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What does the Bhutan-China border agreement mean for India?




By Amar Diwakar (TRT)

Thursday’s roadmap signed by Bhutan and China towards resolving their longstanding boundary dispute could have strategic implications for India’s northeastern flank.

Bhutan and China’s agreement on a “three-step” roadmap to resolve their disputed border was met with a cautious reaction from India, a development which could have strategic implications for New Delhi moving forward.

The signing of the pact on Thursday comes four years after Chinese and Indian troops were locked in a 73-day standoff at the Doklam tri-junction, following China’s attempt to extend a road in the area that Bhutan claimed belonged to it.

“We have noted the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bhutan and China today. You are aware that Bhutan and China have been holding boundary negotiations since 1984. India has similarly been holding boundary negotiations with China,” said India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at a media briefing.

A few hours earlier, Bhutan’s foreign ministry released a statement announcing the signing of the MoU through a virtual ceremony, inked by Bhutan’s foreign minister Tandi Dorji and China’s assistant foreign minister Wu Jianghao.

“The [MoU] on the Three-Step Roadmap will provide a fresh impetus to the Boundary Talks,” the Bhutanese foreign ministry added. It stated that Bhutan and China had “agreed” on the roadmap during the tenth expert group meeting that took place in Kunming in April this year.

Bhutan announced that the MoU – which is not yet public – would be exchanged between two sides through diplomatic channels.

China and Bhutan do not have formal diplomatic relations, and all communication is channeled through their missions in New Delhi.

Thursday’s agreement comes amid a continuing standoff between India and China in several friction points in eastern Ladakh.

Depending on how negotiations proceed, it may end up presenting a number of security concerns for India.

“The MoU has strategic significance for India’s national security in a region that connects the Indian mainland to the northeast,” Aravind Joshi, a researcher in South Asian security affairs with Global Risk Intelligence, told TRT World.

Chinese state media outlet Cnhubei reported a similar view in its response to Thursday’s pact.

“In the China-Bhutan agreement, the main source of fear for India is the issue of India’s detached northeast states,” it said, calling the troubled region India’s “soft underbelly.”

But for Medha Bisht, a professor at South Asian University and expert on Bhutanese foreign policy, the inking of the agreement for a roadmap was “not surprising” and should “not raise eyebrows” as it had been “anticipated for a long time”.

“Much of the groundwork had already been done since 2010,” she told The Wire.

Back in 2010, Bhutan and China agreed to carry out a joint field survey of the disputed regions, which was completed by 2015.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, shakes hand with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering before their delegation level meeting in New Delhi, India, Dec. 28, 2018. In recent years, China has increased its engagement with South Asian countries that have traditionally been under India’s influence like Bhutan, which is the only country that shares a border with China but has no diplomatic relations with it. (Manish Swarup / AP)

The importance of Bhutan’s border

In 2017, the India-China standoff in the Doklam plateau triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Bhutan maintained the area belonged to it and India supported the Bhutanese claim. New Delhi also opposed construction of a road by Beijing at the Doklam tri-junction on national security grounds.

Indian and Chinese troops withdrew from Doklam following a 73-day stalemate, but satellite images subsequently showed the buildup of Chinese military infrastructure in the region.

Last June, China staked a claim on the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary, marking the first time the Chinese had singled out any territory in eastern Bhutan.

Bhutan shares a 400-km-long contested border with China. Beijing claims around 765 square kms of Bhutanese territory, distributed between the north-west and central regions of the Himalayan kingdom.

Direct bilateral talks began in 1984, and since then there have been 24 rounds of boundary talks and ten rounds of meetings at the expert group level.

In 1997, China offered to give up claims on areas in central Bhutan in exchange for territory on its western flank, including Doklam. Bhutan refused the deal, reportedly under pressure from India, which was concerned over Chinese encroachment near its narrow Siliguri Corridor.

China’s Chumbi Valley, north of the Doklam plateau, and India’s Siliguri Corridor, south of Doklam, are strategic mountain chokepoints critical to both China and India.

The ethnically-Tibetan Chumbi Valley, described as the most strategically important real estate in the Himalayas, gives Beijing the ability to cut off the 24-km-wide Siliguri Corridor between Nepal and Bangladesh, which connects New Delhi to its northeastern states.

The Siliguri Corridor. (Andy Berner / )

“Maintaining control of the Chumbi Valley and gaining control over Doklam gives China a tactical advantage over India in a potential conflict. Beijing would then have a significant advantage where it can outflank Indian defensive entrenchments in Sikkim [one of India’s northeastern states], as well as being able to cut off the Siliguri Corridor,” said Joshi from Global Risk Intelligence.

“India would not only lose the ability to mount a strategic counter-offensive, but also grant the Chinese a launch pad for offensives into Kalimpong.”

