Sanjha Morcha

Our restraint has a bottom line, China warns India on Doklam

Beijing releases ‘facts’ on Indian troops crossing border into its territory

BEIJING: China on Friday warned its restraint has a “bottom line” and demanded that India immediately withdraw its troops from Doklam to end a military standoff near the Sikkim border that is currently in its second month.

AP FILEChinese troops hold a banner in this 2013 photo, saying, ‘You’ve crossed the border, please go back’, in Ladakh. China insists India withdraw its troops before talks can take place to settle the most protracted standoff in recent years between the two nations.A statement issued by its defence ministry said “goodwill has its principles and restraint has its bottom line”, adding the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showed a high level of restraint.

This was the latest in a string of strongly worded Chinese statements that put the onus of ending the face-off in the Doklam region on India. New Delhi has said both sides should pull back their troops before talks can begin.

The statement said Indian troops illegally crossed the border into Chinese territory on June 18 and obstructed road construction work on the Chinese side. “China has shown utmost goodwill and sought to communicate with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the incident. Chinese armed forces have also shown a high level of restraint with an eye to the general bilateral relations and the regional peace and stability,” defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said.

The statement was released a day after India’s external affairs ministry said peace along the border constituted an important prerequisite for the smooth development of bilateral relations.

The Chinese statement rejected India’s view and said this was a delaying tactic.

“Ren urged the Indian side to give up the illusion of its delaying tactic, as no country should underestimate the Chinese forces’ confidence and capability to safeguard peace and their resolve and willpower to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests,” it said.

Ren added that China’s armed forces will resolutely protect the country’s territorial sovereignty and security interests.

China has repeatedly blamed India for the Doklam impasse, accusing Indian soldiers of trespass and preventing Chinese soldiers from building a road in the region, which is under Chinese control but claimed by Bhutan.

Beijing has also said the two sides can open talks only after the Indian troops are withdrawn. New Delhi says the road, if built, will have serious security implications and alter the status quo.

“The defence ministry’s statement pointed out that China has shown tolerance. But that doesn’t come without principles,” Wang Dehua, from Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, told Hindustan Times.

“The bottom line is the boundary line (in Sikkim), which has already been settled. India should withdraw all intruders immediately without any condition,” Wang added.

It is in India’s interest to withdraw, said Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong.

Even if the Indian military has initial advantages in case of hostilities in terms of geography, climate and deployment, the Chinese military will be able to overcome difficulties, Lexiong said.

“India does not have its own system of defence industrial production, and when having a comprehensive war with China within the scope of conventional war, even if the beginning can be well, it will soon be unsustainable,” Lexiong added.

China building modern, regionally powerful navy: Report

China building modern, regionally powerful navy: Report
China”s first domestically-built carrier ”Type 001-A”. Reuters file

Washington, August 30

China is building a modern and regionally powerful navy with a limited but growing capability for conducting operations beyond the country’s shores, a congressional report said.

Chinese navy ships in recent years have begun to conduct operations away from China’s home waters, including the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the waters surrounding Europe, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Consistent with these goals, observers believe China wants its military to be capable of acting as a force that can deter US intervention in a conflict in China’s near-seas region over Taiwan or some other issue, or failing that, delay the arrival or reduce the effectiveness of intervening US forces, Congressional Research Service said in a recent report.

China is building a modern and regionally powerful navy with a limited but growing capability for conducting operations beyond China’s shores, the report said.

The CRS as the name indicates is an independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress, whose experts prepares reports and research materials for US lawmakers on issues of their interest for them to take informed decision.

Prepared by experts, these are not considered as an official policy of the US Congress.

In its report, dated August 18, the CRS said additional missions for China’s navy include conducting maritime security (including anti-piracy) operations, evacuating Chinese nationals from foreign countries when necessary, and conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

“The issue for Congress is how the US Navy should respond to China’s military modernisation efforts, particularly its naval modernisation effort. Decisions that Congress reaches on this issue could affect US Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the US defense industrial base,” it said.

