An Indian fox for the Chinese dragon



National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently but he negotiates with Beijing in English. He is a pedigreed diplomat with roots in Kerala, but he is equally at ease with Punjabi aggressiveness in Delhi — including all the cuss words.

He is a sharp and complex individual who even the Chinese find it difficult to fathom. Since the day he took over as NSA from MK Narayanan in January, the India-China bilateral equation has undergone a perceptible change. That change reflects in the special representative (SR) border talks. The first meeting on these talks took place between then NSA Brajesh Mishra and then Chinese executive vice minister Dai Bingguo in June 2003. Much has changed then. As Menon and Bingguo, who is now state councillor, meet next month for the 15th round of the SR talks much has changed since 2003. Beijing no longer adopts the big brother attitude and there is more parity in the engagement.

The fact is all NSAs, from Mishra, to JN Dixit, or to Narayanan, kept talking about drawing a boundary line between India and Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is not that Menon is not interested in settling the border issue, but he and the UPA government have made it clear that they are not overtly eager if Chinese are not interested.

The previous NSAs were interested in maintaining status quo on the border dispute and they thought that fending off Beijing’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh was an achievement. Menon is made of different stuff. He turned the tables on China by asking Beijing to return Indian land lost in the 1962 war if it wanted to settle the border issue. Many may laugh at this “preposterous” proposal but there have been several surprises for the Chinese since Menon took over. First, India last year cancelled an unprecedented 30,000 business visas issued during Nirupama Rao’s tenure as ambassador to China. New Delhi then raised the issue of China granting stapled visas to Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh residents though Beijing had being doing so since 2008-2009. Beijing was flummoxed again when New Delhi suspended defence dialogue after China refused to give a visa to Lt General B S Jaswal, who was then Northern Army Commander, for a bilateral visit on the grounds that he was serving in Kashmir.

India resumed the defence dialogue only after a Major General level officer serving in Kashmir was permitted to go to Beijing this year and China stopped issuing stapled visas. The next point of friction was India’s ONGC tying up with the Vietnamese to explore hydrocarbons in South China Sea, which China has claims comes under its sovereignty. China vehemently objected to Indian presence in South China Sea, but New Delhi quietly responded by saying that it was going as per international laws. The latest and strongest Indian move was India’s cancellation of the SR dialogue last November. China wanted New Delhi to cancel a Buddhist Conference, which was to be addressed by Dalai Lama, during the same period but India refused to bend. It is evident from all these events that New Delhi has decided not to diplomatically molly coddle the Chinese any longer but are prepared to deal with them on the same plane.

It is easy to confuse the Indian posture as assertive or hard line but this is far from truth. This is simply neither Prime Minister Manmohan Singh nor Menon’s style of doing diplomacy with neighbours. New Delhi is plainly giving a signal to Beijing that it is in no hurry to settle the border dispute and is prepared to play the waiting game with Chinese leadership without blinking an eyelid. The Indian posture to Chinese presence in Indian Ocean is also quite similar as it has a proven naval capacity to respond to any aggressive manoeuvre by Beijing from Gulf of Aden to South China Sea. Given that India-China bilateral trade is touching $60 billion and is heavily tilted towards the latter, it is in Beijing’s interest also to improve its relationship with New Delhi.

While there have been feelers that the new political leadership under Xi Jingpin, who takes over as Chinese President from Hu Jintao next year, could be inclined to sort out the long pending border dispute, New Delhi expects forward movement in January border talks. The outlook on bilateral relations is optimistic as the foreign ministers of the two countries are meeting in February and then PM Singh is meeting President Hu Jintao in March in Delhi. If the annual defence dialogue this month is any indicator, then Beijing has realised that New Delhi cannot be trifled with any longer. For Menon, this was the first step in the changing relationship.

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  • Kumars1

    Never underestimate the British capacity for mischief making. A strong India is anathema to them. Beware.

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  • http://twitter.com/malla_m Makhan lal malla

    The people of Indian origin living in England or any other country must take note of the reasons which led some MPs of the House of Commons to debate Kashmir in the British parliament.The debate was prompted by constuency concerns of some MPs according to the report bublished here.Pakistan is trying hard to keep kashmir issue alive through various agencies such as Justice Foundation Kashmir centre which is linked to Fai and ISI.The people of Indian origin must rise to the occasion and counter the false propaganda against India in foreign countries.This will be a great service to the land of their forefathers.

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  • Anonymous

    Jai ho Menon! We need someone with balls!

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  • Abu Ahmed

    Good – as long as the USA is in our neighborhood, we must keep up this dignified, state-to-state talks. No need to be cowed down by China, as maintaining of peace is in everybody’s interest, not just of India & Indians.

