India-China crisis

The recent crisis over alleged Chinese incursions in the Indian territory has brought back the memories of the humiliating defeat of 1962 war at the hands of China.

Media reports about Chinese incursions, its grand strategy to encircle India, and its continued policy of containing India’s rise as a regional and global power, has created a war hysteria in the country.

The present Indian government has been accused of being soft on the issue of rising Chinese aggressiveness vis-a-vis India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed the media for blowing the border row issue out of proportion. The government admitted that there have been cases of incursions but the situation was not at all alarming.

Both the countries have reiterated that while there are difference on the border issue, they will be resolved peacefully. On the issue of China’s  aggressive policy (mentioned later in the article) towards India, let’s look at the various measures undertaken/planned by the Indian government in the last few years.

1. With an objective to counter Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean, the Indian government has planned to strengthen the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by having a strong Air Force and Naval presence there. According to a media report, a proposed tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) will be in action by the end of 2009. Also, by 2020, the ANC will include,

  • Nuclear submarine base in South Andaman
  • Permanent Sukhoi-30 base at Car Nicobar
  • Tactical aerial reconnaissance base at Campbell Bay
  • Aircraft carrier base
  • Expansion of INS Kardip advance naval base in Nicobar
  • A dedicated 250MW nuclear power station to feed the proposed militarisation programme

2. India has revitalised its relations with the countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia. The ‘Look East’ policy is aimed at deepening India’s ties with these countries.

3. The Indian Air Force recently operationalised the Nyoma airfield, located at a height of 13300 feet, in Ladakh by landing an AN-32 aircraft there. The field is close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the touchdown will help India move its troops and maintain logistics lines in the forward areas along the border.

4. Interestingly, Nyoma is the third helicopter base to be upgraded for operations of fixed-wing aircraft. Daulat Beg Oldie and Fuk Che were the other such bases that were made functional in May and November 2008.

5. The government also has plans of upgrading 38 airfields in the the border areas, most of which are located in the North East region facing China.

6. The government has also given nod to rapid modernisation and construction of airfields and roads of strategic importance in states like Arunachal Pradesh.

7. The Indian Army is raising two more divisions in the Northeast.

8. An airfield in Assam’s Tezpur was upgraded for handling fighter jet operations. The IAF has already deployed SU-30 jets there. There are also plans to operationalise another airbase at Mohanbari in Assam which too will handle SU-30s.

Chinese policy

Now let’s also look at the Chinese policy towards India in last few years.

1. Certain reports in the Chinese media (Media in China is tightly controlled by the State) have indicated the possibility of a limited conflict with India. One article in a state-run publication even suggested “Balkanisation of India” in order to prevent it from posing a challenge to China’s supremacy in Asia in the future.

2. China is increasing its influence in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Central Asia, Myanmar, and Thailand. It is selling military technology to countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar (besides Pakistan). The possibility of China acquiring naval bases in these areas and also gaining access to it through over-land and air routes can seriously affect India’s trade and maritime interests in the long run. This policy, of perceived strategic encirclement, is aimed at expanding its reach to Southeast Asia and the Bay of Bengal. Some analysts also point out that the policy is also driven by China’s need for oil to meet its increasing demand.

3. The Chinese policy of forging relations with key states in Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf could also hurt India’s economic interests in the future.

4. China’s continuous support to the Pakistan is also a serious concern for India. It has been an important source of conventional military technology for Pakistan. The recent disclosure by Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan of Chinese assistance in its nuclear programme justifies India’s concerns. While, China has never fully guaranteed Pakistan’s security, its policy of low-cost investment in increasing the latter’s defence capability vis-a-vis India is also a major irritant for the Indian policy makers. Add to this the long term political and diplomatic support China has been extending to Pakistan over last few decades.

5. China’s alleged support to the insurgent groups operating from Northeastern states like Manipur, Nagaland, and Assam.

Strengthening India

While all these has been happening, the relations between India and China have been normal. Both the countries have made genuine efforts to resolve the boundary disputes. The number of military exchanges between the armed forces of both the countries have also gone up. Bilateral trade between India and China has also increased considerably.

Despite all this, the feeling of mistrust for each other exists in both the countries. The present incursion issue being an example.

The Indian response to the the hysteria in the press about recent Chinese incursions suggest that it wants to avoid rhetorical, political and military fights with China. India has avoided making public its displeasure even on the issue of China’s continued military assistance to Pakistan.

The Indian response to China’s policies (mentioned in the points above) suggest that India wants to strengthen its position vis-a-vis while seeking to avoid any direct confrontation with it.

RSS forms committee to select Advani's successor

Tired of the escalating infighting in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leadership issue, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decided to take the matter of deciding the next Leader of Opposition (LOP) into its own hands.

According to sources, the Sangh has formed a committee under the leadership of its senior leader Madan Das Devi to select L K Advani’s successor. Other RSS leaders who are in the committee include Shrikant Joshi, Madhubhai, Suresh Soni, and Indresh Kumar.

