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Post-shut up episode: Will Modi speak for India in China this month?

By Sridhar Narsing

When Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi visits China this month, he will have to clear his conscience that the firm HUAWEI, China’s biggest telecom company, investing hugely in Gujarat, did not portray three controversial regions of India as foreign pockets.

While China will bend its rules like Beckham with an eye on Modi’s proposal to develop a “Gautam Buddha circuit”, nothing will resolve the diplomatic furore that was caused on Thursday when a probing Indian journalist was curtly asked to shut up by the Chinese ambassador.

Zhang Yan, the ambassador later clarified that he could not speak for the company which has published the map showing Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh as parts of China and Kashmir as part of Pakistan. “It is a private sector company (that has goofed up) and not the Chinese government,” he told the reporters.

But his remarks to shut up a journalist reiterated Beijing’s and so the company’s stand on the issue. No economic ties, howsoever they are, will resolve the thorny border issue between China and India. India’s hope that China will relent on the issue is a futile one and it may erupt into a full-fledged war anytime on the border.

In fact, India is more captive to Chinese technology now than before that it has to forfeit its claim on the land to preserve its economic and tech-driven ties with Beijing in tact.

So, the question is how Huawei and the so-called patriotic future BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, will resolve the issue. Journalists in Beijing should pose this question to Modi when he visits China next month, as the deal here is more than $400 million, which cannot be reversed over a trivial issue like a private company’s map.

But it will remain a heart-burning issue for many Indians.

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