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Indira Gandhi still “most acceptable ruler” of India for her Decisiveness and Fearlessness: President Pranab Mukherjee

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Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, with daughter Indira Gandhi, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, May 13, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said Indira Gandhi was still the “most acceptable ruler” of the country and hailed the late Prime Minister for her decisiveness and fearlessness.

“To the people of India, she is the most acceptable ruler of a democratic country, even today,” Mukherjee said at the launch of the book “India’s Indira – A Centennial Tribute” during her birth centenary year.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s short period in political wilderness revealed her true strength.

“She remained undaunted in the face of attacks and criticism. She never lost courage. If the Congress party came back into power within a short period of three years, it was because of Gandhi’s hard work and determined action,” said Mukherjee at the event attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi among others.

“When Congress was defeated in 1977, when I met her, the first thing she told me was ‘Pranab, don’t get unnerved by the defeat. This is the time to act. And she acted,” he said.

The President, who had served as a minister in her cabinet, said that she had “waged a relentless war against communal and sectarian violence, throughout her life” while successfully rising above “divisive identities of caste, community, religion and creed and established a direct connect with people”.

“It was this unhindered rapport that made her acceptable from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Mizoram to Dwarka. She had only one identity – that of an Indian,” said the President.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s life was infused with a tremendous passion for India and its people, and hailed her contributions towards the progress and development of India.

About Indira Gandhi’s decisiveness, Mukherjee referred to several of her bold decisions including the Operation Blue Star the 1984 military operation to remove Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Punjab.

“Sometimes history demands some action which may not prove correct later on, but perhaps is most relevant at that time,” he said.

“Fearlessness in action and boldness in decision making was the unique hallmark of her character,” said Mukherjee who was presented the first copy of the book edited by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. “It was in Indiraji’s time that India became the third largest reservoir of skilled scientific and technical manpower, the fifth military power, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the seventh in the race for space and the tenth industrial power,” he said.Gandhi was Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and then from 1980 to 1984 when she was assassinated. (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.