Although many of China’s long-distance naval deployments have been for making diplomatic port calls, some of them have been for other purposes, including conducting training exercises and carrying out antipiracy operations in waters off Somalia, it said, adding that China is now looking at military bases overseas.

Its first such military base has been established in Djibouti.

“In March 2017, it was reported that China might deploy a contingent of Chinese marines to the commercial port at Gwadar, Pakistan, to help maintain security at that port,” CRS said.

The report said some observers are concerned that a combination of growing Chinese naval capabilities and budget- driven reductions in the size and capability of the US.

Navy could encourage Chinese military overconfidence and demoralise US allies and partners in the Pacific, and thereby destabilise or make it harder for the US to defend its interests in the region. PTI

A comrade-in-arms, and more by Lt Gen Raj Kadyan

A comrade-in-arms, and more

Raj Kadyan

THE runway at Agartala had a general east-west alignment before 1947. After the creation of erstwhile East Pakistan, the border ran west of the airfield. Resultantly, the aircraft had to cross over the border. To avoid this, another runway was constructed parallel to the border.  My company had been deployed to guard the airfield since mid-November 1971. On our west was Chandpur village, occupied by the enemy. The area was thickly wooded. Around 7.30 pm on December 3, the field telephone in my bunker rang. It was urgent summons from the battalion headquarters. Shortly, a jonga with headlights off halted at the end of the runway and I was off. Having told us that Pakistanis had attacked our western airfields, the Commanding Officer tasked my company to capture Chandpur the next morning. It was past 10 pm when I got back. I called my order group to issue necessary instructions. Bhawani Singh, all of 22, was my quiet companion. He must have possessed sixth sense. By the time I returned to the bunker around midnight, he had cleaned my carbine, checked magazines for ammunition, primed two grenades and ensured their safety pins were in place. My field upholstery was laid out neatly; a bottle had been filled with water. He ensured that my identity discs were worn on my person. In one corner, was his own kit in complete readiness. He brewed tea on the stove and gave it to me in a mug. Free of these worries, my mind went over operational details. We spoke little. Before withdrawing to his nearby dug-out, he quietly reminded me to write a letter to the family. I also told him to write to his parents; he was to be married in three months. At the crack of dawn, on December 4, we launched the attack. Bhawani was next to me, carrying the radio set. Many lives and limbs were lost but we managed to capture the objective and began to reorganise to face a possible counter attack. Bhawani and I dug a 30-inch trench and crouched in it with our weapons. We remained under shelling throughout the day and continued to suffer casualties.  At dusk there was a call from the battalion headquarters wanting to know the map reference of our position. The map was with the mortar officer, some 30 ft away in his trench. Bhawani volunteered to fetch it. He had hardly gone halfway when a shell landed near our trench throwing mud all over. I heard his groan. I jumped out and rushed to him. He was hit in the chest by a huge splinter; his entrails were out. I took his head in my lap and shouted for the stretcher bearers. Four of them from the medical platoon were the only medical help. They came quickly, but Bhawani was gone — the 10th casualty of the day. Tears welled up in my eyes on the loss of a close companion, a comrade-in-arms. In military glossary definition he was an orderly. In common parlance, he was a sahayak.

After bail, army may revoke suspension of Lt Col Purohit

MALEGAON BLAST Sources say the first serving officer who was arrested on charges of terror would be back in service in due course

NEW DELHI: Granted bail by the Supreme Court in a blast case on Monday, Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit could be back serving the army.

PTI FILEMalegaon blast case accused Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit spent almost nine years in judicial custody.

The army would review his suspension, which could be revoked, and he could be posted to a unit in due course, army officials said on Monday.

Purohit was arrested for his alleged involvement in the September 29, 2008 blast in Maharashtra’s Muslim-majority town of Malegaon that killed six people.

