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Learn lessons from China-Trump spat: Chinese media tells India

Beijing : China’s official media today warned India against using the Dalai Lama “card”, saying New Delhi should stop behaving like a “spoilt kid” and learn lessons from how China handled Donald Trump after the US President-elect challenged ‘One-China’ policy.

“Sometimes, India behaves like a spoilt 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,” an article in the state-run Global Times said.

It said India “should draw some lessons from the recent interactions between Beijing and 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,” the paper said.

While the article did not elaborate on counter measures, China besides protesting to Trump over his phone call to the Taiwanese President and his comments questioning One-China policy, also seized an “unmanned underwater vehicle” in the disputed South China Sea, the first such incident in the area.

The drone was returned subsequently after protests from US and Trump, an incident seen as an attempt by China to flex its muscles ahead of the President-elect taking over office next month.

The drone operated by a US survey vessel in the South China Sea was seized by a Chinese navy ship.

“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?,” the article sounding strident in it tone and tenor said, referring to India going to Mongolia’s assistance by granting USD one billion aid after Beijing imposed a blockade in retaliation to Ulaanbaatar hosting Dalai Lama last month despite China protests.

The Mongolian Ambassador to India had sought New Delhi’s help to overcome China’s counter measures. However, the Mongolian government has given in and pledged that it will never invite Dalai Lama again.

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”, it said.

“But a long lingering issue behind it all is how India should handle its relationship with the Dalai Lama,” it said, referring to the Tibetan leader’s presence at the opening session of Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit at President house presided over by President Pranab Mukherjee.

China also objected to that saying India has went ahead with the invitation to Dalai Lama despite China’s protests.

External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup responded saying that “India’s position is consistent. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a respected spiritual leader. It was a non political event which he attended.”

However, the article said”New Delhi has long held the Dalai Lama issue as leverage that it can use against China. President 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.”

China earlier objected over India granting permission to the Dalai Lama and another Tibetan spiritual leader in exile Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Arunachal Pradesh.

“After China initiated countermeasures, including cancelling investment talks and imposing additional tolls on Mongolian cargo passing through Chinese territory, the Mongolians later tried to seek support from India, hoping that by allying with China’s competitor, Beijing would be forced to give in,” the article said.

“New Delhi expressed its concerns about Mongolia’s well-being, and vaguely pledged to put into effect a credit line of USD one billion it promised to Mongolia in 2015. However, before India’s bureaucrats could start, Ulaanbaatar caved in to the reality,” it said.

It said that India’s “way of dealing with the issue shows, once again, the gap between its ambition and its strength. It is way beyond India’s capability to acquire leverage against China by employing a proxy or challenging China’s bottom line. India has used the Dalai Lama card from time to time in a retaliatory move against China.”

“India wants to disturb China’s pace of development by taking advantage of China’s national and international problems, most of which have nothing to do with India’s national interests,” it said.

PTI