THE GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE – LIVING UNDER THE SHADOW OF AMERICAN GULAG
‘The Great American Eclipse’ of Monday August 21, 2017 symbolizes ‘The Black Day to Freedom’ for it reveals the reality of American Living Experience; the fact of Americans ‘Living Under the Shadow of American Gulag. Americans no longer find protection from values of Freedom, Democracy, and Individual Rights. These values were totally compromised by 37th US President Richard M Nixon on July 15, 1971 when he announced his plan to befriend Communist China.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN??? ‘GULAG’
In my analysis, Monday August 21, 2017 represents reality of the United States Living Under the Dark Shadow of Communism that blocks perception of true values of Freedom, Democracy, and Individual Rights.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF AUGUST 21, 2017
Clipped from: https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/
Fly over the Great American Eclipse
Tour the entire path of totality from Oregon to South Carolina. Built with advanced GIS software and data and utilizing precise figures of the Moon’s shadow by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, this animation shows you all the great spots to view the total solar eclipse.
71st INDEPENDENCE DAY – JOURNEY FROM FREEDOM TO AMERICAN GULAG
To celebrate India’s 71st Independence Day on August 15 as “SANKALP DIVAS” or “RESOLUTION DAY,” I resolve to share experience of my Life’s Journey from Freedom to ‘American Gulag’.
‘GULAG‘, Russian acronym for Glavnoe Upravleniye ispravitel’no-trudovykh LAGerei, stands for Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies of the Soviet Secret Police. Gulag means a Prison or Forced Labor Camp especially for political prisoners as in the Soviet Union. Gulag represents any place or situation that generates experience of Incarceration, Forced Labor under State Patronage. The System of Soviet Repression involves, 1. Arrest, 2. Interrogation, 3. Incarceration, 4. Transportation, 5. Forced Labor, 6. Break-up of the Family, 7. Exile, and 8. Death. Gulag stands as a vivid symbol of Slavery, Servitude, Serfdom, Involuntary Labor sponsored by State to coerce citizens to change behavioral attitudes that are not consistent with State’s Monopoly of Power.
It may be true to claim that Communism represents Dictatorship of Proletariat or the Working Class. Communism preaches a doctrine that lays emphasis on the requirements of the State rather than on Individual Freedoms or Personal Liberties.
To perform my Life’s Journey, I arrived in Mylapore, Madras, Chennai breathing fresh air of Independent India. United States Information Service or USIS of the US Consulate in Madras preached the virtues of Freedom and Democracy to counter the spread of Communism in Asia.
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, I am in a situation that does not let me experience the fruits of Freedom and Democracy of ‘Free World’. I ask my readers to contemplate on the realities of ‘American Gulag’, Slavery, Forced Labor practiced by the US to abridge Individual Rights, Individual Freedoms, and Personal Liberties. In fact, the United States institutionalized practice of Slavery, Serfdom, Involuntary Servitude, and Forced Labor.
INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY 2017: TOP QUOTES, PHOTOS FROM PM NARENDRA MODI’S SPEECH
BY GAYATHRI ANURADHA ON 8/15/2017
India celebrated its 71st Independence Day on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeping up with the tradition of addressing nation from the historic Red Fort in New Delhi. India was freed from the British rule on this date in 1947 after a prolonged struggle by the people of the nation.
On July 30, Modi asked citizens of the country to send him a list of subjects they felt he should address in his speech on the Narendra Modi app, an application that provides updates on the activities of the prime minister. Some of the popular suggestions included the quality of education, Clean India (a campaign by the Modi government to clean the streets, roads, and infrastructure of the country’s cities and towns) and digitization as a tool to end corruption.
In another tweet, he shared a video saying he received complaints regarding his speeches with many saying they were too long. He promised to keep it short and this time he delivered a short speech for the first time in four years. This year Modi’s Independence Day speech was 56 minutes long, said reports.
Modi’s tweet also read: “When I address nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August, I am merely the medium. The voice is of 125 crore Indians.”
Here are some quotes from Modi’s address to the nation:
- We remember the great women and men who worked hard for India’s freedom.
- We have to take the country ahead with determination of creating a ‘New India.’
- In our nation, there is no one big or small…everybody is equal. Together we can bring a positive change in the nation.
- This is a special year – the 75th anniversary of Quit India, 100th anniversary of Champaran Satyagraha, the 125th anniversary of Ganesh Utsav.
