04 December, 2020

Norwegian Birch

The Nobel dispute reflects India’s tussle between idealism and realpolitik

AP Photo
Norwegian Birch

For a growing power such as India, it’s not always easy to strike a balance between adopting a moral, idealistic position and pursuing a pragmatic policy to further its interest. The first wins you universal praise, the second translates into security or monetary dividends. What should India choose? This dilemma confronted New Delhi this week as Beijing issued a demarche asking the UPA government to boycott the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at the Norwegian capital, Oslo, where a Chinese national, Liu Xiaobo, was to be bestowed the prestigious award.

For a nation, to have its citizens win the Nobel peace prize is usually a moment of celebration. But not for China, which calls Liu a “criminal” who has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”. Others, particularly the West, though, think of Liu as a champion of human rights and democracy and an advocate of non-violent protests—precisely the reasons why he has been awarded the Nobel.

A growing and...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

Latest Magazine

December 14, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section