Doing it at ungodly hours

China’s unfriendliness is revealing

A sign of the nature of a relationship between countries is the manner in which they officially communicate displeasure. So when the Chinese government calls in the Indian ambassador at 2am, to hand her details of plans by Tibetan protesters to disrupt the movement of the Olympic torch in India, you know what the Chinese think about the nature of bilateral relationship. China might have reason to be angry. That it chose to be demonstrate unfriendliness reveals that it believes the proper way to handle India is through overreaction and bullying.

India responded by cancelling Commerce Minister Kamal Nath’s trip to China. The unwritten rules of the game would have suggested tit-for-tat: that the Chinese ambassador be summoned at 2am and handed some inane document. (But where’s the joy is having to meet a Chinese diplomat at 2am? Asking Mr Kamal Nath to cancel his tickets was easier. In any case, the Chinese ambassador, expecting to be called in at an ungodly hour, must have spent the night in his suit, waiting for the call that didn’t come. Not calling him, arguably, was more punishing than calling him in)

China has escalated its diplomatic offensive. The first round was when Premier Wen Jiabao issued a disguised warning. In the second round, the disguise has come off. But it’s a bad move: as the UPA government’s decision to call off Kamal Nath’s trip shows, bullying is the worst strategy China could take against India. Even its mouthpieces can’t generate enough propaganda to prevent public opinion from massively turning against Beijing. China would do well to conduct its business at normal working hours.

Update: Read Tarun Vijay’s op-ed

17 thoughts on “Doing it at ungodly hours”

  1. India should summon the Chinese ambassador at odd hours every night to assure him that China faces no threat from India. And a typical taxi driver should be sent to pick him up – as soon as he arrives at the embassy, he should honk hard enough to make every Pandapoker jump out of his skin 😛

  2. Mihir,

    And why not? It is imperative that the government of China know that India is committed to the One China policy at all times; even at 2am. But ambassadors travel in Mercedeses and have their own drivers who, being diligent followers of their employers’ written instructions might forget to properly sound horn to alert their employer of the arrival. I propose that the government take care of this by giving “missed calls” (an idea proposed by another regular reader, via email) to the ambassador.

    But I do not approve of the young man who sent me an email saying that his group of friends should be allowed to paint Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai on the embassy cars in bright red paint, when the embassy staff go out on shopping trips. Because red paint does not sufficiently indicate that it is Indians who are signalling the goodwill.

  3. China is probably warning India not to play the Tibet card too much (which I suspect we might have, in private). As long as China doesn’t block things like the nuclear deal (as member of the NSG), it serves us to keep quiet on Tibet.

    Tibet and Taiwan will remain a good leverage points with China with for a long time. Just like China has Pakistan, Bangladesh, NE rebels, and of course our very own commies!

  4. China showing signs of throwing their toys out of the pram. The full Tibet protest issue has really rattled them hard. It was good on India’s part to reply in the way it did. And the denial was even better.

  5. What bothers me that there is no media uproar about it, there are no reams and reams of pages being spent to talk about the Tibetans and the treatment meted out by China to us. Instead, we do a have report of a commie meeting which reaffirmed support for the Palestine cause. If the Indian media was “neutral”, they would have neutered the commies by now for their double standards.

  6. UPA government did the right thing by calling off the trip…..the government is trying its best to have a cordial relationship with China…….But then this should not be taken as a sign of weakness…..

  7. Diplomacy is supposed to be result-oriented and not of hope-mongering sort. China will construe our hesitation precisely for what it is: a sign of weakness.

  8. what would chanakya/patel/indira do at this point? basically issue a statement saying “we are boycotting the games because of tibetian suppression chinese aggression against arunachal — we will make up our mind to attend or not, a month before the games”. use the 4 month period to negotiate ourselves a better arunachal deal(non-aggression pact, indian sovereignty, etc) . tibet, of course, is a lost cause….but we can use this crisis china is facing to our own advantage.

  9. There’s news coming out that Kamal Nath’s trip cancellation was also China’s doing. Delhi wasn’t protest-signalling or anything, rather Beijing’s protestations extended to cancel Nath’s trip.

    And sad I am to say this but this govt doesn’t inspire confidence in doing anything like sending protest signals to China. Not enough self-belief (or ‘spine’ as some call it).

    Just my 2 paise.
    /Have a nice day, all.

  10. More funnier way is to boycott the games citing security of the players; India won’t loose anything more than a bronze medal (based on past history).

  11. That PRC’s leadership is dominated by fascist elements is quite obvious.Since communist takeover PRC has morphed into a sort of Nazi Germany – sabre rattling,bullying , invading and annexing weak neighbouring country(Tibet) or its territory(India’s Aksai Chin) and of course territorial claims(Arunachal Pradesh).Remember Poland and Sudetenland and then the rest of Europe.Nehru’s China appeasement policiy like that of Chamberlain’s towards Nazi Germany has now got us a menace at our bordes.PRC’s great plan is to dismember India with help of Pakistan,fifth columnists i.e.communists and our naive,corrupt leaders.With imploding India everything is up for grabs – Ladakh,Nepal,Sikkim,Bhutan and of course the North East.A weak U S,indifferent Europe and not so friendly Russia will make PRC unstopable.Since 1947 our foreign policy or lack of failed to committ us to a true friend – the U.S.President Bush’s strong efforts to bring our two countries closer are being frustrated by China and Iran’s allies in the Lok Sabha.We have always been our worst enemies.

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