Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The New Normal on the Roof of the World?

Every year, the month of March is hot in Tibet.
No, I am not speaking of ‘climate change’.
It is not just ‘hot’ because the Two Meetings: the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and National People’s Congress (NPC), are held in early March.
Xinhua News Agency already reported that members representing Tibet to the CPPCC have arrived in Beijing and China Tibet Online quoted one Kelsang Drolkar, a CPPCC member from Metok in Nyingchi Prefecture, saying: "I brought two bills. One is to promote the protection and inheritance of the languages of ethnic minorities. The other is to enhance publicity on the rule of law in the minority nationality areas."
For Beijing, this year seems special for several reasons.
According to Xinhua: “The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Chinese central government's policies on governing Tibet will attract attention from home and abroad. The initiative on building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 has drawn the attention of many countries around the world, especially China’s neighboring countries including India, which borders with southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.”
Another official communique give different rationales: “The much-anticipated annual parliamentary sessions of China, dubbed as ‘two sessions’, is expected to lay a foundation for further reforms as the world's second-largest economy actively adapts to the ‘new normal’ of slower growth but higher quality economy.”
But there is another important date, which often makes Beijing nervous: it is March 10.
It is the anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day in Lhasa.
On that day in1959, the Tibetan masses revolted against the Chinese occupiers forcing the Dalai Lama to escape to India.
The police forces (not only in Lhasa) are particularly apprehensive of this date.
Remember 2008, when unrest started on that day and later spread all over the Tibetan plateau.
This year, to show how relax and ready is the Police (and particularly the dreaded Public Security Bureau or PSB, the tough guardians of Tibet’s ‘stability’), a video has been circulated on the Internet.
It sings the praises of the cops (and commandos).
Just have a look at the clip: the PSB are now good Samaritans on the Roof of the World, helping the aged and the weak.
At the end of the video, one sees the other side of the coin: if the Tibetans do not behave or in case of ‘unrest’ or ‘disturbance of the stability’, the SWAT commandos are ready to intervene with their latest gadgets.
Is it the ‘New Normal’ in Tibet?
Just watch!
A few screenshots:

White Paper on China No VIII

I have posted on my website, a digital version of the White Paper No.VIII on China (also known as Notes, Memoranda and Letters Exchanged Between the Governments of India and China).
This volume relates to the period between October 1962 and January 1963, the months following the India-China War.
This White Paper, which was presented in the Parliament by the Prime Minister on January 20, 1963, contains the notes, memoranda and letters exchanged between the two Governments since 24 October 1962.
It also contains a few notes which had not been included in the previous White Paper.
The note below was presented by the Embassy of China in India to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on November 13, 1962.
It is one of the hundreds of documents published in this White Paper on China...

You can download the White Paper by clicking here...

The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in India presents its compliments to the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and has the honour to state as follows:
On the afternoon of November 3, 1962 a few hundred Indian ruffians carrying with them loud-speakers arrived successively at the gate of the Embassy from 4.50. They shouted slogan insulting Chairman Mao Tse-tung and kept on clamouring as long as one and a half hours.
At about 11.45 A.M. on November 7 and 3.15 P.M. on November 10 respectively more than one hundred people shouted in front of the Embassy slogans insulting the Chinese people and their leaders and burnt an effigy of Premier Chou En-lai.
At about 7.15 P.M. on November 9, about 150 people carrying torches and Congress flags shouted and made disturbances before the Embassy's gate. Again, on November 11, about 200 ruffians carrying Congress flags came to the Embassy at about 11.50 A.M. burnt an effigy of Premier Chou En-lai and shouted insulting slogans like 'Death to Mao and Chou'.
In Calcutta about 200 ruffians made clamours before the Chinese Consulate-General at 5.50 p.m. on November 3 and slandered the Chinese people as 'bandits'. On the afternoon of November 4, two batches of ruffians made troubles and burnt portraits of Chinese leaders before the Consulate-General. On the afternoon of November 6, about 300 and on the afternoon of November 9 about 80 ruffians were clamouring before the Consulate-General. Before the Chinese Consulate-General in Bombay similar incident occurred on the afternoon of November 2.
It must be pointed out that after the Chinese Embassy lodged a protest with the Indian Government on November 3, 1962 against incidents of Indian ruffians making clamours and disturbances in front of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates-General, those ruffians should have still been allowed to continue to make trouble and provocations, and insult the Chinese people and their leaders. That the Indian authorities do not stop the outrages by the ruffians shows that the Indian Government is conniving at them to fan up anti-Chinese sentiments. For this the Indian Government can in no way evade its due responsibility. The Chinese Embassy hereby lodges a strong protest with the Indian Government and demands that the Indian Government immediately take effective measures to prevent recurrence of the above-said acts of slandering the People's Republic of China and her leaders, obstructing the normal functioning and threatening the security of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates-General.
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China takes this opportunity to renew to the Ministry the assurances of its highest consideration.

