news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | September 4, 2014 | 5.58 pm IST

(Comment)

The decision by Pretoria to refuse a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama comes at a time when traditional global alliances are in a flux. The refusal follows concerns in South Africa about how China will view the pontiff attending the 14 World Summit of Nobel Laureates. 

Much ink will flow about the incongruity and irony of the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate, being refused permission to attend an annual gathering, being held in Cape Town for the first time, collaborating with foundations representing the four South African laureates, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Albert Luthuli. At the time of writing, there are reports that other laureates have said they will not attend if the stale-mate over the visa continues. 

In strict diplomatic terms, this amounts to a third country interfering in the internal affairs of another. The world’s loudest keepers of democracy should, in principle, be telling China to mind its own business. But, whoever says business, cannot afford to get on the wrong side of China at a time when Russia is roaring and the NATO alliance rearing to go. 

To sections in India who say China’s power is over estimated, this move by Beijing does not bring any glad tidings.
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