Shooting at Santa Fe School, Texas

When I read the sad reports of shooting by a gun-toting student at Santa Fe High School on May 19th 2018, killing 10 and injuring another 10, my mind revolted at this mindless violence exhibited by a student at his own school. US reports say it is the 22nd US School shooting since the beginning of this year and we are only in May of 2018!

I love watching Cowboy movies since my childhood and thoroughly enjoyed the scenes of horse-riding cowboys, guns strapped to their holsters and the quickness of eye and finger surprising opponents. But, that was Wild West of earlier centuries and even then there was the Sheriff, often at the expense of his own life, enforcing law & order and hanging the bad and ugly!

Come on, Texas people should sit up seriously and analyse what is going wrong with their kids. We cannot blame the violence on the streak of DNA that has travelled in the blood stream from those bygone days. We have to control this freak runaway gene from killing the innocent school children by psychologically unstable gun-men, here in this case a suspect student of the same school, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17.


When I was studying for my Masters of Public Administration in the US, I was advised by the Security Department advisory not to enter some parts of the city and by  a well-wisher, that I should not be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, how can you ensure that. Two people of the same Sante Fe School were definitely at the wrong place at the wrong time; a Pakistani exchange student, Sabika Sheikh, who was killed, and , Substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale who was also killed.

“Another student, Dakota Shrader, told CNN affiliate KPRC that she heard gunshots only after hearing an alarm in the school.”
“I was in the history hallway, and as soon as we heard the alarms, everybody just started leaving following the same procedure as … (a) practice fire drill,” Shrader said, breaking into tears. “And next thing you know, we just hear … three gunshots, loud explosions, and all the teachers are telling us to run.” (Courtesy:
Santa Fe High School junior Guadalupe Sanchez, 16, cries in the arms of her mother, Elida Sanchez, after reuniting with her at a meeting point at a nearby Alamo Gym fitness center following a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Santa Fe High School junior Guadalupe Sanchez, 16, cries in the arms of her mother, Elida Sanchez, after reuniting with her at a meeting point at a nearby Alamo Gym fitness center following a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

But, Nature had its surprise as well when a student who survived being shot in the head tweeted: “I’m so grateful and blessed that god spared me today.” Rome Shubert showed, where a bullet went in the back of his head and came out near his left ear. So, God saved him despite being shot.

“Tears of sadness, anger and pain”, are definitely appreciated as a sentiment, but some serious thought deserves to be given by the great American people on the easy availability of firearms in society and their still easier accessibility within at homes by children. I have earlier given a detailed thought in my Blog on the same site to this issue. I think it deserves to be looked at.

Two links are given below:

Shooting at The Strip by Sandeep Silas

Texas: Why Shoot Churchgoers? by Sandeep Silas

Even President Trump is concerned that mass shootings have been “going on too long.”

Trump on Texas school shooting: 'This has been going on too long in our country'

“Unfortunately, I have to begin by expressing our sadness and heartbreak over the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas,” Trump said from the East Room of the White House. “This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years. Too many decades now.”
Trump said federal authorities are coordinating with local officials.
“We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack,” Trump said. “(Courtesy:


Books, must return to the children as a habit, who are today overtaken by internet and other social media. During our childhood in India, we had no mobile phones, no internet, no Television, no such thing as alternate social media. Only the radio reached us and delighted us with songs, stories, and informed us wit news. Newspapers, magazines and books were our window to the world.

We saw, travelled, understood different cultures, lived the lives of the characters we found in the books. And our world was peaceful. None of us ever suffered from an impulse of using a gun in school, which if present at home, was a licensed weapon and kept under lock and key, handled only by father during his hunts.

A little amount of control is necessary. I know after a certain age in America the child cannot even be reprimanded by parents, but, gathers life impressions from the world around him or her. Wonderful, but it is like living a little on the edge. I feel that the social impressions, bonds of family and voluntary organisations should be so strongly knit around the children that the basic core values of every American child drive him or her towards peace and camaraderie. Guns are neither playthings nor the solution to any problem, personal or societal,  otherwise we would have decimated our own people very fast in every country.

Anywhere a child dies, humanity dies a hundred deaths!

Let us work for bringing more peace within us!

6th Ibadat-e-Aman, peace bridge of music, 2018 (Video Recording)

6th IBADAT-E-AMAN 2018, a peace bridge of music initiative between cultures and communities, was organized for the sixth time at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Center, New Delhi, on Friday, February 9, 2018 by St. Stephen’s Society, Agra.

Sandeep Silas, the noted bilingual poet, recited soulful poetry in English to enthrall the audience.

The renowned Chandana Dancers Guild from Sri Lanka, kept the house-full audience spell bound by the magic they weaved in their six acts of dance-drama on themes such as: Beri Vrundha, Nagar Raksha, Wonder of Sri Lanka, Heritage of Sri Lanka, Ridmanjali, Rupat Nari, Prem Puja, Manthra, Thandava Nritya, Abishek and Thelme.


