Archive for ‘independence’

03/07/2019

Xi, Turkish president hold talks, agreeing to deepen strategic cooperation

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-TURKISH PRESIDENT-TALKS (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcome ceremony for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, July 2, 2019. Xi held talks with Erdogan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday, pledging more efforts to promote strategic cooperation between the two sides and work for sound bilateral ties.

Noting China and Turkey are both major emerging markets and developing countries, Xi said enhancing strategic cooperation is of great significance.

He called on the two sides to deepen political mutual trust, beef up strategic communication, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns on issues pertaining to national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and consolidate the political foundation underlying the development of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relationship to keep bilateral ties on a healthy and stable track.

On anti-terrorism security cooperation, Xi said China appreciates Erdogan’s reiteration on many occasions about not allowing anti-China separatist activities instigated by any force in Turkey, and highly values the repeated emphasis by the Turkish side on supporting China’s anti-terrorism efforts, noting that China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Turkey in the field of international anti-terrorism.

Speaking of synergizing development strategies and expanding pragmatic cooperation, Xi called Turkey an important partner in jointly building the Belt and Road.

“China is willing to move faster in dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with the Middle Corridor project, steadily promote cooperation on trade, investment, science and technology, energy, infrastructure and major projects and actively seek cooperation in small and medium-sized programs and those that benefit the people, to deliver concrete benefits to more enterprises and the people,” the Chinese president said.

Xi also called for expanding people-to-people exchanges and tourism cooperation for better mutual understanding between the two peoples, to solidify the popular support for China-Turkey friendship.

In the face of major shifts in the international situation, China and Turkey should firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international law as the basis, safeguard multilateralism and international fairness and justice, as well as the multilateral trading regime with World Trade Organization at the core, Xi said.

He urged the two sides to deepen the strategic cooperative relationship, guard the common interests of China and Turkey as well as developing countries at large and jointly forge a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation.

“We should keep in contact and coordination in regional affairs and jointly advance political settlements for hotspot issues, to contribute to regional peace, stability and development,” Xi said.

Noting that the time-honored Turkey-China friendship which can be traced back to the time of ancient Silk Road is consolidated today, Erdogan said the close bilateral ties are significant for regional peace and prosperity.

Turkey stays committed to the one-China policy, Erdogan said, stressing that residents of various ethnicities living happily in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region thanks to China’s prosperity is a hard fact, and Turkey will not allow anyone to drive a wedge in its relations with China. He also expressed the readiness to deepen political mutual trust and strengthen security cooperation with China in opposing extremism.

Voicing firm support for the Belt and Road Initiative, the Turkish president said he hopes the two sides can step up cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and 5G networks as well as exchanges in educational, cultural and scientific research sectors.

Prior to the talks, Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Erdogan.

Source: Xinhua

Advertisements
24/05/2019

Indian forces kill leader of al Qaeda affiliate in Kashmir – police

SRINAGAR (Reuters) – Indian forces have killed the leader of an al Qaeda affiliated militant group in Kashmir, police said on Friday, triggering protests in parts of the disputed region.

Zakir Rashid Bhat, 25, was trapped by security forces in a three-storey house in southern Kashmir late on Thursday, said a senior police officer, adding that the house was set ablaze during the operation.

“As we were clearing debris from the house, he tried to get up. Our troops fired at him and he was killed,” said the officer, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

For decades, separatists have fought an armed conflict against Indian rule in Kashmir, with the majority of them wanting independence for the Himalayan region, or to join New Delhi’s arch rival Pakistan.

India has stepped up an offensive against militants in the Muslim-majority region since a suicide attack in February killed 40 Indian troopers in Kashmir and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Pakistan denies giving material support to militants in Kashmir but says it provides moral and diplomatic backing for the self-determination of Kashmiri people.

Protests by supporters of Bhat broke out in parts of Kashmir on Thursday and there were reports of demonstrations early on Friday, the police officer said.

Fearing more unrest, authorities said schools were closed and railway services suspended in the affected areas.

Any large scale unrest in the region would be a challenge for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he prepares for a second term after winning a general election on Thursday.

Bhat, a former commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest of the militant groups fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir, founded his own group and declared its association with al Qaeda in 2017.

Also known as Zakir Musa, he was seen as a successor to Burhan Wani, a popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander whose death in 2016 sparked clashes that left 90 civilians dead.

Source: Reuters

08/03/2019

Indian cricketers wear army camouflage caps as patriotism grips country

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian cricketers wore army camouflage-style caps in a match with Australia on Friday in solidarity with Indian paramilitary police killed in a militant attack by a Pakistan-based group and in an unusually strong display of patriotic fervour in sport.

