By Atul Aneja, The Hindu – 22 December 2016
The Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party of China (CPC), has counseled India not to leverage the Dalai Lama issue to undermine Beijing’s core interests. This in tune with an assurance that China has apparently received from Mongolia that it will no longer welcome the Dalai Lama in Ulan Bator.
An op-ed in the daily on Thursday noted that the “Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil said Tuesday that Mongolia will not allow the Dalai Lama to visit the country, even in the name of religion, thus settling a one-month standoff between Mongolia and China.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Wednesday also stated that the, “Chinese side sets store by the explicit statement made by the Mongolian Foreign Minister”. It added: “Tibet-related issues concern China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and bear on China’s core interests. China’s position on Tibet-related issues is resolute and clear. It is hoped that the Mongolian side will learn lessons from this issue, truly respect China’s core interests, honour its commitment and strive to improve China-Mongolia relations.”
The Global Times article sought to link the Mongolia’s subsequent problems with Beijing, following the visit to Ulan Bator, with the presence of the Dalai Lama at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier this month. “Indian President Pranab Mukherjee met with the Tibetan separatist in exile in India this month, probably as moral support to Mongolia, which mired itself in diplomatic trouble after receiving the Dalai Lama in November,” the daily observed.
It pointed out that following “countermeasures” by China including “canceling investment talks and imposing additional tolls on Mongolian cargo passing through Chinese territory, the Mongolians sought support from India “hoping that by allying with China’s competitor, Beijing would be forced to give in”.
In response, “New Delhi expressed its concerns about Mongolia’s well-being, and vaguely pledged to put into effect a credit line of $1 billion it promised to Mongolia in 2015. However, before India’s bureaucrats could start, Ulan Bator caved in to the reality.”
The op-ed then slammed India for not recognising “the gap between its ambition and its strength”. “Sometimes, India behaves like a spoiled kid, carried away by the lofty crown of being ‘the biggest democracy in the world. India has the potential to be a great nation, but the country’s vision is shortsighted.”
“India should draw some lessons from the recent interactions between Beijing and United States (US) President-elect Donald Trump over Taiwan. After putting out feelers to test China’s determination to protect its essential interests, Trump has met China’s restrained but pertinent countermeasures, and must have understood that China’s bottom line – sovereign integrity and national unity – is untouchable. Even the US would have to think twice before it messes with China on such sensitive problems, so what makes India so confident that it could manage?”