thecatapult.in is a new blog focusing on the matters concerning the Indian national interests, strategy and the affairs of the State.
The First Post today is about the Chinese side war gaming a scenario on the Tibetan plateau and the border with India in case of a (planned?!) steady deterioriation of relations leading to war with India after the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics.
A sandwich can Kill You
Reporter: This is not a military post. Rather, it is a fast-food restaurant in the southern suburb of Beirut. The name of the restaurant and its appearance make all the people passing by stop, but the dishes it serves are bound to make people stay longer Kalashnikov, RPG, Dragunov, Viper, B52 are all examples of these dishes.
Yousef Ibrahim, restaurant owner: I felt this was a good idea. It attracts customers in an unconventional way. I noticed that the moment I opened the place, there was a lot of business. Despite the militaristic concept, whoever looks at the menu starts laughing. My goal was to make people laugh before they ask me: “Why weapons?” If I gave the sandwiches regular names, everything would be plain.
Reporter: High-quality bread is used in Western dishes, but what might “terrorist bread” be?
Yousef Ibrahim: “Terrorist bread” is like a large pita bread, which is made in a special way. Since we, in the Middle East, are at the hub of terrorism, we decided to serve “terrorist bread.”
Reporter: The restaurant’s slogan is “A sandwich might kill you,” because, as the owner says, its dishes are outstanding both in size and in taste. We chose the RPG sandwich – that is, chicken skewers – for lunch. How does it taste? Even though it has the name of a medium-range weapon, it is still nothing but a sandwich.
Shri N.Ram, the toast of China’s communist clique
Shri N.Ram, the well-known Editor-in-Chief of “The Hindu” of Chennai, has been the toast of China for an article purported to have beenwritten by him refuting the allegations levelled by the Dalai Lama and his supporters regarding the events of March in Lhasa . The Chineseauthorities have been gratified by what they see as his vigorous articulation of the version of the events as put out by them.
2. A report on Shri Ram’s article disseminated by the State-owned Hsinhua news agency of China is annexed. It is learnt that this has beentranslated into the Tibetan and Uighur languages and copies distributed in all the monasteries and educational institutions in theTibetan-inhabited areas of China. It has also been made required reading in the patriotic re-education classess for Tibetans being organisedby the Chinese authorities.In the meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have reduced the duration of the stay of the Olympic Torch in Tibetfrom three to one day. The torch will be in Lhasa on June 21 instead of June 19.
3. The dissemination of Shri Ram’s article is unlikely to have any impact on the Tibetans and Uighurs. Nor will it have much of an impact oninternational opinion on the recent events in Tibet because Shri Ram’s policy of “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” with regard toChina is well known right across the world.His popularity in China is confined to the Chinese ruling circles.
4.After writing this article, I showed this to a number of Indian friends. While a majority agreed that this deserved to be written anddisseminated, some asked why do this since it could reflect on the credibility of a great institution of Chennai.
5. After carefully considering their advice, I concluded that this needed to be written in the interest of the Indian people and the lovablepeople of Tibet. It will be moral cowardice to remain silent when the Editor of a highly respected paper of Chennai uses his access to itscolumns to demonise the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans just as Beijing is in the habit of doing.
6. As you move around Chennai, you see thousands of advertisements inviting you to buy “The Hindu”. When you see those advertisements,think of Shri Ram and his writings in support of the Chinese and in demonisation of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans and ask yourself thequestion:” Does such a newspaper deserve my continued support?”. The choice is yours.[link]
China’s New Found “Openness”
Besides Tibet, two other important stories to watch while gauging Beijing’s newly discovered bent for openness and transparency are closely tied to the disaster in Sichuan. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has launched a probe into the disproportionately large number of schoolchildren who were killed when their schools collapsed on them while other nearby buildings withstood the shock of the quake. If shoddy construction was involved, officials have vowed to punish those responsible.
Angry, grieving parents who have lost children are screaming for justice, but an honest and full investigation could lead to high places in Communist Party officialdom in the province. Its seems likely that so-called “tofu” construction was commonplace in the building of schools and that private contractors colluded with government officials to skimp on essential materials such as steel and concrete and pocket the savings. If these corrupt officials are truly brought to book for their malfeasance, that would be a major breakthrough in the country’s battle against graft. But beware the scapegoat: this investigation could turn out like a lot of others – punishing a few for the widespread practice of many.
The same is true of the central government’s pledge that all local and foreign donations to quake victims, which have surpassed 40 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion), will be strictly accounted for. This promise comes after numerous reports on the Internet of donated goods intended for quake victims winding up on sale in shops or in the possession of people not affected by the quake. Venal officials are allegedly selling items such as tents and rice by the truckload. If this is true, how many of these culprits, the latest symbols of China’s endemic corruption, will pay for their crimes?
Finally, of course, there are the Olympic Games and the 30,000 foreign reporters who will descend on the country to cover not just the athletes but also anything else of interest they can find. They will want to interview ordinary citizens and ask Chinese leaders tough questions about corruption and democratic reform. They have been promised great freedom. Let’s see if Beijing can deliver on that promise.
In the end, however, it will not be until the grand Olympic stage is packed away and the eyes of the world have turned elsewhere that any clear sense of China’s future as a budding civil society will become clear. [link]
He actually called the CPI(M) as ‘thugs and murderers’ for the massacre of innocents in Nandigram and infact he goes on to draw parallels with Mao and Stalin and the finest traditions of ‘global communism’.
One wonders how long it is before Vir Sanghvi is denounced as a “counter-revolutionary” and a “closet communalist” by his leftist media colleagues and “intellectuals”.
The Bengal Paradox
It is now over a decade since I moved out of Calcutta. But watching the news last week, I felt I was back. As I saw those terrible shots of policemen beating up women in Nandigram, as I read about the massacre of innocent villagers, and as I noted the cold, commissar-like response of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to the killings, I remembered what it was like to live in West Bengal.
Like the rest of us, the people of West Bengal get the politicians they deserve. They get the thugs and murderers of the CPM and they get the hysterical, self-destructive opposition of Mamata Banerjee. Small wonder then that while Bengalis prosper all over the world (and in the rest of India), Bengal remains a backwater, always at least a decade behind the rest of the country.
And see the intolerance of the UNHRC to any criticism of its conduct and the threat to ban the UN Watch representative’s speech. This has become a stalinist organisation through and through dominated by the same third world dictatorial thugs from many parts of Asia, Africa, the Arab world and latin America who are supposed to be held accountable by this body.
Also Watch the Speeches Not Banned at the UNHRC by UN Watch.
As the Earth’s icy north melts due to Global warming the countries around the Arctic ocean make a mad rush to gain control of its natural resources.
Riches Await as Earth’s icy North Melts
The latest report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the ice cap is warming faster than the rest of the planet and ice is receding, partly due to greenhouse gases. It’s a catastrophic scenario for the Arctic ecosystem, for polar bears and other wildlife, and for Inuit populations whose ancient cultures depend on frozen waters.
But some see a lucrative silver lining of riches waiting to be snatched from the deep, and the prospect of timesaving sea lanes that could transform the shipping industry the way the Suez Canal did in the 19th century.
The US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic has as much as 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas. Russia reportedly sees the potential of minerals in its slice of the Arctic sector approaching $2 trillion.
All this has pushed governments and businesses into a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas.