Lokpal Bill and Constitutional Status!

Lokpal Bill has been passed by the parliament yesterday but the ruling UPA has failed to get the constitutional status for the same. For last 24 hours we have been hearing views and counter views on how UPA failed to fulfil the dreams of its “Yuvraj” and BJP led NDA has asked resignation of the government. But you must be wondering, what exactly we mean by “Constitutional Status.” I did some research on this topic and have following points as a ready reference. Constitution Amendment Bills have to be passed in each House of Parliament by a special majority ie. by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House “present and voting”.
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS (http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/abstract/constitution_amendment_bills.htm)
Bills seeking to amend the Constitution are of three types:—
(1)   Bills that are passed by Parliament by simple majority;
(2)   Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority prescribed in article 368(2) of the Constitution; and
(3)   Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority as aforesaid and also to be ratified by not less than one-half of the State Legislatures.
Bills that are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills
2. Bills for amendment of the following provisions of the Constitution are passed by both Houses of Parliament by a simple majority of members present and voting :
(a)   admission or establishment of new States, formation of new States, and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States (articles 2, 3 and 4);
(b)   creation or abolition of Legislative Councils in the States (article 169);
(c)    administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (para 7 of the Fifth Schedule); and
(d)   administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (para 21 of the Sixth Schedule).
3.  These Bills are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills under article 368 of the Constitution and, therefore, these are not called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’.
4.  Though normal legislative procedure holds good in respect of these Bills, Bills providing for matters in sub paras (a) and (b) above, in addition, require respectively the recommendation of the President for introduction and the prior adoption of necessary resolution by the State Legislative Assembly concerned.
5.  Such Bills are presented to the President for his assent under article 111 of the Constitution.
Constitution Amendment Bills
6.  Bills seeking to amend all other provisions of the Constitution including those enumerated in the proviso to article 368(2) are called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’. These Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament. If sponsored by a Private Member, the Bill has to be examined in the first instance and recommended for introduction by the Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions before it is included for introduction in the List of Business. Motions for introduction of the Bills are decided by simple majority.
7.   Constitution Amendment Bills are not treated as Money Bills or Financial Bills. Accordingly, President’s recommendation under articles 117 and 274 of the Constitution in regard to these Bills is not asked for. However, if the recommendation is communicated by the Minister, it is published in the Bill or in the Bulletin, as the case may be, for information of members.
[Constitution Amendment Bills are governed by article 368 of the Constitution and Rules 155—159 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
We all have some knowledge about the bill that has been passed by the Parliament. There is no denying that there are some weak points within the bill and few amendments were required to be carried out to make Lokpal more effective and strong. If that could have been done then giving constitutional status would have made some sense. But with this type of toothless Lokpal, not giving constitutional status allows state government to have their own Lokayukts and Lokpals with greater powers.  There was no point in giving a constitutional status to a “weak” Lokpal. This version of the Lokpal bill did not even get the “ayes” of 50% of the total strength of Lok Sabha. This rhetorical bluff of “opposition not supporting” is getting nauseating to hear.
What is interesting to note is that UPA has blamed opposition for the bill not getting constitutional status. But is that really the case is? The Constitution amendment bill (116th Amendment), 2011 was put up for vote. 251 members voted for it. The official strength of the ruling coalition is 277. After some complicated mathematical operations, we see that 26 members of the ruling coalition were missing (in which there were congress MPs too!). This government could not get the minimum required support for passing this bill, and yet is going on the overdrive to blame the BJP for “not wanting a strong Lokpal”. They are against this version of the Lokpal. If Congress really wanted to get the constitutional rights for the bill then why couldn’t it ensure the attendance of all its MPs on such a crucial day? Congress has tabled and passed the bill in LS despite stiff opposition just to show off that how committed they are towards Lokpal. But then everyone knows that the govt does not enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha. Then how could they expect that the bill will be passed as per their wishes and be given constitutional status? And if it doesn’t happen then blame the opposition for all the mishap!!
The bill could have been discussed and if greater flexibility could have been shown by the government and opposition along with civil society we could have got a better Lokpal. I sincerely hope that all this does not leads to death of Lokpal bill. It will all depend on how government stands when the bill is tabled in RS tomorrow. As of now it seems to be moving towards a deadlock.
However, the Bill is far from becoming an Act yet. For, mustering a simple majority for the Bill in the Rajya Sabha will be very difficult for the UPA, which is in a minority of 94, whereas a simple majority requires 123 votes. Its only hope lies in persuading a sufficiently large number of Rajya Sabha members from non-NDA parties like the Samajwadi Party and the BSP to either vote for the Bill or abstain. Thus, it is possible that the Rajya Sabha may pass a version of the Bill that includes some or all of the amendments moved by the BJP and the others. In that case, the Bill will be go back to the Lok Sabha. If the Lok Sabha does not accept these amendments – as it didn’t the first time around – there will be a deadlock, which will have to be resolved through a joint session of both Houses. And that could postpone the actual enactment of the Bill to February 2012. (DNA)

