Restore April status along LAC: India

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

India has firmly conveyed its demand to China for restoring the status quo as existed in April along the border during the senior military commander talks on Saturday, sources said. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the talks were held in a “cordial and positive” atmosphere, and both sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to “resolve the situation”.

Key Details:

  • Sources said that during the talks, each side put across their issues, which would be conveyed to the respective governments and taken up in subsequent meetings.
  • While India was firm on restoring the status quo of April, and pull back of Chinese troops and equipment from inside Indian territory and along the LAC, the Chinese side raised objections to India’s infrastructure development.

Significance of the talks:

  • The senior military commander level talks are at the highest level so far in the series of military and diplomatic communications that the two sides have held to address the standoff.
  • Communications between senior military commanders will ensure that tensions don’t flare up on the ground as talks continue at the highest levels to find a way to resolve the issue.

India’s arguments:

  • India has held that infrastructure development would go on in Indian territory and that China had already developed infrastructure on its side.
  • China’s actions violate the existing boundary agreement meant to preserve peace and tranquility on the border.

Conclusion:

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the talks were held in a cordial and positive atmosphere, and both sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation.Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquility in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations.


‘China’s internal pressures are driving Xi’s tough stance on border’

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News:

  • The situation is certainly different. Firstly, these have occurred at multiple points along the LAC, from Ladakh to Naku La in Sikkim.
  • It is a new kind of activity that the Chinese have created on our northern borders.
  • Since Xi Jinping has taken over, the nature and kind of intrusions that we have been seeing have altered. They have become more firm, and appear to have been premeditated and planned.

Current stand-off:

  • Unlike the previously localized stand-offs, the current stand-offs have occurred at multiple points along the LAC, from Ladakh to Naku La in Sikkim.
  • There have been intrusions even at places where there has been no instance of a difference in perception of the LAC like the stand-off at Galwan Valley.
  • The activation of a new diplomatic front by Nepal against India seems to be a part of the Chinese strategy to pressurize India.
  • The intrusions have become firmer, and appear to have been premeditated and planned.

Factors at play:

  • Facing internal pressure, China’s leadership appears to be taking a tougher line on issues related to sovereignty with respect to Taiwan, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and along the India border to divert domestic attention.
  • The Chinese economy has been hit badly by the pandemic.
  • The U.S.-China trade war is also aggravating the economic condition of China.
  • There is a growing domestic criticism of the Chinese leadership over the handling of the domestic conditions.
  • There is the possibility of political upheaval against the current leadership.
  • The construction of the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Lodi road together with the upgrading of India’s defence logistics infrastructure is also a major factor. This seems to indicate the reason behind China opening a new front in the previously undisputed Galwan Valley area.
  • The growing Chinese stakes in the region, particularly with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor seems to have also contributed to China’s concerns.
  • The revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and fears of India’s claims over Gilgit-Baltistan seem to have made the Chinese more apprehensive.

Chances of resolution:

  • India’s demands have been the restoration of status quo meaning the Chinese go back to their earlier position.
  • China is unlikely to change course and pull back, as doing so would hurt the credibility of the leadership which is already under pressure.
  • Given the domestic political situation inside China, the leadership cannot afford to go back or to disengage or to withdraw, having done that earlier in Doklam, in 2017.

Conclusion:

India should show the determination to hold ground and also maybe apply pressure in some areas on China, like in the South China Sea and at multilateral forums. This could cause a rethinking in China to come to some kind of an understanding on the border issue.


Odisha plans mega educational complexes for tribal students

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

The Odisha Government is coming up with three mega educational complexes exclusively for tribal students, where both academic and sporting skills will be harnessed.

Key Details:

  • The proposed educational complexes will be established in tribal dominated districts such as Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj.
  • Santal and Bhuyan are two dominant tribal groups living in Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts.
  • The campuses will have state-of-the-art facilities to improve educational and sporting skills of tribal students from Standard I to XII. Skill development centres will be an integral part of the projects.
  • Funds required for the project will be sourced from Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation (OMBADC), which was formed for focused development of mineral rich districts. Incidentally, most mineral rich districts are tribal-dominated.
  • Keonjhar, where other tribes such as Sounti, Ho, Juang, Kharwar, Mahali, Oraon Kolha and Kora reside, is the most mined district of the State.
  • Keonjhar district itself contains more than 70% of the iron ore reserves of Odisha.

Background:

  • According to the 2011 Census, Odisha’s tribal population constitutes 9.17% of the country’s tribal population. In Odisha, tribal population is 22.85% of the state’s total population.
  • With 62 tribal communities, Odisha has the most diverse tribes in India. In terms of tribal population, Odisha occupies the third position in India.
  • Out of a total of 75 particularly vulnerable tribal groups in India, 13 reside in Odisha.