China says Arunachal Pradesh 'inherent part' of its territory, defends renaming of 15 places

News Network
December 31, 2021

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Beijing, Dec 31: China on Friday defended the renaming of 15 more places in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that the southern part of Tibet is an "inherent part" of its territory.

India on Thursday strongly rejected China renaming 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh and asserted that the state has "always been" and will "always be" an integral part of India and that assigning "invented" names does not alter this fact.

India's reaction came in response to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announcing Chinese names for 15 more places in Arunachal Pradesh which Beijing claims as South Tibet.

"We have seen such. This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in New Delhi.

"Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact," Bagchi said.

Asked for his reaction to India's assertion, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that “the southern part of Tibet belongs to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and it has been China’s inherent territories”.

“People of different ethnic groups have been living in that area for many years and have given many names for that areas”, he said.

“For standardised management of the area, the competent authorities in China in accordance with relevant regulations have published the names for the relevant area. These are matters that are within China’s sovereignty”, Zhao said.

This is the second batch of standardised Chinese names of places in Arunachal Pradesh released by China.

The first batch of the standardised names of six places was released in 2017. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet which is firmly rejected by the External Affairs Ministry which has asserted that the state is an "inseparable part of India".

Beijing routinely protests visits of top Indian leaders and officials to Arunachal Pradesh to reaffirm its claim. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC).

China's renaming of the places in Arunachal Pradesh came in the midst of the lingering eastern Ladakh border standoff that began in May last year. 

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News Network
August 7,2022

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Tell Aviv, Aug 27: The death toll from escalating violence in Gaza had risen to 32 on Sunday, including six children, as Israel extended its bombardment on Palestinians amidst mild retaliation with a barrage of rockets by Gaza freedom fighters.

The updated count from health authorities in the Hamas Islamist-run territory said six children were among those killed since the start of the "Israeli aggression" on Friday, in addition to 215 people injured.

But Israel claimed that a stray rocket from Islamic Jihad had been responsible for the death of multiple children in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear how many children were killed in the incident in Jabalia. A photographer saw six dead bodies at an area hospital, including three minors.

Israel's military has warned its aerial and artillery campaign against Islamic Jihad could last a week, but Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Cairo is talking "around the clock" with both sides to ease the violence.

Israel has said it was necessary to launch a "pre-emptive" operation against Islamic Jihad, as the group was planning an imminent attack following days of tensions along the border with Gaza.

Civilians meanwhile took refuge in air raid shelters on the Israeli side, with journalists hearing sirens warning of incoming fire in the Tel Aviv area on Saturday evening.

In Rafah, on Gaza's border with Egypt, women and children were trapped under rubble following an Israeli strike, the strip's civil defence unit said.

Rescue workers were digging through the site where a top Islamic Jihad commander, Khaled Mansour, was reportedly targeted by an Israeli strike on Saturday.

There was no specific confirmation of Mansour's death, but the head of the Israeli army's operations directorate, Oded Basiok, said in a statement that the entire "senior leadership of the military wing of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza has been neutralised".

Daily life in the strip has come to a standstill, while the electricity distributor said the sole power station shut down due to a lack of fuel after Israel closed its border crossings.

Gaza's health ministry said the next few hours will be "crucial and difficult", warning it risked suspending vital services within 72 hours as a result of the lack of electricity.

In Gaza City, resident Dounia Ismail said Palestinians have become accustomed to preparing a "survival bag" of items such as money and medicine.

"This latest escalation brings back images of fear, anxiety, and the feeling that we are all alone," she said.

On the Israeli side of the frontier, the Magen David Adom emergency service said two people were hospitalised with shrapnel wounds and 13 others were lightly hurt while running for safety.

In Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli community beside the Gaza border, resident Nadav Peretz said he has been "in the bomb shelter or around it" since Friday.

"We recognise that on the other side too there is an uninvolved civilian population, and on both sides children deserve to enjoy their summer vacation," the 40-year-old said.

Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, but often acts independently. Both are blacklisted as terrorist organisations by much of the West, which openly supports Israeli terrorism.

Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, including the conflict last May.

A flare-up with Islamic Jihad came in 2019, following Israel's killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, Jabari's predecessor. Hamas did not join the fray in that conflict.

Hamas's moves now could prove crucial, with the group facing pressure from some to restore calm in order to improve economic conditions in Gaza.

The UN humanitarian chief for the occupied Palestinian territories, Lynn Hastings, urged the warring sides to allow "fuel, food, and medical supplies" to be delivered to Gaza amid the worsening crisis.

On Friday, the health ministry reported "a five-year-old girl" was among those killed by Israeli fire.

The girl, Alaa Kaddum, had a pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead, as her body was carried by her father at her funeral.

The Gaza strikes follow the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, including Bassem al-Saadi, whom Israel accuses of orchestrating recent attacks.

Israel on Saturday broadened its operation against Islamic Jihad, announcing the arrest of 19 people in the West Bank it said were members of the group.

Israel has conducted a wave of often deadly raids in the West Bank since mid-March in response to lethal attacks on Israelis.

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News Network
August 7,2022

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Gaza Strip, Aug 7: The latest bout of airstrikes by the Israeli regime in the north and the south of the besieged Gaza Strip has claimed the lives of eight Palestinian children, and the second senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement.

In a statement on Sunday, Islamic Jihad confirmed that Khaled Mansour, its commander in the south of the Gaza Strip, had been killed in an Israeli raid on Saturday.

Mansour is the second high-ranking member of Islamic Jihad to be killed since Israel carried out airstrikes on Gaza on Friday when it assassinated Tayseer al-Jabari, a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad movement in the north.

Moreover, several children have been killed in the Gaza Strip as Israeli jets bombed the besieged enclave for a second day.

At least six children were killed in a blast in a residential area near the Jabaliya refugee camp north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday bringing the tally of children killed since Friday to eight. Among them are two brothers aged five and 11 in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

Medical sources in Gaza identified the two brothers killed in the Israeli assault as Moamen Al-Nayrab and Ahmed Al-Nayrab, with the Palestinian Health Ministry saying the regime’s brutal raid had since Friday left at least 34 people dead and 215 wounded.

"I can't even put to words what I have just witnessed, I'm still shaking," Ahamd Arafah, an eyewitness, said as he recounted the horrific scenes in an interview with the Middle East Eye.

"We were watching the news like everyone, then we heard screaming and went outside. I saw frightening scenes. Blood-covered children, body parts all over the street, people running around confused. It was literally a massacre. There are no other words to describe it. I'm still in shock at what I saw. They were just children. What is their crime?"

Tensions have soared across the coastal enclave and the occupied territories since Friday, when the Israeli regime carried out a massacre against the Gaza Strip, killing scores of people and hitting a series of what it said were military targets.

Palestinian authorities said that 650 housing units have been damaged in the first 24 hours of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which has targeted several residential towers.

Israel stopped the planned transport of fuel into Gaza before it struck on Friday, crippling the territory's lone power plant and reducing electricity to around eight hours per day, and drawing warnings from health officials that hospitals would be severely impacted within days.

In response to the brutal Israeli airstrikes, Palestinian resistance forces fired more than 400 rockets at Israel, setting off air raid sirens and sending settlers running to bomb shelters.

The Islamic Jihad called the retaliatory barrage only an “initial response” to the Israeli bloodbath, with the Palestinian resistance movement's Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhalah saying the Israeli enemy must expect a "non-stop" confrontation in the wake of the aggression.

According to a report by Reuters Egypt said it was engaged in intensive talks to calm the situation.

An Egyptian intelligence delegation headed by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived in Israel on Saturday and would be traveling to Gaza for mediation talks, hoping to secure a day's ceasefire in order to carry out the talks, the report citing unnamed Egyptian security sources added.