The Indian answer is available in the downloadable pdf version.

Monday, March 2, 2015

China's political use of Rinpoches

The 7th Reting Rinpoche recognized by China
Two years ago, I raised an interesting and disturbing issue ('The Rule by Incarnation outdated?').
I wrote: “With or without the Dalai Lama as a temporal leader: the ‘rule by incarnations’ arrangement, specific to Tibet, is not a sustainable system of governance.”
I thought about it again when I recently saw an article in China Tibet Online.
It says ‘Panchen Lama extends New Year greetings to Tibetan compatriots’.
Beijing has been increasingly using ‘their’ Panchen Lama to deliver religious sermons and messages to the Tibetans.
On February 19, the first day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, the Tibetan Language Program of China National Radio broadcast the message of Gyaltsen Norbu, the Chinese-selected 11th Panchen Lama. The young Lama delivered his New Year greetings to 'Tibetans at home and abroad', said the website affiliated with Xinhua, which reminded its reader of Gyaltsen Norbu's political role: he serves as Vice-President of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, China's top political advisory body.
The Lama told the ‘Tibetan People’:
As the 17th sexagenary cycle of the Tibetan calendar - the Year of Wood Sheep approaches, I'd like to extend my New Year greetings to our Tibetan compatriots at home and abroad.
I hope you continue to have faith in the Triratna (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and Karma, scorn the wrong and choose the right, and carry forward ethnic Tibetans' fine traditions and morality.
On every inch of this vast land, I hope you will all be freed from disease, disaster, war and hunger.
Wishing you all good health, success and happiness in the New Year!
Nothing wrong, except for the 'political' exploitation of a monk, who has not been recognized by the Dalai Lama, as the tradition requires, and perhaps more importantly, for the fact that the boy recognized by the Dalai Lama lives for nearly 20 years under house-arrest somewhere in China.
Interestingly, Ms. Sun Chunlan, one of the two most powerful ladies in China today and who has recently taken over as the Head of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China met the young Gyaltsen Norbu on February 12 in Beijing (see my post on the subject).

The 'Reting' Rinpoche
Gyaltsen Norbu is not the only Lama 'politically' used by the Communist authorities in Tibet. Sonam Phuntsog, supposedly the reincarnation of the former Regent, Reting Rinpoche has recently been propelled on the political stage.
“The annual two local sessions of the Tibet Autonomous Region saw the participation of the Seventh Reting Living Buddha,” says Xinhua.
The Chinese news agency affirms: “Sonam Phuntsog, 19, is the youngest member of the political advisory body of the Tibet Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) whose mission is to advise on major issues of State policy and play a role in democratic supervision by proposing suggestions and voicing criticism. He was enthroned as the spirit child of the Sixth Reting Living Buddha at the age of 4 and also holds the title of Reting Rinpoche, once a religious regent in Tibet.”
Yes, the Communist Party of China believes in 'spirit child'!
During the Conference, the young monk apparently asked the government to “provide cultural classes for the monks of his monastery, and called for better protection for the environment surrounding his monastery.”
Sonam Phuntsog would have told the Regional CPPCC that subjects such as Tibetan Chinese, English, computing, law and sciences should be compulsory and that it was essential for monks to learn more about social sciences besides Buddhist teachings. He would have also said: “High literacy among monks can contribute to them providing better services to the country and its people."
The young monk mentioned juniper trees which made Reting monastery famous. Prayer beads made from junipers seeds are sacred all over Tibet. The ‘rinpoche’ made a politically-correct statement: "The junipers around my monastery are holy trees, and I oppose anyone cutting down trees. However, the seeds for prayers beads form part of the cultural heritage of the monastery."
He advised the devotees to collect them and use them for their malas (without cutting the trees).
More interesting, he expressed his concerns about the Governments’ plans to develop the area around Reting into a tourist attraction. He said that it will affect the environment.
This might be true.
What is however worrying is the extensive use by China of ‘its’ Rinpoches/Living Buddhas to further their political rule over Tibet.
As mentioned at the beginning, it is the drawback of the system of rule by incarnations, it can always be (and often is) manipulated. The result today is there are two Panchen Lamas, two Karmapas, and probably one day, two Dalai Lamas.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Minsar, an Indian principality in Tibet

