China defends pandemic travel curbs after Indian envoy hits out at ‘unscientific approach’
China defends pandemic travel curbs after Indian envoy hits out at ‘unscientific approach’
Beijing has defended its

travel curbs as scientific and proportional after India’s ambassador to China called for a more “balanced and sensitive approach” on issuing visas to Indians.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Monday also said the rules were to protect people and applied not just to Indians but to all, including Chinese citizens.
“China has no other way but to adopt a series of management measures that have been evolving according to the development of the pandemic to ensure the safe and orderly flow of both Chinese and foreigners,” she said. “China has adopted a scientific, professional and proportional pandemic control approach.”
Hua was responding to Thursday’s remarks by Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri, who said some .

some

went beyond politics, pointing to the thousands of Indian nationals who are stranded and unable to return to China because of its tough visa rules.

He called for a separation of politics and trade, amid strained relations over an

and geopolitical tensions.

“Far less complex issues, which have a purely humanitarian context and are not connected to bilateral diplomatic stances, such as facilitating the movement of students, businesspersons and stranded family members from India to China for over a year and a half now, await a more balanced and sensitive approach,” Misri said during a virtual dialogue on bilateral relations organised by Sichuan University.
“I might add here that India has also attempted to keep our trade and commercial relationship insulated from current differences, for instance by continuing to issue visas to Chinese businesspersons to visit India,” he said.
“However, we are disappointed to see an unscientific approach with regard to several problems currently being faced by Indian students, businessmen, marine crew and exporters, to name a few.”
New Delhi is not alone in pressing Beijing to ease its stringent border restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, with other countries also urging China to reciprocate on visa policy as the rest of the world slowly reopens.
Sun Weidong, China’s ambassador to India, urged New Delhi to maintain its “strategic autonomy”. Photo: Twitter

Sun Weidong, China’s ambassador to India, urged New Delhi to maintain its “strategic autonomy”. Photo: Twitter

On the Himalayan border dispute, Misri said talks had seen “significant progress on the ground” in terms of disengagement, and expressed hope that further disengagement would enable the two sides “to reach a point where we can pick up the threads of bilateral cooperation”.
Relations have been tense since Chinese and Indian troops engaged in deadly hand-to-hand fighting on their border in the western Himalayas in June last year. At least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died in the clashes – the deadliest in decades. It developed into a military stand-off and while soldiers have retreated from some sections of the frontier, the negotiations continue.
India later banned more than 200 Chinese apps for security reasons and there were calls for a consumer boycott of Chinese goods.
Also speaking on Thursday, China’s ambassador to India Sun Weidong agreed that bilateral relations should develop regardless of the border tensions, but urged India to maintain its “strategic autonomy”.
“Some countries have formed small, isolated groups to contain others out of ideological biases and a Cold War mentality … in fact, forming these groups won’t make one safer, and once one is on board someone else’s ship, control of the helm will be lost,” Sun said.
He added that he hoped India would not join “alliances” and that it be cautious on issues like Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea, all sensitive issues for Beijing.
China is concerned by India’s involvement in the Quad security grouping with the US, Japan and Australia, which Beijing sees as an attempt by Washington to counter its influence in the region.
Despite the tensions, two-way trade between India and China expanded by more than 5 per cent in 2020-21, according to the latest Indian commerce ministry data. China has also replaced the US as India’s largest trade partner. Trade between the two Asian economies hit US$86.4 billion in 2020-21, up from US$81.9 billion the year before, compared to US$80.5 billion between India and the US. This was largely driven by India importing medical goods from China, according to analysts.
sourced – scmp
Ven. Bhikku Sanghasena Honored with A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award
Ven. Bhikku Sanghasena Honored with A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award
By Shyamal Sinha

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena. From religionworld.inThe famend religious chief and socially engaged Buddhist monk Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena has acquired the Seventh Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award 2021 in recognition of his lifelong efforts to advertise peace and to foster the values of integrity, compassionate care, and social duty. The honour was conferred throughout the eleventh Worldwide Peace Convention in Ladakh on Tuesday, held in observance of the United Nations Worldwide Day of Peace.
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena is the spiritual director of the non-profit Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Ladakh, northern India, the founder of the Mahakaruna Foundation, the Save the Himalayas Foundation, and spiritual advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).*

In a statement for the occasion shared with Buddhistdoor Global, Dr. Anthony Raju, chairman of the awarding organization, noted: “After perusing your credentials, most objectively and impartially, it remains our considered opinion that you have worked tirelessly and selflessly to put the Buddha’s teachings on loving-kindness and compassion into action through multifarious charitable humanitarian services and ancient Buddhist traditions. You have believed in peacefulness, humility, and innocence as the natural way of life, and your worthy example does inspire others especially the young generation toward certain remarkable achievements.