Kalimpong, a small town in West Bengal with a centuries-old connection to Tibet, was the trigger behind the escalation of India-Chinese tensions over their border disputes that began in the 1950s.

As China-India goes, so goes South Asia

Over the past decade, China has increased its foreign policy engagement with South Asian countries which have traditionally been under India’s influence, like Nepal and Sri Lanka.

However, Bhutan has remained a stubborn obstacle for Beijing, given the ongoing failure to demarcate their boundary, which Bhutan viewed as a serious security threat.

For India, Beijing’s increased South Asian footprint is wrapped up in Beijing’s grand strategy in the region. When it comes to Bhutan, it will exhaust all means to prevent formal Sino-Bhutanese ties from taking shape.

Consequently, the hermetic kingdom’s strategic importance in the hegemonic tussle between two Asian giants also makes it “vulnerable” to undue influence and interference in its domestic affairs, explains Joshi.

“Bhutan does not want to get dragged into geopolitical rivalry between India and China. It sees this zero-sum competition as a recipe for domestic instability, and a more volatile region overall.”

But it might not have much of a choice.

“Ultimately, India-China dynamics will play a significant role in determining how Bhutan pursues opening up diplomatic ties with Beijing,” Joshi emphasised.

Source: TRT World

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A Glorious Journey to Great Rejuvenation: the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Communist Party of China over the Past Century





By H.E. Wang Lixin, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Recently, the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China successfully convened its sixth plenary session. This Plenary Session is of great historical significance as it was held at the time when the Communist Party of China has, through uniting and leading the Chinese people, fulfilled the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects on schedule and is embarking on the new journey to accomplish the Second Centenary Goal of building a great modern socialist country.

The plenum highlighted that the Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position in the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and is of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation.

The most important outcome of the plenum is that it has deliberated and adopted the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century. Looking back on the Party’s endeavors over the past century, we can see why we were successful in the past and how we can continue to succeed in the future. The Resolution is a glorious Marxist programmatic document, a political declaration for Chinese Communists in the new era to keep in mind our original mission, uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and a guide to action for taking history as a mirror, creating the future, and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The Major Achievements of the CPC

Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China has remained true to its original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Staying committed to communist ideals and socialist convictions, it has united and led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation, and then to make the country prosperous and strong, and pursue a better life for the Chinese people. The past century has been a glorious journey. The centenary struggle of the Party and the people has written the most magnificent epic in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation.

In the period of the new-democratic revolution, the Party led the Chinese people in fighting bloody battles with unyielding determination, achieving great success in the new-democratic revolution, establishing the People’s Republic of China and realizing the independence of the Chinese nation and the liberation of the Chinese people. This marked the country’s great transformation from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy and the beginning of a new epoch in China’s development. This also reshaped the world political landscape and offered enormous inspiration for oppressed nations and peoples struggling for liberation around the world. The Party and the Chinese people showed the world that the Chinese people had stood up.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Party led the Chinese people in carrying out socialist revolution, promoting socialist construction, and establishing an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic framework, achieving great success in socialist revolution and construction, bringing about the most extensive and profound social change in the history of the Chinese nation and a great transformation from a poor and backward Eastern country with a large population to a socialist country.

From the late 1970’s on, the Party led the people in achieving great success in reform and opening up and socialist modernization, achieving the historic transformations from a highly centralized planned economy into a socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated into one that is open to the outside world across the board, and the historic transformation from a country with relatively backward productive forces to the world’s second largest economy, and making the historic strides of raising the living standards of its people from bare subsistence to moderate prosperity in general and then toward moderate prosperity in all respects. All these achievements marked the tremendous advance of the Chinese nation from standing up to growing prosperous.

Following the Party’s 18th National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics entered a new era. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Party led the Chinese people in fulfilling the First Centenary Goal, starting to embark on the new journey to achieve the Second Centenary Goal and continuing to strive toward the great goal of national rejuvenation. With this, it has brought about great success for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, prompted historic achievements and historic shifts in the cause of the Party and the country. The Chinese nation has achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong.

The Party’s endeavors over the past century have fundamentally transformed the future of the Chinese people, have opened up the right path for achieving rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, have demonstrated the strong vitality of Marxism, have produced a profound influence on the course of world history, have expanded the channels for developing countries to achieve modernization, and have made the the Party a forerunner of the times.

The past century witnesses profound changes. All those changes that have taken place in China and all the achievements of the Chinese nation have strongly proved that without the Communist Party of China, there would be no new China and no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Party was chosen to lead by history and the Chinese people. Its leadership is the very foundation and lifeblood of the Party and the country, and it is the crux upon which the interests and well-being of all Chinese people depend.

