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Situation critical in Ladakh after PLA’s moves in Chushul, says India

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, September 1:

The situation in East Ladakh continues to remain tense along the India-China border in eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army is matching the heavy weapon posturing of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday after pre-empting the Chinese from moving into the dominating heights south of Pangong Tso on August 29-30 night, people familiar with the development said.

“The situation is very tense in the Chushul area with the PLA fully in aggressive mode and show-casing heavy-calibre weapons to force the Indian Army to give in. The Indian Army has also matched weapons and blunted the Chinese offensive both at south of Pangong Tso and Rezang La by a counter-offensive mounted by the Special Frontier Forces,” a senior military official told the Hindustan Times.

As of now, both the armies are matching each other in strength with the Indian Army present in strength to repel any Chinese aggression along the 1,597-km Line of Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

The Indian counter-offensive has ensured that its troops are now dominating heights along its side of the LAC and monitoring the Chinese movement. “The situation is dire and the possibility of escalation cannot be ruled out as Chinese PLA under instructions from Beijing is going all out to push the Indian Army,” said a second senior military commander.

Military-to-military and diplomatic channels are open between the two countries, but India is now facing China, which believes that it is a global superpower and wants to make its posturing in Ladakh to send a message to its adversaries elsewhere.

“The Chinese President is in the Middle-Kingdom mode and will continue to deepen the difference on the LAC. China is deliberately trying to push the Indian Army into reaction without caring a damn that this might lead to serious blood-letting. The Chinese aggressive posture will continue till the November 3 US Presidential elections as there is no other country which is willing to take on Beijing,” said a China watcher here.

There is a glimmer of hope for peace if the meeting between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi happens on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial meeting in Moscow during September 9-11. But any further escalation from the PLA will end up scuttling any diplomatic initiative.

Even as the PLA aggression in Ladakh is on, national security planners in Delhi are monitoring all moves with clear-cut directions that there should be no territorial compromise in Ladakh or anywhere along the 3,488-km LAC.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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