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India most ignorant country in world: survey UK The Independent

Multiple questions were posed before participants during the survey.

(Web Desk) – India has topped the list of most ignorant countries in a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI, which includes information from 27,250 interviews of people aged 16 to 64 carried out between September and November, the Independent reported on Saturday.

Ipsos MORI surveyed people from 40 countries, with between 500 and 1,000 people surveyed in each.



Multiple questions were posed before participants; including their country population, healthcare spending, and home ownership. The findings were then collated to create the index.

Wealth seemed to have less bearing on outcomes than one might expect. The USA, one of the richest has been ranked one of the most ignorant below many developed countries.

Here is the list of top 10 ignorant countries in the world:

India

China

Taiwan

South Africa

USA

Brazil

Thailand

Singapore

Turkey

Indonesia

 

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Pakistan and Syria:Centers of the Great Game

                                       Pakistan and Syria: Centers of the Great Game

                                                         By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Hans J. Morgenthau opines, “The true nature of the policy is concealed by ideological justifications and rationalization. Therefore, the ideology provides a mask behind which the ulterior motives are concealed…there is a close relationship between interest and ideology…the annexation of the backward states by Great Britain and France as their colonies was described as educating, civilizing and humanitarian mission, a sort of white man’s burden, while the real objective was economic exploitation of the former. Annexation was an act of imperialism. But to disguise it humanitarian ideology was advanced…one of the significant aspects of ideology is that it can be described as a cloak for real foreign policy objective.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palmer and Perkins write, “Just as power became the instrument of ambitious nationalism and state’s leaders, it has now become the tool of ideologies…ideologies, in fact, are futile source of international conflict…they can be used to obscure the real facts of a situation or the real motives of ambitious leaders.”

 

Karl Mannheim also uses ideology in this sense by saying, “In this form the ideas are more or less conscious disguise of the real nature of a situation.”

 

Hitler and the Nazi Party had come to power with the avowed purpose of conquering colonies and foreign lands for the Germans. They must have a “living space”-‘Lebensraum’ as the Nazis called it for the “living surplus German population and find raw materials and markets for German industrial goods”.

 

Religious fervour inspired by ‘Hitlerite’ Germany, which was supported by the country’s industrial and financial magnates, wanted to establish its domination first over Europe and then over the entire world.

 

Similarly, after the 9/11 tragedy, by using the ideologies of colonialism and neo-imperialism (Indirect control), the US-led Western allies attacked and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, while compelling other Muslim countries and Pakistan to join Bush’s phony war on terror. Under the cover of freedom and democracy, the aim of democratizing Afghanistan and the Middle East was propagated by the United States. But, the real motive behind was to get control over the gas and oil of Central Asia, the Caspian Basin, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East. The pretexts of Osama Bin Laden and Weapons of Mass Destruction were also used in case of Afghanistan and Iraq respectively with a view to rationalizing the objective. While Bin Laden had denied his involvement in the 9/11 catastrophe and no WMDs were found in Iraq.

 

Influenced by the Zionist planners, Bush’s family, some neoconservatives and the Jews who are well connected to oil and energy companies wanted to enhance their business interests in the pretext of rooting out Islamic militants or terrorism. Under the mask of the so-called war on terror, they also planned to destabilize the Muslim countries to obtain the sinister designs of Israel.

 

When during the regime of the President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan province in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of some European countries, especially the US, India and Israel which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.

 

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its ideal location among South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources irritate the eyes of the US, India and Israel which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims, as the latter is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. However, development in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan has shifted the gravity of the Great Game of Central Asia to Pakistan.

 

In fact, Pakistan considers that peace in Afghanistan is a guarantee of peace in Pakistan, therefore, has been striving for the same in utter sincerity. Enemies of Afghanistan and Pakistan—India and the US do not intend to see the peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Islamabad’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has been sabotaged by the ill-wishers. Killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur by the CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan has badly derailed Afghan dialogue process and violence is likely to surge in Afghanistan. It seems that a dual game is on to pressurize Pakistan to bring Afghan Taliban either for the dialogue or to take action against them. US, India and Israel have built a hostile nexus for the Great Game and are pressurizing Pakistan by limiting its choices.

 

In this regard, trust deficit has deepened between Pakistan and the America. Therefore, on June 10, this year, a high-level delegation of the US visited Islamabad and met Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif and Adviser to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Adviser separately.