Texas: Why Shoot Churchgoers? by Sandeep Silas

A madness is overtaking humanity, I feel. Suddenly one fine morning a crazy man picks up a gun and goes on a killing spree for no reason whatsoever. The innocent people busy in their own affairs are subjected to cold blooded murder. This person is not concerned whether the victims are studying in a school, gathered for a religious prayer or just dancing an evening.

The murderer has no grudge against anyone of those persons. He has never even met them. Still, they fall prey to his madness and die an unfulfilled life. Why?

What happened in the Texas Church shooting on November 6, 2017 is utmost deplorable. It is seen from the reports that this man re-loaded his weapon several times in order to kill more people as if he was on a mission to eliminate the entire congregation. 26 people died and 20 were wounded. The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring shall never be the same again. It floors shall forever bear the blood of the worshipers who had gathered in the name of The Lord to pray and follow a good path in life.

Investigators work at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday Nov. 5, 2017. A man opened fire inside of the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than 20 people.(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


In a short time people forget such gruesome killings if none of their family members are involved. Only personal tragedies are remembered. This is the saddest part of life. Such immense human tragedies leave a tail of havoc in the lives of those who survive. Just imagine, one victim was carrying an unborn fetus, and the youngest child who fell to the bullets was only 1 year old.

Devin Patrick Kelly, the mentally disturbed shooter had escaped in the past from a mental health facility. He had also been convicted in a  Court martial proceeding. He worked as a Security Guard at Summit Vacation Resort in New Braunfels. All the more reason that his antecedents should have been checked before he could purchase and amass four weapons.


One of the weapons of Kelly. Courtesty:

Kelly was reportedly undergoing a dispute with his in-laws and one of the victims was his grand mother-in-law inside the Church. Even if he had a grudge with his wife’s family, it was no reason to kill people who were totally un-involved. It appears that the man was angry with the world.


Heather Cooper, 8, places her favorite doll on a row of crosses for each victim, after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 6, 2017. A gunman wearing all black armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a small-town Texas church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more in the last mass shooting to shock the United States. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
Heather Cooper, 8, places her favorite doll on a row of crosses for each victim, after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 6, 2017.
Photograph Courtesy: / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

“There is a fundamental problem in our society. ‘A culture of life cannot tolerate..gun violence in all its forms’. “We stand in unity with you in this time of terrible tragedy – as you stand on holy ground, ground marred today by horrific violence,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. (

I am tempted to quote from the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by the great poet Thomas Gray :

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
         The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,

The plowman homeward plods his weary way,

         And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
         The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
         No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
         Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
         Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
This is perhaps the most appropriate requiem to those whose lives were cut short by a madman who took the path of violence against fellow citizens for no reason.
Some questions the US authorities would like to address:
1. Why did the information about Kelly’s court martial and release from a mental health facility was not available through Internet with Gun sellers?
2. Why should assault guns be circulating amongst people? (At best weapons of self-defence should be allowed)
3. How come persons with mental health issues do not have a regular follow-up with the facility?
4. Why are there no restrictions on carriage of weapons inside Hotels, Places of Worship and Concerts?
The world has to remain a peaceful place for human life to smile. This is not only our concern but also our human duty to fulfill.

Shooting at The Strip by Sandeep Silas

The only time I have been to Las Vegas was many years ago during the summer of 2005! My memories of The Strip as it is called are of a very free place where you can do anything you want to do from gambling to partying to….

I was showing the wonderful culture of the US to my sons as part of their growing up age. They were 13 and 16 and I was 45! The Strip is a straight road both sides of which humans have built their little heavens. We stayed at Circus Circus, which was more of the family type reputation. We had fun, that’s what we came to Las Vegas for. The younger son could also play at the machine and I remember the excitement on his face when the coins started falling as he hit a winning number. We were on a shoestring budget so any amount to be lost was of value as it would deprive us of something else we wanted to do. But, still we had a taste of the colourful bright disks revolving inside those machines. Outside on the street I could see flyers with names and telephone numbers of those who were available. I dialled one number and as I learned that the cost of witnessing a dance would be 150 $ I just dropped the idea like a hot brick. Why I am telling you all this is to emphasize the fact that the spirit of Vegas is free and full of fun.

Sad, that on October 2nd, which is celebrated as the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader who got India its freedom through non-violent struggle, the same day would see so much bloodshed in Las Vegas for nothing.

“58 killed 515 injured at the Jason Aldean concert in Vegas” was the worst ever headline any newspaper could print on Gandhi Jayanti day! The tourism promotion slogan for Vegas has long been, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, and this was blown to smithereens as what happened in Vegas went all over the world in blood and tears!


