Monday, June 1, 2020

Chinese Fighters Flying 30-35 Km From Eastern Ladakh, India Watching Closely

A J-11 fighter (a clone of Russia's Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker) flying over Tibet autonomous region

India had scrambled its Su-30MKI in the first week in May when an Indian Army chopper and Chinese chopper were close to each other in the air

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing tensions over People's Liberation Army (PLA) build up along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, India is keeping a close eye on the movement of Chinese fighter aircraft stationed around 100-150 km at their bases in Hotan and Gargunsa.

"The Chinese have kept a fleet of around 10-12 fighter aircraft stationed there at the moment and they are also carrying out flying activity close to the Indian territory. We are keeping a close eye on the movement of these J-11 and J-7 fighter aircraft," sources told ANI here.

Their fighter aircraft have been carrying out sorties from air bases in Hotan and Gargunsa and fly 30-35 km from our territory in Ladakh region, they said. Sources said they are more than the 10-kilometre distance from the Indian areas as per the international norms.

India had scrambled its Su-30MKI in the first week in May when an Indian Army chopper and Chinese chopper were close to each other in the air. The Hotan base has been under the surveillance of the Indian agencies for quite some time now as the Pakistanis have been holding aerial exercise with the PLA Air Force there.

"Last year also, we had closely monitored a movement of six Pakistani JF-17s that flew from the Skardu airfield opposite the western side of Ladakh in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to Hotan where they took part in an exercise named Shaheen-8," they said.

On the Indian side also, the unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ladakh-based Surveillance and Target Acquisition batteries of defence forces and intelligence agencies are using their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to carry out extensive reconnaissance of both sides of the LAC and Chinese positions along the Galwan Nala, the sources said. 


China Using Tactical Situation On Ground To Its Advantage: Mike Pompeo


China is using a tactical situation on the ground to its advantage and it has been making threats, like the one that is happening on its border with India, for a long time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday

Pompeo, responding to a question on the aggressive Chinese behaviour on the Sino-India border and the South China Sea during an interview with Fox News, said that the threat posed by China is real.

"The Chinese Communist Party has been on this effort, on this march, for an awfully long time. They'll certainly use a tactical situation on the ground to their advantage. But each of the problems that you identified there are threats that they have been making for an awfully long time," he said.

Threats like the one that is happening on its border with India, they have been making for an awfully long time, the Secretary of State said.

With respect to the Chinese Communist Party's military advances, they are real, Pompeo said. "General Secretary Xi (Jinping) is intent on building out his military capabilities. Our Department of Defence is doing everything it can to make sure it understands this threat," he said.

"I am confident that under President (Donald) Trump, our Department of Defence, our military, our national security establishment will keep us in a position where we can protect the American people, and indeed we can be good partners with our allies from India, from Australia, from South Korea, from Japan, from Brazil, from Europe, all around the world.

"We can be good partners alongside them and ensure that the next century remains a Western one modeled on the freedoms that we have here in the United States," he said. Currently there are more than 60 bills in Congress, a majority of whom are bipartisan, against China, Pompeo said.

"This is something that I think people all across the political spectrum understand is a real risk. I don't know which of those will make it to the President's desk. Last week there was one that had to do with the Uighurs in China.

"I would encourage the members of Congress to continue to study this issue, to work to help this administration do the things it needs to do to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from its advances and to keep the American people safe. I know that they will. It's bipartisan," said the top American diplomat.

The Chinese Community Party of 2020 is a different one than it was 10 years ago, he said. "This is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values. It puts Americans at risk.

"The list is long, whether it's stealing American intellectual property, destroying hundreds and millions of jobs here in the US, or their efforts to put at risk sea lanes in the South China Sea, denying commercial traffic the opportunity to move through, armed encampments in places that China has no right to be," Pompeo said.

The list of actions from the Chinese Communist Party is long, he said. "For the first time we have a President of the United States who is prepared to push back against that and protect the American people, he said.

"They (the Chinese Communist Party) have become more aggressive in their efforts to do disinformation campaigns like we saw when the Coronavirus was moving around the world, when they closed down their own province but allowed travel around the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of people. We saw the disinformation of that campaign trying to deflect attention," he alleged.


Amid Standoff, China Builds Road To Mineral Rich Area


The blacktopped road, designed to take on heavy transport vehicles, has come up right next to the LAC close to India’s Gogra post, in an area that satellite images suggest hold valuable natural resources like gold. Completed in barely three weeks, the road is just under four kilometres long and connects to a larger network that China has built along the LAC for the past few years

by Manu Pubby

New Delhi: As the standoff with Indian troops was underway in Eastern Ladakh since early May, China constructed a new permanent road along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that gives it access to a mountain area believed to be rich in natural deposits.

The blacktopped road, designed to take on heavy transport vehicles, has come up right next to the LAC close to India’s Gogra post, in an area that satellite images suggest hold valuable natural resources like gold.

