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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Beijing could interfere in Kashmir, says Chinese media after Dalai Lama visits Arunachal

Chinese media reminds India of the country’s might, says New Delhi’s invitation to the Dalai Lama was clumsy and rude.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2017 19:28 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
The Chinese state media on Thursday threatened that Beijing could interfere in “turbulent” Kashmir against India’s invitation to Dalai Lama, calling New Delhi’s move “clumsy and rude”.
The Chinese state media on Thursday threatened that Beijing could interfere in “turbulent” Kashmir against India’s invitation to Dalai Lama, calling New Delhi’s move “clumsy and rude”.(Rajib Jyoti Sarma )

The Chinese media is expectedly pulling no punches in criticising the 14th Dalai Lama’s ongoing visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

If the nationalistic tabloid Global Times threatened that Beijing could interfere in “turbulent” Kashmir in retaliation, the usually sober China Daily went a step further and said in an editorial that “If New Delhi chooses to play dirty, however, Beijing should not hesitate to answer blows with blows”, a sentence that is open to various and not necessarily pacific interpretations.

“New Delhi not only allowed the 14th Dalai Lama to visit Southern Tibet, a historical Chinese territory India has illicitly occupied and refers to as “Arunachal Pradesh”, but the spiritual leader of “Tibetan independence” was also escorted on his trip by India’s junior minister of home affairs. To Beijing, that is a double affront,” said the China Daily editorial.

The China Daily editorial took particular affront to minister Kiren Rijiju’s statement:

“China should not object to the Dalai Lama’s visit and interfere in India’s internal affairs.”

The editorial then let loose what could be called a personal attack dipped in sarcasm on the Indian minister, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.

“Rijiju might think himself cute in borrowing a line from Beijing’s diplomatic representations, but he has ignored the fundamental distinction here: Like Taiwan and any other part of China, Tibet is a part of Chinese territory no matter whether New Delhi agrees or not. Southern Tibet, on the other hand, was stolen from China by his country’s former colonial master taking advantage of China’s internal strife,” it said.

It added that “Indian occupation of the area is legally untenable. Using it as a leverage, therefore, is not just unethical. It is outright illicit.”

Earlier in the day, the Global Times editorial asked the rhetorical question whether India will be able to withstand a “geopolitical” onslaught from an economically, militarily and diplomatically stronger China.

“With a GDP (gross domestic product) several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India’s peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India’s turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?” it said.

China share borders with Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through PoK has emerged as the latest sore spot between the two Asian giants.

Besides the media, officials and experts continued to attack India as well.

A top official said India was “losing its dignity”.

“This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has visited south Tibet and called the region Indian territory, which means he is committed to separating the nation,” Zhu Weiqun, head of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times.

“India is losing its dignity as a big power by playing around with such a figure.”

Inviting the Dalai Lama could be India’s way to voice its disappointment with the recent strategic dialogue with China, Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the nationalistic tabloid.

The two countries held talks in February, exchanging ideas on a number of issues, including India’s application to the nuclear suppliers group that Beijing has continued to block.

Zhu and Zhao’s views were backed by the editorial piece.

“The Dalai’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh this time is seen as New Delhi using the monk as a diplomatic tool to put pressure on China,” it said.

“But this is a clumsy and rude move. The Dalai is a highly politicised symbol in China’s diplomacy. For any country, its attitude toward the Dalai Lama almost affects the entire relationship with China.”

The editorial had a word of advice, too.

“The West has fully recognised the nature of the Dalai as a diplomatic card and is extremely prudent in using it. When the Dalai travels to the capital of a Western country, who will meet him, when and where would be carefully weighed.”

The editorial cautioned New Delhi it was possibly overestimating its leverage in ties with Beijing.

India had benefited from the good momentum in relationship as much as China and if it ruined the ties and turn two countries into rivals, could New Delhi “afford the consequence”?

“China considers India as a friendly neighbour and partner. China has never provoked bilateral disputes or made any pressing demand on India over the Dalai Lama. New Delhi should respond to Beijing’s goodwill with goodwill,” it said.

Beijing had on Wednesday asked India to stop the Dalai Lama’s visit immediately and summoned Indian ambassador VK Gokhale to lodge a protest.

India again said no political colour should be given to the visit but more fireworks are expected from Beijing when the Tibetan leader heads to Tawang, a Buddhist centre in Arunachal.