Maldives wants India to withdraw military helicopters and personnel posted there following the expiry of an agreement in June.
With the latest snub to Delhi by President Yameen’s Beijing-backed government in the Indian Ocean island chain, China has virtually upstaged India which has been the country’s prime provider of military and civilian aid for decades.
India has every reason to view the growing Chinese-influence across the world with a fair amount of trepidation. Yet there hasn’t been any discernable change in India’s mannerisms at countering the Chinese threat.
In the vain hope of invigorating the highly-hyped ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ relationship which was nothing more than a convenient political pretentiousness even then, India continues to tread an impetuous path vis-à-vis its relations with China just as it did in 1962.
So as not to have a repeat of the great ‘Himalayan Blunder’, India ought to come down off its high horse to have a more realistic approach to the problems that beset the long and tricky ‘frenemyship’ between them.
While India’s myopia to all other considerations except for those that have a direct bearing on territorial disputes involving the two has led to the nation’s near blindness to affairs involving China in countries in the neighbourhood, it is the ‘surprises’ from this front that will assail India very soon.
The manner in which money is being pumped into Sri Lankan developmental projects dispels any doubts over the island nation being anything but a coveted trophy for China.
Simply by being oblivious to the economic infrastructural support sought by its ‘strategic partner’ after coming out of a bloody civil war that lasted nearly thirty years, India has risked losing a long-standing ally of its.
Likewise, assured of a generous support for the Himalayan kingdom’s development endeavours, the construction of a railway linking Kerung and Kathmandu may further tilt Nepal towards China.
India also needs to be equally weary of the China-Bangladesh ties which have undergone dramatic transformation from a formerly adversarial relationship to an enduring strategic partnership.
India should be well aware, at least now, that the use of coercive diplomacy severely dents bilateral relations.
Now God forbid any drift in relation between Bhutan and India!
By isolating India, it is as if China has facilitated its unhindered movement into the country by aligning itself with erstwhile buddies who are miffed at India for its foreign policies which prevented due recognition of their needs and demands.
With the China-spectre looming large over the sub-continent, India lies in a position where it is permanently at threat. Gaining lost ground will be an uphill task for India!
The ‘Chinese afflictions’ however continue for India!
The ‘Panchsheel Treaty’ between India and China way back in 1954, though unique as far as the underlying principles were concerned, remains only a pact on paper with both the nations hardly making any overt gestures to act on it in toto.
Why is India so keen on winning independence for foreign territories that are in dispute over their sovereignty? Much has been made of Nehru’s blunder in Kashmir, but it pales in comparison with his folly in Tibet.
On April 29, 1959, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. The CTA was subsequently moved to Dharamsala.
Even today, Dharamsala in the Himachal Pradesh state of India is known more for its Tibetan ‘credentials’ by virtue of having the ‘Central Tibetan Administration’ headquartered here.
Speaking of the 14th Dalai Lama representing Buddhist values and traditions, his personage has always been a symbol of unification of the state of Tibet. In essence, a symbol of Tibetan nationhood for Tibetans, both in Tibet and in exile!
Hence coming from such a revered figure of his stature, every word, every expression, carries its own weight in gold. But does it actually!
Every individual has the right to hold his own views on the events of the past, but by opining that Jawaharlal Nehru was self-centred and that the partition of India and Pakistan would never have happened had he acceded to Mahatma Gandhi’s choice of Jinnah as the Prime Minister of Unified India, he was virtually thrusting his views on the young audience that he was addressing.
Students need motivating and knowledgeable speakers to enlighten them on various issues in life. But when attempts are made by orators who depend on fictitious accounts to bring across an element of truth in their arguments, they only manage to sow the seeds of doubts in the young minds.
Much to the chagrin of the countrymen who have all along respected him for his sage outlook and religious dispositions, the Dalai Lama’s efforts at distorting facts from the pages of Indian history has no parallels.
For that matter, spiritual leaders need to shun the habit of getting into needless controversies with their spur of the moment comments which create embarrassment all around and does nothing much to enhance their reputation.
Moreover, a feeling that the religious teachers should limit their roles to what they are adept at instead of playing out to the gallery at every available opportunity with their unsage acts has only served to be a reminder of the fact that as human beings they are susceptible to the frailties that distinguishes a mere mortal from the divine.
However, as well-liked and admired personalities, the onus is on them to ensure that their rhetoric does not produce unsavoury situations in its wake.
It is generally observed that their popularity provokes the spiritual leaders into meddling in all ‘earthly’ affairs under the impression that they are serving the humanity.
No doubt service to man is service to God, but when this humanitarian gesture begins gaining a political connotation, it is obvious that the ‘great masters’ have stepped into areas way beyond their expertise.
Brokering peace or providing solutions to political imbroglios can never be associated with spiritual guidance.
It is however a common belief that religious teachers in India have this penchant for extending their spiritual reach to even encompass the political domain.
His shortcomings vis-à-vis the India-Tibet-China stand-off notwithstanding, for a man who helped find a home for the thousands of Tibetan refugees who flooded into India and assisted the Dalai Lama to set up a government in-exile after his expulsion from Tibet in 1959 by China, it is indeed unfortunate that for the Tibetan spiritual leader Nehru’s ‘kindness’ finds no gratitude.(Published on 20th August 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 34)