10 September 2008

China 'overestimated' the strength of India's critics at NSG

'Procedural procrastination' was Chinese strategy to delay India waiver, NSG diplomats say ...

China 'overestimated' the strength of India's critics at NSG

'Procedural procrastination' was Chinese strategy to delay India waiver, NSG diplomats say

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: Disputing official Chinese accounts of Beijing having played a "constructive" role in last week's Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting on India, diplomats from several NSG states say China stood by the handful of countries resisting approval of the India waiver and only backed off when it saw the opposition melt away on the morning of September 6.

At the same time, some diplomats questioned the suggestion that China was out to block the deal, with one European envoy who took part in the three day meeting describing the Chinese interventions in the plenary as "careful and moderate".

In multiple interviews conducted by this reporter with a number of diplomats who took part in the NSG's deliberations, the picture which emerges is one of a cautious Chinese strategy of remaining in the shadows going awry and eventually running aground on the second day of the three-day plenary meeting of the nuclear cartel. If China overestimated the capacity of the six-likeminded countries and Japan to resist the juggernaut of U.S. pressure in the eleventh hour, Beijing, say the diplomats, also erred in underestimating India's ability to hold firm to its demand for an unconditional waiver.

The accounts given by the participants provide a fascinating, if sometimes contradictory, ringside view of Chinese attitudes and actions at the NSG that the diplomats said were driven as much by a desire to condition or even block the India waiver as by resentment at Washington's attempt to change the rules of the international system without due consultation with Beijing.

In the early hours of September 6, India issued a demarche - diplomatese for a formal representation - asking China to back the consensus. The message was delivered by telephone to the Chinese ambassador to India. And after the waiver came through, the Indian government made its displeasure at Beijing's role publicly known as well.

In remarks at a public function in New Delhi on Tuesday, China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, said he was "shocked" at reports that his country had stood in the way of the NSG's decision. "Our policy was set from a long time", he said. "I can tell you that we conveyed to India in a certain way our support for the decision, period, before consensus was reached within the NSG".

Mr. Yang's statement was factually correct, in that consensus was established at 11:56 am, Central European Time, and China had already informed India that it was going to approve the waiver as finally tabled at the NSG plenary. But the Chinese decision only came at 1 p.m. China Standard Time, barely four hours before the final bell was sounded on the 45-nation supplier group's extraordinary proceedings.

Earlier on Friday, the unity of the Group of Six spearheading the opposition to the American proposal to allow nuclear commerce with India crumbled when Netherlands and Norway backed off following the incorporation of a reference to the Indian foreign minister's statement on nonproliferation in the waiver text. Switzerland, too, conveyed its assent to the U.S. by 1 a.m. on Saturday. But when the NSG adjourned for the night soon after, Austria, China, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand were still holding out. Tokyo was the first to come on board, followed by Beijing, and then the last three. The fact that the Chinese decision was so late coming is at variance with the idea that its policy had been set "from a long time". Unless, say diplomats, its policy itself was to play for time in the hope that the seven countries would do the heavy lifting. And face the maximum flak, in case the waiver was successfully blocked.

But if that was the strategy, it backfired badly. For even though China was not the only one holding out and was certainly not the last country to back off, it finds itself today standing alone in the dock as far as Indian public opinion and semi-official spin are concerned.

"It is my view that China was hoping the exemption would be delayed to such an extent that India might walk away", a diplomat from one of the G-6 countries told me in an email message. "They did not wish China to be blamed for doing this but hoped the group of six would do it for them. Ultimately, when it became clear that [we] would not block consensus on the exemption, they also made sure that they would not be blamed in any way for holding up progress". The diplomat, who represented his country in last week's NSG meeting, added: "Our group was always wary of China's role, knowing that their interests were very different to ours".

But if the G-6 was "wary" of China, diplomats from other countries say the group actively sought Beijing's help when it became clear on September 4 that the mood within the NSG was largely in favour of granting India the waiver. "The six approached a number of bigger countries", said one diplomat. And though Australia, Canada and Germany refused to be dragged in, China did step forward.

