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Reclaiming India’s leverage on Tibet

bharat ias - Reclaiming India’s leverage on Tibet

 

Context

India’s instinctive chariness and reserve on the issue persist, despite an increasingly muscular China upping the ante against it

 

 

Contention

India has stayed mum on increasing Chinese repression in Tibet. But now, it is allowing itself to come under Chinese pressure on the Dalai Lama’s activities and movements within India.

What has happened?

The Dalai Lama attended a public event at RashtrapatiBhavan and met President Pranab Mukherjee. The government did the right thing by permitting the Dalai Lama to participate in the event, especially since it was organized for children’s welfare by Nobel laureates, a group that includes the Dalai Lama himself.

§  China’s protest: China protested the Dalai Lama’s presence at RashtrapatiBhavan. It’s foreign ministry issued the following statement

“Demanding that India respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to bilateral ties, the Chinese foreign ministry stated, “China has urged India to clearly recognize the Dalai Lama’s anti-Chinese and separatist nature, to respect China’s core interests and concerns, to take effective measures to eliminate the negative influences of the incident, and to avoid disturbing China-India ties,” adding, “Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian presidential palace, where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee”

 What India should have done?

India should have strongly reminded China so as to not meddle in its internal affairs

What India actually did?

The ministry of external affairs responded to explain the matter to Beijing, saying,

“India has a consistent position. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is a respected and revered spiritual leader. It was a non-political event organized by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children”

 Progression of Chinese opposition

objecting to official discussions between the Dalai Lama and a foreign head of state or government, China’s opposition has progressed to protesting his presence at any state-linked event or even his purely spiritual visit to another country, as to Mongolia recently. It has also sought to curtail his freedom within a free India.

 The Mongolian example

Take Mongolia, which has had close links with Tibet ever since the great Mongol king, Altan Khan, converted to Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, the fourth Dalai Lama was born in Mongolia. But when Mongolia in November stood up to China by permitting the Dalai Lama to undertake a four-day religious tour involving no official meeting, Beijing responded as a typical bully by freezing ties and seeking to throttle its economy—dependent on commodity exports to China—by slapping punitive tariffs and shutting a key border crossing point. And it kept up the coercive pressure until Mongolia, battling a recession, agreed not to allow the Dalai Lama in again even for a religious tour.

 Suggestions

§  Ignore Chinese protests on Tibet: The way to deal with China on such an issue is to ignore its protests and keep doing more frequently what it finds objectionable so as to blunt its objections. This approach is necessary in order to send a clear message that China cannot arrogantly lay down terms for India to follow. India can use the Tibet card to its advantage here. Tibet is to India against China what Pakistan is to China against India. When China doesn’t hesitates in balancing India with Pakistan by initiatives like CPEC or supplying it with nuclear weapons and other tech, why should India do so?

§  Fixing the asymmetrical trade: China has a rapidly growing trade surplus with India amounting to around $60 billion a year. India needs to fix this asymmetrical trade relationship with China

 Conclusion

without India asserting itself by reopening the Tibet issue, China will continue to breathe down its neck and seek to dictate terms. For example, when the Dalai Lama tours Arunachal Pradesh shortly, Beijing will again unleash its diplomatic fury by intimidating India.

 

 


Publishes on : 11-Jan-2017 11:33 AM

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