China has grabbed over a part of Arunachal Pradesh and covets more of Indian territory, everybody knows. So it’s no surprise when Beijing, on the ground that India and China had ‘never officially settled’ for demarcation of their border, objects to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh ten days ago, which he undertook for electioneering. The first question, nonetheless, above all matters of border dispute, which stares us straight in our eyes is why China is so particular about that visit. Yes, the objection raised – which Beijing termed as a ‘consistent and clear-cut stand – isn’t crystal-clear anyway; it has left many domestic pundits filled with suspicion. What exactly it wanted to show by the protest? That it’s okay with elections in the state but uncomfortable only with prime minister’s visit.
The point calls for rumination to study Beijing’s intents. The state, as it has many times in the past, is going to Assembly elections, many political parties, including one national party to which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh belongs, is not just in the fray but has good chances; people have participated in ballot enthusiastically and in large number, are all these things equally objectionable to China as well? If not, why a visit by Indian PM? Going by simple principles of logic, Beijing should either be okay with all of these, or, it should be uncomfortable with all of these, that’s what it is.
Is conduction of elections in Arunachal Pradesh and participation of national parties in it and their forming the government, are all these things equally objectionable to China as well? If not, why a visit by Indian PM? Beijing should either be okay with all of these, or, it should be uncomfortable with all of these, that’s what it is.
Protest against PM’s visit can be seen only in two aspects: China wants to assert that elections in the state, though conducted by Election Commission and fought by both national and regional parties which get impressing voters percentage, have no connection with rest of the India including central leadership. It is a reverie only few can afford. Or, Beijing aspires to first object to any central leader visiting or taking part in election process in the state and then to expand this protest to the conduction of very elections by Election Commission of India. Given our neighbour’s track record, second probability is where Chinese objection fits best. Successful elections in Arunachal Pradesh testifies New Delhi’s stand that it is an unalienable part of India.
Apparently, the issue between the two countries seems to be becoming relatively graver. It no longer seems to be confined to border dispute alone. More so because the current Chinese objection should be linked with the obstruction it recently caused to a part of a loan to India from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for developmental projects in Arunachal Pradesh. Of late, it’s increasing the scope of its protest to everything that shows Arunachal Pradesh, no matter disputed territory or else, as part of India to the world and world institutions, indicating that what it covets is not merely solution of disputed border in its favour, but more territory, more of the state.
To its utter misfortune, higher turnout in assembly elections in the state is a fitting slap right in its face.