India’s Nobel stand not a bilateral issue with China: Krishna

Thursday, December 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit here next week, India Thursday downplayed its decision to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo for Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo, saying it was not a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Beijing.

“This is not a bilateral question between China and India. This is a Nobel function arranged by the Nobel foundation, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here.

Krishna confirmed that India’s Ambassador to Norway Banbit Roy will represent New Delhi at the ceremony. I think India has already taken a decision to be represented as… on earlier occasions through our ambassador,” Krishna said.

China has warned there will be economic “consequences” for those countries which send a representative to the ceremony.

The Nobel award ceremony for the Chinese dissident takes place five days before the Chinese premier comes to India on a three-day visit starting Dec 15.

While India is among 44 countries which have confirmed their participation at the Nobel Prize presentation ceremony, 19 countries, including Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam and Afghanistan, have declined the invitation.

India decided to ignore China’s call for boycott of the function as it did not want to be seen to be appeasing Beijing on the issue of human rights and democracy.

It was also a way of conveying its displeasure to China over the Chinese practice of giving stapled visas to Indian citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, which is still going on despite New Delhi’s repeated objections, said sources.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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