Sanjha Morcha

As Modi & Xi re-engage, what’s on China’s mind by Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: File/AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting China and will meet President Xi Jinping on April 27-28 in an informal summit at Wuhan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: File/AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting China and will meet President Xi Jinping on April 27-28 in an informal summit at Wuhan. They will again meet in June this year when he travels for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. After the low point to which Sino-Indian relations had sunk in the wake of the Doklam standoff in June-August last year, and repeated Chinese transgressions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over the past many years, one could never be certain what China’s approach to “friendship and cooperation” was going to be. The continuous efforts by China to prevent India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and its unrelenting determination to prevent Masood Azhar be declared an international terrorist by the UN Security Council would forebode no happy tidings from the coming encounter. Yet China can be the strangest country to deal with. After all, in 1962, after roundly defeating us on the battlefield, it withdrew behind its claimed lines, leaving the so-called disputed territory to be reoccupied by India. There is no reason for an Indian sulk in 2018 as that would be counterproductive, and the Modi government has done well to re-engage.

What can then reasonably be expected from the situation at this juncture of Sino-Indian ties and what will dictate it. China knows that it is destined for big things, the eventual leadership of the world. However, it is in no hurry to reach that stage prematurely. In Chinese philosophy, anything premature is bound to create uncertainty, and the certainty of its rise and ultimate dominance is China’s vision. Thus, the status of Sino-Indian relations needs to be examined from this angle. The perception that China is tempted to go to war with India at a stage when it finds India still militarily weak and unprepared could be inherently flawed. The discussions at the 19th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) made it amply clear that China retained the wisdom of the ancients and had the patience to await its turn to assume the leadership of the world. The interim is all about China working towards maintaining relationships with major powers that it sees as potential competitors and yet setting the stage for their eclipse at its hands. There is no doubt that India falls within the ambit of that perception, that demands from China strategic patience and just sufficient coercion to retain an upper hand in the bilateral relationship. President Xi Jinping’s new status, with leadership for life, and the statements of the 19th congress made it reasonably clear that he is no longer bound by the limits of tenure to achieve what he perceives he is destined to. The new vision surely cannot begin with conflict.

The $85 billion (and growing) trade between India and China is one of the drivers of China’s need for India — the growth was 18 per cent year on year in 2017, in spite of Doklam and other irritants; and the imbalance remains in China’s favour. In the face of a dwindling economy and with threats of trade wars with the United States, the idea of a lucrative trade relationship going bust may not sound tempting. Yet, for all this, China will still not put curbs on its coercion at the border, specially the disputed areas. That provides the scope to put India in its place and project it as unable to stand up to China’s military power. This has continued for a fairly long time, while cooperation in other domains also remained firm. The extent of this strategy was clear even in 2014 when Xi Jinping sat with Narendra Modi on the banks of the Sabarmati, even as the PLA blatantly carried out a transgression of the LAC in eastern Ladakh. But then Doklam happened, and that upset the carefully crafted strategy. India did not cow down, it held its own militarily and diplomatically, and even more importantly psychologically. China’s attempts at information and psychological warfare to browbeat India did not succeed and India handled its media well enough to neither intimidate nor escalate the conflict. A reset was therefore imminent.

The reset that China seeks is perhaps a marginal tweak of the original policy of simultaneous intimidation and engagement. India’s resistance to BRI and its refusal to show up for the grand BRI conference did not go down well with Beijing. The reset now probably includes an adjustment to bring India into the ambit less the CPEC, which crosses India’s claimed area of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Some alternatives could be in the offing, to include a China-Nepal-India Trilateral Economic Corridor extendable to Bangladesh, a China-Bhutan-India Corridor or a relook at the Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-China Corridor (BIMC). The signing of MOUs would be in the offing but the materialisation of these would be contingent upon what China has in store as far as the border is concerned. Putting that in the freezer is unlikely after years of experience in brinkmanship through walk-in operations. Leaving Doklam unavenged may also not be a tempting proposition as ego still dictates China’s self-perception. Analysts have been prophesying that limited coercion at the border accompanied by massive doses of deniable cyberattacks, along with a refurbished information strategy, could be in the offing even as India’s leadership is engaged in talks. That is the Chinese way, with the aim that India will wilt under the combined pressure and yield strategic space. The game being played over the Maldives is another prong of this strategy, a game which does include temporary yielding of space to send positive signals. In the recent past, China displayed this at FATF, where after initial reluctance it agreed upon placing Pakistan on the warning list for its financial terror links. By being willing to engage, India is not wilting but displaying pragmatism. When a nation has neglected its comprehensive national power to meet its threats, some pragmatic compromise is inevitable. Hopefully, over the next decade or so it will pay more attention towards this weakness and acquire a position to resist Chinese coercion, even as the two remain engaged in many other domains of cooperation.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired lieutenant-general, is a former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps. He is also associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation and the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.

