Elderly pastor brutally beaten, mocked by Hindu extremists: ‘I am ready to die for Christ’

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2020

Hindu extremists in Andhra Pradesh, India, brutally beat an elderly pastor and verbally abused his wife amid escalating tension over the presence of a Christian church in their community.

Morning Star News reports that Pastor Eswara Rao Appalabattula was attacked by a group of Hindu extremists after he pleaded with them to stop building a wall meant to block people from attending worship services at his home in L.B. Patnam village, Andhra Pradesh.

“They wanted to build a wall right in front of the church and ban us from using the path,” Appalabattula told Morning Star News. “I pleaded with them to not do so. But the group of at least six neighbors, both male and female, punched me in my stomach several times and pushed me to the floor.”

They picked up a wooden pole and started beating his hands repeatedly with it, he said. Doctors later told him his hand had been fractured.

“I was lying there on the floor screaming for help,” he said. “My wife came running and begged them to stop beating me — it was traumatic.”

That same month, a Hindu priest led a group of extremists to the pastor’s home, where they threatened to kill his wife, Karuna Appalabattula, as she was doing chores outside.

“I did not go to fight with them but I was panicked,” Karuna Appalabattula told Morning Star News. “I did not know what to do. I asked them, ‘What is this you are doing? Why are you after us?’”

The Hindu priest picked up a large log of wood and came running toward her, she said.

“He kept screaming that he would kill me,” she said. “I was crying for help. But their priest abused me in extremely foul language. They called me names they would never use for a mother, wife, sister or any female member of their families. He called me a Christian prostitute and warned me that he would kill my husband.”

When the pastor informed a police official of the abuse his family had endured, he was told to resolve the matter himself.

“They told me that, ‘Your God has to protect you — when your God is not protecting you from your attackers, what can we do staying here?’” the pastor said. “I told them that it was my God who had been protecting me, if not I would not have been alive in front of you.”

The Hindu extremists were reportedly angered by the presence of a church in their village and intimidated worshipers to discourage them from gathering. Pastor Appalabattula said the Hindu villagers had stopped worshipers from coming to services throughout January.

“They would threaten and abuse them in foul language and not let them even park their motorbikes in the area,” he said. “Even before they stop at the church, they are chased and sent away.”

“My wife and I witnessed drug and alcohol addicts, and the sick, come to Christ, and then they had refused to be a part of Hindu rituals in the village.”

Because of the ongoing persecution, youths and Christians from neighboring villages who used to come to their home daily for worship and hours of fellowship are too fearful to come now, the pastor said.

“They were like our own children,” she said. “I would prepare meals and feed them. We sang and worshiped together … We both are very old and weak and are in need of prayers and support.”

Pastor Appalabattula said they are going through a very difficult time.

“I am ready to die for Christ. But the ministry we had started here has come to a sudden halt,” he said. “Not even four members are gathering for Sunday worship. The believers have been very scared, and nobody dares to come and see us.”

India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Over 1,400 incidents of persecution against Christians in India have been reported since the year Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power, according to an initiative of ADF India.

Recently, it was reported that Hindu extremists in southern India beat Christian children during a worship service before filing a false police complaint against the congregation.

International Christian Concern, an advocacy organization based outside of Washington, D.C., said it often receives reports of rapes, communal violence, forced conversion charges and other abuses committed against Christians in the Hindu-majority country.

“Cases such as these are becoming commonplace in India and are largely fueled by rhetoric of BJP and other [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] officials,” ICC Advocacy Director Matias Perttula said. “They show a clear indication of the decline of religious freedom and an increase in the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.” (Click To Source)

 

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Locust attack: ‘This is very, very rare’

Changing wind patterns in India-Pakistan and frequent cyclones in the Indian Ocean due to climate change are creating suitable breeding conditions for locusts, says Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

By Jitendra – Last Updated: Tuesday 04 February 2020

 

How do you see the swarm attack panning out in India?

It appears that a very long breeding season of locust is finally ending. Its population is declining now. Though a few swarms still remain in western Rajasthan and Gujarat, these are immature and cannot be detected and controlled. India’s Locust Watch Centres need to be alert for the next few weeks.

Is this the first time that locust has stayed in India after October-November?

