Nobody gains anything from war!
First the story of Iraq..! Just three years ago, a man from the Islamic State Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi declared himself the Khalifah of the world from Mosul city of Iraq. Earlier, he occupied a large part of Iraq and Syria, and the Iraqi army did not have the strength to drive Baghdadi to Mosul. Baghdadi has turned the area under his occupation into slaughterhouse. Nobody knows how many people have been killed by him, but it is feared that lakhs of people were killed. That reign of terror is now being revealed from the discovery of mass graves. Baghdadi’s monsters raped thousands of women and dismembered them. Earlier we used to hear about the evil deeds of Idi Amin but I think that if Idi Amin were alive today, he too would have been shaken by the wickedness of the deeds.
Last year, the Iraqi army and Kurdish fighters attacked the Islamic State in collaboration with the US military. After nearly 9 months of fierce fighting, the Iraqi army achieved the victory over Mosul but nothing was left in that city. Since Mosul was a densely populated city, a large number of people were killed and lakhs of people were displaced in the battle between the army and the Islamic State. There flies the Iraqi army’s flag instead of the Islamic State over the ruined city, but who celebrates the victory? Millions of people have been displaced from Mosul and are living in camps or have gone to other countries seeking shelter.
Now the story of Syria..! A civil war is going on in Syria. There is a government of Bashar al-Assad. The rebellion against Assad began around 6 years back. Gradually, it became the battleground of the great powers. The US wants to dethrone Assad. Russia wants Assad to remain in the saddle. Just these two contrasting positions have ruined Syria. The US is supporting all the rebels who want to dislodge the Assad. They include Islamic State which has played an important role in destroying Iraq. Russia is bombing areas which is a stronghold of rebels supported by the US. In a way, there is an indirect war between Russia and the US. In these 6 years, Syria has been almost devastated. Aleppo, an important Syrian city captured by the rebels, was freed by the government forces, but there was nothing left there. The city has fallen into ruin!
International institutions believe that at least 1 crore 10 lakh people out of Syria’s 2 crore 30 lakh people have left Syria and mostly have been sheltered in different countries of Europe as refugees. Around 2.5 lakh refugees arrived in Europe in 2014 alone. In the subsequent years, this number continued to increase. Think how hard it is to leave your homeland and the tragic thing is how difficult it is to settle in another country as a refugee. You will be surprised to know that many people could not even become refugees. They became slaves. Many people lost their lives trying to reach Europe via the sea. Of those who decided to go to Italy via Libya, many of them were enslaved by Libyan rebel groups i.e. terrorists. Efforts are still being made to find out how many of them are there and where they are.
Many people tried to go to Austria, Sweden and Germany via Hungary, but Hungary blocked the route. As a result, people decided to go via Croatia route, but on that path mines were laid in the 680 km range. These mines were laid during the Balkan War in 1990. Thousands of people died due to mine explosion! There is neither any discussion of these deaths anywhere nor is it being discussed whether the international community will make any effort to make the displaced people ever return to their place of origin. Statistics show that more than 6.5 crore people are living the life of refugees worldwide. A decade back, the number was only 3 crore. After the war in the Middle East, the number is gradually mounting. I would like to refer to the second aspect of this crisis. So many refugees are reaching Europe that there is the real danger of the entire demographic picture undergoing a drastic change. Some countries may lose their civilization and may become Muslim-dominant. There is one more aspect that after the inflow of refugees the crime rate has increased. The incidents of robbery, especially the snatching of bags of tourists have grown. Many of those close to me have become victims. During my visit to Europe, my friends there alerted me that I should take special care of my baggage while travelling. Actually, the refugees have no means of livelihood and therefore, the people are indulging in these types of incidents.
To make life easier for these refugees, United Nations has offered some help and the efforts are continuing, but the question is how can the pain of losing their own homeland be alleviated? As the things stand in the Middle East, there is no likelihood that these refugees will ever return to their homeland. The worst case is that of the children who have been the victims of this war. Their childhood is lost and their future is also bleak. Bana al-Abed, a child born in Aleppo city of Syria and now living in Turkey, described the children’s pain in front of the world through her Twitter account. People from around the world were distressed by her story but nobody could save Aleppo. al-Abed was fortunate enough to find a place where she has continued her studies but just think of the children who have no place called school. What will be the future of those children? Just think of the children who have lost their families in the war and are now staying as orphans in camps or have been adopted by unknown families! I would like to refer to the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel where he especially met the boy Moshe who had lost his parents during the terror attack in Mumbai. This gesture of Modiji is very praiseworthy because this is the culture and civilization of India. We give priority to human values but other countries of the world are not that fortunate as to make humanity part of their culture.
As far as the war is concerned, it is not confined to the Middle East alone. There is warlike situation in many smaller African countries as well. Boko Haram in Nigeria has destroyed the entire country. For reference, I would like to tell you that Boko Haram means book is prohibited. If this is the thinking of the organisation, just imagine the condition of the people under it? Some years ago, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls and handed them over to the terrorists. The world kept watching! The girls’ parents were left in deep agony!
The truth is that the wars spread all over the world have ruined everyone. Childhood has been destroyed. The life of youth has been turned into hell. All this is happening in the name of caste and religion. Fanaticism and cruelty have harmed religion most. Religion stands condemned and defamed. In this era of science and technology, humanity is on the wane. I am reminded of an old song... “Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwan... kitna badal gaya Insaan”. The world has to understand that only devastation comes out of war; nothing good is ever achieved! War only spreads hatred and thirst for blood.