Israel said on Saturday it is preparing for its aerial operation in Gaza to last a week, saying there are currently no discussions on a ceasefire with Islamic Jihad. The military “is preparing for the operation to last week" and is "not currently holding ceasefire negotiations,” it said.

Last May, Gaza’s resistance groups fired around 4,000 rockets during the 11-day Operation Sword of al-Quds after the Israeli regime initiated the war, which marked the fourth wholesale military campaign by the occupying regime against the densely-populated Palestinian enclave.

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Patna, Aug 10: After taking oath as Bihar Chief Minister an eighth time, thus continuing in the chair with a change of partners, Nitish Kumar took a shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next Lok Sabha elections: "He won in 2014, but will he in 2024?"

Though Nitish Kumar repeatedly spoke of "working towards Opposition unity" to unseat the BJP at the Centre, he told reporters that he is "not a contender for anything", when asked if he wants to be PM candidate. "The question to ask is, if the person who came in 2014 will win in 2024,” he said.

Elections in Bihar are due in 2025, a year after the Lok Sabha contest. Nitish is likely to still be in the chair in 2024, which means the who'll-be-the-challenger speculation isn't likely to die down soon, especially with the Congress weakened and the Opposition still far from united. His deputy once again, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav has said Nitish Kumar is the "most experienced chief minister in India right now".

It helps Nitish Kumar's case that another regional leader with national ambitions -- Bengal's Mamata Banerjee — has had to halt her march after corruption charges against her party colleagues. 

Analysts have for years floated the theory that Nitish Kumar could be the Opposition candidate against PM Modi, if the Congress plays a non-leading role. But that's drowned out as he floats in and out of alliances — with and against the BJP. Till yesterday, he was chief minister with BJP support. And now he is back with the RJD of old pal Lalu Yadav, whose son is his deputy in the new government — a new version of their 2015 alliance. The Congress is among the partners.

The first version of the JDU-RJD-Congress tie-up — called the 'Mahagathbandhan' or Grand Alliance — won power in 2015. Nitish Kumar had broken up with the BJP two years before that, ending a two-decade relationship. He had problems with Narendra Modi's past, particularly the 2002 Gujarat riots, and left the NDA after he became the PM face. 

But he made up with PM Modi's party in 2017, walked out the Mahagathbandhan and took a fresh oath. The JDU and BJP remained together for the 2019 Lok Sabha contest, and then won the 2020 assembly polls. Nitish Kumar remained in the chair. Two years on, he has switched again. 

Today he said he did not want to be Chief Minister after the 2020 win with the BJP. "Ask people in the party (JDU), what they have been reduced too. I did not want to become CM... but I was put under pressure. Then you see what happened. I have not even spoken to you (journalists) in two months." 

He pointed towards the drop in JDU's numbers. "How many seats did we win in 2015? And then we went with the same people (BJP) and look at what we have been reduced to." Besides those in the JDU, Tejashwi Yadav too has said the BJP "wants to finish off regional parties" and "usurps its partners".

In 2015, Nitish Kumar's JDU had won 71 seats as part of the Grand Alliance's 170, in a House of 243. The RJD was the single largest party with 80 seats, but he became chief minister as leader of the pact.

At present, the JDU has 45 seats. The BJP, which has 77, made him chief minister in 2020 despite these numbers — but with two deputies from its stable. Why the switch now? Nitish Kumar and his party, it is learnt, were spooked in the latest by the Maharashtra coup in which the BJP backed a split in the Shiv Sena to return to power.  

On his fate after yet another flip, Nitish Kumar today said, "Whether I will stay or not... let people say what they have to say." After staking claim yesterday, he said he "never allowed corruption", and "we want brotherhood in society". Standing next to him, Tejashwi Yadav accused the BJP of dividing people along communal lines: "We are socialists. All of us want that the BJP's agenda shouldn't be implemented in Bihar."

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