(Photograph by David Becker)

A killer by the name Stephen Paddock, age 64, shot madly at 22,000 concert goers from the hide-out of his hotel window, leaving the most bloodiest trail in human history of a mindless shoot-out. Here, it was not even ISIS, or any other terrorist organization, but a lone individual, who didn’t even seem to have a grouse against anyone for political or religious reasons.

Video recording available at:


(Video footage by can be viewed from above mentioned link)

He killed himself after the volley of five minutes firing from automatic weapons that he had launched from his room on the 32nd floor of Hotel Mandalay Bay. The victims were unsuspecting revellers happy to be in Vegas for a holiday.

las-vegas-shooting 2

(Photograph by David Becker)

(CNN)Every detail of this indiscriminate mass murder seemed meticulously planned.

The selection of a hotel room overlooking a music festival, days before the attack. The cache of 23 weapons inside the gunman’s Las Vegas suite. And thousands of rounds of ammunition — plus an ingredient used in explosives — inside the killer’s home and car.
The latest revelation came Tuesday afternoon when police said gunman Stephen Paddock set up cameras inside his hotel suite and in the hallway. Police are not aware whether the devices were transmitting — the FBI is investigating their use — but the Clark County sheriff told reporters he thinks the shooter might have used them to watch for people approaching his room.
One camera looked out the peephole on the suite’s door.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives disclosed that Paddock had outfitted 12 of his rifles with a legal device called a bump-fire stock, which enables a shooter to fire bullets rapidly, similar to an automatic rifle.
Authorities released the first body camera footage of police responding to the shooting. It captured the rapid staccato of the gunfire at a fairly close range.

– Five handguns, two shotguns and a “plethora” of ammunition were found in Paddock’s Verdi, Nevada, property, police said. Authorities previously found 42 guns in Paddock’s hotel room and at his Mesquite, Nevada, home.” (



Now, that raises the most difficult question, which the Americans would not be willing to find an answer to.

Why is it so easy to buy sophisticated weapons off the shelf for any American citizen, while it is so difficult to buy medicine without any prescription?

There is no limit imposed on the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition that a citizen might need.

The US has one of the best data bank of its people. And medical history records are also maintained meticulously. It is common to see patients of depression in the US who suffer because of myriad reasons from heartbreak, loneliness to crisis of expectations. Since the social security net covers every citizen so remarkably, it is emotional upheavals more than anything else, which are the main cause of people falling into depression.

If I may suggest to the authorities in the US those be responsible, I would say:

  1. Arms sale to be regulated within the US
  2. People with unstable medical history or with criminal background to be barred from purchasing weapons
  3. Actual need to determine the quality of weapon to be sold to any person
  4. Monitoring mechanism to be put in place about the number of weapons circulating in the system and their safety in responsible hands

This might trigger a wave of protest under the umbrella of individual freedom, but then not having such a system in place is leading to results like what happened in Vegas. And, it is not the only time when a lone gunman has made schoolchildren or people at prayer the target of hate crimes and bloodshed.

Why should one man who is not at peace in his heart be allowed to amass weapons at such large scale and shoot innocent people who are holidaying for no reason?

I leave it at that, for the US Administration to take note of and decide in the best interest of US citizens.

It is the peace within every person’s heart that is more important than anything else in the world of today!

Doklam Jam: Will Doka La Pass bring war or peace?

It has been 45 days since the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops started at Doklam and shows no signs of resolution.


(Image from the Internet)

To understand the conflict first let us open the pages of history, diplomatic treaties and agreements to discover the why and wherefore of Doklam. It is not a two country situation but a triangular interest zone where two parties are signed up in a Treaty of Friendship, viz; India and Bhutan.

Geographically Doklam is a narrow plateau at the tri-junction of Bhutan, India and China in the Chumbi Valley. It is 15 km south-east of Nathu La Pass that separates India & China and about 30 km south-west of the Dramana Chhu River (shown as disputed between China and Bhutan). On the western edge of the plateau is Doka La Pass that connects Sikkim with China and Bhutan. Why it is so important to India strategically, is because China can access Sikkim easily through the Doka La Pass and cut off the chicken neck Siliguri corridor linking North-east India with the rest of India.

images (1)


(Images from Internet)

The roots go back to 1890 AD!

“The Anglo-Chinese treaty of 1890 was signed between the British Commissioner A.W. Paul and the Chinese Commissioner Ho Chang-Jung to negotiate trade relations and demarcate boundary along the Chumbi Valley. China and Bhutan have agreed via written agreements of 1988 and 1998 that both countries will maintain peace and the status quo in the region.[7][8][9] In 2017, China attempted to extend a road in a sector of Doklam triggering a stand-off between China and India and a demarche against China from Bhutan.” (

The status of the issue as stated by Bhutan is:

“Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary.”

Ministry of Foreign AffairsRoyal Government of Bhutan.

