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.

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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.


Why the inter-Korean meet has ignited anxieties

North Korean leader Kim Jong­un’s peace offensive has put both South Korea and the US on the defensive

The summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un takes place today — the same day China’s President Xi Jinping will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the Xi-Modi informal summit is designed be a closed-door brainstorming, the inter-Korean summit has the defined goal of denuclearising North Korea. It is also meant to set the stage for the first-ever summit between a sitting North Korean leader and a serving US president.

REUTERSKim Jong­un’s deft nuclear diplomacy has earned him enormous visibility. The royal treatment he got in Beijing could be the sign of things to comeCompared to the calm, duck-paddling style in India-China diplomacy, hectic footwork in the Korean peninsula has ignited enormous enthusiasm and anxieties. A hotline between the two leaders was commissioned on August 20. A day later, Kim announced his decision to stop all nuclear and missile tests, and to close test sites. Such unilateral concessions from a trigger-happy Kim were described as a “meaningful step forward” and a “big progress” by Moon and Trump. While sceptics allude to North Korea’s track record of similar pledges in 1994, 2005, 2007 and 2012 not fructifying and believe that Kim is bluffing, enthusiasts are celebrating this as a victory of Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy that may see him go down in history for having finally resolved the Korean nuclear crisis.

Meanwhile, Kim’s deft nuclear diplomacy has earned him enormous visibility. His getting the royal treatment during his March 25-27 visit to Beijing could be the sign of things to come. Kim hosted Mike Pompeo, Trump’s CIA director, over Easter holidays. In this hype, Kim has said nothing about giving up nuclear weapons or stopping tests of medium range missiles. But given his incessant testing of nukes and missiles, and his verbal blitzkrieg last year, his halting of nuclear and missile tests is being labelled as major achievement for the Trump administration.

Having achieved his robust nuclear deterrence , Kim wants to draw political dividends from it. The plenary session of the Workers’ Party on “policy issues in a new stage” last Friday marked a shift in Kim’s “byongjin” (or dual push) policy of simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and economic development. Compared to “juche” (or self-reliance) policy of his grandfather and father, “byongjin” had been the buzzword ever since Kim took over.

Kim’s peace offensive has put both Seoul and Washington on the defensive. Pyongyang, that has been demanding withdrawal of US forces from the Korean peninsula, has also not reacted to Moon’s assertion that this issues was not on the table. Kim continues to hold his cards carefully, fuelling curiosity among his adversaries, which now defines his nerveracking adventurous nuclear diplomacy.


Significant increase’ in deployment of Chinese fighter jets in Tibet: IAF chief

Sukhoi­27 and J­10 fleets (in Tibet) for continuous operations during winter months affords them a credible year round capability
BS DHANOA, Indian Air Force chief

NEWDELHI: Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa on Thursday drew attention to a “significant increase” in deployment of Chinese fighter jets in Tibet and warned against Pakistan backing more terror attacks on Indian military bases, in a frank assessment of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s “capabilities” and the Pakistan “scenario and strategy.”

Air Chief Marshal Dhano a also disapproved of the concept of theatre commands saying it would require creation of more assets, at a time the utility of such integrated commands is being discussed by the government.

“The deployment of Sukhoi-27 and J-10 fleets (in Tibet) for continuous operations during winter months affords them a credible year round capability,” Dhanoa said during a talk on the Role of IAF in the Changing Security Environment.

He said the “inherent operational disadvantages” that PLAAF faced in Tibet included altitude, low temperatures and lack of basic infrastructure to protect aircraft on ground.

Well-known think tank Vivekananda International foundation organised the talk.

Dhanoa said PLAAF’s modernisation plans would ensure that half of its fleet consists of advanced multi-role combat aircraft at a time the IAF is struggling with a shortage of warplanes. Compared to an optimum strength of 42-plus units required to fight a two-front war, the count of the IAF’s fighter squadrons has shrunk to 31.

Describing PLAAF as the world’s fastest growing air force that ranked second in terms of combat airpower, the air chief said China had a credible mix of multirole fighters and strike aircraft, and “adequate reserves to replenish” after attrition.

“There’s a misconception that the IAF doesn’t need 42 squadrons. That would have been true if our adversaries continued to operate 2nd and 3rd generation fighters. If they go for 4th generation jets, you also need modern fighters. You are not fighting against vacuum,” Dhanoa said.

He said China had developed a modern air force that relied on quality rather than quantity, under an aggressive aerospace capability enhancement plan. The air chief stressed that multilayered air defence systems allowed China to fight a ground campaign without the need for a decisive aerial victory.

“We need to plan as per an adversary’s capabilities, for intentions may change overnight,” he said.

On Pakistan, Dhanoa said it would keep the “Kashmir pot boiling” and back attacks on Indian military bases as was seen during strikes in Pathankot, Uri, Nagrota and Jammu. “Such attacks may have unintended consequences and lead to escalation,” he said.