The suicide bombing last month killed 40 in Indian-controlled Kashmir, a region also claimed by Pakistan. The attack prompted India to launch an air strike inside Pakistan, which responded with an aerial attack the next day.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has in recent days tried unsuccessfully to isolate Pakistan in the cricketing world. The International Cricket Council rejected India’s calls to boycott games against Pakistan, whose prime minister is former cricketing hero Imran Khan.

But there are still calls within India for the national team to pull out of a World Cup match against Pakistan in June in England.

“(Indian cricket) teams have expressed solidarity in the past but not this kind of public display of that solidarity,” Majumdar told Reuters.

“Sport has always been meshed with politics and people have often used it to make very strong points. This is yet another one. This is a peaceful way of expressing solidarity in a manner which I don’t see problematic at all.”

But Pakistani lawyer Abdullah Nizamani said on Twitter the BCCI and international cricket board should keep “sports away from petty politics”. Some Pakistanis even asked on social media if Indian cricketers would turn up for the World Cup match with Pakistan in military fatigues.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which both sides claim in full but rule in part.

Source: Reuters

07/03/2019

Pakistan seizes religious schools in intensified crackdown on militants

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan intensified its crackdown against Islamist militants on Thursday, with the government announcing it had taken control of 182 religious schools and detained more than 100 people as part of its push against banned groups.

The move represents Pakistan’s biggest move against banned organisations in years and appears to be targeting Islamic welfare organisations that the United States says are a front for militant activities.

Pakistan is facing pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police.

The escalating tension in the wake of the bombing led to a major confrontation between the nuclear-armed rivals, with both countries carrying out aerial bombing missions and even engaging in a brief dogfight that prompted fears of a war.

Pakistani officials say the crackdown is part of a long-planned drive and not a response to Indian anger over what New Delhi calls Islamabad’s failure to rein in militant groups operating on Pakistani soil.

Previous large-scale crackdowns against anti-India militants have broadly been cosmetic, with the proscribed groups able to survive and continue operations.

The interior ministry said law enforcement agencies had placed 121 people in “preventive detention” as part of the crackdown that began this week.

“Provincial governments have taken in their control management and administration of 182 seminaries (madaris)”, the ministry said in a statement, referring to religious schools.

What to do with madrasas is a thorny issue in Pakistan, a deeply conservative Muslim nation where religious schools are often blamed for radicalisation of youngsters but are the only education available to millions of poor children.

The interior ministry said other institutions from different groups had been taken over, including 34 schools or colleges, 163 dispensaries, 184 ambulances, five hospitals and eight offices of banned organisations.
Many banned groups such as JeM run seminaries, which counter-terrorism officials say are used as recruiting grounds for militant outfits
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which operates hospitals and a fleet of ambulances, is estimated to run about 300 madrasas across the country. Pakistan’s government banned the group this week.
JuD calls itself a humanitarian charity but the U.S. State Department has designated it a “foreign terrorist organisation” and calls it a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistan-based group accused of orchestrating attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
An image casts doubt on India airstrike claims
JuD called the crackdown unfair and said it would seek to counter the government action in courts.
“The whole nation is asking that what message the government wants to send by sealing welfare organisations and kicking students out,” said JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid.
Pakistan has long used Islamist groups to pursue its aims in the region, but it has denied New Delhi’s accusations it actively supports militants fighting Indian forces in India’s part of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
The South Asian neighbours have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir which they both claim in whole but rule in part.
Source: Reuters
02/03/2019

Pakistan and India step back from the brink, tensions simmer

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan/SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – A flare up between arch-foes India and Pakistan appeared to be easing on Saturday after Islamabad handed back a captured Indian pilot, but tensions continued to simmer amid efforts by global powers to prevent a war between the nuclear-armed neighbours

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face and symbol of the biggest clash between India and Pakistan in many years, walked across the border just before 9 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Friday in a high-profile handover shown on live television.

Shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) that acts as a de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region, a frequent feature in recent weeks, continued on Saturday.

Pakistan’s military said on Saturday its air force and navy “continue to be alert and vigilant”, while two of its soldiers were killed after exchanging fire with Indian troops along the Line of Control. India’s military said on Saturday that Pakistan was firing mortar shells across the LoC.

Pakistan touted Abhinandan’s return as “as a goodwill gesture aimed at de-escalating rising tensions with India” after weeks of unease that threatened to spiral into war after both countries used jets for bombing missions this week.

Global powers, including China and the United States, have urged restraint to prevent another conflict between the neighbours who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

Tensions escalated rapidly following a suicide car bombing on Feb. 14 that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

India accused Pakistan of harbouring the Jaish-e Mohammad group behind the attack, which Islamabad denied, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a strong response.

