Naren­dra Modi, Xi Jin­ping’s fake smiles mask un­der­ly­ing hos­til­ity

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - By De­nis Dy­omkin and Thomas Escritt

THERE is con­sid­er­able en­thu­si­asm over the meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing the in­for­mal Brics meet­ing on the side­lines of the re­cent G20 sum­mit. Ear­lier, the Chi­nese me­dia said that there would be no meet­ing and talks be­tween the two lead­ers.

The Chi­nese for­eign min­istry also ruled out a meet­ing, say­ing that the “at­mos­phere” was not con­ducive for such talks, even as the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs (MEA) clar­i­fied no meet­ing had been sought. These Chi­nese an­nounce­ments of no meet­ing and no dis­cus­sion were for the con­sump­tion of the Chi­nese public and to cre­ate the im­pres­sion that In­dia re­quested such a meet­ing which was re­jected by China – to talk of the Chi­nese threat of sup­port­ing Sikkim in­de­pen­dence – an ob­vi­ous dis­trac­tion from the sup­pres­sion of Ti­betans and Uighurs in Xin­jiang.

There was no logic to such blus­ter. China knew full well that Modi and Xi would have to meet at the in­for­mal Brics meet at Hamburg hosted by China, in the run up to the 9th Brics sum­mit which will be hosted by China from Septem­ber 3 to 5 at Xi­a­men City.

The web­site of China’s Peo­ple’s Daily dis­played the pho­to­graph of a smil­ing Modi and Xi hold­ing hands and stand­ing along­side the pres­i­dents of Brazil, Rus­sia and South Africa at Hamburg. In fact, Modi and Jin­ping held an in­for­mal meet­ing and had a con­ver­sa­tion on a range of is­sues, as in­ti­mated by the MEA spokesper­son. Whether the Sikkim stand-off came up dur­ing the dis­cus­sion is not known, but most likely it would have not been men­tioned by ei­ther leader.


At the Brics in­for­mal meet, Xi called for “peace­ful set­tle­ment of re­gional con­flicts and dis­putes”, ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for In­dia’s strong re­solve against ter­ror­ism as well In­dia’s suc­cess in eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

He also called for con­sol­i­da­tion of the G20 as the pre­mier plat­form for in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic co-op­er­a­tion. Xi also ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion of progress made by Brics un­der the ear­lier stew­ard­ship of Modi.

Modi too, praised the progress made by Brics un­der Xi, while em­pha­sis­ing the need for co-op­er­a­tion aimed at global eco­nomic re­cov­ery. He called for G20 to col­lec­tively op­pose ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing, fran­chises, safe havens, sup­port and spon­sors.

Re­fer­ring to the in­tro­duc­tion of GST in In­dia, Modi ad­vo­cated a col­lec­tive stand against the prac­tice of pro­tec­tion­ism, specif­i­cally in spheres of trade and move­ment of knowl­edge and pro­fes­sion­als, while also re­it­er­at­ing In­dia’s com­mit­ment in im­ple­ment­ing the Paris Agree­ment.

While Xi men­tioned the sig­nif­i­cance of the Paris Agree­ment and the need for it to be im­ple­mented, his al­lud­ing to ter­ror­ism was limited men­tion­ing In­dia’s strong re­solve.

Utopi­ans in In­dia ap­pear up­beat at Xi’s men­tion of “peace­ful set­tle­ment of re­gional con­flicts and dis­putes”, not know­ing what lies be­hind the mask and the fake smile.

It may be re­called that Modi and Xi met on June 9 (on the side­lines of the Shang­hai Co-op­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion) sum­mit at As­tana, Kaza­khstan, where both lead­ers con­curred that bi­lat­eral dif­fer­ences should not lead to dis­putes.

But even as Xi shook hands with Modi and smiled away (as in Hamburg), it has now emerged that dur­ing the night of June 8 to 9, Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army troops were break­ing bunkers of the Royal Bhutan Army on the Doka La Plateau, in clear vi­o­la­tion of the writ­ten Bhutan-China agree­ment that pend­ing a fi­nal bound­ary set­tle­ment, peace and tran­quil­lity be main­tained along the bound­ary and both sides re­frain from uni­lat­er­ally al­ter­ing the sta­tus on ground.

So, there is no cause for op­ti­mism. China will con­tinue to main­tain, as she is do­ing now, that there is no dis­pute be­cause the Doka La prop­erty is Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. This, even as “an­other bla­tant lie” of China has been ex­posed by Claude Arpi, who ex­posed that Ti­bet was not sig­na­tory to the Sikkim-Ti­bet Treaty of 1890 that China has been flout­ing in or­der to claim Doka La. Arpi also high­lighted that leav­ing aside 1890, China did not agree to a treaty on the Bhutan-Ti­bet and Sikkim-Ti­bet bor­ders un­til as late as 1960.

This was an­other fact that China did not men­tion when it went about us­ing the 1890 doc­u­ment as the ba­sis of its claim over Doka La. China pre­tends there was no need to get the treaty ap­proved by the Ti­betan gov­ern­ment but China had no con­trol over Ti­bet in 1890, and was merely rep­re­sented by a res­i­dent, which means pre­cisely zilch.

China’s move to il­le­gally oc­cupy the Doka La Plateau is based on the three prin­ci­ples of am­bi­gu­ity, de­cep­tion and de­ceit she has been us­ing since time im­memo­rial.

Joint state­ment

Sub­se­quently, the joint state­ment of the G20 stated: “We, the lead­ers of the G20, strongly con­demn all ter­ror­ist at­tacks world­wide and stand united and firm in the fight against ter­ror­ism and its fi­nanc­ing. These atro­cious acts have strength­ened our re­solve to co-op­er­ate to en­hance our se­cu­rity and pro­tect our cit­i­zens. Ter­ror­ism is a global scourge that must be fought and ter­ror­ist safe havens elim­i­nated in ev­ery part of the world.”

At the G20, Modi equated Pak­istan-based ter­ror­ist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mo­hammed with the Is­lamic State and Al-Qaeda.

In­dia’s best op­tion is to hold fast un­til China agrees to mu­tual de-es­ca­la­tion. – First­post

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