The air chief said Pakistan army did not want peace as then its generals would not be able “to send their children to Ivy League universities and settle in London.”

On theatre commands, the air chief said Indian fighter jets could get airborne from Pune and engage targets across the northern frontiers with the help of airto-air refuelling.

“Compartmentalising will require more assets. We believe in one country, one theatre,” he said, pointing out the pitfalls of cherry picking concepts of western war fighting.

If and when such integrated commands are raised, the assets of all three services would come under the operational control of a three-star officer from any of the three services, depending on the function assigned to that command.


Attari­Wagah visitors’ gallery aiming for June inauguration

AMRITSAR: After missing several deadlines, the new visitors’ gallery at the AttariWagah joint checkpost is set to be inaugurated in June. The new gallery will accommodate around 20,000 viewers for the Retreat Ceremony on the border.

SAMEER SEHGAL/HT■ The new visitors’ gallery at the Attari Border in Amritsar.

The retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border, in which, BSF Jawans and the Pakistan Rangers indulge in aggressive posturing and foot-stomping, is an attraction for tourists worldwide. There is space for only 5,000 people, but almost 10,000 people reach the venue each evening.

WORK IN PROGRESS

A senior official of Central Public Works Department (CPWD), who didn’t want to be named, said more than 95% work of the gallery has been completed.

“We have already handed over the gallery to the Border Security Force (BSF) for tourists’ access as it provides a better view of the ceremony,” he said, adding that the finishing work of a conference hall and a medical inspection (MI) room inside the gallery was underway, which will be completed before June this year.

The officer further said that earlier the cost of the project was ₹17 crore, which was revised to ₹32 crore. He said that as per information, the gallery will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister or other senior minister of the central government.

Apart from the new U-shaped gallery, washrooms, conference hall, CCTV room, toilets, dining hall, guard room, dormitory and kitchen are also being built at the place. Being a highly-sensitive area, the gallery will also have hi-tech CCTV cameras and other security provisions. The project of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) was expected by the BSF to be completed by March 2017, then by August 2017, and then by January 2018, but all these deadlines were missed pertaining to incomplete work.

Another added attraction to come up is a museum parallel to the gallery. The CPWD official said the construction work of the museum was complete and it would be handed over to the BSF “very soon”. This museum would depict the glorious history of the BSF, its achievements, weapons and other related aspects.


The looming danger of tech asymmetry by Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur VM (retd)

The PMO should consider taking defence-preparedness directly under its wings, like the space and nuclear domains, to prevent a tech asymmetrical surprise in a future war.

