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New Delhi using Dalai as diplomatic tool harms Sino-Indian ties

By Liu Jianxi
The 14th Dalai Lama has been invited by New Delhi to Tawang, a disputed region on the China-India border this week. The Dalai Lama is expected to be received by India’s Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju this time, a move that gives the trip some official implications.
Beijing has voiced concerns over the issue, but New Delhi claimed that China shouldn’t intervene in its “internal affairs.” This is absurd.
The Dalai Lama has long been active in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion. New Delhi inviting the Dalai Lama to sensitive region gravely damages the China-India relationship.
Unlike his predecessors, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have taken a different stance on the Dalai issue, raising public engagements with the monk and challenging Beijing’s bottom line. The Dalai Lama was received by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in December, and invited by Pema Khandu, “chief minister” of “Arunachal Pradesh,” to Tawang this month. “It’s a behavioral change you are seeing. India is more assertive,” Rijiju openly said in an interview with Reuters earlier.
Amid Beijing-New Delhi conflicts, the Dalai Lama is now openly used by India as a diplomatic tool to win more leverage.
New Delhi is dissatisfied with Beijing’s stance over its membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and its request to name Masood Azhar, head of Pakistani militant group, to a UN Security Council blacklist. Therefore, Delhi attempts to play the Tibet card against Beijing. In fact, China has never thought of making trouble for India, and is handling these issues in accordance with international practices and UN regulations.
India is also exploring the option of linking the strategic border district of Tawang with a railway network, another provocation against Beijing. India has also invited a “parliamentary” delegation from Taiwan in February.
New Delhi may have underestimated Beijing’s determination to safeguard its core interests. Many countries have pledged not to extend invitations to the Dalai Lama. As the two largest emerging economies, China and India have great potential for cooperation.
New Delhi should overcome its suspicions against Beijing. China doesn’t allow India to free ride on its economic growth while jeopardizing Beijing’s core interests.
(Global Times)

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