This has happened for the first time since the 1950s. The decades before this witnessed terrible and long periods of locust plague (when there is a swarm attack for more than two continuous years, it is called plague). This time, they stayed for long because of good monsoon.

In 2019, monsoon started six weeks before time (first week of July) in western India, especially in locust infested areas. It also lasted a month longer — till November, instead of the usual September/October. Extended rains created excellent breeding conditions for the locust, while also producing natural vegetation on which they could feed longer.

Locust came to Jaisalmer in May end. Rajasthan has witnessed three generations of breeding instead of the regular one generation. The first two generations caused a lot of damage to crops. The third generation is weak now.

How big is the number after the third generation?

Locust breeds fast. The first breeding causes a 20-time increase in number; the second a 400-time rise; and the third 16,000 times. The peak infestation this time was in October, at the end of second generation, when large swarms were reported in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Since natural vegetation dried out in December, the swarms got into cultivated areas and caused damage.

Can they return in May-June, or before the monsoon?

It does not matter if they go late or come early. Their children or great-grandchildren will come during the time of their annual migration, at the start of the monsoon. They move to south-west Pakistan, Baluchistan and south-east Iran where they hang out in the winter. They wait for rains as humidity and the resultant warmth creates a conducive environment for their breeding.

If breeding is good, the new swarm formed in May-end could move back to India’s monsoonal areas around June. The difference this year was that south-east Iran received heavy rainfall in January, giving an environment conducive for breeding. So swarms are moving from India and Pakistan to lay eggs there.

This generally happens in March-April, but this time it’s happening in January-February. This means Iran and Pakistan will now have an extra generation of locusts. This also means we will have 20 times more locust than normal.

Does this mean they will come early to India and Pakistan this year and set a new pattern of annual migration?

I don’t think so. It is not going to happen every year. Their seasonal migration depends on the rainfall patterns in Iran. Locust swarms are usually carried to India and Pakistan by the monsoon winds. If these are normal then their migration pattern will not change.

Do you think frequent changes in wind patterns are causing an increase in the frequency of locust attacks?

Yes. Wind patterns are changing over India and Pakistan. Because of climate change in the Indian Ocean, there are more cyclones. The frequency of cyclones has increased. Usually, there was a cyclone every five to six years, but in the past three years there have been three cyclones each year.

Cyclones bring rain to coastal Gujarat, Pakistan, Arabian Peninsula, Somalia and north-eastern Africa. This creates good breeding conditions. History shows that these plagues spread due to cyclonic winds.

Africa, too, witnessed one of its worst locust attacks last year.

It is linked to the attack in India and Pakistan. It started in mid-2018 when the desert region of Saudi Arabia received heavy rainfall due to a cyclone. There was another cyclone in November, followed by rains in the Red Sea coast region. These nine months of breeding produced an enormous number of locusts.

Some of them moved north, to Iran, and from there came for spring breeding in India and Pakistan. Other swarms moved south, to Yemen, and in summer, crossed the sea to reach Somalia, to the Horn of Africa. (Click to Source)

 

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Pakistan declares national emergency over worst locust infestation in 27 years

Posted by Julie Celestial on  (4 days ago)

The government of Pakistan declared a national emergency on Saturday, February 1, 2020, as the nation faces its worst locust plague in 27 years. The insects have been devastating crops on a large scale in Punjab province, the country’s main region for agricultural production.

The decision to declare a national emergency was made during a meeting summoned by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, January 31. The meeting was attended by federal ministers and senior officials of four provinces.

A national action plan was also approved to allocate a sum of 7.3 billion rupees (102 million dollars) to tackle the crisis.

“We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare a national emergency to deal with the threat,” said Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan.

In addition, the potential for large scale devastation poses risks of food insecurity.

According to the National Food Security Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, the locust swarms are on the border of Pakistan and India around the Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan.

“The locust attack is unprecedented and alarming,” said Bakhtiar. The last time Pakistan faced a serious locust infestation was in 1993.

“Action has been taken against the insect over 121 400 ha (300 000 acres) and aerial spray was done on 20 000 ha (49 421 acres). District administrations, voluntary organizations, aviation division, and armed forces are put into operation to combat the attack and save the crops.”

Khan ordered the formation of a high-level committee to be led by Bakhtiar to take decisions at the federal level for the eradication of the locusts.

