China, Dalai Lama and India: It is time to understand — one-sided relations do not last long

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New Delhi | Updated: Apr 06, 2017 10:39 AM

China is visibly not happy with India asserting its confidence in all matters, including the hitherto controversial issues.

china, india, dalai lama, tawang, arunachal pradesh. china india, india china, india china dalai lama, southern tibetTibetan spiritual leader Dalai during a religious discourse at Thubchog Gatsel Ling Monastery, Bomdila in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

China is visibly not happy with India asserting its confidence in all matters, including the hitherto controversial issues. China wants the status quo, that has so far given it a self-declared license to pursue a muscular diplomacy against India for decades, to continue. Even as there has been an increase in the economic activities between both countries, China doesn’t want to forget the past and start a genuine friendship with India.

In 2016, the India-China bilateral trade was worth around $65 billion. But when it comes to politics and traditional security concerns, China continues to be guided by the thought process that may have dominated the country during 1940s and 1950s. Despite evolving as a major technological and manufacturing hub of the world, China continues to practice double standards. It loves to side with Pakistan, even at the risk of visibly supporting terrorism.

So it wasn’t surprising when China strongly opposed the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh — which is one of the 29 states of India but China considers some parts of the Indian state as its own.

For decades following the 1962 war against China, Indian leadership have refrained from doing things that may “upset” the “dragon” and instead focussed on bilateral trade and ties. On its part, China rarely loses an opportunity to veto anything in favour of India in the United Nations Security Council, including the matters related to terrorism.

Dalai Lama’s presence in India for the last several decades have always been a sore point for China, even when the Tibetan spiritual leader is mostly involved in religious works. China considers Tawang as southern Tibet and Dalai Lama as an “anti-China separatist.” It is just ironic that while India supports a spiritual leader like Dalai Lama, China supports terrorists like Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar against India in the UN.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying today said, “India in disregard to China’s concerns obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed part of the eastern part of China-India border, causing serious damage to China’s interests and China-India relations.”

She warned, “Arranging his visit to those sensitive and disputed areas not only runs counter to the Indian side’s commitment to the issues related to Tibet but also escalates disputes over the border area.”

The warning comes even as China has the least concern for India’s interests. Not just on Masood Azhar, China is funding a multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through territories claimed by India. In the recent years, reports have shown intrusion by Chinese troops into Indian territory. Besides, the country is improving infrastructure in bordering areas as well as trying to influence other neighbouring countries against India.

India under PM Narendra Modi, however, doesn’t seem to become a country that would bow down to illegitimate demands of foreign powers. There is nothing illegal about Dalai Lama’s  visit to Tawang, which is also the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama in 1683 and a centre of Tibetan Buddhism. It is time for China to understand that one-sided relationship doesn’t work.

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