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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Aruchanal Imbroglio: Why the Dalai Lama's visit is enraging China

October 29, 2009

If handled properly, raking up ofthe Arunachal
'issue' by Beijing can prove to be an opportunity
for India to use Tibet as an effective lever against China, writes VIJAY KRANTI
Special Report
Sahara Time (India)
October 31, 2009 Edition

Beijing's aggressive posturing on Arunachal
Pradesh has taken the winds out of New Delhi's
policy of constant appeasement. It is rattled by
a Chinese government spokesman referring to the
Indian state as 'so-called Arunachal Pradesh' and
Chinese think tanks calling upon their government
to 'liberate' this region terming it as 'South
Tibet'. For long, the Indian government has been
used to Beijing advising delegates from Arunachal
to visit China without Chinese visa as they were
'Chinese citizens' as per China's definition. But
China's aggressive outbursts against Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to what they
termed as 'a disputed territory' on 3rd October
in connection with state assembly elections woke
up New Delhi to a nagging, querulous, bad tempered, and boorish neighbour.

Yet New Delhi's diplomatic efforts, or lack
thereof, has made Beijing go ballistic against
Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal in
mid-November. Persisting with its aged reaction
China's foreign ministry had declared that "China
is greatly concerned with the news ... we firmly
oppose the Dalai Lama's visit to the region ...
The visit further reveals the Dalai clique's
anti-China and separatist essence...."

In 2008 New Delhi had canceled a similar visit of
Dalai Lama to Tawang after Beijing lodged its
objections. In a pleasant surprise, the response
from New Delhi this time has been far from timid
and apologetic. In an unexpectedly
self-respecting response to Beijing's angry
outbursts India's spokesman retorted, "Arunachal
is an integral part of India. As our honoured
guest the Dalai Lama is free to go to any part of India."

In view of New Delhi's shameful history of
handling Beijing's tantrums on Arunachal and
Tibetan issue, it may still be premature to
believe that South Block is going to maintain its
new courageous posture on Dalai Lama's visit. But
one thing is sure that the government of India
has never had the courage or wisdom to hit on the
root cause of China's aggressive postures on
Indian territory, especially Arunachal Pradesh.
Beijing alleges that India is in 'illegal'
occupation of its 90,000 sq km territory in
Arunachal Pradesh which, in Chinese terminology,
is now being referred to as 'South Tibet'.

China's claims on this Indian territory rest on
one funny exclusive logic that since Tibet is
part of China, therefore this contiguous region
with strong Tibetan cultural influence also
belongs to China. To prove its point Beijing
repeatedly refers to the fact that Tseyang
Gyatso, the 6th Dalai Lama was born in this
region. The simplest answer to this funny Chinese
logic is hitting at China's illegal and forced occupation ofTibet since 1951.

India needs to remind China that before the
present People's Republic of China came into
existence in 1949, Tibet was an independent
country -- at least since 1913; that not a single
inch of 3,500 km long border between India and
Tibet was ever manned by Chinese soldiers or tax
officials: that neither Chinese post nor Chinese
currency or any Chinese law were in vogue along
this border even for a single day in past 2,000
years of history; that in the 1914 Shimla
convention which agreed on McMahon Line as the
boundary between Tibet and erstwhile British
India, China and Tibet had willingly participated
as two different countries; that the Tibetan
government of the day had accepted present day
Arunachal area as part of India under the Shimla
Treaty (and China had no objection to this part
of the treaty); that there is not even an iota of
similarity in any imaginable dimension between
any race of Arunachal and the Chinese race (the
Monpas, one of numerous tribes of Arunachal, do
share their culture with their Tibetan Monpa
neighbors whose only link with China is that
their homeland is occupied by the Han army since
1951.) and above all; Chinese army had
voluntarily vacated these parts of Arunachal
(then NEFA) even after occupying them in 1962 war.

A quick visit to the history of India-China
relations would underline that this fresh bogey
on Arunachal Pradesh from Beijing is just another
and latest in a chain of anti-India tirade that
China has been madly in love with. Because it is
cost free it has gained a new momentum following
the successful completion of Beijing Olympics
last year. Since early 1960s Beijing has been
openly supporting and encouraging various
anti-India terrorist and separatist groups in north-eastern states.

Chinese training and shelter camps in Nepal,
Burma, Bangla Desh and Tibet are still active to
aid groups like ULFA. The Naxalite's, who
flaunted their relations with Beijing openly in
1960, have now spread their tentacles in over 180
districts in 10 states ofIndia. Alook at the
location of these districts and their geographic
links with Nepal and Bangladesh presents a kind
of 'Great Naxal Wall' which can playa devastating
role against India's unity in the event of
China's attempts to cut off the seven north-eastern states.

Indian defence establishment is on record about
ever increasing Chinese incursions along
India-China (India-Tibet') border. Beijing's
publication and distribution of official maps
showing Jammu and Kashmir as well as Sikkim as
separate 'countries' has left no ambiguity about
China's designs on India. Latest attempts of
issuing Chinese visas on separate paper to some
Indian passport holders of J&K and joining hands
with Pakistan to build a US$ 12.6 bn DiamirBhasha
dam on Indus has sent shivers down New Delhi's
spine. By constructing a modern naval base for
Pakistan at Gwadar, China has already undermined
India's supremacy in the Arabian Sea and west
coast. On August 10 this year the China Institute
for International Studies, a leading Chinese
think tank, jolted India by circulating an
article calling upon Chinese government to
undertake a plan of dismembering India into 20-30 'independent states'.

Recent Chinese decision to go ahead with a large
dam over Brahmaputra in Tibet to divert its
waters to northern regions of China has made
Indian policy makers to revisit the horrifying
flash floods of June 2005 when China blasted a
dam caused by landslide across Himachal Pradesh
in Tibet. The 70 feet high water wall from across
the border not only devastated dozens of Indian
villages, bridges and a part of Nathpa Jhakri
hydeI project but it also proved to Beijing how
it could use flash floods as a military tool against a helpless India.

Beijing's latest threatening overtures on
Arunachal also reflect traditional Chinese
philosophy of presenting a smiling face to the
adversary until you are prepared to hit him
decisively. Following occupation of Tibet in 1951
Beijing has made best use of past 60 years on the
other side of its border. Much before it brought
in the railway line to Lhasa in 2006, Beijing had
already developed a vast infrastructure of roads,
aerodromes and other military establishments.
Today it has secured all its cities and town by
overwhelming them with new Han settlers. It has
also made impressive inroads into Pakistan,
Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh to encircle India
with hostile neighbors. Its new economic and
military might has only given it an impressive
lead over India in the international diplomatic arena too.

In sharp contrast, India has not only ignored its
infrastructure along the Himalayan borders, it
has failed in maintaining good relations with its
neighbors to ward off Chinese threat through them.

Even on issues like Tibet, which India could have
used as an effective lever to contain China's
aggressive overtures, Indian policy makers have
miserably compromised India's advantages by
writing off Tibet as 'a part of Peoples Republic
of China'. Raking up of the Arunachal issue by
China is a God sent opportunity for India to undo
this damage and convert Tibet and its charismatic
leader Dalai Lama into India's formidable assets.
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