- Good governance is about speed and simplification of processes.
- India’s stature in the world is rising. The world is with us in fighting the menace of terror. I thank all nations helping us doing so.
- We are nurturing our youngsters to be job creators and not job seekers.
- I want to mention those women who have to suffer due to ‘Tripe Talaq’- I admire their courage. We are with them in their struggles.
- Violence in the name of astha (faith) is not something to be happy about, it will not be accepted in India.
- India is about shanti (peace), ekta (unity) and sadbhavana (goodwill). Casteism and communalism will not help us.
- We have to work for the progress of Jammu and Kashmir. Neither with foul language and abuses nor with the bullet — Kashmir’s problems can only be solved by embracing Kashmiris.
- There is no question of being soft on terrorism or terrorists.
- 1st January 2018 will not be an ordinary day; those born in this century will start turning 18. They are Bhagya Vidhatas (Creators of destiny) of our nation.
On Sunday, in his address on the radio show “Man Ki Baat”, Modi urged every Indian to celebrate Aug. 15 as “Sankalp Divas” (Resolution Day) and take an oath to do something for the society, the family, or for the government.
THE COLD WAR IN ASIA – TIBETAN RESISTANCE FROM 1950s TO 2017
Introduction of Communism to mainland China on October 01, 1949 is the reason for ‘The Cold War in Asia’. Communism introduced dictatorial regime with no transparency and public accountability. On May 23, 1951, Tibet and Communist China signed Seventeen-Point Plan or 17-Point Agreement to ensure meaningful Tibetan Autonomy under Chinese Communist Party Governance. Further, India, and Communist China signed Panchsheel Agreement on April 29, 1954 to formalize international relations on Five-Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Adherence to the Five-Principles of Peaceful Coexistence would indeed let China and India live together side by side with ‘Brotherly Love’ to declare “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai.”
Tibetan Resistance began in 1950s and continues in 2017 because of unwillingness of Communist Party of China to implement the 17-Point Plan as agreed. Republic of India adheres to principles of Democracy, Socialism, and Secularism. While Chinese people may embrace Buddhism, their system of Communist Party Governance with no transparency and public accountability will keep Tibetan Resistance alive. Buddhism may encourage and promote tourism but it cannot be used as the basis for formulating international relations by Secular Republic of India.
INDIA, CHINA CANNOT DEFEAT EACH OTHER: DALAI LAMA
“India should develop a pilgrimage for Chinese people who follow Buddhism. These people can come to places like Bodh Gaya and can come closer to India emotionally as well,” he said.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he speaks during a ‘world peace and harmony conclave’ in Mumbai on Sunday. (Express photo By Pradip Das)
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Monday said India and China cannot defeat each other and both the countries will have to live together as neighbours. The spirit of “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” is the only way forward, he stressed. “In the current border situation, neither India nor China can defeat the other. Both countries are militarily powerful,” the Dalai Lama said. Both the countries will have to live together as neighbours, he said.
“There may be some incidents of cross-border firing. It does not matter,” he said. The Dalai Lama was responding to questions by reporters at an event here.
He said, “In 1951, a 17-point agreement was signed between the Local Government of Tibet and People’s Republic of China for peaceful liberation of Tibet. Today China is changing and has become a country with the highest Buddhist population. They (India and China) should go back to ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ again.”
It is a Communist government but Buddhism is widely accepted, he said.
“Earlier, the Dalai Lama used to be the head of spiritual and political movements in Tibet, but in 2011, I totally retired from politics. It was a way of democratizing the institutions, because it had some feudal elements in it,” said the 14th Dalai Lama.
He suggested that India should “develop pilgrimage for Chinese” people who are followers of Buddhism.
“We must understand that the followers of Buddhism in China are actually following the line of Indian Buddhism that came from Nalanda (Indian seat of learning) and Sanskrit,” said the spiritual leader.
“India should develop a pilgrimage for Chinese people who follow Buddhism. These people can come to places like Bodh Gaya and can come closer to India emotionally as well,” he said.
India and China have been locked in a standoff in the Doklam area since June 16 after Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan trijunction.
Commenting on the definition of secularism in the Indian context, the Dalai Lama said, “Respect for all religions and even the non-believers too. This is the definition of secularism in Indian context.”