What happened in June 2017?

China started extending a road from Yadong towards Bhutan Army Camp at Zompelri near the Zampheri Ridge, which ridge is wholly within Bhutan and extends eastwards towards the Siliguri corridor.

Indian soldiers moved into that area to safeguard Bhutanese territorial interest and upsetting of the status-quo by China. Indian self-interest was clear if China succeeds in gaining strategic strength and capability in that area of Chumbi Valley, the threat to India of a military invasion from that side is closer reality.

Since my childhood, I have always wondered why China believes in laying claims to other nation’ territory. It is some kind of a rolling plan they follow through PLA, moving every year a little across the border into another nation and announcing it first as disputed, then Chinese. We all know that Tibet was/is an independent country/people and how Chinese aggrandisement keeps it subjugated and militarily controlled. This kink in the Chinese political philosophy deserves to be cured by the international community of nations.

“Near the disputed area inside Bhutan, India maintains an Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) and the Indian Army Corps of Engineers‘ Border Roads Organisation has built over 15 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) roads, airports, helipads, etc for Bhutan’s defence and transport. Ambassador of Bhutan to India Vetsop Namgyel stated:

“Doklam is a disputed territory and Bhutan has a written agreement with China that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in the area.”

India charges that China has violated this ‘peace agreement’ by trying to construct roads in Doklam.” (

Friendship Treaties between India and Bhutan

Now, India and Bhutan have been bound by a Friendship Treaty of 1949 wherein Bhutan had agreed that India will guide its Foreign and Defence Policy. In 2007 a new Treaty was signed that replaced the mandatory clause giving ‘broader sovereignty”, in vital areas like arms imports. Former Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao, who later became Foreign Secretary, says:

“Bhutan and India enjoy the closest relationship of mutual trust and confidence and enduring friendship. There is absolutely no controversy about military-to-military cooperation and understanding between our two countries. India holds Bhutanese sovereignty as sacred and inviolable.”

I have had the pleasure of dining at the residence of then Ambassador Nirupama Rao in Beijing during an official visit and the pleasure of meaningful conversation on Sino-Indian relations. There can be none better than her to lead the diplomatic offensive to resolve the Doklam Jam. Doklam cannot be viewed as a military solution, because that is fraught with the danger of an Indo-China war, which the country and the present world can ill-afford.

Reliable sources in the Indian Army say that currently Indian and Chinese soldiers are face-to face at 11,000 feet at Doklam!

“Nearly 300 Indian soldiers have pitched their tents on Doklam blocking the PLA from building a contentious road into territory Bhutan claims. Army officials says the troops will stay for as long as New Delhi wants them to, even through the 10 below zero winter temperatures of the plateau.

Doklam comes at a time when China is pitching its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) even as it aggressively asserts territorial claims around its periphery. “It hurts China’s self-image as an emerging global power and Asian hegemon that India should turn its back on BRI and thwart its South Asian plans,” says former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal. (

 Military Power Balance in that area

“Since 1967, every aggressive move the two sides have made along the 4,057-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) has essentially been posturing, each side manoeuvring to prevent the other from altering the status quo on the ground. The closest India and China came to another war was in June 1986 when General K. Sundarji heli-lifted a mountain brigade to face off against a PLA incursion which had built a road into Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping conveyed, through visiting US defence secretary Caspar Weinberger, his intent to “teach India a lesson” if the crisis was not resolved. The Chinese troops did not withdraw until 1993 when Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao visited Beijing.

 Peace and tranquility have prevailed on the border ever since, and the two words formed the underlying text of a landmark ‘Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement’ signed by PM Rao in 1993. More recently, China’s thrust on border infrastructure and the PLA’s transformation have made the peace an uneasy one.

Xi’s reforms of the PLA are without doubt the most sweeping in its 90-year history. The focus is on modernising and enabling greater integration through a newly set-up joint operations command system, something which India itself has long sought-and failed-to implement. The army’s various departments are now under the direct control of the Central Military Commission (CMC), which Xi heads. Now, a single western theatre command handles the border with India, integrating the earlier Chengdu and Lanzhou military regions. The focus is on mobility and nimbleness, leveraging the road and rail infrastructure China has in place, and on integrating the army and air force more closely.

On the face of it, the odds seem to overwhelmingly favour the PLA. Weak infrastructure and a stalled military modernisation have hobbled the Indian armed forces attempts to ramp up their posture from deterrence to credible deterrence. This year’s defence budget, at 1.5 per cent of the GDP, was the lowest allocation since 1950-51. The army’s attempts to replace its ageing helicopters, missiles and infantry equipment after the 1999 Kargil War are yet to bear fruit. Its first howitzer buys in three decades, the 146 ultralight howitzers from the US, will trickle in only next year. Its Mountain Strike Corps, an offensive high altitude warfighting force comprising over 90,000 soldiers, will only be combat-ready by 2021. The armed forces lack strategic reconnaissance to peer at least 300 kilometres deep into China and Pakistan and detect mobilisations. The army has been embarrassed by revelations in a July 21 CAG report of its tank and howitzer ammunition being adequate for only 10 days of intense war fighting against the prescribed 40 days.

