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No point in returning to China, I prefer India: Dalai Lama

This statement came in the backdrop of December 9 clash where People’s Liberation Army troops contacted the LAC in Tawang Sector…reports Asian Lite News

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, on Monday, said that India is a perfect place and his permanent residence and that he prefers India.

While responding to a query over the Tawang clash, Dalai Lama at Kangra airport in Himachal Pradesh said, “Now things… General speaking, things are improving, I think in Europe and Africa and also in Asia. Now China also now more flexible. Ok. But there is no point to return to China. I prefer India, best place and Kangra, Pandit Nehru choice. This place is my permanent residence. It’s very right. Thank you.”
“Medical checkup. Otherwise so basic sort of physical condition no problem. There is little pain (shows his left arm near shoulder) otherwise no problem,” he added while giving details about his health updates.

This statement came in the backdrop of December 9 clash where People’s Liberation Army troops contacted the LAC in Tawang Sector which was contested by Indian troops in a firm and resolute manner. This face-off led to minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides.

Giving a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh explained to the House about an incident and said, “On December 9, 2022, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner. The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts.”

He further said “the scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides”, and clarified that “there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side”.

“Due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers went back to their locations,” Singh said.

As a follow-up of the incident, the Minister further said, local commander in the area held a “flag meeting with his counterpart on December 11, 2022 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms”.

“The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquility along the border. The issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Tibetan spiritual leader is scheduled to stay in Delhi for 2-3 days and then he will go to Bodhgya in Bihar for spiritual teachings and other events. Apart from few meetings and events in Delhi, there will be a health checkup in Delhi. (ANI)

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-Top News China Sri Lanka

Dragon’s trap chokes Lanka

Being aided by a regime with a military grip headed by a former military officer, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Beijing found the present regime more conducive than the first Rajapaksa regime in 2005-2015 due to its military orientation….writes Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met virtually earlier this week to ensure competition between Beijing and Washington does not lead to conflict. The tensions over Taiwan, bilateral trade, Indo-Pacific security have escalated over time. The meeting came at the backdrop of warnings by senior-level security experts against Chinas military buildup and its hypersonic missile capability.

The virtual meeting failed to produce major breakthroughs, according to Amy Mackinnon, but it did lower the temperature as geopolitical tensions rise, China is already assiduously securing its national interest detrimental to many South Asian nations, and Sri Lanka is a clear case of the Chinese grip due to its militaristic regime and the escalating economic crisis.

Sri Lanka, the island-nation closer to the Indian sub-continent, has been a clear case study to understand the implications of China’s large scale infrastructure projects, vaccine diplomacy, and Chinese loans. Being aided by a regime with a military grip headed by a former military officer, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Beijing found the present regime more conducive than the first Rajapaksa regime in 2005-2015 due to its military orientation.

China has built two critical infrastructure facilities facing the Indian ocean — the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Port City. China has secured long term foothold from lease agreements signed loosely where these facilities could transform to military outposts. China cleverly demonstrates that it has no malign intentions to make it military by floating the idea that third countries could invest in the Chinese infrastructure. However, where are the third countries? It is more of a strategy to hide the military intentions from the public perception.

Chinese-President Xi Jinping (Source twitter@ChinaAmbUN)

A new Pentagon report highlights China’s “intention to establish a more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to project and sustain military power at greater distances. Beyond its base in Djibouti, China is pursuing additional military facilities to support naval, air, ground, cyber, and space power projection. China has likely considered a number of countries, including Sri Lanka, as locations for PLA facilities”.

With multiple financial borrowings from China, Sri Lanka has become heavily dependent on China. This is further exacerbated by the presuusere that China exerts on domestic politics. Pressure exerted on the regime is visible from the recent Chinese fertiliser shipment rejected by Sri Lankan authorities.

The Chinese Embassy tweeted blacklisting Sri Lanka’s People’s Bank explaining the events leading to the aggressive decision.

In a tweet, the mission said: “Seawin (Chinese company) won open bid, signed contracts, passed tests of China and Int’l agency designated by Ceylon Fertilizer, shipped before due. NPQ SL disagreed in halfway, called toxic/harmful. Ship refused. Third-party test refused. L/C payment obligation refused. PBS blacklisted.”

The blacklisting was a clear warning of Chinese pressure on Sri Lanka.

Ajantha De Silva, director-general, Sri Lankan Department of Agriculture, said: “Our tests on the samples showed that the (Chinese) fertiliser was not sterile. We have identified bacteria which are harmful to plants like carrots and potatoes.”