“During the French Revolution and the Bolshevik movement, people opposed the exploitation by their kings and queens. Then religious institutions were supporting the feudal lords; hence the revolution also went against them. That’s why in the western context, secularism has become a word expressing disrespect to religion,” he said.
“Even an Indian communist leader had once told me that as a communist party worker, he does not believe in God. But for the people who he works for, they do believe in God and it is his duty to respect their feelings. I welcome such a mature approach,” the Dalai Lama said.
THE COLD WAR IN ASIA – THE PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE OF INDIA, TIBET, AND CHINA
In 1954, India signed an agreement with People’s Republic of China formulated on the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence of nations. This agreement does not mention it in words, but is based upon the presumption that the political institution of Dalai Lama will continue to exercise meaningful role across the entire Himalayan region including Mongolia. As of today, both India and Tibet are asking for meaningful autonomy for Tibet and safeguarding Tibetan Institutions of Governance.
India, China can peacefully coexist as “Brothers” if that relationship includes recognition of Tibet as ‘Brother’ with Brotherhood Rights to Self-Governance.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
Doklam row not serious, Hindi, Chini Bhai-Bhai, says Dalai Lama
By Boyd Miles
“There is some tension ‘but I do not think it is very serious. We need to make distinction between people and governments”.
Speaking in Delhi on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama used a phrase from Indo-China diplomacy of the 1950s to say: “Eventually, Hindi-Chini bhai bhai is the only way ahead [for India and China]”. Dalai Lama said, “Eventually, “Hindi-Chini- Bhai Bhai” is the only way; the two big nations, you have to live side by side”.
India is for a simultaneous withdrawal from Doklam, which, it says, belongs to its other neighbor Bhutan. “India and China have to live side by side”, he said.
“The responsibility for the institution of the Dalai Lama is also of the Himalayan region and Mongolia”, he said but emphasized that the next Dalai Lama may not have a political role to play in future and that China should not worry about his role. Beijing had then warned New Delhi of adverse consequences.
However, China will only up the ante now that the Dalai Lama has spoken on the issue.
The Dalai Lama has been strongly criticized by Beijing as a “splittist” threatening China’s unity while he is revered in India and the rest of the world as a spiritualist. He asserted that as India provides freedom, he is capable of doing many things and is getting more opportunity to share.
India had granted political asylum to the Dalai Lama who fled his homeland almost six decades ago, as a young monk of 24, to save himself from the Chinese Army, who sought to crush the mass uprising in Tibet against what they described as “China’s imperialist designs”.
“Our small Tibetan community fully practices democracy and I am an admirer of democracy”.
The Dalai Lama said the Chinese people are now enjoying greater freedom in comparison to those who lived four decades ago and praised President Xi Jinping for his fight against corruption.
THE COLD WAR IN ASIA – INDIA RESPECTS SOVEREIGNTY OF TIBET AND BHUTAN
My ‘CIA CONNECTION’ is byproduct of ‘The Cold War in Asia’. In 1950s, India’s external relations along Himalayan Frontier were shaped by the fear of Communism spreading in Asia. For centuries, people of India, Tibet, and Bhutan lived with no major concerns about boundaries between these countries. Communist China’s Doctrine of Expansionism came into focus when Red China made claims of her sovereignty over territories of her neighbors.
In May 1956, the 14th Dalai Lama visited New Delhi not to celebrate 2,500 Birth Anniversary of Gautama Buddha. He came to seek help and support for Tibet is the first victim of Red China’s Expansionism. Both India, and Tibet share this fear of Communism. In September 1958, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Bhutan to forge relationships driven by fear of Communist Expansionism. India respects sovereignty of Tibet and Bhutan not because of religious or philosophical doctrine of Gautama Buddha but on account of fear of Expansionist Doctrine of Red China.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
DOKLAM STANDOFF: BHUTAN’S SOVEREIGNTY
Today, as two Asian powers face off with Bhutan at the center of this delicate situation, the outcome will show whether the Asian century has a chance to be a peaceful one, or whether it will replay the violence of the colonial period.
Jawaharlal Nehru at Paro 1958. Credit: India House, Thimphu
As the Doklam plateau stand-off continues well into its second month, analysts in India, China and globally have focused primarily on the India-China interaction. Those that have mentioned Bhutan – the Doklam plateau dispute is between Bhutan and China – have characterized Bhutan as either a protectorate, a state whose relationship with India limits its sovereign actions, or merely as a vassal state being bullied by India. These characterizations ignore Bhutan’s long history of fighting for its sovereignty as well the reasons (and context) in which Bhutan has pursued its special relationship with India.