Completed in barely three weeks, the road is just under four kilometres long and connects to a larger network that China has built along the LAC for the past few years. Satellite images show that less than 10 km away on the same road, the Chinese side has deployed heavy artillery and an armoured unit.

Sources said that while a semi permanent track was present in the area, the Chinese side constructed two bridges and the blacktopped road at breakneck speed over the past weeks. While the road skirts along the LAC, it can be used to quickly move in vehicles and personnel to the resource rich mountain that lies on the Indian side of the LAC.

While the Indian side has bolstered defences at the Gogra post, there is no equivalent road infrastructure for access to the deposit rich area. Satellite Imagery expert Colonel Vinayak Bhat (Retd) believes that the mountain could contain gold deposits. His satellite imagery based analysis suggests that a larger area close to the what he terms as `gold mountain’ could also hold valuable natural resources.

Besides the road near Gogra, the Chinese side has also built defences in the form of bunkers in the Finger 4 area along the Pangong Tso lake. This area has always been claimed by China but till now was being patrolled by both sides. The new defences suggest that China seeks to retain physical control. Talks continue between both sides to resolve the standoff that has entered its 26th day but there has been no improvement on the ground as thousands of troops remain deployed in Galwan valley and Pangong Tso lake.


Leaked Videos, Photo of Clashes Add To Tension


A leaked video, which purportedly shows Indian troops pushing back a Chinese vehicle patrol, followed by a photo depicting soldiers lying injured along the Pangong Tso lake have added to the simmering tension

New Delhi: A leaked video, which purportedly shows Indian troops pushing back a Chinese vehicle patrol, followed by a photo depicting soldiers lying injured along the Pangong Tso lake have added to the simmering tension.

The undated video - likely from early May - shows an Indian patrol party pushing back a Chinese patrol as well as an injured Chinese personnel lying on the ground. While the army has said that its authenticity cannot be verified, the video is believed to have been shot in the finger area along Pangong Tso. In an official statement, the Army said that the visuals do not depict the current situation on the ground.

Within a few hours of the video, semi-official Chinese social media accounts leaked a photo of five soldiers lying injured on the ground. Two of them were tied with ropes. The photo depicts two unconscious soldiers but both the Army and the Indo Tibetan Border Police have not shared comments on it. Later in the day, a series of undated videos showing Indian troops pushing back a Chinese patrol, likely in the Galwan Valley area, were also leaked on social media.


Parsing Pakistan’s Green Books 2020


Pakistan’s espousal of Islamic “nationhood” is predicated on cultural distinction, calculations of convenience and the politics of difference

by Burzine Waghmar

London: ‘I know, you won’t believe it”, despaired a dejected Ayub Khan to President Lyndon Johnson three months after the Second Indo-Pak war in December 1965, “that India are going to gobble us up.” Johnson’s forebears and successors never wore this Pakistani plaint—Americans aren’t that “naive”. Condoleezza Rice was not having any of it at an unannounced visit in the aftermath of Mumbai 26/11 with Pakistan’s National Security adviser, Mahmud Durrani. Digressive Durrani, less interested in discussing the most audacious attack officially arranged and abetted by Pakistani jihadists during peacetime in India, went on to dilate how Pakistan’s “point of view on Jammu and Kashmir was right”. Ambassador Husain Haqqani minuted that meeting and noted how this former Stanford provost, “extremely curt, like a schoolteacher reprimanding her favoured pupil”, admonished Durrani: “Focusing your energies on an Indian threat that does not exist is a colossal mistake” and “What you think and what the whole world thinks are two different things.”

Posturing as an “insecurity state”, ominously described by a Johnson administration official, it has chimed with Pakistan’s contradictory and contumacious managers during and after the Cold War. They have shared no compunctions in being deferential to anyone with more socio-economic cachet than themselves. It has been no mean feat as they set up a state, muddled through six constitutions, witnessed the slaying of one president and three prime ministers, and forfeited more than half of its populace and province in a civil war which conspicuously merits designated as ethnic cleansing of genocidal proportion in the aftermath of the Raj. (British rule had begun in Bengal whose partitions in 1905 and 1947 saw nothing quite like 1971.)

Bangladesh turns 50 in 2021 and nothing could be starker about Pakistan’s dearth in ideological credibility. The calculated enthusiasm of its religio-military-commentariat cabal, who cry hoarse about Kashmir go sullenly silent when reminded that almost a quarter million, second- and third-generation Biharis, Urdu-speaking foot-soldiers who voted with their feet for a Muslim Zion, languish in transit camps across erstwhile East Bengal. So much for partition’s “unfinished business”. That the Muslim denizens of India’s Jammu and Kashmir, to say nothing of other Indian Muslims and non-Muslims, participate just as volubly and robustly as the Hindu majority in an inclusive, composite and genuinely representative at once as substantive democracy, howsoever noisome and messy, is a scholarly given. Ayesha Jalal, dean of Pakistani historians, tersely noted: “The fight for minority rights in Pakistan has a long way to go and will closely parallel the struggle for citizenship rights.”

