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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

India says Reported Chinese Border Incursions No Cause for Alarm

September 17, 2009

By Steve Herman
VOA - 16 September 2009

Indian officials are denying there is any cause for alarm over reported
recent incursions by Chinese forces across their disputed border. But some
in India are calling for increased vigilance.

For weeks, India's cable-TV news channels and leading newspapers have been
reporting about provocative moves by Chinese troops into India-controlled
territory.

The two countries share a 3,500-kilometer frontier. Much of the border is
disputed and not marked.

Indian government officials have sought to deny or play down recent reported
incidents. Some analysts here accuse their own Foreign Ministry of being
apologists for repeated Chinese incursions and say the Indian side of the
border needs to be better protected.

After a report emerged in mainstream media here that two officers of the
India-Tibet Border Police had recently been shot by their Chinese
counterparts at the border in northern Sikkim, India's External Affairs
Ministry reacted, calling the story "factually incorrect." It did not
elaborate.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Sashi Tharoor, says there is no
reason for alarm amid the surge of reports of incursions in several Indian
states.

"We do not agree on the correct line. So occasionally, such incidents do
occur. I have to say they have been occurring for many years, even occurring
with great frequency. They do not always get reported by the media. But nor
should they be seen as part of a new atmosphere of hostility or problems,
because there are not such problems," said Tharoor.

The state minister says both governments are maintaining positive
discussions on these and other issues.

"We are in close contact with the Chinese. We have dialog with them in
Delhi, as well as in Beijing. We speak about a number of issues. And our
relationship is much larger than the border question," said Tharoor.

But the leaders of several states are calling for increased resources to
patrol the disputed border.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister R.P. Nishank, wants a new, special force
constituted.

Nishank, speaking to reporters in Dehradun, says just as India created a new
coastal security force, a special state-governed contingent is needed for
the Himalayan region.

The top state official says he is especially worried that migrants coming
across the rugged border from Tibet will move into vacant villages, posing a
major security threat to India.

India media reports say, in recent months Chinese troops and helicopters
have deliberately moved across the so-called Line of Actual Control. Ground
troops have left behind food wrappers and spray-painted rocks with Chinese
characters.

The territorial dispute provoked a 1962 invasion by the Chinese, who
captured Indian territory, which is still held by China. The Chinese still
claim as "Southern Tibet" most of Arunachal Pradesh, which India made a
state in 1986, despite strong Chinese opposition.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is planning a November visit
to a strategic border monastery at Tawang in the state. China's Foreign
Ministry has already voiced objection to the trip.
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