Thursday, 25 November 2021

Has China met a tough opponent in India?


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Has China met a tough opponent in India?

China occupied the Galvan Valley and thought that it will go unnoticed. Once the skirmish turned out to be too costly with five times the casualty on their side compared to India, China realised that India is too strong for them. India once again claimed its positions in the northern Banks of Pongong Tso in Ladakh upto Finger 4 and are well entrenched there, in a surprise move. China never expected India to surprise them with such moves..... 

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China has been bullying its neighbours and the countries sharing its borders or across the sea and its animosity towards Taiwan is well-known, claiming it as a part of China. Taiwan has been provoked and tested over the years. Trying to teach Vietnam a lesson, the Chinese learnt a bitter lesson and got a bloody nose. After that they're careful not to provoke or interfere in Vietnam. Similarly they prodded and tested India over a period of time to check its response and it's preparedness in sensitive areas in different sectors on the India-China border from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier the Chinese would cross LAC provoke the Indian Army, get into skirmishes and then show that the Indians started it all by entering their area. And they would get away with this till recently. All this changed when a young Indian Major abused and punched a Chinese Officer in one of the sectors in Arunachal Pradesh when the Chinese official claimed Arunachal Pradesh was Chinese territory. The Chinese soon realised that the mood has changed in India. Indians are fully prepared for any tit for tat action. This surprised the Chinese planners. This had never happened earlier. Indians in earlier years were in a defensive mode and mostly reactive to Chinese moves. Now Indians are ready to give back the Chinese really hard. And they very well know, Indians in an aggressive mode would be difficult for them to handle. India has accused China of taking unilateral attempts to try and alter the status quo in agreement with the bilateral agreements. 

Zhang Shiuli, a PLA spokesperson for the region, said, ‘The sovereignty over the Galvan Valley area has always belonged to China.’ Similarly, Zhao was using language not generally heard in diplomatic circles, blaming the Indian army for its ‘adventurous acts’ that breached ‘basic norms governing international relations.’ He also demanded that India ‘strictly discipline’ and ‘severely punish’ its troops. All these outbursts happened after the 15 June exchange between India and China. Galvan incident showed the Chinese what Indians are capable of and the damage the army can inflict on their forces.

On July, 3rd, after Modi visited Ladakh border area, and while giving a speech in Leh admonished China for its expansionist policies stating ‘The age of expansionism is over and this is the age of development. History knows that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back.’ The reaction of China changed completely. The whole morning China remained silent, but in the afternoon Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, ‘India and China are in communication and negotiations on lowering the temperatures through military and diplomatic channels. No party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at this point.’ China became too mellowed down. China never expected Modi to be so hard hitting on them. This turn around clearly indicate that China has become too defensive and find India harder than expected.

China occupied the Galvan Valley and thought that it will go unnoticed. Once the skirmish turned out to be too costly with five times the casualty on their side compared to India, China realised that India is too strong for them. India once again claimed its positions in the northern Banks of Pongong Tso in Ladakh upto Finger 4 and are well entrenched there, in a surprise move. China never expected India to surprise them with such moves. China is certainly finding India a tough game. Indian Army accuses Chinese PLA of violating protocols.

India is confronting China diplomatically, economically and militarily. India has already banned 119 Chinese Apps. Also has given a clarion call to be vocal for local products. China is losing economically too. China also has been seeing many nations including US and Russia, supporting India, against them. China knows in the event of a war it may have to contend with multiple countries and multiple theaters. Hence China has found India to be a hard nut to crack. Do not want to face the fate PLA had to undergo with its fight against Vietnam in 1979. China has realised India to be too strong for them. They are different from the smaller countries in its neighbourhood.

Did the Indian Army capture Chinese PLA camps in the Pangong Tso area as mentioned in some reports? The high area is also known as blacktop where initially China had installed cameras for observing India's activities. Though it was not captured officially by China but Indian army gathered information that Chinese army is planning to install a permanent base here so Indian army captured this high point and threw all Chinese installed equipment's.