Minsar and Kailash/Manasarovar area
My article Minsar, an Indian principality in Tibet appeared in NitiCentral.

Click here to read...

Prime Minster Narendra Modi was on his way to Arunachal Pradesh when Hua Chunying, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman again got virulent about Arunachal Pradesh. In a statement, she said: “the act of the Indian side is not conducive to properly resolving and controlling disputes between the two sides, nor in conformity with the general situation of growth of bilateral relations.”
Apart from the fact that Beijing has never thought of asking the people of Arunachal Pradesh on which side they would like to be (obviously, Beijing does not believe in democracy), her statement that Arunachal is a ‘disputed’ place is historically incorrect.
Xinhua added to the confusion by saying: “Modi visited a disputed zone in the eastern part of China-India borders to attend activities marking the founding of the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’, a state that Indian authorities illegally and unilaterally declared in 1987.”
As I mentioned in an earlier article, the McMahon Line, signed by the Prime Minister of Tibet (Lochen Shatra) and India’s Foreign Secretary (Sir Henry McMahon) in March 1914 is very much legal.
Ms. Hua’s allegations do not make Arunachal a ‘disputed’ area, even if she claims: “The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh …it's an universally recognized fact that huge disputes exist on the eastern section of China-India borders.”
A ‘universal fact’ recognized by China only!
It is however true that the Middle Kingdom has always been under the impression that China and the Universe are the same thing!
Ms. Hua misplaced statements are certainly not conducive to properly resolving disputes between the two sides.
But does Beijing realize that? Probably not!
The time has perhaps come for Delhi to ask Beijing for the return of all the territories belonging to India presently occupied by China.
Apart from the J&K State’s areas illegally ‘offered’ by Pakistan to China in 1963, the Government should ask for the return of Minsar, an Indian principality in Tibet. The Indian rights to this small town were inherited from the Peace Treaty between Ladakh and Tibet signed in Tingmosgang in 1684. Besides the confirmation of the delimitation of the border between Western Tibet and Ladakh, the Treaty affirmed: “The king of Ladakh reserves to himself the village of Minsar in Ngari-khor-sum [Western Tibet]”. For centuries, Minsar has been a home for Ladakhi and Kashmiri traders and pilgrims visiting the holy mountain.
A report of Thrinley Shingta, the 7th Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, who spent three months in the area in 1748, makes interesting reading: “Administratively, it is established that the immediate village of Minsar and its surrounding areas are ancient Ladakhi territory. After Lhasa invaded West Tibet in 1684, it was agreed and formally inscribed in the Peace Treaty between Tibet and Ladakh, signed in 1684, that the King of Ladakh retained the territory of Minsar and its neighbourhood as a territorial enclave, in order to meet the religious offering expenses of the sacred sites by Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash.”
For centuries, the inhabitants of Minsar, although surrounded by Tibetan territories, paid their taxes to the kingdom of Ladakh. During in the 19th century, when Ladakh was incorporated into Maharaja Gulab Singh’s State, Minsar became de facto part of the Jammu & Kashmir State which regularly collected taxes from Minsar. This lasted till the early 1950s.

