[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gwadar need not be the only port of ingress and egress for the China-initiated transnational road-and-rail network; the India-Iran harbour route can be safer
By Sujit Bhar
Stated positions in international diplomacy change faster than pieces in a rapid chess match. If frequent geopolitical shifts have to be addressed, they either have to be dealt with counter-moves, or through the opening of an alternative, surreptitious and camouflaged line of attack.
There is no defeat in international diplomacy, till you concede one.
The India-China position vis-à-vis the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative can reach a dead end if India cannot find that alternative route fast. The Chabahar Port route rests in a confused state as of now.
While in April Union minister Nitin Gadkari said work on the port is moving fast and that India has now got a two-year management contract for the port, India’s promise of a $ 500 million investment seems to be on a slippery surface, post problems arising out of Iran’s delaying tactics in awarding gas exploration contract in its Farzad B offshore field to ONGC Videsh. This was one by-product India was looking for within the Chabahar Port deal.
As per published reports, India has decided to reduce oil imports from Iran by three million tonnes, which translates to approximately 25 percent of the oil India imports from Iran. With India sourcing almost six percent of all its oil from that country, India will have to seek an alternative route. With oil prices down, this might not be such a problem, but Iran has not taken kindly to its second-largest customer (after China), cutting back on purchases. It has retaliated by cutting India’s payment schedule from 90 days to 30, as well as cutting back on freight discounts.
If one looks at these as pure business decisions, then there is no problem. Differences arise before they are solved. However, this seems to be connected to India’s political aspirations. Isolating Pakistan isn’t proving to be so easy. If Iran does think joining OBOR would be beneficial for it, a quick change of stance with respect to Pakistan would not be difficult. While India has several running defence deals with Iran, Iran has shown no bad intentions regarding Pakistan.
There is said to be a clause in India’s 16-year-old defence deal with Iran, which reportedly says that India might be given access to Iranian military bases in the event of a war with Pakistan. This, however, has not been openly confirmed by either country, which puts the viability of the deal into unknown territory.
Hence Iran’s intentions, as expected, revolve around its own interests. The Chabahar Port will be a value addition for Iran. If the CPEC goes forward, joining Gwadar Port with the overall OBOR system, how much latitude can India gain from the Chabahar port connecting Afghanistan, while staying away from OBOR?
Frankly, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision cannot be wished away by India. India would expect to get a better understanding of the OBOR initiative from the inside and not from a spectator’s perspective. That China has taken the lead in world geopolitics and across the financial world cannot be denied by India. There is little point in being an ostrich in a changing world. There are no stated positions.
India’s stated position about PoK need not change if there is a move towards accepting OBOR as inevitable, and in a partnership offer, one has to take financial options into consideration while dealing with the issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would need a face-saver, surely, because the opposition would be screaming murder if India agrees to attend the upcoming OBOR meet. But here is the dig. If OBOR is developed through partnership, and not through the primary dictates of China, there is a possibility that India can press for its own security system for its goods through the disturbed Baloch, PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan regions.
Let this be a practical discussion. Can India, though any international forum, possibly stop Chinese-Pakistani construction in disputed areas for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which happens to be an integral part of OBOR? One guesses not.
And, as China claims, will India’s not attending the OBOR meet completely isolate India? I guess not, too. This will also remain in the region of probability. However, there is a catch. If OBOR is an unqualified success, any late entry effort would not only require cost, but also present a positioning problem for India.
What if India sends an unqualified “yes” signal? Technically, that would mean accepting all existing norms, including, possibly, discussions on the Kashmir issue with a third party, something India has consistently refused to accede to. That would be the end of Modi’s tenure at the top.
What is the midway? Possibly sending a low-powered delegation to the OBOR meet? That would provide representation without accountability, because such a delegation would lack the authority to make decisions. In other words it would result in dragging feet, but India has huge experience in this. Any opportunity unexplored is no opportunity. If India refuses to acknowledge OBOR, its voice on PoK will be rarely heard.
There is a chance of forcing a change from within, and Chabahar is as good an entry and exit point for goods on OBOR as Gwadar. Does that sound like an alternative position? Two things to consider here. Xi has improved relations with Iran several-fold through his visit of the country. OBOR does not need to have just the CPEC route to use. What if it can use both? What if India can place a quick proposal that India’s proposed route can also connect to OBOR?
This is a disruptive thought. Floating it would be difficult, but not impossible. Could we think about this? India has invested in Chabahar and in developing railway lines to the north. OBOR will happen. While the CPEC is fraught with dangers, the India-Iran-Afghanistan route can be safer.
Let’s make the best use of it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
PM Modi joins fitness influencer Ankit Baiyanpuriya in Swachhata Hi Seva campaign | Watch here
Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, PM modi shared a video of him doing the cleanliness work with the influnecer.
A day before Gandhi Jayanti, PM Modi participated with fitness influencer Ankit Baiyanpuriya in participated in the Shramdaan for cleanliness campaign as part of the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign.
Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, PM modi shared a video of him doing the cleanliness work with the influnecer. Sharing the video he wrote, today, when the country focused on Swachhata, Ankit Baiyanpuriya and he did the same! Beyond only hygiene, they included wellness and fitness in the mix as well. It is all about that Swachh and Swasth Bharat vibe.
PM Modi can be heard asking Ankit in the video that how the Swachhata mission will benefit his physical health. Ankit responds, it’s up to us to maintain our environment clean. They’ll stay in shape if it stays clean.
Ankit added that Sonipat’s residents have been emphasising hygiene.
Fitness influencer Ankit Baiyanpuria, a former desi wrestler from Bayanpur, Sonipat, has earned notoriety for his advocacy of conventional and regional training techniques.
Ankit gained fresh notoriety earlier this year when he introduced the strenuous 75-day Hard Challenge to improve his mental toughness and self-control.
Ankit, who was raised by labourer parents, is well known on social media for his flawless training methods and distinctive routines that not only prioritise physical fitness but also encompass mental well-being with books like the Bhagavad Gita.
Ankit had to change his strategy in 2022 after dislocating his shoulder while participating in mud wrestling. He started documenting his fitness progress on Instagram.
He first learned about Andy Frisella’s 75-day Hard Challenge while learning fitness. In just 28 days, Ankit has accumulated more than 2.5 million followers! Ankit now has 4.9 million Instagram followers.
Leaders from all over the nation participated in the Shramdaan for Cleanliness session as part of the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign on Sunday after Modi urged citizens to participate in a cleanliness drive on October 1.
A number of Union ministers and MPs were spotted taking part in the nationwide cleanup effort for the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign, including BJP leader JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah.
Uttar Pradesh: Differently abled woman dragged on road by police constables in Hardoi, investigation underway
SP Keshav Chandra Goswami added that the circumstances of the incident are being investigated and erring officers will be punished if they are proven guilty.
In a shocking incident, a differently-abled woman was dragged on the road by police constables at Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh. An investigation has been ordered into the matter after the video went viral across the social media platforms. Reports said that Superintendent of Police, Keshav Chandra Goswami took cognisance of the matter and directed a departmental enquiry into the incident.
The viral video that went viral across social media platforms showed a woman being dragged on the road by two police officers. The horrific incident took place outside the office of Superintendent of Police on Saturday. The video showed the woman being escorted by two police officers to the police station.
In the video, one woman officer is seen holding the woman by her leg and then being dragged along the ground towards the police station. While walking, the woman sat down in protest, following which the officers dragged her away.
Reports said that the woman is differently abled and has come to the SP’s office with a complaint after a dispute with her husband. However, instead of lodging her complaint, she attempted to climb the wall of the Superintendent of Police office.
The disturbing video highlights the high-handedness and coarse attitude of Uttar Pradesh police in dealing with the public. Speaking about the harrowing incident, SP Keshav Chandra Goswami added that the circumstances of the incident are being investigated and erring officers will be punished if they are proven guilty.
Hardoi police asserted that Shilpa Kumar has been assigned to address the woman’s complaint. They added that one of the woman police officials involved in the matter has been suspended. In addition, the two accused PRD policewoman, who are seen in the video, have been taken off duty and an inquiry has been ordered against them. Social media users have heavily criticized the behaviour of the police officials and called for immediate actions.
Swachhata Hi Seva: Home Minister Amit Shah cleans roads, participates in Shramdaan for Cleanliness program in Ahmedabad | Watch here
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged citizens to take part in the campaign Ek Tareekh, Ek Ghanta, Ek Saath on October 1 at 10 am on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday took part in the Shramdaan for cleanliness program under Swachhata Hi Seva campaign in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Along with other leaders, the Home Minister can be seen cleaning a road in Ahmedabad. Beside Amit Shah, various political leaders from across the country joined hands and actively participated in the call for cleanliness drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Prime Minister urged citizens to take part in the campaign Ek Tareekh, Ek Ghanta, Ek Saath on October 1 at 10 am on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. The initiative is a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that conforms with Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for clean India.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal along with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla participated in the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign in Kota, Rajasthan. On the other hand, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde actively took part in a cleanliness drive in Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also participated in the Swachheta Hi Seva campaign in Sitapur.
On Saturday, BJP President JP Nadda and Union Minister of State for Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi took part in the cleanliness drive at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. At the event, Meenakshi Lekhi slammed the AAP government and stated that they are not working regarding the segregation of waste. Union Minister Raj K Singh also participated in the Clean India drive in the national capital.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar took part in the campaign at Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi. While participating in the campaign at Gurugram, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw affirmed that a 14 minute clean-up protocol has been prepared for the Vande Bharat trains today and will be carried out at 35 places.
At the 105th episode of Mann ki Baat, PM Modi stated that a major cleanliness event is scheduled for October 1 at 10 AM.