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Saturday, October 5, 2013

US shutdown ~ Shala Bhata incursion ~ and one man maintaining Canada border

The US shutdown made us learn a new word ‘furlough’ ~  a temporary unpaid leave.  The recent incursions of Pak brought to fore - Shala Bhata, the place in Kupwada.  It is sending chill in spines to read that the  army has publicly cast this as just a larger version of the kind of jihadist infiltration which takes place all the time along the Line of Control; but perhaps it is much bigger.  The press conference of  Lieutenant-General Gurmit Singh, the XV corps commander, revealed that  the intruders have been firing on Indian troops for ten days, after what was seen as an infiltration was first blocked. Had infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir been the objective, the intruders would have tried to pull back at that point.

Former Army General, GD Bakshi, said on Thursday that the ongoing infiltration by Pakistan into India's Kashmir could not have continued even after being foiled without the support of Pakistan Special Forces while calling the Indo-Pak talks a strategy of Islamabad to divert New Delhi's attention. Bakshi said that the huge scale on which the infiltration was carried out, hinted on bigger motives than just seizure of Indian posts. It is time India sent out stern message to its troublesome neighbour. 

Borders are boiling cauldrons in many places… the Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world shared between the same pair of countries. The terrestrial boundary (including small portions of maritime boundaries on the Atlantic, Pacific, andArctic coasts, as well as the Great Lakes) is 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi) long ~ and something unimaginable has happened over here due to the US shutdown. 

An estimated 800,000 U.S. government workers are off the job, after Congress failed to pass a key funding bill, triggering a partial government shutdown. It is reported that the last time this happened – during the winter of 1995-96; the U.S. government shut down for three full weeks. This time, with the tensions higher and the issues more divisive, many expect this shutdown could last even longer. With no end in sight, it is a blame game between Democrats and the Republicans…..

Lot of people pass the border and sure there would be inconvenience as they will have to alter their travel plans. A temporary government shutdown sparked by political haggling over the health care law is one thing, its unexpected bearing elsewhere is another.  A team from Ottawa that travels with NASA each year to Antarctica to study polar ice conditions has already been told that the non-essential mission has been delayed.

All U.S. national parks  are reportedly closed, as well as several sites popular among tourists including: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York; the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument and the National Zoo in Washington and more. Mail delivery should continue as usual, because the U.S. Postal Service receives no federal aid for its daily operations.  A closed sign on National park or a monument will only disappoint the visitor but think of this ………….

‘One person maintaining the Canada border’ ……BBC writes that the 5,525-mile (8,891km) border, with 8,000 obelisk monuments dotted along it is now theoretically manned by a single man – a la Rajnikant – ‘singam thaniyaathan varum’ [lion will come alone !!].  the borders are sealed with cast-iron and stand five feet high, on a three-foot concrete base. ~ with the shutdown there is  the acting commissioner Kyle Hipsley on his own. Speaking from a field office in Montana, he said everything was under control. The other main job of his team, the clearing of trees on the border, can still carry on because it's in the hands of two five-man teams of contractors. But only until the money runs out.

It may sound comical, but relate that to Indian border – where infiltration continues despite barbed fences and our soldiers spending sleepless nights…………….. World is diverse and different..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Oct 2013.

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