The Chinese intrusion into Depsang Bulge in East Ladakh, approximately 19 km inside our perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on April 15, has raised temperatures both militarily and politically on either side. A series of border personnel meetings between the militaries of the two sides have not been able to resolve the issue so far and the standoff continues till date. It would not be incorrect to presume that this latest provocation from the Chinese side has been undertaken with the tacit approval of the highest levels in the Chinese hierarchy.
The lynchpin of Dahal’s visit—his floating of trilateral cooperation between China-India-Nepal—stimulated much opinion in political and diplomatic circles. Does this mark a change in Dahal’s pivotal character in the Nepali political landscape, as his previous ground-breaking 2008 Beijing itinerary soured relations with Delhi and culminated in further alienation with the south and his resignation as prime minister?
The same old scenario has unfolded again: China quietly occupies a strategic area and a diffident India is left preaching the virtues of diplomacy and peace. When China set out to eliminate the historical buffer with India by invading Tibet, New Delhi opposed Lhasa’s desperate plea for a discussion at the United Nations. And when China stealthily took control of the Switzerland-size Aksai Chin plateau and began building the Tibet-Xinjiang highway through it, India’s first response was to send a démarche asking Beijing naively as to how it despatched workers to Indian territory without seeking visas for them.
The opening of the Karakoram Pass would hugely benefit the people of Ladakh and Xinjiang. Tibet, as a source of merchandise, has not been successful as Chinese goods are available from Nepal.
The Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN — Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Dahal, completed his week long visit to the People’s Republic of China from April 14-20, 2013. The attention and importance given to the visit by the host country indicates the importance attached to its relations with Nepal.
The Chinese intention is to enter from the south of the Karakoram and cross the Shyok from the east. That would be disastrous for Indian defence, leaving the strategic Nubra vulnerable, possibly impacting supply lines and even India's hold over Siachen. As China intrudes, India must pay urgent attention to the region.
Recently, a seminar on “visa-free South Asia” was held in Pakistan city of Karachi. The speakers at the seminar unanimously wished for a South Asia where the citizens of eight countries will not require any visa to move around in the region. This, however, is not the first time in the region that this kind of wish or demand was raised. Believers in “One South” in all these countries have been putting this idea forward.
Last month Beijing confirmed its plans to sell a new 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor to Pakistan in a deal signed in February. This pact was secretly concluded between the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission during the visit of Pakistani nuclear industry officials to Beijing from February 15 to 18. This sale would once again violate China’s commitment to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and is in contravention to China’s promise in 2004 while joining the NSG not to sell additional reactors to Pakistan’s Chashma nuclear facility beyond the two reactors that began operation in 2000 and 2011.
China has caused some confusion in India over its Brahmaputra (Yarlung-Tsangpo) diversion plan. Recently, Water Resource Minister Harish Rawat allayed fears about Chinese projects affecting India's water usage. Yet an inter-ministerial panel report asked the government to closely monitor China's plan for a series of cascading run-of-river projects in the middle reaches of the river.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with Ministry of Counter Narcotics, Afghanistan released their Afghanistan opium risk assessment for 2013. Expectedly, the risk assessment paints a bleak prospect for 2013 writes Gaurav Kumar