India dragging ties into hostility by using Dalai Lama: Chinese Media
India is risking “dragging relations into hostility” by allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh in coming weeks, a Chinese newspaper warned on Monday.
After China on Friday said it had formally raised the Dalai Lama’s visit with India and warned that the visit would “seriously damage” relations, a commentary on Monday in the Party-run Global Times issued another warning to India.
The warnings suggest the visit, scheduled for early April, could become a source of tensions in relations in coming weeks, adding further strains to ties tested this past year over contentious issues such as the sanctioning of Masood Azhar and India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Both countries held a high-level strategic dialogue in Beijing on February 22 to address tensions in the relationship.
“At a time when a China-India strategic dialogue was just held to improve bilateral relations, the decision to receive the Dalai Lama in the disputed region is unwise. Leveraging the Dalai Lama issue to undermine Beijing’s core interests risks dragging the two countries into a state of hostility,” a commentary in the Global Times said.
NOTHING POLITICAL ABOUT DALAI LAMA’S VISIT
India has however clarified on several occasions that the Dalai Lama is travelling as a religious leader to a region where he has wide following and there is nothing political about the visit. Moreover, the Dalai Lama has relinquished his political title, with that position now in the hands of Sikyong Lobsang Sangay.
Further, India has said that the Dalai Lama is an honoured guest of India and a democratic government cannot curb him from travelling anywhere in Indian territory.
China, however, has reacted strongly to the upcoming visit. On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said
“China is gravely concerned over this information.” “India is fully aware of the seriousness of Dalai issue and the sensitivity of China India border question,” Geng added. “Under such a background if India invites Dalai to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations.” Geng said Beijing has through “formal diplomatic channels” expressed its concerns to India. China had recently also issued a demarche after the Dalai Lama was hosted, among other Nobel laureates, by the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan, at an event that India stressed was for a purely social cause and not political.
WILL INDIA FACE REPERCUSSIONS
The Global Times suggested India might face repercussions as was the case of several Western countries and more recently Mongolia, that saw suspended exchanges as well as a fall in investments from China after hosting the Dalai Lama.
“These Indian officials apparently didn’t realize, or deliberately ignored, the severe consequences the Dalai Lama’s trip would bring. The 14th Dalai Lama is by no means a spiritual leader but a Tibetan separatist. Allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the disputed area will inevitably trigger confrontation, undermine the stability of the region and sour Sino-Indian relations.”
“For a long time, some Indians have considered the Dalai Lama as a strategic asset,” the paper added. “They believe that India could gain many benefits by using the Dalai issue as leverage. For instance, making an issue of the Dalai Lama could serve as a diplomatic tool to deal with China’s growing economic and political influence in South Asia. However, they overestimate the political value of the Dalai Lama and his group while miscalculating China’s determination to safeguard its core interests.”
The commentary said India and China had “come to a critical period to further upgrade bilateral ties”. “The good momentum for the bilateral relationship in recent years shouldn’t be disrupted,” it said. “In future, there is great potential for the two countries to tap into cooperation. As the two biggest emerging economies, they have vast common interests on establishing a new global financial order, tackling climate change and other major issues.”
Source:- India Today