The India-Bhutan relationship is often characterized by the grants and aid that India has extended to the small country, principally to the hydropower plants that provide Bhutan its largest single source of revenue. The political relationship, though, precedes the hydropower projects by decades, and is best seen in the context of Tibetan issues. The first official meeting between the leaders of the two countries after Independence took place after Jawaharlal Nehru, accompanied by a young Indira Gandhi, travelled to Bhutan via Sikkim, by plane, jeep, horseback and yak in 1958. Although the Chinese accorded a welcoming reception, and gave Nehru’s party an honor guard while passing through Chinese administered territory, the clouds of future conflict were already there.
In 1956, on a visit to India to commemorate the 2,500 birth anniversary of the Buddha, the 14th Dalai Lama had asked for refuge. In 1959, he and his entourage would flee Tibet, setting in place a conflict that continues today.
Bhutan would not have been unaware of these issues. The Haa Drung (administrator of Haa), Jigme Palden Dorji, who also acted as the prime minister of Bhutan, was in touch with Major General Enaith Habibullah, the first Commandant of the National Defence Academy, who was also quite close to Nehru. Furthermore the pressure on the monastic orders being brought to bear by the Chinese in Tibet would have been relayed very quickly to Bhutan, whose monastic order was closely linked to Tibet’s.
The relations between Tibet and Bhutan have historically been about monks. The establishment of Bhutan as a separate domain, Druk Yul, in the 17th Century under the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, was set off by the rejection of his claims to be the head of the monastic order headed by his Gyare clan. This claim was rejected by the 5th Dalai Lama, which led to the Zhabdrung being offered shelter in Bhutan and a series of battles that would end up establishing Bhutan’s independence.
In 1864 another war erupted, this time with the British. Ashley Eden, who had negotiated an agreement with Sikkim that stripped the Chogyal of his powers and utterly eviscerated the sovereignty of the Himalayan kingdom, was sent to negotiate a similar treaty with the Bhutanese. Instead he encountered Jigme Namgyal, the Black Regent. Namgyal forced Eden to sign a different treaty – one which committed the British to return the Assamese Duars already forcibly occupied by them.
Eden’s treatment was used as a pretext for war for Britain to forcibly capture the territory they wanted – ideal for growing tea, an enormously costly cash crop of that time, one for which the Opium Wars against China had also been launched. The ensuing Duar Wars are considered victories by both Bhutan and Britain. Bhutan lost the Duars, but retained its independence, even being paid a rent (though a small amount) by the British Empire for the Duars.
Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi with the 3rd king’s family. Credit: India House, Thimphu
In 1903 another war loomed when the British wanted to send the Younghusband expedition to Tibet. Caught between the two powers, Ugyen Wangchuck, the son of Jigme Namgyal, initially prepared for war against the British. It was his cousin and close advisor, Ugyen Dorji, a well-established trader based out of Kalimpong, who advised against this. Ugyen Wangchuck’s father-in-law also advised against it. Listening to their advice, Ugyen Wangchuck became the key facilitator for the Younghusband expedition, negotiating on behalf of both the Tibetans and British. He was one of the few that tried to keep some semblance of order in an expedition in which the British machine gunned Tibetans armed with muzzle loaders, some of whom were just trying to get away from the field of battle at Chumik Shenko.
It was this expedition, and the laurels that Ugyen Wangchuck won as a negotiator for both the power in the north – Tibet – and the power in the South – Britain – that set the stage for him being formally invested with kingship in 1907. The Tibetans, who had never in their history turned to Bhutan for help, offered him new ceremonial headgear in a mark of great respect. The British offered him knighthood, making him a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire.
This is the history of independence that the 3rd King of Bhutan, the Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck, carried forward when he welcomed Nehru to Bhutan in 1958. The King would have been well aware of what was going on in Tibet and its potential ramifications for Bhutan, which Mao claimed as part of Tibet. This was partially based on the defeat of Bhutanese forces by the Tibetan ruler Pholhanas in 1730 and 1732, invited into the country by the then Penlop (Governor) of Paro Valley, and the subsequent dispatch of Bhutanese leaders to kowtow before the Qing throne.
