Yuan Wang 5 docks in Sri Lanka; Opening Bilkis Bano wounds; Kabul connect for India

Yuan Wang 5; 11 Bilkis Bano case convicts being feted; Taliban leader
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Opinion Watch

Satellite tracking Chinese spy ship is now anchored at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka despite Indian anguish. That port has been leased to China, and the Indian Ocean waters are at risk of becoming a backyard for Chinese naval power.

The Times of India, The Indian Express and The Pioneer have carried Editorials on the significance of the docking of the spy ship.

ToI noted that the docking of the ship signifies growing maritime clout of China in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The daily reminded that China has been pursuing policy of upgrading its navy, which is already the largest in the world.

China has 355 warships and submarines, and clearly that’s aligned to its expansionist zeal, as seen in the South China Sea, while Beijing has woven a string of ports from East Asia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan to Africa to dominate the international waters.

Noting that India cannot match the financial muscle of China, ToI argued New Delhi to work with Quad consisting also of the US, Japan and Australia to counter China in the Indian Ocean.

IE has called docking of the ship disappointing, stating that “a Chinese vessel with such strategic capabilities has not sailed this close to India before”.

Yet, the daily underlined that the event be not seen as a setback in India’s relations with Sri Lanka.

IE also on the lines of ToI called upon India to work closely with Quad countries to counter dragon’s fire play in the Indian Ocean.

Ironically, Sri Lanka has justified allowing Chinese spy shop to dock at its port for several days by also citing Australia, a Quad country, leasing one of its ports to China.

The Pioneer has put the blame on the Ministry of External Affairs, calling it complacent.

The daily has bluntly stated that the Chinese ship’s arrival in Sri Lanka is part of anti-India activities, while EAM S Jaishankar remains in denial.

Coming down heavily on Jaishankar, TP has equated his statement that India cannot command exclusivity in the region to (Jawaharlal_ Nehru’s famous quote “not a blade of grass grows there” in reference to Aksai Chin.

Indeed, the Chinese spy ship in Sri Lanka is a setback for India, and New Delhi would need to move quickly to block China’s dominance in the Indian Ocean Region.

Opening Bilkis Bano wounds    

Rioters had ravaged Bilkis Bano, as the fury of the post-Godhra communal riots raged across Gujarat two decades ago.

Time has failed to heal the wounds.

People fêting those who had raped Bilkis Bano, killed her child, and murdered 11 others, while she was fleeing Limkheda Taluk in Dahod district in Gujarat is indeed shocking.

The Hindu and The Indian Express have expressed dismays at the remission of the life imprisonment of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case by the Gujarat Government.

IE has contrasted the remission of the jail terms of the convicts against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call to empower ‘Nari Shakti’ from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day.

A special CBI court had convicted the 11 men, who all hail from the village of Bilkis Bano. The Bombay High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court had upheld their convictions.

Ironically, IE noted that it was the Supreme Court only which allowed a remission plea by one of the convicts which paved the way for the Gujarat Government to set up a prison board, which eventually allowed remission.

“…it also appears to be illegal, as their terms seem to have been remitted without the required consultation with the Union government. It defies logic that those convicted for direct involvement in the rape of three women, the murder of a three-year-old and six others can be considered candidates for premature release under any remission policy,” TH argued in its Edit.

Kabul connect for India

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan are seemingly sending overtures to India to normalize the relations and begin the development works in the war-ravaged country.

That is despite the fact that the Taliban continue to harbor dreaded terrorists.

The Economic Times in its Edit has stated that “India’s de-facto resumption of diplomatic ties with Afghanistan is a gamble fraught with peril and promise”.

The daily noted that Kabul’s promise to act against terrorist outfits working against India is attractive.

India has burnt its fingers in Afghanistan. After pouring billions of US dollars in Afghanistan, India has seen that the Taliban remain a mediaeval outfit which cannot have normal relations with modern societies.

The gamble is indeed fraught with perils.

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