Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Imphal, July 30:

Troops of Spear Corps in a joint operation with State Police neutralised two Myanmarese cadres of NSCN-K (YA) in general area Lomlo, Tirap District, Arunachal Pradesh on  28 Jul 2021.

A number of inputs were being received from various sources regarding presence of a group of NSCN-K (YA) cadres carrying out anti national activities in areas north of Trans Arunachal Highway, in Kottam Forest. Based on a specific input, Assam Rifles along with  State Police launched a search operation in  Lomlo Village. During search of the suspected area, the column located a hideout and  the cadres were challenged and asked to surrender, however, the insurgents opened fire. In the ensuing firefight, two insurgents of NSCN-K (YA) were neutralized.  Two assault rifles including one M14 and one MQ series rifle, one 9mm Pistol, two country made weapons, assorted ammunition and warlike stores and cash Rs 11,200/-   were recovered. The bodies along with recovered items have been handed over to Deomali Police Station, Tirap District for further investigation. The local population expressed their relief to the Security Forces, for neutralizing the Myanmar based cadres, as they were threatening the locals and extorting from the region.

Friday, 30 July 2021 18:09

A Changing Chinese foreign policy

By Sauro Dasgupta

The Chinese State has a worldview that is much different from other nations like  India and the US in the sense that its foreign policy is based entirely on how to how to survive and prosper in a world that has always been extremely hostile to China. Unlike others, China has only a few allies like Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, etc. However, China has a few objectives in mind while conducting its  foreign policy. These objectives have remained unchanged. They are fostering economic development, reassurance, countering constraints, diversifying access  to natural resources and reducing international space of Taiwan.

The main agency in charge of determining Chinese foreign policy is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, it is subservient to the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, the foreign affairs wing of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s foreign policy interests rapidly expanded well beyond the Asia-Pacific region and can now be observed worldwide. This process has been accelerated under the government of President Xi Jinping who assumed the presidency of China in March 2013 and was reappointed to that position in early 2018. With the removal of presidential term limits within the Chinese constitution in March of that year, President Xi will remain in office indefinitely and continue to personally shape both domestic and foreign policy in many ways. China set up new foreign policy initiatives, ranging from enhanced state-to-state relations to the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative or BRI, trade networks set to expand into Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, and Russia and to other regions.

China is now facing many challenges, including an aggressive United States government, as illustrated by a trade war between China and the United States starting in mid-2018 when both countries began to levy tariffs on each others’ goods and now with President Biden demanding an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, relations have been at an all-time low.Ever since the Communist Revolution of 1949 and the flight of National Party President General Chiang Kai-Shek to Taiwan (then known as Formosa), relations between PRC and Taiwan have been cold. This period of détente began to fade with the election in 2016 of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally called for greater Taiwanese sovereignty and potential independence. By the beginning of 2019, only seventeen governments recognised Taipei.

In Ancient China, relations with foreign states like Greece, Rome, India flourished, with rulers like Kublai Khan managing diplomatic relations with all. Explorers like Fa Hein, Hueing Tsang, and Marco Polo toured worldwide and made new discoveries. From the 17th to 20th Centuries, China was totally 3 devastated by a series of conflicts with Europe via the three Opium Wars, which it lost and to Japanese imperialism. After the last empress was forced to abdicate in 1911, China fell under the control of the warlords controlling different territories of China.

In 1919, the Communist Party of China was formed to bring about a Communist government in China on the lines of the Soviet Revolution. After the death of its leader Dr Sun Yat Sen, a conflict developed between his moderate son-in-law General Chiang Kai-Shek and the hardliner newer generation led by Mao Zedong. A terrible Civil War lasted from 1929 to 1949, ending in the victory of Mao Zedong and the flight of General Chiang Kai-Shek to Taiwan. Mao as the first President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) convinced India and Russia to recognize it. PM Nehru also convinced the US to give India’s Permanent Seat in the UN to China. In 1972, US recognized PRC and it finally became a permanent member of the UN. Deng Xiaoping made PRC closer to the West and similar reforms was carried out by his successors and China now had memberships of top international organizations like WTO, BRICS, NSG, etc.

Since the 1990s, in the wake of international outcry over the Tiananmen Incident in June 1989, China sought to improve relations with as many of its neighbours as possible. These policies included settling leftover cold war border disputes with Russia and Central Asian states. However, China remains involved in ongoing land and maritime border disputes, including contested territorial claims with India, and claims to the majority of the South China Sea (SCS), which since 2010 have resulted in a cooling of diplomatic relations between China on one side and parts of Southeast Asia on the other.

