Mohammad Zainal Abedin
India seems to have dug a new ditch in its relations with China which is clearly exposed by celebrating the national day of Taiwan in Indian capital on October 10.
Sensing pompous preparation to celebrate the day, the Chinese mission in Delhi wrote to Indian media circle saying not to refer to Taiwan as a ‘nation’. Chinese mission in the letter wrote, “(we) would like to remind our friends that there is only one China in the world” and the “Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.”
It added, “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. All countries that have diplomatic relations with China should firmly honor their commitment to the One-China policy, which is also the long-standing official position of the Indian government.”
The letter also hoped, “Indian media can stick to Indian government’s position on Taiwan question and do not violate the One-China principle”, requesting the Indian media not to refer Taiwan as a “country” or “The Republic of China” or its (Taiwan) president Tsai ing-wen as President as it sends “wrong signals to the general public.”
The letter came hours after leading Indian newspapers carried full-page advertisements. Zee Media ran a program on Taiwanese national day. The program went on air at 7 pm on October 8 and again aired at 5.30 pm on the following day, October 9.
India did nothing to manage its media outlets from violating India’s ‘One China’ policy. India’s Ministry of External Affairs, rather dismissed the Chinese embassy’s suggestions, stating that the “free” Indian media would report “ as it sees fit ”.
It means India didn’t try to conceal its involvement in patronizing pro-Taiwan propaganda in India. It’s a noticeable change in the behavior of India, as Taiwan’s national day wasn’t ever celebrated in India in such a befitting manner.
BJP’s National Secretary Y Satya Kumar uncovered India’s face in a clearer way. He tweeted: “Greetings to my Taiwanese brothers and sisters on #TaiwanNationalDay. India stands in solidarity with the courage, strength and resolve that you people have displayed in your struggle against colonialism and oppression by the imperial power!”
The report that ‘The Wire’ an American online media outlet made is enough to comprehend how India’s policy on Taiwan aggravates India’s relation with China.
‘The Wire’ said, the Bharatiya Janta Party’s Delhi unit spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga had tweeted pictures of having erected posters with flags of Taiwan on a sidewalk near the Chinese embassy in the capital’s diplomatic enclave on Friday (October 9) night.
According to PTI , an official of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had stated that the flags were brought down within a few hours. “We have removed the posters which were put up close to Chinese embassy,” an NDMC official said Saturday.
( https://thewire.in/external-affairs/taiwan-national-day-flags-india-china-embassy )
Official explanation of India’s foreign ministry and the activities and language of the ruling party leaders indicate that India drifts away from its original ‘One China’ policy. It is believed India to warn and scare China uses the ‘Taiwan key’, in such a time, when both the countries are locked in a military stand-off in the eastern Ladakh since May. Their 7 th round dialogue ended without any solution, as none of them was ready to retreat to their previous positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, agreed to continue their dialogue and maintain peace and stability in Ladakh sector.
But India’s latest stand on Taiwan may block the possibility of any amicable settlement through negotiations. Analysts believe, India imprudently and whimsically seems to have opened a new chapter of confrontation tilting to Taiwan, which China never recognized as a separate independent country, out of China.
They even consider Chinese Embassy letter as a reminder also to India that Taiwan should not be referred to as a “country (nation)” or “Republic of China” or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as “President”, so that it can’t send wrong signals to the general public.”
But India walked on the opposite line that obviously may crack further the already stained relation between the two-nuclearized neighbors. The shadow of India’s latest Taiwan policy has already felt at the (7th) round of talks on Ladakh crisis held on October 13 ended without any concrete results, reported Indian Bengali daily ‘Anandabazar’ ( October 14).
It said, China showed no interest in retreating from the territory to meet India’s demand. Even the joint statement was just a formality having no concrete commitment. It was simply the repetition of the previous statements ‘to work together to maintain peace and stability on the border’.
But on October 14, says ‘Anandabazar’, Chinese foreign ministry bluntly blamed India as the root-cause of the crisis along the Ladakh border. “China accused India to escalate tension in Ladakh sector deploying troops and constructing military infrastructures along the LAC, above all declaring Ladakh as an union territory of India, what China never recognized, as India illegally occupied it,” the daily quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeperson Zhao Lijian as saying.
The statement of China’s foreign ministry indicates the road to resolve the crisis may be more complicated and aggravated that may even escalate military confrontation.
Zhao Lijian, “I want to make it clear that India has illegally declared Ladakh as its union territory. We don’t believe it. Similarly we don’t recognize Auranachal Pradesh as an Indian state. We oppose any attempt by India to assemble and construct infrastructures along the border (Sino-India border in Arunachal Pradesh).”
India didn’t yet react to China’s sharp remarks. But according to the diplomatic circle the language of the Chinese spokesperson is indicative and threatening.
Military analysts opined that India’s changed policy on Taiwan is equivalent to recognizing Taiwan as an independent and sovereign country out of China what China will never tolerate. It will surely deteriorate India’s relation with China. It may escalate rivalry further between the two countries and send the solution to Ladakh crisis to icebox.
India’s step centering China strengthens and justifies the demand of Independent Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and nullifies all changes and steps that India unilaterally so far undertook violating UN resolutions.
An impassionate analysis of Indian Prime Minister Modi’s earlier comments referring to China proves India is an expansionist country. On July 3 (2020) Modi addressing Indian soldiers in Ladakh said, “The age of expansionism is over. This is the age of development. In the centuries gone by, it was expansionism which hurt humanity the most and sought to destroy it. Those who are driven by expansionism have always posed a danger to the world.
History bears testimony that such forces have either been destroyed or been forced to turn back. It is due to this experience that the world is coming together against expansionist forces.”
Modi’s speech virtually reflects his own stature. If expansionism means occupation of others’ land, then India is the number one expasionist in this part of the world. No Indian rulers before the Brithis ever occupied Tibet or entire Northeast India, including Sikkim or Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and many other regions and territories, which are now under Indian occupation. New generations of those regions no longer honor or recognize India’s occupation of their respective motherlands. Question surfaces how and why India should inheriate their motherlands from Brithish government.
Modi’s theory now will be applied in those India-occupied regions that will shrink and trim India.
Taiwan has been an integral territory of China since thousands of centuries. Modi should not forget that Indian occupation of J&K and all other regions can’t be compared to China’s initiative to integrate Taiwan to China.
( Mohammad Zainal Abedin is a Bangladesh-origin American journalist, researcher.)