Indian boxer’s message of peace

August 7, 2017

A stand-off in a remote frontier region beside the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has become increasingly tense. At the heart of the dispute are different interpretations of where the “trijunction” – the point where the three countries’ borders meet – precisely lies. China argues its territory extends south to an area called Gamochen, while India says Chinese control ends at Batanga La, further to the north.

Avoiding escalation

To avoid escalation, frontline troops in the area do not generally carry weapons, and the Chinese and Indian troops reportedly clashed by “jostling” bumping chests, without punching or kicking, in order to force the other side backwards – see video (Hindi commentary).

The current standoff began on 16 June when a column of Chinese troops accompanied by construction vehicles and road-building equipment began moving south into what Bhutan considers its territory. Bhutan requested assistance from Delhi, which sent forces to resist the Chinese advance.

On Thursday, China demanded India immediately remove troops from the border, accusing it of building up troops and repairing roads along its side of the border next to the Indian state of Sikkim.


The BBC reports that Vijender Singh, a middleweight Indian boxer, beat China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali on points on Saturday to retain his WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title and take his opponent’s WBO Oriental super belt. But he dedicated his win to “India-China friendship”.

After the unanimous verdict in Mumbai, Singh returned to the ring, taking the microphone and saying: “I don’t want this title. I will give it (and the belt) back to Zulpikar.” He added: “I don’t want tension on the border. It’s a message of peace. That’s important.”





We welcome American visitors to the site and to that of Drone Warfare

August 26, 2015

1 c3Four times as many Americans visited last week compared with random visitors from other regions – see top five of the twenty-three countries shown on site statistics. A sceptical friend attributes this to the relative size of its population, but this does not hold true as we only had two visitors from India.

Top post by far, as usual, is  Countries without armed forces or no standing army.

Western foreign policy’s third principle

October 4, 2014


Professor Geoffrey Roberts points out in the Financial Times that Martin Wolf omits a third in his recent analysis that the western position is based on two simple principles:

Roberts adds the missing (and critical) qualification: “as long as it suits the west”, continuing:

“Without this proviso it is impossible to comprehend the practice of western foreign policy as opposed to its rhetoric and propaganda.

“In 1962 the US brought the world to the brink of nuclear war because it did not approve of the Cuban government’s decision to invite the Soviet Union to place missiles on its territory.

“Today Iran faces isolation and sanctions to thwart its ambitions to become a nuclear power like the west’s allies, Israel, Pakistan and India.

“In Libya and Syria western states have intervened and interfered with woeful results. Borders are sacrosanct, but not those of the former Yugoslavia or Serbia, which has been dismembered by the western-sponsored secession of Kosovo.

“Yet when Russia acts to protect what it sees as its interests and security in Ukraine, Mr Wolf deems it a menace and the greatest challenge facing the US. He even trots out Vladimir Putin’s statement that the Soviet Union’s collapse was a major geopolitical disaster, without quoting the Russian president’s rider that anyone who thinks the Soviet Union can be recreated needs their head examined.

“Is it any wonder that Russia views the west’s moral posturing in international politics as not just hypocritical and self-serving but dangerous?”

professor geoffrey roberts russiaLondon-born Geoffrey Roberts is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and currently professor of modern history at University College Cork & head of the School of History at UCC. His academic awards include a Fulbright Scholarship to Harvard University & a Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowship. He is a regular commentator on history and current affairs for British & Irish newspapers, contributing to the History News Service, which syndicates articles to American media outlets. He has made many radio and TV appearances, acting as an historical consultant for documentary series such as Simon Berthon’s Warlords, broadcast in 2005. He specializes in Soviet diplomatic and military history of the Second World War.


September 22, 2013


jaspal singh peace museum headerThe May newsletter of the International Network of Museums for Peace brought information about a new peace museum.

It is being built on the Attari-Wagah border between India and Pakistan, in the Sarhad food and culture park.

Sarhad celebrates the common architectural, cultural and culinary heritage of pre-partition Punjab in general, and Amritsar-Lahore in particular, its motto being:


jaspal singh peace museum

It will celebrate the Punjab’s shared heritage. Amanbir Jaspal (a postgraduate from the Norwegian School of Economics) had visited Lahore in Pakistan and found a common desire for peace and friendship, especially among the youth on both sides of the border.  The double-storeyed museum spread over 6,000 sq feet is expected to be opened early next year and will showcase items to dispel myths and promote peace. Amanbir explained: “It will help the youth understand strong bonds their elders shared before the Partition . . . (and) help people to forget the past and move ahead by touching hearts.”

With the help of his father, D.S.Jaspal (until his retirement in 2012, a Chief Secretary of the Punjab Government in India), the idea found instant support and encouragement from leading political figures on both sides of the border, including former Prime Minister Mr I. K. Gujral, Mr Kuldip Nayar, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Dr. Farooq and Huma Beg of Islamabad. D.S.Jaspal hopes that the museum will highlight the bonds shared by different communities before partition with contributions from NGOs, universities, historians, young people and others.

jaspal singh peace museum arch

The museum design is inspired by buildings in the walled cities of Amritsar and Lahore, reflecting the architectural heritage of exquisite design and craftsmanship in exposed brick work which still survives in some of the old buildings. The patterned tile floors are modelled on those in Amritsar’s Golden Temple and Dera Sahib Gurdwara. Amritsar arch forms in brick and woodwork have been recreated and the air-conditioned first floor of the food hall has coloured glass inlay work in the window grills.

jaspal singh peace museum food hall

Pakistan’s internationally acclaimed truck artist Haider Ali has painted two Indian mini trucks at Sarhad and the museum will have exquisitely designed furniture and ceramic screens created by master craftsmen from Lahore.

On display will be maps of villages in undivided Punjab along with their brief histories. Jaspal’s wife, Sameena, who is helping her husband realize his dream, said they have proposed collaboration between universities on the either side to generate databases of these villages. They are collecting pre-partition cinema and railway tickets besides letters, revenue stamps, newspaper clippings, artefacts and video clips for the museum. “We don’t mind paying for these valuable possessions,’’ he said. “We have to buy certain video clips from the BBC and CNN from their archives.’’

The Jaspal family and all those supporting the project hope that the museum will inspire peaceful co-existence and contribute to the healing of the traumas caused by partition.