Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Will Strain India’s Ties With Bangladesh

Tarun Gogoi said Sheikh Hasina has done a lot to make Bangladesh more secular in its outlook.


The manner in which the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016 is being portrayed by BJP leaders at the state and central levels will only end up straining relations between India and Bangladesh, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has claimed. Claims of “religious persecution” in Bangladesh only serve to undermine Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s efforts to uphold secularism in the neighbouring country, he added.

“This bill will strain relations between the two countries. This present Bangladesh regime has been helpful, and there is peace in the Northeast because of Hasina’s decision to act against terrorist camps across the border. Hindus are safe in her country, the number of Durga Pujas is increasing every year, and here you are unnecessarily giving Bangladesh a bad name over religious persecution,” Mr Gogoi told NDTV.

The bill, which aims to provide fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was passed in the Lok Sabha recently. 

Mr Gogoi said that in his 15 years spent government Assam, not a single person from neighbouring Bangladesh had come seeking citizenship due to religious persecution. “I had a long telephonic discussion with the Bangladesh chief minister to discuss the matter,” he said, adding that the BJP’s campaign of religious persecution in Bangladesh is portraying the Sheikh Hasina government in a “wrong light”.

If enacted, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016 will enable Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from the neighbouring states to get citizenship after six years of residing in India even if they do not possess any documents. The current waiting period is 12 years.

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Female Pilots In China Strain To Hold Up Half The Sky

Captain Han Siyuan at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai.


When Han Siyuan first decided to apply for a job as a pilot cadet in 2008, she was up against 400 female classmates in China on tests measuring everything from their command of English to the length of their legs.

Eventually, she became the only woman from her university that Shanghai-based Spring Airlines picked for training that year. She is now a captain for the Chinese budget carrier, but it has not become much easier for the women who have come after her.

Han is one of just 713 women in China who, at the end of 2017, held a licence to fly civilian aircraft, compared with 55,052 men. Of Spring Airlines’ 800 pilots, only six are women.

“I’ve gotten used to living in a man’s world,” she said.

China’s proportion of female pilots – at 1.3 per cent – is one of the world’s lowest, which analysts and pilots attribute to social perceptions and male-centric hiring practices by Chinese airlines.

But Chinese airlines are struggling with an acute pilot shortage amid surging travel demand, and female pilots are drawing attention to the gender imbalance.

Chinese carriers will need 128,000 new pilots over the next two decades, according to forecasts by planemaker Boeing Co , and the shortfall has so far prompted airlines to aggressively hire foreign captains and Chinese regulators to relax physical entry requirements for cadets.

“The mission is to start cutting down the thorns that cover this road, to make it easier for those who come after us,” said Chen Jingxian, a Shanghai-based lawyer who learned to fly in the United States and is among those urging change.

‘Token Efforts’

Such issues are not confined to China; the proportion of female pilots in South Korea and Japan, where such jobs do not conform to widespread gender stereotypes, is also less than 3 percent.

But it is a sharp contrast to the situation in India, which, like China, has a fast-growing aviation market. But thanks to aggressive recruiting and support such as day care, India has the world’s highest proportion of female commercial pilots, at 12 percent.

China’s airlines only hire cadets directly from universities or the military. They often limit recruitment drives to male applicants and very rarely take in female cohorts.

In addition, unlike in other markets, such as the United States, China does not allow people to convert private flying licenses to commercial certificates for flying airliners.


Captain Han Siyuan in the cockpit of Spring Airlines’ Airbus A320

Li Haipeng, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China’s general aviation department, said many airlines were also dissuaded to hire women by generous maternity leave policies. That has been further aggravated by Beijing’s move in 2015 to change the one-child policy, he added.

“Male pilots do not have the issue of not being able to fly for two years after giving birth, and after the introduction of the second-child policy, airlines are not willing to recruit and train a pilot only to have her not being able to fly for about five years,” he said.

He said Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines had all made some effort to recruit female pilots, adding “nearly all other companies do not.”

China Eastern and China Southern declined to comment while Air China did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Pilots said that hiring decisions were usually left to individual airlines and did not appear to be driven by the country’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, whose recruitment requirements do not mention gender.