The Historical Experience of the CPC

Over the past 100 years, the Party has led the Chinese people in great endeavors and has continuously moved from victory to new victory, we have accumulated valuable historical experience, which can be summarized in ten aspects: upholding the Party’s leadership, putting the people first, advancing theoretical innovation, staying independent, following the Chinese path, maintaining a global vision, breaking new ground, standing up for ourselves, promoting the united front, and remaining committed to self-reform. These ten points represent valuable practical experience gained over long term and intellectual treasures created through the joint efforts of the Party and the people. They are also the secrets of why the Party has been so successful. The following stories will help you better understand the successful experience of the Party.

President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stated that “we must ensure that the power given by the people is always used for the well-being of the people”; “The country’s most fundamental interest is the happiness of the people, and the people’s desire for a better life is our goal”; “I am determined to devote myself to serving the Chinese people and the development of China wholeheartedly.” All these words illustrate the deep love for the people of the great leader of a century-old party, and also embody the Party’s aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.

On July 1, 2021, President Xi Jinping solemnly proclaimed “we have fulfilled the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, bringing about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty”. 98.99 million rural residents below the current poverty line had been lifted out of poverty. The Chinese people had been lifted out of absolute poverty, with a per capita gross national income of more than 10,000 USD, leading an increasingly prosperous life and moving towards the goal of common prosperity. President Xi Jinping has visited poor mountainous areas for several times to conduct field survey and offer guidance for the work of poverty eradication, leading all people to common prosperity. He once said, “common prosperity is a long goal, it requires a process and can not be achieved overnight. This long-term, difficult and complex task should be fully estimated, and should be done without rest nor rush.”

In face of Covid-19, the Party has always put “people first” and “life first”. Immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic, the Party quickly launched patient treatment, city-wide testing and even lockdown of Wuhan City. It did not miss a single infected person nor gave up any patient. In this way, the Party has safeguarded the people’s life and health “at all costs”. President Xi Jinping said: “More than 3,000 senior patients over 80 years old were rescued from Covid-19 in Hubei Province alone, among whom an 87-year-old man was carefully treated by more than 10 medical workers for dozens of days. Their recoveries demonstrate the essence of ‘people first’. Taking care of a single patient with dozens of medical workers, this well illustrates the true meaning of ‘at all costs’.”

Maintaining a Global Vision is one of the Party’s characteristics. Since the start of COVID-19, China has provided the international community with over 350 billion masks, over 4 billion protective suits, over 6 billion testing kits, and over 1.7 billion doses of vaccines. China will endeavor to provide 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world throughout the year, and donate 100 million doses of vaccines to developing countries for free this year on top of the 100 million USD donation to COVAX. China has proposed the Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative, also sponsored by Maldives, aiming to provide 3 billion USD over the next three years to support developing countries in fighting against Covid-19 and reviving economic and social development. All of these show China’s great contributions as a responsible major country.

In terms of climate change, China advocates the harmonious coexistence between man and nature, accelerates transition to green and low-carbon development, tackles climate change proactively, fosters a community of life for man and nature. At the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UNGA, President Xi Jinping announced that China would strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, would step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and would not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. At the COP26 Summit, President Xi Jinping presented China’s major propositions on the next step of global climate governance, demonstrating China’s determination and sincerity to effectively implement the Paris Agreement and support global green and low-carbon development, contributing to the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Not long ago, President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Development Initiative at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UNGA, calling on accelerating of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving more robust, greener and more balanced global development, so as to build a global community of development with a shared future. China has hosted International Import Expo for four consecutive years, demonstrating that we will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

Over the past hundred years, while pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Party has also contributed to human progress and world harmony and has been cogitating on the future of humanity with a global vision. It has been and will continue to be builder of world peace, contributor to global development, and defender of the international order. Ready to work together with political parties in various countries including Maldives to exchange governance experiences, the Party will stay true to its original aspiration of pursuing happiness for the people and of building a community of shared future for mankind.

Looking forward, to accomplish the Party’s mission, we must never forget why we started. The Party remains focused on achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation, and a hundred years on from its founding, the Party is still in its prime. Over the past century, the Party has secured extraordinary historical achievements. Today, it is rallying and leading the Chinese people on a new journey for the Second Centenary Goal. We are convinced that the Party and the Chinese people will build upon the great glories and victories of the past hundred years with even greater glories and victories on the new journey in the new era.

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Defence Minister Mariya Didi: Maldives will depend on India for matters of national security.





Defence Minister Mariya Didi has stated that in matters of national security, the Maldives will depend on India. Defence Minister Mariya Didi made the statement while speaking at the passing out parade of the Ezhimala Indian Naval Academy.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Mariya Didi outlined on the Defence corporation partnership between the Maldives and India. She stated that on matters of security, the cooperation will be built around trust, fairness, mutual success and on ensuring the security of the Indian Ocean region.

