Mon, 28 Sep 2020

Washington [US], August 10 (ANI): The Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) urged India to use a balanced combination of soft power and hard power to deal with China's expansionist policies.

The virtual panel discussion held on Saturday titled -- International Virtual Event on 'Kashmir Today: Geopolitical, International and National Aspects' -- discussed the state of the exiled Kashmiri Hindu, Sikh and Tibetan Buddhist communities and the geopolitical dimensions of the human problem in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Rajiv Malhotra, one of the panellists of the discussion and a renowned Indian-born American, urged India to balance the use of soft power by exercising hard-power, especially in the case of China.

"India's attempts to use soft-power must be balanced by the exercise of hard-power. This needs to be done especially in the case of China, whose record over the recent decades shows that it respects only hard-power as part of a pragmatic strategy, and puts little store by building long-term relationships based on intangibles like 'trust'."Malhotra, lauded the US government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative to use "trade as a political lever to contain China, which is building a chain of ruthless, fascist allies such as Pakistan and Iran".

He also urged India to declare the status of Tibet as open to discussion and retreat from its current position of accepting Tibet's occupation by China. "Indian diplomacy needs to consider a 'post-Trump' strategy of cooperation with the US since the Democratic Party has been completely turned into an anti-India juggernaut by Islamist lobbies in the US," he added.

Mohan Sapru, a founding member of the GKPD and its coordinator for Washington, said, "Intellectuals should remove their rose-tinted glasses and confront two political forces on the rampage in the world today.""The first comprises expansionist religious ideologies that want to invade and dominate others, usurping their biophysical resources. The second comprises ideological nationalism that pursues the same aggressive policy in order to maintain a status as hegemon or superpower, the best example in the region being the People's Republic of China."Another panellist Dorjee Tseten, a US-based member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, said, "This year marks 70 years of the Chinese occupation of Tibet - and 70 years of the Tibetan resistance that refuses to die. For millennia, independent Tibet and India shared mutually respectful intellectual and spiritual relations. China did not share a border with India until the annexation of Tibet under Mao Tse Tung, who famously characterised Tibet as the 'palm' and regions like Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh as its 'fingers' that could be annexed subsequently."He said India cannot afford to be complacent about Chinese intentions, which play a direct role not just on the Ladakh front but also via China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure it is building in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

During the discussion, Francois Gautier, French author, journalist and historian, described his experience covering the situation in Jammu and Kashmir during the murderous exodus of Kashmiri Hindus.

He said, "It was an 'eye-opener' for him as a Westerner who had been misinformed with cliches about India and Kashmir. The ground situation was quite different." (ANI)

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