 

During the meeting, expressing his serious concern on the US drone strike in Balochistan as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, Gen. Raheel Sharif highlighted as to how it had impacted the mutual trust and was counterproductive in consolidating the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists. He elaborated, “All stakeholders need to understand Pakistan’s challenges-inter-tribal linkages and decades-old presence of over three million refugees—blaming Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan is unfortunate—target TTP [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan] and its chief Mullah Fazlullah in their bases in Afghanistan— Indian RAW and NDS [Afghan National Directorate of Security] are fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.”

 

Meanwhile, on June 12, 2016, Afghan security forces started unprovoked firing at Torkham border crossing as part of the double game of the anti-Pakistan entities.

 

However, RAW-Mossad-CIA backed, the Afghan NDS is inflicting harm to Pakistan. With latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS assisted terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani Intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These foreign agencies are also assistine the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is being prepared to carry out a fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter is center of the Great Game.

 

Particularly, CIA, Mossad and RAW which are well-penetrated in the ISIS and TTP are using their terrorists to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities. In this connection, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is their special target.

 

The long and porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is frequently used by the CIA-Mossad backed drug traffickers, criminals and terrorists to cause havoc inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

It is notable that in response to the $46-billion Pak-China project of CPEC, Washington broadly supported New Delhi and Kabul, signing a deal with Iran for a transport corridor, opening up a new route to Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar. In this context, during his visit to Tehran, on May 23, 2016, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar port. India will spend $500 million on the project. Chabahar—located about 1,800 kilometres south of Tehran—is more than just a port with an adjoining free trade zone. But, CPEC is much bigger and viable project then Chahbahar.

 

Notably, on June 13, 2016, a Chinese newspaper, Global Times has blamed India for damaging the prospects of Gwadar by investing in Chahbahar to isolate Pakistan; however, it will not succeed in its designs. The paper elaborated, “Pakistan’s Sindh Province saw a bomb attack against Chinese engineers and small-scale protests against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) recently. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government claimed that anti-CPEC activities by foreign forces have been busted in Baluch Province. At the Beijing Forum held in Islamabad in late May, countries including the US and Japan have shown concerns over CPEC construction and even bluntly criticized the China-Pakistan friendship. CPEC is a significant part of the Belt and Road initiative, which is not only a domestic strategy of China to open up its central and western regions, but also Pakistan’s domestic development plan as well as regional integration.”

 

Nevertheless, the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans, giving China’s short and easy access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

 

The recent India-Iran-Afghanistan agreement to develop a trade route from Chabahar to Central Asia has been portrayed by Indian commentators as having changed the historical Great Game for control of the connection between South and Central Asia through Afghanistan. But, the project will remain a dream, as with the collapse of the inter-Afghan negotiations, Afghanistan is likely to witness a further escalation of conflict and chaos. It is also due to unrest in Afghanistan that the US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline did not start.

 

In 2009, Pakistan and Tehran had signed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project without New Delhi, as the latter was reluctant in this context owing to its pro-US tilt. Since then, it has been named as the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. The US had previously threatened Pakistan with sanctions, if it went ahead with the project.

 

America and Israel are seeing the Chabahar project with suspicion. To bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft. During President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the US and India announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to America, President Obama strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

 

But, the US-Iran ties could again become hostile, if new sanctions are imposed by the US Congress or differences arise over Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah or Israel. Although Iran’s nuclear issue has been settled, yet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called it American historical blunder, and is still acting upon a war-like diplomacy against Tehran. If the pro-Israeli Donald Trump becomes American president, he would thwart the US-Iran relationship to secure Israeli dominate in the Middle East.

 

Now, Islamabad which has ignored the duress of Washington is convincing Tehran to start the implementation of the IPI project. In the recent past, high officials of Iran and Pakistan have met in this respect.

 

Taking note of US anti-Pakistan schemes, besides China, Pakistan has also cultivated its relationship with the Russian Federation. In 2010, Russian President Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian Republics as permanent members. Putin remarked that Pakistan was very important partner for Moscow in South Asia and the Muslim world. In various summits, the SCO leaders displayed strength against the US rising dominance in the region and military presence of NATO in Afghanistan, near Central Asia, and are moving towards security cooperation.  After participating in the Summit of the SCO in 2015, Pakistan and Iran got permanent membership of the SCO which is seen as anti-American club.

 

Nonetheless, due to Balochistan, Pakistan has become center of the Great Game. Therefore, CIA, RAW and Mossad have planned to accelerate acts of terrorism in the country.

