Calculated Political Tension at China-India Mountain Border

China might be fueling the border dispute to discourage India’s assertive foreign policy.

Beijing, China, May 3, 2007
Beijing, China, May 3, 2007 (Michaƫl Garrigues)

In the Himalayas, two great powers are blaming each other for stirring tension. India says Chinese troops crossed the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border there. China claims it was merely responding to earlier intrusions carried out by Indian border guards. We don’t know who is speaking the truth. But “calculated” political tension has emerged.

The root of the Sino-Indian border dispute lies in the 1914 Simla Accord, signed by India’s British rulers and demarcating the border with Tibet. This “McMahon Line,” named after India’s foreign secretary at the time, is recognized by India but disputed by China which insists that Tibet was not a sovereign power. China invaded and conquered Tibet in 1950.

A brief war between China and India in 1962 failed to settle the border issue. An area of some 125,000 square kilometers remains in dispute although the area of “real” conflict is the 95,000 square kilometers south of the McMahon Line.

China and India set up a joint working group in 1988 to try to resolve the issue. Special representatives were appointed in 2003 to advance the process. Fifteen rounds of talks took place before the representatives last met in December of last year. No concrete plan to solve the conflict has yet emerged.

Since the end of the Cold War and China’s emergence as an economic power, the government in Beijing has resolved many of its border disputes expect those with India, Japan and in the South China Sea. In many of the cases where it did compromise, it agreed to transfer land to neighboring countries. Its unwillingness to do so with India and its refusal to honor a century old treaty suggest that China wants to keep this border issue alive.

The last time Chinese border guards entered Indian territory was in 1986 at Sumdorong Chu in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh state. They vacated their position in 1995.

The porous Himalaya border and lack of clear demarcating features makes incursion an almost everyday incident. Their frequency depends on the status of the bilateral relationship.

The genesis of the present crisis likely lies in India’s increasing presence in Southeast Asia, especially its improving maritime relations with Vietnam, as well as an emerging alliance with the United States. China might interpret both moves within the context of the American “pivot” to the region and feel increasingly boxed in by powers that are hostile to its own designs.

Buddhist unrest in southern China could also play a role. The number of Buddhist self-immolations is rising. There have also been reports of unrest in Sichuan Province. Usually, Tibetan protests are violently suppressed by Chinese security services.

The political headquarters of Tibet’s refugees is situated in India’s northwestern city of Dharamshala. China tends to believe that all Buddhist political activity is orchestrated by the Dalai Lama there, the Tibetans’ religious leader. India does nothing to stop him and may therefore be held partly responsible for the uprisings by policymakers in Beijing.

Comments

  1. India’s prdicament in detecting the Chinese deception spells doom for India’s security. Despite thousands of incursions into Indian territory by the Chinese forces, India failed to take mesures to deter such incursions nor sent any strong signals to the Chinese. The scenarios around India is threatening the very viaility of India. Pakistan has her own agenda against India and sends her proxies at will and at her own time to wage wars inside Indian soil.Since independense, 20 million Bangaldeshis have crossed into North Eastern India and India did nothing. Sri Lanka is on a path of vengence on the Tamils of Tamil Nadu, and yet India has no answer, but to succumb to appese Sri Lanka to prevent Chinese influence. Quite ludicrous, as Sri Lanka never had good intensions towards India , despite aid in Million of Dollars. Well China is with all her sweet talks and promises to keep the borders calm and peaceful, sends her troops taking India unawares. This is despite of India being China’s largest trade partner. Indian nation building is in tatters. What use of freedom when a contry cannot consolidate her boarders? India may be averse to war, but war is not averse to India. Nations become great only through conflicts. India still dwells in the bibilical verses of turn the other cheek, where as the foes have taken the whole body. India, a country that has already waged three to four wars since independence, should have learned that the neighbours are after her and thrusted Indian military to a powerful force. India should have leaned the diabolical dealings of China and doubled her force to confront conflicts at the boarder. After all negotiations are made on the streangth of power. Said that, India at least at this eleventh hour must welcome the conflict or she will be consumed by the conflict. A war at the borders is inevitable. India failed to consolidate her borders. cosolidation is achieved through conflicts which India should have done 60 years ago. The conflict that India failed to carry out many years ago has descended and waiting at the door steps. Nationas cannot be built by appeasements and by turning the other cheek, unless of course if India conceeds whatever her foes demad. The fate of India is swinging like pendulum. All becasue of the fake democracy of a parliamentary system that has been the sanctuary for rpists, muderers and criminals of the worst kind,who work not for the country but for themselves. India will learn the lesson, which she ignored since independece and of course repent at the follies. There is no use of developing India’s infrstructures at the moment as tey will be devasted. India’s first priority at this era is to contain her foes and consolidate her boarders. There in lies the security of the country.