The looming danger of tech asymmetry

Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur VM (retd)
Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New DelhiTwo recent events have been discussed for their implications on the security posture of the nation. First, the establishment of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) and second, the hosting of Exercise Gagan Shakti by the IAF. While the former is perched at the strategic level and will see its efforts beginning to bear fruit only a decade from now, the latter is about testing the preparation of the Air Force to fight a war in the immediate future. The DPC would be about spelling out doctrines, strategies, capability development, defence diplomacy and streamlining defence-manufacturing and acquisitions. Gagan Shakti, on the other hand, is about testing the operational and tactical capability of the IAF to prosecute war. However, lost in the media hype is an insidious reality creeping in — a fast-developing technological asymmetry between the armed forces of India and China, which if not addressed head on would be detrimental to India’s deterrence posture.Deterrence projected by a force is a function of the lethality of its equipment, training of its personnel and the stamina of its logistics chain. In turn, these are a function of their technological relevance when the balloon goes up. Thus, down the ages, the sword was overtaken by the lance, which was no match for the bow and arrow – and they all were made to look silly when the musket, rifle and mortar came on the scene. So, while the Indian Army is firmly entrenched on the mountainous northern border and the Navy expanding its blue water capabilities, it is the IAF that is the primary instrument of deterrence against China. The IAF, at present, is well placed vis-a-vis the Peoples’ Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in almost all aspects of aerial warfare. There is a string of airfields along our northern border (all at low altitudes and hence not affecting weapon carrying capability of aircraft), the air defence network has been strengthened with new radars and surface-to-air missiles and its frontline Su-30 MKI fighters are better in all aspects than any aircraft that PLAAF can throw in. The C-17, IL-76 and An-32 transport aircraft afford an airlift capability much better than PLAAF’s while Mi-17 helicopters, supported by ALH Dhruv, match its heli-lift potential. Crowning this positive equipment asymmetry is the qualitatively better combat-readiness state of IAF aircrew who are trained in modern war fighting techniques unlike PLAAF’s rigid Russian legacy training profiles. This, however, is set to change as PLAAF goes about feverishly modernising its equipment and training profiles.The J-20 stealth fighter and Y-20 very heavy transport aircraft have started entering PLAAF and so have upgraded fourth-gen fighters like J-11, J-16 and J-10C. Feverish R&D is ongoing to master aero-engine technology by the amalgamation of numerous engine R&D centres into a single entity. In the next five-odd years, Chinese engineers would have turned the corner – dependence on Russia for engines would then end. With indigenous engines, the J-20 would become a true fifth-gen fighter and the Y-20’s payload would augment from the present 50 to 66 tonnes, bringing it on a par with India’s C-17. The Y-20, besides ramping up airlift capacity, would then be used as the base for indigenous AWACS and Flight Refuelling Aircraft, which are PLAAF’s Achilles’ heel at present.A long-range strategic bomber is on the design table and would be flying in a decade as would a hypersonic glide vehicle, whose prototype is already in existence. With extensive radar development and deployment, missile forces being coalesced into a single rocket force command, space assets being deployed in increasing numbers and net centricity in place, PLAAF may nullify IAF’s present edge. This could be accentuated by the drawdown of IAF fighter squadrons as MIG-21/27 fleets retire, low replenishment due the tortoise like production rate of Tejas by HAL and the meandering acquisition programmes of additional fighter aircraft and force multipliers like AWACS, FRA and armed UAVs. Immediate steps are necessary to prevent this alarming reversal, which is true for the other two Services too; could DPC be that catalyst?The DPC can succeed in its mission only if it follows in the footsteps of the atomic energy and space programmes — two success stories in the strategic domain, mainly because the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is directly involved and orders from these platforms are implicitly implemented by all ministries. As is known, though the foreign and finance ministries would be integral to it, the DPC would report to the Defence Minister who would forward recommendations to the Cabinet Committee on Security for consideration. This does not bode well for the very laudable spirit of making the DPC an instrument to expedite matters defence. True, that decisions and actions would be faster since the DPC head would be the National Security Adviser, but the speed with which tech asymmetry is developing against the Indian armed forces would become too skewed to play catch-up. India has tried the ‘committeeisation’ route, to use Chinese terminology, for the past seven decades and failed — and the DPC is but another committee. Time, tide and technology wait for no man and the PMO should consider taking defence preparedness directly under its wings, like the space and nuclear domains, to prevent a tech asymmetrical surprise in a future war.


India, China and the Nepal transition by Bhartendu Kumar Singh

The most worrisome aspect of China-Nepal partnership for India is the emerging synergy on railway connectivity. China and Nepal are moving firmly towards finalising agreements on some key railway projects.