According to the diplomats, China acted in two distinct ways, though at least one of this reporter's sources admitted it was "hard to say what exactly China's strategy was". "The Chinese did maneuvers in a procedural way in order to support the six. But they didn't want to come out in the open. They wanted to remain in the bushes rather than come on to the battlefield", said one diplomat from a European country that backed the waiver with reservations. A G-6 diplomat described this phase as one where the Chinese "offered quiet but clear support for a number of proposals put forward by the like-minded group of six". This support, he said, continued "right up to the last moment". But when it seemed to China that the G-6 was standing resolute, the Chinese delegates also began putting forward amendments and sentences of their own. "They suggested a lot of minor changes to the text during last Friday, seemingly with the intention of delaying progress", the diplomat said.

Though these changes were more often than not unacceptable to India, the diplomats said the Chinese suggestion to include language which might open a door for "other states" (i.e. Pakistan) to seek a similar waiver met with stiff resistance by virtually all NSG members, including the G-6. This idea was a complete non-starter, said one diplomat. Another described it as part of a tactic of "procedural procrastination".

As the evening wore on Friday, the Chinese, by all accounts, grew increasingly impatient. The U.S. was running multiple consultations in parallel steering groups, which were yielding incremental changes in the draft language. After going through an Indian filter, these changes were then taken to the plenary and incorporated into the main text. Either irritated by the slow pace or by the fact that the redrafting process was making serious headway, the Chinese delegation began calling for an adjournment. "During the day, everyone's assessment was that we were going to be deadlocked", said an East European diplomat. "By the time it was apparent that there would be no deadlock, the Chinese started saying they had to wait for instructions from Beijing".

It was at this point, said many diplomats, that the U.S. started paying attention to the Chinese stand. The two countries went into consultation and remained closeted for a long time. One European diplomat recalled a conversation he had with another colleague that night when he was wondering whether he had time to slip outside for dinner. "Oh yes, he said, you have plenty of time. The Chinese are meeting with the Americans, mad that they were not consulted by them earlier and determined to let the U.S. pay the price - it will take at least two hours. We went down to eat, and he was right that several hours passed". It was this diplomat's assessment that the reason China held out for so long was because the U.S had not bothered consulting with it earlier in the day. And that the reason the U.S. delayed doing so was precisely because the Chinese had struck a more moderate tone throughout the day compared to the G-6.

Though the Chinese eventually yielded on the drafting language, they continued to hold out for more time. Most delegates did not find the Chinese plea for an adjournment to be credible. "When we broke at 2 a.m., it was already 8 in the morning in Beijing. There would have been no problem getting the requisite authorization", said a diplomat. Matters were further complicated by a semi-'walk-out' by the Chinese at midnight on September 5. Though some Chinese officials remained in the small consultations run by the U.S. till 01:30 am, its two senior diplomats in the plenary left the main room leaving behind only "a rather junior" official "presumably to pick up the final draft".

"Many delegates felt there was a certain gesture", a west European diplomat said. "It was not clear that it was a walkout, for that would have meant the NSG might have adopted the waiver without their presence. But it was more of a signal that we can't take this for much longer".

Seventy-two hours later, participants remain divided about what exactly China was trying to achieve. If the G-6 diplomats were clear the Chinese were firing from their shoulders, others without a dog in the fight tended not to see China as a country that was blocking consensus. "My sense is that they were balanced, and not in the limelight", said a diplomat from the former Soviet bloc.

"We believe China did not try to block the deal and never wanted to block it alone, although the opposition from the six and others may have suited them well… Certainly it would have been very late in the day for them to block the deal at the last minute given their earlier moderate posture", said a European diplomat who undertook to discuss this reporter's questions with his colleagues in order to get a more accurate assessment. "But that is speculation. We are pretty certain, though, that the Chinese were dissatisfied with the way the issue was handled at the meeting and made it clear in their own way to the U.S… Perhaps they just cooked the U.S. a little to teach them not to neglect China".

Asked whether he agreed with this assessment, one of the G-6 diplomats said no. "It is hard to decipher China's attitude at times, but I would be very certain that their behaviour was based on more than simply a desire to teach the U.S. a lesson not to neglect them," he said.