Population Policy: Urgent need of hour

Every year India adds to its population, the population of countries such as Cameroon (14.7 mn), Kazakhstan (15.4 mn), Madagascar (15.1mn) and Netherlands (15.8mn). UN demographers estimate that by the year 2016, India will have more people than in Europe and in the next 3 decades we will overtake China as most populous nation.

You will be surprised to know that India was the first nation to have a population policy but the policy has not achieved the target it was supposed to. It is very important to rework on the policy to control the population. The uncontrollable population is the root cause of various problems engulfing our nation. There is problem of water, power, housing, diminishing forest area, global warming, depleting natural resources, healthcare, unemployment etc. Let me try to explain you how the population is hampering the infrastructure development of our country.

1. Imagine that the government plans to open a new University in region X for Y students. By the time University gets functional after few years, we have (Y+Z) students but the seats available are Y only. Thus Z numbers of students fail to get seat despite scoring high percentage of marks.

2. Government plans a bridge/fly over for A Vehicles to reduce traffic. By the time the bridge is ready, we have (A+B) vehicles on street ready to use the bridge. Result, the problem of congestion continues.

3. The population is constantly increasing but the available natural resources are limited. So this leads to scarcity.

4. The production of wheat in our country has stagnated for last 4-5 years but the population has not. Hence their is more demand but the supply remains same. Result- Impending wheat crisis.

5. The ratio of increase in population and creation of job is not linear. Hence there is rising rate of unemployment.

If I try to imagine a step further. Then with growing population and limited resources, a tension will creep in various states of India. Already, we have seen similar cases in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The states having large number of jobs will be forced to have reservation for locals. There will be laws to prohibit influx of population from other states. This will lead to chaos among people from other states. We will be pushed on the verge of civil war where there will be fight over food and water. We will never be able to beat poverty.

Today also, if you compare American or European poverty line, you will find that 85 per cent Indians are living below poverty line as per American or European standards of Germany and America. With this population growth rate we will never be able to achieve the vision of being a developed nation.

So what is the solution?

The solutions lie in reworking the policies and motivating people to have smaller family. There is need to have more awareness among masses. The literacy rate should be improved. Moreover, if our government seriously tries to solve the problem then it must ensure better standard of living for the current population. The religious leaders should also ask the people to focus on better living than bigger family.

Few more ways can be:

1. A candidate can not contest election if he has more than two children.

2. Tax benefits

3. Poor families who agree to have two kids only should be given some special incentive in form of ration or job.

4. Reservation benefit should be given to only those families who have only two kids.

These are my suggestions. Proper policies on this regard can be framed and we must be able to evolve something.

But will it happen?

It can happen only if the political parties are determined enough to implement the policies stringently. As of now, I cannot look at any party, which will be interested in this. But I want to make one point very clear that a democracy won’t be able to survive the large population. There will be total discord and anarchy if this growth is not controlled.

Taking Dalits for Granted!