But of greater concern is the tardy pace of adding border infrastructure. Only 22 of the 73 all-weather roads along the LAC have been completed a decade after they were sanctioned, the 14 strategic railway lines to rush troops and supplies to the border remain paperbound. The IAF’s dip in combat aircraft, 32 instead of the sanctioned 39 fighter squadrons, is so perilous that Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, in a recent interview, compared it to playing cricket with seven instead of 11 players. The navy is short on both submarines and anti-submarine warfare helicopters, key capabilities in tracking Chinese submarines that are now routinely deployed in the Indian Ocean.

The government is yet to move on the recommendations of the Lt General D.B. Shekatkar committee, submitted to the MoD in December 2016. Key proposals include appointing a chief of defence staff, a single-point military advisor to accelerate the integration of the armed forces, creating integrated theatre commands to synergise the three services and cutting back on non-fighting formations to enhance the military’s combat potential while saving Rs 25,000 crore over five years. A classified part of the report mentions that the focus of warfare for both the army and the air force are likely to be the mountains since this is where the disputed areas with China and Pakistan lie. (

 Ground Reality

I quote from the India Today Report, which is a detailed and good analysis of the ground realities both sides of the border:

 “In all three sectors, western, middle and eastern, motorable Chinese roads now reach right up to the Indian border. In the middle and eastern sectors, in the Chumbi Valley bordering Sikkim and in Nyingchi across the border from Arunachal, the Chinese railway network will reach the border by 2019. In the current five-year plan (2016-2020), the Yanga-Nyingchi railway to the Arunachal border, the Shigatse-Yadong railway to the Chumbi Valley and the Sikkim border, and the Shigatse-Gyirong railway to the Nepal border will be completed. As local officials in Yadong county told India Today in 2015, a 500-km rail track has already entered the Chumbi Valley and tests will begin next year. The line to Nyingchi near Arunachal is now being constructed and will be ready in two years’ time. This allows China to rapidly mobilise divisions from not only the western theatre command, but also from the central, southern and eastern theatre commands to the Indian border in a matter of days.

The PLA air force also operates around a dozen airfields along the Indian border, with five big airports in Tibet, from Ngari Gunsa in Shiquanhe, which borders Aksai Chin, to Nyingchi airport near Arunachal. The other big logistical advantage for China, Kondapalli notes, is its indigenous military industrial complex that ensures independence of supplies. “They have a 30-day backup which means they don’t have to depend on supplies. Our record is relatively bleak on this front,” he notes. Most Chinese analyses of the border with India have highlighted Beijing’s artillery and missile units as its biggest advantage.

 A detailed study published on July 7 in the Sina military portal, China’s most widely-read defence website, assessed how the country would handle a conflict with India. It noted that the PLA had made big strides in mobilisation, and revealed that in 2014, during the Chumar standoff, China was able to rapidly mobilise its 54th group army, which was involved in both the India and Vietnam wars, from Henan to Tibet to undertake a drill, while long-range rocket artilleries and J-10 fighters were also sent to border airports as deterrence. “After decades of preparation for war, the PLA has experienced a kind of metamorphosis… Weapons, drills, logistics, and military tactics have improved to a large extent. Troop deployments at the western frontier have been strengthened, as also field artilleries in Tibet. There is serious deterrence towards India,” it concluded, suggesting China’s aim was to win the war without fighting.


(Image from Internet)

Will China go to war?

If China does go to war, analysts say, it will be only after carefully weighing the benefits of getting into a full-scale conventional war where it cannot score a decisive victory. To initiate a conflict will mean tearing up multiple peace and tranquility border agreements with India and disabusing its own proclamation of “peaceful development”.

“It would be absurd for China to start a war over its own actions, and over disputed territory with a small country that has a security relationship with India under which India has acted,” says Sibal. “China’s credibility on territorial issues is very low internationally because of its actions in the South China Sea and repudiation of the UNCLOS award. It will suffer heavy casualties if it triggered a border conflict as would India with minor gains, which would puncture its balloon of military superiority.”

In the event of the most plausible conflict scenario, a limited war involving only the army and air force, an advancing PLA will first have to reckon with over 250 of the IAF’s Su-30MKI air dominance fighters (the IAF’s fighter jets sat out the 1962 war). The IAF jets can take off from their bases on the plains with a full payload of fuel and weapons as opposed to the PLAAF fighters operating off the exposed airfields on the Tibetan plateau with reduced combat loads and fuel (due to the rarefied air). “The IAF’s unlikely to wait for PLA to make the first move, our fighters will target their concentration areas,” says Air Marshal P.S. Ahluwalia, former C-in-C of the Western Air Command.