Either way, Indian officials feel it is significant that when China eventually came on board, it communicated its decision not to the United States but directly to India. The Manmohan Singh government's handling of an awkward situation was correct but firm. But having issued a demarche and secured the NSG waiver, it is important for the country to move on. Beijing -- and New Delhi -- are sure to have come away from this entire episode the wiser, and in diplomacy, that is ultimately what counts.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Siddarth,

Great analysis and inside information. One question though rises in the mind - Would this analysis make the pages of The Hindu? Most of your other indepth articles have made it to the newspaper, but would this one?

Ram

Anonymous said...

Siddarth,

The above question arises because Hindu was the only newspaper which made the Chinese FM's denial and rubbishing of the media stories on the Chinese role as its lead article on Tuesday.

Ram

PM said...

Nice narrative. So, the Chinese took off their velvet glove to display their mailed fist and put it on again.

I am inclined to believe that, regardless of the varying views, it was about China making a point that they need to be respected. The visits by PM and Sonia to Beijing met that condition vis-a-vis India, but the Sino-US relationship needed similar nurturing. A Bush call to Hu would fit that bill.

Not that China would not have minded a NSG delay for India, I don't think that, at this time, they are spoiling for a fight with India -- it would be too disharmonious and the international economic situation is providing enough disharmony for now.

Anonymous said...

Siddharth,

If China is India's enemy why will it approve and not veto?

From the following report in The Hindu:-
"India, U.S. discuss security cooperation-Washington: As the India-U.S. nuclear accord comes up for ratification by the U.S. Congress, New Delhi and Washington on Wednesday opened their first high-level contacts.Defence Minister A.K. Antony and U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates expressed “great satisfaction” at the pace of mutual defence and security cooperation.Mr. Antony is the first high-level Indian politician to visit Washington after the Vienna waiver of nuclear restrictions by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Issues which figured ranged from defence, security to global and regional matters, Pentagon officials said. Top officials from both the sides were present at the meeting"


If this Indo-US nuclear deal is about civil nuclear co-operation between India and USA, in order that India gains energy reliance, as both US and India claim to be so, why is Indian defence ministry in active mode?

Who or which country is the secret beneficiary of the Indo-US nuclear deal? Is the agreement bilateral or secretly trilateral and conveniently multilateral?

If every nation is in favour of this deal, Who exactly is the real enemy here?

India itself?

Indo-US defence exercises followed by Indo-US nuclear deal is for whose sake, Siddharth ?

To win against who? and why?

Is this outsourcing of "War on Terrorism" to India?

Has India become like Pakistan, to fight US Agenda of WOT, in exchange for money and arms contracts, with false fear of being overtaken by manufactured false enemy called-China?

Does China know about this OR
Is it the active collaborator and beneficiary of this?

If China is not the enemy, and is in favor of the deal, obviously Pakistan is also not an enemy and it is on board and in favor of the deal. Even if we consider Pakistan has been bribed by USA or hand twisted not to object to the deal, China was/is in favor of the deal.

If Indo-US defence co-operation through Indo-US nuclear deal is to fight back against China and its influence, why would China approve it?

It is neither shy of using its veto powers as in other contexts nor is it naive enough to allow itself to be bribed or hand twisted?

Chinese foreign reserves in US banks are higher than US reserves itself. ( Check the data ) Definitely China is in more powerful position to veto than approve, but still it approved.

Why?

Greed to put those foreign reserves in US banks into some investments on business of War and Death and gain more ?

Compared to India, China is definitely stronger in economy, population, political influence and veto powers. If it wishes, it can check India very easily. But still it did not. Why?

PM- MMS and SG’s visits are too weak an explanation to account for that.

If China has more civil and defence nuclear power than India, and if it is a real threat to India, then why did not India turn the tide in its own favour by buying nuclear power from China than USA, just like Switzerland buys nuclear power from neighbouring France ( from your post "What motivates six NSG naysayers? " )

In order to have nuclear energy ( 3% for so many crores of rupees) one does not need to have nuclear reactors on one's soil. One can buy it from neighbour who already has it. This way India's population would have been safe from any nuclear disasters which US or any NSG group members may force on India and wash off their hands as major environmental disaster and may even penalize India in future for that.