Officially it was part of Indian Territory but China claimed this as their side of LAC, which is not even actual border as it is occupied by China since 1962 war. Chinese soldiers tried to capture this back but Indian army deployed there pushed them back.  China is nervous and has deployed its T-15 lightweight tanks pointing at the Indian army on this blacktop. In retaliation India has deployed its Bhishma T-90 Tanks aiming at the China forces. Any untoward incident could flare up into a full scale war.

But it is very clear that after military attempts to recapture this point and two failures has made the Chinese very nervous. Also this first proactive step by India against China was beyond Chinese imagination or anticipation and a complete surprise for China. They never expected India to take a proactive action. And are now realizing their earlier policy of needling India in different sectors may well have the opposite reaction, of literally provoking the Indian army who could react and cause large scale damage to men and machinery, as Indian forces are well deployed with adequate men, equipment and weapons. Any Chinese intrusion or adventure will not be tolerated.

The Chinese have also realized arm twisting India won't work anymore. They're aware India can damage their interests, commerce and business even without fighting a war. This Diwali proved that. The boycott of Chinese products hit them hard. They also know if they provoke or harass India, they too can do the same and screw them in Indian Ocean, their life line. And their think tanks are also slowly realizing a friendly India is better for their growth and progress rather than antagonize India and pay the price with loss in trade and commerce, besides hurting them militarily and diplomatically too. Ideally maintaining status quo will suit them.

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 Urban makeover!

Many traditional houses underwent an urban makeover in the mid-2000s, which meant giving away some old things bought with love from meager savings after a great deal of searching and some items from your native place to remind about your roots.

Over time, the things have drastically changed. In the kitchen, the steel dabbas made way for airtight glass jars and Tupperware bowls and steel plates were restricted to family only meals. The utility heavy Godrej steel cupboards brought earlier with pride were junked for being too big. In its place, came the designer, delicate modern style plywood wardrobes and cupboards. In place of teak wood polished furniture, you have plush and bulky sofas.

Even the otherwise dhoti or pyjama wearing grandfather had a makeover and slipped on to some shorts, three-fourths and a T-shirt. But, despite these changes the mind stayed put, reminding one of the old traditions and the earlier days when life meant tradition, comfort and utility. Now the old comfort wear overtaken by modern fashion, new style, look and modernity. Earlier one got a feel of coziness at home, but now even the own home is more like a hotel room!

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Sringeri Mutt, Karnataka, India
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Tuesday, 23 November 2021

India Conquering New heights


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India Conquering New heights

It is worth mentioning that constructing the road was not an easy task. During winters, the temperature at such high altitudes dips to -40 degrees C and oxygen levels are 50 % less than at normal places. India’s road has surpassed Bolivia’s record of a road that connects to the Uturuncu volcano at 18,953 feet......

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India recently achieved a major feat of constructing a motorable road up and above the world, on the inhospitable heights, difficult topography and dangerous terrain in Ladakh where besides construction, there were other major challenges posed by nature. It was a challenge, man and machine were tested at -40 degrees C. Overcoming all these BRO successfully completed the construction of this motorable road at a strategic location that will benefit the local residents, enhance tourism and help the forces stationed on the Ladakh border with China.

India sets a world record for building the highest motorable road in Ladakh. India’s Border Roads Organisation has completed the construction of the world’s highest motorable road at 19,300 feet. The road passes through Umlingla Pass in Eastern Ladakh. The 52-km long tarmac road has been constructed much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier, which is at 17,700 feet. It is also at a higher altitude than that of the Mount Everest base camps. The road will enhance socio-economic conditions and promote tourism in Ladakh, the Ministry of Defence said. The road also provides local residents with an alternate direct route to Demchok and Chisumle from Leh.

It is worth mentioning that constructing the road was not an easy task. During winters, the temperature at such high altitudes dips to -40 degrees C and oxygen levels are 50 % less than at normal places. India’s road has surpassed Bolivia’s record of a road that connects to the Uturuncu volcano at 18,953 feet. India is proud of the men of Border Road Organisation for their grit and dedication they showed to construct the almost impossible roadway.


It is interesting to note that the road is reported to be even more challenging for the drivers than the Khardung La Pass. The temperature at Umling La Pass can reportedly drop to -40 degrees during peak winter season. Oxygen level at this altitude is reportedly around 50% less than at sea level. Driving on this road will need experience, guts and skill.

