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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Peking Ducked

Why is India worsening the China syndrome?

Peking Ducked
Peking Ducked
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
BEIJING’S initial reaction to the Indian tests in May last year  was rather subdued. It might have stayed that way despite defence minister George Fernandes’ description of China as enemy number one. But the leak of Vajpayee’s letter to world leaders, particularly US president Bill Clinton, citing the security threat posed by China as the reason for conducting the tests, provoked the Chinese to react harshly. "If we had just cited self  defence, perhaps the Chinese reaction wouldn’t have been so strong," asserts China expert in the IDSA , Dr K. N. Ramachandran.

"With its ridiculously rigid position, the government of India has painted itself into a corner," concurs Giri Deshingkar of the Instit ute for Chinese Studies. There may have been "functional delegations" from both sides, but no "political movement", he adds.

India’s bullish attitude subsequently didn’t help. Then, of course, there’s Tibet. "The Chinese were suspicious of Fernandes for obvious reasons: his linkage to the Dalai Lama and Tibet are hardly a secret," says Ramachandran. While mouthing platitudes about bettering ties, the government allowed junior ministers to make statements on Tibetan independence. Then it let the Dalai Lama address a CII function in February despite Chinese protests.

"The Chinese wanted some concrete proof that India was sincere about its desire to better ties," says an old Beijing hand who asked  to remain   anonymous. Instead, it got conflicting signals. "Beijing was amenable to talks, but the Indian government kept deferring. When will India realise that playing the Dalai Lama card won’t help, nor does it exert the kind of pressure the government thinks it does?" asked the source. India’s chief assertion— that China’s help to Pakistan vis- a- vis its nuclear and missile programme posed a threat to India— is also...

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