Will you be able to ponder about these possibilities associated with Indo-US nuclear deal and clarify, instead of brushing aside Chinese wavering as ego problem with USA.? ( as you said in your interview with Karan Thapar )

regards.

Anonymous said...

If your sources are correct and if China had played the kind of role it had played, it does not surprise many people. If an individual had behaved in this fashion, he would have been called a coward by those trying to be nice to him and perhaps called a snake and a jerk by most.

The Chinese who are a proud race with culture dating back to several thousands of years should be ashamed of this regime that reinforces a reputation of unreliable rats and fakes.

Anonymous said...

Next time we agree anything with them, we should get them to carve it in stone and display it in Tiananmen Square for fifty years.

They may yet find a way to deny it all and do the opposite in stealth.

Srinivasan Ramani said...

Just as it is immaterial to delve into the bilateral relationships between India and the rest of the Group of Six to understand the latter's opposition to the nuclear deal, so is the case with the Chinese Ring-a-Ring-O'Roses display at the NSG. The Chinese response to the NSG waiver was simply driven by the Great power game.

Or else who would the China-bashers explain the fact that the Chinese found it prudent to join hands with India in the recent WTO meet against the "imperial" West.

If the Indian foreign policy mandarins think that the Chinese behaviour in the NSG is tantamount to so much hostility as to dismantle the normalcy-building routine in bilateral times, it makes no sense even from a realist Indian perspective. It makes immense sense to build upon the commonalities in policy aims for the Asian behemoths and alongwith working over the boundary problems that have plagued the two nations, increased bilateral economic relations are a must. Especially for those based in the east/North-East in India.

Anon said...

China is not the same as the other G6. At least NZ and Austria had a consistent anti-nuclear allergy, whether nor not we agree with them. It is a joke when PRC talks about non-proliferation.

The others have not done anything anti-India on that scale.

Anonymous said...

Ramani, fancy words and sophistication to disguise something basic..why did Pak supply nukes and missiles to Pak?
Lets not post BS about China bashers, commies like you have hurt Indian interests enough.

Mowglee said...

Varadarajan's account make it clear that China is not alone in having doubts about the waiver but why is the GOI and our TV channels not baying for blood of Japan etc.

There is some official spinning going on. Thanks SV for this very sober and balanced report.

Anonymous said...

Ramani,

Cut the crap and please explain:

1. Why China supplied nukes and missiles to Pakistan, all of which are aimed at India.

2. Why China keeps invading our land in Arunachal Pradesh

One day,JNU-based Chinese agents like you will get your just desserts.

Srinivasan Ramani said...

@ Anonymous,

I am an Indian and I have no intention of trying to explain all Chinese foreign policy actions. Having said that I don't cry, "enemy" everytime China is talked about. I think that if India gets further into the American strategic relationship by buying into the defence framework or the PSI/LSI, China would only increase its already strong cosiness with Pakistan to the detriment of the region's stability and peace.

Unlike you who would want to stay anonymous and squeak like a mouse, I would prefer to announce myself and want a paradigm shift in India's relations with China at the same time. That is the interest of both the Chinese people as well as the Indians. And I am convinced from the EU example, that it is better to ward off political differences through better economic relationships and gradual withering away of hostility through institutionalism. Unlike you and many in the foreign policy who see a trap in every little progress path that is laid between the two Indian neighbours, I am all for normalisation of bilateral relationships and greater state-to-state and people-to-people contacts.

The Chinese actions in the NSG do not mitigate against either of the above.

As for the Indo-US Nuclear deal; in fact, if the Chinese had supported the Indians in getting the NSG waiver, I would still oppose the deal. India is much better off in the short term with a pipeline project from Iran to this country than the promised manna from fission reactions 10-15 years down the line with extra investment that can be put to better use: health & education.

For more, check the archives in Siddharth's blog itself. You will get a bit of enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Ramani,

That does not cut it.