Minsar today
What happened then?
In 1953, wanting to sign his Panchsheel Agreement, Jawaharlal Nehru decided to abandon all Indian ‘colonial’ rights, inherited from the British. Though he knew that the small principality was under the Maharaja of the Jammu & Kashmir’s suzerainty and therefore part of the Indian territory, he felt uneasy about this Indian possession, near Mt. Kailash in Tibet. Nehru was aware that Minsar had been providing revenues to maintain the temples around the sacred mountain and the holy Manasarovar lake, however Nehru believed that India should unilaterally renounce her rights as a gesture of goodwill towards Communist China.
He instructed the diplomats negotiating the Panchsheel accord in Beijing: “Regarding the village of Minsar in Western Tibet, which has belonged to the Kashmir State, it is clear that we shall have to give it up, if this question is raised. We need not raise it. If it is raised, we should say that we recognize the strength of the Chinese contention and we are prepared to consider it and recommend it.”
Though Beijing did not have to ask anything, the Indian Prime Minister recognized ‘the strength of the Chinese contention’; Nehru added: “But the matter will have to be referred to the Kashmir Government. The point is that we should not come to a final agreement without gaining the formal assent of the Kashmir Government.” However, Delhi never referred the issue to the Kashmir government.
We should remember that treaties, conventions or agreements signed by any states, do not depend on an individual or a political party; they remain in force whoever is in power. The Chinese occupation of Tibet did not change this fact.
Further, the return of any part Indian Territory needs to be ratified by the Indian Parliament only, through an amendment of the Constitution. Therefore the so-called ‘return’ of Minsar to Tibet (and China) is still today illegal and invalid in law.
John Bray, the noted scholar and President of the International Association of Ladakh Studies wrote: "the Sino-Indian boundary dispute remains unresolved. Since the 1960s, the attention of the two governments has focused on the demarcation of the frontier and, more recently, on the prospects for mutual trade. The status of Minsar is no more than a minor footnote to these concerns, but one that has still to be cleared up."
Nehru’s perception that old treaties or conventions could be discarded or scraped greatly weakened the Indian stand in the 1950s (and later when China invaded India). Nehru’s wrong interpretation made it easy for the Chinese to tell their Indian counterparts “look here, McMahon was an imperialist, therefore the McMahon line is an imperialist fabrication, therefore it is illegal”.
Minsar, today located on the National Highway 219
The disastrous consequences of Nehru’s stand can still be seen some sixty years later. Ms. Hua’s statements have their origin in these wrong views.
But if Beijing continues to raise the ‘illegal’ occupation of the Arunachal by India, Delhi should definitely bring Minsar and the Shaksgam Valley on the negotiating table.
Further, it would be useful to have an Indian enclave near the Kailash, at a time when Indian pilgrims, in ever-increasing in number, are keen to visit the sacred mountain.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Diverting Tibet's waters to China

A couple of days ago, China Tibet News reported that the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) will soon “launch a natural drinking water project on account of its large repository of freshwater.”
The information was given by Gangqen [Gangchen?], head of the TAR Work Forum on Science and Technology. Gangchen commented that the project will be carried after “carefully with consideration of ecological protection …and provide new impetus to the region’s steady economic growth.”
What does it mean?
Tibet is going to bottle its waters and export it to the Mainland.
Of course, there is no doubt that the plateau's waters are purer than Beijing's or Shanghai's.
The Chinese website explains: “Unlike the rest of the country, which is struggling with water shortages and deteriorating water environment, Tibet boasts a pristine environment and has a large repository of freshwater.”
The local government plans to exploit 28 mineral water springs. Tibet, with its 190 million tons of water reserves, could benefit from the ‘export’, say the Chinese authorities.
Already in January, Xinhua had announced that the TAR had identified its fresh water resources “as a new sustainable economic growth pillar, which has the potential to support efforts to reduce poverty and boost industrial development in the region.”
Lobsang Gyaltsen, the chairman of the TAR government stated during the Regional People’s Congress that Tibet has produced 300,000 tons of bottled water in 2014: “the sector was an important driver of economic growth,” he added.
Moreover, Gyaltsen suggested that “to fully exploit its potential, Tibet needed brand-driven strategies.”
According to Beijing’s statistics, the TAR’s growth was 12 % in 2014; and as the Chinese Government was keen to “strike a balance between economic development and environmental protection,” water bottling is the solution!
The local government in Lhasa has now decided to promote mineral water on a grand scale: “mineral water industry has been singled out as a suitable sector to boost the local economy”, said Gyaltsen.
Qiu Chuan, the deputy director of Tibet's industry and information technology bureau, told the media that the strong demand for high-quality mineral water “had upped investors' confidence in Tibet's mineral water industry”.
The TAR has today 30 mineral water production lines with a combined production capacity of 2 million tonnes a year, said Qui.
Mainland ‘water producers’ such as Nongfu Spring and Bright Food Group, already signed 16 agreements with the TAR government for mineral water exploitation; the companies promised to invest 3.6 billion yuan (5.79 million U.S. $) in the new bottling venture.
It is going to be big: the TAR government has made plans for a 40 billion yuan (6.5 billion US $) ‘water’ industry for 2019.
I wonder if any environment assessment for setting these huge bottling factories was done?
Probably not!
And this is while waiting to divert the Yarlung Tsangpo (Siang/Brahmaputra) … and the Indus.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Dalai Lama arrives in India