DALITS, THE caste which was subjected to the humiliation for years play a huge role in Indian politics. There have been several leaders within the community and outside the community who focused on empowering them. One such leader in today’s time is Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The state has large population of dalits and is staunch supporter of her.

There has been lot of furore over the erection of statues of Mayawati along with other icons of Dalit in the various part of the state especially in Lucknow. A survey was conducted by a private news channel and over 70 per cent of people were against such extravaganza on part of the state government. But if you voice your opinion, Maywatiji will come on camera saying that upper caste people are conspiring against her. Even today they consider upper caste people as the one ready to annihilate them.

The biggest problem is that even the leaders try to feed them the same. True, that the atrocities on Dalits is a matter of concern and must be dealt stringently. But these sorts of behavior on part of community leaders will only aggravate the problem. The dalits in the state are happy though with the recognition that their leader is getting. But I term it as narcism. Whatever be the case, it is not going to stop Mayawati from erecting more memorials and parks in the name of development.

But this blind support of the dalits to their leaders is something that they must introspect. I feel that they are utilized as mere vote banks. To a certain level, their leaders show interest in their upliftment but then they get busy with themself. Even Mayawati has accumulated huge wealth. The money which she has spent on statues of herself might give them “sense of dignity” but they would have been far more benefited if Mayawati could have assured them better living standard. There is some problem with this statue thing as well. Dr BR Ambdekar, Godly figure of the Dalits and a national icon said that “India is still par excellence a land of idolatry. There is idolatry in religion and in politics. Heroes and hero worship is a hard if unfortunate fact in India’s political life. Hero worship is demoralizing for the devotee and dangerous for the country.” The hero worship of Ambedkar has perhaps been the greatest failing of the modern Dalit movement.

The under privilege section must be empowered and it would be far better had the state government focused on the main issue. Their would have been no problem in erection of Mayawati’s statues if it would have been done by someone else as a tribute to her work done for marginalized. But this narcist behavior must be questioned. The other example being the way she celebrates her birthday.

The response by the government on the statement of Rita Bahuguna Joshi (July 2009) was also presented as an insult of Dalits. We appreciate Mayawati then it is only her appreciation and if you say anything against her then it is against Dalits. The comment made by Joshi was not casteist. Vir Sanghvi has written in his piece “If Mrs. Joshi has, as a woman, insulted all women by talking so loosely about rape then hasn’t Mayawati, as a dalit, insulted all dalits by taking on the mantle of caste victimhood to settle a few political scores? India’s dalits deserve better than leaders who misuse their suffering for their own gain. UP deserves better — at the very least, it deserves a functioning government.”

It is time that the community starts questioning its leaders on valid points raised. It will be beneficial to the community and state as well. I say so because the leaders are certain of the votes of this section and that needs to be shaken up.

Politicians and Curious Cases of “Chest Pain”

Tell me what is common in the list given below.

BS Yedurappa, Amar Singh, A Raja, Madhu Koda, Suresh Kalmadi, Pappu Yadav, Kalpnath Rai ….. and list continues.

You guessed it wrong. They all are politicians involved in some scam or criminal cases and were arrested. But the point common is that within hours of their arrest, they had “CHEST PAIN.”
From the self proclaimed “Lions” they become their true self i.e “Bheegi Billi.”

This is a curious case involving the politicians of this great democracy. These leaders when on chair used illegal methods to accumulate wealth. The day when their arrest becomes inevitable, they will surrender or sit in police van with a smirk on their face. The smirk is because they know that the judiciary can do no harm to them. They will hire best lawyers who will “fight for truth” and first get them bail and then let the case carry on forever. There have been hardly any cases where politicians have been proven guilty.

I wonder how come they get chest pain as soon as they enter the boundaries of so called jail. You will be surprised to see the facility that they get while being in jail. BS Yedurappa was fine and clamoring his inncoence till his arrest became inevitable. And the very next day of arrest we found him in hospital after he complaint of chest pain. Similarly, Amar Singh expelled Samajwadi Party leader continued blabbering about his ill health and finally managed to get hospitalized. A Raja, the 2G champ also went through similar process. They go to hospital and use their muscle/money power to settle the case.