Why the row over DSP cadre merger with Delhi, other UTs


From page 01 CHANDIGARH: There’s been a row over a home ministry (MHA) proposal to merge the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) cadre of Chandigarh Police with that of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Services (DANIPS), with even the Punjab chief minister opposing the idea.

HT FILE■ A number of Chandigarh Police officials are reportedly against the proposal for merger of the DSP cadres as they don’t want a transfer to other UTs.WHAT’S THE PROPOSAL?

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has proposed the merger of the Chandigarh Police deputy superintendent of police (DSP) cadre with the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Services (DANIPS). There are at present 23 sanctioned posts of DSPs in Chandigarh police with 11 are held by officials of the Chandigarh cadre and 10 by DANIPS.


Senior police officials say the merger will set a system in place, currently non-existent, for promotion and transfer of Chandigarh Police DSPs, which can only happen once they are a part of DANIPS. The police officials are permanently stationed in Chandigarh once they are recruited at the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) level.


Anuradha Gupta, an IAS officer from the Haryana cadre, was UT home secretary when a DSPs deputation met her to ask for promotion to the rank of superintendent of police (SP). As no such provision existed then and SPs came to the city on deputation from New Delhi, Gupta proposed the merger for the first time.


Some Chandigarh Police officers don’t fancy the idea of leaving the comforts of the city and move to other UTs. Then comes the question of seniority – once the merger happens they will be junior to their DANIPS counterparts as they are recruited as ASIs whereas the former, say in Delhi Police, are recruited a higher level as sub-inspectors.


The merger, many police officers say, will be in the interest of the local police officers as more openings will be created for promotions to SP or even DIG ranks.

Transfer to other UTs should also not be such a big issue for the DSPs, they say.


Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has opposed the move, saying Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and a disputed territory as of now. He has called for continuing the existing pattern of all Chandigarh UT posts being shared between Punjab and Haryana in a 60:40 ratio. The merger will dilute the stake of Punjab in Chandigarh, making the CM a likely target for rival parties Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party for working against the interests of the state.


DANIPS now is a proposal put forward by MHA for comments and observations up to May 19, after which it will be sent to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for approval. From there, it will go to the finance and then the personnel ministries and finally to the Union Cabinet for clearance.

It has also been learnt that inspectors and police officials in line for promotion to posts of DSPs in Chandigarh are contemplating legal action if the proposal is implemented.

Fresh tenders for fighter jets Reinventing the wheel, again and again

Fresh tenders for fighter jets

The Defence Ministry’s disclosure about its plans to invite a foreign manufacturer to make 110 fighter jets in India has expectedly set the world’s major military-industrial complexes agog with expectations. Nearly three years after the Modi government scrapped the tenders for 126 fighters and then opted to buy 36 from the French, the wheel has come around in a full circle. The government had defended its retail-level purchase of just two fighter squadrons by hinting at another purchase plan up its sleeve that would bridge the gap between the requirement (42 squadrons) and the inventory (31 squadrons). It now appears that the government has formalised its often-aired intention of asking a foreign company to set up a combat jet manufacturing plant in India.This is an opportunity pregnant with several possibilities. If the plan succeeds, India will be able to lift itself in the technology adaptation ladder by several notches. The combat jet plant could become a strategic asset if the planes are exported to neighbouring countries. But as the UPA I discovered after ineffectually grappling with the 126 fighter jet tender for the bulk of its term, defence technologies are not readily available on tap. There may hardly be an example of a foreign defence behemoth transferring sensitive technology. They prefer to export ready-made jets or, at best, assemble them in the recipient country.India’s procurement culture is marked by a lack of transparency and often national security becomes the standard argument to avoid accountability for professional neglect. No heads are likely to roll for having kept the IAF fleet depleted for over a decade. The malaise extends to the other two services as well — outgoing service chiefs at times have drawn attention to the danger of India falling behind the equipment curve. Apart from failing to efficiently manage its arms procurement decisions, the absence of the Planning Commission means the government is unable to take into account national and societal needs while planning to induct expensive advanced weapons systems. This absence of a national planning system may prove costly for the country’s national security in the long run.