The Dalai Lama crossing the Indian border
Last week, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin called the Indian Ambassador to China to lodge 'a stern representation’ after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visited ‘a disputed border region’.
Xinhua reported that Mr. Liu expressed "strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition" to the Indian side's insistence on arranging the visit by its leader to the disputed area on China-India border.
The Chinese news agency said: “Modi visited a disputed area in the eastern part of China-India border to attend activities marking the anniversary of the so-called Arunachal Pradesh."
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying added: “The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh."
The main problem is that the Government of India does not firmly answer these baseless statements.
Why can’t Delhi start taking up with Beijing the issue of Chinese officials visiting the Aksai Chin?
A question remains, does Beijing have any legitimacy in its claims over Arunachal?
In this connection, I have a question to the leadership in Beijing.

A historical question to Beijing
If Arunachal has always been ‘Chinese territory’ as Beijing pretends today, why did the PLA’s troops stationed in Lhoka and Kongpo areas of ‘Southern Tibet’ not follow the Dalai Lama when he crossed the Indian border in Khenzimane/Chuthangmu, north of Tawang on March 31, 1959.
The Chinese troops should have, if the Tawang and Bomdila districts (then Kameng Frontier Division of the NEFA) belonged to China!
They did not! Why?
Simply because, at that time China did not consider NEFA (today Arunachal) as part of its territory.
This claim is an after-thought following the incidents in Ladakh (and Longju in Subansiri Frontier Division) in August/September 1959.
Here are an extract from the Dalai Lama’s autobiography Freedom in Exile.
The Tibetan leader crossed the Indian border at Khenzimane/Chuthangmu where he was received by a detachment of the Assam Rifles, the Political Officer in Bomdila (Har Mander Singh) and his APO in Tawang (T.S. Murthy). The Assam Rifles had then a post at Chuthangmu, near the Nyangjang chu (river).

Here are an extract from the Dalai Lama’s autobiography ‘Freedom in Exile’:

From Lhuntse Dzong we passed to the small village of Jhora and from there to the Karpo pass, the last before the border. Just as we were nearing the highest point of the track we received a bad shock. Out of nowhere, an aeroplane appeared and flew directly overhead. It passed quickly - too quickly for anyone to be able to see what markings it had - but not so fast that the people on board could have missed spotting us. This was not a good sign. If it was Chinese, as it probably was, there was a good chance that they now knew where we were. With this information they could return to attack us from the air, against which we had no protection. Whatever the identity of the aircraft, it was a forceful reminder that I was not safe anywhere in Tibet. Any misgivings I had about going into exile vanished with this realisation: India was our only hope.
A little later, the men I had sent on from Lhuntse Dzong returned with the news that the Indian Government had signalled its willingness to receive me. I was very relieved to hear this, as I had not wanted to set foot in India without permission.
I spent my last night in Tibet at a tiny village called Mangmang.
o sooner had we reached this final outpost of the Land of Snows than it began to rain. This was on top of a week of appalling weather, which threw blizzards and snow glare at us by turns as we straggled along. We were all exhausted and it was the last thing that we needed, but it continued torrentially throughout the night.
To make matters worse, my tent leaked and no matter where I dragged my bedding I could not escape the water which ran in rivulets down the inside. The result was that the fever I had been fighting off for the past few days developed overnight into a case of full-blown dysentery.
The following morning, I was too ill to continue, so we remained where we were. My companions moved me to a small house nearby, but it provided little more protection than my tent. Moreover, I was oppressed by the stench of cows that rose from the ground floor to where I lay above. That day, I heard on the small portable radio we had with us a report on All-India Radio saying that I was en route to India, but that I had fallen off my horse and was badly injured. This cheered me up rather, as it was one misfortune that I had managed to avoid, though I knew my friends would be concerned.
Next day, I decided to move on. I now had the difficult task of saying goodbye to the soldiers and freedom fighters who had escorted me all the way from Lhasa, and who were now about to turn and face the Chinese. There was one official too who decided to remain. He said that he did not think that he could be of much use in India, therefore it would be better to stay and fight. I really admired his determination and courage.
After bidding these people a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzomo, for I was still too ill to ride a horse.
And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.