Isn’t very funny that these politicians are so “weak hearted” when it comes to spending some time away from home in a five star jail. They get royal treatment as if they were some saint. If the common man complains of chest pain he will probably be given a “lathi” from police but not hospitalization. It is such a true fact that morality has reached nadir for these politicians and they have no nuts or guts to face the consequences for the deeds they have done. I wonder if they are so weak hearted then their reaction during times of emergency in country will also be as pathetic if they were on to be the chair. Sometimes, I feel that these politicians must undergo a medical checkup before standing for elections.

Somewhere we all know that this “chest pain” is just a gimmick. But the pity thing is that despite knowing the very fact we are unable to do anything. This shows the weakness of our law and need for overhaul of judiciary.

Mayawati: Priorities Gone Wrong!

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

Ambedkar_Park_Mayawati1These lines aptly describe the governance of Mayawati in most populous state of the country Uttar Pradesh. She recently inaugurated 685 crore Noida Memorial Park and used the platform to settle the scores with her political rivals. Mayawati has special love for these parks and she has spent thousand of crores on building these parks. She has even said that if she gets fresh mandate she would like to have such parks in each and every district of UP. But the basic question remains that does the parks in any ways solve the problems being faced by the people of the state. A state which has shortage of power, schools, infrastructure, industries, hospitals, road networks, etc would have been happy if these problems would have been addressed. She brazenly says that she has spent just 1 pc of the budget on the park. This would have been ok if the remaining 99 pc would have been spent on the welfare measures and development of the state. But sadly that has also not happened.

Now let me take you 750 km away from the park to Gorakhpur in eastern part of the state. More than 430 people have died of encephalitis virus and mostly children. This is not the first time that epidemic has struck in this part. It has been active for last 33 years and yet the state machinery and health dept has failed to check. The hospitals are overcrowded and there are no beds available for admitting new patients. At least 2 multispecialty hospitals would have come up with the amount spend on the construction of park. And even if they would have been named after Dalit icons or Mayawati herself it would have done a world of good for the people and state. This is where the chief minister has faltered. It is the simple case of wrong pririties. In her term also she is witnessing 4th outbreak of this virus and yet she and her government is as inefficient as it was a year prior. Now if someone tells her she says that she has been targeted for being a Dalit and would point out the mistakes of earlier govt. I wonder how long she can get away by giving these lame excuses and how long the people will fall prey to her reasoning. There is no denying that Dalits have been ill treated and it is very much required to uplift them but i have doubt if that can be done by building parks and installing own statues. They need more than just statues and CM who is self obsessed.

The point is that sincerity is missing and thus she has failed the people of UP. SARVJAN HITAY SARVJAN SUKHAY is as hollow as UTTAM PRADESH slogan of previous government. She was lucky to have got absolute majority in last polls and has golden chance to work for development of state but failed miserably. She had opportunity to work for oppressed section of the society by opening schools, improving connectivity, tackling law and order chaos, higher education, providing health care and employment. It would have helped in building better image of the state and would have established her credibility as a CM.

But….

Apart from parks and her kitty she hasnt added anything significant in her tenure as CM of Uttar Padesh in last four and half years. I just hope that people of the state will look for someone who delivers on the development and solves core issues when they go out to vote next year.

Unsung Heroes: Ordinary People with Extraordinary Courage!

These days if you will observe, you will notice that you are hearing news of rampant corruption and malpractices going on which undoubtedly is suffocating the system. Every day you hear new news which makes you feel sad about sorry state of the country and we blame it on our politicians, bureaucrats, etc. But do you ever wonder that despite all this how come our system is surviving?

Real-HeroesNo, you would have not.

