‘Dalai Lama Path for the Chinese’

An online petition addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been launched for the renaming of Panchsheel Marg outside the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri “as the Dalai Lama Marg.”

The petition has been initiated by a senior bureaucrat, O.P. Mishra in his personal capacity as a citizen, as per information on Facebook; he is currently posted in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep as Secretary.

The Chinese Embassy has three roads around it, Shanti Path, Panchsheel Marg and Nayaya Marg. Mishra’s petition says that “Panchsheel” was the treaty between India and China in 1954. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru advocated this treaty. “We named one of the most important roads in Chanakyapuri to mark the importance of the treaty as Panchsheel Marg. Panchsheel means the five principles which formed the basis of Indo-Sino relationship—mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence. Sadly, this treaty survived only on paper.”

“Panchsheel was the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. But China never had any respect for the treaty, while India made big publicity about the Panchsheel,” says Mishra, pointing out that China violated time and again the territorial integrity of India and waged wars. “We continue with a failed Nehruvian legacy, the name of the road, Panchsheel Marg. It is about time we renamed this road as Dalai Lama Marg to honour the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.”

There are some who feel that it would be better to rename Shanti Path as Dalai Lama Marg. That way, the Chinese embassy’s address will be “50-D, Dalai Lama Path, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021”. Whenever the Chinese will have to give directions, they will have to say “We are on the Dalai Lama Path”!

India-Indonesia MOU for strategic sea affairs

At a time when the South China Sea scenario is heating up because of China claiming a large number of islands here, India and Indonesia have signed an important MoU to patrol the strategic Indian Ocean link between them. As coronavirus has made a large number of people jobless, smuggling of arms and narcotics is likely to increase in these sea lanes. Bakamla RI (Indonesian Coast Guard) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) have signed a significant MoU on “Maritime Safety and Security”. Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia, head of Bakamla RI and his counterpart K. Natarajan, Director General, ICG, signed the MoU through web connectivity between their respective headquarters at Jakarta and New Delhi. Pradeep Kumar Rawat, India’s Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor-Leste graced the occasion at Jakarta. A token ceremonial handing over of the MoU to the respective Defence Attachés was undertaken—Captain Amitabh Saxena at Jakarta and Captain Asdi Yasin at New Delhi.

India and Indonesia are historically connected through the Indian Ocean and it has been the resolve of both to ensure safe and secure sea passage for all seafarers in the region. This is enshrined in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR—Security And Growth for All in the Region. Relations between the two countries were elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” in May 2018 during Modi’s visit to Indonesia. The focus on maritime security was re-iterated with the shared vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The MoU between the two Coast Guards was also conceived at this stage.

Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Debashish Biswas, Second Secretary, Indian Embassy in Jakarta, said, as maritime neighbours believe in rules-based order and upholding the tenets of the 1982 UNCLOS, this MoU will augment information exchange mechanisms. This real time Maritime Domain Awareness will be the foundation for controlling and responding to incidents of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal migration and other such maritime crimes and will help in protection of our precious marine environment.

NGT no to ‘old’ cars during pandemic

Another attempt to get the National Green Tribunal to review its ban on 15-year-old vehicles failed on Wednesday. The plea by a senior citizen was for permitting such vehicles during the coronavirus pandemic. The NGT bench headed by Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dismissed the plea filed by Delhi-based environment activist Kamal Sahai and said “We have junked similar petitions in the past and even the Supreme Court has upheld the NGT order.” The NGT in its 26 November 2014 order had said that all vehicles, diesel or petrol, that are more than 15 years old, shall not be permitted to ply.

Sahai had pleaded that a modified NGT direction would “go a long way in curbing the virus spread and save lives, especially of senior citizens who are the most vulnerable persons as per government health advisories”.

Advocates Tushar Gupta and Shaan Mohan, who appeared for the petitioner, said that no matter what precautions the government takes public transport will never be as safe as commuting in one’s own well-maintained vehicle.