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Inter Faith Meeting in US Aims For Peace and Tolerance

Inter faith meeting at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on Indian religious traditions in the US brought together representatives of various faiths with the aim for peace and harmony

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Inter Faith Meeting
Annual inter-faith Iftar 2015. Wikimedia
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July 16, 2017: Inter faith meeting at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on Indian religious traditions in the US brought together representatives of various faiths with the aim for peace and harmony. The meeting also emphasized the need for dialogue among different religions. The meeting witnessed renowned personalities from different religious communities.

Swami Muktidananda of Ramakrishna Mission while referring to the democratic principles on soils of both America and India said, “All faiths can flourish in the world by carrying flags of harmony.”

The Jewish Community Affairs General Secretary A Cohen, who touched on over 200-year history of the Jewish community in Kolkata and the method adopted by Jewish-run schools for imparting lessons of harmony among the children emphasized on not recognizing one’s religion superior as compared to others.

The General Secretary of Mahabodhi Society of India, Ven P Seewali also expressed his view and feels cultural differences to be the only difference among humans.

Father Dominic Gomes, who is the Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta, conveyed about the need of seers to enlighten in regard to the severe and diabolical problems. He said “Somewhere we are not getting to the bottom line. Dialogue is important.”

The Buddhist monk representing Buddhism called for continuing peace initiatives and dialogues and gave a reference to the spiritual history of India where gurus had talked about love and compassion for thousands of years.

Swami Shuddhidananda talked about how Swami Vivekananda’s visit to the US had opened floodgates of spirituality in America and acceptance of Indian spirituality by the Americans. Ajmer Singh, president of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Jagat Sudhar and the representative of Sikhism was also present on the occasion. Imam of Nakhoda Mosque, Md Shafique Qasmi, who could not mark his presences due to illness or some other reasons ensures his contribution by sending a message to support the initiative.

Expressing happiness over the discourse, US Consul General Dr Craig L Hal also expressed his pleasure over the discourse and encouraged the people of two countries to share the practice of ideals which will result in demonstrating a common commitment stimulating tolerance towards all religions.

The exhibition ‘Keeping Faith’ displayed photographs of the celebration of multiple faiths Indian festivals in America. Charles River Ganga Aarti at Cambridge, Eid Milan at Houston, and Turban Day at Manhattan, Holi at Harvard, Ganesh Chaturthi in New York were some of the display. These exhibits were also on display in New Delhi and Hyderabad earlier.

– prepared by Surbhi Dhawan of Newsgram. Twitter @surbhi_dhawan 

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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.