Sikkim Stand-Off: China and India Collide in the Himalayas

KChew note: The Indians are playing with fire. I think China has the patience and wisdom to play this game with the Indian.  Trade and other sanctions must be imposed first, prior to military actions.

Sikkim Stand-Off: China and India Collide in the Himalayas
Indian hegemonism is on the march

by Justin Raimondo Posted on July 07, 2017
India’s ultra-nationalist government under Prime Minister Nahendra Modi is engaged in an aggressive face-off with China that could end in a large-scale military conflict. Although the strip of land, called Donglang, that is at the center of the dispute has long been acknowledged as Chinese territory under an 1890 agreement between China and Great Britain, the Indian authorities are trying to block a road-building project initiated by the Chinese in the region. In June, Indian troops crossed the border into Donglang and confronted the Chinese, and the stand-off continues. New Delhi claims that the road, if constructed, would give the Chinese the ability to cut off India from its northeastern provinces, where various insurgencies against the central government have been ongoing for years.

Legally, the Chinese are in the right: the 1890 agreement clearly gives the Chinese sovereignty in this area. Furthermore, previous Indian governments have pledged to uphold this agreement. But the ultra-nationalist Modi, who rose to power on the strength of a “Hindutva” movement that invokes a vision of Indian supremacy, is playing to his domestic constituency: Indian troops have been rushed to the border, and Modi – perhaps emboldened by his recent talks with President Donald Trump – shows no signs of backing down.

The 1890 treaty was primarily about the fate of Sikkim, an ancient Himalayan kingdom lodged between China, India, and Indian-dominated Bhutan, directly adjacent to Donglang: ruled by a hereditary monarch, Sikkim was ceded to the British while the Donglang region was given to China, then ruled by the Qing dynasty. Although close to India, Sikkim was an independent country until 1975, when India annexed it by force. After Indian troops moved in, an “election” was held in which over 97 percent of the 59 percent of the population eligible to vote chose union with India. Altogether, a very dicey situation: indeed, in 1978 then Indian Prime Minster Moraji Desair “apologized” for the annexation, while maintaining that it is “irreversible.”

The Indians are trying to muddy the dispute by hiding behind Bhutan’s claim to Donglang: but Bhutan is yet another case where Indian imperialism has nearly nullified an ancient state’s sovereignty. Until 2007, when Bhutan’s absolute monarchy was transformed into a parliamentary system, India exercised a de facto protectorate over the country, controlling its foreign affairs. When the Bhutanese sought to establish closer relations with China, the Indians retaliated during the 2013 elections by cutting off subsidized energy exports: the result was the defeat of then Prime Minister Jigme Thinley. India accounts for 75 percent of Bhutan’s imports and is its biggest trading partner.

India has used the same bullying tactics against Nepal, another independent Himalayan country on the long Sino-Indian border. In 2016, after Nepal adopted a new constitution that favored native Nepalese over Indian immigrants, India initiated an informal blockade, cutting off the mountainous country from vital supplies. China moved quickly into the breach, rushing in oil, food, and other necessities. Chinese investment in Nepal now surpasses that of India.

If we step back, and look at the larger picture, what is happening is another episode in the ongoing encirclement of China by the US and its allies in the region. During a recent meeting between Modi and Trump, the latter affirmed a closer military relationship with New Delhi, and the Washington Post reported that the State Department “approved the $365 million sale of a C-17 military transport aircraft to India. The administration is also set to offer a $2 billion sale of U.S.-made unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean.”

The movement that propelled Modi to power in New Delhi is no ordinary nationalist movement: it is a militant and militaristic cult with a mass following. As I wrote way back in 2002, warning of the danger represented by this trend:

“The rise of Hindu fundamentalism as a political force in India catapulted the Bharatiya Janata Party to power and sought to expunge the Gandhian pacifism of the old militantly secular Congress Party tradition, replacing it with a new martial spirit. The idea of Hindutva, which energizes the Hindu activists, sees India not only as a Hindu state, but as a militantly revanchist force in the region, a nation determined to recapture its old empire. As I explained in a previous column devoted to this fascinating subject, the Hindutva movement has created a whole mythology based on the idea of ethnic Indians as the first and only pure Aryans: the swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol, and has been revived by what I call the Hindu-fascist forces in India. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological center of Hindutva, has a provision in its constitution that its leader must be a blue-eyed Sarasvat Brahmin.

“I hesitate to use the term ‘neo-Nazi’ to describe a contemporary political movement, as it has become almost a ritualistic term of abuse. However, in this case, the label fits precisely.”

India, I would remind you, is a member of the nuclear club. We have to ask ourselves: would the Hindu fanatics now in charge in New Delhi hesitate to use nukes in a war with China? I’m frankly afraid to answer my own question.

As for the Chinese, they beat the Indians once before when ongoing border disputes escalated into violence – remember the Sino-Indian war of 1962? – and I have little doubt that they have the capacity to do so again. Indeed, they are evoking this memory to remind the Indians that they’re in for another beating if they don’t turn down the heat.

However, India didn’t have nukes until 1974, when it tested its first nuclear device. China tested its first nuclear weapons in 1964. This time around, in the event a large-scale Sino-Indian conflict breaks out, who plays the nuclear card first? With China’s military advantage, it is New Delhi that will have the incentive to put its nuclear ace on the table.

The world is revved up about North Korea’s nuclear testing, and the recent launching of an ICBM prototype, but that danger pales before what’s happening in the Himalayas.

The US must stop encouraging the Indians in their confrontation with China – especially if we’re expecting Beijing to intervene on our behalf with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. That arms deal with New Delhi should be nullified until and unless the Indians withdraw their forces from Donglang. And, finally, the state of Sikkim, unlawfully annexed by India, must be restored to full independence: India has no more claim to Donglang than it does to Sikkim proper. Contrary to former Prime Minister Desai, the annexation is indeed reversible – because injustice cannot be allowed to stand on the strength of brazen coercion.