The officer, who participated in counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and was also with military intelligence, spent almost nine years in judicial custody.

The first serving army officer to be arrested on charges of terrorism, Purohit was granted bail on a personal security of ₹1 lakh and two sureties of the same sum.

The court directed the officer to surrender his passport and cooperate with the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the attack that came to be known as an act of “Hindu terror” along with six more cases.

The army suspended the officer shortly after his arrest in the Malegaon case. He was drawing 25% of his pay and allowances while under suspension but it was later revised to 75% following an order by the armed forces tribunal, sources said.

The officer would be attached to an army unit soon and allowed to wear his uniform, sources said.

“An officer under suspension is under the same restrictions as an officer under open arrest during a general court martial. During open arrest, an officer has to wear his uniform though he may be permitted to wear civilian clothes,” an army man said. Granting him bail, the court said there were variations in the charge sheets filed by the Mumbai anti-terrorism squad, which initially probed the case, and the NIA.

The trial was likely to take a long time and Purohit had been in prison for about eight years and eight months, it said.

Opposing the bail, the NIA said Purohit was the main conspirator and there was sufficient material to prove his involvement in the blast, which amounted to waging war against the state, and, that too, by violent means.

Another IMA cadet dies

Dehradun, August 20

A day after a gentleman cadet from Bhatinda died during training at Indian Military Academy, another Gentleman cadet from Darjeeling passed away due to illness last night.Gentleman cadet Naveen Chetri (23) belonged to Darjeeling district in West Bengal and was undergoing training at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was not keeping well for quite some time and was undergoing treatment at Military Hospital. He was referred to Mahant Indresh Hospital after his condition deteriorated. Naveen belonged to Cariappa Battallion of IMA. His demise comes after a gentleman cadet from Bhatinda reportedly died of exhaustion on Friday while undertaking a cross country race. A postmortem examination has been conducted on the deceased. — TNS


Sangrur, August 17

After an investigation on the directions of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the Sangrur SSP has suspended an ASI and transferred the Dhuri Sadar SHO for alleged dereliction of duty.Sepoy Gurpreet Singh, posted with the 5 Sikh Regiment in Jammu, had complained to the CM in Gurdaspur on August 15 that he was insulted by some persons in the presence of SHO Vijay Kumar and ASI Harmeet Singh at Dhuri Sadar police station last month.Locked in a dispute over the construction of a drain at Durgewala village, two parties had been called to the police station. Members of the rival party allegedly misbehaved with the Army man. “Both cops failed to take action. Gurpreet was in uniform when he was insulted at the police station,” the SSP said. — TNS


ASI suspended, SHO shifted in Sangrur


SANGRUR: After the intervention of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh into a case of army jawan’s ‘insult’, district senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu suspended an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of sadar police station, Dhuri, and transferred a station house officer (SHO) to the police lines.

“After a probe, ASI Harmeet Singh has been suspended. SHO Vijay Kumar has been transferred to the police lines and a departmental inquiry has been also marked against him,” SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu told HT.

Jawan Gurpreet Singh had reportedly approached the CM during his visit to Gurdaspur on August 14 and alleged that he was insulted by his neighbours in the presence of police, but the cops did not act against them.

Sources said Gurpreet had told the CM that he had a dispute with a group of people in his village Durgewala. However, when they were trying to achieve a compromise, his ‘rivals’ insulted him before ASI Harmeet Singh. The jawan had reportedly claimed that he was in army uniform at that time and the cops failed to stop them from insulting him. After listening to his grievances, the CM had called up the SSP and ordered an inquiry into the matter.

India, China troops engage in stone pelting, fisticuffs in eastern Ladakh First such incident in Ladakh in several years

India, China troops engage in stone pelting, fisticuffs in eastern Ladakh
A file photo of the Pangong Tso (lake).