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Last Sikh Queen’s earrings fetch nearly 6 times auction estimate

Last Sikh Queen’s earrings fetch nearly 6 times auction estimate

The earrings belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Photo courtesy Twitter handle: @bonhams1793

London, April 25

A pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of last Sikh Queen of Punjab Maharani Jind Kaur fetched 175,000 pounds, nearly six times the guide price, at an auction here.The earrings, the highlight of the Islamic and Indian sale at Bonhams yesterday, were estimated to attract bids between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds.The earrings belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was the only wife of the Sikh ruler not to commit sati on his funeral pyre following his death in 1839.She went on to be appointed as the de facto ruler of Punjab before being captured by the British. It was only many years later when she arrived in England that her jewellery, including the earrings on sale, were handed back to her.“The impressive price paid for these beautiful pieces of jewellery conveys their significance,” said Oliver White, Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams.“These gold earrings are a powerful reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude,” he noted.When Kaur’s five-year-old son Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, she was appointed Regent.The Punjab Empire at the time stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled for its artistic and scientific achievements and opulence and riches.The East India Company invaded and annexed Punjab, despite armed opposition organised and led by Kaur. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son and imprisoned.According to Bonhams’ historians, the Maharani’s personal wealth was confiscated and the state Treasury plundered by the British Army.The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria. Mother and son were eventually reunited after 13-and-a-half-years in 1861 when Kaur moved to England to be with her son. She died in 1863.Besides her earrings, some of the other Indian highlights of the Bonhams auction this week included a painting by Gujarati artist Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh.His ‘Composition in green and black’ inscribed on the reverse with the artist’s name sold for 40,000 pounds, within the guide price estimate of 35,000 and 45,000 pounds.Another Indian painting, dating back to circa 1820-30, ‘Shiva and Parvati with Ganesh, Karttikeya and Nandi on Mount Kailasa’ went under the hammer for 16,250 pounds, beyond the estimated 8,000-12,000 pounds.A ‘Mother and Child’ portrait by Jamini Roy dating back to circa 1950 fetched 11,875 pounds, also beating the guide price estimate of 6,000-8,000 pounds. — PTI

Ex­armyman guns down wife’s mother, another kin in Fatehabad

Accused Devender Singh first fired at his wife Sunita Rani who fled the spot and managed to save herself, and then shot dead her mother Manapati Devi and paternal aunt Kaila Devi

From page 01 HISAR:An ex-armyman shot dead his mother-in-law and her sisterin-law allegedly over dowry dispute at Gorakhpur village under Bhuna block of Fatehabad district on Monday.

HT PHOTO■ Police near the crime spot at Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district on Monday.


Accused Devender Singh, 38, a resident of Hisar, reached his in-laws’ house at about 1pm and first opened fire on his wife Sunita Rani, who had come to her maternal house last month after he allegedly harassed her for not giving his family the money demanded as dowry.

Sunita managed to flee the spot and took shelter at a neighbour’s house. Devender then fired at her mother Manapati Devi (55) and the latter’s sister-in-law Kaila Devi. The two women received serious bullet injuries and were rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared them brought dead.

The accused later surrendered before the police. The cops recovered a .32 bore pistol from his possession, besides fired bullet shells from the spot.

The accused told that he used his licensed weapon in the crime. Devender had retired as Naik from the Indian Army on October 31 last year.

After the incident, Fatehabad superintendent of police (SP) Deepak Saharan, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Jagdish Kajal and Bhuna SHO Ramesh Kumar reached the spot.

Accused’s wife Sunita told the police that she got married to Surender in 2008 and had given his family adequate dowry as per her parents’ resources. Later when Devender’s brother Vinay Kumar got married in 2014, their family got Rs 18 lakh as dowry. Since then, Devender’s family started demanding Rs 14 lakh from her family members, Sunita alleged.

She also alleged that Devender and his family members often beat her up and in such circumstances she returned to her maternal house last month.

On the other hand, sources said the accused told the police that he had come to his in-laws’ house to take his wife back home. But her relatives thrashed him after which he lost his temper.

DSP Kajal said, “The police are investigating into the matter. A case of murder has been registered against the accused.”

Goa on alert after info on terror attack using sea route

Goa on alert after info on terror attack using sea route

A fishing trawler from India, which was seized by Pakistan has been released and there is intelligence input that on its way back, it may carry terrorists, says Goa Ports Minister

Panaji, April 7

Goa has issued an alert to all the vessels and casinos operating off the state’s coast following an intelligence input about possible arrival of terrorists on board a fishing trawler, the state’s ports minister said.State’s Ports Minister Jayesh Salgaoncar told PTI that his department has issued a warning to all the off shore casinos, water sports operators and barges to be alert as the Indian Coast Guard has shared an intelligence input about a possible terror attack on the western coast.“The alert is not specific to Goa. It can be even to Mumbai or Gujarat coast, but we have alerted the vessels and concerned agencies,” Salgaoncar said.“A fishing trawler from India, which was seized by Pakistan has been released and there is intelligence input that on its way back, it may carry terrorists,” the minister said.State’s Ports Department has written to the off shore casinos and cruise vessels, and barges to remain alert in the wake of the intelligence input.“Have received intelligence input from District Coast Guard that anti-national elements have boarded an apprehended Indian fishing boat in Karachi and (are) likely to land on Indian coast and attack vital installations,” states the communication by Captain of Ports James Braganza to Goa’s tourism department and all the water sports operators, casinos, and cruise vessels and barges.“All vessels to increase security and report any sighting or untoward movement to concerned authorities,” the letter states.When contacted, Braganza confirmed sending the letter today to all the people concerned. The letter was also marked to State Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma. PTI