Before I conclude
In Japan there is an island called Okinoshima. There is a temple of Goddess of the sea there, but it is surprising that women are not allowed to go there. That means the regressive thoughts are not just here in our country! In scientifically advanced countries such as Japan too, there are such regressive thoughts. It is imperative to ask the question that when the temple is of Goddess why women are being prevented from going there? But where is the space for scientific questions in the realm of blind faith?
It is not India of 1962, Mr Jinping!
To understand the latest controversy between India and China, first take a look at the eastern part of India’s map. You will see a thin strip from the Siliguri area of West Bengal to Guwahati. It is called Siliguri Corridor, or Chicken Neck in terms of war. It is called Chicken Neck because it is narrow like a chicken neck. A part of this Chicken Neck connects our Sikkim state and neighbouring Bhutan. On the other hand, the borders of Sikkim and Bhutan abut China. The international border between India and China is clear in Sikkim. According to the McMahon Line of 1914, the border is also clear between Bhutan and China. However, China does not accept this position and continues to infiltrate into Bhutan’s territory.
In the Dokalam sector where the situation is tense right now, China has built a road in its part of the Chumbi Valley and wants to extend the same across the border in Bhutan to ensure an easy access to Chicken Neck in case of war. Strategically for India, this area is most important because this corridor connects the eastern states of India. When the Chinese soldiers started building road here in the first week of June, the Indian soldiers stopped them. Chinese soldiers then tried to transgress the Indian border, but our soldiers formed a human chain and pushed them back. The next day the Chinese soldiers destroyed our two bunkers. Since then, the situation is extremely tense. Three thousand soldiers from either side are face-to-face. The situation can be gauged from the fact that the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the 17th Division of Indian Army is looking into the matter himself. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also visited the area.
This is not the first time a dispute has erupted on this border. Earlier in 2008, Chinese troops had tried to enter the area only to be driven away by the Indian Army. Prior to that, India and China’s armies have fought here in 1967. At that time, the Chinese army had suffered heavy losses and ceasefire was announced five days later.
In fact, China is dreaming that it will capture a large area of Arunachal Pradesh. China has been laying its claim on 90,000 square kilometre area of Arunachal but the Indian government has been rejecting it. In 1962 war, since China had captured our 36,000 square kilometre area of Aksai Chin (in the Kashmir region) which we could not reclaim, it is daydreaming that it can wrest Arunachal too from us. When the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama visited Arunachal this year, China made a lot of hue and cry. However, India adopted a tough stand following which China could do nothing.
China wants to build road near Chicken Neck with the only intention to quickly rush its forces to Indian border as and when a war breaks out. China, it seems, thinks that if Chicken Neck is captured, it will not be possible for India to defend the northeastern states. It has already built a network of roads close to the Indian border in Nepal. India knows that China’s presence on the plateau of Dokalam is not good. Secondly, it is also our responsibility to protect Bhutan’s sovereignty according to our treaty.
One of the main objectives of all these acts of China is also to check India’s growing power in the world so that it does not even think about overtaking China! Strategically therefore, it issues threats too. This year, the Chinese media wrote that in case of a war between India and China, the Chinese army can reach Delhi within just 48 hours. The Chinese media also wrote that if the help of parachute was taken to send troops, then Delhi can be attacked within 10 hours. If the media writes something in China, it means that the government there is saying so. After this threat, Chinese media on February 17 this year advised that India should learn from China how it (China) likes to remain on the “back seat” when it comes to taking advantage of relations with the United States. This means China wants that India should not make any effort to overtake it. The Chinese government media in May 2017 wrote that India’s desire to become a superpower will pose a challenge for China. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India can make efforts to establish close relations with the US, Japan, Australia and other countries.
It is clear that China is in a state of anxiety vis-a-vis India. It knows that if there is any country that can challenge it in this area, it is only India. It does not digest the idea of India getting close to the US. It is afraid that America can try to control it with the help of India. It is looking at India’s growing international power as a challenge for itself. China made a four-point proposal in May this year, which stated that there could be peace between the two countries if India accepted the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. India has already expressed its strategic concern over this project. This concern is quite reasonable too.
Through all these developments, it is clear that China wants to restrain India in every situation. It wants to frighten us by reminding us of the 1962 war but it should keep in mind that it is not India of 1962 that had attained independence only 15 years back. Now the world knows the might of India. I have never been a supporter of war personally. Every issue can be resolved through dialogue. But if there is any attempt to impose war, then China should keep in mind the statement of our Army Chief General Bipin Rawat that we have the capability to fight two-and-a-half war (China, Pakistan and terrorism) together.
However, one big issue is of economic battle. Chinese goods are so cheap that for many things we are becoming dependent on China. The figures of 2015-16 show that we imported goods worth about $52.26 billions from China, which is about 15 per cent of our total imports. In contrast, China bought from us goods worth only $7.56 billions. Apart from this, China is also notorious for sending shoddy goods here. Our government should clarify the policy on whether we should have economic relations with China that always tries to browbeat us? The reality is that if we stopped buying Chinese goods, it will not take time to fall in line. How come that we keep buying goods from somebody who keeps threatening us?
Before I conclude
Cyber attack is a matter of serious concern for the whole world because the internet is now an integral part of our lives. From personal work to trade to business and bank systems, everything requires an internet access. Even one cyber attack can destroy many countries simultaneously. Millions of people are victims of ransomware. A question that arises in my mind is that can the countries around the world not unite to bring such cyber attackers to book?