Cancelling Uyghur leader’s visa: By surrendering to China’s pressure after daring to stand up, Modi government has proven to be as spineless as any


Apoorv Pathak

A government on the backfoot on various political, social and economical issue was given a godsend opportunity to prove its mettle by standing up to China by granting visa to its rebel leader.

Alas like many other opportunities Modi has messed up this one too. After preemptively celebrating the granting of visa to the prominent Uyghur rebel Dolkun Isa, it has sheepishly turned back on granting of visa to the Chinese rebel leader, presumably under China”s pressure. This U-turn is unwise and cowardly for multiple reasons-

Succumbing to China – depicts India as a nation which can be bullied and arm twisted

By surrendering to China’s pressure after daring to stand up, Modi government has proven to be as spineless as any. It has sent a message to China that India can always be arm twisted. All the rhetoric aside, the Modi government is as willing to play ball with China even when the latter continues to disregard our security interest.

The wound of China blocking India’s attempt to get terrorist Masood Azhar declared as terrorist is still fresh in the nation’s memory. So how can any government which claim to be nationalist be so craven to submit to demand of such a nation.

By withdrawing Isa’s visa, Modi has made the whole nation hang its head in shame. He has proved that it’s one thing to boast of 56 inch chest while being in opposition, quite another to show the same courage while in power.

Lost opportunity to pinch China where it hurts the most

China repeatedly undermines our security interests in collusion with Pakistan. It also regularly intrudes into India’s boundaries and provides support to different insurgent groups in the North East states. This despite efforts of Indian government to be sensitive to China’s interest and keep it in good humour.


This is because relations between nations can’t be expected to improve by begging but negotiating from position of strength.

Currently, China feels India has very less ability to trouble its neighbour while the former can cause lots of problem to India through Pakistan.

But if India were to develop relation with the separatists, who have troubled China, it will provide India an important leverage over its rival. As such, China is very sensitive about its national unity and if India can send enough message that its national unity too will be in danger if it doesn’t treat India’s concern regarding our own national unity with the same deference, the communist regime will be more amenable to pay heed to our concerns.

The visa to the Uyghur leader was an important opportunity to gain leverage over the Chinese rebels. But the craven withdrawal of visa has left the leader with bitterness towards India. It sends out a message that India cannot be trusted by these rebels and will thus reduce India’s ability to get the rebel leader to cooperate with it. This is, therefore, a lost opportunity to pinch Chin where it hurts most.

Is this Attithi Devo Bhava ?

We are a nation that for long has celebrated a culture that embraces its guest with great warmth. It’s embrace has made many outsiders make India its home. Even modern India has continued with this tradition and has always provided refuge to many people in distress by treating them them as valued guests.

This is why today Dalai Lama considers India more home than China and India is home to a thriving Tibetian population. When India sheltered the Tibetians it did so despite the threats of China and its own many challenges. But if today after six decades when we are a much stronger nation, why can’t we stand up for our guests. Also a government that wears respect for Indian culture and tradition on its sleeves, should feel ashamed for have shown its back on a guest after having accepted to host him.

Making a fool of itself through inconsistent and illogical explanations

Not content with shaming India in front of the whole world by first gloating over granting the visa only to sheepishly give in to China’s pressure later, the government is making a bad situation worse by spinning out inconsistent and illogical explanations.

First we hear that his visa has been cancelled because he was coming to attend a conference on tourist visa and now we are being fed with lies that it has been cancelled because he was on Interpol red list and so India can’t host him.

So was the centre sleeping when it was required to verify the purpose of visit while granting the visa? Was it sleeping when it was supposed to check the bonafide’s of the person? In this case the rebel leader’s antecedents were pretty well known to the government as he is a well known public figure, so it can’t justify its U-turn now by hiding behind the trumped-up charges China thrusts upon the dissidents. If Interpol list doesn’t prevent Germany from hosting him, why should it be a deterrent for India? Also by accepting China’s claim of the rebel leaders being involved in terrorism, India has ended up endorsing its authoritarian suppression of the political rival by a regime intolerant of any rival.

The Modi government just doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes – wether it was hyperbolic acclamation of Modi’s Lahore’s visit to be humiliated with Pathankot attack or Amit Shah’s boasting of being first government to make Pakistan accept to investigate indian terror attack by sending JIT or now where the government started thumping its back only to leave all Indians red faced.

Modi government’s eagerness to play to the gallery to score political brownie point has created big embarrassment for India. Even now Modi can avoid the repeat of these humiliations in the future by being more circumspect and allow the work to speak than be a government of all bravado and no action. A good place to start would be to show the courage to stand up to China and grant the visa to the rebel leader.

The views expressed here the author’s own and doesn’t subscribe to them