November 2, 2021
To: either/view subscribers
Good morning. Do some songs give you the chills? A particular note or melody is all it takes for a certain song to give you tingles. Researchers have investigated why this happens. A common theory is that the human mind thinks ahead to anticipate what might be coming, and we get chills when the prediction is incorrect. Dr Rémi de Fleurian and Marcus Pearce have compiled a list of 715 songs that are chills-inducing. Research showed songs that were sadder, slower, and less intense produced chills.
📰 FEATURE STORY
China’s Land Border Law: Should India Be Concerned?
Nationally speaking, the last time anybody used Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai in a genuine sense was PM Nehru in the early 50s. Sadly, things have remained relatively sour since then. Territorial disputes have forever been a staple at the Indo-China frenemy-ship table and China’s new Land Border Law falls right in the middle of it. While the Chinese are sure that their neighbours are overreacting, India is worried about the bilaterals. So are we really just sticking our nose in something that doesn’t involve us? Or is China actually upping the ante on a longstanding grudge match?
October 23 saw the practically ceremonial but top legislative body of China, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, go to work. They passed a new law – the Land Border Law – that seeks to protect the country’s land border areas from exploitation. It basically states that China’s borders are “sacred and inviolable”, allowing them to take any means necessary to safeguard their “territorial integrity and land boundaries”. While not actively directed towards India, the shared 3,488 km long boundary between the two would definitely fall under the law’s purview.
Having said that, the changes China is planning with this law doesn’t just stop at the arms. They’re essentially looking to push the settlement of civilians along these borders. China will now “support economic and social development… in border areas, improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, [and] encourage and support people’s life and work there”. Sure, the law also talks about resolving “longstanding border disputes” through “friendly consultations”. But the general mistrust garnered, especially at the Indian and Bhutanese borders, have caused quite the controversy over much more than just words on paper.
A strong signal to India
The announcement of the Land Border Law has made it clear that China will be digging their heels in at disputed areas. As of now, the Doklam crisis, the Galwan Valley standoff and China’s general activities along the Arunachal border make things complicated as it is. In the face of this, saying that the nation will take “safety measures” to secure its borders clearly indicates that strong defensive actions are sure to be taken from China’s end. Ladakh especially has seen China steadily moving in, claiming the land as their own. If these “safety measures” are to be taken at face value, then China’s possible retrieval is no longer a viable option.
China has also been steadily growing their diplomatic, defence and infrastructural investments in the region by the Siliguri corridor. This 60 km by 22 km piece of land connects India to its North-eastern states making it very important, and China knows that. Thus, having them openly say that they are going to ramp up infrastructural investments by the borders doesn’t seem too comforting. China has also recently opened up discussions with Bhutan over their border disputes. Looking at Bhutan’s proximity to the previously mentioned corridor, having a pro-China Bhutan only adds to the tension.
Finally, according to retired Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda, this law makes it clear that China will now do border management “as opposed to us”. In India right now, there is a “lack of clarity” between the Home Ministry and that of Defence about who exactly is responsible for the border. China’s Land Border Law makes it clear that their People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will take it up, i.e. “demand more from us” during negotiations. As if to say, according to Lt. Gen. Hooda, “these are our laws, if you want us to negotiate, this is our bottom line”. Negotiations just got a lot more complicated.
Ground reality remains unchanged
Former Indian Ambassador Gautam Bambawale is sure that the new law is nothing but “a lot of verbiage. It is a lot of hot air. It doesn’t change the realities on the ground.” And he isn’t alone in that opinion. Many believe that the concern over the Land Border Law formalising China’s recent actions by the border doesn’t really stand. This is simply because they haven’t necessarily hidden the fact that they’re ready to jeopardize lives and bilateral relations for territory. As Bambawale put it, “China has shown that it wants to settle the boundary with India, not through negotiations but by use of force.” This only “states the obvious”.
Whenever the notion of formalisation comes into play, the state of current treaties starts popping up. And regarding that, China has been pretty clear that this law “will not affect China’s compliance with existing treaties related to national land boundary affairs China has already signed or change China’s current mode of boundary management and cooperation with countries sharing a land boundary with it.” As for the law itself, every nation’s government is bound to look into protecting its own territorial integrity. That’s their job. It’s just that we don’t agree on what China claims to be a part of their territory.
Even when it comes to the infrastructural and social aspects of the law, China has been doing this for a while now. China has already been building “border defence villages” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Given China’s regular use of their “civil population to reinforce their claims”, this comes as no surprise to those already present along the disputed borders. Even the pandemic couldn’t stop them from completing their infrastructure projects by the LAC. While this did cause a fair amount of confusion in the international community, it was something India was always aware of and had considered during policy formation.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Assam: As Hindutva Strengthens Its Grip, Muslims Lose Dignity
For the Left:
Take The Knee Or You Are A Racist? Wokeism Has Now Invaded Cricket
🏴 STATE OF THE STATES
Phone checks by cops (Telangana) – In the wake of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s mission to make the state drug-free, Hyderabad cops have resorted to invasive ways to keep a check. A video has been circulated of cops checking the phones of youngsters and their WhatsApp messages for any suspicious messages. One police official defended the decision as legitimate. However, activists have said this is a breach of rights and overreach by the police.
Tribute to martyrs (Jammu & Kashmir) – The state government released a list of 76 schools, colleges, and roads to be renamed after martyrs and eminent personalities. It’s part of the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations. The identified infrastructure will be renamed as a mark of respect to those who contributed towards the development and security of the Union Territory.
Creating a happy tribe (Jharkhand) – The Happy Tribe, a start-up, aims to create a tribe of happy people. Started by motivational speaker and entrepreneur Santosh Sharma, more than 1000 professionals and students have seen its benefits. The basic objective is to increase people’s happiness quotient. They provide a toolkit that contains various tools to help increase happiness, be it from a physical, mental, or psychological sense.
Free of child labour (Rajasthan) – The Bikaner administration’s initiative to make the district free of child labour has paid dividends. In the Beechwal industrial district, the campaign has been successful thanks to cooperation from industries and factories located there. In June, at the start of the campaign, 40 children were rescued from the district. Now, other industrial areas are being identified.
Thousands of dead fish (Arunachal Pradesh) – The Kameng River in Arunachal Pradesh was the sight of something unusual. Thousands of dead fish were floating in the river. The water turned black due to a high content of total dissolved substances (TDS). This is seen as the reason why the fish died as the presence of TDS makes it difficult for aquatic species to breathe. The normal range of TDS is 300-1200 mg per litre. The TDS in this river was 6800 mg per litre. The government advised people against going into the river or catching fish from there.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
1,78,000 – The number of women applicants for the National Defence Academy (NDA) examination on November 14. It follows the Supreme Court’s order in August allowing women to join the NDA. Women make up a third of the applicants.