Indian warplanes carried out air strikes on Tuesday inside Pakistan on what New Delhi called militant camps. Islamabad denied any such camps existed, as did local villagers in the area, but Pakistan retaliated on Wednesday with its own aerial mission, that led to both sides claiming to have shot down jets.

The stand off came at a critical time for Modi, who faces a general election that must be held by May and who had been expected to benefit from nationalist pride unleashed by the standoff.

Pakistani leaders say the ball is now in India’s court to de-escalate the tensions, though the Pakistani army chief told top military leaders of the United States, Britain and Australia on Friday that his country would “surely respond to any aggression in self-defence”.

“COLLIDE HEAD-ON”

The Indian pilot’s ordeal since being shot down on Wednesday had made him the focal point of the crisis and he returned to his homeland to a hero’s welcome, with crowds thronging the Wagah border crossing and waving Indian flags.

Before his release, Pakistani television stations broadcast video of Abhinandan in which he thanked the Pakistani army for saving him from an angry crowd who chased him after seeing him parachute to safety.

Pakistan frees Indian pilot as crisis thaws
“The Pakistani army is a very professional service,” he said. “I have spent time with the Pakistan army. I am very impressed.”
On Friday, four Indian troops and one civilian were killed in a clash with militants in the Indian-administered Kashmir, where a further three people were killed and one wounded from Pakistani shelling.
Pakistan’s military said two civilians were killed and two wounded since Friday afternoon on Pakistan’s side of Kashmir from a barrage of Indian shelling.

In a sign of the unease, residents say they are afraid another conflagration is likely.

“The way situation is developing along the LoC makes me feel that both sides may collide head-on anytime now,” said Chaudhry Jahangir , a Pakistani resident of the Samahni sector in Kashmir.

Source: Reuters

21/02/2019

India withdraws security for Kashmir separatist leaders

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Jammu and Kashmir state withdrew the security details for 18 separatist leaders and 155 other opposition figures on Wednesday after an Islamist suicide bomber killed 40 paramilitary troopers last week.

The restive mountain state is currently administered by India’s federal government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party walked out a coalition with a major Kashmiri party.

The separatist leaders had been allocated security personnel to protect them from militants after they entered talks with the federal government.

In a statement, the Jammu and Kashmir state government said it “felt that providing security to these separatist leaders is a wastage of scarce state resources which could be better utilized elsewhere”.

Besides the separatist leaders, the security of 155 political figures and activists – some from mainstream opposition parties – was also withdrawn, the statement said.

“Through this (step), over 1,000 police personnel and over 100 vehicles are freed to do regular police work,” it said.

Both India and Pakistan lay claim to Kashmir and have twice gone to war over it since independence from Britain in 1947. India accuses Pakistan of fomenting decades of sporadic insurgency in its only Muslim-majority state.

Pakistan denies that, saying it only offers political support to the Kashmiri people.

Source: Reuters

14/02/2019

Pakistan and China build friendship ties at Aman – 19 multinational naval exercise but no room for India on the guest list

  • Chinese naval commander says war games strengthened mutual understanding and trust
  • Drills included protection of strategic projects such as China-Pakistan economic corridor
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 8:02pm

Pakistan’s multinational naval drill involving 46 nations has wrapped up in the Indian Ocean and, once again, India was not invited.

The Pakistan Navy has hosted the Aman – which means “peace” – exercises every two years since 2007 to promote regional cooperation and stability. India has never been invited, in a sign of the long history of strained ties between the neighbours.

China, Japan and the United States were among the countries taking part in Aman-19, from February 8 to 12, which included maritime conferences, seminars and cross-ship visits, as well as 23 sea operations with main-gun firing, formation movement and replenishment-at-sea.

Shao Shuguang, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 998 Fleet, was quoted on a Chinese military social media account as saying the exercise had strengthened mutual understanding and trust between the participating navies.

China sent one of its biggest warships, the Kunlun Shan amphibious landing vessel, to the exercise, signalling its close relationship with Pakistan and the key role both nations hold in the Indian Ocean, according to analysts.

“The Pakistan-China relationship is very strong, and this is one more illustration of the strength of the Pakistan-China relationship,” said Madhav Das Nalapat, honorary director of the department of geopolitics and international relations at Manipal University in India.

“China is also now becoming an important maritime power, especially in the Indo-Pacific. By aligning with China, Pakistan hopes to get the synergy of that.

“India by itself cannot have any primacy in the Indian Ocean. But along with the United States, the two countries together can have primacy in the Indian Ocean. India is positioning itself to be allied with the US, but has not yet reached there.”

