November 24, 2008

HISTORY ISN'T, CHINA IS:

Sino-Indian ties: Troubled times ahead (Harsh V Pant, November 24, 2008, Rediff)

It is a possibility that recent turmoil among the Tibetans in China may be hardening Chinese perceptions vis-�-vis India. During the last visit of the Indian foreign minister to China, the Chinese government reportedly raised objections to the media prominence being given to the Dalai Lama and his supporters in India. Though Indian government can do little about how India media treats the Tibetan cause, it will inevitably impact upon Sino-Indian ties. This despite the fact that the Indian government has not been able to summon enough self-confidence to even allow peaceful protests by the Tibetans and forcefully condemn Chinese physical assaults on its Tibetan minority and verbal assaults on the Dalai Lama.

China also seems to be concerned about Indian foreign policy becoming proactive in recent years and being able to play the same balance of power game which the Chinese are masters of. India's growing closeness to the US and the idea that democratic states in the Asia-Pacific such as India, Japan, Australia and the US should work together to counter common threats is generating a strong negative reaction in Beijing.

Whatever the cause, the recent hardening of positions on both sides does not augur well for regional stability in Asia. Sino-Indian ties will, in all likelihood, determine the course of global politics in the coming years. The consequences of this development, however, remain far from clear. Pranab Mukherjee was right when he suggested in Beijing sometime back that India-China relations will be one of the more significant factors that will determine the course of human history in the 21st century. If the present indications are anything to go by, human history is in for some tough times ahead.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2008 7:30 AM
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