China scales down offensive against a new bold India

Highlights
  • China is already trying to soften its tone towards India and gradually take the focus away from the Dalai Lama controversy
  • Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry had accused India of encouraging the Tibetan leader to play politics in Arunachal Pradesh

At least three Indian ministers, including foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, are expected to visit China to attend the upcoming BRICS summit in the country’s Xiamen city. The visits come amid repeated Chinese warning that bilateral relationship had been badly damaged by the recent visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.

The official website of BRICS has put up a detailed schedule of meetings by ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. As a member, India is expected to attend all the meetings at the ministerial level from June, sources said.

PM Narendra Modi is expected to attend the final summit in September. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and power minister Piyush Goyal are expected to visit China to attend minister-level meetings of BRICS and the meeting of its financing agency, the National Development Bank, in June and July. NSA Ajit Doval is also due to attend a security related meeting of BRICS, sources said.

In fact, China is already trying to soften its tone towards India and gradually take the focus away from the Dalai Lama controversy. China is keen to persuade India to participate in an international conference on its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) programme in May, and make a success of the BRICS meetings.

Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry had accused India of encouraging the Tibetan leader to play politics in Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China’s Tibet region, and threatening its core interests in Tibet. The ministry’s comments on the issue were far less aggressive on Monday.

“We urge the Indian side to observe its commitment on Tibet related issues and implement our consensus namely they should not use Dalai Lama to undermine the interests of China. Only in this way can we create a good atmosphere to the settlement of the boundary question,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, said on Monday. He reiterated that the visit will have “a negative impact for bilateral relations and also the boundary question negotiations”.

China is almost desperate to ensure Indian presence in the Belt and Road Forum, which will be attended by heads of states from 20 countries. Beijing also expects British PM Teressa May to attend. Most of the other attendees will be leaders of countries like Pakistan which depend heavily on China to build infrastructure. India’s presence will add much credibility to the conference.

India is reluctant to join because one section of OBOR, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and threatens Indian claim over the area. New Delhi feels China is trying to legitimize Pakistan’s claim over the area by constructing infrastructure in the disputed area.

Sources said India is unlikely to participate in the forum until China agrees to make a clear statement that it does not support Pakistan’s claim over the disputed PoK area. The name, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) itself gives credibility to Pakistan’s illegal control over the disputed area, Indian sources said.

By: TNN

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