Thursday, September 18, 2014

China's "authorized" govt portal calls Modi fundamentalist, says his Japan visit showed he lacks diplomatic skill

By Our Representative
In a curious development, the day on which Chinese president Xi Jinping landed in Ahmedabad, September 17, birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to kickstart his three-day visit, a top English language news and views website site that Xi's visit to India came when India was "transitioning into rule by the Hindu right wing BJP and new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has no qualms about his fundamentalist credentials.” The site, which published its commentary in the Opinion column, emphatically recalls that Modi was “accused of turning a blind eye to the killings of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots when he was chief minister of the state of Gujarat in 2002.”
China.org.cn is described by the portal as “the authorized government portal site to China, published under the auspices of the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group in Beijing”. The says, “China.org.cn offers broad access to up-to-date news about China, with searchable texts of government position papers and a wealth of basic information about Chinese history, politics, economics and culture.” Introducing the write of the article, the site calls Sajjad Malik as a “Pakistan-based analyst”, adding, “Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of china.org.cn.” Yet, it is not known why it has been characterized as the “Editor’s Pick”, with no other Opinion piece on the subject.
The article believes Modi messed up his foreign policy during his visit to Japan. It says, “After winning election this year, (Modi) tried to change his profile by inviting regional leaders for his swearing in ceremony in May, but his lack of diplomatic skills became apparent during his recent visit to Japan, when he tried to exploit Sino-Japanese tension by pledging a ‘new level’ of ties with Tokyo. The move was interpreted as shoring up an alliance against China, but Modi's choice of words led some analysts to dub him the ‘Indian Shinzo Abe’.”
The article further comments that Modi during his Japan visit, Modi was “overtly expressive when he said that the ‘expansionist’ ideas of the 18th century are still visible in the world and that some countries "encroach" on others, some ‘enter the seas’, and some ‘capture others' territory’.” Supporting China in the Sino-Japanese dispute over a group of islands, which Modi apparently tried to trigger, it underlines, “These criticisms unmistakably refer to Beijing's rival claim to a set of Islands in the East China Sea which are under Tokyo's control. China also imposed an air defense zone over the sea last year.”
Despite all this, the commentary says, “Despite heavy historical baggage and some acerbic nationalistic feelings, the two Asian giants cannot afford to let border issues overshadow their economic ties. China is India's biggest trading partner, with total trade between the two countries valued at nearly US$70 billion. The trade balance is tilted in China's favour, as India's trade deficit with it has soared to over US$40 billion. India will try to use this visit to leverage ties in its favor by building commercial relations and luring surplus Chinese investment to India.”
Pointing out that the improvement of ties between China and India is extremely important for the region and the world, the commentary says, “The two countries have taught the world a lesson in diplomacy by putting festering issues on the backburner, allowing these two rivals to explore joint interests and build economic ties, even while their armies stand on either side of a border staring each other down.”
The article advises Pakistan, “which has excellent ties with China and abysmal ties with India”, to “closely watch how its two mighty neighbours build trust and enact measures which were unthinkable a few decades ago. Xi's visit is also a test case for Modi to resolve the contradictions of his double role as a representative of fundamentalist lobbies in India and as a statesman for the world.” It says, Modi cannot hope to “ride on two horses at the same time. There are reports from India that Modi's allies in extremist groups in India have become bolder since he assumed power. He will have to keep them in check if he wants to stand toe to toe with China.”
The article believes, “The visit of the Chinese leader will boost Modi's image when he goes to America later this month for a meeting with President Barack Obama, who shunned Modi for years due to the allegations about his role in the Gujarat killings”, even as recalling that while Xi, who pays his visit to the South Asian countries of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India, was to visit Pakistan as well but it was “scrapped due to the political disturbance caused by opposition protests in front of the parliament building in the heart of the capital, Islamabad.”

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