Pakistan’s espousal of Islamic “nationhood”, anathema to the universalist solidarity which normatively coheres Muslims, is predicated on cultural distinction, calculations of convenience and the politics of difference.

That this may be admitted a truism of statecraft anywhere is not disputed so much as the foreclosing of critical evaluation by its doctrinaires who perorate with unarticulated rage against India and Indians, ideationally and viscerally, and remain flint-faced about the consequences and costs borne by its denizens.

Pakistan’s Green Book 2020 is of a pedigree entirely in keeping with the fragile self-esteem of the refractory ranks of its custodians whose formal self-purpose privileges a pathology of bigotry and mendacity. Successive editions, internally published by the military, propound a worldview moulded by the army’s Doctrine and Evaluation directorate. Vetted civilian intellectuals do proffer discursive ramblings as is evident in this most recent imprint so long as they subscribe to what Lt. Gen. Javed Hassan, force command Northern Areas during the Kargil debacle of 1999, called the “incorrigible militarism” of Hindus. Perhaps Hassan was not privy to the parley in 1966 between ex-foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Oxford graduand, Tariq Ali. When pressed to explain why Pakistan was dragged into an unwinnable war a year earlier, Bhutto wearily replied Kashmir was a bahaana to eject “the bloody dictatorship.” Languid leftists, among irate Indian intellectuals at home or in the diaspora, should not dismiss Ali, a New Left veteran. Senator Mushahid Hussain’s clarion call is written for the perpetually disaffected driven by the drivel of an Arundhati Roy or Pankaj Mishra for he states, “70% of the battle is…promoting a cohesive and credible Pakistani narrative which we can sell at home and abroad.” He also darkly declared Pakistan’s countenance for a “long-term strategy” against “Indian hegemony” by a “united front of all Kashmiris and the linkup of the Kashmiri resistance with other insurgencies inside India”. But there are risible moments when one Farzana Shah, a Peshawari journalist, portends American and Israeli military bases in “Indian-occupied Jammu Kashmir”.

She also rebukes Pakistan’s foreign office not “to be driven by shallow patriotism, but true humanitarian grounds” in establishing a “dedicated and permanent desk” on “human rights violations in India against minorities”.

In meandering out of this Wonderland one concludes recalling former Indian Chief Justice, P.B. Gajendragadkar, who would have warmed the cockles of a principled “cold-blooded logician”, the Quaid-i Azam. Jinnah, who denounced Kashmir’s “fraud and violence” accession to India would have revoked his censure. Exactly a year after Ayub belaboured Johnson, Gajendragadkar, then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bombay, delivered as broadcast talks the “Sardar Patel Memorial Lectures” on All India Radio, December 1966. Gajendragadkar invoked the legally exercisable convention of rebus sic stantibus which New Delhi must pursue as the principle of arrested action to frustrate Pakistan’s disingenuous designs on the province. His legal brief posited India was exonerated from obligations to the UN Security Council, despite Nehru’s implicit “as early as possible” plebiscite pledge. Subsequent involvements due to Pakistani insincerity and non-compliance of preconditions and standing resolutions perforce prevented India fulfilling what it initiated, ergo, no plebiscite.

Burzine Waghmar, SOAS, University of London. Views expressed are the author’s own


GALWAN: Border Is Not China’s Biggest Agenda


India ramping up its border infrastructure has caused uneasiness on the other side of the LAC

by BR Deepak

“From the very beginning of the war, the firepower of the Indian army was extremely fierce. After two hours of fierce fighting, though the Chinese army occupied Galwan Valley, but the price it paid was too heavy. 874 Chinese soldiers fell on the icy snow of this river valley. It was not until the beginning of the 1980s that the bodies of more than 800 soldiers were brought back from the frozen snow.” Thus wrote Sun Xiao, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer in the Snow of the Himalayas: Sino-Indian War Records (Chinese edition 1991). Sun says that in 1982, when he visited Xinjiang, he was witness to the remains of these soldiers being transported from Ngari (Ali) in Tibet to Urumqi in Xinjiang. The Indian official version of the 1962 conflict, the History of the Conflict with China, 1962 (unpublished report), edited by S.N. Prasad (1992) says that “the Chinese attack on the [Galwan] post started with heavy artillery and mortar bombardment on 20th October at 0530 hours…After an hour of shelling the Chinese attacked the forward sections with nearly a battalion strength. The men who had moved to open trenches fought a bitter last ditch battle…it was only towards the evening that the Chinese finally succeeded in overrunning the post. In all, the Chinese launched three attacks. The casualties suffered by the defenders, 36 killed out of a total 68 all ranks, shows how bitter the fighting was”! The Chinese official version of the conflict, entitled History of China’s Counter Attack in Self-Defence Along the Sino-Indian Borders (Chinese edition 1994), gives the total Chinese casualties in the entire western sector as 97 all ranks!