“Therefore, the National Governing Council, Board of Patrons & Board of Ambassadors has decided to honor you with our most coveted institutional and prestigious ‘Seventh Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award 2021’ for your outstanding contributions to peace, harmony, protecting and promoting human rights, and services to humanity.”

Dr. Anthony Raju, advocate for the Supreme Court of Indi, chairman of the All-Indian Council of Human Rights, liberties and Social Justice, and member of the International Human Rights Advisory Council, with Dr. June Ann-Passanah, human rights and peace activist and social worker, visit the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre to discuss the 11th International Peace Conference and conferring the 7th Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award 2021. Image courtesy of MIMCDr. Anthony Raju, advocate for the Supreme Court of Indi, chairman of the All-Indian Council of Human Rights, liberties and Social Justice, and member of the International Human Rights Advisory Council, with Dr. June Ann-Passanah, human rights and peace activist and social worker, visit the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre to discuss the 11th International Peace Conference and conferring the 7th Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award 2021. Image courtesy of MIMC
Named after Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (1931–2015), an aerospace scientist and 11th president of India from 2002–07, the award is presented by the All-India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice (AICHLS).

Previous recipients of the Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam World Peace Award are: His Holiness Acharya Dr. Shiv Muni Ji Maharaj (2020); Dr. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (2019); Most Rev. Dadi JankiJi, Chief of Brahmakumaris (2018); His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias (2017); His Holiness Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj (2016, posthumous); and His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2015).

The 11th International Peace Conference was held at Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in Leh, the joint capital and largest city of the union territory of Ladakh, on 21 September. The conference was jointly organized by the AICHLS and the MIMC, in collaboration with the Ladakh Buddhist Association, the All Ladakh Gompa Association, Anjuman Imamia, Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam, Christian Community, Hindu Mahasabha and Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.

Dignitaries and guest speakers at the conference expressed agreement with the urgent need to work toward peace and harmony at the global level, and stressed the importance of overcoming narrow and rigid ideologies that lead to communal discord. They urged the development of a new vision for the world as a single interconnected family in which all religions and communities are respected equally.

Perched high on the Tibetan Plateau, Ladakh, which translates as the Land of High Passes, became the largest union territory in India in 2019 after the government reconstituted the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. Spread across some 59,146 mountainous square kilometers, much of which is desiccated and inhospitable, the culture and history of Ladakh is closely interwoven with that of Tibet—so much so that Ladakh is sometimes known as “Little Tibet.”

Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena founded the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh in 1986. He has since become an exemplar of socially engaged Buddhism, launching numerous projects, events, and initiatives, among them providing educational opportunities and refuge for underprivileged children, empowerment and literacy programs for women and other socially disadvantaged groups, healthcare for the sick and needy, and a care home for the aged and destitute. The MIMC has evolved into an expanding campus that has become a hub for a multitude of socio-cultural and community programs.

Ladakh Scraps Permit System for Tourists Visiting ‘Protected’ Areas, Some Villages to Stay Out of Bounds

Trekking at a monastery can be real fun. Phuktal Monastery, located at the mouth of a grand cave, has its origin dating back to the 16th The Monastery hosts several prayer rooms alongside a main temple, teaching facilities, a library, apartments and kitchen room. Sacred spring and the cave is the most prominent feature of this place.

The Ladakh administration has scrapped the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in another move to underline India’s sovereignty over the territory. The move will benefit Indian tourists visiting the ‘protected’ areas in the region as there will be less paperwork required to deal with.

However, tourists visiting these areas will still have to pay the environmental fee of Rs 300 and Red Cross Fund fee of Rs 100. The payment can be easily made using the online portal, officials said, according to a Times of India report.

