Page no. 1
Modi-Xi meet flags 'forward looking' ties, border peace
India and China on Tuesday decided to open up a new 'forward looking' round of engagement, which would be anchored by fresh mechanisms to maintain peace and calm at the borders. The recent standoff in Doklam is the backdrop of this decision by the two countries. On June 16, a team of People’s Liberation Army soldiers crossed into the Bhutanese territory in Doklam over the Zom Cheri ridge and tried to build a road in the area. When the Bhutanese soldiers protested, the Chinese soldiers pushed them back to their posts. Thereafter, the Indian soldiers confronted the Chinese soldiers which led to a standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam. After a long standoff of 72 days and numerous diplomatic meetings and confrontations, both countries resolved the standoff on August 28th with India withdrawing its troops and the Chinese following suit. The resolve initiative by the Indian side by withdrawing its troops have been acclaimed by many South Asian countries who also praised India on its composure and calm behaviour throughout the standoff. China on its part has been much aggressive by issuing threats and making references to the 1962 Sino-Indian war. Keeping the standoff as a highlight, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to establish new good ways for preventing the recurrence of such incidents in the borders. The meeting between the two leaders took place after a Monday joint statement from the BRICS summit, which for the first time pointed to a convergence between India and China on international terrorism. As per the media interaction by the foreign secretary, it appeared that the bilateral meeting focussed on border Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) rather than brewing fresh ideas for resolving the festering boundary dispute between the two countries.
Page no. 8
Staring down Censorship
The reputed academic journal China Quarterly was in August asked by the Cambridge University Press (CUP) to block hundreds of its articles in China. This censorship was asked relating to its articles on Tibet, the Cultural Revolution, Taiwan Independence, Palun Gong, Xinjiang, democracy as well as human rights. CQ is a reputed research based journal which highlights rich conversations on political scenario of China, economy and its society. It also has over the years created a well-informed discourse of China which is open for any critique and discussions. the censorship is seen as an unprecedented move of immediate academic censorship in China. The CQ censorship is more in the spotlight as it targets the works of China scholars in English that are published outside China. It evoked huge criticism from the academic community which lashed at the CUP for its failure to support academic freedom. Reacting to the backlash, the Q reinstated the banned content in China. The censorship issued would have restricted Chinese scholars from taking part in conversations. Moreover, as CQ was valuable for both Chinese and non-Chinese scholars, the censorship would have hardly produced an affirming consensus towards the view of the Chinese government of its own politics within the Chinese academic community. The censorship also wouldn't have a major effect on the widespread Chinese efforts for controlling its popular mediascape. Looking at the risk of a political backlash from the well-informed group of China, it can be said that there is a broader policy of censorship academic debate in China. Post the CQ censorship, Lexis-Nexis- a widely regulated legal and academic database revealed that it was forced to pull out two of its databases out of the Chinese market. Also, the Journal of Asian Studies was asked to remove content. Censorship issues in China are not at all a new or alarming thing, the fact that it is expanding to academic content in English is surely is.
Page no. 11
Modi''s 10 'noble commitments' for BRICS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the BRICS summit in Beijing called for a coordinated effort on counterterrorism, cyber security as well as disaster management. He suggested the 10 noble commitments which would help BRICS to achieve leadership in global transformation. He also stated that India had a long historic tradition of partnerships with fellow developing countries while also side by side pursuing its own growth aspirations. The statement by the Prime Minister was made in the BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue organised by China on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit. The BRICS summit is held every year among the five BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to discuss and evaluate issues related to mutual benefit, cooperation, equality improving global economic situation among others. The recent BRICS summit is its 9th edition held in Xiamen in China and hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. PM Narendra Modi in the 9th BRICs Summit suggested noble commitments of creating a greener world, a enabled world, an inclusive world, a digital world, a skilled world, a healthier world, an equitable world, a connected world and also a harmonious world. He also said that the no strings attached model of cooperation of India is driven entirely by requirements and also priorities of the partner countries. In addition to this, the PM also stated that India recently completed its first voluntary review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that the development partnerships and projects have been providing water, electricity, roads, health care, telemedicine as well as basic infra to a dozen of other countries. Apart from PM Narendra Modi, the 9th BRICS Summit also had leaders of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and five guest countries of Egypt, Tajikistan, Thailand, Mexico and Guinea attending the dialogue.