It is therefore why Nehru’s promise to Bhutan in September 1958, at his first speech to the Bhutanese public in Paro, was so important:
“Some may think that since India is a great and powerful country and Bhutan a small one, the former might wish to exercise pressure on Bhutan. It is therefore essential that I make it clear to you that our only wish is that you should remain an independent country, choosing your own way of life and taking the path of progress according to your will.”
It was based on this promise that Indian assistance to Bhutan, initially by helping fund Bhutan’s Five Year Plans, began. At that time Bhutan had no currency of its own, and was the country with the lowest per capita GDP in South Asia. Today Bhutan’s per capita GDP is $2,870 while India’s is $1,850. That growth has been facilitated by Indian assistance, but is based on Bhutan’s freedom to develop the way it wanted.
In recent times that freedom has been what has come under strain, most obviously when the Indian state abruptly, and without any explanation, stopped a subsidy for LPG in Bhutan in 2013, between the first and second round of the Bhutanese general elections. The LPG subsidy had an immediate impact, the ruling party lost, and the LPG subsidy was resumed, again without any real explanation. This was seen by many Bhutanese as undue interference. But while the action may have generated much talk, evidence of its efficacy – if that is what one can call so ham-handed a move – is slight.
Nehru with Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Credit: India House, Thimphu
Bhutan has two rounds of elections, with a run off between two leading parties in the second round. (In 2008 there were only two parties registered, so there was no run off.) In the first round of the 2013 elections, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, the governing party, received 44.5% of the vote, with the three Opposition parties, two of whom merged together after the first round, received the rest. In the second round, after the withdrawal of the subsidy, the DPT received 45% of the votes. The impact of the subsidy removal may have had more impact on commentary than voter share, much of which is determined by local issues. Bhutan experienced a painful currency crisis that had deeply eroded the DPT’s popularity. After the elections the former Bhutanese prime minister first accused the Bhutanese Election Commission of misconduct, and when directed by the king to direct those complaints to the chief election commission, resigned his post as a member of parliament. Such moves indicate that issues within Bhutan – as in every other country – have a greater impact on politics than any external meddling.
None of this should be used as an excuse for Indian high-handedness vis-à-vis Bhutan, but just goes to show that Bhutan has acted based on its own self-interest. It has done so as well when it comes to managing its foreign relations. The security and diplomatic support that Bhutan receives from India allows it to focus on issues of its core concern. The 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who abdicated in 2006 in favor of his son after ruling for 34 years, had all the necessary weight to conduct foreign policy differently if he wanted to. He could have been a very prominent actor on the world stage, and certainly has enough personal connections with high-ranking diplomats to play that role even now, instead he focused almost entirely on internal issues. His son, the 5th King, Jigme Khesar Wangchuck, became one of the few heads of state to address the joint houses of parliament in Japan in 2011. He too, could easily be an important international actor, and yet both father and son have chosen to play their roles in a low key manner, and Bhutan has avoided international entanglements, while strengthening the country internally. Part of that strengthening is the hydropower dams, built by grant and aid by India, which supply India with cheap electricity and Bhutan with much needed revenue. Neither of these actions, of diplomacy, or economic planning, are examples of “vassalage”, of a state forced into a subservience by its larger neighbor. Instead it has been a complex and delicate furtherance of Bhutanese sovereignty that keep Bhutan secure and prosperous, leaving it free of the meddling that has compromised the sovereignty and security of its Himalayan neighbors – Sikkim, Tibet and Nepal.
Nehru and Indira Gandhi on yaks. Credit: India House, Thimphu
The key question for those following the stand-off at Doklam is going to be this one: how will Bhutan continue to exercise its sovereignty? The challenge that China is throwing is not a merely military one, but rather the question of whether Bhutan’s old deal with India, or whether Chinese partnership will allow Bhutan greater freedom, and greater sovereignty.
One answer to this is obvious. In Tibet the Potala palace has been reduced to a tourist attraction. The 14th Dalai Lama cannot visit, and is regularly vilified in the domestic press. Monasteries are severely constrained. Over the last few years more than a hundred Tibetans have immolated themselves. Although this has drawn scant criticism by global actors, such actions have their impact in Bhutan, where the monastic order is an important actor. Just this last week, the Nobel Laureate and long advocate for democracy, Liu Xiaobo, died in Chinese incarceration.
