Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Land garb by China in Himalayan region
China has been effectively using its civilians and consequently army troops to further its expansion into the Indian soil. Bite by kilometre-size bite, China is eating away at India’s Himalayan borderlands. From Shyok, the northernmost border village in the sector where China has been the most aggressive — the latest reported aggression was in April this year in which they grabbed further some 30 kms of the Indian territory.
On average, China launches one stealth incursion into India every 24 hours. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is actively intruding into vacant border space with the objective of occupying it. And according to a former top official with India’s Intelligence Bureau, India has lost nearly 2,000 sq. km to PLA encroachments over the last decade.
Use of civilian resources for garbing territory:
The strategy underlying China’s actions is remarkable. On land, like at sea, China uses civilian resources—herders, farmers and grazers—as the tip of the spear. Once civilians settle on contested land, army troops gain control of the disputed area, paving the way for the establishment of more permanent encampments or observation posts. Similarly, in the South China Sea, China’s naval forces follow fishermen to carve out space for the reclamation of rocks or reefs. In both theatres, China has deployed no missiles, drones or bullets to advance its objectives. It is indeed remarkable how without firing a bullet China is meeting its objectives.
Although Chinese aggression in the South China Sea has garnered criticism and warnings both from the United States and International Court while the same cannot be said for its aggression on the land. China’s land expansion has gone unnoticed.
China’s non-violent terrestrial aggression has garnered less opposition than its blue-water ambition, which has been challenged by the US under international law.
Indian leaders have at times even seemed to condone China’s actions. During a recent panel discussion in Russia, for example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that although China and India are at odds over borders, it was remarkable that “in the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired because of [it].”
Issues the border people face:
The people feel utterly abandoned by the governments — state as well as the central.
Widespread sense of deprivations at the absence of the most basic necessities of life gets painfully accentuated at the stark contrast with the amenities visible a stone’s throw across the border in Tibet where they seem to have everything — hospitals, schools, network of excellent roads, 24×7 electricity and mobile phones with robust connectivity.
Since the land grabs by China seems unstoppable and India is perceived indifferent, the border people are having wrenching doubts over India’s commitment to them and its territorial integrity.
Having seen their land being steadily gobbled by China without any resistance, the border people have begun suspecting their sense of nationhood.
The on going loss of land and livelihood has also drastically altered the people’s perception of our troops. Unaware of the intricacies of the game between Delhi and Beijing, their pride in the own troops is palpably eroded because they believe they are ‘weak’ and ‘coward’. Instead of providing them with a sense of security and comfort, the troops often harass and gratuitously punish the villagers in the guise of enforcing the Indian customs law.
According to the villagers while the Chinese troops let them reach the market and buy the goods without let or hindrance, Indian troops harass them and do not spare even women carrying tea in China made flasks to their menfolk. The nearest Indian market is at Leh, a long week away. For many it is way beyond their reach. Profits added, the goods are costlier than the Chinese markets across the border.
Reasons behind increase in China’s territorial assertiveness:
The People’s Liberation Army, the armed forces of the Communist Party of China, is highly active at the border. They seek ways to intrude into the vacant Indian territory with the intention of occupation.
China’s fast-growing trade surplus with India, which has doubled to almost $60 billion, has increased Chinese President Xi Jinping’s territorial assertiveness.
Since there is no clear distinction between the Indian territory and the Chinese territory, any incursion by Chinese troops into India is justified by the Chinese as PLA operating on their land. They promised to exchange maps with India in 2001 but that promise was never met.
By acquiescing on bilateral trade—the dumping of Chinese-made steel on the Indian market is just one of many examples—India has inadvertently helped foot the bill for the PLA’s encirclement strategy.
Indian border police patrolling the area don’t even carry weapons. With such a docile response, China has been able to do as it pleases along India’s northern frontier. China’s support of the Pakistani military, whose forces often fire at Indian troops along the disputed Kashmir frontier, should be viewed in this light.
India needs to adopt a different strategy, having been on the defensive stance for so many years. PM Modi’s narrative of border peace is not as strong to deter the plans of PLA or China. India has failed to deter China and it is crucial for the Indian government to adopt a new stance so as to counter the aggression. China has become more assertive, underscoring the need for a new Indian containment strategy.
We need to abandon the platitudes. Modi’s calls for border peace and tranquillity might be sincere, but his tone has made India look like a meek enabler.
A more regionally integrated Indian economy would serve as a counterweight to China’s territorial expansion.
India should also beef up its border security forces to become a more formidable barrier to the PLA. India’s under-resourced Indo-Tibetan Border Police, under the command of the home ministry, needs training and equipping, and placing them under the command of the army. This would signal to China that the days of an open door are over.