Xiamen Airlines, a China Southern subsidiary, told Reuters it offers up to 540 days of maternity leave. It started recruiting female pilots in 2008, and paused for a few years in between before resuming last year. Out of its 2,700 pilots, 18 are women while another 18 are in training.

“Allowing more women to become pilots is undoubtedly a good way to supplement (an airline’s) flying capability,” a spokesman for the carrier said.

Persuasion And Publicity

The strongest calls for change are coming mostly from Chinese female pilots, thanks to a slew of returnees who learned how to fly while living abroad in countries like the United States.

In March, the China Airline Pilots Association (ChALPA) established a female branch at an event attended by pilots from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and local airlines, according to media reports.

Chen, the lawyer who also serves as a vice-president of the ChALPA’s women’s branch, said she and others have been trying to spread the word by speaking about the issue at air shows in China.

Eventually, she said, the organisation hopes to persuade Chinese airlines to adjust their recruitment and maternity policies.

Another key obstacle to tackle, she added, was the inability of general aviation pilots to shift to the commercial sector.

“It’s a systemic issue,” she said. “We hope that change can happen in three to five years, but this is not something that is up to us.”

Others like Han, who in recent months has appeared in Spring Airlines promotional videos, said she hoped the growing publicity would help to raise awareness.

“I can’t personally give people opportunities,” she said. “But I hope that (the publicity) can slowly help open the door for companies or for girls with dreams to fly.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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At Key JD(U) Meet Today, Nitish Kumar To Strategise Amid Strain With BJP

Nitish Kumar will be addressing the party’s national executive meet on Sunday (File)


Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar will attend his party office-bearers’ meet in Patna today before addressing its national executive meet on Sunday, amid a strain in his ties with the BJP.

Mr Kumar is likely to articulate his party’s position on a host of issues ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls as there has been speculation about his next political move.

There has been speculation that he is keen to revive his alliance with the RJD and the Congress, a suggestion rejected by his party leaders but which has gained ground due to the JD(U)’s differences with the BJP.

Several leaders of the Bihar-based party have demanded its preeminent position in the BJP-led NDA restored, a status it enjoyed in the alliance until 2013 when Kumar broke ties with the saffron party.

With the BJP gaining in strength in the state following its sweep in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it is unlikely to give the JD(U) a bigger status and political watchers believe that Mr Kumar has been jockeying for fighting about 15 seats in 2019.

The BJP had won 22 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and its allies, Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP and Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP had six and three respectively. The JD(U) had won only two seats.

JD(U) leaders have argued that their party had performed much better than the BJP in 2015 assembly polls and its results should be considered in the allotment of seats for the Lok Sabha election.

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In China, A Handshake Between PM Narendra Modi, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain Amid Strain

PM Narendra Modi greets Pakistan President Mamnoon Husain at the SCO summit in China.

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in China’s Quindao to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, was seen greeting Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain today. The two leaders shook hands and exchanged greetings after signing of agreements between the members states of the eight nation bloc.

Leaders of eight member states and four observer states, as well as heads of international organisations are attending the summit, meant to explore ways to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism and radicalization – among other issues of global relevance.

India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of failing to take action against terrorists harboured on its soil. The issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has been raised in various international forums to build pressure on Islamabad to dismantle the terror infrastructure.

Last week, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said, “Pakistan should stop terrorist acts emanating from their soil. They say they want to halt it. If they are not able to do so, why don’t they take their neighbor’s help?”

Since the attack at the army camp in Uri in September 2016, in which terrorists from Pakistan were involved, there has been a spate terror strikes in Jammu and Kashmir. The biggest of these took place at an army camp in Sunjwan in February, which and cost 10 lives, six of them army personnel.

At the SCO summit, India is also likely to focus on the importance of regional connectivity projects to boost trade among members countries.  India has been strongly pushing for connectivity projects like the Chabahar port project in Iran and the over-7,200 km long International North-South Transport Corridor to gain access to resource-rich Central Asian countries.

The Chabahar project became crucial as Pakistan does not allow India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its territory by land. It is also expected to act as a counter to the Gwadar port in Pakistan, barely 100 km away, which is being developed by China.

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