The need for forming a committee arose after it looked clear that it would be difficult to maintain the unity of the BJP in the current circumstances where various factions were proposing different names for the post of LOP.

Earlier on Sunday, senior RSS leaders met L K Advani in the presence of BJP President Rajnath Singh and inquired about his choice for the post of LOP. Advani is believed to have given the names of Jaswant Singh and Sushma Swaraj, which sources say, are not widely acceptable in the party circles.

It was then decided that Advani would remain as the Leader of Opposition till a consensus is reached on the name of any leader.

Sources told Canary Trap that the present arrangement suits Rajnath Singh. Singh realises that it is impossible for him to hold the position of party president and LOP at the same time.

According to them, Singh wants Advani to remain as the LOP till the end of 2009. Interestingly, his terms as party president also ends during that period. Singh hopes to succeed Advani as the LOP after that.

Advani is the only leader in the BJP who has held the positions of the party president and the Leader of Opposition at the same time.

Meanwhile, party sources told Canary Trap that in such challenging times a senior and experienced leader like Murli Manohar Joshi is the best bet to lead the party in the Lok Sabha. Joshi has held various senior positions in the party organisation, including the post of party president between 1990-1992.

BJP sources say that Joshi is not preferred by either Advani or Rajnath Singh.

While giving an interview to a news channel after the poll debacle, Joshi targeted Rajnath Singh and said that the party’s ticket distribution could have been “better” and it should have had some Muslim candidates.

Joshi did not even spare Advani when he said “If Advaniji says anything he says it in the interest of party members. He is the most experienced leader in the party. This cannot be criticised if he has taken the responsibility for the loss,” said Joshi.

He further added that the veteran BJP leader is setting a good example by expressing his desire to step down from the post of the Leader of Opposition.

The RSS leaders met Advani in the midst of all this infighting. According to party sources, even the RSS thinks that it would be better if Advani retires now than he does after a year or two as that would not give enough time to the new leader to prepare for the next general elections.

Now all eyes are on the RSS committee which will deliberate on all the aspects and decide the name of the leader who will succeed Advani.

Keep tracking Canary Trap for more such information on the ongoing crisis in the ‘party with a difference’.

Sri Lanka releases pictures of Prabhakaran’s dead body

The Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, General Sarath Fonseka, has confirmed that LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s body has been found on Tuesday morning by the Lankan troops.

The terror chief’s body was found by the 53 Division troops led by Major General Kamal Goonarathne, Sri Lankan military sources said.

A Lankan military spokesman also said that Prabhakaran was in uniform and there were bullet wounds on his head.

Canary Trap brings you exclusive pictures of Prabhakaran’s body released by the Sri Lankan Army.

1. Sri Lankan troops surround Prabhakaran’s body.

Prabhakaran - 3

2. Sri Lankan army soldiers lifting the body of Prabhakaran.

Prabhakaran - 2

3. Prabhakaran’s body was recovered from the battlefield on Tuesday.

Prabhakaran - 1

Earlier, the Lankan military also released a photo of the body suspected to be of Prabhakaran’s eldest son, Charles Antony. According to the sources, Antony was the head of Information and Technology department of the LTTE.

Charles Antony - 1

The Lankan military claimed that they have positively identified 18 bodies of senior LTTE cadres. The list of identified LTTE leaders include:

  • Pottu Amman: LTTE’s Intelligence Wing Leader
  • Bhanu: LTTE military leader
  • Jeyam: LTTE military leader
  • B Nadesan: LTTE’s Political Head
  • S Pulidevan: Head of LTTE’s Peace Secretariat
  • Ramesh: LTTE special military leader
  • Ilango: LTTE Police Chief
  • Charles Anthony: Eldest son of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran
  • Sudharman: Aide to LTTE leader’s son
  • Thomas: Senior intelligence leader
  • Luxman: LTTE military leader
  • Sri Ram:  Senior Sea Tiger cadre
  • Isei Aravi: LTTE female military leader
  • Kapil Amman: LTTE deputy intelligence leader
  • Ajanthi: Female LTTE training in charge
  • Wardha: LTTE mortar in-charge
  • Pudiyawan: Secretary to the LTTE leader
  • Jenarthan: Special military leader

Photos of Prabhakaran with wife, son and daughter

Canary Trap brings you the exclusive pictures of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s family.

The photos have been released by the Sri Lankan defence ministry.