The fact is there are few people still existing who are doing their duties in a manner in which it should be done. If not for people like these the system would have eventually collapsed. Unfortunately, these people are not in limelight because they are silently doing their good job and holding the system together. You will find such people in every organization and department both in govt and pvt sector. Be it Satendra Dubey or S Manjunath or SSP Arun Kumar, everyday these real unsung heroes are facing all odds to keep nation moving. You won’t be able to imagine the sacrifices which is being made by them on borders and inside the main land. Lt Archit Verdia, Lt Navdeep, Lt Sushil Khajuria, Tukaram Omble and the list is endless who have laid down their life for the well being of the people. With them their family also suffers but then there has to be someone who feels not like remaining 99.5% of the population.

It is a fact that only 1 out of 100 dares to challenge the system, not bogged down the odds, fearlessly discharging the duties and serve the people. Rest all tend to adjust with the situation and do lip service during tea time by blaming and suggesting but not doing. But this is how a society is and this is main reason that people who do good work without becoming the part of wrong system are tagged as “fools”. But the one who do it don’t care as they know that their conscience is clean and what they are doing is in best interest of society and nation.

During 26/11 we had lakhs of citizen on street demanding change in the system but when the day of VOTING came they were enjoying the holiday. Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime and the day we understand this we will be able to come up with the possible solution to the problems we are facing now. We need to get out of our comfort zone. A nation is as good as its people and thus I consider myself lucky to have people in my country who are facing danger for my survival. But my endeavor does not ends there and I will ensure that I take considerable steps in nation building.

I salute all the unsung heroes and their families for struggle they have gone through in making nation a better place. Their loss is irreparable but we will always remain indebted to them.

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam’s visit to K. J. Somaiya college of Engineering

Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam – the ex-president of India, will grace the closing ceremony of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering (KJSCE) on the 26th September, 2009. KJSCE is an institute that has transformed learning into an art; and technology into a culture. There couldn’t have been a better occasion for Dr. Kalam’s visit than the completion of twenty five glorious years of the college. Young engineers at KJSCE will be displaying their innovative projects on this occasion. Definitely, it will be a Techno – exhibition to watch out for! Dr. Kalam’s interaction with the young minds will provide them with insights and unleash their potential which will help them flourish and reach greater heights.

A major highlight of the year was the accreditation of all the five courses in the college by the National Board of Accreditation. The college also acquired permanent affiliation to the University of Mumbai in the silver jubilee year. Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, the ex – Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at the opening ceremony of the 25th year of KJSCE on 12th September, 2008 emphasized the fact that technology is in concurrence with society and humanitarian causes. He echoed the theme of the college for the 25th year – The Human Face of Technology; sensitizing the budding engineers with their environment and urging them to take technology to the masses; an idea reflected every October at Abhiyantriki, the technical festival of KJSCE. Last October had robots abound, classrooms turned into gaming arenas, debates on nuclear technology over canteen tables and project intricacies as the latest gossip! The silver jubilee year has lent a golden sheen to the students’ technical abilities at KJSCE. It would be interesting to hear Dr.Kalam’s views on the theme during the 25th year closing ceremony celebrations.

Prakalp, the platform for young technicians of Mumbai, saw engineers competing and innovating on their pet fields in form of futuristic project models. The National conference on ‘Emerging Trends on Computers, Communication and Information Technology’ conducted in March 2009, jointly by the Information Technology, Computer Engineering department together with IEEE Bombay Section, IETE Mumbai Centre, ISTE KJSCE Chapter, CSI Mumbai Chapter and University of Mumbai definitely set the ball rolling. It saw some of the best ideas come up. It was followed by another National Conference on ‘Global Challenges for Deemed universities in Indian Education by 2020’ on 4th April 2009.

Adding a feather to the cap was the Orion Racing India -a team of engineers from KJSCE. The team is into automobile design and fabrication for the past three years. Orion Racing India is the most successful Indian team to participate in an international engineering design event. Orion Racing India participates in Formula Student Germany, an international car designing event held at the Hockenheim ring, a renowned Formula 1 racing circuit.

Symphony, the annual cultural festival was literally a ‘symphony’ of different elements-of culture, of young enthusiasm, of budding talent; each lending its own individualistic beat. With seventy-five institutes from all over Mumbai getting in above five thousand students, the celebrations scaled new heights.

