DEMOCRACIES all over the world have allowed themselves to be duped by the shenanigans of China. This is a country that aids and arms some of the worst regimes of the world and is involved in nuclear and missile proliferation; and yet, thanks to its economic muscle and permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council, it is seldom criticised for its misdemeanors in the international arena, the suppression of human rights and civil liberties within, and the violent repression of Tibetans.
When the Olympic torch run focused the attention on the plight of hapless Tibetans, and the international community, especially the US, pressured China to sort out the matter through negotiations, Beijing did begin talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama. Beijing, however, was never serious about any peaceful solution. As the PTI report on May 4 said, ?The much-awaited talks between the Dalai Lama'senvoys and China ended abruptly today hours after the two sides met for the first time since the unrest erupted in Tibet in March, with Beijing demanding ?credible moves? from the Tibetan leader to stop violence as a precondition for the next round of parleys.? No timeframe was suggested for the next round. Chinese officials told the Dalai Lama'senvoys that the riots in Lhasa on March 12 had given rise to ?new obstacles? for resuming contacts and consultations with the ?Dalai side.?
Notice the remorselessness and the deceit of the Chinese: they cruelly suppress protests, killed unarmed people-and put the onus of ?new obstacles? on the ?Dalai side.? If this does not disillusion the world, what should be Beijing'slater comments. Within a day, China accused the Dalai Lama of ?monstrous crimes.? The Chinese also blamed the Tibetan protesters for their alleged links with al-Qaeda (A charge only the hopelessly credulous or Indian communists can believe. In fact, it is China which has indirectly helped al-Qaeda by arming Pakistan, but that is another story). The ?Dalai Clique? is trying to ?confuse public opinion and incite ethnic hatred,? an article in state-run Tibet Daily said. The Tibetan leaders? attempt to realize a ?greater Tibetan region is part of his attempt to split the motherland.?
The Dalai Lama, who won Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, is universally known for his amiability and commitment to peace. Indeed, he is one of the tallest global leaders. Intemperate language against such a person does not harm to him; rather, it exposes Beijing of being untrustworthy and cantankerous; it does not want any talks.
China'sdeceit, however, is not confined to its dealings with Tibetans. In its dealing with India, it has been equally, if not more, untrustworthy and cantankerous. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, supported by the communists, debased itself by accommodating Beijing over Tibetan protests during the torch relay run. And what did India get? It was accused of being ?evil? by a state-run think tank of China.
Apart from demonizing our country, Beijing is also increasing its military presence around us. The latest is a build-up of Chinese submarines equipped with nuclear arsenals in India'sneighborhood. At the time of writing these lines, the matter was likely to be taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Such is the gravity of the issue that no less a person than the Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, had to voice concern in public, something that our military top brass rarely does. ?It is not the nuclear submarine bases that matter, we are concerned over the number of nuclear submarines that are being built in our neighborhood,? he told newspersons when asked about the revelations by satellite pictures that China had amassed five nuclear submarines carrying long range missiles. ?Nuclear Submarines have long legs and can operate over long distances.?
While the Navy Chief found the issue to be serious enough to be voiced in public, the Government, always eager to please the pro-China communists, did not say anything of consequence. Defence Minister AK Antony was evasive on the subject, hiding behind the platitudes like the country'sarmed forces are capable of taking ?full care of our security interests? whether it is sea lanes or land borders.
That'sright, Minister. The armed forces are capable; but is our Government equally capable? Our forces were also capable in 1962, but it was the gullibility of Nehru and, more importantly, the culpability of pro-China Krishna Menon that cost us so much. Is the situation much different today? We still have the Trojan horses: the communists who influence foreign and defence policies. It was these agents of Beijing who forced the UPA regime to take a tough stand against the Dalai Lama and his followers in India during the Olympic torch run.
This brings us to the issue: how to rein in the biggest rogue nation, China? The only way out for human civilization is that major democracies of the world act in unison. At attempt in this direction was made last year, when major nations of the Asia-Pacific region thought of such a coalition. The prospect infuriated and scared Beijing. Unfortunately, it did not materialise.
It can never materialise till we have a pusillanimous regime whose solitary goal is to appease the agents of China in our country, the CPM-led Left Front. The UPA will never be a party to any concert to democracies to restrain China. And without India such a concert would not be possible in the Asia-Pacific region.
(The author works with The Political and Business Daily.)