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Tit-for-tat: India is navigating China's backyard using its adversarial neighbors

Amar Govindarajan

May 09, 2024, 11:49 AM | Updated 11:49 AM IST


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Standpoint: Only Chromosomes define gender, not courts!

Supreme Court (Credit: DU Beat)
Supreme Court (Credit: DU Beat)

The case: Earlier this week the SC bench led by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud has used the term "pregnant persons" instead of "pregnant women" in a recent order, recognizing that pregnancy can also be experienced by "non-binary people and transgender men."

The details:

  • The 22-page judgment used "pregnant person/persons" 42 times while adjudicating a case involving the termination of a 14-year-old rape survivor's pregnancy.

  • In a footnote, the bench explained their use of the gender-neutral term.

  • Order says pregnancy can also be experienced by “some non-binary people and transgender men among other gender identities”.

The bigger picture: The CJI had earlier used "founding parents" instead of "founding fathers" in another judgment, signaling a shift toward gender-neutral vocabulary despite criticism.

  • Why should the Supreme Court go into defining or outlining who (or which gender) can experience pregnancy? Chromosomes define gender not courts.

  • This business of gender self-identification was taken too far in the US where many children were given irreversible medical treatment for gender change.

South China Sea showdown

Chinese Coast Guard vessel preventing a Philippines re-supply mission to Sierra Madre. (Pic via Reuters)
Chinese Coast Guard vessel preventing a Philippines re-supply mission to Sierra Madre. (Pic via Reuters)

The situation: Tensions are escalating in the South China Sea as China ramps up aggressive maneuvers against neighboring nations like the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The latest:

  • On May 4, a Chinese J-10C fighter jet dangerously released flares in the path of an Australian Seahawk helicopter.

  • On April 30, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel rammed and damaged two Philippine supply ships headed to Scarborough Shoal, spraying water cannons that damaged their radar and communication equipment.

  • Chinese jets like the H-6K bomber regularly violate Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

The claims: China claims most of the South China Sea under its "nine-dash line," encroaching on the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

  • The International Court of Justice in The Hague has deemed these claims illegal.

The buildup: China is constructing large aircraft carriers like the recently launched 80,000-ton Fujian to dominate the South China Sea and Indian Ocean regions.

  • It aims to have a fleet of 6 carriers by 2035, along with supporting infrastructure like expanded access to ports like Hambantota (Sri Lanka) and Kyaukpyu (Myanmar).

India's moves: As a principal rival, India is pushing back against China's aggression in the region.

  • Last month, it delivered the first batch of BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles to the Philippine Marine Corps.

  • Indian ports operator Adani is considering building a 25-meter deep port in Bataan, Philippines for large cargo ships.

  • Indian Navy ships like INS Delhi, INS Kiltan and INS Shakti are currently exercising with the Singapore Navy in the South China Sea.

The Taiwan factor: India is strengthening economic and people-to-people ties with Taiwan, which China aims to unify with the mainland.

  • Taiwanese firms like Foxconn have invested in manufacturing plants in India for exports.

  • In February, India and Taiwan signed an MOU to allow recruitment of Indian workers, approved just last week.

The bottom line: India is shifting to a more proactive stance to counter China, warning it can play the same game in Beijing's backyard.

A Swarajya roadtrip!

May 2024 Issue
May 2024 Issue

Some weeks ago my colleague Banuchander Nagarajan proposed that he travel from Delhi - through the poorest regions of UP, Bihar, Bengal, Assam and into the North East.

We called it Hridayapath - a journey through and into the Indian heartland.

  • Banu spent over 14 days on the road.

  • Recording meticulously the progress (or the lack of it in many places), how benefits reach the poorest and what our fellow Indians think about 2024 elections.

  • The travelogue is a must for every Indian seeking to understand and appreciate the heartland.

The Hridyapath Travelogue Special Issues: The series of dispatches Banu sent made for an excellent compilation as a special print issue.

  • For print subscribers, the travelogue print issue is already out of the press and ready to be dispatched.

  • This one's a limited-issue, so get yours here - it is just ₹2999 ₹1999 today for a 1-year print + digital subscription. Or you can go digital for ₹1000 a discount.


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A road trip through the poorest regions of India — its heartland