The Indian Army's road-building wing received Guinness World Record certificate on 16 November 2021. BRO was recognised for building and black-topping the world's highest motorable road. A big achievement for Border Road Organisation; it has done the impossible.

The road connects important towns in the Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh. It offers an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Dhemchuk from Leh, which will be immensely beneficial for the local population. It will also impact the socio-economic condition in the region by promoting tourism in Ladakh.  

Praising the Border Road Organisation, the Ministry added that the BRO has achieved the feat due to the grit and resilience of its personnel who work in treacherous terrain and extreme weather conditions.

To put things in context, the ministry elaborated that the altitude of this road is even higher than the base camps of Mount Everest, as the North Base Camp in Tibet stands at an altitude of 16,900 feet, while the South Base Camp in Nepal sits at an altitude of 17,598 feet. This gives one an idea how difficult it was for the men and machine firstly to reach the top, work in extreme conditions and construct this motarable road.

Reportedly, the project was underway since 2017, and now after the blacktopping has been done, it marked the completion of the difficult project. India is proud of this achievement of the Border Road Organisation. The road is at a very strategic point as the villages that will be connected by the road are very close to the India-China border in the eastern sector. This road was constructed under Project Himank. The project was planned, designed and executed by the engineers of BRO.

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Shree Shree Jagannath Mandir, Dibrugarh

The Jagannath Temple in Dibrugarh in all ways trans-locates the essence of the extravagant Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath in Puri, Odisha. Built as a replica of the temple in Puri, the Temple constructed in Dibrugarh is touted to be the second largest after Puri in terms of its magnitude and size.

The sanctum sanctorum is surrounded by walls approximately 3 meters in height on four sides with two gated openings. The east-facing main gate – Singhadwara – lays open the arms for the visitors greeted by the stone structures of two magnificent lions. The construction of the temple was undertaken by the Sri Sri Jagannath Cultural Trust. The consecration of the temple was enlightened by the presence of the priests from the Tirupati Balaji Temple back in the year 2014. Since then, the temple has witnessed a regular inflow of believers, followers and tourists.


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Kanheri Caves, Mumbai
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Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Indian Military Might & Operation Vijay

 


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Indian Military Might & Operation Vijay

India last saw action in Kargil heights. In the summer of 1999, as snow began to melt in the Kargil heights, local shepherds reported presence of intruders deep inside Indian territory, in the strategic positions that overlooked the only road link between Srinagar and Leh. The intruders had occupied fortified posts, many of them routinely vacated by the Indian Army during winter, as they have been doing over the years. The intruders had artillery cover from Pakistan Army positions in the rear.....

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‘When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.’ This evocative epitaph is enshrined on the Kohima war memorial in Nagaland, built to commemorate soldiers of the empire who laid down their lives to repel Japanese assault in 1944 during World War II. Similarly there are stories of bravery of Indian soldiers from different parts of the globe, like in Israel and in some parts of Europe where Indian soldiers fought fiercely and either defeated the Germans or repulsed the attack. There are memorials in memory of the brave Indian soldiers in Israel and Europe. Indian soldiers are in demand for peace-keeping operations conducted by UN. And they are deployed in different countries and war-like zones to maintain peace between the warring groups.

India has send sent over a million soldiers to different parts of the world to fight wars. It is said no country has as many war widows – estimated at 25,000 – as India. In Jammu & Kashmir operations, 1,104 men died in 1948. In China conflict in 1962, nearly 3,250 men lost their lives. In the India-Pakistan war, 3,264 men died. In the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war, 3,843 men lost their lives. In the 1987 IPKF Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, 1,157 died fighting. And the last Kargil conflict in 1999, 522 men laid down their lives. They all made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland and sometimes fighting for others. That’s the spirit and dedication of these gallant Indian men in uniform.

With an annual defence budget of over Rs2.29 lakh crore, the Indian Army is the third largest force in the world. With the Army – over 38,600 officers and 11.32 lakh men, Indian Air Force with over 12,000 officers and 1.3 lakh other ranks, and Navy with over 9,000 officers and 52,000 other ranks.