Yet the news from China is not all bad, nor is the news from India all good. As China invests in the grand Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Bhutan’s neighboring mountain state, Nepal, dreams of using BRI to link with the world, many admirers of China’s development model in Bhutan compare this to the situation in India’s northeast, where annual floods displace millions of poor, and atrocities by state forces and militants are as common as the entrenched poverty. Today Bhutan faces the challenge of managing its two gigantic neighbors, both of whom face massive internal challenges themselves. In the 18th Century, Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Gorkha King who unified Nepal, described this challenge as being like a yam between two boulders. Bhutan chose a different path, one that now means it stands as a peaceful anomaly in the midst of the contested border between the giants of Asia.
It will take great skill and wisdom to resolve this challenge from the power in the north and the power in the south. Bhutan has done this before, becoming not a yam to be crushed, but a bridge of understanding between vastly different cultures and polities. Nevertheless that incident led to massacres and was based on aggression, an outcome of colonial policies and fears. Today, as two Asian powers face off with Bhutan at the center of this delicate situation, the outcome will show whether the Asian century has a chance to be a peaceful one, or whether it will replay the violence of the colonial period. Much of that depends on how India and China, as well as Bhutan itself, manages its sovereignty. It is no small thing, and should not be ignored. To misquote George W. Bush, it would not be wise to underestimate Bhutan.
THE COLD WAR IN ASIA – INDIA AND TIBET ARE MILITARY PARTNERS TO CONTAIN COMMUNISM
I warmly appreciate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s remarks about India and China living side by side as “Brothers(Bhai-Bhai).”
The Standoff between China and India inside Bhutan’s territory called Doklam is not really serious. The real issue is that of dangers posed by spread of Communism in Asia. Both India, and Tibet recognized this real danger to foster military partnership or alliance to checkmate, to engage, to confront, to contain, to resist, and to battle against dark, and evil forces of Communism. To that extent, both India, and Tibet must consider deployment of Reserve Duty Brigade (Mobile Reserve Force or MRF) of Special Frontier Force to defend their shared values.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
DALAI LAMA INVOKES ‘HINDI CHINI BHAI BHAI’, SAYS DOKLAM STANDOFF NOT VERY SERIOUSOFF NOT
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. (File photo | PTI)
NEW DELHI: Describing the ongoing Doklam standoff as “not very serious”, the Dalai Lama today invoked “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai”, a catch phrase that defined Sino-India ties in the 1950s, stressing that the two neighbors have to live side by side in peace.
Asserting that any problem has to be resolved through talks, the 81-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader said the theme of 21st century should be dialogue.
“That’s the only away. One side’s retreat and defeat is an old-time thinking. In modern times, every country is dependent on each other,” he said, speaking at the Rajendra Mathur Memorial Lecture organized by the Editors Guild of India here.
The spiritual leader, who calls himself a “chela” (disciple) of India, also needled China saying he can do more in India, which has freedom.
“Where there is no freedom, I don’t like. There is some tension, but I do not think it is very serious. We need to make distinction between people and governments. The other day, I mentioned that Hindi-Chini Bhai is the only way. India and China have to live side by side,” the Dalai Lama said, even as he added that “propaganda and wrong information make things complicated”.
The Dalai Lama, who had fled a Chinese State crackdown in Lhasa and took shelter in India in 1959, said occasionally the two neighbors use “harsh words”, and added as a reminder that the Chinese forces eventually withdrew though they had reached Bomdila in 1962.
Queried about any possible resumption of talks between the Central Tibetan Authority and the Chinese side, he said it may take place after the 19th national congress of the Communist Party of China, which is slated later this year. “But nothing is definite,” he said.
India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for more than 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area. China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory and has been demanding immediate withdrawal of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau.
Bhutan says Doklam belongs to it but China claims it to be its territory and says Thimphu has no dispute with Beijing over it.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favoring a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.
RED DRAGON, INDIA, BHUTAN BORDER STAND-OFF – RESPOND BY DEPLOYING SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
On behalf of Special Frontier Force, I demand the United States, India, and Tibet to respond to Red Dragon’s incursions into Bhutanese territory by deploying Mobile Reserve Force(MRF) of Special Frontier Force; ‘MRF’ refers to the Brigade of Special Forces on Reserve Duty at Headquarters Establishment No. 22 during 1970s.
RED DRAGON CLAWS CLASP BHUTAN, MAKING INDIA VULNERABLE
India needs to show strength by taking appropriate action to ensure a Chinese retreat from Bhutanese soil.
