The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Second Left pat for Vajpayee

New Delhi, July 7: In another departure from the norm, the Left has patted the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, this time for the Prime Minister’s China visit.

The last time, the pat was for Vajpayee’s renewing channels of communication with Pakistan.

The mouthpieces of both the CPM and the CPI praised the visit as a landmark in the country’s recent history.

“The visit of Prime Minister Vajpayee to China — the first by an Indian Prime Minister in a decade — has resulted in a deepening of ties between the two giant Asian countries and neighbours,” says the CPM’s People’s Democracy in its June 29 edition.

The CPI’s New Age echoed the view. “A positive outcome of Vajpayee’s visit to China has been the readiness of Chinese leaders to join hands with India to overcome Western manoeuvrings in the WTO negotiations.”

Both the Left parties had for long shunned the Chinese Communist Party after the Naxalite movement in the country declared its loyalty to Mao Zedong.

After years of looking towards the erstwhile Soviet Union for ideological sustenance, the CPM and the CPI broke the ice with the Chinese Communist Party. They now have party-to-party relations.

Both parties had criticised defence minister George Fernandes when he spoke of a threat perception from China.

Referring to the agreements signed by India and China during Vajpayee’s visit, the People’s Democracy says: “The two countries are not a threat to each other — this sentence should help extinguish the talk of China being a threat to India’s security.”

The mouthpiece welcomed the countries’ decision to appoint a special representative in each other’s territory to help solve the border dispute. “For the first time, the two giant Asian countries have signed a joint declaration. Nine agreements were signed covering, among other things, cross-border trade, easing visa restrictions, setting up cultural centres,” the journal says.

The Tibet controversy, too, found a mention in the CPM mouthpiece. “India has always maintained Tibet is a part of China. The joint declaration’s assertion that India ‘does not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in the country’ should help clear any misunderstanding on the issue.”

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