“[The] protection of farms and farmers is the highest priority of the government. Therefore, the federal government should take all necessary steps to save national crops and provide required resources to the quarters concerned,” Khan stated.

The desert locusts came to Pakistan from Iran in June 2019, and have already infested crops including cotton, wheat, and maize. (Click to Source)

 

This Might Be Where the Very First Total Nuclear War Starts

And where billions of people die.

by War Is Boring

May 24, 2019

Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might — given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors — lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case the result would be catastrophic. Besides causing the deaths of millions of Indians and Pakistanis, such a war might bring on “nuclear winter” on a planetary scale, leading to levels of suffering and death that would be beyond our comprehension.

Alarmingly, the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has now entered a spine-chilling phase. That danger stems from Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward operating military bases along its entire frontier with India to deter possible aggression by tank-led invading forces. Most ominously, the decision to fire such a nuclear-armed missile with a range of 35 to 60 miles is to rest with local commanders. This is a perilous departure from the universal practice of investing such authority in the highest official of the nation. Such a situation has no parallel in the Washington-Moscow nuclear arms race of the Cold War era.

(This article by Dilip Hiro originally appeared at War is Boring in 2016.)

When it comes to Pakistan’s strategic nuclear weapons, their parts are stored in different locations to be assembled only upon an order from the country’s leader. By contrast, tactical nukes are pre-assembled at a nuclear facility and shipped to a forward base for instant use. In addition to the perils inherent in this policy, such weapons would be vulnerable to misuse by a rogue base commander or theft by one of the many militant groups in the country.

In the nuclear standoff between the two neighbors, the stakes are constantly rising as Aizaz Chaudhry, the highest bureaucrat in Pakistan’s foreign ministry, recently made clear. The deployment of tactical nukes, he explained, was meant to act as a form of “deterrence,” given India’s “Cold Start” military doctrine — a reputed contingency plan aimed at punishing Pakistan in a major way for any unacceptable provocations like a mass-casualty terrorist strike against India.

New Delhi refuses to acknowledge the existence of Cold Start. Its denials are hollow. As early as 2004, it was discussing this doctrine, which involved the formation of eight division-size Integrated Battle Groups. These were to consist of infantry, artillery, armor and air support, and each would be able to operate independently on the battlefield. In the case of major terrorist attacks by any Pakistan-based group, these IBGs would evidently respond by rapidly penetrating Pakistani territory at unexpected points along the border and advancing no more than 30 miles inland, disrupting military command and control networks while endeavoring to stay away from locations likely to trigger nuclear retaliation.

In other words, India has long been planning to respond to major terror attacks with a swift and devastating conventional military action that would inflict only limited damage and so — in a best-case scenario — deny Pakistan justification for a nuclear response.

Islamabad, in turn, has been planning ways to deter the Indians from implementing a Cold-Start-style blitzkrieg on its territory. After much internal debate, its top officials opted for tactical nukes. In 2011, the Pakistanis tested one successfully. Since then, according to Rajesh Rajagopalan, the New Delhi-based co-author of Nuclear South Asia: Keywords and Concepts, Pakistan seems to have been assembling four to five of these annually.

All of this has been happening in the context of populations that view each other unfavorably. A typical survey in this period by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Pakistanis had an unfavorable view of India, with 57 percent considering it as a serious threat, while on the other side 59 percent of Indians saw Pakistan in an unfavorable light.

 

This is the background against which Indian leaders have said that a tactical nuclear attack on their forces, even on Pakistani territory, would be treated as a full-scale nuclear attack on India, and that they reserved the right to respond accordingly. Since India does not have tactical nukes, it could only retaliate with far more devastating strategic nuclear arms, possibly targeting Pakistani cities.

According to a 2002 estimate by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, a worst-case scenario in an Indo-Pakistani nuclear war could result in eight to 12 million fatalities initially, followed by many millions later from radiation poisoning. More recent studies have shown that up to a billion people worldwide might be put in danger of famine and starvation by the smoke and soot thrown into the troposphere in a major nuclear exchange in South Asia. The resulting “nuclear winter” and ensuing crop loss would functionally add up to a slowly developing global nuclear holocaust.