Well, if technology is human, then culture is the force that binds it into a society. At Somaiya, traditions which are both centuries old or young are cherished. At ‘Garba Nite’, Somaiyaites donned their traditional outfits, picked up their dance sticks and threw in some traditional beats on the dance floor. If Garba had Somaiya on its feet, then the Dahi Handi celebrations had its own pomp and fervor.

The 25th year closing ceremony of KJSCE, blessed by the presence of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam will surely be an event to look out for.

India Diffident over growing Chinese Incursions

Over the last year or so, the incursion of Chinese troops on Indian soil has gone up. The Indian Army has said that it has registered the protest with Chinese officials but it still looked lethargic in their approach to me.
The government is just playing down these border violations by saying that it is not a big deal since the Line of Actual Control is not clearly defined. Whatever the case, if these issues are not addressed seriously then India will face tough times ahead.

China is clearly a stronger power than India, both militarily and economically. As former Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, put it, “The power gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day.” The day China will be confident enough; it will assert its claim on disputed land more aggressively. Diplomatically also India has performed very badly.

The talks over the border dispute have been going on since the year 1981, making them already the longest and the most-barren process between any two countries in modern history. Thus, the longer the process of border-related talks continues without yielding tangible results, the greater the space Beijing will have to mount strategic pressure on India.

The futile discussion and time buying process will put India under even tremendous pressure. It seems the only progress here is that India’s choice of words in public is now the same as China’s. “Both countries have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of this issue,” Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told Parliament on July 31. “The matter, of course, is complex and requires time and lots of patience.”

It was as if the Chinese foreign minister was speaking. Isn’t it odd for India, the country at the receiving end of growing Chinese hostility, to plead for more time and patience after nearly three decades of negotiations?

One thing is clear that New Delhi does not have any well defined plan and strategy to go around settling the disputes. More time means, more time for Beijing to define its strategy. Today, China’s muscle-flexing along the Himalayas cannot be ignored. After all, even when China was poor and backward, it employed brute force to annex Xinjiang (1949) and Tibet (1950), to raid South Korea (1950), to invade India (1962), to initiate a border conflict with the Soviet Union (1969) and to attack Vietnam (1979).

India’s long record of political diffidence only emboldens Beijing. India accepted Chinese annexation of Tibet and surrendered its own British-inherited extraterritorial rights over Tibet on a silver platter without asking for anything in return. Now, China wants India to display the same ‘amicable spirit’ and hand over to it at least the Tawang valley. Indian diplomats failed miserably and even in registering protests they appear to be defensive. It gives a feeling that they are clueless about China.

If the situation goes like this then one day, the duo might again be at war. The history has shown that the cost of weak politics and diplomacy has been paid by the soldiers.

Some part of the article has been referred from Rediff.

Why India is Clueless about China

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power, notes Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

The latest round of the unending and fruitless India-China talks on territorial disputes was a fresh reminder of the eroding utility of this process. It is approaching nearly three decades since China and India began these negotiations.

In this period, the world has changed fundamentally. Indeed, with its rapidly accumulating military and economic power, China itself has emerged as a great power in the making, with Washington’s Asia policy now manifestly Sino-centric. Not only has India allowed its military and nuclear asymmetry with China to grow, but also New Delhi’s room for diplomatic maneuver is shrinking. As the just retired Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, has put it plainly, the power ‘gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day.’

Of course, power asymmetry in inter-State relations does not mean the weaker side must bend to the dictates of the stronger or seek to propitiate it. Wise strategy, coupled with good diplomacy, is the art of offsetting or neutralising military or economic power imbalance with another state. But as Admiral Mehta warned, ‘China is in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capabilities. Once it is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood.’

It is thus obvious that the longer the process of border-related talks continues without yielding tangible results, the greater the space Beijing will have to mount strategic pressure on India and the greater its leverage in the negotiations.

After all, China already holds the military advantage on the ground. Its forces control the heights along the long 4,057-kilometre Himalayan frontier, with the Indian troops perched largely on the lower levels.

