08/21/2009, 00.00
INDIA - CHINA
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Balkanization of India: a roadmap of Beijing?

by CT Nilesh
An article on a “semi-official” Chinese site details a roadmap to divide India in 20 or more little states, giving support to nationalists, separatists, Tamilians, Srilankans and Bangladeshis. New Delhi is worried. But India, shaken by many tensions still hold together.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The government of  New Dehli made an official protest for the content of an article appeared on a Chinese site that aims to divide India in “20-30 small states” giving support to guerillas and nationalist movements present on the territory of the great nation or abroad.

Posted on April 8 on the website www.iiss.cn (International Institute for Strategic Studies) the article detailed a roadmap for breaking up India. There it is stated: “To split India, China can bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal in Assam’ independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like Tamil and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet.”

The Government of India made inquiries  about how much this website has the support of the Chinese Government and logged a protest. The Indian media spoke of a “quasi-official Chinese website”.

This idea of balkanization of India is old as the Indian state itself. After independence, in 1947, in the political circles of Europe many observers were predicting that India, after the tragic start with partition, will not hold together. After all India had never been a single political unit. The British Empire put it together and marked the boundaries  from east, north and west. India does not have a common language. Immediately after independence there were internal fighting to redraw the boundaries  of the different Indian states. The criterion of division according to the different languages was accepted. But many states are still quarrelling for the boundaries and for the utilization of rivers water.

Chennai and Tamil Nadu are more concerned with Tamilian brothers of Sri Lanka and of Bangalore. The seven states of the north-east consider themselves as colonies under the military rule of Delhi and guerilla is going on in all of them. Kashmir is in turmoil since 25 years for separation or a better autonomy.  An in many central states the Maoist-Naxalite guerilla is going on since decades.

All this may give the idea to an outsider that the cohesion of India is very week and its break-up possible. Up till now India had survived doomsday predictions of its balkanization but the Chinese are still harping on it.

The article posted on the website continues: “In view of the above, China in its own interest and the progress of the hole Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like Assamese, Tamil and Kashmiris, and support  the latter in establishing independent nation-states of their own, out of India.” And all this must be done for the sake of change and progress in the subcontinent: “Only after India has been broken up into 20-30 pieces will there be any real reform or social change in the country.”

An article like this will convince the hardliners in India about Beijing’s gameplan to encircle India in alliance with regimes in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, by supporting insurgent groups.

After a few days, following the protest from New Delhi, Kang Lingyi, the founding editor of the www.iiss.cn said that he edits the site on his own without any government backing and the article was a web posting by an anonymous user.

But D S Rajan, director of the Chennai Centre for China Studies, who translated the article from Chinese and published it, said: “The Chinese are speaking to India in several voices. This second voice is part-official but not completely so. It gives the Chinese Government deniability, but there has been a long stream of similar sounding statements”.

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