As regards Syria, the country is another centre of the Great Game. In case, we see the resources of natural gas reserves in the whole Persian Gulf region, the motives of the CIA-led Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar in financing with billions of dollars to the opposition rebel groups, the Islamic State group (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria are to occupy the natural gas and oil of the Middle East.

 

Many analysts say that Russia supplies Europe with a quarter of the gas. America and its European allies which are now involved in the Syrian war want to end European dependence on Russia. American President Barack Obama has openly said to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

 

According to Charis Chang, “Before the Syrian civil war, two competing pipelines put forward by Qatar and Iran aimed to transport gas to Europe through Syria…Qatar’s plans were first put forward in 2009 and involved building a pipeline from the Persian Gulf via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. It was hoped the pipeline would provide cheaper access to Europe, but Syrian President Bashar al Assad refused to give permission for the pipeline to go through his territory…failed pipeline bidder Qatar and Saudi Arabia funded anti-Assad rebel groups between 2011 and 2013.”

 

Turkey which is another NATO member and is also involved in Syrian civil war still supports the plan of the US-led Europe regarding the gas pipeline from the Middle East—Syria to Europe.

 

  1. William Engdahl writes, “In July 2011, Syria, Iran and Iraq signed a gas pipeline energy agreement…take three years to complete in the midst of the NATO-Saudi-Qatari war to remove Assad. The pipeline would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory…Lebanon’s Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to the huge EU market…the agreement would make Syria the center of assembly and production in conjunction with the reserves of Lebanon…the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline agreement ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad’s power, financing al Qaeda terrorists, recruits of Jihadist fanatics willing to kill Alawite and Shi’ite “infidels” for $100 a month and a Kalishnikov. The Washington neo-conservative war-hawks in and around the Obama White House, along with their allies in the right-wing Netanyahu government, were cheering from the bleachers as Syria went up in flames after spring 2011.”

 

Engdahl further writes, “Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal. The true aim of the US and Israel backed ISIS is to give the pretext for bombing Assad’s vital grain silos and oil refineries to cripple the economy in preparation for a “Ghaddafi-”style elimination of Russia and China and Iran-ally Bashar al-Assad. In a narrow sense, as Washington neo-conservatives see it, who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold the key to Russia House, as well as that of China via the Silk Road. Religious wars have historically been the most savage of all wars and this one is no exception, especially when trillions of dollars in oil and gas revenues are at stake. Why is the secret Kerry-Abdullah deal on Syria reached on September 11 stupid? Because the brilliant tacticians in Washington and Riyadh and Doha and to an extent in Ankara are unable to look at the interconnectedness of all the dis-order and destruction they foment, to look beyond their visions of control of the oil and gas flows as the basis of their illegitimate power. They are planting the seeds of their own destruction in the end.”

 

It is of particular attention that according to the retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years, starting with Iraq and moving on to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. In an interview, Clark said that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

 

However, Russian-supported coalition and Assad’s forces have retaken several territories from the control of the rebels and the ISIS terrorists who are on flee. Recently, Russian-backed Iraqi forces have recaptured the city of Fallujah. It is due to skillful diplomacy of the President Putin that very soon, Syria will be liberated from the hold of the Israeli-led Western powers, including some Arab countries. 

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s Army and primary intelligence agency ISI are very strong, as they have almost eliminated the CIA-RAW supported TTP and ISIS terrorists in Balolchistan and other areas of the countries. They will castigate the conspiracy against Pakistan, China and Russia.

 

Although Pakistan and Syria will remain the centers of the Great Game, yet owing to a prolonged war in Afghanistan, proxy wars in Syria and other vulnerable countries like Libya, Yemen and Somalia in wake of the mounting threat of terrorism and rapid increase in the cost of these conflicts which are bringing about multiple internal problems, America and its allies will lose the Great Game.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

Courtesy Veterans Today

 

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India’s Kashmir Map Issue By Sajjad Shaukat

 

India’s Kashmir Map Issue

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

In the earlier this month, the draft bill which was up for public consultation was published on the Indian home ministry’s website. It suggests that anyone distributing a map the Indian government deems to be wrong and could be liable for a billion-rupee fine and jail time. Through passage of this bill, the Indian government would be able to penalize individuals and organizations who depict Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan foreign ministry on May 17 has expressed serious concerns to the UNSC) and UN secretary general through letters with regard to the Indian government’s efforts to introduce a controversial ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill’ in the Indian Parliament which aims to restrict geographical depictions of India and disputed Kashmir to those that are government-approved. The letters elaborated that in violation of UNSC resolutions, the official map of India has been depicting the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India which is factually incorrect and legally untenable. The letters also called upon the UN to uphold the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and urge India to stop such acts which are in violation of international law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this respect, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman pointed out “We have urged the international community and the United Nations to fulfill their commitment with the people of Jammu and Kashmir by holding an independent and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.”

