Xi Jinping’s visit to Tibet this past week leads to some interesting thoughts. First, the surreptitious nature of the visit by the Chinese supremo to a territory the Chinese state keeps proclaiming as its own from every rooftop is unseemly.
If the Chinese were trying to emulate American presidential visits to Afghanistan or Iraq in the last two decades, then that doesn’t sit well since we know how both those campaigns ended in ignominy.
In all likelihood, the Chinese state is on eggshells regarding the continuous popular unrest in Tibet and doesn’t want to provoke another outburst. The third possibility and this is where things get even more interesting, is that the PLA isn’t able to provide a hundred per cent cover to its supreme leader, and this points to gaps in its external defence versus India as well as internal defence against Tibetans and Uyghurs.
Hacks in India will obviously try to counter by indulging in whataboutery regarding PM Modi’s festival eve visit to the Barahoti sector sometime back. And therein lies the rub.