Furthermore, by building new railroads, airports and highways in Tibet, China is now in a position to rapidly move additional forces to the border to potentially strike at India at a time of its choosing.

Diplomatically, China is a contented party, having occupied what it wanted — the Aksai Chin plateau, which is almost the size of Switzerland and provides the only accessible Tibet-Xinjiang route through the Karakoram passes of the Kunlun Mountains. Yet it chooses to press claims on additional Indian territories as part of a grand strategy to gain leverage in bilateral relations and, more importantly, to keep India under military and diplomatic pressure.

At the core of its strategy is an apparent resolve to indefinitely hold off on a border settlement with India through an overt refusal to accept the territorial status quo.

In not hiding its intent to further redraw the Himalayan frontiers, Beijing only helps highlight the futility of the ongoing process of political negotiations. After all, the territorial status quo can be changed not through political talks but by further military conquest.

Yet, paradoxically, the political process remains important for Beijing to provide the façade of engagement behind which to seek India’s containment.

Keeping India engaged in endless talks is a key Chinese objective so that Beijing can continue its work on changing the Himalayan balance decisively in its favour through a greater build-up of military power and logistical capabilities.

That is why China has sought to shield the negotiating process from the perceptible hardening of its stance towards New Delhi and the vituperative attacks against India in its State-run media. Add to the picture the aggressive patrolling of the Himalayan frontier by the People’s Liberation Army and the growing Chinese incursions across the line of control.

Let’s be clear: Chinese negotiating tactics have shifted markedly over the decades. Beijing originally floated the swap idea — giving up its claims in India’s northeast in return for Indian acceptance of the Chinese control over a part of Ladakh — to legalise its occupation of Aksai Chin. It then sang the mantra of putting the territorial disputes on the backburner so that the two countries could concentrate on building close, mutually beneficial relations.

But in more recent years, in keeping with its rising strength, China has escalated border tensions and military incursions while assertively laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

According to a recent report in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper with close ties to the establishment in Beijing, China is seeking ‘just’ 28 per cent of Arunachal. That means an area nearly the size of Taiwan.

In that light, can the Sino-Indian border talks be kept going indefinitely? Consider two important facts:

First, the present border negotiations have been going on continuously since 1981, making them already the longest and the most-barren process between any two countries in modern history. The record includes eight rounds of senior-level talks between 1981 and 1987, 14 Joint Working Group meetings between 1988 and 2002, and 13 rounds of talks between the designated Special Representatives since 2003.

It seems the only progress in this process is that India’s choice of words in public is now the same as China’s. ‘Both countries have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of this issue,’ Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told Parliament on July 31. ‘The matter, of course, is complex and requires time and lots of patience.’

It was as if the Chinese foreign minister was speaking. Isn’t it odd for India — the country at the receiving end of growing Chinese bellicosity — to plead for more time and patience after nearly three decades of negotiations?

Second, the authoritative People’s Daily — the Communist Party mouthpiece that reflects official thinking — made it clear in a June 11, 2009 editorial: ‘China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India.’ That reflects the Chinese position in the negotiations. But when Beijing is advertising its uncompromising stance, doesn’t New Delhi get the message?

The recent essay posted on a Chinese quasi-official Web site that called for India to be broken into 20 to 30 sovereign States cannot obscure an important fact: Dismember India is a project China launched in the Mao years when it trained and armed Naga and Mizo guerrillas. In initiating its proxy war against India, Pakistan merely took a leaf out of the Chinese book.

Today, China’s muscle-flexing along the Himalayas cannot be ignored. After all, even when China was poor and backward, it employed brute force to annex Xinjiang (1949) and Tibet (1950), to raid South Korea (1950), to invade India (1962), to initiate a border conflict with the Soviet Union through a military ambush (1969) and to attack Vietnam (1979).

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power.

So, the key question is: What does India gain by staying put in an interminably barren negotiating process with China? By persisting with this process, isn’t India aiding the Chinese engagement-with-containment strategy by providing Beijing the cover it needs?

