The Olympic torch
New Delhi, March 26: India today said it would ensure that protests on Tibet do not cast a shadow over the Olympic torch relay after China threatened to abandon the Delhi leg of the flames journey to Beijing.
Chinas worry stemmed from a raid of the Chinese embassy compound here by Tibetan protesters on Friday.
We will make all arrangements for it to pass (through India) without any problem, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan said this evening.
Chinas worries were conveyed to Indias ambassador, Nirupama Rao, who was summoned to the foreign office in Beijing after midnight to be told of Chinas concern.
Human rights protesters also attempted to disrupt the Olympic torchlighting ceremony in Greece last week. The flame is scheduled to be in New Delhi on April 17 after the Asia leg of its run begins on April 16 in Islamabad.
Narayanans assurance was backed by a repetition of friendly overtures that India made to China during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to Beijing in January.
Himachal Pradesh police last fortnight clamped down heavily on Tibetan protesters threatening to breach the border. This, too, has been cited by Indian officials in their communication to China as a demonstration of sincerity in bilateral relations.
We see Tibet as part of China, Narayanan said after a lecture to the Air Force Association here.
Even in his speech, the national security adviser made it clear that India was deliberately choosing a non-confrontationist posture when it came to China.
He is also the Prime Ministers special representative for talks on border disputes with China.
Forty per cent of the worlds population reside in China and India, Narayanan said in his speech in memory of Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal. The rise of the economic might of India and China is good for the world — a sentiment expressed by Singh during his Beijing visit — and should be welcomed.
Narayanan sought to explain Indias attitude to China by comparing it to Pakistan. With China, the relations, he said, had more challenges than threats. With Pakistan, it was more threats than challenges.
I think we need a broad national consensus on whether to see China as a threat or as a neighbour we can go along with, Narayanan said. He said it was unfortunate that there were still coteries in India that saw China through the single prism of aggregate military capability.
He said differences on border disputes continue but as the special envoy, I can tell you that for the first time we have a set of guiding principles and political parameters for the talks.