The Army with over 382 infantry battalions and over 3,200 main-battle tanks is an effective force.The Navy with 149 warships, including 2 aircraft carriers, 14 Submarines, 8 destroyers and 15 frigates is a strong deterrent. The Air force with over 34 Fighter Squadrons (16-18 jets each) of Sukhoi-30MK Is, Mirage-2000s, Jaguars, MIG-29s, MIG-27s, MIG-21s, Tejas and Rafael’s are a potent force. Kindly note the present day figures of budget, men and machine may vary with new inductions.

India last saw action in Kargil heights. In the summer of 1999, as snow began to melt in the Kargil heights, local shepherds reported presence of intruders deep inside Indian territory, in the strategic positions that overlooked the only road link between Srinagar and Leh. The intruders had occupied fortified posts, many of them routinely vacated by the Indian Army during winter, as they have been doing over the years. The intruders had artillery cover from Pakistan Army positions in the rear.

The Indian Army sent out several patrols over the next few days. They reconfirmed the presence of the enemy. Almost 200 square km of Indian territory was in the control of Pakistan soldiers in the garb of Jihadi militants. Over 1,700 men of the Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistan Army, supported by Special forces and artillery. The enemy was occupying the heights and in a vantage position and the Indians were below. The Indians had to fight on two fronts, the hostile terrain and the intruders perched on the top.

India launched Operation Vijay, mobilizing almost 200,000 troops. About 30,000 soldiers were directly involved in the operations. By May end, an additional division HQ inducted, to take over command of a position of Kargil Sector from Leh-based 3 Infantry Division. This and other moves changed the course of the war. The enemy had to bear the brunt of the Indian offensive which they never expected. They began withdrawing unable to bear the strong Indian assault.

IAF authorized offensive air operations under Operation Safed Sagar with strict instructions to not cross Line of Control. By then, India had lost 35 soldiers in the hostile terrain. In the first week of June, India launched aggressive operations to recapture the key strategic heights and evict the well-entrenched Pakistani soldiers. They lost many of their men and others ran away with Indian tricolor flying on top of the heights.

Faced with the determined Indian offensive and pounding along with international pressure, Pakistan intruders began to pull out taking heavy casualties in the process. Over 520 Indian soldiers were killed in the conflict, many to the impossible hostile terrain. 4 Param Vir Chakras (PVCs), 9 Maha Vir Chakras (MVCs) and 53 Vir Chakras, among other bravery awards and medals were awarded for bravery. The Indian soldiers showed what they are capable off even in the most challenging situations.

The top brass of the Pakistan Army under estimated the Indian response; expected some skirmishes to take place and soon cease fire to be declared by the UN. And that they could hold on to these Indian posts. But they never expected such an aggressive counter attack from India including Air force. And they faltered and ran away taking heavy casualties. Ultimately Pakistan realized it was a futile exercise as the world had labeled Pakistan as the aggressor who had illegally crossed the Line of Control. They lost badly, a large of number of men killed, war machine destroyed and all this had a negative effect on their people and economy too, as the most of the time the Pakistanis are fed with fake news by their media glorifying Pakistan.

After this there have been many cease-fire violations on the Indo-Pak border with India responding effectively. And some months ago skirmishes had taken place on the India-China border with Galwan valley incident in the news and other incidents in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. The army responded in kind and the Chinese had to retreat. The India forces are keeping a strict vigil on the borders and are ready to meet any challenges from the west with Pakistan or north from China.


 

Also read more on the Indian Armed Forces:

Where Meghdoot Force Dare

Have Chinese forgotten the 1967 defeat

Liberation of Goa

Operation Cactus 1988 Maldives Coup

Attack on Muntho Dhalo was the turning point of war

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Shoes on the track!

As MK Gandhi stepped abroad a train on a bright day, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track. He was unable to retrieve it as the train was in motion. To the amazement of his companions and co-passengers, Gandhi calmly took off his other shoes and threw it on the track to land close to the first. Asked by a fellow passenger why he did so, Gandhi smiled and replied – The poor man who finds the shoes lying on the track, will now have a pair he can use.

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Aga Khan Palace, Pune, Maharashtra
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