Caving into China’s pressure

Predictably, at the first sign of China’s displeasure, the “56-inch chested” Narendra Modi government caved in and withdrew the visa it had issued in Germany to the Uyghur dissident Dolkun Issa to attend a democracy conference in Dharamsala, involving also the Tibetan-government-in-Exile. It is a development that reveals the extent of fear and cowardice informing India’s China policy and the depths to which it is prepared to go to please the Xi-dispensation. In an interview that presaged his callow treatment —,
Issa actually indicated the escape route New Delhi had kept open for itself in case Beijing reacted badly.

Issa said he couldn’t risk coming to India to attend the conference if he wasn’t provided full security because, he implied, Chinese assassins would eliminate him on Indian soil. The Indian government’s formal position could be that promise of security did not automatically follow on the issual of a visa to Issa. But because it was not sure Issa would be deterred from flying into New Delhi, it wouldn’t take that chance, whence the cancellation of the Issa visa.

This is among the most self-degrading stomach-churning kowtows New Delhi has affected in many years, a craven diplomatic back-pedaling on the Issa visa issue that has handed Beijing a political victory on a platter, and shown Asian countries who is boss. So much for NSA Ajit Doval and MEA Minister Shushma Swaraj’s finger wagging at China’s successful move in the UN to shield the Pakistan Army-protected terrorist chieftain, Mahmood Azar, from being designated a terrorist and put on the Interpol watch list. A watch list, ironically, China claims Issa is on and India should respect (by arresting him on his arrival)!

Tibet and Xinjiang are terribly oppressed by China, the PLA acting as brutal occupation forces in the last 60 some years. The brutalization of the Tibetan and Uyghurian natives in Tibet and Xinjiang respectively are instances of “cultural genocide” the world has not taken notice of. India is directly affected by the dissidence in these Chinese-occupied lands but shows so little appetite for a fight — even as New Delhi is always ready to flex its muscle and its mouth when it comes to a piddling Pakistan, that India is repeatedly shown up for the proverbial 110-pound weakling it is. It also reveals India’s real standing in the world.

It is becoming harder and harder to take Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “nationalist” professions/pretensions seriously. What is evident is that the Modi government when not bending to the US will, is kowtowing to China in abject submission. My longtime advocacy to payback China in the same card as it has deliberately disadvantaged India — by nuclear missile arming Vietnam and Philippines (in return for Beijing’s missile arming Pakistan), and aggressive activation of the Tibetan freedom and Uyghur secessionist cards by assisting armed Tibetan and Uyghur freedom fighters in exchange for China’s sustaining secessionist movements/rebellions in the Indian northeast, has thus hit a road block from the one source that this analyst had not anticipated. Whatever Modi’s Gujrati petty trader instincts for compromise in any and all situations, this prompt and willing surrender to China was not expected.

Trust the Indian government to lie down and let China walk all over India. Indians better get used to our country being the rag on the floor for every big country to step on and soil.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in arms exports, Asian geopolitics, Central Asia, China, China military, domestic politics, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, guerilla warfare, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Politics, Internal Security, Missiles, Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan, Pakistan military, SAARC, society, South Asia, South East Asia, Strategic Relations with South East Asia & Far East, Terrorism, US., Vietnam, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Caving into China’s pressure

  1. ishant 79 says:

    i never expected this kind of symbolism & reverse pedaling from the modi govt.

  2. andy says:

    If Modi won’t then who will?With once in a lifetime mandate backing his govt, all of us expected that there would be a more robust policy vis a vis the Chinese from India, but sorry to see such backpedaling in the name of compromise.The decision to grant a visa to Dolkun Issa by India was a well deserved poke in the eye for China stalling Masood Azhar being designated a terrorist in the UN,but at the first sign of çhinas displeasure at this move, it has been revoked. What could be a more spineless display?Why grant a visa to Dolkun in the first place if the will to follow through on the decision was lacking? If this is what a little saber rattling by China does to India’s politicians, one shudders to think what might happen if things really got serious on the LAC.

