The South Asia Channel

India and China Commit to Peace Along LAC; Afghans Found in Shipping Container; Civil Disobedience Encouraged in Islamabad

India and China Commit to Peace Along LAC; Afghans Found in Shipping Container; Civil Disobedience Encouraged in Islamabad

India 

India and China commit to peace along the LAC; Pakistan violates ceasefire 

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police and China’s People’s Liberation Army held a ceremonial border personnel meeting on Friday in eastern Ladakh, located in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and committed to upholding peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) (Livemint, The Hindu, Economic Times). The celebrations, which fell on India’s Independence Day, included cultural shows and sporting events. On August 1, a similar ceremony was held on the Chinese side of the border on the People’s Liberation Army Day. Col. S. D. Goswami of India said: "Participation of Chinese delegation in India’s Independence Day celebrations is a gesture which will further foster friendly relations between India and China and build up mutual trust and confidence."

Meanwhile, Pakistan violated an existing ceasefire along its border with India by attacking up to 20 posts along the international border and Line of Control (LoC) in J&K on Monday, where one villager was injured (Times of India, Hindustan Times, Economic Times). A Border Security Force (BSF) officer said: "Pakistan Rangers armed with heavy weaponry resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing of automatic weapons on 15 to 20 border out posts (BoPs) in Arnia and R S Pura sub-sectors in Jammu district around 2130 hours last night." The LoC is a military boundary between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. The BSF guards the border in J&K, while the Indian Army guards the LoC. 

Indian Prime Minister inducts INS Kolkata into navy fleet 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inducted India’s largest indigenously built warship, INS Kolkata, in Mumbai on Saturday, and stressed the importance of maritime security in the expanding global trade and commerce (Times of India, Livemint, Economic Times). Modi said that defense forces in India will be modernized, and added: "In the changing world, it is not only the military might but also ‘buddhi bal’ (intellectual prowess) which is important. The launch of the destroyer is proof of India’s intellectual capability." 

Modi, addressing naval officers and sailors at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, said further: "Fighting a war and winning it has now become less difficult these days. But a modern military, armed with state of the art weaponry alone is a guarantee against war. When we are capable, no one can dare challenge us." The INS Kolkata will be deployed in the Western Fleet under the Navy’s Western Command, and will be a part of the Navy’s Kolkata Class destroyers, which will include follow-on ships named INS Kochi and INS Chennai.

Lack of toilets force newlywed brides to leave their husbands 

At least six newlywed brides, belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities, in the Kushinagar district of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have left their husbands’ homes within a couple weeks of their marriage, and will return only after toilets are built, according to news reports on Sunday (Times of India, IBNLive, The Financial Express). In response to the brides’ decisions to return to their parents’ homes, Sulabh International — a Indian social service organization — has committed to redressing their grievances, and will construct the toilets free of cost without any delay, so that the brides can return to their own homes soon. Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak commended the brides, and said: "They will also be honoured for their bold stand." Pathak also expressed happiness over Modi addressing sanitation issues in his Independence Day speech on August 15. "For the first time in the country’s history, the issue of toilet?[s] attained such an importance in the speech of any Prime Minister. I am confident that now every household will have toilet in a not too distant future," Pathak said. 

— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan 

Afghanistan

Afghans stowed away in shipping container, found in Britain

Thirty-five people who were found trapped inside a shipping container near a London port on Saturday are Afghans, British police have revealed after a delay in identifying them due to language difficulties (Telegraph, RFE/RL). Superintendent Trevor Roe said: "We now understand that they are from Afghanistan and are of the Sikh faith" (Telegraph). The group of 35 people ranging in age from 1 to 72 was found in a container at Tilbury Docks after a staff member at the docks heard screaming and banging coming from inside the container (BBC).  They were all taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia and dehydration over the weekend, and now, police have revealed that the group included nine men, eight women, and 13 children. One man died after the container was opened. The shipping container arrived in Tilbury Docks from Zeebrugge in Belgium after a 3,600 mile journey and details are still unclear as to when the group entered the container. 

NDS frees three Indians

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s spy agency, said in a statement on Saturday that it had freed three Indian nationals kidnapped by the Taliban (RFE/RL). The NDS said that the three Indians, who were engineers, were freed in a security operation in the eastern Logar province on August 15. They had been kidnapped by Taliban militants two days earlier as they headed to Kabul. 

Pakistan

Khan calls for civil disobedience

Imran Khan called for widespread civil disobedience in Pakistan on Sunday, urging his supporters to stop paying taxes and utility bills in a bid to oust the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (AP). In a speech following a third day of protests in Islamabad, Khan also warned that he would no longer be able to stop the "tsunami" of people that would fall onto the prime minister’s house. The Supreme Court rejected the government’s plea to restrain protestors from moving toward the Red Zone of the capital — the area where diplomats and the prime minister reside (ET). Khan, who has claimed that the May 2013 elections were rigged, told his supporters: "We have to decide what to do with Nawaz Sharif, because he evades all laws, and he rigs the elections […] We can’t let this unjust regime continue" (WSJ).

In response to the protests, the Pakistani government has offered to negotiate with Khan, and said that it would create a commission that would investigate allegations of vote rigging, but Khan has continued to push the government through the large-scale protest. It is estimated that around 10,000 to 15,000 people are gathered in Islamabad to take part in the protest, though the number of protestors is well short of the million marchers that Khan promised, but their presence has virtually shut down business in the capital (AP).

‘I Am Karachi’

The seven-day youth peace festival, "I Am Karachi," ended on Saturday after a week of successfully showcasing the participants’ talents (ET). The festival featured competitions in photography, drama, painting, singing, and essay writing in both English and Urdu, and the top three participants in each category were given cash prizes.

– Emily Schneider

Edited by Peter Bergen.