Saturday, August 4, 2012

An opportunity lost, an advantage given

My article An opportunity lost, an advantage given about the opening of an Indian Consulate in Lhasa appeared on Thursday in The Pioneer.

Click here to read...

When New Delhi decided to downgrade India's relations with Tibet, the bare minimum it could have done was to have pushed the Chinese to settle the border issue. But, Prime Minister Nehru did nothing of the kind.
If I were asked to cite the biggest blunder of Jawaharlal Nehru’s foreign policy, I would find it hard to answer, but in the end it would probably be the downgrading of the Indian Mission in Lhasa in 1952. It was the most gratuitous act done by the Indian Government.
Let us go back a bit in history...

The next day, the Chinese Government said 'no' to the proposal. 
But India should continue to insist that it is also important for Beijing.

China says no to Indian consulate in Tibetan capital
Hindustan Times
August 03, 2012
Jayanth Jacob
Beijing has rejected New Delhi’s request to allow India to open a consulate in Lhasa, the administrative capital of Tibet. India’s request, first reported by HT, was in response to China’s desire to have a consulate in Chennai. Instead, Beijing has indicated that Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, could be an alternative location.
Chengdu is a key economic centre of western China and a consulate here would help the ever-expanding trade ties between the two countries. There are many Indian companies operating out of Chengdu.
However, the Indian side is not willing to settle for anything other than Lhasa, with officials noting that the “Chinese would naturally place Chengdu, or even Kunming before us”.
“We have asked for the re-opening for the consulate in Lhasa. It’s given to our understanding that Beijing is not keen on having any more mission in Lhasa or in any part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The issue of opening of new consulates in each other’s country is a matter of continuing discussion,” said an official familiar with the development.
According to diplomatic sources familiar with the developments, the Chinese don’t want more consulates in Lhasa, where only Nepal has one.
The Chinese side is wary because of a series of self-immolations in support of Tibet’s right to self-determination. These, Beijing says, were done at the behest of Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese look upon as a “splitist.”
The US has also been angling for a consulate in Lhasa. The consulates that come under the Indian embassy include Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai. 

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