 

Last November, to reduce the chances of such a catastrophic exchange happening, senior Obama administration officials met in Washington with Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif — the final arbiter of that country’s national security policies — and urged him to stop the production of tactical nuclear arms. In return, they offered a pledge to end Islamabad’s pariah status in the nuclear field by supporting its entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to which India already belongs. Although no formal communiqué was issued after Sharif’s trip, it became widely known that he had rejected the offer.

This failure was implicit in the testimony that DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart gave to the Armed Services Committee this February. “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons continue to grow,” he said. “We are concerned that this growth, as well as the evolving doctrine associated with tactical [nuclear] weapons, increases the risk of an incident or accident.”

Strategic nuclear warheads

Since that DIA estimate of human fatalities in a South Asian nuclear war, the strategic nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan have continued to grow. In January 2016, according to a U.S. congressional report, Pakistan’s arsenal probably consisted of 110 to 130 nuclear warheads. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India has 90 to 110 of these.

China, the other regional actor, has approximately 260 warheads.

As the 1990s ended, with both India and Pakistan testing their new weaponry, their governments made public their nuclear doctrines. The National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine, for example, stated in August 1999 that “India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.”

India’s foreign minister explained at the time that the “minimum credible deterrence” mentioned in the doctrine was a question of “adequacy,” not numbers of warheads. In subsequent years, however, that yardstick of “minimum credible deterrence” has been regularly recalibrated as India’s policymakers went on to commit themselves to upgrade the country’s nuclear arms program with a new generation of more powerful hydrogen bombs designed to be city-busters.

In Pakistan in February 2000, President General Pervez Musharraf, who was also the army chief, established the Strategic Plan Division in the National Command Authority, appointing Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai as its director general. In October 2001, Kidwai offered an outline of the country’s updated nuclear doctrine in relation to its far more militarily and economically powerful neighbor, saying, “It is well known that Pakistan does not have a ‘no-first-use policy.’”

He then laid out the “thresholds” for the use of nukes. The country’s nuclear weapons, he pointed out, were aimed solely at India and would be available for use not just in response to a nuclear attack from that country, but should it conquer a large part of Pakistan’s territory (the space threshold), or destroy a significant part of its land or air forces (the military threshold), or start to strangle Pakistan economically (the economic threshold), or politically destabilize the country through large-scale internal subversion (the domestic destabilization threshold).

Of these, the space threshold was the most likely trigger. New Delhi as well as Washington speculated as to where the red line for this threshold might lie, though there was no unanimity among defense experts. Many surmised that it would be the impending loss of Lahore, the capital of Punjab, only 15 miles from the Indian border. Others put the red line at Pakistan’s sprawling Indus River basin.

Within seven months of this debate, Indian-Pakistani tensions escalated steeply in the wake of an attack on an Indian military base in Kashmir by Pakistani terrorists in May 2002. At that time, Musharraf reiterated that he would not renounce his country’s right to use nuclear weapons first. The prospect of New Delhi being hit by an atom bomb became so plausible that U.S. Ambassador Robert Blackwill investigated building a hardened bunker in the embassy compound to survive a nuclear strike. Only when he and his staff realized that those in the bunker would be killed by the aftereffects of the nuclear blast did they abandon the idea.

Unsurprisingly, the leaders of the two countries found themselves staring into the nuclear abyss because of a violent act in Kashmir, a disputed territory which had led to three conventional wars between the South Asian neighbors since 1947, the founding year of an independent India and Pakistan. As a result of the first of these in 1947 and 1948, India acquired about half of Kashmir, with Pakistan getting a third and the rest occupied later by China.

Kashmir, the root cause of enduring enmity

The Kashmir dispute dates back to the time when the British-ruled Indian subcontinent was divided into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, and indirectly ruled princely states were given the option of joining either one. In October 1947, the Hindu maharaja of Muslim-majority Kashmir signed an “instrument of accession” with India after Muslim tribal raiders from Pakistan invaded his realm.

The speedy arrival of Indian troops deprived the invaders of the capital city, Srinagar. Later, they battled regular Pakistani troops until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire on Jan. 1, 1949. The accession document required that Kashmiris be given an opportunity to choose between India and Pakistan once peace was restored. This has not happened yet, and there is no credible prospect of it taking place.

