04 August, 2021

Shifty, Uncertain Steps

Diplomats will have a hard time explaining our shifting posture on CTBT. We will have to counter the inference that our concern for justice lasted until we joined the haves.

Shifty, Uncertain Steps

THREE months after trying to attain the status of a nuclear power with the Pokhran II series of explosions, the image India presents abroad is of a confused nation very much on the diplomatic defensive. This sums up the views of the diplomats, officials, journalists and businessmen I met in Manila and Hong Kong after the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) session, and earlier in London and at a conference in Mexico City.

In contrast, after the initial shock of being named as a threat by India's defence minister, Beijing has lost little time in projecting the message that it will not accept any rival in the big power stakes in Asia, a status endorsed later by US president Bill Clinton. The line was set by envoy Zhou Gang in his interview to The Hindu on July 9 demanding explanations for New Delhi's "totally unreasonable and groundless" accusations against China before the knot in Sino-Indian ties could be untied. It was followed up by Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan at the ARF when he said: "The act of creating imaginary...

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