It is no secret that China has been asserting its dominance for the last 50 years on land, sea and even in space. Every one of its actions have been executed with machine like precision, its modus operandi being that it disputes or blatantly disregards internationally agreed upon borders, cherry picks treaties that coincide with its agenda, encroaches on foreign territory by building infrastructure in disputed areas and then claims its rights by citing evidence of that very same infrastructure it built, thereby refuting legitimate claims of other nations. The past and current actions of China with regard to claiming Tibet, aggressive posturing in the South China Sea, China’s race to space programs all attest to these methods of Chinese aggression.
In its latest stand-off with India, China is once more flexing its muscles and creating a flash point. India and China are currently facing off in disputed Bhutanese territory, in a region, which is very strategic to India. This territory is near the tri junction area, i.e., the meeting point of Tibet (China) to the north, Bhutan to the east and Sikkim to the west. An understanding of the local geography and topography is paramount for the gravity of the situation to sink in so that India can devise a long-term military offensive and defensive strategy. The map below (Map 1) gives a birds-eye-view of the location of the current standoff:
Where is the Current Standoff Taking Place?
There is much confusion as to the location of the current standoff, especially within media reports. It is sometimes reported that the standoff is in Sikkim or in Doklam, etc. but the exact location is never explicitly mentioned in reports. The actual standoff is taking place in the Doklam plateau region, which is not in Indian territory, but in western Bhutan; however, China claims that this plateau is part of Tibet and thus rightfully theirs. Part of the confusion that surrounds the location is in the name, as many areas in the region have similar sounding names. For example, there is Dhoka La, Doklam and the Doklam Plateau (the differences are noted below) – thus you can see where the confusion probably stems from.
As I have mentioned, the current standoff is in Bhutanese territory (Doklam Plateau), which is clearly south of the internationally recognized tri-junction at Bantang La (refer to Map. 2 – the meeting point of India, China, and Bhutan). The narrow plateau, highlighted in blue, between Sikkim to the west and the Chumbi Valley to the east and north, is called the Doklam Plateau and is clearly not in Chinese territory. Chumbi Valley is very narrow and steep and can be easily fired on, if necessary, by Indian troops stationed on the mountain ridges that border Sikkim and look down onto the valley. Thus the valley is not suited to station troops of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). It is of utmost importance that Indian forces keep Chinese troops at bay and out of the plateau as the area could be used by the Chinese to mount an attack on the strategic Siliguri Corridor of India. The Siliguri corridor (Map. 1) is the only access way for India to reach its north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, and Mizoram and thus is of critical importance.
Map 2 – shows the area of the Doklam Plateau in blue, on the western border of India and the eastern border of Bhutan and South of Tibet. This is the prize that the Chinese dragon is eying.
However, ‘Doklam’ in the north (see Map. 3), is also in Bhutan, although the Chinese have slowly but surely encroached this area and see it as part of Tibet. The Doklam Plateau is 30 kilometers south of ‘Doklam’ and is clearly recognized as part of Bhutanese territory internationally. It is on the Doklam Plateau where the Chinese snake is slowly creeping in. Hence this aggressive posturing by China doesn’t bode well for India.
History of Chinese attempts
This standoff commenced when the Chinese tried to extend some of their roads further south into the Doklam Plateau. The Chinese claim that Gymochen (Map. 4) is the tri-junction area and not Bantang La, and this justifies their claim to the Doklam plateau. The Chinese have justified their claim by citing the Convention of 1890 between the British and Tibet, as the legal basis for their claim over the territory. The Convention of 1890, cites that the tri-junction is at “Mount Gipmochi” (which is further south of Tibet, as shown in Map 4) as opposed to Bantang La. However, the location of Gipmochi itself is not explicitly clear from existing documents. However, China has conveniently claimed that Gipmochi is indeed Gymochen, but the description in the treaty of Gipmochi does not at all match the topography of Gymochen.
Despite China’s glaringly false claims, you might still be wondering why India is facing off with China in Bhutanese territory. This is because India and Bhutan signed the India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty in 2007. India, in an attempt to defend Bhutanese territory as per the agreement, invoked Article 2 of the treaty, which states that “Neither Government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.” This has been the basis for Indian presence in this standoff.