Fearing a defeat in such a plebiscite, given the pro-Pakistani sentiments prevalent among the territory’s majority Muslims, India found several ways of blocking U.N. attempts to hold one. New Delhi then conferred a special status on the part of Kashmir it controlled and held elections for its legislature, while Pakistan watched with trepidation.

In September 1965, when its verbal protests proved futile, Pakistan attempted to change the status quo through military force. It launched a war that once again ended in stalemate and another U.N.-sponsored truce, which required the warring parties to return to the 1949 ceasefire line.

A third armed conflict between the two neighbors followed in December 1971, resulting in Pakistan’s loss of its eastern wing, which became an independent Bangladesh. Soon after, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi tried to convince Pakistani president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to agree to transform the 460-mile-long ceasefire line in Kashmir (renamed the “Line of Control”) into an international border. Unwilling to give up his country’s demand for a plebiscite in all of pre-1947 Kashmir, Bhutto refused. So the stalemate continued.

During the military rule of Gen. Zia al Haq from 1977 to 1988, Pakistan initiated a policy of bleeding India with a thousand cuts by sponsoring terrorist actions both inside Indian Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. Delhi responded by bolstering its military presence in Kashmir and brutally repressing those of its inhabitants demanding a plebiscite or advocating separation from India, committing in the process large-scale human rights violations.

In order to stop infiltration by militants from Pakistani Kashmir, India built a double barrier of fencing 12-feet high with the space between planted with hundreds of land mines. Later, that barrier would be equipped as well with thermal imaging devices and motion sensors to help detect infiltrators. By the late 1990s, on one side of the Line of Control were 400,000 Indian soldiers and on the other 300,000 Pakistani troops. No wonder Pres. Bill Clinton called that border “the most dangerous place in the world.”

 

Today, with the addition of tactical nuclear weapons to the mix, it is far more so.

Kashmir, the toxic bone of contention

Even before Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nukes, tensions between the two neighbors were perilously high. Then suddenly, at the end of 2015, a flicker of a chance for the normalization of relations appeared. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi had a cordial meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on the latter’s birthday, Dec. 25, in Lahore.

 

But that hope was dashed when, in the early hours of January 2nd, four heavily armed Pakistani terrorists managed to cross the international border in Punjab, wearing Indian army fatigues, and attacked an air force base in Pathankot. A daylong gun battle followed. By the time order was restored on Jan. 5, all the terrorists were dead, but so were seven Indian security personnel and one civilian.

The United Jihad Council, an umbrella organization of separatist militant groups in Kashmir, claimed credit for the attack. The Indian government, however, insisted that the operation had been masterminded by Masood Azhar, leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e Muhammad — the Army of Muhammad.

As before, Kashmir was the motivating drive for the anti-India militants. Mercifully, the attack in Pathankot turned out to be a minor event, insufficient to heighten the prospect of war, though it dissipated any goodwill generated by the Modi-Sharif meeting.

There is little doubt, however, that a repeat of the atrocity committed by Pakistani infiltrators in Mumbai in November 2008, leading to the death of 166 people and the burning of that city’s landmark Taj Mahal Hotel, could have consequences that would be dire indeed. The Indian doctrine calling for massive retaliation in response to a successful terrorist strike on that scale could mean the almost instantaneous implementation of its Cold Start strategy. That, in turn, would likely lead to Pakistan’s use of tactical nuclear weapons, thus opening up the real possibility of a full-blown nuclear holocaust with global consequences.

Beyond the long-running Kashmiri conundrum lies Pakistan’s primal fear of the much larger and more powerful India, and its loathing of India’s ambition to become the hegemonic power in South Asia. Irrespective of party labels, governments in New Delhi have pursued a muscular path on national security aimed at bolstering the country’s defense profile.

Overall, Indian leaders are resolved to prove that their country is entering what they fondly call “the age of aspiration.” When, in July 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh officially launched a domestically built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the INS Arihant, it was hailed as a dramatic step in that direction. According to defense experts, that vessel was the first of its kind not to be built by one of the five recognized nuclear powers — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.

India’s two secret nuclear sites

On the nuclear front in India, there was more to come. Last December, an investigation by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity revealed that the Indian government was investing $100 million to build a top secret nuclear city spread over 13 square miles near the village of Challakere, 160 miles north of the southern city of Mysore.

