China's nuanced response to India's bid for UNSC seat

China's nuanced response to India's bid for UNSC seat

No breakthrough on stapled visa row; India drops mention of Taiwan

China's nuanced response to India's bid for UNSC seat

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI “China attaches great importance to India’s status in international affairs as a large developing country, understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council,” read the joint communiqué issued after a meeting between the visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Thursday.

China has never supported New Delhi’s bid for a permanent Security Council seat.
The two countries failed to make any breakthrough on several contentious issues including the Chinese policy of issuing ‘stapled visas’ to Indian citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. China’s stapled-visas-for-Jammu and Kashmir-residents policy is seen as its own way of questioning India’s claim on the State.  Keeping in view India’s repeated protests over the Chinese policy of issuing stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chinese Premier himself raised the issue during his talks with Singh at Hyderabad House here.

No immediate change

The Chinese Premier, however, did not promise any immediate change in the policy and just said that Beijing was looking into the issue seriously in the wake of the protests from New Delhi.

Beijing’s refusal to change the policy immediately and stop casting doubts on Jammu and Kashmir’s status as an integral part of India prompted New Delhi to drop words of its support to China’s stand on Tibet and Taiwan from the joint communiqué issued after the parleys between the two premiers.

India had been routinely recognising Tibet Autonomous Region as an integral part of China in all the previous joint declarations and other bilateral documents in line with its One-China policy.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao later told journalists that the two sides had agreed that officials of both the countries would have more consultations on the issue of stapled visas.

New Delhi, however, added that the onus of making a forward movement on the issue of stapled visa was on China, as India had already made it clear that any move questioning the status of J&K was unacceptable to it.

Rao, however, sought to play down the absence of reference to India’s stand on Tibet and Taiwan in the joint communiqué.

“Our position on Tibet Autonomous Region and our One-China policy are well known. Premier Wen in fact lauded us for not allowing anti-China political activity in India,” she said.

In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing last month, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had equated India’s sensitivity on the issue of J&K with the same of China on Tibet and Taiwan.

India has also declined to resume its defence exchange with China.
“What we have agreed is that both sides should endeavour to create bases to continue defence exchange without any constraint,” said Rao.

Defence ties on hold

India had put on hold all its defence exchanges with China after Beijing denied visa to a senior officer of Indian Army as his operational area included Jammu and Kashmir.
Wen is visiting New Delhi at the end of a year that has seen the UK Prime Minister David Cameroon, US President Barack Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy all coming to India and openly supporting its bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC.

India also won elections for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for 2011-13 last October.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev too is expected to articulate Moscow’s support for India’s UNSC aspirations while visiting New Delhi later this month.

China – like UK, US, France and Russia – is a permanent member of the UNSC and is understood to have tacitly supported Pakistan-led move to scuttle India’s bid to enter the body.

India will begin its two-year term as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council from January 1 next.