It is way beyond the ability of a “short-sighted” and “spoiled” India to mount proxies like Mongolia to challenge China on the Dalai Lama issue, a state media editorial lashed out at New Delhi on Thursday, adding that there is wide chasm between India’s “ambition and strength”.
Even the mighty US will have to think twice before taking on China on its core issues like sovereignty and integrity, the editorial said, indicating that India is foolish to even think on similar lines.
“India should draw some lessons from the recent interactions between Beijing and US President-elect Donald Trump over Taiwan… Trump has met China’s restrained but pertinent countermeasures, and must have understood that China’s bottom line – sovereign integrity and national unity – is untouchable. Even the US would have to think twice before it messes with China on such sensitive problems, so what makes India so confident that it could manage,” a strongly worded comment piece in the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said.
The piece was a reaction to the Mongolian foreign minister saying Tuesday that Ulaanbaatar will never allow Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to enter the country again.
This followed Dalai Lama’s visit to the country earlier following which China, the country’s largest trader, suspending two rounds of diplomatic talks with Ulaanbaatar.
Subsequently, Ulaanbaatar wanted India’s help in the matter. Incidentally, the same newspaper had called Mongolia’s call for help from India as a “politically harebrained” move.
The Global Times wrote: “Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil said Tuesday that Mongolia will not allow the Dalai Lama to visit the country, even in the name of religion, thus settling a one-month standoff between Mongolia and China. But a long lingering issue behind it all is how India should handle its relationship with the Dalai Lama”.
Dalai Lama who escaped from China in 1959 lives in exile in India and is considered by China as a “separatist” and “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
What angered Beijing even more was the meeting between President Pranab Mukherjee and Dalai Lama on December 11, the first time a serving Indian President had met him decades.
“New Delhi has long held the Dalai Lama issue as leverage that it can use against China. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee met with the Tibetan separatist in exile in India this month, probably as moral support to Mongolia, which mired itself in diplomatic trouble after receiving the Dalai Lama in November,” the editorial written by Wen Dao said.
“New Delhi expressed its concerns about Mongolia’s well-being, and vaguely pledged to put into effect a credit line of $1 billion it promised to Mongolia in 2015. However, before India’s bureaucrats could start, Ulaanbaatar caved in to the reality.”
“India’s way of dealing with the issue shows, once again, the gap between its ambition and its strength. It is way beyond India’s capability to acquire leverage against China by employing a proxy or challenging China’s bottom line. India has used the Dalai Lama card from time to time in a retaliatory move against China,” it added.
The editorial said: “Sometimes, India behaves like a spoiled kid, carried away by the lofty crown of being ‘the biggest democracy in the world’. India has the potential to be a great nation, but the country’s vision is shortsighted.”
Earlier this month, India dismissed Chinese objection to the Dalai Lama meeting the President, saying he was a revered spiritual leader and the meeting was a non-political event.