Page no. 8
Back on Track
The BRICS summit in Beijing saw India and China look beyond the recent Doklam standoff to address bilateral issues in a much sustainable way. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had significant meetings in the BRICS summit with both leaders agreeing that situations like the recent border issue shouldn't recur in future and a peaceful cooperation should be maintained with strong border defence agreements. Considering the Doklam standoff where Indian and Chinese troops confronted each other for 72 long days being resolved just a week back, the tenor of the meetings is remarkable and surprising. The interactions between PM Modi and President Jinping was smoothened y the messaging emanated from the Indian and Chinese delegations in Xiamen, allowing a productive and fruitful BRICS declaration which otherwise belied fears of bilateral tensions overpowering any multilateral concerns. China's agreeing to include the Lashkar-e-Taiba and JAish-e-Mohammed among the terrorist groups and it choosing not to mention anything about the Belt and Road Initiative at the BRICS summit suggested it was attending India's concerns. Keeping the BRICS summit spirit in view, both India and China in accordance with the other BRICS countries together committing to conducting an 'open and inclusive' multilateral trading system. Another important area of consonance in the BRICS summit was the North Korean nuclear tests. ALl the BRICS countries including Brazil, Russia and South Africa condemned the nuclear tests unequivocally favouring the use of dialogue over the use of force. Post the BRICS summit, both India and China should re-engage to address and evaluate all areas of discord which led to situations like Doklam standoff. They should also review the border defence standard operating procedures and evaluate as to why they failed in the recent standoff. Also, both the countries should convene the already delayed meeting of Special Representatives and also add the latest claims and counterclaims over the Sikkim boundary and the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction to the agenda for further discussion. The countries must see that the gains of the BRICS summit are implemented and India-China bilateral atmospherics are optimised.
Page no. 8
There is a Rohingya in all of us
The recent violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar has led to many Rohingyas fleeing their state to the neighbouring countries of India and Bangladesh. Add to their woes, the timing of the Centre's decision in India to not revise the stand to deport Rohingya immigrants in India is a setback on part of India. The backdrop of this is the stand taken on August 9th, when Minister of State for Home Affairs informed the Parliament about the deportation of 40,000 Rohingyas. This decision has rubbished the idea of India being a land of democracy and hospitality with the Indian Government reverting back to being a hard state with no compassion, care and civility qualities. The Rohingya situation in Myanmar brought to the limelight the most persecuted minority group in the world- the Muslims. In Myanmar, the Muslims of Rakhine state- mostly belonging to the Sunni sect, were harassed by the Myanmar Army, forced to work as slave labour and even persecuted by the Buddhist majority in the region. The life of Rohingyas in Myanmar has been bleak from years. The attitude of the Burmese military junta was cold towards them, cracking down on them in 1982 stating they are late comers and not a part of the original ancestors of the Burmese society. This led to the Rohingyas losing the rights of citizenship and were denied any access to health or education. The situation of Rohingyas sounds similar to San Suu Kyi, a woman whose fight for the human rights earned her the Peace Nobel award. However, the woman now stands silently embarrassed as her broader political strategies are badly affected. When it comes to the response of a nation state, India looks callous on its decision on dispensability of the Rohingyas. India now can not criticise the Western world for being too hostile towards Syrian and Sudanese refugees. However, this response wouldn't have featured in the time of Nehruvian rule or even in the time of Indira Gandhi who opened up doors for Tibet and East Pakistan for their refugees ignoring any other factor. Abandoning the Rohingyas only show a cold country without any hospitality and understanding of freedom and citizenship. The main thing here is not only to save the Rohingyas but also to save the soul of India.