Dalai Lama visit severely damaged Sino-Indi ties

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Dalai Lama visit severely damaged Sino-Indi ties

BEIJING: (APP) Head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Zhu Weiqun said on Thursday that India is losing its dignity as a big power by playing around with Dalai Lama clique.

This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has visited South Tibet and called the region Indian territory, which means he is committed to separating the nation, he told Global Times.

"Since the Indian government expressed its disappointment over the recent strategic dialogue with China, inviting the Dalai Lama could be seen as a way to vent its grievance," said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

India and China held a strategic dialogue in February, exchanging ideas on a number of issues, including India's application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Because of the problems in bilateral ties, India is using the Dalai Lama as a bargaining chip, Zhao said.

According to an article published in Global Times on Thursday, the Dalai Lama has been to the disputed region before, but what makes this trip different is that he is received and accompanied by India's Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju. When China raised the concern over the visit, Rijiju commented that China shouldn't intervene in their "internal affairs."

When the Dalai Lama clique fled from Tibet, he sought shelter at Dharamsala of India, thus the Dalai question became one of the problems that upset Sino-Indian relationship. New Delhi takes a stance that opposes the Dalai Lama engaging in anti-China activities on the soil of India; however, it has long attempted to use the Dalai Lama as a card.

When India emphasizes the relationship with China, it would place a tight control on the Dalai. When it has a grudge against China, it may prompt the Dalai to play certain tricks as a signal sent to China.

The Dalai's visit to Arunachal Pradesh this time is seen as New Delhi using the monk as a diplomatic tool to put pressure on China.

But this is a clumsy and rude move. The Dalai is a highly politicized symbol in China's diplomacy. For any country, its attitude toward the Dalai Lama almost affects the entire relationship with China. The West has fully recognized the nature of the Dalai as a diplomatic card and is extremely prudent in using it.

When the Dalai travels to the capital of a Western country, who will meet him, when and where would be carefully weighed.

Before this trip, the Dalai Lama was received by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in December. At a time when the Dalai has been given a cold shoulder in many places of the world, New Delhi is bucking the trend and treating him as a favorite.

It is worth mentioning that India is dissatisfied with China mainly in the international multilateral field, while the Dalai Lama question is purely a China's domestic issue. China also suffered setbacks when applying for the membership of international organizations. Its proposal to blacklist some terrorist group had also been refused. However, as dissatisfied as China was, it didn't make an issue of them.

New Delhi probably overestimates its leverage in the bilateral ties with China. The two countries in recent years have continuously strived to improve their relationship and the peace on the border area has been maintained. India has benefited from the good momentum of bilateral relationship as much as China. If New Delhi ruins the Sino-India ties and the two countries turn into open rivals, can India afford the consequence?

With a GDP several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India's peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India's turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?

China considers India as a friendly neighbor and partner. China has never provoked bilateral disputes or made any pressing demand on India over the Dalai Lama. New Delhi should respond to Beijing's goodwill with goodwill.