The same Galwan valley is in the news again as we hear of intrusions by the PLA beyond their claim line of 1960. If so, this is a new development and bad news for both India and China. Alastair Lamb, who has done considerable research on the India-China border, remarked in 1964 that “the extent of Chinese claims seems to increase slightly from time to time” in the Western Sector. Rightly so, as there are three Chinese claim lines in the Western Sector. One is the claim line of 1956, which intersects the Aksai Chin almost into two; the second is the line separating the Indian and Chinese forces on 7 November 1959, and the third, the line reached by the Chinese after the 1962 conflict. China did go back 20 kilometres behind the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, but not in the Western Sector, where they reinforced their 1960 claim line. The Chinese message was clear, accept our claims in the Western Sector, we will accept the McMahon Line. It was this stand that China hinted at in various semantics albeit she had gone back from the 1956 claim line and had demanded more territories beyond the 1956 line, in 1960. Neville Maxwell, while criticising India for its “forward policy”, remained tight-lipped about China establishing forward posts beyond their 1956 claim line. Thus, he accepted different claim lines put forth by China in the Western Sector as their legitimate right. Therefore, to say that the entire Aksai Chin was under Chinese jurisdiction is not correct, nevertheless, the status quo has been drastically changed by China. If the reality of China’s different claim lines, together with the Shyam Saran report of 2013 and Professor P.A. Stobdan’s study is to be believed, Ladakh has been shrinking in size.

This has been demonstrated by ever increasing transgressions, mostly in the Western Sector by the PLA—the Galwan valley; the Srijap range where India’s claim line extends to Finger 8 but doesn’t control the areas beyond Finger 4; and Naku La in Sikkim. India must be watchful for similar flashpoints in the Middle Sector, in areas such as Nilang-Jadang, Bara Hoti, Sangchamalla and Lapthal, Shipki La and Spiti as these are also claimed by China. Interestingly, having reinforced its 1960 claim line in the Western Sector, China is playing victim and accusing India of “provoking the incident” in Galwan valley “intentionally” and “trying to change the status quo unilaterally”; the version since 18 May has appeared in various print and social media outlets in China. Social media has been carrying reports of the 1962 flash points in this area and singing praises of the PLA’s valour. Wang Dehua, a veteran of India-China relations in an article in sohu.com on 19 May 2020 has even warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “Boundless is the sea of misery, yet a man who will repent can reach the shore nearby.” Why is China behaving like this?

First of all, border is not the biggest agenda for China at this point in time. China believes that it has not reached the stage where a resolution is a must, therefore, for it, peace and stability in the neighbourhood is the top priority, along with transforming China into a “moderately developed power” by 2049 when it will realise the second centenary, i.e., a century of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, and perhaps the unification of China too. Therefore, “maintenance of peace and tranquillity” and “managing” rather than solving the problem will be its top priority.

Secondly, it is also not a big agenda for China, as it has easy access to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) owing to the state of the art infrastructure it has created. China knows that the CBMs that both sides have created will not be enough to resolve the problem, hence no stone should be left unturned as far as infrastructure development in Tibet and Xinjiang is concerned. For example, the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” (2016-2020) allocates 200 billion RMB ($20.5 billion) for infrastructure development in Tibet. Today 99% of the villages are connected to highways, as the network in the region has increased from 65,000 kilometres to 90,000 kilometres. These roads are further connected with major railway lines inside Tibet and Xinjiang.

Thirdly, since India is also ramping up its border infrastructure “rapidly”, this has caused uneasiness to the other side of the LAC. Although the 255-kilometres-long Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DS-DBO) road took us 19 years to complete (not to talk about the scandals associated with these projects), nonetheless, it will make accessible many areas of the LAC for patrolling and will keep an eye on Chinese movements in Aksai Chin. There are 60 more such projects that are part of the 3,300-kilometre road network along the border, the work of which was supposed to be completed in 2019 but according to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials, only 75% of the work has been completed. Surveys for border rail projects such as Bilaspur-Manali-Leh, Misamari-Tenga-Tawang, North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar, and Pasighat-Teju-Parsuram Kund-Rupai are on and are supposed to be completed by 2025. It is perhaps this new “development” which has been a cause for concern for China. Therefore, it has been making forays into new areas simply for “holding the line” as they perceive it. India too perhaps will “hold the line” if more areas are accessible once the infrastructure is laid. This, however, will give rise to Galwan and Doklam like confrontations, which could lead to a larger conflict. I think this is also out of this thinking that China is contemplating the demilitarisation of the LAC. India too perhaps could think of such a proposal if she feels comfortable with the notion of equal and mutual security, for the cost of maintaining “peace and tranquility” is becoming higher for both India and China.