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15

In a serious turn to the existing tensions between India and China, troops of the two sides clashed on Tuesday, with both pelting stones and hitting each other. Men on both sides were injured.This was the first such incident in several years.Sources confirmed that the incident occurred when land-based patrols of both sides came face to face north of the Pangong Tso (lake) in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. It is an area claimed by both countries and is one of the spots where the two countries fought pitched battles during the 1962 war.The Pangong Tso, a 135 km-wide glacial-melt lake, straddles both countries. It has boat patrols from either side. The land patrols are different from these.The spurs of the mountains forming the northern bank of the lake are militarily termed as ‘fingers’. On a west-to-east axis, India claims territory till ‘Finger 8’, but is in physical control till ‘Finger 4’. The aerial distance between the two ‘fingers’ is about 15 km. The land north of these mountains is disputed.Land patrols of both sides often come face to face and a drill is followed to disengage. This includes unfurling of a banner, asking each other to withdraw. This is the first step.New Delhi has asked for a report as the pelting of stones is considered a serious matter. It is not clear who started the stone pelting or how it was triggered.A flag meeting could be held between brigade commanders of either side at the Spanggur Gap, the designated meeting point south of the Pangong Tso.

In I-Day address, Pak PM blames India for impasse Hoists ‘largest’ national flag on 400-ft pole at Attari-Wagah border

In I-Day address, Pak PM blames India for impasse
A Pakistani Ranger (top) on Monday unfurls the national flag at the Wagah border to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. AFP

Islamabad, August 14

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi today blamed India for the impasse in bilateral ties, saying New Delhi’s “expansionist designs” was the “main hurdle” in constructive relations between the two neighbours.Addressing the nation on its 70th Independence Day, Abbasi said Pakistan “desires positive and constructive” relations with all countries based on sovereign equality.Indo-Pak ties nosedived after a series of attacks last year, including the Uri strike, carried out by the Pakistan- based terror outfits. Following the attacks, India boycotted the SAARC Summit, which was scheduled to be held in November last in Pakistan.“Our government has invariably made efforts to initiate the process of meaningful dialogue and adoption of peaceful means to resolve the issues but unfortunately the expansionist designs of India have remained the main hurdle in this regard,” Abbasi said.Pakistan’s national flag today flew at 400 ft, the highest in South Asia, at the Attari-Wagah border with India to mark the country’s 70th Independence Day.The 120×80 ft flag is also the largest in the history of the country, the Pakistani media reported.Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa hoisted the flag near the border after midnight, kicking off the Independence Day celebrations across the country.The flag is said to be the highest in South Asia and the eighth highest in the world.Gen Bajwa said: “Some 77 years ago, Pakistan resolution was passed in the same city (Lahore). Pakistan came into being on the night of 27th Ramadan. Today, the country is progressing on the path of law and constitution. All institutions are working properly. We will make Pakistan the country of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.”He enunciated the many challenges Pakistan faced, but also tried to drum up the nationalistic sentiment.“We have rendered many sacrifices — we will never forget our martyrs. We will execute each and every terrorist in Pakistan. I want to tell our enemies, whether they are in the east or in the west, that your bullets will end but not the chests of our jawans,” he added.“I assure you that we will never let you down. Any power that will aim to weaken Pakistan, the Army and all other institutions will foil their attempts,” he said.Other speakers at the event also paid tributes to those killed during migration to Pakistan. — PTIOur friendship stronger than steel: Wang  Islamabad: Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, “special guest” at Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration, said on Monday that the two countries have always stood by each other and their friendship was “stronger than steel and sweeter than honey”. Wang, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of China’s ruling Communist Party, is among the country’s top leaders. He arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a two-day visit. AFP

India and China should sign a new boundary convention in the Sikkim sector : Chinese scholars

Beijing: Notwithstanding the Doklam standoff, Chinese military analysts say that India and China should sign a new boundary convention in the Sikkim sector to replace the 1890 Great Britain-China agreement and make it more contemporary.