The report added that all visitors are required to carry identity proof during travel and foreigners are still required the Protected Area Permit.

Earlier, Indian tourists were only allowed to visit areas beyond Panamik till Warshi including Yarma Gompa/Yarma Gonbo Monastery in Leh’s Nubra Valley.

The scrapping of Inner Line Permit will not result in unfettered access. The Ladakh administration will notify areas, mostly villages near the border, where tourists will not be allowed. The Union Home Ministry has asked for the list, which will be prepared after the consultation with the Police and the Army.

Some villages near the Pakistani border, including Dungti, Koyul, Demchok and Chumar in the Nyoma subdivision in eastern Ladakh will remain out of bounds. In Kargil, tourists can visit places including Batalik easily.

The report added that Ladakh was opened up for tourists in October 1974. Although tourists were allowed to travel to a limited number of places. Access to tourist spots like Pangong Tso was restricted as it was accessible only between 6am and 5 pm. Turtuk in Ladakh was opened up in 2010.

Though a lot of areas in the region have opened up since then, a lot of areas remain out of bounds, mostly on Army’s insistence. But progressively more areas are brought in to reap the economic benefits of tourism like Leh and Nubra valley.

In a separate development, “residents of the protected area” of Ladakh can visit other protected areas “without any permit”.

“In the aforesaid identification documents to be issued to the residents of the Protected Areas, the concerned Superintendents/ Deputy Superintendents shall also specify the Protected areas lying in other Tehsils/ Districts which the holders of the said documents may visit for bona fide purpose without any permit,” an order by the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh states, according to Times Now.

sourced – News18

India, China Disengage In Gogra After 12th Round Of Talks
India, China Disengage In Gogra After 12th Round Of Talks

Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged from the Gogra area in eastern Ladakh after the 12th round of talks.

Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged from the friction point in the Gogra area of eastern Ladakh, where the two sides were locked in a tense military standoff since May 2020, the Indian Army has said.

In a statement, the Army revealed that India and China completed the disengagement in Gogra on 4 and 5 August.

India and China had reached an understanding on disengagement in the Gogra area during the 12th round of corps commander-level talks held earlier this week at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point.

“As per the agreement, both sides have ceased forward deployments in this area in a phased, coordinated and verified manner. The troops of both sides are now in their respective permanent bases,” the statement reads.

The development comes after the People’s Liberation Army refused to pull back its troops and equipment from the Gogra and Hot Springs areas during the 11th round of talks with India held in April.

In May last year, the Chinese had deployed a large number of troops and equipment, including tanks and artillery guns, in this area. India had responded with its own deployments of troops and heavy equipment.

Since then, the two sides had built shelters and other temporary structures in the area to house soldiers and equipment.

“All temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides have been dismantled…and the landform in the area has been restored…to pre-standoff period,” the Army’s statement says.

India and China will continue to hold discussions for disengagement at other friction points along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector, such as the Depsang Plains in northeastern Ladakh and Chumar in the southeastern part of the union territory, the statement adds.

Earlier this year, India and China had pulled back troops from the north bank of the Pangong Lake and the Kailash Range.

Pangong Tso

Although China has vacated the area it had occupied on the north bank of Pangong Tso, its troops and equipment remain deployed in depth areas.

Satellite imagery from 11 May shows that Chinese troops are present in Rutog County, located on the Xingiang-Tibet (G219) Highway close to the eastern end of the Pangong Lake. Rutog, which is linked to both Pangong and Spanggur Lakes (south of Pangong Tso, east of Kailash Range) by road, serves as a major base for the People’s Liberation Army along the Line of Actual Control in this sector.

The People’s Liberation Army can move these troops rapidly to forward positions or deploy them against India using its road network.

The satellite image, posted on Twitter by open-source intelligence handle @detrasfa_, shows multiple rows of prefabricated living structures, indicative of the presence of a significant number of Chinese troops at the base.

Chinese presence in Rutog County. (@detrasfa_/Twitter)

A large motor pool, consisting of different types of vehicles, including those used by support and offensive units, can be seen in the imagery.

Among other things, the satellite image also shows a large number of camouflaged positions, which could be hosting suppliers of weaponry.