When you say "want a paradigm shift in India's relations with China "

you have an obligation to explain how that fits in with a China that supplies nukes to our enemy and also occupies our land illegally.

You are essentially sayig "Be friends with the man who killed your family, but don't ask me to explain why"

Please explain why India should seek a new paradigm with a country that is hell bent on hurting India and refuses to return our land.

If you cannot explain that, your pro-China rants are worth less than nothing.

Unlike desh-drohis like you, I'm all for any alliance India can make to end the Chinese-Pakistani menace.

Anonymous said...

Ramani, It is true that India and China should be friends. But that has to wait for China coming around to accept that India, as culturally ancient, economically powerful and strategically independent as China is. Or it will one day be. Right now China is playing a game of keeping India tied to the South Asian theater, militarily and strategically. That explains the extreme cosiness with Pakistan. Just as leftists dont want India to be a client state of US, many many Indians dont want India to be a client of China and give up nuclear arms and do many other things China expects us to do as an entry fee for friendship. We don't want to give up Sikkim and Arunachal too. We want Tibetans to live with dignity.

Coming to the issue of China supplying nukes to Pakistan, one day China has to own it up and declare that it is past and future is different. Lying its way through and relying on its propaganda agents in India to do the same is not going to help, it has not helped all these years. It is a bit like Germany owning up its Nazi past. Clever replies like 'I don't have to account for China's actions' make everyone suspect the credentials of persons saying so. The lefties dont show any such coyness when it comes to explaining the 'imperialists' behaviour.

But we don't see such enlightened behaviour on the part of the Chinese communists (or their servants here) yet. Lying and obfuscation seems to be their preferred modus operandi. To give another example, Chinese FM when asked about NSG could have simply said "yes we had some misgivings but those were addressed and we supported the consensus". We would all have had much bigger respect for him and China. But he chose to lie through his teeth, insult his country and his agents are now doing the same.

Srinivasan Ramani said...

@ The Anony'mice',

Nuclear weapons are a shameful matter. Any sane person would have problems with it. China can be accused of supplying nuclear material to Pakistan owing to its alliance with the military raj in that country, but that does not mean that India has a squeaky clean reputation/record about nukes either.

The book "Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons" that talks about nuclear weapon building by Pakistan and clandestine (and open help) by the US and China in the process also mentions that the trigger for the nuclear weaponisation project was none other than Pokhran 1.

The nuclear genie came out of the rational bottle after the Manhattan project and took shape after multilateral agreements such as the NPT failed to address disarmament and vertical non-proliferation effectively and by design.

It is therefore the United States that emerges as the greatest threat to the world's security through its shameless pursuit of global hegemony and wanton violation of every progressive norm that eventually comes out of multi-lateral negotiation. The Chinese have only recently entered this great power game that dis-regards all rules & norms.

Those antipathetic to China as a creed, just simply refuse to read history or understand how the current international (dis)order has been shaped. Any opposition to India's entry into this anti-people and dangerous game is immediately termed as toeing the Chinese line, which is even more ridiculous.

"We" want boundary negotiations to be resolved in a matter of give-and-take and a spirit of reconciliation. No one in the right frame of mind would endorse the Chinese claim on populated areas in India and no one again in the right frame of mind would want these hurdles in boundary negotiations to continue on for ever. Tibetans have of course got to live with dignity as much any other minority population in China would want/have to, in accordance with the Socialist constitution of the nation that expressly provides for such rights. One need not have to support an separatist model in China to assure dignity for the minorities over there, just as that is the case in India too.

The steps taken over the past few years between the two countries have been positive. The opening of the Nathu la pass for trade gave leeway to the recognition of Sikkim as Indian territory and growing bilateral economic relationships were giving way to easing of bilateral ties. In comes, however the US proposals of having a comprehensive strategic partnership that would want to contain China. That would only encourage the kind of cooperation between China and Pakistan that India would want to be avoided, which itself was a legacy of the Cold War past.