Tridivesh Singh Maini, assistant professor with the Jindal School of International Affairs in India, said the exercises should be a cause for alarm for India. “They will keep an eye on what’s going on, but they don’t need to be too concerned,” he said.

The military exercise also centred on maritime security to protect strategic economic projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as well as sea lanes from the Persian Gulf.

The US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is designed to connect China’s far west region of Xinjiang with Gwadar Port in Pakistan via a network of motorways, railways, oil pipelines and trading hubs.

The project is expected to be finished by 2030, and will provide China with an important trading route to the Middle East and Africa.

“India has very strenuously objected to the name CPEC being given to the part that goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, but so far nothing has been done,” Nalapat said.

Kashmir has long been a hotbed for competing territorial claims between India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since their independence from Britain in 1947, and two of those conflicts have centred on the Kashmir territorial dispute.

Source: SCMP

08/03/2017

The partition of India: “Viceroy’s House” is an antidote to colonial triumphalism | The Economist

THE fetishisation of British Imperialism is inescapable. Last December, Theresa May cited the East India Company as an example of Britain’s historical trading prowess. Contestants on a recent season of “The Apprentice”, an entrepreneurial reality show, created batches of “Colony Gin”; Marks & Spencer, a retailer, included an “Empire Pie” as part of its Gastropub collection. This nostalgia is borne out by a YouGov poll from 2016, which found that 44% of respondents are proud of Britain’s colonial history.

Those colonised, though, see the empire rather differently. A charge sheet of Britain’s efforts in India—and every territory colonised can produce an equivalent—might list partition, the man-made Bengal famine in 1943 (which resulted in an estimated 3m deaths), the wretched labour system of indenture and the looting of state wealth. Partition alone resulted in 1m deaths and created 15m refugees in a matter of weeks; Hindus and Sikhs fled their homes in what was the become the Muslim state of Pakistan, while Muslims in India took flight in the opposite direction.

“Viceroy’s House”, a new film written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, seeks to document Britain’s role in partition and the cleaving of the Punjab region. In the final months of the Raj, Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives to oversee the transfer of power to Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), and reconcile the demands of independence leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru with those of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Sir Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow)—who had never set foot in India before—is drafted in to assess how 175,000 square miles, home to 88m people, should be split. Ms Chadha carefully balances high politics with its impact on ordinary citizens; relations between Hindu, Sikh and Muslim staff become tense as the prospect of annexing India’s Muslim-majority regions emerges.

The film is good in exposing the Machiavellian motives behind this rushed decision, as well as the gut-wrenching suffering that followed (the house, which “makes Buckingham Palace look like a bungalow”, becomes a camp for the displaced). It is not perfect, however. “Viceroy’s House” absolves everyone—Lord Mountbatten, the British, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims—of blame for the suffering. Some critics have complained that it does not give any attention to the Indian independence struggle, or catalogue the horrors of British rule. These are deserving of films in their own right; Ms Chadha’s decision to focus her lens solely on how partition unfolded is a wise one.

With millions of people involved in the story of partition, “Viceroy’s House” was always going to be a tricky undertaking, likely to be deemed unsatisfactory by many. Ms Chadha tells the story of this multifaceted moment in the region’s history through the lens of one building, framing it as the tale of “the people’s partition” rather than dealing in factionalism and blame. She has subverted the period-drama genre—how many period dramas close on a shot of a desperate refugee camp?—to produce something akin to a “Dummy’s Guide to partition”.

Yet even as a superficial primer, “Viceroy’s House” fills a gap in Britain’s collective consciousness and cultural memory. In the canon of modern British films about India, partition features in “Gandhi” (1982) and “Midnight’s Children” (2012) but gets scant treatment elsewhere. “Viceroy’s House” stands out from these offerings as a British film narrated with heart, soul and profound sadness by a Punjabi film-maker with a personal investment in the story: the closing credits reveal that Ms Chadha’s grandmother lost a child to starvation while fleeing to India.

It will be hard for some to maintain a sense of nostalgia and triumphalism for Britain’s empire after watching “Viceroy’s House”: Ms Chadha intersperses the drama with Pathé news footage of communal violence and Churchill’s dejected newscasts explaining the collapse of law and order. The film has ensured that partition, which is rarely taught in British high schools, has a place in the nation’s shared public culture again. Too right. Partition is as much a part of modern Britain—home to 700,000 Indian and Pakistani Punjabis, many of whom are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of partition—as butter chicken, saag paneer, naan, bhangra and Bollywood.

Source: The partition of India: “Viceroy’s House” is an antidote to colonial triumphalism | The Economist

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India