BEIJING, April 6 (APP): Head of the Ethnic and Religious
Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese
People’s Political Consultative Conference, Zhu Weiqun said
on Thursday that India is losing its dignity as a big power
by playing around with Dalai Lama clique.
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, he told Global Times.
“Since the Indian government expressed its disappointment
over the recent strategic dialogue with China, inviting the
Dalai Lama could be seen as a way to vent its grievance,”
said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific
Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
India and China held a strategic dialogue in February,
exchanging ideas on a number of issues, including India’s
application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Because of the problems in bilateral ties, India is using
the Dalai Lama as a bargaining chip, Zhao said.
According to an article published in Global Times on
Thursday, the Dalai Lama has been to the disputed region
before, but what makes this trip different is that he is
received and accompanied by India’s Junior Home Minister
Kiren Rijiju. When China raised the concern over the visit,
Rijiju commented that China shouldn’t intervene in their
“internal affairs.”
When the Dalai Lama clique fled from Tibet, he sought
shelter at Dharamsala of India, thus the Dalai question
became one of the problems that upset Sino-Indian
relationship. New Delhi takes a stance that opposes the
Dalai Lama engaging in anti-China activities on the soil
of India; however, it has long attempted to use the Dalai
Lama as a card.
When India emphasizes the relationship with China, it
would place a tight control on the Dalai. When it has
a grudge against China, it may prompt the Dalai to play
certain tricks as a signal sent to China.
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.
But this is a clumsy and rude move. The Dalai is a
highly politicized symbol in China’s diplomacy. For
any country, its attitude toward the Dalai Lama almost
affects the entire relationship with China. The West
has fully recognized 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.
Before this trip, the Dalai Lama was received by
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in December. At
a time when the Dalai has been given a cold shoulder
in many places of the world, New Delhi is bucking the
trend and treating him as a favorite.
It is worth mentioning that India is dissatisfied
with China mainly in the international multilateral
field, while the Dalai Lama question is purely a
China’s domestic issue. China also suffered setbacks
when applying for the membership of international
organizations. Its proposal to blacklist some terrorist
group had also been refused. However, as dissatisfied
as China was, it didn’t make an issue of them.
New Delhi probably overestimates its leverage in
the bilateral ties with China. The two countries in
recent years have continuously strived to improve
their relationship and the peace on the border area
has been maintained. India has benefited from the
good momentum of bilateral relationship as much as
China. If New Delhi ruins the Sino-India ties and
the two countries turn into open rivals, can India
afford the consequence?
With a GDP 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?
China considers India as a friendly neighbor
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.