LETTERS – March 2021

False expectations

I am writing in response to the Editorial in the February edition of the magazine, which speculated about the prospects for a ‘managed coexistence’ between the United States and China.

This has echoes of the political assumptions of the 1970s to 1990s, forged following the end of the Cold War and the fracturing of the Atlantic-led international order due to the irreversible growth of China, India, Brazil and so on. No existing international theorising really explained that shift.

Today, Chinese trade and its multiple interconnections looms large. China is involved in many organisations which influence the global economy.  

Just as global recovery after 2008 was not in fact in the hands of the Atlantic, recovery from this point onwards will be based on trade and investment and the old movements of ideas, materials, and ingenuities. The Atlantic managers have no monopoly on such elements.

 

Ian Inkster

London

India’s Tibet policy: time to reassess

Kunsang Thokmay raised the question in his article ‘Mirroring the moral high ground’ of how India considers Tibet.

Overall, I would say the Tibetan population in India has been in political limbo since 1959. 

The Indian government still follows the legacy of its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who recognised China’s sovereignty over Tibet in 1954. Since then it has continued with a policy of caution and appeasement.

A large number of the Tibetan population and its spiritual head the Dalai Lama have been residing in India for more than 60 years. Yet they are classified as ‘foreigners’ and subject to the Foreigner’s Act of 1946 and the Registration of Foreigner Act of 1939 (TJC, 2014). The Registration Certificate (RC) issued for Tibetans living in India has to be renewed every five years. 

India often limits the ability of Tibetans to get government jobs. Tibetan students in central Indian universities pay foreign student fees. 

At this time of unease relationship with China, India has all the options available to reaffirm and reassess its policy and support for Tibetans living in India, especially in recognising the Dalai Lama’s succession. 

It is high time for the Indian government to reassess its Tibet Policy in terms of both its moral obligation and strategic objectives. 

 

Thinley Dhondup

Graduate student

University of Westminster

London

Regional cooperation

Dear Sir

With regard to the Editorial in the February edition of Asian Affairs (‘Managed Coexistence’) my view is that because China is set to become the world’s largest economy, it would be unrealistic to expect Asian countries to influence China as they wish.

As we have seen over the last three decades, the Chinese government has the advantage of being able to formulate a long term strategic plan and to organise its domestic society, both corporates and individuals, to support its objectives.

Managed coexistence for Asian nations may therefore look more like a strategy to protect their own interests: identifying areas where they are most vulnerable to an increasingly dominant China while protecting existing trade links. It would require cooperation between countries with different outlooks.

The recent example of Australia shows that it is a difficult task. What is clear, however, is that the China problem is not one that affects the US alone, but one that involves the region.

 

Clement Ngu

London

 

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