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Western Hypocrisies : 1

I came across this RT news about US selling billions worth of arms to Qatar,  and it happened  only a few days after  Trump denounced Qatar as a major supporter of terrorism.

As we know, the US is quick to brand others ( the Syrian and Iranian, for example) as supporters of terrorist organisation, but   isn’t this  blatant hypocrisy, when it is obvious that US is to provide lots of weapons  to someone it has just declared as a major terrorist supporter.  Shouldn’t US be labelled as a terrorist supporter nation too ?

Well, we know whatever the US or its allies do is gloss over by the Western mainstream media  ( or  Western ‘fake media’ as many people would call them nowadays) . But I’m not going to let it pass, for the record.

From RT: US sells $12bn worth of fighter jets to ‘terrorist funder’ Qatar

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For the love of dancing

Yesterday, I watched this documentary For the love of dancing via Youtube CCTV English channel.It is not really about public square dancing, but revolves around a middle aged woman,  her attitude and how she affect people around her.

I highly recommend this documentary, for this is bout living earnestly with what you have. Apparently not too many people have watched this ( only 215 views as of today ) , hence I would like to do my part in publicising it.

The documentary shows that you can actually stay positive and be contented, despite the unfavourable circumstances that one have to live with. And she does not really need to be guided by religious dogma. It is about really living your own live and influencing the people around you.

There are actually in the video. Part 1 is shown below.

 

Part 1

 

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Propaganda, PR or Marketing ?

Interesting topic being discussed by this RT’s Watching the Hawks episode. A billion is spent yearly on Propaganda, mainly to promote US militarism.

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Is the hybrid socialist model better ?

This is my first post after a hiatus of over  a year.

China, Vietnam and Laos are not exactly socialist countries anymore though they are ruled by their respective communist parties. They do not follow conventional development dictate from the West. But their economic growth have out performed many countries.  Thus John Ross argues that the capitalism based economic model does not necessarily sustain superior economic performance.

China’s socialist model outperforms capitalism

By John Ross ( http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1002098.shtml)

The top four fastest growing economies since the neo-liberal “Washington Consensus” was put forward all follow, or are highly influenced by, China’s development model. These countries are China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In contrast, capitalist development models, including the Washington Consensus, have been a failure. Pro-capitalists in China would clearly prefer these facts to be generally unknown since they damage the idea that China should abandon its socialist path of development and adopt a capitalist one.

These facts also have international political implications. The socialist development model followed by China is the creation of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC). 

The Washington Consensus is the dominant economic strategy put forward by international economic institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, and is taught in Western universities. Yet, the overwhelming economic superiority of countries following a socialist development policy, more in line with the Chinese model, shows that it not only outperforms capitalist alternatives but that the CPC has a better grasp on the situation than Western economists.

A factual comparison in the international results of the two economic development approaches – the neoliberal Washington Consensus versus the Chinese socialist development strategy – clearly shows how the latter outperforms the former.

Also telling is that supporters of the Washington Consensus appear to strongly dislike systematic factual comparisons of the two approaches for reasons evident in the following data. 

In order to assess the competing strategies, we will consider China itself as well as three other countries. These are Vietnam, which defines itself as socialist and drew heavily from China’s socialist market economy approach, and Cambodia and Laos, both of which were highly influenced by China’s development model.

A summary of data on the annual average rate of per capita GDP growth, broken into three time periods – from 1993 when data on all four countries is available, post-Washington Consensus in 1989, and after China’s own reforms in 1978 – indicates the success of the Chinese model. 

The data is extremely striking. From 1993-2015, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos ranked, respectively, No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4 in world per capita GDP growth – peripheral cases of countries with populations of less than 5 million or dominated by oil production are not included. From 1989 to 2015 China, Vietnam and Laos ranked, respectively, No.1, No.2 and No.3 in the world for countries in per capita GDP growth. And from 1978 onwards China ranked No.1 among all economies in terms of economic growth.

The degree at which economies influenced by the Chinese development model outgrew the world average has been huge. Since 1989 Vietnam and Laos grew three times as fast as the world average. Since 1978 China’s rate of growth was almost six times the world average. 

The contrasts not only in average per capital GDP growth but also in the eradication of poverty are similarly overwhelming. Since 1981 China has lifted 728 million people out of World Bank-defined poverty. Vietnam lifted over 30 million people from poverty by the same criteria. In the rest of the world, in which the dominant model advocated by the IMF was the Washington Consensus, only roughly 120 million people rose above poverty. During this time, 83 percent of all poverty reduction was in China, 85 percent was in socialist countries and only 15 percent was in capitalist countries. 

This data breaks down the claim that capitalism is the main drive behind rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. If capitalism were the motor of economic growth and poverty reduction, then growth would be the most rapid, and poverty reduction the largest, in capitalist countries. Instead it is in China and Vietnam that the greatest poverty reduction has taken place and in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos where the fastest economic growth has occurred. 

China’s socialist development model therefore should be considered a huge success in contrast to the Washington Consensus. Economic development remains the most fundamental issue for the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. 

According to the latest World Bank data 84 percent of the world’s population lives in developing countries. Any objective analysis based on aiming to maximize a countries development potential would therefore start with China’s socialist development model. 

The facts show that China’s policies, which included a dominant role by the State sector, large-scale plans to eradicate poverty and a socialist political orientation, are successful in producing both economic growth and poverty reduction. 

The simple fact that the top four most rapidly growing economies since the Washington Consensus was outlined all use the Chinese socialist development model demonstrates of the superiority in China’s path to capitalist alternatives.

The author is a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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