China has sent demarches to many countries, including India, asking them not to attend this week’s ceremony in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, at which the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, in absentia, to the pro-democracy Chinese activist, Liu Xiabo. Eighteen countries, among them Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt, have decided to stay away from the function. India has not been able to decide so far but if it does attend the ceremony there is the risk of the Chinese cancelling the premier Wen Jiabao’s scheduled visit next week. The newly aggressively assertive China has already warned those attending of the consequences of their action. But should this nation of 1.2 billion and an atomic power in its own right be frightened into submission by the fire throwing dragon one more time?
India has always been careful about Chinese sensitivities, be they concerning Tibet or Taipei, it has also gulped Pakistan’s gift of a huge tract of Indian territory to China, but what has it got in return? To keep India confused and worried all the time, the Chinese keep on reopening the issue of the unsettled land border between the two countries every now and then, they are treating Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and are stapling visas to the passports of the state subjects wanting to visit China, they have objected to Indian prime minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh which they have recently started calling ‘South Tibet’. Enough is enough, it is now time India called China’s bluff and told it in unmistakable terms that India would do what suited its national interests.