In 1996, during the 10th round of border negotiations between China and Bhutan, the former offered to exchange the Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys which have an area of 495 sq. km for Sinchulumpa, Dramana, and Shakhtoe (western Bhutan which has an area of about 269 sq. km and which encompasses Doklam Plateau). Bhutan did not accept this offer. This would have been a sweetheart deal for China as it would give them the strategic Doklam Plateau in exchange for relatively unimportant valleys (for the Chinese anyway) in the north of Bhutan. They wanted the strategic Doklam Plateau, as this borders Sikkim, overlooks the Siliguri Corridor (One of India’s vulnerable chicken necks) and can be fired on by artillery from the Doklam plateau. This is why the Chinese are so keen on getting their hands on the Doklam plateau. Already, China has claimed more than 10% of Bhutanese territory over the years. In addition to this, Bhutan, in 2007, essentially gave up claim to Kulakangri, the tallest mountain in Bhutan as a goodwill gesture to China. China, however, took it as a matter of entitlement and gave no response to the Bhutanese. China today wields control deep inside internationally recognized territories of Bhutan and has been slowly creeping further south.
According to Bhutan, both Doklam and Doklam Plateau belong to Bhutan. According to the Chinese (refer map 5) they claim a vast area that encompasses Doklam and Doklam Plateau and everything in between connecting them both. Besides, China claims strategic points in Bhutan, enveloping and clasping it, thereby getting access to vulnerable points in India. Doklam Plateau will give China access to Sikkim and the Siliguri corridor, while territory claims in eastern Bhutan will give China easy access to Arunachal Pradesh, increasing India’s vulnerability even more.
China has built many border posts in Bhutanese territories and has slowly pushed them farther into Bhutan’s territory from all sides. Much of Doklam Plateau is controlled by the Chinese forces as they have built roads in some parts of the plateau. From Map 6, you can see the extent of the roads in Bhutan that the Chinese have already built-in classic Chinese aggressive operating style.
One example of China’s slow but steady encroachment into Bhutanese territory can be seen in two satellite images of the same location of a road leading to a border post, one in 2005 and then 11 years later. In those 11 years, the road and border post went over 1.7 km deeper into its neighbor’s territory.
The current standoff was the result of China trying to extend their roads to get full control of the Doklam plateau. Just because India stopped the Chinese from encroaching more into the plateau does not mean that this standoff is a win for India. To regain some semblance of control, India must go across the international border into China’s Chumbi Valley thereby cutting PLA troop supply lines (as indicated in Map 4). This would make the PLA troops in Doklam Plateau isolated and would make them to surrender or retreat. Then India could withdraw from Chumbi and gain full control of Doklam Plateau, and even Doklam to the north.
There are two main reasons for China’s successful takeover of territories in India and Bhutan. Firstly, the lay of the land on the Chinese side gives them the edge, as it is much easier to access these remote border territories from the Tibetan side. Secondly, China has invested much more into the development of transportation infrastructure in these areas than either India or Bhutan. China, as Map 6 shows, is light-years ahead in building durable roads in these terrains with alternate routes for back up, all of which help China solidify their claims to the land and help with mobilization of troops and supplies.
My own road trips within Uttarakhand have demonstrated to me the appalling state of Indian roads in less inaccessible terrain than the Doklam region – so you can imagine that further north along the Indian borders. On the way to Badrinath for example, the roads lack any controlled drainage in mountain terrain and are carved away every year during the monsoons leaving pothole-ridden roads covered in loose gravel.
And this was the state of the very critical artery road on the way to Badrinath leading up to the strategic Mana Pass at the Indo-Chinese border.
With Bhutan’s inability set up an effective resistance, the onus is on India to protect India’s interests while safeguarding Bhutan’s territories. China’s invasion of Tibet has increased India’s vulnerability and this is probably one of the first in the series of provocations that are yet to come. India needs to also show strength by taking appropriate action to ensure a Chinese retreat from Bhutanese soil, not just in Doklam Plateau, but also in all other border areas. India then should provide Bhutan with military and infrastructure support to secure its borders. This is a tall order, especially given the terrain and India’s passive stance when it comes to securing borders within its control let alone the borders of a friendly neighbor. With each passing day, China is nibbling away territory, engulfing Bhutan entirely. Perhaps it is time for India to show its offensive and aggressive side, if it indeed has one. China needs to understand that India has a zero tolerance policy for Chinese aggressions along its borders. There is no other way!