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India-China border row can be resolved, says Rudd

China is changing its language towards the DalaiLama, says Kevin Michael Rudd, former AustralianPrime Minister. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

China is “changing its language towards the Dalai Lama” as also its “tonality” towards Tibet, says former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

“It is important from New Delhi’s perspective that Tibet, Dharamsala and the Dalai Lama, represent a significant constituent element of the long unresolved border questions between India and China,” Mr. Rudd told The Hindu in an exclusive interview, adding that the changed attitude could create “space for the resolution of the border dispute” between India and China.

Mr. Rudd’s words are significant as he is a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat who has been accused of being too “Sino-centric” as he deals frequently with the Chinese government. He was in Delhi as president of the Asia Pacific Policy Institute and met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who is expected to travel to Beijing soon for border talks.

Saying that he wouldn’t presume to give advice to either country, Mr. Rudd called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, who are due to meet in Beijing in May, as “strong leaders.” “Many in Delhi may disagree, and think China wants to use the border to exert leverage, but I don’t think China views it that way. It has insecure unresolved maritime borders with all its neighbours on one side, and so a secure land border is very important.”

However, while Mr. Rudd identified the “Tibet border” on the LAC in Jammu and Kashmir, he didn’t refer to the unresolved border issue along Arunachal Pradesh. Mr. Rudd cited the “turnaround” in Russia-China relations after the Gorbachev-Deng Xiaoping summit in 1989 as an example of how India and China could resolve their issues that have seen them fight a war in 1962.

Note of caution

Speaking about closer India-U.S. ties after U.S. President Barak Obama’s visit to New Delhi in January and the joint vision statement signed by both countries on Asia-Pacific and the South China Sea, as well as agreements with Japan and Australia, Mr. Rudd warned against “creating a sense that the rest of the region is ganging up on Beijing.”

‘A strong statement’

“It’s very easy to stoke the containment narrative in Beijing,” Mr. Rudd said adding, “[The Joint Vision statement] is a very strong statement, and it was unexpected and unanticipated. So I think the Chinese will watch very carefully what happens between declaration and reality.”


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 4:12:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indiachina-border-row-can-be-resolved-says-rudd/article6969962.ece

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