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  • Anonymous

    When I say the new Chief of Air Staff, N. A. K. Browne, is a CIA-RAW man, I mean he literally sits at CIA-supplied terminals to participate in crimes against India. More than a thousand Indian Air Force aircraft have crashed since 1970, the vast majority of the crashes caused by microwaves from U. S. satellites which can hack into and operate any digital equipment. In his first week in office as Chief of Air Staff, Browne caused two Indian Air Force fighter planes to crash with microwaves from satellites, to give a boost to his bid to buy worse than worthless foreign aircraft for several tens of billions of dollars of which he will get a hefty cut along with the Defence Minister and the Italian woman who gets the largest cut. The Sukhoi crash on Dec. 13 ‘11 and the grounding of the Sukhoi fleet has been caused 2 days ahead of the purchase decision as the purchase was made impossible by my opposition to it. See IndianAirForcePilotsMurderDOTblogspotDOTcom . //I said on October 11 ‘11 ( GaddafiCrimeDOTblogspotDOTcom ) that the ’suicide’ of the chief test pilot Baldev Singh was murder, to facilitate the claim of the fraudulent ‘delay’ in inducting the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, being used to justify the worse than worthless purchase abroad. India builds Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft from raw materials; why do you need to buy fighter aircraft from abroad? [At this, A. K. Antony said on November 23 '11 that the Sukhoi-30 MKI assembly line can only make 16 aircraft per year. Why couldn't you set up another assembly line? As soon as I asked this question, the report in Deccan Herald was changed by RAW to eliminate the reference to assembly line limitation and a reference to a Sukhoi-30MKI crash in April '09 -- its first ever -- was inserted instead, having him say that the Indian Air Force will continue to use the Sukhoi-30MKI despite the crash along with the new aircraft to be bought from abroad and the Light Combat aircraft. The Sukhoi crash on Dec. 13 '11 has been caused 2 days ahead of the purchase decision as the purchase was made impossible by my opposition to it.] N. A. K. Browne, A. K. Antony and the Italian woman should be booked for the murder of Baldev Singh along with the head of RAW. All former heads of RAW should be booked for the murders of hundreds of Indian Air Force pilots. //Integrated Circuit chips made in the United States are required to provide for access to the United States National Security Agency so it can monitor and take control of their operations at will. Components and electronic equipment from the United States should be absolutely “haram”; far from lamenting ‘technology denial’, equipment from the United States should be rejected even if it is offered on a platter and free of charge as I have said. India’s bought-up Defence, Atomic Energy, Space and other officials deliberately close their eyes to this threat. This also applies to U. S.- made civilian aircraft, for example. There are two hundred thousand Indian engineers and scientists working in Research & Development for foreign companies in India but instead of putting its money in Research & Development ( in my letter dated January 5, 2004 to the press — see my blog — I had suggested one million Research & Development workers in India in government-sponsored projects), India’s CIA-RAW government buys foreign equipment in all fields to keep India poor, weak and enslaved. India’s government lends hundreds of billions of dollars to the U. S. government in exchange for worthless U. S. paper but seeks foreign investment and World Bank loans for projects in India, giving ownership and control of India to India’s enemies, despite the unlimited capital available to India by simply printing the money; see ‘How India’s Economy Can Grow 30% Per Year Or More’ in my blog; as is described there, the United States has been applying my proposal about money by stealth and now also openly but Manmohan Singh refuses to do so because this bugger — a CIA appointee — does what serves the United States’, not India’s, interests. //When Atal Behari Vajpayee was prime minister, he had once gone to Bombay and spoken to the stock exchange about applying my proposal about money to India’s economy, after which he had to abort his flight back to Delhi for fear his plane will crash. The murders of several politicians by air crash have been accomplished by microwaves from satellites. A recent example was the murder of the Andhra Pradesh chief minister by air crash. In my blog I have described how Indira Gandhi when prime minister in 1980 went to her kitchen with the then U. S. Vice President and former CIA Director, George Herbert Walker Bush, to arrange for the murder by air crash of her son Sanjay Gandhi who had taken to slapping her in the presence of others under my influence and the then CIA Director, Frank Carlucci, publicly claimed credit for that air crash via a letter that appeared in National Review. //In a press release dated January 10, 2011 I said: Stealth or no-stealth, 5th generation or 4th generation, fighter aircraft are as obsolete for India’s defence as bows and arrows. They can be used against neighbors such as Pakistan and China but the United States is EVERYBODY’S neighbor. It has already invaded and occupied Afghanistan, a part of traditional India and will expand its occupation to the rest of the subcontinent. I am India’s expert in strategic defence, the father of India’s strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world’s greatest scientist (my biography is in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World, 2011 and earlier editions). The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan means the coast-to-coast destruction of the U.S. by India; see my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy for India Over U.S.’, which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, for what India needs to do. Russia and other white countries are U.S. allies. These are the enemies to destroy. All other enemies will be taken care of automatically. Conventional arms are worthless for destroying the United States. Nuclear arms to destroy the United States with a FIRST STRIKE — this is the key — are cheap and easy to produce with technology India already has. All the money earmarked for fighter aircraft etc., and more, must be pumped into research, development and production of missiles able to deliver India’s nuclear warheads — in the thousands — to the continental United States. India’s missile scientists & engineers should have tested such missiles to their full range decades ago — everything else, including short and intermediate range missiles and missile defence, is secondary and tertiary — but have not done that because of prohibitions by India’s C.I.A.-controlled governments. This must be done on a war footing; the first step is to destroy RAW through which the C.I.A. rules India; see my blog. Producing such weapons in the thousands and very quickly is important. This means that the vast majority of them must be land-based, including road and rail-mobile, missiles rather than submarine-based which take a long time to produce.

