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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Beware of the Chinese Dragon

October 15, 2009

Suvrokamal Dutta
Published by: Sudhir Kumar
October 14, 2009

China's demand for the removal of two Indian Army
bunkers from its outpost at Batang La in Sikkim
near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction recently
can be seen from two angles. First as a case of
highhandedness of a few Chinese border officials
who entered Indian Territory inadvertently and
came face to face with these Indian bunkers.
Oblivious of where their actual position on the
ground is, these officials then raised objections
about the bunkers. This scenario seems probable
because, according to the Indian Army, these
bunkers were constructed two years ago and there
were no protests from the Chinese side till now.
But then India has to be cautious as it comes
after several violations of its border in
Arunachal Pradesh by the Chinese army in the past.

The Indian army has moved several thousand troops
to the Sino-India border recently following
reports of Chinese intrusions in Sikkim-Bhutan
area. The shifting of army formations north of
Nathu-La comes in the wake of reports that
Chinese troops are coming close to the Siliguri
corridor, which is also called the chicken neck
connecting the North East of India with the rest
of the country. It is about 33 sqkms wide. The
army authorities said Chinese forces had been
coming close to the Dolam Plateau for more than
two decades, as the boundary in the area is still to be precisely defined.

On May 2007 on Chinese Intrusion into Arunachal
Pradesh the Home Minister of Government of India
had to say this. "The reports (of intrusion) are
not true," The minister was reacting to media
reports quoting a lawmaker from Arunachal Pradesh
who claimed that the Chinese army had moved 20 km
inside the state that borders China's Tibet
region. However the BJP M.P from Arunachal
Pradesh had to say this “There has been a Chinese
incursion in our country particularly in
Arunachal Pradesh. I have written to the
government of India and raised the issue in
parliament. The government is not accepting the
incursion openly. But defense personnel
acknowledge that this is happening and the
Chinese are occupying our land," This could be
true even as the Chinese have in the past
violated the Arunachal Borders on many occasion

Matters of such violations have to be taken
seriously more so after the Chinese ambassador to
India Sun Yuxi said in November 2006: "The whole
of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh
is Chinese territory" We are claiming the whole
of that." India then strongly reacted to the
Chinese claims with the external affairs ministry
saying: "Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India."

Matter in relation to Arunachal should be seen in
the context of what happened recently in the
Kashmir "Himachal border sector when the Chinese
army entered almost 3 to 6 Kms inside the Indian
Territory and wrote China with red paint in the
rocks of the mountainous area of the border areas
.The Indian army has also reported several
violations by the Chinese army in the Uttarakhand
region in the recent past. Unofficial reports
claim in the last three months or so the Chinese
army has violated the Indian borders almost 300 times.

Besides border violations China has tried to use
every international platform to present the
disputed status of Arunachal Pradesh . The recent
happenings in the board meeting of the Asian
Development Bank for a developmental loan for
Arunachal Pradesh demonstrates this further After
the first defeat and total isolation of China in
the board meeting China used her diplomatic and
strategic skills to get Japan and other East
Asian countries on board and got the Arunachal
package defeated which was a gruesome failure of Indian Diplomacy .

Looking into the history of the Border dispute
the McMohan Line, an imaginary border now known
as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), separates
the India-China border along Arunachal Pradesh.
China has never recognized the 1914 McMahon Line
and claims 90,000 sq km -- nearly all of
Arunachal Pradesh. India also accuses China of
occupying 25,000 sq km in Kashmir.

After 1962, tensions flared again in 1986 with
Indian and Chinese forces clashing in Sumdorong
Chu valley of Arunachal. Chinese troops
reportedly built a helipad in the valley leading
to fresh skirmishes along the borders.

The two countries signed the 1993 Border Peace
and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA). The agreement
renamed the border the Line of Actual Control
(LAC), implying a military held line that could
be changed by military means. Indian forces have
been ordered to match the growing border
management by Chinese troops by building 12
strategic border roads. The Indian government has
budgeted the equivalent of $357 million for 27 roads along the LAC.

Looking into the historical factors the whole of
Arunachal border problem and the Aksai Chin in
Jammu and Kashmir started after the Chinese
Annexation of Tibet. Let us try to analysis
certain historical evidences based on the
Conversations of Pandit Nehru and the Chinese
President of that time Zhou Enlai. Fifty years
ago Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai paid three state
visits to India in less than two months. It was
the zenith of the brotherhood relationship.
Premier Zhou was in India from November 28 to
December 10, 1956, December 30 to January 3 and
again from January 24 to 26, 1957. After the
signing of the Panchsheel agreement in April 1954
Chinese Intrusion of Indian borders started with
the first reported intrusion-taking place in Barahoti in July 1954.

Zhou who took the initiative to bring up the
situation in Tibet. He gave a long briefing to
the Indian PM on the historical status of the
Land of Snows, while Nehru kept quiet about the
intrusions. Zhou made some stray remarks on Tibet
and the border, which are worth noting: "That
Tibet is part of China is a fact, but it was
never an administrative province of China but
kept an autonomous character." Nehru replied: "My
impression was that for all practical purposes
Tibet has all along been autonomous”. Zhou spoke
again about autonomy: "When we started
negotiations for peaceful liberation of Tibet [in
1951 in Beijing], we from the first recognized
the autonomous character of the region." Then he
interestingly added: "When I said that India knew
more about Tibet, I meant about the past history.
For example, I knew nothing about McMahon Line
until recently when we came to study the border
problem after [the] liberation of China." Zhou
had also then added which seems quite surprising
now as the present Chinese leadership refuses to
accept the McMohan line (Line of Actual Control).
The then Premier of China had added “Although
this Line was never recognized by us, still
apparently there was a secret pact between
Britain and Tibet and it was announced at the
time of the Simla Conference. And now that it is
an accomplished fact, we should accept it. But we
have not consulted Tibet so far." Where did the
question of consulting Tibet arise as China had
forcefully occupied Tibet in 1959?

The present Political leadership of India
specially the ones in Central government should
take all this historical factors into account
while arguing forcefully with China on the border
problems with China. Strategically and
Economically Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan is very
important for India and India cannot afford to
loose an inch of land in the Arunachal Area and
it cannot afford to ignore the happenings in the
Sikkim-Bhutan or in the Kashmir-Himachal areas .
Its time for the Indian government to follow a
bold and firm policy towards China on the border issue.

India should not only claim back forcefully the
areas of Aksai Chin in Jammu And Kashmir which
China had occupied it in 1962 but should also
claim back almost 25000 sq kms of territory on
the other side of the Karakoram watershed in the
Yarkhand areas on the other side of K2 peaks
which originally belonged to the Princely state
of Jammu and Kashmir but was quietly taken over by China in 1947-48.

It should also ask China to ceded the 5000 Sq Kms
of land in the Karakoram area which Pakistan had
given to China after 1965 .At the same time
Government of India should make it clear once for
all that China should stop bargaining on its
claim over Arunachal Pradesh. For this if
required India should go back on its assurance of
accepting Tibet as an autonomous part of China
and declare the independent status of Tibet. If
the present Chinese leadership can ignore the
acceptance of Zhou Enlai on the Mac Mohan line in
1957. So can the present leadership of India do
the same on the question of Tibet? At the same
time India should raise up the question of ethnic
cleansing in Tibet and Xinjiang at every
international forum and also derecognize Xinjiang
as a part of China and make it disputed . After
all in Diplomacy there is also a notion of tit
for tat as well as the carrot and stick policy.

(The writer is renowned T.V personality, Foreign
Affairs Expert and a Political Critic. Contact:
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