By Malladi Rama Rao
Non-stop hectoring has become the USP of Chinese media, particularly the tabloid Global Times,(fromthe stable of the People’s Daily which is under direct control of the party’s top leadership) which focuses on international issues from Communist China’s perspective.
Sample these headlines
India needs to cool its missile fever,
New Delhi will suffer losses if it plays Taiwan card,
Beijing will fight back India’s attempts to sour our relations with South Asia,
New Delhi overreaches to meddle in China’s core interests,
India using Dalai Lama card risks worsening bilateral ties,
Containing China is a strategic trap to India,
BJP’s election win has implications for Sino-India ties,
Indian arms sale to Hanoi disturbing if aimed at China,
New Delhi’s objection to CPEC in Kashmir not to its own benefit
Not many in India are losing their sleep over the malicious noises from the Chinese media. But it is strange that the Chinese media, acting obviously at the behest of their government, expect India to do their bidding as though it is a pigmy nation.
Disputes with India are discussed as though there is no India side to the story.
A recent Chinese media take was a not so subtle warning. It was rather a hint at the possibility of another 1962-type invasion by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to take over “South Tibet” aka Arunachal Pradesh, and other ‘Chinese’ territories from India.
These dispatches make some sense if seen in the context of a reported statement of Dai Bingguo, former Chinese special representative on the India-China dispute. He has squarely held India responsible for the impasse in the border talks between the two countries. He expects India to be ‘reasonable’ and give Arunachal Pradesh to China but in return India can expect Chinese willingness to address India’s concern in the western sector. Dai- speak is vague as vagueness can be.
Does he need to be reminded what the agreement signed in 2005 as part of the exercise to resolve the border dispute stipulates? It clearly says that while working out a mutually acceptable solution, the two sides will safeguard their respective strategic and other interests. It was also agreed that the settled populations in either country will not be unsettled in the pursuit of resolution of the border dispute.
Handing over Arunachal Pradesh to China will not meet these conditions, as far as India is concerned.
The Chinese cannot realistically expect that only their ‘concerns’ should be addressed.
Over 20 years ago, the China had assured India that it will clarify the Line of Actual Control alignment. The only ‘clarification’ given by China thus far are periodic incursions by its security personnel into the Indian side.
How arbitrary and insensitive can the Chinese be while asking India to be ‘sensitive’ to the Chinese concerns is illustrated by the Chinese decision to build a road through the Gilgit-Baltistan, known as Northern Areas (NA) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The road is part of the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will link the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province in western China, where the Chinese are ruthlessly suppressing the local Muslim population, with the deep-sea Gwadar port on the Balochistan coast of Pakistan for an opening into the Arabian Sea.
One of the few topics on which the Chinese tone down their anti-India rhetoric is when asking India to join its multi-billion connectivity project from its western province to Central Asia via Pakistan. Is it because the Chinese know that India’s participation will considerably lighten the financial burden on Pakistan while the project is executed?
India cannot be expected to be part of a project that violates its sovereignty. And how precisely will India benefit from a project that passes through an incurably hostile neighbor?
The Chinese see the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as a ‘disputed’ area; they howl about the ‘disputed’ nature of Arunachal Pradesh whenever India takes up any activity, ranging from infrastructure projects to visits by spiritual leaders and India and foreign dignitaries to that north-eastern Indian state.
The Chinese concur with their ‘all-weather’ friend, Pakistan, in tagging Baloch nationalist leaders as ‘terrorists’, a label also reserved by them for Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader who had to flee to India in 1959 to escape certain execution at the hands of the PLA.
China alone sees the Dalai Lama as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘separatist’; the rest of the world revers him. But Masood Azhar, a Pakistani designated as terrorist by the UN and much of the world enjoys full Chinese support.
China has cautioned India about its nuclear programme and promised to further bolster similar programme of Pakistan which has the dubious distinction of running a Nuclear Wal-Mart.
The China-Pakistan axis poses a clear security threat to India but China (and Pakistan too) wants India to, in fact, roll back its nuclear programme.
China opposes India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) because India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China has signed the treaty but does it observe the obligations that come with it, like not proliferating?
China has rejected all objections to its continued help in upgrading Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
Bullying by the double-talking Chinese with menacing commentaries in their state-controlled media will harm China.
An emerging world power has to be careful about the image it projects.
And in dealing with an acknowledged soft power with all the trappings of a world power in the making!