M A I N   N E W S

China keeps India out

Beijing, March 28
Apparently unhappy over New Delhi’s handling of the Tibet issue, China today chose not to invite any Indian diplomat in the tour of foreign envoys to riot-scarred Lhasa amid intensified global pressure to stop the crackdown on Tibetans and open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

In a hurriedly-arranged visit, China escorted a group of foreign diplomats to Lhasa to showcase its version of the goings on in the Tibetan capital. The Indian embassy did not receive any invitation, sources said.

Diplomats from 15 countries, including the United States, Britain, Russia, France, Japan, Tanzania, Brazil, Singapore, Spain, Canada, Italy were reportedly among those taken to Lhasa, where the most vicious protests against Chinese in two decades left at least 20 dead and 700 injured by official count.

China, which has been sensitive on the Tibet issue, had summoned Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao to Foreign Office past midnight last week to convey concerns over storming of its Embassy in New Delhi by a group of Tibetan protesters.

The visit was part of China’s stepped up damage control exercise and came a day after a team of foreign journalists were taken to the Tibetan capital where they witnessed an angry outburst by monks who said the government was “telling lies, that they lacked religious freedom and were troubled by the troops.

With China’s image being badly bruised ahead of Beijing Olympics, Europe Union foreign ministers debated whether they should boycott the August 8 opening ceremony. Several eastern European leaders, including from Czech, Poland and Estonia, have already said they will keep away though none of them is calling it a “boycott”. — PTI


India unhappy over China’s ‘flip-flop’

New Delhi, March 28
India has conveyed its unhappiness to China over the “flip-flop” and changes in the meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and his counterpart in Beijing Chen Deming, scheduled for April 2.

In a letter to Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan, commerce secretary G.K. Pillai has pointed out the “flip-flop” and changes in the meeting dates of the two ministers.

“I have suggested that in future the meeting dates should be fixed on dates mutually convenient to the two ministers,” Pillai said in his letter.

Nath and Deming were scheduled to meet in Beijing on April 2, and attend the deliberations of the joint empowered group for reviewing the progress on the regional trade agreement under negotiations.

However, the meeting was put off as China conveyed to India that its commerce minister was not available on the scheduled date and wanted change in the programme.

Cancellation of Nath’s visit to China comes close on the heels of India’s Ambassador Nirupama Rao being summoned past midnight last week by Chinese Foreign Ministry conveying concerns over storming of its Embassy by a group of Tibetan protesters here.

While Nath insisted yesterday that his trip to Beijing was cancelled due to problems with the dates, displeasure on the “flip-flop” has been conveyed to China.

Nath said his trip has not been called off because of any diplomatic reasons but because of problems in dates.

“Some dates were fixed, they were changed, again fixed and again changed. My trip has been called off because of my engagement here and because of engagement of the Chinese minister,” he said yesterday. — PTI



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