 

It is notable that during the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, in connivance with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor-General Lord Mountbatten, had decided to join India, quite contrary to the wishes of the majority of Kashmiris.

 

When a contention arose between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute in1948, India took the issue to the United Nations Security Council and offered to hold a plebiscite in the held Kashmir under UN supervision. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India.

 

While passing through various phases, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters, keeps on going unabated.

 

Despite the employment of various forms of state terrorism by the Indian security forces, war of liberation intensified since 1989.

 

A report on human rights violations by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces in Indian-held Kashmir disclosed that since 1989, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and 105,861 destructions of houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women.

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”

 

Particularly in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the Indian occupied Kashmir. In this context, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations including Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have pointed out that unnamed graves include thousands of innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death.

 

It is mentionable that leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has taken various steps to strengthen Indian illegal control on Kashmir. The Modi regime hurriedly decided to forcibly annex disputed territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, uncovering its intentions to wrap up the article 370 of the Indian constitution which ensures a special status to J&K. Therefore, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation. In fact, BJP government‘s long term strategy is to affect demographic changes in the Indian occupied Kashmir by composition of the region—predominately with Hindu population.

 

During one year of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance government in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, BJP in aid of RSS has furthered its agenda of complete integration of Kashmir into India. Though legal experts of India and IOK High Court have clarified the permanent status of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, BJP’s agenda of trifurcations is still on table. In this context, BJP is in hot pursuit of Mission 44+in IOK Assembly elections 2020. However, short of that, BJP and RSS are busy in changing religious identity of the State. For example, special concessions were given to expand the horizon of Amarnath Yatra to project that Hindus have greater stakes in IOK than Muslims.

 

Special efforts are being made for demographic engineering in the State. For instance, West Pakistan Refugees have been recruited in the Indian Armed Forces from IOK quota. Allocation of lands for separate cities for repatriating Hindu Pundits and allocation of INR 2 million for rehabilitation of each Pundit family in the Valley are aimed at creating Hindu constituencies in a thorough Muslim region of the Valley through delimitations.

 

Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership has been suppressed by the PDP-BJP government by not allowing them to organize rallies for demanding freedom and expressing love for Pakistan. Their leaders were detained in Police Stations or kept under house arrests during all important events.

 

Detention of Masarat Alam, even after acceptance of bail by IOK High Court, exhibits coercive mechanics of Indian forces/police in the State.

Indian malicious intent is evident from the blame game against Pakistan for every internal security issue, merely to avoid serious dialogue on bilateral issues as well as the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. Pakistan is committed to the just and democratic solution of the Kashmir issue, which is plebiscite, however, India has never been serious in resolution of the dispute, neither through bilateral dialogue nor involving third party mediation nor by abiding by the UN resolutions.

Nevertheless, India’s Kashmir map issue shows that New Delhi is quite non-serious in settling the Kashmir dispute with Islamabad. Hence, the US-led major powers must take action on Indian negative measures, as Kashmir remains the nuclear flashpoint in South Asia.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

Additional Readings

 

The problem was a cover story about the border dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarized regions. The report included a map showing the territory claimed by either side without taking a position on their territorial claims. The Indian authorities nonetheless insisted on a white sticker being placed over the map in each copy sold in India, depriving the country’s readers of a factual analysis of the border dispute.

 

Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours. Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours.

The Indian government often uses a 1961 law amending the criminal code’s national security provisions in order to censor maps showing Kashmir’s disputed border. It has usually settled for putting a “not recognized by India” sticker on the maps, but in recent years it has toughened its information control policies, going so far as to block the import and distribution of copies of the Financial Times and The Economist in December 2010 because they contained maps of Asia that were “not consistent” with the government’s position.

“We Fight Censorship” is reprinting the censored map with the kind permission of The Economist.