Earlier, reports had revealed that China had built structures between Kangxiwar, located on the G219 highway just north of Aksai Chin, and Rutog.

At Kangxiwar and Rutog, the PLA has brought in 10,000 additional temporary troops to support the 10,000 permanent Chinese troops deployed at these locations, a report in India Today says, citing an intelligence estimate.

China has started rotating troops along the LAC, reports say. It has rotated two large field formations by inducting two fresh divisions in April.

The Indian Army continues to maintain its posture on the friction sites in eastern Ladakh and a large number of troops, which had been moved back as part of the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, remain in depth areas on the Indian side to deter Chinese misadventures.

Work on new roads and bridges in Ladakh also continues despite China’s aggressive maneuvers in the area over the last one year. The Border Roads Organisation, responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads in India’s border areas, appears to have improved its performance amid tensions along the Line of Actual Control.

In Eastern Ladakh, India and China have two mutually agreed disputed areas, Trig Heights and Demchok, and 10 areas of differing perception. Officials said that since the stand-off last year, additional five friction points have emerged. These are Km 120 in Galwan area, Patrolling Point (PP) 15 and PP17 and Rechin La and Rezang La on the south bank of the Pangong Tso, the second official said.

The 12th round of military talks took place over two weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar firmly conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the prolongation of the existing situation in eastern Ladakh was visibly impacting the bilateral ties in a “negative manner”.

sourced  – swarajya

Ladakh witnessing rapid development after getting UT status
Ladakh witnessing rapid development after getting UT status

Representative Image

By  —  Shyamal Sinha

Ladakh has been witnessing increased development over the past two years as the government has implemented several development projects that aim to build a green and prosperous future for its residents.

New Delhi is focusing on developing Ladakh frontier region that has been neglected for years with new tunnels and roads being carved out in the toughest terrains of the Himalayan region, reported Saudi Gazette.

The people of Ladakh had sought UT status way back in 1949 in order to address the development needs of the area. The region got the status on August 5, 2019 with the government abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.

Work on infrastructure projects like roads and tunnels has gained pace. Even the remotest border villages are now being connected to the telephone network and the Internet through fiber-optic cables powered by solar electricity generation units, reported Saudi Gazette.

The UT administration has chalked out an ambitious plan for ensuring the all-around development of the region and its people.

Several development projects have been kick-started by the government including the Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh transmission system, which was completed in February last year. The move helped Ladakh to be linked to the national grid ensuring an uninterrupted reliable, quality power supply to the region, the report said.

In February 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Dah hydroelectric project and had dedicated the 220 KV transmission for overall electrification for providing sufficient electricity for each household.

Approximately, Rs 60 billion has been allocated for the development of Ladakh for the fiscal year 2020-21. Nine projects with an outlay of Rs.214.4 billion were transferred to the UT of Ladakh.

The Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge has been constructed by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) in a record time of one month, which provides all-weather connectivity in the region.

In addition, 82-meter Span Motorable Bridge over River Shayok at Rongdo in Nubra has been opened for the public. The Ladakh administration has formulated new rules under which jobs would be reserved exclusively for locals, reported Saudi Gazette.

India’s Renewable Energy Ministry has also drawn up a plan to scale a 23,000 MW grid connecting the mega solar project in Ladakh with a 7,500 MW package forming the first part of a larger project.

PM Modi had also inaugurated a plan for the first central university in Ladakh with a Centre on Buddhist Studies helping over 10,000 Ladakhi students.

He had also vowed to make Ladakh a carbon-free region in the coming years with the start of the Ladakh Greenhouse project targeted to increase the availability of vegetables throughout the year.

“Cultural tourism” which is one of the key development planks for the area has been given a boost with homestay at monasteries along with eco-tourism and ecological activities like bird watching, wildlife safaris.

Overall tourist arrival in Ladakh in 2019 stood at 279,937. Until June 2020, total tourist arrivals in Ladakh were 6,079, of which 5,019 were domestic and 1,060 were foreign tourists, the report said.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has assured making functional the Siachen Glacier for tourists, opening some more border villages for tourism, construction of strategic roads, development of border villages, and movement of Nomads for grazing in the areas located close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the report said

The Indian federal government approved on September 23, 2019, the establishment of a new medical college in Leh district of the newly created Ladakh Union Territory, following receipt of requests from the locals about improving healthcare facilities in the Himalayan region, the report added.