China’s security challenges have moved well beyond traditional concerns, becoming much more multifaceted and now include issues such as border and maritime security. Non-traditional issues, including terrorism, economics, health, trade security, access to resources and energy, and transnational crime, have assumed a higher level of priority.

However, that does not diminish the more traditional security concerns, including maritime boundaries, nuclear weapons, and potential great power competition with the United States. As well, the Taiwan question, despite it being considered by the Chinese government as a domestic issue, retains many international dimensions given the potential role of the United States in determining Taiwan security concerns. This list of security concerns, many of which have become more urgent as China settles into great power status, have resulted in President Xi Jinping seeking to reform the People’s Liberation Army or PLA, and other Chinese security agencies to address a much more complicated security picture both near Chinese borders and internationally.4 Despite the growing number of foreign policy actors in China, the role of the PLA in crafting foreign policy in the country has not diminished. The modern Chinese military is still in the process of moving beyond its limited, ideologically based ideas of “people’s war” advocated by Mao Zedong, and has been focusing on modernisation and adaptation to modern strategic issues in an increasingly wider arena, including addressing issues which extend well-beyond East Asia. As Chinese foreign policy becomes more cross-regional in nature, policymakers have placed great hope in the PLA for the fulfilment of Chinese strategic interests.

PLA has been putting more emphasis on understanding security situations, and at times even conflicts, far away from the country’s borders, including in Africa and the Middle East. This can be seen in Chinese decisions to send peacekeepers to ongoing conflict situations, as well as to participate in complex security debates including the nuclear question in Iran and to bringing an end to the long conflict in Syria. The development of the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI, which now stretches far beyond East Asia, has also raised questions about the need to protect Chinese assets and personnel abroad, including in current and potential combat zones. Closer to home, Beijing has also attempted to remain ahead of the everchanging nuclear diplomacy in North Korea (DPRK), which during 2017–9 moved from a near-crisis to a fragile détente. It has been frequently demonstrated that potential great powers frequently experience an increase in their security concerns as they “grow” within the international system.

Under the Xi Jinping government, stronger links have been made between domestic and international security concerns faced by China. This was basis for the creation in 2013 of a National Security Commission or NSC, designed to support other security agencies within China and to better coordinate their activities. The Commission, chaired by President Xi himself, held its founding meeting in Beijing in April 2014, amid calls from the Chinese government for a security apparatus to address various traditional and non-traditional strategic concerns on both local and global levels. The PLA itself has been subject to extensive reforms by the Xi government starting in late 2015, with the goal of preparing the various branches of the Chinese military to fight different types of conflicts while cutting personnel numbers and placing a greater emphasis on technological prowess and power projection.

At the landmark summit of the APEC forum in Beijing in November 2014, President Xi promoted the revival of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which would jump-start the long-delayed process of developing a free trade zone to encompass the entire Pacific Rim and, if successful, would become the largest such free trade zone in the world. 5 The FTAAP was considered a potential alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), heavily supported by the US administration of President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. China was not invited to join the TPP, but the group included several American partners, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, and Vietnam. But China spearheaded another potential cross-Pacific free trade regime, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), launched in 2012, which also includes Australia, Japan, South Korea, and several Southeast Asian economies, with India exiting the RCEP in 2019. The TPP hit a major obstacle when the Trump government withdrew from the deal shortly after taking office in early 2017, with critics suggesting the decision may have opened the door in the Pacific Rim for alternative Chinese trade regimes.

First articulated by Xi Jinping in 2013, the idea of BRI included the “Silk Road Economic Belt” which would stretch across Central Asia and the Caucasus and Bosporus regions, with links to Moscow, all the way to Europe, including various transportation projects, including roads and railways as well as communications links to improve economic cooperation. One central component would be the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, worth more than $67 billion, which included projects related to transportation infrastructure, ports and fossil fuels, as well as special economic zones. In addition to trade, the creation of the Belt would involve increased bilateral cooperation between Beijing and Central Asian and Caucasus states along with Russia, and stronger institutional engagement with regional organisations including the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).Conservative estimates place the cost of the BRI at $1 trillion, with at least seventy countries signing on to the initiative by 2018.

On the international level, China is still seeking to expand its international economic interests abroad in a global economy which is still recovering from the post-2008 downturns, but other issues include questions about US isolationism and the developing trade war. China’s economic expansion since the Deng Xiaoping era has been rapid, heady, and has challenged and sometimes upended, commonly held views on how states could and should modernise.

