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Looking further BEYOND

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BY HUGH AND COLLEEN GANTZER

A few days ago our Prime Minister flew into our neighbour, Bhutan, and received its highest civilian award. This act sent the clear message that Bhutan and India were good friends and that they would look after each other’s interests.  Bhutan’s interest has already been jeopardised by the Great Red Dragon who has had the insensitivity to stake its claim to a part of Bhutan which is of particular significance for the Royal Family of that Himalayan country. China faced a similar charge of interference when the British Parliament accused it of cyber attacks. Our diplomats also choked off a foreign representative for his country’s remarks on the arrest of Delhi’s CM. And fourthly, the Russian state tried to blame the Ukraine for the terrorist attack on Moscow. No authority however great can fool all the people all the time.

To get back to Bhutan. This state lies in the Himalayas with high altitude areas covered in ice and snow. These sheets of frozen fresh water flow down as slow moving white rivers called glaciers. Because of these slow flowing rivers of ice, the Himalayas are known as the “Third Pole”. The first 2 Poles are the North Pole and the South Pole. They, too are covered in ice and snow and have their own glaciers, but those glaciers, for most of them pour into the sea and their fresh water becomes saline. The glaciers of the Himalayas, the Third Pole, however, are the source of four of the great fresh water systems of the earth: the Indus, the Ganga, the Jumna and the Brahmaputra.  Together these four glacier fed rivers support an estimated 700 million people, the vast majority in the sub-continental peninsular of India. But the source of 2 of these great river systems lie in the highlands illegally occupied by the interfering Chinese. These two rivers are the Indus and the Brahmaputra. We shall keep that fact aside for further consideration and move to another important reality.

The highlands of the Himalayas do more than create the four great rivers. They also create the life-giving Monsoons. Every summer the sun sucks up vast quantities of moisture from the oceans. These drift as dark clouds till they reach the heights of the Himalayas. Since they can go no further, they are turned back and shower down to create the great annual, life-giving tropical storm called the Monsoon. The most populous and fertile lands on earth lie in tropical Asia and are referred to as the Monsoon Lands.

The Himalayas are therefore responsible for two of the greatest life-giving systems on earth.  Since the sources of the Indus and Brahmaputra lie in lands occupied by the Chinese, they can divert much of this fresh water away from India. In fact there is strong reason to believe that the flow of the Brahmaputra into India has been depleted by Chinese activity. But can they deplete the amount of rain that sustains approximately 8 billion people of the Monsoon Lands? Yes, they can. And indeed this has already started.

The large scale felling of trees and the belching of Green House gasses have created the Monster of Climate Change. This depletion of the earth’s resources has led to the hunger for more territory and then to the wars around the world.

The world is already getting hotter and dryer. Oxygen breathing animals and green plants evolve together. The wastes produced by one became the life-sustaining essentials of the other. Then came the industrial revolution which destroyed the animal-plant balance. This, self-destructive imbalance, was multiplied by Communist China who, like many of our ignorant politicians, believe that the amassing of material assets would compensate for the destruction of the environment.

We do not wish to increase our territory or interfere in other people’s affairs. There is a difference between aggression and assertion of our rights. We believe that the PM’s reaching out to Bhutan and the Indian Navy’s proactive role in securing the freedom of our essential shipping lanes are very reassuring acceptances of reality. Clearly we do not wish to be aggressive with the Chinese. But equally obviously we wish to assert our right to choose our friends and secure our own well-being.

(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first[1]person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.) (The opinions and thoughts expressed here reflect only the authors’ views!).