The Cabinet also approved the creation of one post of managing director for the corporation in the pay scale of ₹144,200- ₹218,200 level,” the government said in a press release. “The authorized share capital of the corporation will be ₹25 crore and recurring expenditure will be around ₹2.42 crore per year. It is a new establishment. Presently, there is no similar organization within the newly formed UT of Ladakh.”

The government added that the approval has the potential to generate employment as the corporation will be undertaking various developmental activities. “The corporation will work for industry, tourism, transport and marketing of local products and handicraft. Corporation will also work as the main construction agency for infrastructure development in Ladakh,” the government said.

The government said it will result in inclusive and integrated development of :Ladakh.

“It [will] increase domestic production of goods and services and will facilitate their smooth supply. Thus, the approval will help in realizing the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the statement read.

The government has also approved a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for specialty steel in an initiative aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing and exports and cutting down the import burden for the sector, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said. The scheme will be applicable for five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.

“With a budgetary outlay of ₹6,322 crores, the scheme is expected to bring in investment of approximately ₹40,000 crores and capacity addition of 25 metric tonne (MT) for speciality steel. The scheme will give employment to about 525,000 people, of which, 68,000 will be direct employment. Speciality steel has been chosen as the target segment because out of the 102 million tonnes steel produced in India in 2020-21, only 18 million tonnes of value added steel or speciality steel was produced in the country,” said the government statement.

Sourced  – (ANI)

India-China wrap up 12th round of military talks on optimistic note

The 12th round of military talks between India and China wrapped up on a positive note amid growing hopes of reaching an understanding on the disengagement of troops from Hot Springs and Gogra on the Line of Actual Control, sources told News18.

Modalities will be worked out on how to take the process forward and a joint statement is expected on Monday, reported News18.

The meeting between corps commander-ranked officers of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on Saturday began at 10.30 am and ended at 7.30 pm, officials familiar with the development said.

At nine hours, this was possibly the shortest round of talks between the two armies, reported Hindustan Times.

Defence establishment sources were hopeful of reaching an understanding for disengagement from Hot Springs and Gogra Post, Patrolling Point (PP) 15 and PP17A, respectively, friction points.

It is learnt that both sides discussed “specific details to cool tempers in the remaining friction points including moving ahead with the disengagement process and agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground”.

Hotline set up between army HQs

A hotline was established between Indian Army in Kongra La, North Sikkim and PLA at Khamba Dzong in Tibetan Autonomous Region to further the spirit of trust and cordial relations along the borders. The event coincided with the PLA Day on 1 August, said the Indian Army.

These hotlines in various sectors go a long way in enhancing the same and maintaining peace and tranquility at the borders, the army said.

The inauguration was attended by ground commanders of the respective armies and a message of friendship and harmony was exchanged through the hotline.

The Indian side forcefully pressed for early resolution of the standoff and particularly insisted on expeditious disengagement in Hot Springs and Gogra, a source said.

Ahead of the talks, sources said India was hopeful of a positive outcome on the disengagement process.

India has been insisting that the resolution of the outstanding issues, including at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra, is essential for the overall ties between the two countries.

The latest round of talks took place after a gap of more than three and a half months. The 11th round of military dialogue had taken place on 9 April at the Chushul border point on the Indian side of the LAC and it lasted for around 13 hours.

The 12th round of military talks took place over two weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar firmly conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the prolongation of the existing situation in eastern Ladakh was visibly impacting the bilateral ties in a “negative manner”.

The two foreign ministers had held a one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tajik capital city Dushanbe on 14 July. In the meeting, Jaishankar had told Wang that any unilateral change in the status quo along the LAC was “not acceptable” to India and that the overall ties can only develop after full restoration of peace and tranquillity in eastern Ladakh.

In the last round of military talks, both sides discussed ways to take forward the disengagement process in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang with a larger aim to bring down tensions in the region. However, there was no forward movement in the disengagement process.

The Indian delegation at Saturday’s talks was led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.

The border stand-off between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted in May last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February in line with an agreement on disengagement.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

With inputs from PTI