 

Anticipating the censorship of the regional map in its 21 May 2011 issue, The Economist added a box entitled “Missing map?” at the end of report. The box said:

Sadly India censors maps that show the current effective border, insisting instead that only its full territorial claims be shown. It is more intolerant on this issue than either China or Pakistan. Indian readers will probably be deprived of the map on the second page of this special report. Unlike their government, we think our Indian readers can face political reality. Those who want to see an accurate depiction of the various territorial claims can do so using our interactive map atEconomist.com/asianborders

Territorial disputes continue to be a highly sensitive subject for India’s government. When the Chinese foreign ministry issued new passports in November 2012 with a map of China on pages 8 and 46 showing territory claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and India as Chinese, all of these countries protested but India was the only one to respond by producing new visas for Chinese citizens with a map of India that showed its version of the Sino-Indian border dispute.

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BURNING KASHMIR by Eric Margolis

India cannot stand media neutrality on Kashmir border disputes

The problem was a cover story about the border dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarized regions. The report included a map showing the territory claimed by either side without taking a position on their territorial claims. The Indian authorities nonetheless insisted on a white sticker being placed over the map in each copy sold in India, depriving the country’s readers of a factual analysis of the border dispute.

L'article de The Economist censuré avec du sparadrap

Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours. Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours

Carte des fronitères entre l'Inde et le Pakistan

Anticipating the censorship of the regional map in its 21 May 2011 issue, The Economist added a box entitled “Missing map?” at the end of report. The box said:

Sadly India censors maps that show the current effective border, insisting instead that only its full territorial claims be shown. It is more intolerant on this issue than either China or Pakistan. Indian readers will probably be deprived of the map on the second page of this special report. Unlike their government, we think our Indian readers can face political reality. Those who want to see anaccurate depiction of the various territorial claims can do so using our interactive map at Economist.com/asianborders

Territorial disputes continue to be a highly sensitive subject for India’s government. When the Chinese foreign ministry issued new passports in November 2012 with a map of China on pages 8 and 46 showing territory claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and India as Chinese, all of these countries protested but India was the only one to respond by producing new visas for Chinese citizens with a map of India that showed its version of the Sino-Indian border dispute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 20, 2010

The world’s longest-running international conflict – Kashmir – has burst once more into flames.

At least 69 Muslim Kashmiris protesting Indian rule have been shot down in the street by Indian paramilitary police in recent weeks. Scores more have been wounded as unrest spreads across the Himalayan mountain state. Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, is under military curfew.

Indian and Pakistani military forces are on heightened alert as a result of the growing tensions.

A century ago, the great British geopolitician, Sir Halford Mackinder, called Kashmir one of the world’s primary strategic pivots – the nexus of continents, empires, and civilizations.

In my first book, `War at the Top of the World,’ which explores the Afghanistan and Kashmir conflicts, I described Kashmir as “the world’s most dangerous crisis.”

The danger still remains. India and Pakistan, now both nuclear-armed, have fought three major wars over Kashmir. They remain at scimitars drawn over the divided state. India keeps 500,000 troops and paramilitary police in Kashmir.

In 1999, Pakistani troops moved into the Indian-ruled Ladakh region of Kashmir, nearly provoking another war between the two old foes. Both sides put their nuclear forces in high alert. India and Pakistan have only a hair-trigger three minute alert window once they get warnings of enemy attack. This is almost launch on warning; the potential for an accidental war is enormous.

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would kill and injure tens of millions – and produce clouds of radioactive dust that would pollute all of Asia’s major rivers and, eventually, the entire globe.

I have frequently been under fire on the tense Pakistani-Indian cease fire line, known as the Line of Control, that divided Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani-ruled portions. Border clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops have frequently threatened to escalate into a wider conflict in the south on the broad plains of Punjab.

Kashmir, some 92,000 sq miles (239,000 sq km), is roughly the size of Great Britain. It has 11 million people, which makes it larger than half the world’s nations. Eight million Kashmiris live in the Indian-ruled portion; 3 million in the Pakistani part. Another million people of Kashmiri origin live in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is part of historic Kashmir.

Like so many of our world’s problems, the Kashmir conflict harks back to the British Empire. In 1947, Imperial Britain divided the Indian subcontinent into India and the Muslim majority state of Pakistan. Millions of Hindus and Muslims died in the ensuing carnage of partition.

Kashmir was an independent princely state ruled by a Hindu maharajah. Seventy-seven percent of Kashmiris were Muslim; 20% Hindu; and the rest Sikhs and Buddhists. The Hindu prince wanted to join India, but most of his people wanted union with neighboring Pakistan.