  3. &^%$@! says:

    @BK, it’s not merely an issue of the Indians caving into a PRC. Take for example the stifling of the A5/6 programs, the insipid K-4 tests, and of course the N-sell out. These have been largely done at the behest of the West. Compared to these “compromises”, the Dolkun Issa incident pales into insignificance. The problem is that the Indian system has become so corrupt and compromised, that all an enemy has to do is to kick in the door and the whole rotten edifice will come crashing down.

  4. ~!@#$%^*()_+ says:


    Chaubey ji chale Chabbey ji ban-ne aur Dubey ji ban kar laute.

    Yaar who decided to advertise the granting of Dolkun Visa in the first place. Hud ho gayi bhai.

  5. Satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Any chance of an Agni V test in May, or is the program in deep freeze ? I would worry more about this than any visa incident. The wait for Agni V testing is getting frustrating. Shame on NaMo’s govt. It is proving to be a UPA clone.

      • MS says:

        I do not agree with you here though your headline is correct. Please consider the entire picture.

        The last 10 years of UPA have set us back by as many years-both on creation of new industrial capabilities and the defence weaponry-technology acquisition/purchase, and also surviving by backtracing our steps towards delhi everytime the Chinese coildiers came marching in.

        Giving Visa would have an unnecessary distraction.

        2. We can’t provide nuclear bomb knowhow to Vietnam-the world will know. Can’t afford disruption in economic growth because of some new denial regime coming into force. India could provide long range missile technology to them but bombs they have get from somehere else.

        However, as TOI said that India has egg on its face. Because the newspapers were carrying for a few days how our leaders are raising the issue of a pakistani terrorist with China and Pak-with photo-ops and all. I wish someone could fathom and feel the impluse before thinking of this Visa as a negotiating leverage with Chinese. So, our experts went to China and got clear warning-“you reject the visa and we will do what we like”.

        Now even Pak diplomats would take us for a ride-see what comes of the meetings in future. They have smelt our power or the lack of it.

        What are our choices? I thought you could mention them too-dance with America but not beg for technology. let the private sector woo the American firms backed by GOI. Avoid limelight and just do the thing while leaders of US-India have drinks together..

        Dance with our friend Russia and there, work with the govt on technology because the govt controls everything.

        Newspapers have called the visa thing an egg on our face-the little bit of egg will show when we meet Americans. How do we come out of this humiliation?

    • &^%$#@! says:

      The A5/A6 programs are approaching the level of deep freeze. It will need a tremendous jolt to the Modi to get him out of his “Mir Jaffar mode” to get the missile and N-programs out of deep freeze and to full steam. This man is getting worse by the day:

  6. As I have written elsewhere in the blog, by recovering the maneuvering space for Indian policy and freedom of action, which are being gradually eroded.

  7. ~!@#$%^*()_+ says:

    First that now this:


    Lu Jinghua, a well-known Tiananmen activist, said she was about to board an Air India flight from New York when she was told her visa was cancelled despite an earlier email confirmation.

    Ananth Krishnan | Posted by Nivedita Dash
    Beijing, April 28, 2016 | UPDATED 11:31 IST

  8. ~!@#$%^*()_+ says:

    Well now, why should the President by left behind.

    In an interview to the Post Courier, a newspaper here, he said “India doesn’t see itself in competition with any other country in this regard”, after talking of maritime security, terrorism and piracy being major concerns to India and Papua New Guinea. He also said India was ready to cooperate with Pacific Island countries in protecting their Exclusive Economic Zones.

    I admit I have missed the logic behind this self-actuated need to make statements about our relationship with third countries.

    How difficult is it to state things in affirmative language in the context of India-Host relationship.

    Now merely because of lose language the Chindu goes about twisting the meaning.

    Jitne aache bun ne ki koshish karoge utna hi log galat fayada uthane ki koshish karenge.

    Aren’t these questions to the President vetted in advance?

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