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For half a century, China has bullied India. To respond gainfully to China, what is required is a counterpunch

March 3, 2008

Outlook, India
March 01 2008

As a civilisation, China is great. As a people, the Chinese are great.
As a regime, China grates. Its government is corrupt, criminal and
cruel. It represses its subjects. It threatens neighbours. For half a
century, China has bullied India, without meeting adequate response.

Currently China, violating an agreement about not destabilising
settled populations in disputed areas, lays claim repeatedly to
Arunachal Pradesh. Indian reactions are pitifully pathetic. To respond
gainfully to China, what is required is a counterpunch. India should
simply state that it no longer recognises Tibet as part of China,
since Tibet is Tibetan territory and the Tibetan people must decide
its future. There is no legal impediment against India doing this. The
1954 Agreement between India and China, whereby India recognised Tibet
as part of China, lapsed after eight years and was never renewed.

India's hope of a reasonable settlement between China and the Tibetan
people has been shattered by China's rebuff to Dalai Lama's somewhat
over-generous offer of accepting autonomy for Tibet under Chinese
sovereignty. China instead is busy changing the demography of Tibet by
populating the region with Han Chinese to marginalise Tibet's own sons
of the soil. As former government counsel and author J.P. Mitter in
his Betrayal of Tibet (1964) wrote: "No policy that allows the Chinese
to be paramount in this once acknowledged buffer country will ever be
in the interest of India."

The International Commission of Jurists in Geneva after detailed
research had concluded that Tibet, historically and legally, was an
independent nation until it was forcibly occupied by China. The
government could encourage any prominent NGO, perhaps even George
Fernandes, to interact with radical young Tibetans in Dharamshala to
set up a joint committee for delineating the Indo-Tibetan border.
India has a border with Tibet, none with China. Once that border is
delineated it could be forwarded to the International Commission of
Jurists for approval.

On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, China is very touchy about Tibet.
India should exploit that. On March 10, a radical young Tibetan,
Tenzin Tsundue, is leading a peaceful march from Dharamshala to Tibet
to coincide with the opening of the Olympics. This is his way of
lodging a Gandhian, democratic protest. Official agencies should
extend him quiet help. Media should ensure maximum international
coverage. The protest can undoubtedly gather momentum.

There is also much that can be said with regard to Xingjian and
Taiwan. But let's start with Tibet.
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