The clear rejection was a black mark for the Chinese fertiliser company Qingdao Seawin defending and saying: “The unscientific detection method and conclusion of National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQ) in Sri Lanka obviously do not comply with international animal and plant quarantine convention” and falsely accuses Chinese company to slander the image of the Chinese enterprises and the Chinese government.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa meets Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe(Twitter)

While the Sri Lankan authorities have not changed their position, the Chinese would prefer to retest the sample from a third party. The authorities rejected this attempt to retest. The question is why is the Chinese ship ‘Hippo Sprit’ is still in Sri Lankan waters. After the Sri Lankan authorities rejected these shipments a month before the ship was seen closer to the Sri Lankan waters in November. China is pressuring the Sri Lankan government to accept an alternative process (third party test) to save the reputation of their global company Qingdao Seawind. The blacklisting of the bank was an initial indicator to exert pressure on the regime. Another reason for the ship to remain in Sri Lankan waters was explained by Nalinda Jayatissa member of the JVP political party, due to a substantial underhand corruption between the Prime Minister’s office and the local agents of the Chinese company.

The fertiliser incident was an eye-opener to the regime to recalibrate its posture and balance the China tilt and dependency. New Delhi stepped in to support Sri Lanka to promote organic fertiliser amidst the tussle between Colombo and Beijing. The two Indian IAF C-17 Globemaster aircraft arrived in Colombo with 100,000 kg of nano nitrogen. India will be able to bounce back and reduce the Chinese footprint in the island now, and the Sri Lankan government could recalibrate its China bandwagoning foreign policy posture.

China depicted their aggressive posture over the fertiliser incident when Sri Lanka is facing a severe economic crisis. The same aggressiveness of China is visible in India’s immediate periphery, according to Rajeswari Rajagopalan. China is building villages in Arunachal Pradesh where they are populating with perhaps military/civil population. In Ladakh, there are at least nine patrol points in the fingers area and south of Demchok that India is no longer able to access, which are severe concerns for the security of India. Adding to this is China’s pressure and expanse in Sri Lanka.

Clearly, “India’s behaviour has been defensive in both diplomatic and military spheres, while China has adopted an extremely aggressive tone and engaged in similar military behaviour”, assess Rajagopalan.

This Indian posture could change if the present aggressiveness continues escalating in India’s periphery.

Protest over economic dysfunctionality in Sri Lanka
Synchronously, addressing the insurmountable external foreign pressure and the domestic public frustration over a heightened economic crisis will be a formidable challenge for the Sri Lankan regime. The new budget presented by Finance minister Basil Rajapaksa did not suggest any solution to the foreign exchange crisis the country is facing nor the food crisis stemming from the recent ban on agro-chemical fertiliser. Thousands gathered in a mass rally in Colombo to demonstrate their frustration and anger over the Sri Lankan repressive regime of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The economic crisis triggered multiple shocks, including shortage of essentials and the rising cost of living was the substantial factor for the public agitation despite multiple attempts by the Police to prevent the rally, being organised without the approval of the health authorities. The regime has abused the pandemic restrictions for their benefit, to suppress the democratic norms of the country and expand its autocratic rule. The massive protest depicts the apparent anger of the public risking to protect the democratic essence of the country.

Despite various attempts by the government, including court orders, to prevent the protest march, the main opposition party SJB, held the rally in Colombo. The heavily militarised regime in Sri Lanka will face severe headwinds in the coming months on the escalating economic crisis and human rights abuse.

The majoritarian polity shows signs of a clear shift, a detachment from the Rajapaksa regime. The arbitrary detention of hundreds using the PTA and handing over the crucial ‘one country one law’ task force to an ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk was a disappointment for the minority community, overall the policy prescription of the regime are all signs towards anarchy and a crisis worsening by the day.

(Asanga Abeyagoonasekera is a Geopolitical Analyst, Strategic Advisor on Security and Author from Sri Lanka)

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-Top News China India News

‘Border clashes with China will continue’

Unprecedented developments at the Northern Borders necessitated large scale resource mobilisation, orchestration of forces and immediate response, said Indian Army Chief…reports Asian Lite News

 Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Thursday that developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh add to the ongoing legacy challenges on India’s “active and disputed borders” on the Western and Eastern Front.

Speaking at the 116th annual session of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), General Naravane said as far as Northern neighbour is concerned India has an outstanding border issue.

Responding to continued Chinese aggression at the border, he said: “We are well prepared to meet any misadventure that may occur as we have demonstrated in the past. Such kinds of incidents will continue to occur till such time a long term solution is reached, that is to have a boundary agreement… That should be the thrust of our efforts so that we have lasting peace along our northern borders.”

He also said that the unprecedented developments at the Northern Borders necessitated large scale resource mobilisation, orchestration of forces and immediate response, and all this in a Covid infested environment.

Concurrently, there was also a need to reinforce the efforts of the government in mitigating the ongoing health crisis.

He said that the Armed Forces contributed during this highly challenging and sensitive period towards the making of a resilient India.

