The political rhetoric which has transformed India into a Hindutva nationalist state from a secular democracy has supplanted China with our minorities as India’s Enemy No. 1. This lie negates Article 21 as the bedrock of our right to life and liberty which is ignored in China. Prima facie, it appears that the ISRO signing an agreement with the Chinese company Oppo is like Ram shaking hands with Ravana while waging a battle to rescue Sita.
China denigrates democracy as a western model unsuitable to Asia which it subjugates through military and economic measures. Chinese laws mandate that all its citizens and organisations must furnish data to the government which over saw the secret Wuhan laboratory experiments, possibly resulting in a global pandemic.
For atheistic China, the millions who died in this global pandemic mean as little as the thousands who were purged in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Its emergence as a global superpower is more important. The anti-China blocs of AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and the United States) and the Quad, of which India is a part, will be empty charades if India boosts its trade with China.
The hate speeches delivered at the Dharam Sansad in December, calling for Hindus to arm themselves to turn the country into a Hindu Rashtra, with Nathuram Godse being praised for killing Mahatma Gandhi must be contrasted with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s seminal words to the 73rd batch of IPS probationers at Hyderabad one month ago. Coincidentally, the Chinese smartphone company, Oppo India has its research and development unit in Hyderabad. The ISRO has signed a pact with Oppo to exchange technical data on its NavIC systems.
Doval said “….wars have ceased to become an instrument of achieving political and military objectives. They are too expensive and unaffordable with uncertain results. It is the civil society which can be suborned and divided to subvert the interests of the nation…” This government doctrine, if it can be so construed, implies India will never declare war against China which is too large. Rather, it is this ‘suborned’ civil society which supplants China as India’s enemy No.1 for daring to challenge the reconfiguration of India.
This is why the ISRO inking a pact with Oppo India to exchange technical data should be seen in the light of Doval’s doctrine. No doubt, Oppo operates in India through its Indian-incorporated company with Indian directors managing factories in India. These are always open to our inspection. But the ISRO is the backbone of our Armed forces and Chinese laws are passed to force their citizens and companies like Oppo and Xiaomi, to furnish secret data to the Chinese intelligence network.
The NavIC system provides regional navigation services covering an area up to 1,500kmsbeyondthe Indian mainland. Apart from providing PNT (position, navigation and timing) services, NavIC can broadcast short messages to save the lives of those stranded in deep ocean where mobile signals do not reach. The NavIC, India’s equivalent of the GPS and is already up-and-running is doing a great job. The eight satellites which circle around the globe prove India has come of age in satellite navigation.
But China’s National Intelligence Law (NIL) and Data Security Law mandate companies like Oppo and Xiaomi must assist the Chinese Communist Party by supplying data gathered anywhere outside China under the broad heads of “national security, or which damage the publicor legal interests of any Chinese citizen or organization.”
Simply put, allegations have been levelled that Oppo India smartphones backed by NavIC technology have sensors which furnish diverse data to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and the Operating System (OS) entities which may be transmitted to the Chinese Communist Party and its military if found useful. Forget Pegasus, the Chinese may know more about us than we know about ourselves.
Article 2 of China’s NIL mandates all data and information gathering must dovetail with Chinese national security from 2014 onwards. This may, of course, include Indian troop movements in Galwan, apart from military, economic, political, social, technological and cultural activities. In gist, the Chinese may know more about us than we know about ourselves.
Article 7 of the NIL stipulates that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work according to law”. Article 14 grants Chinese intelligence agencies the mandate to compel such support from Chinese companies like Oppo or Xiaomi. Chinese companies must never reveal they have leaked India’s (or any other country’s) secrets to their own government which is high treason.
Data outflow through these Chinese firms may breach national security and privacy of our citizens which can be weaponised in various ways because China uses trade to camouflage its military objectives. This took place in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in Balochistan, where missile bases have been built in the guise of container terminals.
India has no equivalent laws to compel its citizens to assist the government against China or any other hostile country apart from the National Security Act, 1980, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, which are mostly used against secessionists and ‘suborned’ civil rights activists.
This is in line with Doval’s doctrine that civil society has been suborned to harm the national interest. This doctrine will reconfigure India because the eight freedom of religion laws traverse beyond the restrictions of public order, morality and health imposed on the right to profess, practice and propagate religion. Civil rights activists have supplanted China as the ‘suborned’ internal enemy No. 1, Article 21 notwithstanding.
When China continues to illegally occupy 38,000 sq kms of Ladakh apart from 5,180 square kms of Indian territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and claims 90,000 sq kms of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, the ISRO’s agreement with China-incorporated Oppo makes a mockery of Narendra Modi declaring his government is aware of the threat from cyberspace. As Voltaire declared, common sense is not so common.
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