Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on December 10, 2007
The U.S.-India nuclear deal is facing renewed criticism from members of the ruling coalition in New Delhi. (See, for instance, this Reuters story about the latest threat from India’s Communists, who don’t like idea of India getting too close to the U.S.) With American-Indian ties stuck in limbo, the Chinese seem to have decided that maybe they have a bit of an opening to improve frosty ties with their giant neighbor – and win a card of their own to play against the Americans.
Consider this report from the BBC that Beijing has backed down from its traditional refusal to recognize a disputed area as part of India. The Chinese have claimed Arunachal Pradesh, a state in northeastern India, for decades and typically have been unwilling to grant visas to people from the state since, according to Chinese logic, people who live in what really is part of China don’t need visas to travel to other parts of China. According to the BBC, however, recently a professor from Rajiv Gandhi University in the state capital of Itanagar received a visa to visit China. “Diplomats and analysts feel this gesture may be a prelude to China ultimately accepting Arunachal Pradesh as part of India,” the Beeb reports.
Other signs of a Sino-Indian thaw: The two countries will be conducting joint military exercises this month in the western Chinese city of Chengdu, the first ever between China and India. The scale is small, with just 100 troops from each side, according to the China Daily. But it’s a start. Ironically, in another sign of China attempting to improve ties with India, Beijing also recently dropped its objections to the nuclear deal between India and the U.S. Best of all for China’s leaders, that deal that they didn’t like may turn out to be dead after all, a victim of Indian coalition politics.