Violence erupted. Pakistan and India went to war over Kashmir. By the time the UN imposed a cease-fire, India held two-thirds, including the Vale of Kashmir, and Pakistan one third of the beautiful mountain state. They have sparred and warred over Kashmir ever since.

Further complicating matters, during the 1950’s, China quietly occupied and annexed Kashmir’s 15,000 ft Aksai Chin region in order to build a military road linking its westernmost Xinjang province (the scene of the recent uprising by Muslim Uighurs) with Tibet.
China also claims the Indian-held Ladakh region of Kashmir as part of Chinese-ruled Tibet. Ladakh is also called “Little Tibet.”

Anti-Indian sentiment in Kashmir simmered until 1989 when full-scale rebellion or intifada by Kashmiri Muslims erupted. India battled for a decade to crush the uprising, often using tactics that Indian human rights groups and foreign rights groups condemned as brutal and violations of human rights. Massacres, torture, collective reprisals and gang rape became common. So did massacres of Hindus and Sikhs by Muslim insurgents.

Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, armed and aided Kashmiri mujahidin, and helped sustain the popular uprising, until 9/11 2001 when Washington forced Pakistan to mostly end its intervention in Kashmir.

After 40,000-80,000 deaths, most of them Muslims, India seemed in recent years to have extinguished the uprising. But now, it has sprung once more to life, sharpening Indian-Pakistani tensions and drawing China into the dispute.

In 1948, the UN Security Council ordered a plebiscite to determine if Kashmiris wanted to remain in India, or join Pakistan. India has adamantly rejected the UN resolution and insists Kashmir is a purely internal matter.

The uprising, asserts Delhi, is all due to “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan. So the conflict has festered for 62 years – even longer than the dispute over Palestine. Further complicating matters, numerous Kashmiri Muslims are calling for an independent state and demand Pakistan return Gilgit-Baltistan (“Northern Territories” to Pakistan).

Now, the Kashmir conflict can no longer be avoided. It has become part of the arc of crisis that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and India’s violence-plagued western regions. Recent murderous attacks on India by Pakistan-based extremists were motivated by the ongoing conflict in Kashmir.

Equally worrying, there are reports that Chinese troops have entered northern Pakistan, adjacent to Kashmir. Beijing says these troops are helping repair the fabled Karakoram Highway (KKH), the only land link between close allies China and Pakistan. I have been over this 15,000 ft-high marvel carved from the ever-shifting mountains, one of my most hair-raising, thrilling adventures.

China is just finishing a deepwater port and naval base on Pakistan’s western Arabian Sea coast at Gwadar. I first wrote about this highly strategic port in a 1980’s New York Times op-ed piece, predicting it would become a major strategic issue.

Gwadar will afford China’s expanding navy a supply base and safe haven that gives onto the Indian Ocean and Gulf. Today, 55% of China’s oil comes from the Gulf; in a few years, some 80%. Gwadar lies right on China’s vital oil artery.

New roads, a railroad, and a gas pipeline are building northeast from Gwadar to the KKH, then into China. India is increasingly alarmed by this strategic development, which it claims is part of China’s growing “encirclement” of India. Furthermore, India also warns that Chinese troops along the KKH are ready to intervene in Kashmir in the event of a new conflict between Delhi and Islamabad.

In spite of great reluctance, Washington is slowly being drawn into the Kashmir dispute. The US wants India and Pakistan to resolve their bitter Kashmir conflict so that the bulk of Pakistan’s army, now deployed against an attack from India, can be sent into action in Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier (recently miserably renamed, Pakhtunkhwa). But this cannot happen so long as Kashmir burns, so Washington is tip-toeing into a new diplomatic mess in the Himalayas.

What a tangled web we weave…..Afghanistan can’t now be solved without stabilizing Pakistan. But Pakistan will remain unstable and angry so long as the Kashmir conflict continues. But the Bush administration allied the US with India, infuriating old ally Pakistan which sees India and now the US as its principal enemies.

Enter the dragon, China, Pakistan’s closet current ally, expanding its power westward towards the oil-rich Gulf. Sir Halford Mackinder, it appears, was quite right about Kashmir, which lies at the nexus of these great events.

Copyright Eric S, Margolis 2010

This post is in: Asia

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It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’- By Audrey Truschke

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurangzeb Alamgir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir-Muslim History Distortions by Hindus in India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’
By

Audrey Truschke

 
Whatever happened in the past, religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. It is thus disingenuous to single out Indian Muslim rulers for condemnation without owning up to the modern valences of that focus.
 
