By Lt Col Zaheerul Hassan (R)
Police in China shot dead more protesters on January 24 and 25 this year in Tibetan-inhabited regions as unrest spread to some other areas. China’s Sichuan province, which has big ethnic populations, has been rocked by violent clashes.
The new spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhist monks and successor of Dalai Lama, Lobsang Sangay, head of the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile has called on the international community “to not remain passive” and “to intervene to prevent further bloodshed,” by the Chinese security forces.
The United States on January 24, while hinting towards heavy hands by the Chinese security forces, said that it was ‘seriously concerned’ by the situation, calling on Beijing to exercise restraint. On the other side, on the same day, a China’s spokesman Hong Lei accused “overseas secessionist groups” of trying to discredit the government by hyping accounts of what happened, while Chinese official news agency, Xinhua, citing local authorities, revealed that police used lethal force after a violent mob attacked on them with knives, gasoline bottles and guns.
In the past few years, several persons died in the terror-incidents and ethnic riots occurred in various regions of China’s Xinjiang-the largely populated Muslim province. For all the incidents, India blamed Pakistani militants for supporting the insurgency in order to deteriorate Sino-Pak ties and to cover India’s role behind Tibetan insurgency.
In fact, New Delhi which had given shelter to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama along with his 120,000 followers since a failed revolt against Chinese rule in 1959 has been playing a key role in assisting upsurge in the Tibetan and Muslim areas of China—by mobilising armed groups to create instability in Chinese neighboring provinces and enabling Tibetan leaders to get international support in distorting the image of Beijing.
It is mentionable that Maoist guerrilla commanders who are waging a war inside India, have been providing basic military training to local youths in West Bengal. They use weapons which they have snatched from the installations of Indian security forces. Since their struggle, they have kidnapped a number of personnel of the armed forces. Some poor persons, serving in the Indian forces have also provided them with arms and ammunition.
While on the one hand, Indian politicians and media realise the real causes of Maoist uprising such as political, social and economic injuctices, but on the other, they still accuse China of backing the Maoist guerrilla warfare.The fact of the matter is that Indian secret agency RAW with the assistance of American CIA and Israeli Mossad have intermittently been arranging subversive acts in Tibetan regions of China. For this purpose, RAW has set up a number of camps where Tibetan militants are being imparted training, and are then being sent to China along with arms and ammunition. In this respect, Afghanistan has also become the hub of regional conspiracies, particularly directed against Pakistan, China and even Iran.
It is notable that on March 10, 2008, when anti-government violent protests by Buddhist monks erupted in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa and later on flared in nearby provinces India, while acting upon a secret diplomacy, backed the same.
In this context, Indian Former Foreign minister Yashwant Sinha had argued that we should intervene to secure Tibet’s freedom. He explained, “We want good relations with China. I am not saying let’s have war with China. But if we reach a point of conflict over Tibet, we should be prepared for that eventuality.”
In May 1998, when India detonated five nuclear tests, former Defence Minister George Fernandes who had declared publicly that “China is India’s potential threat No. 1”, pointed out, while advocating Tibetan independence, “If need be, I am prepared to march to Lhasa in support of this movement.”
Indian assistance to Tibetan insurgency could be noted from its contradictions. New Delhi shows that it does not favour an independence of Tibet and avoids any propaganda against China. On the other hand, Indian media had left no stone unturned in exaggerating the casualties by manipulating China’s crackdowns against the militants of Tibet—which were essential to restore law and order. Full coverage was given to the ambivalent statements of Tibetan leaders and western propagandists.
Regarding Tibetan upsurge of 2008, on April 14 that year, Express India news agency (online) had strongly advocated the position of Dalai Lama. While concealing the sinister designs of India, the paper quoted Lama as saying, “He was saddened by the anti-Chinese protests that marred the traditional Olympics torch relay through the streets of London, Paris and San Francisco”. India’s other leading newspapers and TV channels had also propagated against China in relation to military action and civilian casualties.
The matter of anti-China campaign is not confined to Indian press; even general public as well as intellectuals in the country are working against Chinese integration. In this context, Dr Abanti Bhattacharya, associate fellow of Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Delhi, wrote in Asia Times Online on December 7, 2007, “India has the Tibet card, if it chooses to use. The very presence of the Dalai Lama in India along with Tibetan refugees spread across 35 settlements is leverage for India.”
However, indicating the official stand, taken by the Indian government tactfully, the Dalai Lama had revealed that he wanted to talk to China for autonomy, but not outright independence for his homeland. In fact, both New Delhi and Lama had covertly planned bloodshed in Tibet including other adjoining territories, motivating the people for liberation.
Chinese state-run newspaper, the People’s Daily had said in this connection that Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize had “never abandoned violence since fleeing to India”—and he “is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics of August 2008 hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions for Tibet’s independence.
As regards the Indian dual Tibet policy, the same has significant security problems for China owing to the entanglement of the issue in the Sino-Indian border dispute. In the post-1949 period, when the People’s Republic of China came into being, India urged China to let Tibet be an autonomous region. On April 29, 1954, through an agreement, New Delhi had recognised Tibet as part of China. After the Indo-China war of 1962, China returned the land it had occupied in Arunachal Pradesh. Indeed, China’s claim over Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) on the basis of old Tibetan religious links is logical.
Indian intervention in the Tibetan areas cannot bee seen in isolation; there are also other fundamental reasons behind Indian double game. Fast growing economic power of China coupled with its rising strategic relationship with the Third World; especially Pakistan—development of Gwader seaport in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan by Beijing has irked the eyes of Americans and Indians. Owing to this jealousy, US support to India for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the formation of the East Asia Summit, the US-India nuclear deal, Obama’s announcement of recent defence strategy, which calls for greater US military presence in Asia, maintenance of six permanent bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014 and Indo-US anti-Pakistan secret game—all are part of American desire to make India a major world power to counterbalance the power of China in Asia. All these developments show future intentions of New Delhi which is apparently, emphasising close ties with Beijing where most of the Chinese see India as a “future strategic competitor” rather than a partner.
In the recent past, US President Obama also met Dalai Lama so as to indirectly encourage insurgency in China. Nevertheless, it is because of the strategic developments in Asia and some western countries’ so-called moral support to the Tibetans that the upsurge in these areas is being exploited by these anti-China countries.
India which apparently shows mutual cooperation with China, showing inactive approach in the solution of border dispute, has clandestinely been increasing military build up near the Chinese border, coupled with covert assistance to the Tibetan insurgents as part of its shrewd diplomacy.