Why does India have to get into the high risk strategic engagement that the US wants this country to play? Indians in the east/N-E stand to benefit from normalisation of historical relationships with China. Of course, differences are there and differences will continue to persist. But to simply amplify these differences to a level of irreconcilability is a step further in creating newer differences or accentuating the differences in themselves.

After all, one can't choose between neighbours and history (the EU's creation and thriving) tells us that the "emancipation" of the poverty stricken areas in the South of Asia can only be mitigated by a comprehensive development-trade-economic integration criterion and that means that Indo-China relations have to be normalised.

It shows the pusillanimity of those who reject this position when they term the defenders of such a position as Chinese-agents. It is even more galling that they buy into the global hegemonic views of the greatest threat to world peace: the imperial neocon US administration and its sabre rattling ways.

Anonymous said...

Communists are talking about Iran pipeline as if it will start flowing tomorrow if we snap a finger. Even if we agree to Iran's crazy price, Pakistan's equally crazy transit fee and find an idiot that is willing to finance a pipeline passing through lawless areas of Pakistan that even Pakistan army dare not get into, it will take 10+ years to lay the pipes and get the gas flowing. There are even questions about the size of the Iran gas field from where we are supposed to draw the gas. Who has verified them?

Even if all that happens, we are only exchanging one set of dependence for the other - now we have to allow ourselves to be arm twisted by Iran's mullacracy. To give up nuclear power for that is crazy to say the least. It is so crazy that China is not doing that - it is building reactors at fairly quick pace. Which again leads us to suspect the agenda's of Chinese puppets here. To the commies, China can have nuclear weapons (proletariat's bomb) and can also have nuclear power, that too from US/French companies. It is only India that has to live in stone age and be obedient to China.

Anonymous said...

Ramani,

Please don't try to bull$hit us. Just answer the question in first person, instead of "no one in his right mind ..." type nosnsense.

1. Do you Srinivasan Ramani, condemn China for its occupation of Indian land?

2. Do you, Srinivasan Ramani, condemn China's supply of nukes and missiles to Pakistan?

3. Do you, Srinivasan Ramani, condemn China's barbaric and inhuman treatment of Tibetans?

Yes or no. No other answer will work for the above questions.

And after answering the above, please tell me why India should expect to have good relations with the neanderthal barbarian and nuclear proliferating communist thugs in Beijing?

Srinivasan Ramani said...

@ the Anonymous..

Next time you want answers from me. Come out of your anonymous hole and ask those questions like a (hu)man. Barking will not elicit answers. Siddharth Varadarajan's blog is not going to be a "Saffron card" passing examination for me.

And if indeed you want answers to the questions, you can check my blog for the relevant articles on the same issues.

Now go back to your hole.

Anonymous said...

Ramani

HAAA

I knew Chinese agents like you cannot bring yourself to explicitly condemn your masters.

-----------

For the rest of us it is clear.

MESSAGE TO EVERYONE

SRINIVASAN RAMANI SUPPORTS CHINA'S NUCLEAR TRANSFERS TO PAKISTAN

SRINIVASAN RAMANI SUPPORTS CHINA'S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF INDIAN LAND

SRINIVASAN RAMANI SUPPORTS CHINA'S MASSACRES OF TIBETANS

Anonymous said...

Ramani, your blaming the US for nuclear weapons is very interesting...I guess we should now blame China for inventing gun powder and all the wars that followed that used it! It could perhaps turn out that it has killed more people than nuclear weapons have ever done.

Yes US went nuclear first, then others followed, including China. We followed them. Pak followed us. To reverse this, we have to start with US, Russia and China. But then China keeps talking about 'South Asian nuclear free zone', a theme picked up by its supporters. If nuclear free zone is such a great idea, why restrict that blessing to South Asia alone why not all of Asia? Of course such questions will not be answered.

No sane person will go for nukes, I completely agree. But we are living in a madhouse.

Siddharth Varadarajan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Siddharth Varadarajan said...

@Anons galore

Please keep your comments civil, and no name calling. Ramani has made a number of valuable points which can and should be debated properly rather than calling him names or reducing his arguments to a series of a yes/no questions.

