(TibetanReview.net, May15, 2015) – China has done it again: sticking it up on India on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s otherwise much anticipated visit to China from Apr 14 to 16. When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India last year, it was China’s PLA troops intruding into ladakh and staying put there until top-level diplomatic parleys paved the way for their eventual withdrawal. Now it’s Global Times, an international edition of China’s party mouthpiece People’s Daily, accusing Mr Modi of ”playing little tricks” over border disputes and security issues in the hope of boosting his domestic prestige and increasing his leverage in negotiations with China.
Referring to Mr Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China has recently taken to call “south Tibet” in order to strengthen its claim over the territory, Hu Zhiyong — a research fellow with the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences —has said in a commentary in the paper’s May 12 edition: “Modi should no longer visit the disputed border region in pursuit of his own political interests, nor should he deliver any remarks that infringe on the consensus on bilateral ties.”
The official academic has also demanded that the Indian government completely stop supporting the Dalai Lama, and stop making the Tibetan issue a stumbling block to Sino-India relations.
His commentary, titled as “Can Modi’s visit upgrade China-India ties?” was the lead article in the paper’s opinions page.
Chinese state media usually reflect the government’s stance on issues in a very carefully calibrated strategy to retain deniability on the part of the Chinese government, noted India’s PTI news agency in a report on the commentary which was carried by the Indian Express newspaper May 13. The report saw it as highly unusual, however, for the official Chinese media to publish a critical opinion piece on the eve of a high-level visit, which would send mixed signals and had the potential to queer the pitch.
Hu called Modi’s diplomatic moves of last year – being allegedly “busy strengthening India’s ties with neighbouring countries to compete with China, while trying to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities for economic development created by China, as Beijing is actively carrying forward the ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative – “have proven that he is a pragmatist, rather than a visionary.”
Hu has also accused New Delhi of “repeatedly accusing or directing its anger at China” for its yawning and rapidly rising trade deficit, contending, “New Delhi is reluctant to admit the widening trade gap is its own fault, nor is it willing to examine its own economic structure and the quality of its exports to China.”