CRPF men promoted for foiling attacks

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 3

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has given out-of-turn promotion to four of its men for averting two fidayeen attacks in Kashmir.While three CRPF men have been promoted for foiling a fidayeen attack in June last year on their battalion headquarter at Sumbal, Bandipora in north Kashmir, by killing four attackers, a CRPF Constable, who averted a fidayeen attack in February this year in Srinagar city, has also been rewarded.“On the request of the CRPF, the Ministry of Home Affairs has waived the eligibility criteria of promotion in respect of these four men in recognition of their gallantry and praiseworthy performance in the operational area in the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir,” CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav said.He said Head Constable AS Krishana has been promoted to the rank of assistant sub-inspector, Constables K Dinesh Raja and Prafulla Kumar have been made head constables.“These three bravehearts of the 45 Battalion thwarted a deadly terrorist attack on the CRPF camp in Sumbal on June 5 last year,” he said.Constable Ghait Raghunath Ulhas, 27, who was instrumental in thwarting a fidayeen attack on the 23 Battalion headquarter in Karan Nagar in Srinagar on February 11, was rewarded with a promotion to the rank of head constable.Ghait was deployed on a sentry duty on a picket at the congested Karan Nagar locality and at around 4.30 am he noticed two armed men with rucksack bags coming from a house and approaching towards the camp. He instantly fired 30-35 rounds and the two militants retreated.“The subsequent action by the security forces, saw the neutralisation of both the Pakistani militants,” the spokesman said.The Karan Nagar attack was foiled two days after militants carried out a suicide attack on the Sunjawan Army base in Jammu.

Guardians of Governance: 6­month report released

Members rue resistance from political leaders, corrupt practices by govt officials, mismanagement of funds as the reason behind lack of implementation of schemes

From page 01 LUDHIANA: The Guardians of Governance (GoGs) project members released a six-month report card of their assessment of the administrative affairs during a press briefing held here on Thursday.

GURPREET SINGH/HT■ Guardians of Governance district project head Lieutenant Colonel HS Kahlon. retd, (second from right) during a press conference in Ludhiana on Thursday.The chief minister’s pet project Guardians of Governance (GoGs) seems to have rubbed the political leaders on the wrong side as hinted by some of project members .

The report has picked gaping holes in the claims made by the district administration in the implementation of the government schemes.

The report mentions that under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, it was observed that the labour force was used for de-weeding the village ponds and lakhs of money was wasted which could have been used for other developmental works.

“We found mismanagement of funds, wages which was being siphoned off to aides of sarpanches. Involvement of few banks in aiding this fraud has also been revealed,” said Colonel (retired) BS Bhangu, second in command of the project in the district.

Around seven GoGs posted at different levels in the district released this report which raises serious questions over the delivery of services to the ordinary people.As per the report, despite the district being declared open defecation free, people in Braich village defecate in the open.

The report also mentioned that most of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in the villages lack maintenance as the filters in these plants have been rarely changed. “High-stage tanks have been constructed in almost all the villages but the equipment for chlorination is lying defunct,” said Bhangu.

‘ GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVOLVED’ Acknowledging the failure to implement the government schemes at micro-level, the project members accused government officials at lower- level of corruption.

“At village and block level, the officials in connivance the village representatives are indulging into corrupt practices.As of now, we have not specifically identified those individuals in our report,” said one of the members pleading anonymity.

“We have been facing resistance from political leaders of the ruling party who have also approached the chief minister in this regard,” said the member.

“The local MLAs think of us as their rivals. We do face resistance when we strike out the fake names from the list of beneficiaries for welfare schemes,” said another member.

‘EMOLUMENTS FOR SARPANCHES’ Sarpanches across the state have not been getting their monthly honorarium of ₹1,200 for the past four years. However, the state government will be soon releasing the emoluments for the sarpanches, said Lt. Col. (retired) Harbant Singh Kahlon, in-charge of GoG in Ludhiana. We will keep on informing the government of all the updates from the district, he said.

Pak troops shell forward areas

Jammu:  Pakistani troops on Monday targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch district with mortar shells and gunfire in violation of the ceasefire, an official said. “The Pakistan army initiated unprovoked firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 5.30 pm in the Krishnaghati sector along the LoC”, he said. PTI