India and China are both rising powers but both are insecure in their rise and this insecurity manifests itself in a number of ways. The Vajpayee government actually wrote to Clinton blaming China for the 1998 tests. That letter came with the history of clandestine Pak-China collaboration behind it but with the benefit of hindsight, it was not the wisest kind of letter to send to the Americans, which is why they promptly leaked it! So both of us need to have a more realistic and respectful assessment of each other. As a strategy, it is useful to identify which are the areas of convergence (eg. international trade architecture, perhaps even Asian security, energy cooperation) and devise ways of taking the relationship forward on that basis. That is what diplomacy is all about. Why China, I would say even with the G-6, India should be looking to see whether they can be persuaded to join us in more aggressively pushing the Rajiv Gandhi action plan (which Pranab-da liberally drew on for his crucial nonprolif-disarmament statement for the NSG).

Anonymous said...

At the very least it has to be accepted that China has a huge PR problem wrt India. I guess the other way around applies too but that is not the issue here. No one other than hardcore Marxists seem to be willing to talk in its favor. That is a shame. It is not just the right-wing 'saffrons' that are having misgivings about China - I think deliberately or otherwise, China has convinced even Congress leaders to be skeptical (at best) and angry about the way China has been handling Indian ties. If not given that Congress has ruled India for all but 5 yrs since 1947, our ties would have been in lot better shape. This is a problem China has to address, if it seeks better relations as I mentioned in earlier posts.

Given these, Whie I agree calling names is bad, assuming that anyone that questions a pro-China line is a 'saffron card holder' is much more ridiculous and against law of probabilities, than someone assuming that anyone that talks for China in India is a card carrying Marxist who has sold his soul to the Chinese.

Srinivasan Ramani said...

Rightly said, Sid.

The Chinese are insecure about their "Tibet problem" and that explains their moves such as preventing foreign press (beyond guide tours) to visit the region. While India still retains the baggage of 1962.

For two nations that have traversed 60 years since their victory against colonialism, the festering suspicion about each other has only hampered what should have been an open-shut case for third-world cooperation.

That the Chinese and the Russians have managed to put aside the Sino-Soviet differences and successfully means that it is definitely possible for the Chinese to do the same vis-a-vis their southern neighbours - us. And if the Chinese have to be true to their professed aim of "peaceful rise" and are indeed committed to challenge the monstrous level of challenges they face internally ( the environment, labour issues, peasant concerns, urban migration, the building of a "socialist" countryside, rising inequality, apart from the trouble with the Tibetan/Uyghur nationalities), they would have to ensure that their relations with neighbours are quickly resolved in a cooperative fashion.

And as you have correctly pointed out, there are various issues where there can be vast area of cooperation that can be tapped. I am reminded of your piece on ONGC-Videsh working with China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC)..

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2006/01/24/stories/2006012403181000.htm

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As for the anony'mice', keep squeaking!

Anonymous said...


PTI reports:

Describing China as a “rival” and “unpredictable” neighbour Mr. Chidambaram said Beijing adopted a “negative stance” at the recent Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting and wondered whether it would accept India as an equal.

He said: “Across the subcontinent, we face the unarticulated challenge from an equal and perhaps stronger rival, namely China.” “From time to time, China takes unpredictable positions that raise a number of questions about its attitude towards the rise of India. The most recent example is the negative stance adopted by China in the meeting of NSG.”

Mr. Chidambaram said China had resolved boundary disputes with its neighbours except India.

....“However, the nagging doubt is whether China will regard India as an equal or as an upstart and what will China’s attitude to India be if India’s economic strength begins to equal that of China,” Mr. Chidambaram said.


Anyone still want to pretend that those questioning making India a chinese puppet are all 'saffrons'

Anonymous said...

Sidd,

Interesting report that has certainly contributed to cementing your reputation as one of India's most perceptive analysts.

The question is how did your boss take outing China's attempted powerplay? Afterall, your boss, Naxal Ram, is the man who wrote a travelogue on his visit to Tibet last year, which could have been penned by the Chinese Politiburo, given its unique perspectives and insights into the "real" situation" in Tibet.