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Unwise to keep India out of SCO: Chinese daily

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Credits-www.sectsco.org

 

Beijing: It would have been politically unwise to keep India out of the SCO and push it towards other groups, “especially given India’s increasing role in global affairs”, said an opinion piece in a state-run Chinese daily on Tuesday.

Credits-www.sectsco.org
Credits- www.sectsco.org

The opinion piece “New members help drive SCO momentum” that appeared in the Global Times said that the inclusion of India and Pakistan as full-fledged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is the first attempt for the bloc to expand its official membership.

“It is alleged that China was reluctant to grant its full support to India’s application, and the theory goes that there was some trading behind the scenes between the two,” said the piece by Xie Chao, a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University.

“What makes such anecdotal stories believable to some was the speculation that India’s promise to accept China into the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was in exchange for China’s final consent. However, such theory is not tenable.”

The opinion piece said that the SAARC is a sub-continental cooperation grouping “dominated by India, but the association’s influence has been entangled and jeopardized by the internal competition between India and Pakistan”.

It noted that if this were the “trading that the theory is talking about, it would be the worst deal a state can ever make and certainly it is unfair to expect China would do so”.

“All in all, an open SCO is better than a closed one.”

It went on to say that “a simultaneous worry has arisen that the SCO might become dysfunctional, as happened to the SAARC, if India and Pakistan bring their differences to the forum. While this is a reasonable concern, such a worry is overstressed”.

Xie pointed out that “there is no record of India bringing bilateral issues to multilateral forums. As a matter of fact, it is in its interests to keep the issues in the region rather than drag in outside powers”.

“Second, the SCO focuses on multilateral rather than bilateral regimes.

“Third, it is politically unwise to keep India out and push it towards other groups, especially given India’s increasing role in global affairs. Its (joining) will allow the SCO to fully release its potential in refreshing and reframing the pattern of relations among major powers.”

The author said that “when we are speculating that China might have accommodated some of India’s concerns, we must admit that it is not an easy step for a proud nation as India to enter an international organization led, or co-led by China, since this is a gesture to acknowledge China’s influence on global affairs”.

The opinion piece said the “SCO will provide another platform for China to discuss its relations with India when both are finding a range of issues of common interests, together with all other members in the bloc. Actually history has proven that they can cooperate very well in a bunch of multilateral frameworks”.

(IANS)

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Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)