Chinese media has repeatedly brought up India’s 1962 defeat. Here, Indian troops in NEFA during the war.

The PLA will have to break through heavily defended passes and valleys protected by over a dozen Indian mountain divisions with 16,000 soldiers each, protected by artillery, Brahmos missile regiments and, in certain places like Ladakh and north Sikkim, pre-positioned armoured brigades with T-72 tanks. “This is not the Indian army of 1962 which fought with bolt action rifles and PT shoes,” says a senior army official. “We have three army corps or nearly three lakh soldiers in the Northeast. Today, we have brigades (3,000 soldiers) where we once had companies (100 men).”

The army’s emphasis on manpower is not out of place. Mountains swallow troops. If an attack on the plains would need a ratio of 1:3 or three attackers for one defender, it swells to 1:12 in the mountains. The PLA will need over 50,000 soldiers to mount a successful thrust down the Chumbi Valley and towards India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ which the Doklam plateau overlooks.

 Both sides are so evenly matched that neither can advance without incurring heavy casualties which is why experts believe Doklam might not trigger a conventional war. “China prefers to coerce,” says defence analyst Ravi Rikhye. “It will be very, very reluctant to actually start a war.” G. Parthasarathy, India’s former high commissioner to Islamabad, terms Beijing’s response to Doklam as “jingoistic and afflicted by hubris” and draws a parallel to the Sumdurong Chu standoff. “This one could last for months, if not years,” he says.

 There is, though, a view that the standoff marks a watershed moment in South Asia. “What we have done (in Doklam) is absolutely right and in accordance with the existing India-Bhutan bilateral arrangement,” says ex-army chief General Bikram Singh. “However, a strategic fallout is that taking it as a precedent, China may, in the future, support Pakistan outright in border disputes. It is, therefore, axiomatic that we expeditiously create a two-front capability to safeguard our national interests.”

 Collusive threat

Over a fortnight before the Doklam face-off, army chief General Bipin Rawat met his five army commanders in Srinagar. The commanders’ huddle in Srinagar’s Badami Bagh cantonment on June 1 came just two months after the twice-a-year army commanders’ conference. The five army commanders, whose area of responsibility-northern, western, southwestern, southern and eastern covers all the zones of future conflict, reviewed war contingencies with Pakistan, particularly its ‘proactive strategy’, colloquially called ‘cold start’. Conceived in 2004, it cuts down on the two-week-long mobilisation time by swiftly mobilising the army to carry out lightning multi-front shallow thrusts across the border with Pakistan within 72 hours. The option of thinning troops from the China border to address the Pakistan front, as the army has done in the past, is no longer viable. “We cannot redeploy troops from our eastern borders now. The risk of losing territory to probes by the PLA is too great,” says an Indian army general.

Earlier this year, the government lifted a 2015 MoD freeze on the army’s mountain strike corps which had slashed its manpower and budgets by half-Rs 38,000 crore and 35,000 soldiers. The army is working out a revised version of ‘cold start’ to fight an intensive battle of 10-15 days. An upcoming tri-services military exercise is to be held at an undecided date to work out new strategies to address a multi-front war. On July 8, army chief General Rawat told ANI that “the army is fully ready for a two-and-a-half front war” (the ‘half’ is for terrorists being used by either China or Pakistan to carry out acts of sabotage).”


Chinese Psychology

I will try to delve deep into the Chinese psychology as a country by recording two of my personal experiences. I remember while studying in Syracuse University for my Masters in Public Administration, I was helping a Chinese student friend with an academic issue. Slowly, the conversation veered to Indo-China relations and I told the lady that China invaded India in 1962 and since then is illegally occupying Indian territory in Aksai Chin (J & K) and laying false claims on Arunachal Pradesh areas.

She quipped back sharply: “We never attacked your country. We are not occupying any territory of yours”.

I asked: “Haven’t you read it in your history books?”

“No”, she answered, “not at all”.

I realized how she could have read it in the history recorded by a Communist party regime (where history is the first thing to be doctored)! Anyways, I showed her the map of India and the territory under Chinese occupation since 1962, but she did not believe me despite being a college friend in a third country international University.

I also remember today my diplomatic visit to Beijing where we were received in the Great Hall of the People at Beijing by Madame Liu Yandong, a Vice-Premier of China, where she elaborated painstakingly, non-stop 45 minutes, on how democratic, China as a country is, and what all benefits in the social sector the Chinese government is bringing to their people.

Latest situation

“BEIJING: National security advisor Ajit Doval’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping did not yield any breakthrough that could end the current standoff in Doklam. Analysts, however, said the cool off in the recent weeks may give leaders enough time to find a solution.

Doval met Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials on Friday at the summit of Brics national security advisers (NSAs) in the Chinese capital.