1. Prabhakaran and Madivadini in an undisclosed location in India during mid 80’s.

2. Prabhakaran and Madivadini at their wedding.

3. Prabhakaran’s celebrates the sixth birthday of his youngest son Balachandran.

4. Prabhakaran and Madivadini with their most favoured son in an undisclosed location in Wanni.

5. Prabhakaran with family members.

6. Prabhakaran with his son in a swimming pool.

7. Prabhakaran with his family.

 

8. Prabhakaran, Madivadini and children on a sea tiger boat at the Iranamadu tank.

 

 

9. Prabhakaran with son Charles Antony.

 

10. Prabhakaran’s son (Charles Antony) and daughter.

 

Controversey surrounds Rahul Gandhi’s MPhil

The Congress party on Thursday served a legal notice to The New Indian Express for publishing what it called “wild allegations and sly insinuations” on the educational qualifications of party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

“Deeply distressed by your wild allegations, sly insinuations and self-serving innuendos, all premised on complete falsehoods and steeped in malice, a notice is being issued,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters at the AICC headquarters in the capital.

Singhvi quoted a letter from the University, which stated that Gandhi was a student at the institution as a member of the Trinity College from October 1994 to July 1995 and was awarded an M Phil in Development Studies in 1995.

Earlier, Rahul had also said in a press conference that he will serve a legal notice to the newspaper for writing the article.

Below is the article that the Chennai based newspaper published. Will keep you updated on any further developments on the issue.

(The article, dateline Chennai, was published in The New Indian Express on April 7, 2009. It has been reproduced here with proper permission)

Truth about Rahul Gandhi’s MPhil

Rahul Gandhi appears to have been economical with the truth on his affidavit while filing his election nomination papers in Amethi this weekend.

In the affidavit, he states that he obtained an MPhil from Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1995, in Developmental Economics. A certificate from the University shows that not only has he got dates wrong, he has even got the name of the course he took incorrect.

Worse, the man touted as a future prime minister failed one of his four papers.

Rahul got 58 percent in “National Economic Planning and Policy” (according to the grading scale given in the certificate, 60 percent is the minimum for a pass).

The certificate, shown alongside, was issued a year ago by Diana Kazemi, the secretary of the department of Development Studies (and not Developmental Economics) in which Rahul Gandhi studied.

He enrolled under the name ‘Raul Vinci’, a pseudonym given by the British authorities in a common practice as there are a good number of VVIP wards from around the world enrolled at British educational institutions. The pseudonym came to light during the 2004 elections in the Telegraph and the Hindu.

According to the University, Rahul read for the MPhil in 2004- 05, and not in 1994-95, as stated in his affidavit.

His affidavit’s other claim, to have obtained his Bachelors from Rollins College in Florida, USA, is true (and is a departure from earlier claims by ‘supporters’ that he graduated from Harvard). He also briefly attended St Stephen’s College in Delhi, gaining admission through the sports quota.

His mother (and Congress president) Sonia Gandhi was also in a minor controversy in 2004 over her educational qualifications.

Her nomination papers’ affidavit claimed she obtained a certificate in English from Lennox Cook School, University of Cambridge, in 1965. After it was revealed that the school had no affiliation to the University, Sonia claimed that the error on the affidavit was the result of a secretarial typing mistake.

Rahul Gandhi Certificate

LS Polls 2009: One pricey affair!

The world, including India, maybe facing a severe economic crisis but it seems that the Indian political parties are immune to the global economic slowdown. According to a recently released survey of Centre for Media Studies, around Rs 10,000 crores (USD 2 billion) will be spent on Lok Sabha Polls 2009. This does not include the cost of conducting assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

What is surprising here is that the amount to be spent (USD 2 billion) is more than what US President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates spent on their campaigns.

The data provided by the US Federal Election Commission states that Obama and other candidates collectively spent close to $1.8 billion (nearly Rs 8,000 crores) in the 2007-08 Presidential elections. While the US presidential polls were spread over a year, India will witness such massive spending in just over two months.

A close look at the break-up of Poll and Poll-Eve Expenditure provided by the CMS throws one interesting figure.

  • Govt ( EVMs, Booths, TA, DA, etc.): Rs 1500 – 2000 crores
  • Canvassing (Vehicles, aircrafts, fuel, workers, etc.): Rs 3000 – 3500 crores
  • Printed material of all kinds (Posters, banners, advertising, poll surveys, etc of all kind at all levels): Rs 1500 – 2000 crores
  • Other media (Video, audio, cable, cinema, SMS, TV advertising etc.): Rs 1200 – 1500 crores
  • Miscellaneous (public meetings, wages, inter-personal, rallies, etc.): Rs 1000 – 1500 crores
  • Cash paid to voters: Rs 2000 – 2500 crores

As the figures show, around one-fourth of the total money to be spent comes under the ‘note for vote’ strategy of political parties. The parties will pay around Rs 2000 – 2500 crores to the voters in the hope that they would vote for them.

The CMS data further indicates that in comparison to 2004 Lok Sabha polls spending, the amount to be spent this year would be more than double. While Rs 4500 crores were spent in 2004 parliamentary elections, the 1998 and 1996 general elections has cost the country Rs 3200 crores and Rs 2100-2200 crores.

(The post was published on NewsX blogs. You can read it directly by clicking here: http://newsx.com/node/50185)