India needs to challenge China more, say experts

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New Delhi, Dec. 30 (ANI): Following the mid-December visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India to secure business deals, announce new trade goals and offer reassurances of friendly Chinese intentions, experts are of the view that while this a healthy step forward between the two Asian giants, there are issues such as the trade imbalance, the disputed border and the status of Kashmir, where India must challenge China, and necessarily take a harder line.

According to former diplomat Ranjit Gupta, the visit by Premier Wen Jiabao has widened the gap publicly between India and China.

Gupta, who has been one of many pushing for a more hawkish line toward China, said the Indian establishment's approach to China has become more realistic.

Wen's visit was supposed to help address tensions, but failed to do so.

Indian leaders now complain that trade is far too lopsided in China's favor and say that Indian corporations face too many obstacles in entering the Chinese market. They also claim that China has infuriated India by starting to issue special stapled paper visas - rather than the standard visa - for anyone in Indian-controlled Kashmir traveling to China on the grounds that Kashmir is a disputed territory. Indian officials had thought Wen might reverse the stapled visas policy on his trip, but he instead only called for more diplomatic consultations.

Indian commentators have also noticed that articles in the Chinese state-run media have renewed Chinese claims that the disputed border between the nations is roughly 1,240 miles in length - even as India puts the length at about 2,175 miles.

The most visible evidence of India's hardline approach was not to agree to the inclusion of support for the one-China policy, which holds that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, in the joint communique.

The New York Times has quoted one senior official, as saying that relations between India and China could deteriorate if they continue to refuse to address core concerns. (ANI)

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