The Xi Jinping government came to power with ambitious plans to move China further into great power status with an enhanced international role, and with President Xi Jinping now becoming President for life, there is much more time for Xi Jinping to add more features to China’s foreign policy. The rise of China continues to be one of the most significant changes to global affairs since the cold war, and it is for that reason that understanding how China interacts with its neighbours in Asia, and the international system, has become so important to the study of modern foreign policy.

China has continued to rise as an economic, political, and military power. It’s rise has been unprecedented. It continues to face challenges. With its capacities, it has remained strong and will be so for a long time to come. It has combat all its foes deftly. It must not lose sight of its security threats and try to prosper.

Friday, 30 July 2021 18:07

Conserve the nature to save lives

By Er. PRABHAT KISHORE

Madhya Pradesh Government had surveyed the Bundelkhand regions under “Bunder Diamond Project” through Australian company Rio Tinto in 2000-2005  to find out probability of diamond. In the survey Kimberlite rock,whichis the major source (ore) of diamonds,have been traced outin the Buxwaha forest areas.Presently, Panna of MP is the largest repository of diamond having approx. 22 lakh carats. It is said that Buxwaha forest contains 15 times more diamond than Panna. The State government has allotted the mining area to Aditya Birla Group’s Assell Mining and Industries Ltd. on lease for 50 years. The mining area of 364 hactare is a part of approx. 3000 hactare of Buxwahaprotectedforest. The heartening aspect is that to excavate the diamond nearly 215875 trees of various species will be cut down, threatening large scale ecological imbalance in the region.

Presently not only MP, but whole world is suffering from pandemicCoronavirusDisease 2019 (COVID-19), whose one of the prime cause is disturbance of the nature and ecological imbalance. Currently main thrust to counter the pandemic is the production of artificial oxygen in laboratories, which is nothing but result of neglecting natural source of this life supporting gas, i.ethe trees. Ideally a country must have at least 33% of its areas covered with forest, but currently it is just 20% in India. Central as well as State governments have separate jumbo size ministries and departments for this purpose; but in spite of huge expenditure of public money all have failed to achieve the goal even after 73 years of independence.

Trees & plants are major components of environment. They balance proportion of Corbondio-oxide in the atmosphere.The gradual rise of temperature on the earth is not a natural disaster, but is the scientific and environmental problem. There are certain proportion of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon mono-oxide and other gases in the air. Due to steep growth of factories & motor vehicles, rapid pace of urbanization, population rise and indiscriminate reaping of forests there has been unexpected increase in proportion of Carbon di-oxide in the atmosphere. With rise in population , the consumption of oxygen and production of carbon di-oxide has also increased. There has been gradual rise in carbon di-oxide gas due to conventional source of energy such as burning of coal, wood, petroleum, cowdung etc. This gas has the tendency to pass sunlight through it, increasing temperature of the atmosphere and resulting in unwanted geographical & seasonal changes.

The emitting smoke from factories & vehicles contains not only carbon di-oxide but harmful carbon mono-oxide, nitrogen oxide, lead oxide, carbon particles, heavy hydro-carbon, formaldehyde, bengene, which pollutes the atmosphere and affects the cells in the human’s lungs to become cancerous. The Ozone-layer protects us from harmful ultra-violet rays of the Sun. The industrial chemicals, particularly chloro-carbon and nitrogen oxides from nuclear and atomic explosion damages the Ozone-layer. If these chemicals are not controlled, then in coming 50 years, the Ozon-layer of the earth will be damaged upto 25 to 30%, resulting in rapid increase in atmospheric temperature and danger of cancer to human and animal bodies. A report reveals that presently, pollution from municipality is 45.62%, Bio-medical/chemical - 20%, Various mode of transport - 14%, Industry -  6.4%, Thermal power station - 6.4% and from other sources is 6.7%.

In various religious literatures, the importance of trees has been highlighted.  In Sanskrit literature, trees like Peepal, Neem, Tulsi, Bargad/Vat, Anwala has been worshiped and cutting of green trees have been prohibited. Obviously,the Holy literatures have glorified the trees due to its life-supporting quality. In MatasyaPuran , a tree has been mentioned as equivalent to ten sons (Dash koopsamavapiDashvapisamohridah. Dash hridsamahputronDashputrasamodrumah).  In Bhagwad Gita (10.26), Bhagwan Krishna glorified the Vat/Bargad tree as “AshvatthahSarvavrikshanam”. In Yayurved, the tree has been said to be the reflection of Bhagwan Shiva. As Shiva ingested the poison and released the Amrit, in the same way trees desiccate the poison (poisonous gases like Carbon di-oxide) and pump out Amrit in the form of oxygen.

