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Indian Foreign Secretary's D'sala visit raises speculations

July 15, 2010

Tibetan Review
July 13, 2010

Officials from both the sides have refused to
comment on the exact contents of the talks
between India’s foreign secretary Ms Nirupama Rao
and the Dalai Lama -- as well as top officials in
his exile government -- in Dharamsala on Jul 10.
Some have speculated that the Foreign Secretary
cautioned the exile Tibetan government against
comments and actions that may hurt India’s ties
with China. Others have suggested that India was
using its "Tibet card" to express displeasure at
some of China’s recent actions that were detrimental to India’s core interests.

According to a Daily News & Analysis online
report Jul 12, India was believed to have asked
the Dalai Lama not to go overboard while "making observations about China."

It noted that Rao’s visit had come less than a
week after India’s national security adviser Shiv
Shankar Menon met Chinese premier Wen Jiabao,
foreign minister Yang Jiechi and state councillor
Dai Binguo in Beijing. It cited sources as saying
China had criticised India for allowing Tibetan
refugees to engage in political activities on its soil.

On the other hand, the Times of India online Jul
12 noted that during his talks in Beijing, Menon
had made it clear that India would not sit
quietly if China took steps that India considered
to be adverse to its interests – with specific
examples being the promise of nuclear reactors to
Pakistan as well as rail link projects in
Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakitan occupied Kashmir.
This message was clearly made, it cited sources as saying.

In this connection, an IANS report Jul 10 cited
China experts as saying there could be a larger
message behind Ms Rao’s visit."Whenever there is
a perception of China crossing the red lines of
core sovereignty-related issues, we react to it
by activating the Tibet card,” it
quoted  Srikanth Kondapalli, a China expert at
the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, as saying.

"This is part of shadow boxing. It's a way of
signalling to Beijing India's displeasure over
some recent issues like (China's decision to
issue) separate visas for Kashmiris," he was reported to have added.

Regarding this, MyNew.in Jul 10 cited a European
security expert as saying China has been
providing tacit support to Pakistan in its Jihadi
strategy against India, which is aimed to pin
down half a million Indian troops in Kashmir.
Beijing has provided direct protection to these
terrorist groups at the UN Security Council's
1267 committee, blocking efforts against
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba
front)," it quoted Andrew Small, an European expert, as saying.

The terrorist group was involved in the Nov 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Times of India online also noted, however,
that Rao’s visit was part of a gesture that has
been a regular feature with top Indian diplomats.
It cited sources as saying the conversation
focused on issues concerning Tibetan exiles in
India and the Dalai Lama's security. It said Rao
also carried birthday wishes for the Tibetan Buddhist leader.

The Daily News & Analysis online report cited
sources in the international relations department
of the exile government as saying Rao’s was a
"courtesy visit to the Dalai Lama." The IANS news
service Jul 11 quoted Tenzin Taklha, joint
secretary in the Dalai Lama's office, as saying,
"Issues of common interest were discussed at the
meeting." And officials of India’s external
affairs ministry in New Delhi have refused to
comment on the meeting and the purpose of Rao's visit.
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