Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
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Uneasy Tango Of Big Ambitions

The India-China chessboard is roiled with tension, with ideas like ‘Tibet card’ and ‘Taiwan card’ on the table

Uneasy Tango Of Big Ambitions Uneasy Tango Of Big Ambitions

Don’t just treat the symptom, the good doctors say—look at the underlying cause. Can that piece of wisdom be applied in the dismal art of diplomacy in times of near-war? That smell of cordite hanging over the crisp air of Pangong Tso is just the surface effect, whoever may have fired the shots. So what triggers it? Why has the newly-minted Union territory of Ladakh suddenly become a mini-theatre for confrontation—complete with body bags, most recently of Subedar Nyima Tenzin, from India’s covert Tibetan force SSF, a sight as filled with poignancy as with high symbolism. As we contemplate the chances of an accidental (or ­deliberate) war, we must look at the inflammable elements that make up the powder keg.

There are clearly novel elements in the mix now: the Tibet card, for one. If war is diplomacy by other means, peace too carries arrows in its quiver. China is super sensitive about Tibet and India has always maintained a careful balance on that front. On the one hand, it hosts the revered Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Dharamshala, headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. But in deference to China, India does not allow any political or anti-China activities on Indian soil. No Indian minister can meet with the Dalai Lama. This is a provision that can change. Activating the Tibet card will infuriate China, and some signs of that are already in the air: the deployment of SSF at the LAC, and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s attendance at Nyima Tenzin’s funeral.

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