Fourthly, many scholars and analysts in both countries have related the Galwan and Naku La standoffs with COVID-19 situation in India, and China taking advantage of that, which I believe is not quite logical. More than that I believe it is India cozying up to the US as far as our security interests are concerned; it has something to do with India’s close coordination with the Quad and Indo-Pacific strategy. India’s support for COVID-19 probe can also be seen in this light. Some Chinese scholars believe that India has been fishing in troubled waters as Sino-US relations have nosedived. Professor Wang Dehua even warns India that “recently, due to the rapid deterioration of Sino-US relations, New Delhi has forgotten its history and has started to bloat a bit”, which I believe is uncalled for.

Finally, rather than flaring up jingoism, both India and China must go back to the “consensus” reached in Wuhan and later in Mahabalipuram, reactivate all available confidence building mechanisms and restore the status quo ante. They must quickly dis-engage, for both cannot possibly push back their economies further, at a time when both are reeling under negative growth trajectories in the backdrop of COVID-19. This is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China; both have planned 70 events to celebrate the year, unfortunately, we have started the anniversary with a very negative note.

BR Deepak is Professor, Centre of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies


Indian-American Aerospace Expert Vivek Lall Appointed General Atomics Chief Executive


For the Jakarta-born, Lall, this is his second stint with General Atomics, which produces a series of unmanned aircraft and provides Electro-optical, radar, signals intelligence

WASHINGTON: Vivek Lall, a prominent Indian-American aerospace and defence expert who played key roles in some of the major defence deals between India and the US, has been appointed as the Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation at its headquarters in San Diego, California.

Lall had resigned in April as vice president of Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin, an American security and aerospace giant, to spend more time with his family in San Diego, where he resides.

However, weeks later the world's premier drone manufacturer roped him in.

"We are pleased to announce that Dr Vivek Lall will assume the position of Chief Executive at General Atomics Global Corporation, effective immediately," GA said in a statement emailed to PTI on Sunday.

General Atomics (GA) is one of the world's leading privately held nuclear and defence company.

"With Dr Lall's expertise, GA Global will expand its global footprint for managing sales, service, and international industrial collaboration in strategically important countries like Japan, Australia, the UAE, and others," the company said.


"Dr Lall's extensive experience in the US and international markets will strengthen the company's international growth," said General Atomics, which along with its affiliated companies operates on five continents.

For the Jakarta-born, Lall, this is his second stint with General Atomics, which produces a series of unmanned aircraft and provides Electro-optical, radar, signals intelligence, and automated airborne surveillance systems.

In his capacity as Chief Executive of Strategic Development at General Atomics from 2014 to 2018, Lall played key role in the decision of the Trump Administration to sell category 1 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to India, a non-NATO country.

The UAVs that can carry missiles fall under the Category-1 classification.

In his new role as Chief Executive, Lall, 50, would be heading the General Atomics Global Corporation.

General Atomics is the principal private sector participant in thermonuclear fusion research through its internationally recognised DIII-D and inertial confinement programs.

It is also a leader in development of next-generation nuclear fission and high-temperature materials technologies.

For over a decade now, Lall has been instrumental in major bilateral defence deals worth around USD 18 billion.

This includes the procurement of 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters from Lockheed Martin for the Indian Navy worth USD 2.

6 billion, which was announced during the India visit of President Donald Trump in February.

In his capacity as vice-president and country head for India, Boeing Defense Space & Security, Lall was instrumental in several multi-billion bilateral defence deals.

Prominent among them being 10 C17 strategic lift worth USD4 billion, P-8I Anti-submarine warfare aircraft (eight and then four) worth USD3 billion, 28 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinooks worth USD 5 billion 22 harpoon missiles worth USD 200 million.

He was appointed to the US Federal Aviation Advisory Committee two years ago and has overseen multiple campaigns as well as pan India strategic industrial tie-ups.

Trained as a private pilot at the Phoenix International Flight Training Centre in Florida, Lall has conducted his doctoral work in collaboration with NASA.


Current India-China Tension In Eastern Ladakh 'Different' From Past Transgressions, Says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh


The defence minister said efforts are on to resolve the border row in eastern Ladakh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the current situation along the disputed boundary between India and China in eastern Ladakh was “a bit different” from normal transgressions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the soldiers of the two nations.

He, however, added that efforts were on to resolve the situation, with military officials and diplomats of India and China being in touch.

The Defence Minister told a news-channel that since the two sides had differences in perception about the alignment of the LAC; the Indian and Chinese soldiers had been transgressing into each other’s side while patrolling along the disputed boundary. “This time however the situation is a bit different, but our talks are on with China,” he said, expressing hope that the situation would be resolved soon.

“We want to resolve the crisis through dialogue. Discussions are on at the military and diplomatic level. China also expressed its desire to resolve it,” the Defence Minister said in an interview to another TV channel.

In response to a question on the United States President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between India and China, Singh said that he had conveyed to American Secretary of Defence Mark Esper that India and China had existing mechanisms to resolve any situation that might arise along the disputed boundary between the two nations.

Singh and Esper spoke to each other over the phone on Friday.

This is the first time a minister of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government made a statement on the tension between India and China along the LAC on the north bank of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh.

