Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Serious news from America
Frankly, India is an incredible country.
Only if an American writes something about India's security matters, she gets worried.
When an old journalist (posted in India in the 1960's) affirms that: "reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army," then the Government in Delhi wakes up and gets really nervous.
It is true that the communal tensions in Gilgit area were underreported in the Indian press, busy with the wedding of Shashi Tharoor or other hot topics, but why should the Cabinet Committee on Security, the highest body dealing with security matters meet only after Selig Harrison (the US journalist) writes an Op-Ed in The New York Times informing India that there are many Chinese in Gilgit-Baltistan area.
India does not have her own intelligence agencies? How come Delhi did not know that Chinese were working on roads, hydropower plants or a railway line in this strategic area?
Harrison says: "China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours. Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects."
Don't tell me that it was not known in India.
And what about the roads that the Chinese are building in Tibet?
Xinhua reported yesterday: "Highway construction progress smoothly in Tibet". It says: "Up to date, altogether 24.26 billion yuan has been invested in the highway construction in Tibet Autonomous Region, with the accumulated investment hitting around 20.76 billion yuan.
The highway construction has totaled 28,419 kilometers in length, with the key highway construction extending 3,236 kilometers.
In Tibet Autonomous Region, 668 townships and 4,222 villages have access to highways s, covering 97.95% of the total townships and 80.25% of the villages respectively."
Will it need an American journalist to write about it, for the CCS to meet again.
And what about, the dams being built on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra?
Mr. Harrison should perhaps be informed about these developments, so that he writes about them, then the senior ministers will meet to discuss the matter and order the intelligence agencies to verify the information (which they have certainly already given).
Strange obsession with the United States!
By the way, Selig Harrison had interviewed Nehru in December 1962 for The Washington Post. In 1971, he wrote an interesting article on his encounter with the Indian Prime Minister and the latter's vision of the Kashmir issue in The Republic. Worth reading.
PM meets cabinet panel to discuss China chill
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the chill in relations with China, triggered by issues related to Jammu & Kashmir.
New Delhi had put on hold defence exchanges, barring the border personal meeting, country following Beijing's refusal to allow a visit by a senior Indian army officer.
The 90-minute meeting was also attended by India's Ambassador to China S.Jaishankar who briefed the CCS about the developments in the past few weeks. National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon also present at the meeting.
The consultations by the Prime Minister also come in the wake of reports of China posting about 11,000 troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir which has been held by Pakistan. New Delhi has been watching keenly on Chinese position on J& K that includes issuing stapled visa to the state residents, and Beijing helping PoK projects, reaching a flashpoint with Gen Lt Gen Jaswal being refused permission to visit China.
Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yang was called in by the MEA and Chinese defence ministry issued a statement, stating they haven’t stopped defence exchange with India.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister A.K. Antony reviewed the security scenario in the wake of reports suggesting the presence of Chinese soldiers in parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by Pakistan and deployment of missiles along India's eastern borders.
The meeting reviewed the preparedness of the armed forces after reports emerged about Chinese military posturing along Indian borders and presence of more than 11,000 Chinese troops in Gilgit and Baltistan in the PoK.