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Enter The Dragon: How China Is Making The US Nervous

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By Ruchika Thakur:

As Indians we are always more worried about China than Pakistan, because we can never figure out what China is actually up to, and every time we hold a ‘Made in China‘ item, we are awed as to how deep they have penetrated our markets. China is rising at an unprecedented speed, at the economic front as well as the military front. So, what is the underlying strategy with which China operates?

As pointed out by the first Prime Minister of Singapore, late Lee Kuan Yew, in this article, “Come grow with me” is the philosophy with which China functions. The infrastructure investment that China has made in its own state, linking all major cities and other countries to foster ties and strengthen trade links with them are proof of that. Be it Germany and Russia, or closer home with Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Myanmar. It has even extended its rail lines to connect with Laos in Southeast Asia. Lee further went to connect the dots and said that with 1.3 billion consumers and an ever expanding base, it will dominate the entire East Asian market. It is important to listen to Lee because few people know China better than him. “But close economic interdependence does not necessarily mean political cooperation or more peaceful geopolitics, contrary to what liberal International Relations suggests,” says Dibyesh Anand, head of department in International Relations at the University of Westminster.

Recently, China announced that it would soon complete building of an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea which it refers to as Nansha Island. China has built a runaway which is capable of handling military aircrafts. What could be the reason for it? The Chinese Foreign Minister, Lu Kang, says that military defence needs, as well as civilian demands including maritime search and rescue efforts, disaster prevention, scientific research, meteorological observation, navigation safety measures and fishery services are the reasons for building these artificial islands.

The United States is clearly not pleased with these “civilian demands” and is uncomfortable with China developing 2,000 acres of lands on the outcroppings in the last 18 months and of creating a runaway at Fiery Cross Reef long enough to accommodate fighter jets, and has urged China to ensure freedom of navigation and flight as permitted by International law. But China maintains that it is committed to the path of peaceful development. Lee points out that this “peaceful development” was not adopted by the Chinese leadership accidentally, but is a well thought out mantra as the Chinese want to update themselves to a great civilisation and recover their ancient glory.

On the military front, the rise of the Chinese has always worried the United States, Japan and India. And the recent incident has left them even more anxious. On this Dr Anand says, “The recent tensions in South China Sea is not because of disagreement alone, for the disagreement has been there for the last century; the tensions are because China has adopted a pro-active and belligerent stance which combined with its rise as a major global power is making the neighbours nervous.”

The other more plausible reason for the militarization which the analysts have pointed out could be the Chinese insecurity; since the USA has been collaborating with the Japanese and the Philippines in joint patrols.

The United States is not yet ready to accept the emergence of China, especially the threat that it could challenge US’s hegemony. Dr Anand states that “The USA is no longer the hegemonic power in the region, but it remains the single most important global power. USA’s presence and resistance to China is less about some Sino phobic kneejerk reaction but more to do with American credibility. If the USA does not caution or balance China, it loses credibility as guarantor of security to its major allies including Japan and Philippines who see the rising China as a bully.” But the Chinese, by building military base in the South China and Arabian Sea, are strategizing to impair the U.S. military containment and as Lee said, “the U.S. cannot stop the rise of China, but it has to live with a bigger China.” Here, Dr. Anand makes an interesting point when he says that a tense Asia Pacific region provides opportunities to military industrial complex of the USA in terms of continuing arms sales to competitors of China.

It will be interesting to see how India responds to this growth of China. India knows that it is perhaps not too wise to pick disputes with China and has adopted a balanced foreign policy till now, taking a stand when required as in the case of Arunachal Pradesh, while balancing it with trade talks and mutual growth.

You must be to comment.
  1. Saloni

    This was one great article!

    1. ruchikaakihur

      Thank you so much saloni 🙂

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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