Why is the India-China border stand-off escalating?

  • 20 July 2017
  • From the section India
File photo of an Indian and Chinese soldier on the border Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption India and China have a long history of border disputes

If you browse through the latest headlines about the now month-long border stand-off between India and China, you might think the Asian rivals are teetering on the brink of an armed conflict.

The rhetoric is full of foreboding and menace. A Delhi newspaper says China is warning that the stand-off "could escalate into full-scale conflict". Another echoes a similar sentiment, saying "China stiffens face-off posture".

In Beijing, the state-run media has begun reminding India of its defeat in the 1962 war over the border, digging out old reports and pictures of the conflict. Global Times has been particularly bellicose, first accusing India of undermining Bhutan's sovereignty by interfering in the road project, and then declaring that if India "stirs up conflicts in several spots, it must face the consequences of all-out confrontation with China".

The latest row erupted in mid-June when India opposed China's attempt to extend a border road through a plateau known as Doklam in India and Donglang in China.

The plateau, which lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, is currently disputed between Beijing and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan's claim over it.

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Why was Mother Teresa's uniform trademarked?

  • 12 July 2017
  • From the section India
An Indian nun from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of Charity leaves after taking part in a mass to commemorate the 105th birthday of Mother Teresa at the Indian Missionaries of Charity house in Kolkata on August 26, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mother Teresa wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the border

For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest. Senior nuns who work for Missionaries of Charity, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.

On Monday, news washed up that this "famous" sari of the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, has been trademarked to prevent "unfair" use by people for commercial purposes. India's government quietly recognised the sari as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September last year, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.

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Why stopping India's vigilante killings will not be easy

  • 10 July 2017
  • From the section India
Indian people hold placard during a "Not in my Name" protest against spate of anti-muslim killings in India,in New Delhi, India, 28 June 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption There have been nationwide protests against the killings

Last month Prime Minister Narendra Modi said murder in the name of cow protection is "not acceptable". Hours after his comments, a Muslim man was reportedly killed by a mob who accused him of transporting beef in his car.

Under Mr Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP, the cow has become a polarising animal and religious divisions are widening. Restrictions on the sale and slaughter of cows are fanning confusion and vigilantism.

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Is India descending into mob rule?

  • 26 June 2017
  • From the section India
Cow vigilantes in India Image copyright AFP
Image caption Vigilante cow protection groups have been acting with impunity

On Thursday a 15-year-old Muslim boy, returning home from Eid shopping with his three brothers, was killed in a brutal assault by a mob of about 20 men on a train in the north Indian state of Haryana.

Police say that the reason for Junaid Khan's murder - in which his three siblings were also injured by the knife-wielding mob - was mainly because of a row over seat space on the train.

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Why a problem of plenty is hurting India's farmers

  • 8 June 2017
  • From the section India
Farmers throwing vegetables on a road during a protest as part of the Maharashtra bandh over various demands in Nagpur, Maharashtra Image copyright Press Trust of India
Image caption Farmers in Maharashtra have dumped their produce on the roads in protest against low prices

Farmers are on the boil again in India.

In western Maharashtra state, they have been on strike for a week in some seven districts now, spilling milk on the streets, shutting down markets, protesting on the roads and attacking vegetable trucks. In neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, curfew has been imposed after five farmers were killed in clashes with police on Tuesday. Last month, farmers in southern Telangana and Andhra Pradesh staged protests and burnt their red chilli crop.

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Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Arundhati Roy's much-awaited second coming

  • 5 June 2017
  • From the section India
Arundhati Roy Image copyright Mayank Austen Soofi
Image caption Arundhati Roy waited for 20 years to write her second novel

"Normality in our part of the world is a bit like a boiled egg: its humdrum surface conceals at its heart a yolk of egregious violence," writes Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy in The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness, her whimsically titled second novel.

"It is our constant anxiety about that violence, our memory of its past labours and our dread of its future manifestations, that lays down the rules of how a people as complex, as diverse as we are continue to coexist - continue to live together, tolerate each other and, from time to time, murder one another."

Read full article Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Arundhati Roy's much-awaited second coming

Is India's ban on cattle slaughter 'food fascism'?

  • 2 June 2017
  • From the section India
An Indian vendor makes kebabs made from beef at the Tundey Kebabi restaurant in Lucknow on May 17, 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beef kebabs are popular with millions of Indians

A lawmaker from India's southern state of Kerala has announced that he is returning to eating meat, fish and eggs after practising vegetarianism for nearly two decades.

There's nothing unusual about a lapsed vegetarian but VT Balram said his decision was prompted by the federal Hindu nationalist BJP government's attempt to seize the people's right to eat what they wanted.

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Did India hide its first cases of Zika virus?

  • 30 May 2017
  • From the section India
Mosquito Image copyright SPL
Image caption Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is most active during the day

Did India conceal its first cases of the Zika virus?

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said India's health ministry had confirmed three cases of the mosquito-borne virus from the city of Ahmedabad in western Gujarat state.

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Why are millions of Indian women dropping out of work?

  • 18 May 2017
  • From the section India
India women taxi drivers Image copyright AFP
Image caption More women are finding work in cities

Why are millions of women dropping out of work in India?

The numbers are stark - for the first time in India's recent history, not only was there a decline in the female labour participation rate, but also a shrinking of the total number of women in the workforce.

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Aadhaar: Are a billion identities at risk on India's biometric database

  • 4 May 2017
  • From the section India
Aadhaar Image copyright Mansi Thapliyal
Image caption More than a billion residents of India have a unique identity number

"My fingerprints and iris are mine and my own. The state cannot take away my body," a lawyer told India's Supreme Court last week.

Shyam Divan was arguing a crucial petition challenging a new law that makes it compulsory for people to submit a controversial biometric-based personal identification number while filing income tax returns.

Read full article Aadhaar: Are a billion identities at risk on India's biometric database