There has only been a slight improvement of the situation that prevailed after Chinese leaders insisted for weeks that there could be no meaningful dialogue until Indian troops withdraw  from their positions at the disputed site in Doklam .

There is little possibility of Xi going back on the demand that Indian troops must withdraw ahead of the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army on August 1, a Chinese analyst said”. (

Today, at Doklam, the Chinese Government forgets that it has a $ 71 Billion worth trade with India (January 2017) and any aggression for a piece of territory will disturb this balance. Like everywhere in the world, Chinese goods are being sold from almost every shop in India and at many places it has redefined the material to be used, the quality standards to be followed (well-known fact that Chinese goods marketed in India are of cheap quality and do not last long), still the quantum of trade is worth risking it for a war that benefits none and brings in elements of distrust, back-stabbing and treachery back into the psyche of Indians, which the Chinese have with the passage of years since 1962 succeeded in reducing by trade.

In every important city of India, you will find a Chinese shoe-maker and scores of popular Chinese food restaurants.

The question is: Whether China allow itself to be dictated by a belligerent Peoples Liberation Army leadership or a trade oriented political leadership? Whether it will be the victory of illwill or goodwill?

It’s all about the leadership you have in any country!


Kabul and its Kabuliwala…where have the bombs blown them? by Sandeep Silas

In my childhood, a Kabuliwala used to come every season with a bag full of dry fruits and saffron. He was a trans-nation hawker, who brought not only dry fruits of the best quality but also goodwill from a neighbouring nation.

I remember, the Kabuliwala character was so glorified that it found itself in poetry and Bollywood songs too ! In fact, Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore wrote a short story on the Kabuliwala. The link to the story on the internet is given below:

The story was adapted to a Hindi Movie titled Kabuliwallah in 1961 and the famous song. which equals a lullaby in its melody and rhythm became a household favourite. You can access the title song from the link:

Such was the Kabul of those days which used to live in our hearts and in our literature. Afghanistan used to be a Kingdom then, and from the little we knew of it, it was considered a progressive society. And then its bad luck phase started, which has continued to this day.

To recapitulate the history of Afghanistan, it was a kingdom state established by the returning soldiers of Nadir Shah after his death in 1747. Ahmad Shah Durrani became an elected King through the Assembly of Tribes and ruled Afghanistan till the occupation of Kabul by Dost Mohammad in 1818. The eyeing of Afghanistan by Russia made the English ambitious and they crowned Shah Shuja in a mosque as the new ruler of the kingdom. The Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th century brought British soldiers on the turf and their interference in the affairs of the kingdom. They installed a puppet King and Kabul saw many wars and skirmishes. In 1880 Abdurrahman became King and three generations of his rule saw the advent of technology and modernization. King Amanullah also accelerated the modernization of the Kingdom on European patterns but the Old Guard forced him to exile. Zahir Khan rules, then Daud Khan converts himself to PM and then President but that too does not last long and Afghanistan passed into Russian occupation from 1979 to 1989. In 1994 emerged Taliban and Afghanistan’s history was plunged in unparalleled war of terror based on religious fundamentalism. What happened later is not the objective of this article and is also well known to the world through Hollywood movies, newspapers and TV Channels.

My lament today is the truck bomb that killed 90, and wounded hundreds on Wednesday the 31st May. The scene of this horrible crime towards humanity was the diplomatic area of Kabul. A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed truck in Zanbaq Square at about 8.30 am when life was beginning to start on the day little realising that a bloody fate awaited people in that area.

Millenium Post June 1, 2017 Millennium Post June 1, 2017

Times Of India June 1, 2017Photo in Times of India June 1, 2017

(Image by The Guardian on the Internet)

A TV Channel has brought to the viewers the explosion in the truck:

The Site

(Image by Agence France Presse on the internet)

The Wounded

(Image by Reuters on the internet)

Alas, the garden city of the Mughals is now in ruins! Gone are the days when Badshah Jahangir used to enjoy the gardens of Kabul.

download 1 mughals-arts-890x395_c

(Images of Mughal days in Kabul from the internet)

Today, the Bamiyan Buddhas have become two tears of stone in Afghanistan, which bleed constantly. Issues have been lost under layers and layers of politics and terrorism. Fundamentalism of religion and belief is bad and that is what Afghanistan has become symbolic of today.

My friend Hekmatullah Foushanji, (we studied together in Maxwell School of Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY), I remember the lovely Bollywood songs you and I used to sing in corridors and parties, you the first half in Dari, I the second half in Hindi. I pray for peace in your country and the lives of the innocent to be safeguarded from such dastardly attacks. You have a big responsibility as Director, Foreign Affairs of your country’s National Security Council.

May the Creator bring back the days of goodwill and peace as existed in the days of the Kabuliwala !