When completed, possibly as early as 2017, it will be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities.” Among the project’s aims is to expand the government’s nuclear research, to produce fuel for the country’s nuclear reactors and to help power its expanding fleet of nuclear submarines. It will be protected by a ring of garrisons, making the site a virtual military facility.

Another secret project, the Indian Rare Materials Plant near Mysore, is already in operation. It is a new nuclear enrichment complex that is feeding the country’s nuclear weapons programs, while laying the foundation for an ambitious project to create an arsenal of hydrogen bombs.

The overarching aim of these projects is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in such future bombs. As a military site, the project at Challakere will not be open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency or by Washington, since India’s 2008 nuclear agreement with the U.S. excludes access to military-related facilities.

These enterprises are directed by the office of the prime minister, who is charged with overseeing all atomic energy projects. India’s Atomic Energy Act and its Official Secrets Act place everything connected to the country’s nuclear program under wraps. In the past, those who tried to obtain a fuller picture of the Indian arsenal and the facilities that feed it have been bludgeoned to silence.

Little wonder then that a senior White House official was recently quoted as saying, “Even for us, details of the Indian program are always sketchy and hard facts thin on the ground.” He added, “Mysore is being constantly monitored, and we are constantly monitoring progress in Challakere.”

However, according to Gary Samore, a former Obama administration coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, “India intends to build thermonuclear weapons as part of its strategic deterrent against China. It is unclear, when India will realize this goal of a larger and more powerful arsenal, but they will.”

Once manufactured, there is nothing to stop India from deploying such weapons against Pakistan. “India is now developing very big bombs, hydrogen bombs that are city-busters,” said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a leading Pakistani nuclear and national security analyst. “It is not interested in … nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield; it is developing nuclear weapons for eliminating population centers.”

In other words, as the Kashmir dispute continues to fester, inducing periodic terrorist attacks on India and fueling the competition between New Delhi and Islamabad to outpace each other in the variety and size of their nuclear arsenals, the peril to South Asia in particular and the world at large only grows. (Click to Source)

 

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Indian general warns Pakistan ‘dare not try’ any cross-border military actions near Kashmir

Published time: 20 May, 2019 14:46

Islamabad will inevitably face a “befitting reply” from New Delhi should Pakistani forces engage in any kind of ‘misadventure’ in the disputed Kashmir territory, a high-ranked Indian general said on Monday.

A tough message to the arch-rival came from Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, commander of Northern Indian Army as he was talking to the media in Kashmir. The official made it clear that any cross-border activity on behalf of the Pakistani military would be regarded as an affront on the Indian side.

“They dare not try and come anywhere across the Line of Control to carry out any kind of actions. Our deterrence, articulation of our military strategy has been absolutely clear. Should there be any misadventure by the Pakistan armed forces, they shall always be given a befitting reply.”

Kashmir is experiencing a lull in fighting since the latest skirmishes that occurred between the two nations in February. India, however, insists Pakistan is continuing its hostile activities, namely cross-border infiltrations, ceasefire violations, and drug trafficking. “All their actions are actually working towards ensuring that the proxy war by them against India is continuing,” the general said.

The official also shared his thoughts on the details of the February flare-up in Kashmir as two neighboring countries clashed in a series of aerial combats following an Indian air-raid on the Pakistani territory. The air strikes, which according to New Delhi targeted a terrorist camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group, were “indeed laudable,” the general said calling the operation “a major achievement.” The general, however, warned that ‘terrorist infrastructure’ on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control remains ‘intact.’

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of war rhetoric on the other side of the conflict as well. Earlier in May, a high-profile Pakistani military officer praised his country’s actions during the February encounter as local air forces launched several strikes and downed the Indian fighter jet. Labeling the maneuver ‘Operation Swift Retort’, he urged that any further Indian actions will receive a response that “would be even stronger than before.” (Click to Source)

 
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Who blinked in the China-India military standoff?

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BEIJING — For weeks, China’s Foreign Ministry had been vehement in its denunciations of India and insistence that New Delhi unconditionally withdraw troops that had trespassed into Chinese territory. Don’t underestimate us, China repeatedly insisted, we are prepared for military conflict if need be.

Yet on Monday it appeared as though Beijing, not New Delhi, had blinked.

