THE Cover Story (February 24) succeeded in filling many gaps in people’s understanding of the ground situation at the Line of Actual Control. There were some contradictory observations in the articles about India’s preparedness or otherwise to hold the dragon in check although on the whole they were holistic in their approach and assessments.
The present status of Indo-China relations seems to be in a grin-and-bear-it mode as far as India is concerned. It is increasingly being proved that “ Hindi Chini Bhai, Bhai” was a cruel joke that the dragon played on us.
In his interview, Zhou Bo predictably presented China as a paragon of virtue while thrusting diplomatically the entire burden of blame on India.
THE Cover Story articles provided readers with a deep insight into the root causes of the border disputes between India and China, which have been going on for over 60 years now. Despite the steps undertaken in the recent past to normalise relations, China has continued with its expansionist designs. It is sad that China’s response to Indian overtures has always been unpredictable and hostile.
The contention that the Indian response to China’s expansionist designs has been one of disengagement and timidity is incorrect as the current dispensation has shown steely political resolve in standing up to the Chinese aggression. This is in contrast to the insipid approach of Congress-led governments.
A lasting solution to the Indo-China dispute lies in adherence in letter and spirit by both nations (especially China) to the famous “Panchsheel Agreement”, which laid the foundations for peaceful coexistence.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
AMID unrestrained razzmatazz, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her fifth Budget (“Without growth or welfare”, February 24). As expected, she took the effort to play to the gallery by not imposing any additional burden on the common man.
The allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is to be lauded as this will enable many youths to buy houses. However, reduction in the allocation for the MGNREGS will adversely affect the rural poor who are still struggling to get over the pandemic-inflicted economic turmoil.
This rob Peter to pay Paul approach will spell doom for the poorest people. It is distressing that the Budget exercise of the “Amrit Kaal” has totally ignored the rural poor at a time when they badly need government support to regain their lives and livelihood. The cut in food and fertilizer subsidies has come as a double whammy for the agricultural sector.
THIS is with reference to “A new phase of censorship creep” (February 24). The article shed light upon the need for protection of the fundamental rights of citizens and the media. In a logical way, it exposed how the Union government runs roughshod over critics. Many journalists and media houses maintain an eerie silence about the reprehensible policies of the present government.
In postcolonial India, too, the press and scribes were treated shabbily. During the Emergency in 1975, the press was censored and muzzled, but subsequently, all undemocratic restrictions were lifted as people refused to accept them.
The media plays a vital role in galvanising democratic forces to stand up to the disreputable political moves of the BJP. If such things are allowed to go unchecked, the Indian populace will suffer the consequences.
The government cannot afford to curtail people’s liberty as doing so will prevent the country from setting on the path to progress.
THE BJP must stop using Governors and Lieutenant Governors to destabilise governments in opposition-ruled States and prevent them from functioning properly as it amounts to a murder of democracy (“A tale of two governments”, February 24). The government needs to respect and learn important and useful lessons from the opposition.
Apart from the judiciary stopping the destabilisation of the country, online and offline movements must be started immediately to safeguard democracy and keep it healthy and strong.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi must keep his promise of giving statehood to Delhi and the opposition must go all out to ensure that this becomes a reality.
IN many Asian countries, various big-ticket projects are being carried out on huge tracts of greenfield areas and green belts that will ultimately be destroyed (“The hills they call home”, February). Issues involving biodiversity should be handled with the utmost of care, failing which there will be serious consequences. In countries in the West, many forest areas and agricultural tracts still remain amazingly intact because of their attitude towards nature. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Asia. We need to learn from them.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai
FRONTLINE’S coverage of the Joshimath crisis, a serious story of criminal neglect, was exhaustive (Cover Story, February 24). Congratulations to the magazine for bringing out the minutest details.
Nature’s fury was made evident through earthquakes and landslides in the most sensitive and fragile areas repeatedly from 1991, but the government and various authorities conveniently ignored the warning signs and gave the green light to the construction of dams and other mega projects. The voices of protest that were raised in this small town were ignored. Would the authorities dare to ignore such incidents if they were to happen in major cities? Would there not be a huge uproar?
Sadly, after the initial reporting, the electronic media have been silent on the crisis, and there have been no follow-up accounts. The crisis is a grim warning to other sensitive places. Development in such areas needs to be handled with care.
If the foundation is shaky, one does not need to be an expert to visualise the impending dangers.
THE history of the ancient crop millet, especially in the Indian context, will be incomplete if due importance is not given to the women farmers of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh (“A grain of sense”, February 10). They are trying to revive in the north-east the cultivation of the nearly lost crops of cassava, buckwheat, quinoa, taro, and millet.