for this subculture. Being gothic, or identifying with them is somewhat a concern even in today's society, and such people are often stigmatised to the extent that it is considered a mental illness associated with the dark arts. The phenomenon is mostly observed in teenagers, and often phases out when they reach adulthood, depending on their sphere of influence.
Keywords: Gothic, Fashion, Victorian, Black, Jewellery