While Beijing’s strategy and tactics are apparent, India has had difficulty to define a game plan and resolutely pursue clearly laid-out objectives. Still, staying put in a barren process cannot be an end in itself for India.

India indeed has retreated to an increasingly defensive position territorially, with the spotlight now on China’s Tibet-linked claim to Arunachal Pradesh than on Tibet’s status itself.

Now you know why Beijing invested so much political capital over the years in getting India to gradually accept Tibet as part of the territory of the People’s Republic. Its success on that score has helped narrow the dispute to what it claims. That neatly meshes with China’s long-standing negotiating stance.

What it occupies is Chinese territory, and what it claims must be on the table to be settled on the basis of give-and-take — or as it puts it in reasonably sounding terms, on the basis of ‘mutual accommodation and mutual understanding.’

As a result, India has been left in the unenviable position of having to fend off Chinese territorial demands. In fact, history is in danger of repeating itself as India gets sucked into a 1950s-style trap. The issue then was Aksai Chin; the issue now is Arunachal.

But rather than put the focus on the source of China’s claim — Tibet — and Beijing’s attempt to territorially enlarge its Tibet annexation to what it calls ‘southern Tibet,’ India is willing to be taken ad infinitum around the mulberry bush.

Just because New Delhi has accepted Tibet to be part of China should not prevent it from gently shining a spotlight on Tibet as the lingering core issue.

Yet India’s long record of political diffidence only emboldens Beijing. India accepted the Chinese annexation of Tibet and surrendered its own British-inherited extraterritorial rights over Tibet on a silver platter without asking for anything in return. Now, China wants India to display the same ‘amicable spirit’ and hand over to it at least the Tawang valley.

Take the period since the border talks were ‘elevated’ to the level of special representatives in 2003. India first got into an extended exercise with Beijing to define general principles to govern a border settlement, despite China’s egregious record of flouting the Panchsheel principles and committing naked aggression in 1962. But no sooner had the border-related principles been unveiled in 2005 with fanfare than Beijing jettisoned the do-not-disturb-the-settled-populations principle to buttress its claim to Arunachal.

Yet, as the most-recent round of recent talks highlighted, India has agreed to let the negotiations go off at a tangent by broadening them into a diffused strategic dialogue — to the delight of Beijing. The process now has become a means for the two sides to discuss ‘the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.’

This not only opens yet another chapter in an increasingly directionless process, but also lets China condition a border settlement to the achievement of greater Sino-Indian strategic congruence. Worse still, New Delhi is to observe 2010 — the 60th anniversary of China becoming India’s neighbour by gobbling up Tibet — as the ‘Year of Friendship with China’ in India.

Brahma Chellaney

Sorce: REDIFF

 

Pokhran II was a fizzle????

Santhanam ‘S claim:  Pokhran II was a fizzle. It did not produce desired yield.

But Why Now? Why after 11 years of the test?

I do not Doubt Santhanam Integrity. As a scientist, he is free to disagree. The question is why now.

My reason- By making such statement he is trying to create a faction and public opinion that will ensure India does not give up her right to conduct more test (if necessary) by signing some stupid treaty (CTBT)

Dr Kalam Statement: Pokhran II was a success. The desired yield was obtained. However, subsequent review of the test was done by Santhanam. (sic)

So what’s the controversy?

As a science student I might conclude that my observations/experiments were successful but on reviewing it later it may be possible that my inference or deductions can be insufficient.

Dr. Kalam Never ruled out that possibility. And it is not necessary that all scientists may have same opinion about such a complicated test.

So what is a big deal? If Mr. Santhanam feels that the test were not as successful as he thinks…Fine but what does he propose.. Should we conduct more tests? What other alternatives have we got? Are they adequate? What could be the consequences if we go for further testing?

Instead of debating on that we like M 0 R 0 N s are fighting over whether NDA is good or UPA?

Instead of focusing on solutions we always try to rope in new controversy and will fan the fire for vested interests.

No wonder we are called the world’s largest Mobocracy!!!