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    RajX Reply:

    It looks like the CIA has fried your brain with a Satellite based microwave terminal. Hahahaha..funny guy.

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  • Anonymous

    Who paid Hindustan Times to retain the likes of Menon to write for it on very imortant issues such as what ought to be our foreign policy vis a vis China? And how much?

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  • Anonymous

    Oops ,I meant ‘important’. in my earlier comment..

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  • Probhat Sukla

    One of Bengal’s premier satirist once wrote about the difference between Indian Brains and Western Brains. In that essay, he wrote that Indian brains are very “fine” compared to the Western Brains which are “thick”. From this article I find that Shiv Shanker’s brain is so “fine” that none, including the crafty Chinese fails to divine that.

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  • Anonymous

    Mallu and Punjabi hybrid…Extreme cunningness fused..nice breed.

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  • http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/inside-story/2011/12/14/wake-up-to-chinese-dragon-in-nepal/ Wake up to Chinese dragon in Nepal : Inside Story

    [...] was due to domestic compulsions or what has been described as economic and budgetary issues back in Beijing. While the cancellation has caused serious embarrassment in Kathmandu with Baburam Bhattarai [...]

  • Probhat Sukla

    I fully agree with the author. Present day parents are responsible for the production of pansies from the school system. They fill their childrens’ pockets with cash, and teach them to behave impudently with good and strict teachers. Very soon India will be producing totally ignorant high-school graduates like the North American school system. Incidentally, in my opinion co-ed schools are also responsible for the low standards. Boys and girls should only have co-ed classes at the University level, when they are much more mature.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6T7JL6TUN22UAD7NSR774A44PQ Anonymous

    I do not agree to this. I’ve seen how we Indians behave meekly because of our upbringing. Our education system does not allow pupils to think of their own mind but to prepare them for rat race. How much innovation do we have in India? How many people think out of box to bring something on world stage? How many patents do we file? I do not think canning pupils brings discipline but fear. I was never canned but I still love my teachers. We need to let the children develop their own mind so that they can be different than us. We need to guide them with our experience but let them play with fire till then do not endanger themselves or others around it. The current anti corruption wave has lot of youngsters in it. This is only because this young generation has not followed us keeping heads down. @Abu lets stick to point.

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  • Vishal Kale

    Great point, Arnab. However, there is one additional consideration. There is a very material difference between now and 20 years ago: the social norms were different, the pressures on students and teachers’ alike were different, parents approach was different. This problem is more of a social problem than one relating to schools. Take me, for example: I would be very, very, very angry if corporal punishment was used on my child – I would definitely consider punitive action like complaining to the principle etc. But I am perfectly ok with other disciplinary measures being adopted. You have to understand that not every child reacts the same way, you have to understand the child and consider how will this punishment effect the behaviour we want to change? This requires parents and teachers as equal participants! Unfortunately, there is little parent – teacher interaction. And whatever little there interaction happens focuses on academics!

    Parents and Teachers alike do not understand that marks – especially in Nursery – 7/8th classes – are not the determinants of success. You should be focusing on the child’s behaviour, social interaction, participation, habits, fundamental understanding of the topic. But in place of this we place inordinate emphasis on marks, and neglect the first warning signals of problematic behaviour! This way, you can catch bad behaviour before they become a habit. What is required is proper training for teachers and re-invigoration of the system to reflect modern realities

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  • http://www.currency.com.pk/ Exchange rate

    haha, that is interestingly interesting, so true yet !!

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  • Abu Ahmed

    The Madrasa teaches theology, Quran, Science, Maths & English whereas the Shakhas teach how to kill Muslims thats the big difference, amongst several others, between a Madrasa and a RSS Shakha.
    You are hurt, for which I am sorry. Fact is the RSS is spreading militancy all over the country through their Shakhas and it is reflected in minor and major incidents of intolerance occurring everywhere.

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  • Anonymous

    Besides the other four govt services, Legislature, Judiciary, Investigative and executive braches, it is INVSTIGATIVE journalism that can lay bare the corruption. True that the biggest corrution is done with natural resources, be that plants-trees or minerals.
    Keep doing good work and let the people wake up and take over from these MAFIA and co and finish them. In fact it is govt job full of dangers to the life of journalists.

    Jodharora@yahoo.com

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  • http://twitter.com/tlverma T L Verma

    ” Ibtdai Ishq hai rota hai kiya , aage aage dekhiye hota hai kiya “. This is just the beginning. Many such exposures should be there if we see the past trend of the year.

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  • Anamika

    You are heading the right direction Naomi. I don’t know whether you are married now, it’s always good to wait for the right person.

    I think men prefer women who are generous and interesting. It again depends on individual personalities too. Just be yourself and you will soon find your prince.

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