Strengthening the border police exploring the vast number of economic opportunities will send a powerful message to China
Conclusion: The PLA began honing its “salami tactics” in the Himalayas in the 1950s, when it sliced off the Switzerland-size Aksai Chin plateau. Later, China inflicted a humiliating defeat on India in the 1962 border war, securing peace, as a state mouthpiece crowed in 2012, on its own terms. Today, China pursues a “cabbage” approach to borders, cutting off access to an adversary’s previously controlled territory and gradually surrounding it with multiple civilian and security layers. Against this backdrop, the true sign of Himalayan peace will not be the holstering of guns, but rather the end of border incursions. India’s accommodating approach has failed to deter China. To halt further encroachments, India will need to bare its own teeth. Ending these incursions should be of prime importance to India if it wants Himalayan Peace. Self-praising that there have been no bullets from either side does not amount to India’s borders being secured.
Connecting the dots:
A recent study highlights how China is grabbing India’s territory across Himalayan borders. Discuss the strategy used by China and how India hasn’t responded to such territorial assertiveness effectively.
China in recent times has grown more and more assertive both on land and sea. Discuss how India can contain China in this regard.
General Studies 1:
Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues
General studies 3:
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, irrigation, agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Women farmers in India needs attention
Feminisation of Indian agriculture:
Higher paying jobs in the city in combination with high tax on agriculture drew men from their farms into cities, hunting for well-paid jobs. This kind of migration of men leaves the woman in charge of the farm and household.
The share of female labour in the agricultural workforce increased from 39.2% to 41.9% during the period 1999-2000 and 2004-05.
India’s agricultural industry, which employs 80 to 100 million women, cannot survive without the labour of women farmers. From preparing the land, selecting seeds, preparing and sowing to transplanting the seedlings, applying manure/fertilisers/pesticides and then harvesting, winnowing and threshing, women work harder and longer than male farmers.
Maintaining the ancillary branches in this sector, like animal husbandry, fisheries and vegetable cultivation, depends almost solely on women.
Almost all women in rural India today can be considered as ‘farmers’ in some sense, working as agricultural labour, unpaid workers in the family farm enterprise, or the combination of the two. Moreover, several farm activities traditionally carried out by men are also being undertaken by women as men are pulled away into higher paying employment.
Thus, rural India is witnessing a process of feminisation of agriculture.
Issues related to women farmers:
Women are usually not listed as primary earners and owners of land assets within their families. So getting loans, participating in mandi panchayats, assessing and deciding the crop patterns, liaising with the district officials, bank managers and political representatives and bargaining for MSPs (minimum support prices), loans and subsidies, remain male activities.
Weaknesses in women’s rights to land also results in the inability to use land as collateral to obtain credit that is crucial to the purchase of inputs such as seeds and fertilisers. This, in turn, limits adoption of new technology.
Unlike male farmers and cultivators, their female counterparts remained doubly burdened during their peak productive period with their reproductive role seen as fundamental to their gender. So even as women laboured in fields, they continued to have and rear children almost single-handedly. In many regions of the developing world, women spend up to five hours a day gathering fuel wood and water and up to 4 hours preparing food. This cuts short time on child care.
Women possess traditional knowledge of agriculture and they often possess unique knowledge about livestock, fish and many conventional aspects of farming. But, in many organised activities, women are left behind in the up-gradation of their knowledge and skills. FAO study conducted recently found that women in developing countries contributed about 80% towards food production but received only 2% to 10% of the extension services (FAO, 1998).
Agricultural extension agents are a critically important source of technology information to women farmers, given the generally lower levels of education of women compared to men. Yet, the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in 1988 reported that less than 1 per cent of government-employed agricultural advisers in Asia and West Asia are women.
India has one of the largest agricultural research and education systems in the world with an estimated stock of about three lakh graduates in the year 2010, out of which about 25 per cent are women (Rama Rao et al, 2011). But women presence is negligible in high-level decision-making bodies, advisory boards and national academies. agricultural education and work places sensitive to women’s needs
Women farmers are not given many benefits and do not hold social connections such as credit or market networks.
They are even denied irrigation rights because that is provided by the government only to those male farmers who have agreed to grow commercial cash crops on their land and women, on the other hand, use the irrigation water for household use and also to grow subsistence crops.
Women working on fields, alongside their husbands, aren’t considered farmers per say, and therefore suicides committed by women are rarely considered farmer suicides, thus leaving them out from benefitting from the government schemes.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations stress upon the increasing access to many inputs to productive agriculture, including credit, education and land, and at the same time, promote the development of rural female farmers’ organisations.
Updating the legal codes to give women the legal rights of property ownership and credit, which can allow for increased food security.
Mechanisation of agriculture: Rapid urbanisation and increased participation of women in the labour force makes a great demand on women’s time. This calls for developing technology which relieve women of “time burdens” in agricultural production and maintenance without sacrificing their ability to earn independent incomes.
Employing women agricultural extension workers is particularly important in societies which forbid the interaction of women farmers with men agricultural extension agents.
In spite of the best efforts, the programmes aimed at women fail to realise the desired goals as they are rarely designed and managed by women. This is one of the serious concerns of social planners. Women can play a significant role in agriculture related activities if they are provided relevant education and training. The educated and trained women in agriculture can provide extension services as well as can help in transfer of technologies to the farm women.
Connecting the dots:
Feminisation of Indian agriculture is taking place. Discuss the reasons. Also critically analyze the challenges faced by women farmers in India and elaborate on steps required so as to improve the present scenario.