His statement came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi demanded that the Government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre must let people of the country know what was happening along the disputed boundary between India and China.

“The nation should be rest assured that we will not allow its dignity to be hurt under any circumstances,” the Defence Minister said. 

Though the LAC at present separates India and China in the absence of a mutually agreed boundary, differences in perceptions about the alignment of the line are often blamed for its transgressions and consequent tension and stand-offs.

In the November 1996 Agreement on the CBMs in the border areas, India and China recognised the differences in perception over the LAC and sought to speed up exchange of maps for clarification and confirmation of its alignment. Beijing, however, subsequently took it off the table in its engagements with New Delhi, ostensibly out of apprehensions that New Delhi might insist on turning the LAC, if clarified and confirmed, into de jure boundary.

The tension along the disputed boundary between India and China started on May 5 when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel attacked Indian Army soldiers with sticks and stones in an area perceived in New Delhi to be well within the LAC’s Indian side. They also demolished on May 6 some makeshift structures built by Indian Army soldiers.

The Chinese PLA followed up by building a bunker in order to restrict the access to an area where Indian Army soldiers regularly patrolled. The PLA later deployed nearly 5000 soldiers in a large camp set up recently at Galwan Valley within the territory claimed by China – obviously to support the smaller number of troops, who transgressed the LAC in several locations and entered into the areas claimed by India. The Indian Army also rushed additional troops “in adequate numbers” in response to the deployment by the Chinese PLA. The build-ups by both sides escalated tension along the LAC and the military officials and diplomats of both sides are now holding discussions to defuse the situation.


Non-Locals To Be 'Considered & Dealt With As RSS Agents': J&K Terror Outfit Issues Open Threat


‘The Resistance Front’, which is owning up terror attacks in Kashmir, is an offshoot of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and is also associated with other Pakistan-based terror outfits.

Srinagar: The offshoot of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba has issued an open threat to the non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir saying that they'll be considered and dealt with as the agents of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

"We openly declare that any Indian who comes with an intention to settle in Kashmir will be treated as an agent of RSS and not as civilian and will be dealt with appropriately," the Resistance Front said in a statement.

The Resistance Front, which is owning up terror attacks in Kashmir, is an offshoot of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and is also associated with other terror outfits such as Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed. 

The statement of The Resistance Front comes at a time when the Central government is selecting the members for the Delimitation Commission. The leaders of the National Conference (NC) were also chosen as the members of the commission.

However, the National Conference had on Friday rejected the Delimitation Commission announced by the Centre, saying that the party's three members of Parliament will not participate in it.


Pakistan Condemns India'S Decision To Declare 2 Pakistan High Commission Staff Member As Persona Non Grata


Hours after Indian authorities nabbed two Pakistani High Commission officials for being involved in spying and declared them as Persona Non Grata (PNG), Islamabad on Sunday (May 31) condemned New Delhi's decision to declare the duo as PNG and asking them to leave India within 24 hours

The two officials of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were caught red-handed in Delhi's Karol Bagh while they were trying to source a sensitive document. Pakistan, however, tried to play the victim card by claiming that the Indian action has been accompanied by a negative pre-planned and orchestrated media campaign, which is a part of persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda.

Pakistan claimed that two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission were taken into custody by the Indian authorities on false and unsubstantiated charges. They were, however, released on intervention by the High Commission. We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges.

"Pakistan strongly rejects the baseless Indian allegations and deplores the Indian action which is in clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the norms of diplomatic conduct especially in an already vitiated atmosphere. The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi has always worked within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms. The Indian action is clearly aimed at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission," said Pakistan government.

Pakistan sought the intervention of the international community in this matter and take notice of the Indian designs and play its role in ensuring peace and security in South Asia.


China Making Threats; US Can Partner With India: Pompeo


We can be good partners with allies including India: US amid Indo-China border tension

He further said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is intent on building out his military capabilities, while asserting that US Department of Defence is doing everything it can to understands the threat. Mike Pompeo said that China is using a tactical situation on the ground to its advantage. He said China has been making threats, like the one that is happening on its border with India, for a long time. He further said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is intent on building out his military capabilities

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that China has been making threats, like the one that is happening on its border with India, for a long time, adding that Washington can be “good partners” with its allies including India considering the military capabilities of Beijing.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the Secretary of State said that China is using a tactical situation on the ground to its advantage, adding that the threat posed by Beijing is real.

“The Chinese Communist Party has been on this effort, on this march, for an awfully long time. They'll certainly use a tactical situation on the ground to their advantage. But each of the problems that you identified there are threats that they have been making for an awfully long time,” he said in a response to a question on the aggressive Chinese behaviour on the Sino-India border and the South China Sea.

China Cannot Be Trusted

“Threats like the one that is happening on its border with India, they have been making for an awfully long time. With respect to the Chinese Communist Party's military advances, they are real,” he added.