“For China early harvest means, we want to have a new agreement with India, because the 1890 convention was signed between Great Britain and China,” Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhou, Director at the Centre on China-America Defence Relations of the Academy of Military Science, told an Indian media delegation here yesterday.

“At that time, it was not the People’s Republic of China, (PRC). India became independent in 1947. It is better we change the signatures of the convention, that is what I mean early harvest,” he said.

“It is very essential because there are territorial disputes in the eastern, central and western sectors of the India-China border. Only in the Sikkim section we have the fixed border. So, we want to start from the easiest, that is what we call early harvest,” he added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry too in its August 2 fact- sheet on Doklam standoff referred to Beijing’s expectations of an “early harvest” in the Sikkim sector.

“The Chinese and Indian sides have been in discussion on making the boundary in the Sikkim Sector an ‘early harvest’ in the settlement of the entire boundary question during the meetings between the Special Representatives on the China- India Boundary Question,” it had said, referring to the 1890 convention.

“The boundary in the Sikkim sector has long been delimited by the 1890 Convention, which was signed between then China and Great Britain. China and India ought to sign a new boundary convention in their own names to replace the 1890 Convention. This, however, in no way alters the nature of the boundary in the Sikkim sector as having already been delimited,” it had said.

On the Sikkim part of the boundary, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in its June 30 statement on the Doklam standoff had said, “Where the boundary in the Sikkim sector is concerned, India and China had reached an understanding also in 2012 reconfirming their mutual agreement on the ‘basis of the alignment’. Further discussions regarding finalisation of the boundary have been taking place under the Special Representatives framework.”

Therefore “it is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally. It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected by both sides,” the MEA had said.

Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for the last 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People’s Liberation Army from building a road in the area.

China claimed that it was constructing the road within its territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from Doklam. Bhutan says Doklam belongs to it but China claims sovereignty over the area. China also claims that Thimphu has no dispute with Beijing over Doklam.

Rape-tainted forces get women constables to tackle Red menace

The primary motive for this women’s unit in Bastar is to protect the security forces from the Maoist propaganda of rape charges. DM AWASTHI, Chhattisgarh’s special director general of police (Naxal operations)

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh police have turned to 32 women to protect their reputation and also take the fight to Maoists lording over pockets of Bastar region.

HTThe 32 women constables underwent rigorous training as commandos in Bijapur district, about 422km south of Raipur.

The 32 are constables who underwent rigorous training as commandos in Bijapur district, about 422km south of state capital Raipur, in Bastar.

They will be the first batch of woman commandos of Chhattisgarh police to be deployed for operations in Bastar, where security forces have lost hundreds of personnel to Maoist ambushes and also faced accusations of rights violations, including sexual violence.

Incidentally, allegations of brutal rights violations in Bijapur district two years ago earned security forces the wrath of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The rights body stated in a report there was prima facie evidence that security forces raped and sexually assaulted 16 tribal women during a five-day operation in October 2015.

The operation was reportedly carried out by the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“The primary motive for this women’s unit in Bastar is to protect the security forces from the Maoist propaganda of rape charges,” DM Awasthi, Chhattisgarh’s special director general of police (Naxal operations), told Hindustan Times.

“Bijapur will be the first district to have women commandos for anti-Maoist operations. Soon, such teams will be formed in all seven districts of Bastar,” he added.

Awasthi said many of the 32 commandos knew the local dialects of tribals and their presence will be reassuring for women of villages during operations.

Police insisted this was not a mere public relations exercise in the fight against Maoists, who are known for letting their women guerrillas lead reconnaissance missions and even ambush operations.

Sunderraj P, deputy inspector general of police, Bastar, said, “This is the first time state police will send women commandos inside jungles to fight Maoists and we are hoping for positive results. I believe it will strengthen our operations in Bastar.”

Though the women commandos for Bastar will be a novelty for the state police, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) stamped its presence in this respect in 2016 when it posted assistant commandant Usha Kiran in the Maoist hotbed.