WE MUST HAVE BEEN a pitiful sight to the handful of Indian guards that met us at the border - eighty travellers, physically exhausted and mentally wretched from our ordeal. I was delighted, however, that an official I knew from my visit two years earlier was there to rendezvous with us. He explained that his orders were to escort me to Bomdila, a large town that lay a further week's travel away, for rest.
We finally reached it some three weeks after leaving Lhasa, though it seemed like an aeon. On arrival, I was greeted by my old liaison officer and interpreter, Mr Menon [father of former NSA Shivashankar Menon] and Sonam Topgyal Kazi respectively, one of whom handed me a telegram from the Prime Minister:
My colleagues and I welcome you and send greetings on your safe arrival in India. We shall be happy to afford the necessary facilities to you, your family and entourage to reside in India. The people of India, who hold you in great veneration, will no doubt accord their traditional respect to your personage. Kind regards to you. Nehru.'
I remained in Bomdila, where I was looked after very well by the family of the local District Commissioner, for about ten days.
At the end of which, I was fully recovered from my dysentery. Then, early on 18 April 1959, I was taken by jeep to a road camp called Foothills, where a small guard of honour was formed up on either side of a makeshift carpet of canvas leading to the camp overseer's house, my base for the morning. Inside, I was given a breakfast that included fresh bananas - of which I ate too many, with unfortunate consequences to my digestive system - and briefed by Mr. Menon about the arrangements that had been made by the Indian Government on my behalf.
Some pictures showing the Dalai Lama being received near the border, in Tawang and Bomdila.
Guard of Honour in Taawng (near the present DC's Office)
With Assam Rifles' officer and P.N. Menon
With PN Menon and Har Mander Singh
With Har Mander Singh (PO in Bomdila)

Guard of Honour in Bomdila
Accompanied by Assam Rifles in Kameng Frontier Divison
Arriving in Bomdila

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Can Modi Make it in India?

My article on the Aero India 2015 in Rediff.com

'It appears that Prime Minister Modi has to undo 50 years of State monopoly in the defence sector during which public undertakings like HAL or DRDO monopolised defence production and development with disastrous consequences.'
'It is high time the Indian private sector brings its dynamism into play and gives Mr Modi a boost to realise his Make in India dream,' reports Claude Arpi from Aero India 2015.

As Aero India 2015, organised on the theme 'Make in India', concluded at Yelahanka Airport in Bengaluru, it is perhaps time to take a fresh look at India's development and problems in aerospace, defence, civil aviation and defence manufacturing.
The 2015 show was a big one: More than 700 companies participated; big players like Israel, Russia, France and the United States came to Bengaluru with impressive armadas of equipment and staff.
A telling incident: As I was walking through the stands, a French exhibitor said how impressed he was by India. "Do you know in France, we have only a couple of publications devoted to aviation/defence. I am surprised to see so many here," he said.
I tried to enumerate a few and reached nearly ten. Later I enquired with a retired air marshal of the Indian Air Force, he smiled and told me: "You are wrong, we have 37 publications."
During the air show, some of them published a daily update of several pages, edited at night between Bengaluru and Delhi and printed in the IT City for free distribution the next morning at 9 am.
It does show the extraordinary vitality of the defence sector in India. It is true that the theme of the 2015 edition of the air show -- 'Make in India' -- was particularly exciting for the professionals.

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