He further said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is intent on building out his military capabilities, while asserting that US Department of Defence is doing everything it can to understands the threat.

“I am confident that under President (Donald) Trump, our Department of Defence, our military, our national security establishment will keep us in a position where we can protect the American people, and indeed we can be good partners with our allies from India, from Australia, from South Korea, from Japan, from Brazil, from Europe, all around the world,” he said, PTI reported.

“We can be good partners alongside them and ensure that the next century remains a Western one modelled on the freedoms that we have here in the United States,” he said.

The impasse has worsened the bilateral relations between the two countries that had improved three years ago after the Doklam deadlock.

India-China Border Tension

For the past few weeks, Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh. Tension in the region flared up on May 5, when around 200 army personnel from India and China clashed along northern bank of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. 

Days after Ladakh clashes, scores of Indian and Chinese military personnel were involved in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector of the Indo-Sino border on May 9.

The Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in eyeball to eyeball situation at two locations in the Galwan Valley, near Aksai Chin, and a spot about 200 km away at the Pangong Lake with both sides enhancing its presence and building up troops.

Trump Offered To Mediate India-China Border Dispute

Last week, US President Donald Trump had offered to mediate between India and China to de-escalate simmering border tension between the two, stating that his country is "willing to arbitrate their raging dispute".

"We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute," he had said in a tweet.


Watch: Netizens Think They Have Spotted UFOs On The SpaceX Live Stream


This was the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years and also the first time a new commercially developed space vehicle carried Americans to space

May 31, 2020, was the day when Elon Musk took a giant leap in his already illustrious career. His company SpaceX blasted off two astronauts into Earth’s Orbit on Saturday at 3:22 pm ET (1:52 AM Sunday in India) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Dough Hurley and Bob Behnken, both NASA astronauts, travelled to space in Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour built by SpaceX.

This was the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years and also the first time a new commercially developed space vehicle carried Americans to space.

Millions of viewers worldwide were glued to their screens to witness the historic launch. And after lift-off, the internet was abuzz with reactions from users who spotted some pretty interesting details.

A video tweeted by a twitter user named Brian Bosche showed a sequined dinosaur giving company to the astronauts during the launch. While the sequined dinosaur is nice and adorable addition, it is not just there for entertainment, it serves an important purpose.

But now, some netizens watching the SpaceX live stream reckon they have spotted something incredible.

A bunch of viewers said they saw some unidentified flying objects in the live feed, that looked very different from the SpaceX rocket. In simple terms, many have said they spotted UFOs on the SpaceX live stream.

One Twitter user shared a clip from the event and wrote: "Did y'all see the #ufo on camera today..... watch this!!! We just saw this!! This is us recording from our tv! #SpaceLaunchLIVE #SpaceX"

Here’s the Footage:
Another user with the handle @holipori shared a picture from the live feed and circled what appears to be a tiny dot on the screen. “Was that a ufo or something? at time T+ 00:14:11. It was rising from under the clouds so fast!” the user wrote.

While no official statement has come from SpaceX or NASA about social media reactions, UFO experts around the world have expressed their views about the pictures and videos that were shared.

"May 30, 2020. So far two UFOs have been detected during launch, the first of them can be observed very close to the stratosphere, the next one seems to be closer to the Crew Dragon, however, we are still checking the captured material from ground by the fans,"UFO expert Pedro Ramirez wrote on his Facebook page.

Source>>

Two Pakistan High Commission Officials Caught Spying Posed As 'Businessmen', Paid Rs 25,000 For 'Information'


According to reports, the two officials of Pakistan High Commission - Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir, would offer expensive gifts such as iPhone for information. The two were being driven around New Delhi by a Pakistani agent. They were caught with two iPhones and Rs 15,000 in cash. The duo has been asked to leave India within 24 hours

New Delhi: The two Pakistan High Commission officials, who were caught spying on Sunday after an operation by Military Intelligence (MI) would visit Indian defence personnel as "businessmen" to secure information for "news reporters", it is learnt. The two officials - Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir have been declared persona non grata by India and have been expelled from the country.

According to agency reports citing sources, one of the officials, Hussain, worked as an assistant in the Department of Trade in Pakistan High Commission, is an ISI spy and hails from Pakistan's Punjab.

The other official, Tahir, is from Islamabad and was working as an upper-division clerk in Pakistan High Commission. 

According to an IANS report, Hussain, 42, would meet Indian defence officials posing as a businessman from Amritsar. Tahir, 44, would accompany him to the meetings and seek information about news reporters. 

According to the agency report, the two would pay Rs 25,000 for information and even offer expensive gifts such as iPhones. Money was also paid through mobile wallets such as PayTM, the report cited. 

The two have been in India for the last two years and were being driven around by one Javed Akhtar, a resident of Mianwali in Pakistan's Punjab. Akhtar has also been arrested.


