June 9, 2010

India at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and its significance in Sino-Indian Relations

In the midst of the concrete and steel jungle that is the Shanghai World Expo, stands the Indian Pavilion, the 'greenest' of them all, offering an unprecedented opportunity to further improve Sino-Indian relations and India's Soft Power in China.

The Expo has finally come to China. A largely-forgotten event in most parts of the world, it has been rejuvenated, on a scale which no other country could even dream of. A record number of 192 countries and 50 organizations have registered, the highest in the Expo's history. Most people hadn't even heard of the expo until it came to China. 
The verdict is clear - The Expo needed China as much as China needed the Expo.

It has been described by the Chinese government as "a great gathering of world civilizations",  and is an excellent opportunity to improve ties between two of the oldest - India and China.

The Indian pavilion

The Indian Pavilion is a massive stupa (pronounced stuup, with an slightly elongated u), resembling specifically the Sanchi Stupa built during the Maurya Dynasty (322-185 BC) by King Ashoka (pronounced  Ashok).

April 17, 2010

China mine disaster: A 'Miracle' rescue or a Miracle rescue?

We all know about the irresponsible reporting and bias that many elements in the western media have against China, but when they start using mine disaster survivors to further their 'agenda', then it simply borders on the inhuman.

A few days ago, about 115 miners were rescued from a flooded mine in China's Shaanxi Province, in what is the latest in a string of disasters which have plagued China's mining industry in recent years.

However, the way in which the rescue was reported by some elements in the western media is quite interesting.

March 26, 2010

A Brief History of the Sino-Indian Border Dispute and the role of Tibet

On the 3rd of July, 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him.  He had done something which would have far-reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways - He had just left the Simla conference.
After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed  one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.

For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China have baffled scholars. The plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond is a textbook example of diplomacy and back-handed politics at work, and plays just like a thriller book or movie. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.

March 16, 2010

Is the Politiburo smoking weed?

Surprised? No sir, this is not some comment that a random user made at an online forum. This is the question that The Telegraph poses to its readers, in a recently published article entitled – ‘Is China’s Politburo spoiling for a showdown with America?’.

Now, we are all aware of the severe Cold-waresque bias against China in large parts of the Western media, amounting to literally a childlike obsession, but this article really takes the cake.  The author, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is in fact the international business editor of the newspaper!
But coming to think of it, in a way it also serves to be a bit of a laugh actually. Nothing beats a taste of good old British comedy. Who knows, we might be witnessing another Mr. Bean or David Brent in the making!

March 6, 2010

The Sino-Indian Border dispute: You Scratch my Back, But I Won’t Scratch yours

In the longest running border dispute in modern history - the two Asian giants still can't decide where one ends and the other begins

About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map - a line that has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and that has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India. 

Consequently, on the 3rd of July, 1914, was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man - The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled. 

It was signed at a conference in the Indian mountain town of Simla that was attended by representatives of the British Empire, the newly founded Republic of China, and the Tibetan government at Lhasa. It is on this extremely controversial treaty that the entire negotiating stance of the Indian government is based. It recognizes the McMahon line as the legal international boundary. 

The legality of the Simla accord is disputed. If it is legal, then it serves India's cause; if it is illegal, China's.

February 8, 2010

How India and China Approach Separatism

While the Chinese government prefers development over human rights (like freedom of religion and speech), the Indian government, while guaranteeing these rights, neglects development.

Since their inception, the republics of India and China have faced problems of separatism. Indian Naxalite movements and the recent riots and uprisings in Xinjiang and Tibet highlight the need for respective governments to tackle the issue seriously.

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Naxal movement 'The biggest internal security threat to the country'. Armed Naxals are active in at least a third of India's districts. It is estimated that some 6000 people have died already as a result of the Naxal insurgency. Apparently, there are some 20,000 armed cadre Naxalites, apart from 50,000 regular cadres working in various mass organizations - with millions of sympathizers.

February 2, 2010

Akmal Shaikh, Britain’s Double Standards, and Lessons for India

 The execution of a Britain in China for Drug Smuggling raises some interesting questions

Recently the news was atwitter with the execution in China of Akmal Shaikh, a "mentally ill" Briton. He was caught at Urumqi airport carrying 4 kilograms of heroin into China. His family (surprise surprise!) said that he was mentally ill. And then human rights groups, that are always more than ready to jump in on denouncing China, picked it up.

Much has been written about this story, with some citing it as yet another example of China's "increased confidence" and "muscle flexing"; and the more paranoid even saying that "the Chinese government didn’t need to know" that he was mentally ill, and only used Akmal Shaikh as a scapegoat to "keep the memory of those outrages (the Opium Wars) afresh". That particular article even goes on to say that it arrested four more drug smugglers "to show that it had no regrets"! Since China has sentenced one drug smuggler to death, the author thought it should stop arresting others.