Thursday, December 23, 2010

China Reacts to my Rediff Article

I am flattered that 'Global Times' China has responded to my Rediff article on India China relations.

By using selective quotations from the article, the newspaper has characterised my article as "irresponsible" and contrasted it with the statements made by the Foreign Secretary and the President of India. This is standard practice for the Chinese press. Interestingly, the paper has not listed among the examples the J&K related developments ie the stapled visas and the disappearance of the length of the border. This indicates that they see those as the more negative elements in Chinese policy. A colleague has just sent me an English translation, which is below. I wish the Chinese themselves had denied the assessment instead of using public statements of Indian dignitaries!

The article appeared in the Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)

‘Some people in India continue to make provocative statements with regard to China-India relations. A few days ago, former Indian ambassador to the US Mr. T.P. Sreenivasan made an irresponsible assertion that the future of China-India relations is bound to result in conflict. He also said that the current state of China-India relations is even worse than 1962.

According to Rediff India news report on 21st December, in a commentary on India-China relations, Mr. Sreenivasan said, “Those who know China would not be complacent enough to think that the China threat is an illusion”. He said, “It is no more a question whether there will be a confrontation between India and China, but when it will take place”.

He further said that the current state of China-India relations is worse than 1962. Sreenivasan listed the following examples: In 1962, China had not gifted Pakistan with nuclear weapons; however, it has gifted two nuclear reactors to Pakistan in 2010. In 1962, there was only a border dispute; however, in 2010, there is not only a border dispute, but “China also occupies tens of thousands of square kilometers of Indian territory”.

Mr. Sreenivasan is currently the Director General of Kerala International Centre which is an Indian foreign policy think-tank. He is also a member of Indian National Security Advisory Board. His remarks above seem to run contrary to the views of Indian authorities. Commenting on the recent visit of Premier Wen to India, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that this visit has deepened the understanding and trust between the two countries and is important in the context of further development of relations between the two countries. On December 16, President Prathiba Patil said after meeting with Premier Wen that she hopes that the friendly relations between the two peoples would last for generations and also said that this visit is significant, coming as it does on the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.’

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