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Rebuff to China: India to attend Nobel ceremony 
Will join 44 nations who have ignored China’s boycott call
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
In what is bound to ruffle Beijing’s feathers ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi, India has decided to participate in the ceremony in Oslo on Friday at which Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo will be presented the Nobel Peace Prize.

It is understood that the Indian Ambassador to Norway, Banbit A Roy, will represent India at the ceremony, notwithstanding China’s call on all nations to boycott the event. China had protested against the Nobel Committee’s decision to award Liu, describing him as a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese laws.

The Chinese dissident has been serving an 11-year imprisonment on charges of subversion for advocating multi-party rule in his country. India faced a dilemma in taking the decision to participate in the ceremony. With the Chinese Premier visiting New Delhi next week in the midst of the recent tension in bilateral ties over a plethora of issues, it took days for mandarins at the South Block to take a decision in favour of attending ceremony.

Boycotting the ceremony would amount to surrendering to Chinese dictates. New Delhi also realised that India’s image as a frontline champion of peace, democracy, human rights and civil liberty worldwide would take a beating if did not take part in the ceremony. It also took note of the responses to the Chinese demarche for boycotting the ceremony from other major countries. India is among 44 countries which have confirmed participation in the function, while 19 nations, including Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia have decided to stay away.

Both India and China were looking forward to sorting out some of the irritants in bilateral ties during Premier Wen’s visit from December 15 to 17. However, New Delhi’s decision to attend the Oslo ceremony will certainly not go down well with the Chinese leadership. Beijing may harden its position on matters like issuing stapled visas to Indian residents of J & K.





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