Dragon’s Dare Calls For Reset of Dollar Dynamics


What emboldens China is its economic power. For three decades and more, China systematically aligned economic growth deploying policy to lure technology and capital. China's ceremonial legislature on Thursday endorsed a national security law for Hong Kong that has strained relations with the United States and Britain

It is what economists and political meteorologists call a perfect storm

by Shankkar Aiyar

May 5, 2020. Indian troops encounter incursions by brigades of the People’s Liberation Army into Indian territory in regions across the 4,000 km border — the face offs between forces ranged from fisticuffs to fast and furious chases. May 21, 2020. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang DROPS the pretence and the de-rigueur phrase ‘peaceful’ as he chants China’s desire of many decades for reunification with Taiwan. May 28, 2020. The National People’s Congress of China adopts a new security law for Hong Kong, essentially a legislative version of the tanks that rolled into Tiananmen Square in 1989, allowing for prosecution of ‘any acts or activities’ deemed endangering China’s national security. 

May 29, 2020. US President Donald Trump declares “China has replaced the promised one country, two systems with one country, one system”. Invoking the powers under United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, scripted in 1991 by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, Trump announced the withdrawal of special privileges since Hong Kong was no longer “sufficiently autonomous” as required.

To paraphrase Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, for decades nothing happened. Hong Kong symbolised the idea of what could be for Taiwan, even for many in China. And in four weeks, decades of hope, even if apparently naïve, were dashed. The dragon is effectively daring global powers and their ideological moorings. 

What emboldens China is its economic power. For three decades and more, China systematically aligned economic growth deploying policy to lure technology and capital — it attracted over $2 trillion in FDI between 1990 and 2018. In a cold and calculated move, China has sought to muscle in its hegemony under the cover of the chaos wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While it is early days, geopolitics is poised at the cusp of a tectonic shift. What holds for geology is true for geopolitics. The shifting of planes affords an opportunity to the world at large to redesign economic engagement and India, in particular, to up its game. 

In the emerging geopolitical landscape, countries and companies will have to shed subscription to Tinder-type engagement focused solely on individual balance sheets and log into to arranged marriages where countries parent investment agreements between entities to achieve stated demand-supply objectives and resilience for the national balance sheets.

The pandemic has illuminated a myth — what was presumed to be a global supply chain was a Chinese supply chain. The centrality of China in the global supply chain and, therefore, global growth story is not easy to rearrange. China leveraged scale to acquire global market share. India could challenge this domination, if it sheds incrementalism and gets its policy ducks in a row, capitalise on the potential of its demography, democracy and domestic market — as it has successfully in sectors such as pharma, automobiles and software services.

The opportunity to dismantle dependencies is manifest and beckons through the fog of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is hunting for and will hunt for capacity to manufacture vaccines and drugs as they are discovered. India has over 30 PSEs on its auction block. It could offer companies from Canada, Britain or the US, plug and play investment opportunities — to acquire PSUs such as Hindustan Antibiotics, IDPL, Bengal Chemicals, Karnataka Antibiotics or IMPCL to furnish, upgrade or rebuild as per needs. The idea is not just about the immediate needs but decoupling from dependence on China.

Pension funds in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US and elsewhere are hunting for long- term investments. India’s proposed spend in infrastructure is one avenue. Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari is gung-ho about green highways — set up/allow projects on land adjacent to highways which require funding. One of the largest land owners in India, Indian Railways is keen to offer surplus land for renewable/solar energy projects. A public-private collaboration, joint ventures funded by funds could create enterprises and earnings for the future.

Consider the opportunities in education. India is the second largest source of students for foreign universities. Education is among Australia’s top five exports and is a big part of the economies of the UK and Canada. This was sustainable Before Corona or BC but will not be in AD or After Distancing. Top universities in the developed world are expanding online capacities — for courses in liberal arts, management and skills. Tie-ups between universities could deliver quality for Indian varsities and quantity for foreign online courses. 

To manage agriculture output, India imports energy and raw inputs to produce fertilisers. This is cost ineffective. India could collaborate to set up a plant say in energy and phosphate rich Saskatchewan and access fertilisers without importing costs and a larger carbon footprint. These are only some of the possibilities. The potential for collaborative growth is limited only by imagination. 

China, however, has not left much to imagination. Its quest is transparent. The dragon’s dare calls for a reset in dollar dynamics, reconfiguration of investment and trade flows, and a rethink on definitions of the means and ends of globalisation.


Indian Army Foils Infiltration Bid In J&K's Naushera, Guns Down 3 Heavily-Armed Pakistani Terrorists


"In an ongoing counter-infiltration operation since 28 May, alert troops of Indian Army eliminated an infiltration bid along Line of Control in Naushera Sector," said the Army

Naushera: The Indian Army on Monday gunned down three heavily-armed Pakistan-trained terrorists and also foiled an infiltration bid along Line of Control in Naushera Sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

"In an ongoing counter-infiltration operation since 28 May, alert troops of Indian Army eliminated an infiltration bid along Line of Control in Naushera Sector," said the Army, adding search operation in the area is underway.