ASIA'S GREAT GAME HEATS UP - 2
Alarm bells have been ringing here for some time over Chinese moves to integrate its defence and energy policies. It recently established a National Development Research Council, which includes the defence ministry, to manage oil policy. Intelligence reports from Beijing also quote Chinese president Hu Jintao as telling the Central Military Commission that one of the main aim of defence modernisation and expansion is to defend oil supply lines. In line with this objective, China has since 1996 focused on naval vessels such as nuclear submarines, destroyers and carriers that allow it to step out beyond its marine boundaries to protect its ships carrying crude. Simultaneously, it has exploited its geographical advantage by acquiring acreages in neighbouring Kazakhstan, Russia and Myanmar. Another cause of worry for India is that while it struggles to create a five-million-tonne strategic stockpile of crude, China has raised its reserves of POL (petrol, oil and lubricants) to 90 days’ consumption.
Never underestimate the Chinese. They have an ongoing border dispute with India. They fought over it in 1962. The Chinese ambassador raised the issue just prior to the Chinese president's visit to India. Then, both leaders"graciously" agreed to settle the issue amicably. Yesterday, the Chinese foreign minister tried to get on India's good side by blaming the border trouble on"Western colonist."
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on Tuesday blamed"Western colonist" of yesteryear for creating the border problem between China and India. He was confident that the two nations would find a proper solution to the problem on the basis of mutual respect.
"I believe the Chinese people and Indian people, who have won the struggle for national liberation, have enough wisdom and capability to find a proper solution to the issue left over by history," Li said while addressing a press conference in the backdrop of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament.
The last time I saw the issue discussed on Indian TV, the experts were not interested in following Chinese advice to give up border territory:
India should “return” Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to China for resolving the vexed border issue as Beijing does not want to see instability in Tibet, a leading Chinese scholar has said. “Tawang is central to the resolution of the Sino-Indian border issue,” Professor Ma Jiali with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a leading government think-tank said.
Democracies do not fight each other. China better democratize soon.
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