“You would appreciate that each of the three Services — the Army, Navy and the Air Force — has its own set of challenges. Because of our peculiar environment of contested borders and an ongoing proxy war in the hinterland, the Indian Army is in active operations throughout the year, safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our Nation,” General Naravane said.

Maintaining high levels of readiness and operational preparedness to meet contingencies, is therefore part of the Army’s culture, he stated.

However, a challenge like the Covid pandemic was unique and unprecedented. “We had to protect ourselves, only then could we discharge our duties and help others,” he said.

Indian Army Chief M.M. Naravane (Photo: Bidesh Manna/IANS)

Strict Force Preservation measures were undertaken in the initial days of the pandemic, even as there was no dilution to the ongoing operational commitments.

As the magnitude and scale of the pandemic unfolded over time, we realised that these early actions to stay ahead of the curve, had a strong bearing on the future course of our operations.

The combined capabilities of the three Services were pressed into service to augment the national effort. The Indian Air Force undertook massive air evacuation of our citizens stranded in various countries while at the same time ferrying tons of medical supplies.

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-Top News India News PAKISTAN

Pakistan made 33 infiltration attempts, Chinese none this year

On infiltration attempts along the India-China border, the minister pointed out that no case of infiltration has been reported this year….reports Asian Lite News

A total 33 infiltration attempts were made along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir till June this year but no case of infiltration was reported along the India-China Border, Parliament was told on Monday.

Replying to a query in the Upper House, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt stated that 11 terrorists were killed along the Line of Control when they were trying to enter India territory and 20 were apprehended.

Talking about the Indo-Bangladesh border, a total of 441 infiltration attempts were made till June this year. The minister also stated that 740 people were apprehended and one was killed.

In addition, 11 infiltrators along the Indo-Nepal border have been apprehended this year till June.

At the India-Myanmar border, post the military coup of February 1, 2021, a total of 8486 Myanmar nationals and refugees crossed over into India, out of which 5796 were pushed back and 2690 are still in India.

Indo-Pak border

Infiltrators apprehended by the forces at the borders are handed over to the concerned state police.

On infiltration attempts along the India-China border, the minister pointed out that no case of infiltration has been reported this year.

On August 6, there was another major breakthrough between India and China on the border dispute with both the countries withdrawing troops from friction Patrolling Point (PP) 17A in Gogra at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh — the place where the border dispute erupted in May 2020.

The Indian Army has stated that both the countries have ceased forward deployments in this area in a phased, coordinated and verified manner.

“The disengagement process was carried out over two days i.e. 04 and 05 August 2021. The troops of both sides are now in their respective permanent bases,” the Indian Army had said in a statement.

The force said that the twelfth round of talks between the Corps Commanders of India and China were held on July 31, 2021 at Chushul Moldo Meeting Point in Eastern Ladakh. The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.

India -Bangladesh border

“As an outcome of the meeting, both sides agreed on disengagement in the area of Gogra,” the Indian Army said.

With disengagement reached between both the countries for Gogra, India will now take up other remaining friction areas like Hot Springs and the 900 square km Depsang plains.

The build-up in Depsang was not considered part of the current standoff that started in May last year as escalation here took place in 2013. India has insisted during recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the Line of Actual Control.

Till now, apart from 12 rounds of Corps Commanders-level talks, the two forces have also held 10 Major General level, 55 Brigadier-level talks and 1,450 calls over the hotlines.

Earlier, the troops of the two Himalayan giants disengaged from both the banks of Pangong Tso in February this year.

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-Top News China

CDS Rawat reviews troops preparedness on China border 

The Chief of Defence Staff interacted extensively with the Indian Army, ITBP and GREF personnel deployed in the remote areas, reports Asian Lite News

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat took stock of the preparedness of the Indian armed forces during a visit to areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

During his visit to the sensitive region, Gen Rawat encouraged the troops to keep up the high state of alertness and professionalism displayed by them.

On arrival at the forward most post in the Sumdoh Sub-Sector, the CDS was briefed on the operational preparedness of the forces towards safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation, the Ministry of Defence said.

The CDS interacted extensively with the Indian Army, ITBP and GREF personnel deployed in the remote areas and appreciated their state of high morale.

The visit came hours after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Ladakh.

Pic credits Twitter@adgpi

While several rounds of milirary and diplomatic talks have been held, Indian and Chinese military forces are engaged in a tense standoff at several friction points in Eastern Ladakh.

CDS General Rawat also visited the Headquarters of the Indian Army’s Western Command in Chandimandir and reviewed the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness.

He stressed upon the need to focus on training hard and remain vigilant to thwart the nefarious designs of our adversaries.

He emphasized that all ranks must keep themselves abreast with latest trends in information technology, emerging cyber threats and counter measures. (INN)

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