India and China have been locked in an intense border stand-off since early May. Even as region ascends towards the winter season, the Himalayan conflict is far from over with the two countries still holding rounds of discussion for disengagement in Ladakh.
After the 15 June’s violent face-off between two Indian and Chinese PLA soldiers which resulted in the unfortunate killing of 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of the Chinese side, New Delhi has been using different tactics to counter China.
India not only banned more than 100 Chinese apps on the grounds of security concerns, but New Delhi also levied heavy taxes on certain Chinese imports. The Indian government made it mandatory for any nation sharing a land border with India to seek approval to invest in the country. It wasn’t said but it was clear that the move was aimed at China.
Now India’s Education Ministry is considering making it mandatory for Indian universities to obtain approval from the government before signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with educational institutions of countries which share land borders with India.
As part of India’s New Education Policy, Ministry of Education had undertaken a review of jointly established Confucius classrooms in seven Indian universities and colleges.
The Confucius programme is a Chinese language and culture programme financed by the Office of Chinese Language Council International. In July, the Ministry of Education had announced probe at higher education institutes offering Chinese language training programme for their links with Hanban.
Apart from India, countries like the US and Australia have also raised suspicion over the Hanban-run Confucius Institutes. The US has labelled the Confucius Institutes as a foreign propaganda mission of Chinese government-run global education programmes.
As per the report in The Hindustan Times, India’s Ministry of External Affairs was hesitant in making approvals mandatory for partnerships with institutions from friendly countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal that share land borders with India. The ministry has cleared that they have no objection with the mandatory approvals.
“We have discussed the matter with the education ministry. They will now have to implement this through an order,” a senior South Block official was quoted in the news report.
China had responded to India’s decision to probe universities offering courses in Chinese (Mandarin) language earlier. It had said that all the institutes were established after signing legally binding cooperation agreements and India should not politicize people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
We hope Indian side treat Confucius Institutes & #China–#India higher education cooperation in an objective&fair manner, avoid politicizing normal cooperation, & maintain healthy&stable development of China-India people-to-people&cultural exchanges. https://t.co/hYBwYAEP67 pic.twitter.com/5nXgK45AtC
— Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India (@ChinaSpox_India) August 4, 2020
The Hanban website shows there are three CIs in India at the University of Mumbai, the Vellore Institute of Technology, and Lovely Professional University. The Chinese department Kolkata, Bharathiar University, and K.R. Mangalam University are also being scrutinized.
Mumbai University and Kolkata School of Chinese Languages have been asked by the Education Ministry to submit documentation pertaining to their partnership and details of their exchange activities with Confucius Headquarters in China for review.