I send to the city of Kabul and the citizens of Afghanistan, the peace and prayers felt in millions of hearts across the globe!


Mayhem at Manchester by Sandeep Silas

Manchester is a place close to my heart for its dynamic energy and vivacious way of life! The city has its own unique character.

mn         download 2

(Pics Courtesy:

I studied there at Manchester Business School and that is the first place in the world, where I saw daylight last up to 11 pm ever in my life, and also discovered what the word “blinds” actually meant. The light just won’t go out in the sky in the summer of 2002, and only when I drew the blinds did I feel night at last. It had become a daily routine to go walking from the School to the city, visit a pub, the more ambitious did pub crawling and then return to the night within the blinds.

My first introduction to British Theatre was at Manchester. Miss Saigon and The King and I, were the two plays I remember having seen at one of those theatres, of which we had read about, with powdered ladies dressed in their finery, armed with their snuff boxes and binoculars. The plays were staged fabulously and left an imprint on the soul! Never on earth could imagine that a helicopter could actually land on stage and the stage move so quickly to change the scene. The direction was technically sound.

Ah, yes, football, the passion of the city. It seemed that all the world was either united behind Manchester United or Manchester City!

Sad day in life to hear of the suicide bomber attack on May 22nd 2017 in Manchester Arena, Europe’s largest indoor theatre. A place where almost 21,000 people had gathered to hear the American singer Ariana Grande, became a scene of blood, shock, broken limbs and pale death. 22 people were amongst those killed and some 59 other injured, when Salman Abedi, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the foyer of the theatre. He detonated a home-made bomb at 10.30 p.m. on Monday 22nd May at the theatre. Born of emigrated Libyan parents, he brought death to many innocent people who were not even remotely connected to any cause he was pursuing.

Manchester Arena

(Courtesy: The Telegraph, UK)

News Coverage in India

Times of India May 24, 2017 pg 24

(The Times Global pg 24 dated May 24, 2017)

Ariana, had just finished the last song and it seems to me that the suicide bomber realizing that the audience would now walk out detonated himself in the foyer as unsuspecting happy people walked out after the evening performance. Manchester is a lively city and citizens are fond of football, theatre, music concerts, and pubs! Ariana, shell shocked after the attack, said she was “Broken. From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry. I don’t have words.”

TOI, pg 24

(TOI, pg 24 May 24, 2017)

Today, I want the entire world to see the smiling face and eyes of Saffie Rose Roussos, aged eight, and feel the pain of the death of this beautiful promise of life !

Saffie Rose Roussos

(Courtesy: The Telegraph, UK)

Who would become the cause of death of an innocent flower like this? We cannot anymore allow madmen amongst our politicians, so-called religious leaders, cadres of terrorist organizations and the hooligans of society to take away the life of the beautiful people of this world. They might have issues of their own evil mind’s making. Why should the people of the world continue to die because one man’s madness thinks of other philosophies, ways of life and other cultures as abominable to his thought? Why should any political or religious fanatic leader be allowed to preside and promote mayhems and bombings to ensure his grip on his own followers? Why should organizations like IS exist even for one more day?

Plato says, ” No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.” My question is why should an entire humanity suffer because of some bad men who have migrated their way to top positions of power and are controlling nations, cadres and organizations as the case might be? The people’s will is supreme and a handful of liars and fanatics should not get away with murder.

Don’t we need more James Bond 007s in real life now than on the screen? Only Bond can save the world now from an apocalypse ! Seriously, M should recruit more James Bond Agents to scour the world and stop such happenings, because the sophisticated Yards and Bureaus are failing again and again.

It seems that our intelligence systems need a relook and a determined, dedicated leadership to prevent any such tragedy from striking at the core of humanity. Why do our intelligence agencies fail to sense such lurking attacks even though armed with latest technological gadgets and eavesdropping systems?   Why should innocent people die in such gruesome manner while they are doing nothing, but just celebrating the beauty of life ?


Prayer Meeting at St. Ann’s Square, Manchester, UK (Photograph from Internet)

For those who have not seen the video clips of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing attack I am giving the links below:

(ABC News Special Report)


(The Telegraph)

I am sorry to place on record that even after the world has seen the ugliest face of terrorism it is not one on terrorism. The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is still at the proposal level after two decades !

“The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all[citation needed] forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. The negotiations for this treaty are currently[when?] under way has been[clarification needed] under negotiation at the United Nations General Assembly‘s Ad Hoc Committee established by Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 on Terrorism and the United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal). The negotiations are currently deadlocked even after two decades of proposal i.e. through 1996 till 2016.

Although consensus eludes towards adoption of the terrorism convention, but discussions have yielded three separate protocols that aim to tackle terrorism: International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted on 15 December 1997; International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted on 9 December 1999; and International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted on 13 April 2005.” (Wikipedia:

Bodies have bled to death; hearts continue to bleed…

How long ?