India, China and the Nepal transition

Bhartendu Kumar Singh
Indian Defence Accounts Service
Soon after his India visit, Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli packed off his Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali to China. While Oli returned from New Delhi with a basketful of projects and assurances, Beijing is luring Nepal with a bigger basket. Gyawali had gone to prepare grounds for Oli’s Beijing visit. Nepal, it seems, is making a clear but incremental shift towards its northern neighbour. In doing so, it is changing the geographically determined inclination towards New Delhi. At a psychological level, Nepal is integral to ‘spatial idea of Indianness’ if not the political idea of India. The border is irrelevant and incontexual in regulating each other’s citizenry’s behaviour, guided by historical and sociological connections as propellents. The psychological feeling is more confederational than international, challenging the very concept of ‘territorial consciousness’ of modern states. Cross the open border and the homogeneity of affiliations is visible in language, kinship and a cobweb of relations overriding the national barriers. It simply does not feel like a different country! However, the India-Nepal border also affirms Charles S Maier’s hypothesis (Once Within Borders; Harvard University Press, 2016) that views frontiers as ‘reflecting steep gradients of inequality and zones of differential privileges’. Unlike India, Nepal is an example of political instability and economic stagnation. Partly, it is because Nepal has not allowed easy diffusion of ideas, institutions and practices that make India a vibrant democracy and an emerging economic power. Additionally, the local politics in Nepal is fueled by anti-India semantics. India perhaps is a victim of ‘power paradox’ in Nepal where it has spent billions without achieving its larger strategic goals. This ‘relationship of paradox’ is getting wider due to Chinese geographical overtures. Whispers from Beijing indicate that China is bringing Nepal within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with $7-8 billion investments. Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, has proposed a China-Nepal-India economic corridor as part of the BRI for common development of the Himalayan region. Nepal also feels that the proposed BRI encompassing cross-border roads, railways, oil pipelines, information highways, energy grids, skyways and transmission highways could improve the quality of lives in the hill state. However, from an Indian perspective, the proposal could bring Nepal under the ‘Chinese sphere of influence’ through the positioning of Chinese men, material and money on permanent basis. Probably, the most worrisome aspect of China-Nepal partnership is the emerging synergy on railway connectivity. China and Nepal are moving firmly towards finalising agreements on some key railway projects. The two foreign ministers discussed conducting a feasibility study for the proposed Nepal-China Cross Border Railway from Keyrong to Kathmandu, and from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Lumbini. One is not sure if the statement by the Nepal Foreign Minister was a pleasing one made in passing, but certain inferences deserve mention. 1First, China has the expertise to build high-altitude railways in Tibet and is gradually extending them southwards towards Nepal. Connecting Nepal should not be a major technical problem. China is also known for completing its railway projects in time; so it should not take much time once the detailed project review (DPR) is available. Beijing has already sent its first railroad freight express to Kathmandu, opening up possibilities of expanded trade and commerce between the two sides. 2Second, Lumbini is bang in the Terai zone, near the Indo-Nepal border. Any railway project with Chinese assistance may undermine India’s established influence in the southern part of Nepal. It also shows that Nepal, under Oli, a known China supporter, would not hesitate to play the China card in its southern part even if it means compromising India’s interests. Nepal is turning its geographical limitations into advantages. 3Third, in the geographical game, India is losing out to China with Nepal increasingly relying on the latter. More and more projects in Nepal are going the Chinese way with Chinese footprints everywhere. One example would suffice. The buses plying from the border cities of Nepal to Kathmandu are of ‘Higher’ company of China than the Indian make earlier. As Robert D Kaplan hypothesises (The Revenge of Geography, 2013), “India’s advantages and disadvantages as it seeks great power status in the early twenty-first century lie in its geography. India is yet to dominate its high-altitude shadow zone (ie like Nepal), so that India remains the lesser power.” New Delhi, to use Teresita C Schaffer and Howard B Schaffer’s euphemism, “can no longer exclude Chinese influence from its smaller neighbours but can instead serve its interests better by altering its tactics.” India, therefore, needs to adopt smart power narrative and forge greater convergence, making Nepal a volitional partner. For instance, while the Kathmandu Raxual railway line would take years, India can facilitate the east-west connectivity requirement of Nepal in the Terai region and link them to its own railways for mutual benefit. With the gauge conversion between Janakpur and Jainagar expected to be completed by this year-end, it should not take much effort to connect Janakpur to Sitamarhi or Darbhanga since both the cities are hardly 50 km away and are in plain lands. This is just a representative example where India can take half a dozen railway projects to connect border towns of the two countries.In dealing with Nepal, India needs to fully tap the potential of network power for propelling its agenda setting (without bothering too much for Chinese overtures) and make New Delhi an attraction for Kathmandu. A well-knit cobweb of communication linkages and combination of hard and soft power strategies would perhaps slow down further transition of Nepal towards the Chinese side.

Views are personal


NCC interactive session

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26

The NCC of Panjab University organised an interactive session with the Commanding Officer (CO), 2 Chandigarh Battalion, for the cadets of the university. An annual report of all activities undertaken was presented. CO MK Sharma boosted the morale of the cadets with his motivational thoughts. Lt (Dr) Kuldeep Singh, Coordinator NCC, extended a vote of thanks to the CO for his support to the NCC Panjab University during his tenure. On the occasion, DIG Hemant Kumar (BSF), 50 cadets and others were presen


Militants target CRPF patrol in Anantnag, passerby killed

Militants target CRPF patrol in Anantnag, passerby killed

Our Correspondent

Anantnag, April 26

A civilian was killed after car-borne militants opened fire at a road opening party of the Central Reserve Police Force here on Thursday.The civilian had been identified as Shakeeb Shabir Shah from Shopian district. A hunt had been launched to nab the militants, said the police.“At 2.20 pm, the militants, travelling in a Santro car, opened fire at security forces in the Laizbal area of the town, along the Khannabal-Pahalgam road,” Senior Superintendent of Police Altaf Khan said, adding that one of the bullets hit Shakeeb, who was passing by in a Tata Sumo. Shakeeb succumbed to his injuries while being taken to Srinagar.Meanwhile, the Army fired in air and burst teargas shells when some students of the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Awantipora threw stones at Army personnel near the campus.“University students threw stones at an Army party while it was laying and repairing cables near the campus,” a police spokesperson said.He said the Army fired in air and the police rushed to the spot. However, students and university administration refuted the police claims. They termed the Army action as completely uncalled for and unprovoked.Mushtaq A Siddiqui, VC, took note of the “unprovoked” use of teargas shells. “There was no provocation from the students as normal classwork was on in the varsity when the incident occurred. Protests started only after the firing incident,” Siddiqui said in a press release.Three hurt in Kulgam grenade attackAnantnag: Two policemen and a civilian were injured in a grenade blast in Kulgam district on Thursday evening. The injured have been rushed to a hospital. A police official said militants hurled a grenade at a police station at the main town in Kulgam around 8.10 pm. “The grenade exploded outside the premises of the police station,” the official said. OC