Gautam Buddha has attained enlightenment under the Peepal tree called Bodhi Vriksh in Bodh Gaya. As per Buddhist scriptures, nature creats as well as preserves life and it is the duty of people to preserve plant considering them as living being. All 24 Jain Tirthankars meditated under the tree to attain enlightment. Islamic literature mentioned “whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit, he will be rewarded by Allah as charity”. Holy Bible says “God made the trees with seed bearing fruits. He gave us the possibility to increase their number by planting the seeds.”Actually all these aspects have been emphasised to keep in mind the social concern regarding importance of trees& plants for conservation of environment.

Forests are not just densely covered areas  of trees & plants,  but are the source of livelihood of human as  well as other biological creatures. It is responsible for rains, reduces the effect of natural calamities like tsunami, prevents soil erosion, minimizes air pollution, produce shelter for birds and wild animals, availability of food etc. It is the source of numerous herbal plants for manufacturing medicines. In other words, it is the lifeline for millions of peoples and other living creatures.

The conservation of environment is not possible only through some government initiatives; civil society too have to come forward. Otherwise, in coming days, duetounexpected rise of carbon di-oxide and damage of Ozone-layer, the earth would be so much heated that existence of life on the earth  will be in danger mode.

Although Buxwaha lush green forest is not the only natural resource whose existence is in danger, earlier hundreds of various such resources have been destroyed recklessly  on the name of development causing disastrous climatic changes in those regions.No doubt, diamond or other valuable minerals are essentialfornation’s growth& prosperity , but not at the cost of life-supporting natural resources, the forests and the trees. Once again, the million dollar question arises –“what is the urgency of nation  -Diomomd or Oxygen ?”

(Author is a technocrat and academician.)

It is heartening to learn that the construction  of tribe heritage museums  numbering 32 for different tribes of the state at different centres, are nearing completion, with the patronage of the Honourable Chief Minister with his  generous sanction of ₹10 lakhs for each museum. The Department of Arts & Culture, Government of Manipur is thankful for the progress of works. After the completion of the museum, each tribe will be keeping the equipments, implements, household wares , etc., which our forefathers used at different times for running dwelling houses, fishing, hunting, ploughing, rearing of domestic animals, etc. These museums would be permanent assets of indigenous communities and the state also would proud of its rich cultural heritage. When these museums are opened, people from inside and outside the state / country would throng and the places would be important touristssites. Students of schools, colleges and universities mostly of History, Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, etc., would be greatly benefitted. The tourists and visitors can easily learn the names of tribes/ indigenous / native people who have been living in the state, their ways of life and culture, among others.

The very surprising and unexpected thing that happened in the recent newspaper reports are the missing of Meetei museum in the list of 32 tribalheritage museums to be established by the Department of Arts & Culture, Government of Manipur. It appears that the authorities in the concern department do not understand the meaning of tribe and indigenous people. The term “TRIBE” is used in the Indian Constitution and ’INDIGENOUS’ in the Supreme Court of India and UNO. The dictionary meaning of tribe here is not applicable.

Every tribe cannot be an indigenous people but every indigenouspeople is a tribe. Meetei community being an indigenous people in this land with 76 kings since MeidinguNangdaLairenPakhangba in 33AD upto Maharaja Bodhachandra till 1949 with written historical records is the clear evidence that Meetei community is an INDIGENOUS people/TRIBE of this land like Tangkhul, Kabui, Maram, Thangal, Mao, Anal, Maring, Moyon, Koireng, etc.  None can challenge this veracity. Any community or so called ’TRIBE’ of the state can challenge this statement.

Therefore, the authorities in the Department of Arts and Culture should include a museum for Meetei tribe / indigenous people to avoid any complicacy that may arise in future on account of wrong interpretation of ‘TRIBE’ in the narrow sense of dictionary/ Anthropology discipline. The demand for the inclusion in the ST list of the state and country by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDCM) is more than proved that the Meetei is a tribe, which is synonymous with indigenous people/native people/adivasi. The name of the tribe heritage museum should be “Indigenous Heritage Museum” to avoid any dispute in future.

Dr. Thangjam Ranjit

Sinam Leikai, Thangmaiband.

Mobile No. 8787692023

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