Indian soldiers display their winter uniform in Ladakh.
An uneasy calm prevails as heavily armed Indian and Chinese soldiers face off in eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Tso-Chushul area. Both sides are backed by tanks, howitzers and shoulder-fired missiles after at least four bouts of warning shots were exchanged between them since August 29.
The two armies are waiting for the sixth round of corps commander-level talks to determine whether the “diplomatic consensus” reached to reduce tensions at the September 10 talks between foreign ministers S Jaishankar and Wang Yi actually translates into ground reality.
In a bid to “unnerve” Indian soldiers entrenched on the heights, the
has taken to loudspeakers to issue warnings in chaste Hindi apart from playing Punjabi songs.
“Our soldiers are enjoying the music,” an Indian Army officer said. “The PLA is trying to stir disaffection among our troops. But such psychological operations do not trouble our battle-hardened soldiers,” he added.
‘PLA yet to confirm date of next meet’
Though the two armies are on a hair-trigger alert amid a huge trust deficit, there have been no major aggressive moves in the high-altitude region for the last one week. “The PLA seems to be considering its next move and finalising the approach for the next dialogue between the corps commanders, who last met on August 2,” another senior Indian officer said.
“China is on the backfoot after our troops occupied multiple tactical heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso-Chushul area, while also repositioning and consolidating their positions in the ‘Finger’ area on the north bank. It gives us leverage for the first time. PLA is yet to get back with the date for the next meeting,” he added. The operational situation at the ‘friction points’, however, remains on a knife edge, with bullets being fired — even though in the air — for the first time in 45 years.
“All the firing incidents took place because the PLA tried to aggressively come near our perimeter defences on the heights, which we have clearly told them is a red line for us. A magazine or two from assault rifles or a light machine gun might have been emptied in the process from both sides,” the officer said.
As reported by TOI, the rules of engagement have changed after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. With the rival military buildups in the Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie area to the north also remaining a major concern, the Indian Army has undertaken massive ‘advance winter stocking’ to sustain its deployed troops through the winter if required. The first two incidents of firing took place on August 29 and 31 when Indian soldiers conducted the pre-emptive military manoeuvre to seize previously-unoccupied tactical heights on the ridgeline stretching from Thakung on the south bank of
to Gurung Hill,
, Magar Hill, Mukhpari,
and Reqin La.
Another round of firing took place on September 7 when PLA troops tried to intimidate and dislodge Indian soldiers occupying the Mukhpari Top, the highest feature in the area at an altitude of over 18,000 feet on the ridgeline north of Rezang La. The fourth round took place the next day on the north bank of Pangong Tso where Indian soldiers have also occupied heights overlooking PLA deployments on the ridgeline over ‘Finger-4’. TOI, was the first to report in its September 9 edition that Indian troops had also fired warning shots during Mukhpari incident.
Sharad Pawar meets Maharashtra CM a day after Fadnavis-Raut meeting
MUMBAI: NCP president Sharad Pawar met Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray here on Sunday.
The meeting took place a day after former state chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis met Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut here, sparking speculation in political circles.
Pawar met Thackeray at the latter’s official residence and the meeting lasted for about 40 minutes, sources said.
What transpired during the meeting could not be known immediately.
Sources, however, said the future unlocking process and the Covid-19 situation in the state were some of the issues that were discussed during the meeting.
Fadnavis and Raut had met at a hotel in Mumbai on Saturday. Although their meeting triggered speculation, Fadnavis on Sunday asserted that the BJP has no intention of joining hands with the Shiv Sena or to bring down the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government.
Fadnavis also said the meeting was regarding an interview for Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana‘.
Northeastern culture is the jewel of Indian culture: Amit Shah
NEW DELHI: Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that northeastern culture is the jewel of Indian culture and without northeast, India and Indian culture are incomplete.
“Without the northeast, India and Indian culture are incomplete. Indian culture can’t be completely imagined until the northeastern culture meets that of India because the northeastern culture is the jewel of Indian culture,” home minister said while inaugurating Destination North East 2020 fest via video conferencing.
Shah said that the Modi government is committed to the development of northeastern states.
“Various pending issues were resolved by the Modi government. Manipur blockade, Bangladesh land boundary agreement, Bru agreement, Bodo agreement, the surrender of 644 cadres of eight extreme groups with their weapons are some of the examples of the work done by the Modi government. This can only be done when the government understands their problems and tries to solve them. The Modi government is committed to the development of northeastern states,” he said.
“As Home Minister I would like to tell all CMs and people of northeast that remaining problems will be resolved before 2024. We want to make northeast a hub of IT, organic farming and education. I hope, we will work together for the better future of the states and its people,” he added.
Chief ministers of the northeast states joined the inauguration event via video conferencing.
Destination North East, a four-day virtual event, started from today. Owing to the current situation, the festival is being held virtually, making it accessible to everyone who’s interested in being a part of the merriment.
The event is being attended by prominent personalities of various states who have excelled in their fields. The event will take place between September 27 and September 30.
Govt looks to implement all 4 labour codes in one go by December: Santosh Gangwar
NEW DELHI: The government is aiming to implement all the four labour codes in one go by December this year and complete the final stretch of labour sector reforms, Union minister Santosh Gangwar has said. Parliament in its just concluded session passed three labour code bills: the Industrial Relations Code, the Social Security Code, and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code.
The Wage Code Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament last year.
The labour ministry had circulated the draft rules on the Wage Code Bill last year but held back its finalisation and implementation. The ministry wanted to implement all the four codes and rules under those in one go as all of them are inter-linked.
Talking to , Labour Minister Gangwar said, “Government is doing all efforts to complete the labour reforms by implementing the all four labour codes by December this year…”
He further said the Wage Code Bill was passed last year and now with the passage of three more codes by Parliament, “the rules under these legislations would be enforced at once”.
After the passage of a legislation in Parliament, it is sent for President of India assent.
A law comes into force after notification of rules.
Initially, draft rules under a law is notified with a stipulated time period to receive feedback. Thereafter, these rules are finalised and implemented for bringing the law into force.
The draft rules of the three codes on industrial relations, social security and occupational safety, health and working conditions are likely to be circulated by the first week of November for feedback.
The labour ministry is expected to finalise and implement rules of the three codes along with already firmed wage code rules by December this year. Thereafter, these four codes would become law of land to complete game-changing labour reforms in the country.
The government aims to catapult India to among the top 10 countries in World Bank‘s ease of doing business rankings with the comprehensive labour reforms.
As per the ‘Doing Business’ 2020 report, India had jumped 14 places to the 63rd position in the ease of doing business rankings. India has improved its rank by 79 positions in five years (2014-19).
The higher ranking would boost investment and job creation in the country.
Commenting on labour reforms K E Raghunathan, Convenor of CIA (Consortium of Indian Association), said, “The COVID-19 situation has made both the life of employer and employee difficult. If the government statistics say over 21 million Job loss during April to August then the figure of employers who lost enterprises is yet to be ascertained. We estimate them to be around 30 per cent of over 65 million enterprises.”
He further stated, “Under these circumstances, these new (labour) codes are bound to make new enterprises investor friendly, increase ease of doing business and make it attractive to invite foreign entities which want to come out of China.”
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