She also noted that India was a historic partner in socioeconomic development and still retains the position. Minister Mariya Didi also stated that India had without fail managed to provide aid to the Maldives at times of crisis. She also noted on the biennial trilateral naval exercise DOSTI which celebrated its 30th year since its inception.

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The father, the daughter and their legacy with the CPC





Qu Duyi had a remarkable career as a journalist, covering momentous historical events.

In 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), she was the one who broadcast it in Russian to the world.

She co-founded Xinhua News Agency’s Moscow bureau and was among the first correspondents stationed abroad from the PRC.

But, it was her father’s exemplary work and the family’s legacy with the Communist Party of China (CPC) through generations that brought her to the spotlight.

Her father, Qu Qiubai, was an early CPC leader and a revolutionary hero.

In 1920, he landed up in Moscow in search of ways to salvage China. There he researched and wrote about the changes after the October Revolution as a journalist, and listened to Vladimir Lenin’s passionate speeches.

He joined the CPC in 1922 and became one of its early leaders. Qu Qiubai earned acclaim as a writer, editor and theorist among his comrades. He was also fluent in Russian.

In 1935, Qu Qiubai was captured by enemy forces and was later executed. He walked through the gates of death unfazed, humming “The Internationale,” a song he had translated into Chinese. “Communism is the greatest ideal of humankind,” he said before the execution. “Sooner or later, it will be realized, and the CPC will win the final victory.”

Qu Duyi, then 14 years old, learned about her father’s death from a newspaper in the Soviet Union. She had not seen her parents for five years. They were called back at a time China was reeling under white terror and the Party’s underground activities needed them most.

It was an abrupt departure and Qu’s father sent her a postcard and flowers from Berlin on the way home.

“Was my father more of a scholarly gentleman or a revolutionary martyr? I was confused,” she said in a 2016 interview.

(160630) — BEIJING, June 30, 2016 (Xinhua) — File photo shows a family portrait of Qu Qiubai (R), a key leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in its early days, his wife Yang Zhihua (L) and their daughter Qu Duyi. Qu was an active leader of the cultural movement of the Chinese revolution and was once the president of the Red China News Agency, the name under which Xinhua News Agency was founded in 1931. Qu was captured and killed by the Kuomintang army in 1935. This year marks the 95th birthday of the Communist Party of China (CPC). (Xinhua) (wyl/wjq)

Qu was born in 1921, the same year the CPC was founded. Revolutionary vibes permeated her life early on.

At the age of seven, she had already helped her mother provide cover for delegates to cross the border to the Soviet Union to attend the CPC’s sixth National Congress. At a tender age, she understood that a communist is one who does good deeds for the people.

In the early 1940s, Qu and her mother were captured and imprisoned by enemy forces upon their return to China. During an interrogation when she was asked whether she would choose death or abandon the revolutionary, Qu said: “I always believe in communism and I won’t think twice. The Party is fighting for the interests of the nation… People’s liberation, rights, freedom and well-being are what I pursue. Death is glorious.”

By the time Qu was rescued and she formally joined the Party in 1946, she had known what lifelong dedication to communism really meant.

At the Party’s base in Yan’an, Qu and her husband used to work for Xinhua News Agency, and on Oct. 1, 1949, they truly saw the rise of “Xinhua” — meaning New China — with the founding of the PRC. A day Qu said she never forgot.

“The most exciting part was when Chairman Mao announced the founding of the central government of the PRC,” she said in a memoir. Fourteen years after her father’s martyrdom, the day turned a new page in history.

File photo taken on Oct. 1, 1949 shows Qu Duyi broadcasting the news of the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the world in Russian. (Xinhua)

Qu was called to the state radio station where she broadcast Chairman Mao’s speech to the world in Russian. It made her the first journalist to report the PRC’s founding to a global audience.

In March 1950, Qu and her husband were among the first correspondents China sent abroad. They helped build Xinhua’s Moscow bureau from scratch. They dispatched many first-hand reports about the Soviet Union for the audience of the young people’s republic.

At times, Qu would double as a translator for the Chinese embassy. She did interpretations for the then premier Zhou Enlai and the visiting Chinese delegations.

Qu started working with Xinhua’s international news department in Beijing in 1978 and retired in 1982.

In 2021, prior to the Party’s centenary, Qu was awarded the July 1st Medal, the highest honor of CPC, becoming the only journalist to receive the title.

“The CPC is 100 years old. So am I,” she said in a June interview.

On Nov. 26, Qu passed away in Beijing, marking an end to her extraordinary life. But her remarkable works and the family’s legacy shall live on.

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