Gorkhaland Issue Should Be Seen As Part Of National Defence Policy

The Doklam plateau standoff with the Chinese, and the Gorkhaland agitation are both running concurrently, and the Chinese are past masters in the art of fishing in troubled waters. Today, they have done it with the political class of the nation; tomorrow they will try it with the ongoing agitation of Gorkhaland. 
The agitation is located guarding the Northern approach as we term it in military parlance of the “Chicken Neck”.  The Chicken Neck is a narrow piece of land connecting the North East with the rest of India. It has Bhutan on one side, Bangladesh on the other side, and a troubled Siliguri district where the Gorkha land agitation is on, also colloquially called the “Siliguri corridor”. 
Gorkhaland as brought out time and again by this author fits well into the security structure of the modern look east policy of India. The aim of the Chinese is to touch a key core concern of India that is threaten the Chicken Neck a narrow piece of land that connects  the rest of North East India with the mainland.
Once a road is built by the Chinese at Tri Junction, where the current military standoff is taking place, this area comes under medium artillery range and can be interdicted at will. China also bullies Bhutan thus tests whether India will stand besides Bhutan to further test Nepal India relations.  The Chinese have diplomatically built inroads into Nepal and are testing the waters militarily. India has a special place in foreign policy of Nepal; vide the first four of the ten clauses treaty of friendship 1950 with Nepal.  

Rajendra P Misra

Modi’s Israel Visit: High On Symbolism, Real Let Down On Terror

Gestures in diplomacy reflect how a host country perceives a visiting dignitary and wants to be perceived in return. On this count, Prime Minister NarendraModi’ Israel visit, a first by any Indian premier, was brimming overwith symbolism sending out the message that both the countries are eager to take the diplomatic ties to a higher plane. 
As Modi disembarked on Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurionairport, his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu was present at the tarmac to welcome him, putting all protocols aside, an honour previously accorded to the US President and the Pope. His words – “Aapkaswagathaimere dost.We have been waiting for almost 70 years (for a visit of an Indian Prime Minister)” – reflected a nation’s long cherished yearning.
Another gesture from Netanyahu was of no less import when he said that India-Israel’s friendship was a “marriage made in made in heaven”, despite the fact that he had said the same thing about the Israel-Chinese relations in March this year.On the last day of the Modi’strip to Israel, Netanyahu himself drove him in a jeep to Dor beach in Haifa and later gave him a signed photograph which Modi shared on Twitter.

Sudhirender Sharma

Confronting The Challenge Of Mounting Waste

Mini-mountains of accumulated untreated urban waste are common sights in most big and medium cities and towns in the country.  Waste dumps greet visitors to any city, reflecting the rapidly rising prosperity in each bit of trash at the waste dump. With cities having literally failed to develop effective ways to dispose of their waste, the resulting mountains of waste in almost all cities have become a serious health hazard.
The Government of India is seized of this exacerbating problem, more so having embarked on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) and the Smarts Cities Mission (SCM) to turn things around by driving growth to improve the quality of life through area-based development and city-level smart solutions. In developing Three-Year Action Agenda (2017-18 to 2019-20), the Niti Aayog has drawn a broader framework for addressing the issue of municipal solid waste (MSW).


To align the development strategy with the changing reality, the Niti Aayog has been tasked with developing tools and approaches for impacting policy change within the three year period. It will back up its Three Year Agenda with Seven Year Strategy and Fifteen Year Vision for taking the agenda to its logical conclusion. Given the enormity of the situation, the Agenda has recognized the need for speeding up action on managing municipal solid waste.

Priyadarshi Dutta

Dadabhai Naoroji: The Pioneer Of Using Data To Push Political Agenda

Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) – one of the makers of modern India- passed away on June 30, 1917. His death centenary was an apt occasion to revisit his legacy. Two features of his long and distinguished career stand out prominently a) sustained advocacy of Indian cause abroad and b) use of statistics to shape public discourse. He was the first Indian to be elected to the House of Commons (1892). He formulated the famous drain-of-wealth theory, which became India’s cornerstone argument against the British rule. In his late years, he was the first to give expression to the demand for Swaraj from platform of Indian National Congress (1906). He served the cause of India’s political emancipation for six decades.Born in Bombay (now Mumbai) in a poor Parsi family, he began his career as a teacher of mathematics and natural philosophy at Elphinstone Institute (later Elphinstone College). He was the first Indian to become a full professor. As a member of the Students Literary and Scientific Society formed in the Institute, he acted as a pioneer of women’s education. He was an active member of the Bombay Association (1852), the first association in the western India to consider political issues. Its meetings were held in the hall of the Institute. In 1851, he founded Rast Goftar (Truth Teller), a Gujarati fortnightly with a Persian name. It was a progressive journal educating readers on duties of citizenship.


To Be Heard In Delhi, Gorkhas Need To Move Beyond Darjeeling Bandh

There is a fatigue which sets in each time there is an agitation. That’s the time when matters cool down and shortly it’s back to business. Bandhs have a limited shelf life unless supplemented by the power to debate. Both the process must run concurrently and simultaneously ensuring that the democratic nonviolent methods dominate. 

The Gorkhas have made Gorkhaland an emotive issue, but the real time need is to think on how to carry this exercise forward -- through power of debate, creating favourable public opinion and expressing one's cause at national level.

Some things are crystal clear, as brought out earlier on June 20 in these very columns. Trinamool Congress government in Kolkata created a situation of unrest to counter influence of both the BJP and GJM in the hill areas.

It’s doubtful that the BJP would support cause of Gorkhaland at the cost of Bengal; caputuring power at the Writer’s Building is their long term political ambition. Civil Society from all corners of the nation has come out in support of Gorkhaland. However, the local political class, sees this as a Darjeeling centric movement, which hurts the overall identity issue.