The idea that medieval Muslim rulers wreaked havoc on Indian culture and society – deliberately and due to religious bigotry – is a ubiquitous notion in 21st century India. Few people seem to realise that the historical basis for such claims is shaky to non-existent. Fewer openly recognise the threat that such a misreading of the past poses for modern India.
 
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor (r. 1658-1707), is perhaps the most despised of India’s medieval Muslim rulers. People cite various alleged “facts” about Aurangzeb’s reign to support their contemporary condemnation, few of which are true. For instance, contrary to widespread belief, Aurangzeb did not destroy thousands of Hindu temples. He did not perpetrate anything approximating a genocide of Hindus. He did not instigate a large-scale conversion program that offered millions of Hindu the choice of Islam or the sword.
 
In short, Aurangzeb was not the Hindu-hating, Islamist tyrant that many today imagine him to have been. And yet the myth of malevolent Aurangzeb is seemingly irresistible and has captured politicians, everyday people, and even scholars in its net. The damage that this idea has done is significant. It is time to break this mythologized caricature of the past wide open and lay bare the modern biases, politics, and interests that have fuelled such a misguided interpretation of India’s Islamic history.
 
A recent article on this website cites a series of inflammatory claims about Indo-Muslim kings destroying premodern India’s Hindu culture and population. The article admits that “these figures are drawn from the air” and historians give them no credence. After acknowledging that the relevant “facts” are false, however, the article nonetheless posits that precolonial India was populated by “religious chauvinists,” like Aurangzeb, who perpetrated religiously-motivated violence and thus instigated “historical injustices” to which Hindus can rightly object today. This illogical leap from a confessed lack of reliable information to maligning specific rulers is the antithesis of proper history, which is based on facts and analysis rather than unfounded assumptions about the endemic, unchanging nature of a society.
 
A core aspect of the historian’s craft is precisely that we cannot assume things about the past. Historians aim to recover the past and to understand historical figures and events on their own terms, as products of their time and place. That does not mean that historians sanitize prior events. Rather we refrain from judging the past by the standards of the present, at least long enough to allow ourselves to glimpse the logic and dynamics of a historical period that may be radically different from our own.
 
Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”
 
In the case of Indian Muslim history, a core notion that is hard for modern people to wrap our heads around is as follows: It was not all about religion.
 
Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him.
 
Regardless of the historical motivations for events such as premodern temple destructions, a certain percentage of modern Indians nonetheless feel wronged by their Islamic past. What is problematic, they ask, about recognising historical injustices enacted by Muslim figures? In this regard, the contemporaneity of debates over Indian history is crucial to understanding why the Indo-Islamic past is singled out.
 
For many people, condemnations of Aurangzeb and other medieval Indian rulers stem not from a serious assessment of the past but rather from anxieties over India’s present and future, especially vis-à-vis its Muslim minority population. After all, one might ask: If we are recognising injustices in Indian history, why are we not also talking about Hindu rulers? When judged according to modern standards, medieval rulers the world over measure up poorly, and Hindu kings are no exception. Medieval Hindu political leaders destroyed mosques periodically, for instance, including in Aurangzeb’s India. Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs” for one reason: They were perpetrated by Hindus rather than Muslims.
 
Religious bigotry may not have been an overarching problem in India’s medieval past, but it is a crucial dynamic in India’s present. Religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. Non-lethal forms of discrimination and harassment are common. Fear is part of everyday life for many Indian Muslims.  Thus, when scholars compare medieval Islamic rulers like Aurangzeb to South Africa’s twentieth-century apartheid leaders, for example, they not only display a surprising lack of commitment to the historical method but also provide fodder for modern communal fires.
 
It is high time we discarded the pernicious myth of India’s medieval Muslim villains. This poisonous notion imperils the tolerant foundations of modern India by erroneously positing religious-based conflict and Islamic extremism as constant features of life on the subcontinent. Moreover, it is simply bad history. India has a complicated and messy past, and we do it and ourselves no justice by flattening its nuances to reflect the religious tensions of the present.
 

Audrey Truschke is a historian at Stanford University and Rutgers University-Newark. Her first book, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court will be published by Columbia University Press and Penguin India in 2016. She is currently working on a book on Aurangzeb that will published by Juggernaut Books.

 

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