Both sides withdrew troops to end the stand-off. Crucially, military sources told Indian newspapers that China has also withdrawn the bulldozers that were constructing a road on the plateau. That road, built on land contested between Bhutan and China, had been the reason Indian troops had entered the disputed area in the first place, in defense of its ally Bhutan.

The eventual deal allowed both sides to save face — India’s Ministry of External Affairs suggested in its statement that it had stuck to its “principled position” in the discussions, which was that road-building violated ongoing terms of a current boundary dispute between Bhutan and China. (Click to Site)

India and China troops clash along Himalayan border

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A confrontation occurred between Indian and Chinese soldiers along a disputed border in the western Himalayas, Indian officials said on Tuesday.

The PTI news agency said soldiers threw stones, causing minor injuries to both sides, as Chinese troops tried to enter Indian territory near the Pangong lake.

Beijing maintains that their soldiers were inside Chinese territory.

The two countries are also locked in an impasse in the Doklam area, which borders China, India and Bhutan.

PTI quoted army officials as saying that in the latest confrontation, soldiers had to form a human chain to prevent an incursion by Chinese forces into territories claimed by India and located near the country’s Ladakh region. China claims the territories as its own.

An Indian official told the BBC that he could neither confirm nor deny media reports, but said “such incidents do happen,” adding that “this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened.” (Click to Site)

India defies missile-exporting China with cruise missile sale to Vietnam

brahmos-reu-l

India’s sale to Vietnam of a short-range, supersonic anti-ship missile has opened a new conflict in an already tense situation with China, an analyst said.

Vietnam will receive the BrahMos which is considered one of the most effective and lethal anti-ship missiles in the world, with speeds reaching Mach 2.8 to 3.0.

“About half of China’s worldwide arms exports go to one country — Pakistan, for the primary reason of ‘containing India,’ ” said Hoover Institution Fellow and Geostrategy-Direct correspondent Maochun Miles Yu in a Facebook post.

“Now India is playing the same game by arming one of China’s arch enemies, Vietnam.”

Russia, which co-produces the BrahMos with India, is said to have given its nod of approval on the sale.

“The Chinese government has major objections about Vietnam getting these missiles for its navy,” said analyst Larkins Dsouza, founder of Defense Aviation.“China sees India selling BrahMos to Vietnam as an act of belligerence and interference in the South China Sea dispute.” (Click to Site)

China may conduct ‘small-scale military operation’ to remove Indian troops from Bhutan border region

‘And no matter how the standoff ends, Sino-Indian ties have been severely damaged and strategic distrust will linger’

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China could conduct a “small-scale military operation” to expelIndian troops from a contested region in the Himalayas, according to an article published a Chinese state-controlled newspaper.

Indian troops entered the area in the Doklam Plateau in June after New Delhi’s ally Bhutan complained a Chinese military construction party was building a road inside Bhutan’s territory.

Beijing says Doklam is located in Tibet and that the border dispute between China and Bhutan has nothing to do with India. It has demanded Indian troops withdraw.

Chinese and Indian media have taken a strident approach, with an article in the Chinese state-owned Global Times quoting a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences saying China is preparing to initiate a “limited war” to push Indian soldiers out of the area.

Hu Zhiyong told the paper: “The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period sends a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops’ incursion into Chinese territory for too long.

“If India refuses to withdraw, China may conduct a small-scale military operation within two weeks.”

He went on to say the military operation would aim to seize Indian personnel lingering in Chinese territory or expel them.

“India, which has stirred up the incident, should bear all the consequences,” he added. “And no matter how the standoff ends, Sino-Indian ties have been severely damaged and strategic distrust will linger.”

An Indian magazine’s front cover last month showed a map of China shorn of Tibet and self-ruled Taiwan also ignited public anger on Chinese social media with thousands of angry posts.

The Indian government has asked political parties to refrain from politicising the issue and allow diplomacy to work. (Click to Site)

World Prepares For War

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U.N. imposes crushing sanctions on North Korea (cutting one-third of their exports) and tensions are now higher than at any point since the Korean War.  North Korea is threatening “thousands-fold” revenge on the U.S. as observers estimate their ICBM range now encompasses Chicago and possibly New York.

Doklam standoff between China and India is escalating with Chinese state-run media hinting that they might be on the verge of a limited military operation against Indian troops in the region. (Click to Site)