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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Border games. Rectifying an inconvenient history

November 9, 2009

Tibet InfoNet
November 8, 2009

The visit of the Dalai Lama to the north east
Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, which
borders Tibet, has been met with furious
denunciations from the Peoples Republic of China
(PRC). The visit brings to the fore two issues
irksome for Beijing - its Tibet problem and the
Sino-Indian border imbroglio, both of which China
has been able to manage since the 19th century
with varying success, but never resolve to its
satisfaction. The border issue, despite being
often regarded as the results of India's failure
to timely adopt pro-Tibetan positions, is linked
less by a causal relationship to Tibet's disputed
status than by a common origin, China's historic
failure to deal in a judicious and sensible way
with the Himalayan region as a whole. Qing
dynasty China, lacking effective clout in the
region but maintaining imperial hubris, chose not
to cooperate with the British Empire in sorting
out their relationship with the Himalayas. The
British in contrast were not interested in
territorial gain, but just in securing the
borders of their own empire. They also wanted to
promote trade and actively sought to engage China
by, as an example, consistently refusing to
recognise Tibetan independence. Rather than seek
closure and come to terms with a generally benign
independent India, the PRC chose to pursue an
aggressive and uncompromising route of enforcing
its claims, embedded in a vengeful discourse of
re-establishing presumed past grandeur and
redress perceived grievances, like the
Tibet-Himalaya deal, which is at the core of the
legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP)
power. Having achieved all its strategic goals in
the Himalayan region following the integration of
Tibet and the border war with India in 1962, the
PRC has been using Arunachal, a territory widely
useless to it, as a pawn in a unilaterally
defined bargaining chip for a future settlement
with India. India's reaction to recent antagonism
over Arunachal was testimony to its growing
self-confidence in facing up to China. New Delhi
chose to demonstrate that Chinese pressures on
the border would not provoke it, at the same time
as enhancing its defence infrastructure. It let
it be known that the Dalai Lama is an "honoured
guest", and is therefore free to travel to any
part of India, including areas claimed by the
PRC. In doing this, India showed that it would
maintain its moderate stance on Tibet and only
accept compromises concerning the border if China
gives up more than theoretical claims. Finally,
it made it clear it is not prepared to accept any
diktat of the 'unequal treaty' type, such as the
sort China has sought to replace with its own
inconclusive policies in the Himalayan region.

Parallel histories
Until the late 19th Century, the relationships
between the various political constituencies in
most of the Tibet-Himalaya region and the
delineation of their borders was subject to
categories hardly compatible with today's
concepts of nation states and international
frontiers. The agreement between Qing China and
British India in 1890, which defined the
principality of Sikkim as a British protectorate
and set its northern border at Tibet, represented
the first attempt to draw on more modern concepts
of political cleavage over the north-south
Himalayan divide(1). Up until then, Sikkim had
been a tributary state of Tibet. Further attempts
by the British to clarify ‘traditional
boundaries' in the eastern and western sector of
the Himalayas, in particular the forest-clad,
vast and then largely unexplored region between
Bhutan and Burma, today known as Arunachal, and
the Aksai Chin, a desolated region adjacent to
Ladakh, led to nowhere, neither did attempts to
clarify the status of Tibet, since China,
concerned by its lack of effective power in the
region refused to even negotiate.

Determined to put an end to what they perceived
to be an untidy situation, Calcutta, the capital
of British India until 1911, began to focus on
directly pressuring the Dalai Lama's government
in Lhasa. This culminated in the military
expedition to Lhasa of 1904. Although they were
decisive in loosening the Manchu Empire's
remaining grasp on Tibet, the British,
consistently refused to recognise an independent
Tibet. Instead, they laid out the concept of
Tibetan "suzerainty" under China, as opposed to
Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, a vital
difference to the concept of an independent Tibet
– a notion that was reaffirmed by the
Anglo-Chinese convention of 1906, and not formally rescinded until 2008(2).

The last British attempt to engage China in
restructuring the region was the tripartite
conference held at the North Indian hill-station
of Simla (now known as Shimla) in 1914(3), which
defined an ‘Inner Tibet' (roughly the regions
known to Tibetans as Amdo and eastern Kham) that
was to remain under full Chinese jurisdiction and
an ‘Outer Tibet', adjacent to India, for which a
rather fuzzy autonomy status was foreseen. It
also set the eastern sector of the border between
‘Outer Tibet' and British India along a
British-drawn boundary, the McMahon Line. This
was not based on the ethnicity of territory but
on geographical features and placed the divide on
a vaguely defined ‘crest' rather than on the
foothills of the Himalayas as it tended to be
understood before, at least by the Tibetans. In
order to counter China's refusal to accept the
arrangement, the British determined that, until
China ratified the Simla Accord, they would
interact with ‘Outer Tibet' as a factually
independent entity (which they probably intended
to do anyway). Despite Tibetan protestations they
again refused to formally recognise it as
independent. China never ratified the accord, but
maintained its general claim over the Tibet-Himalaya region.

Following Indian independence in 1947 and the
advent of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in
1949, both countries went about addressing the
colonial legacy, labelled by the then Indian PM
Nehru "imperialist sequels". Both countries
agreed to proceed while preserving the status
quo, but they turned out to have deeply divergent views on what this entailed.

India favoured a course of accommodation based on
the rules and practices left by the British. It
prepared to deal with Tibet, the former ‘Outer
Tibet', as a self-governing entity. It mapped the
western border sector, including the Aksai Chin,
and in Tawang district, the ethnic Tibetan region
of today's Arunachal, south of the McMahon Line,
they replaced the administrator who had
previously been posted by the Tibetans, but with
tacit British agreement(4), with an Indian officer on 12 February 1951.

China pursued a more aggressive agenda of
restoring a presumed status quo ante, i.e. one
that involved the perceived 'historical rights'
of the Qing dynasty that existed over the region
before the grasp of Western Imperialism,
disregarding the quality of their actual
implementation, as well as the fact that in the
meantime the political conditions on the ground
had evolved. This strategy however, was
inherently problematic, because of the
incompatibility of traditional concepts of
territory, borders and administration with modern
nation state practice, and, more importantly,
because it ran up against local developments,
particularly the Tibetans' wish to settle their own affairs.

Unilateral compromises and the making of a pawn
China swiftly altered ground realities by ending
Tibet's de facto independence and absorbing it
through the Seventeen Point Agreement of 1951.
Irritated by the incursions of Chinese troops
into Tibet, India initially facilitated Tibetan
resistance, for instance by tolerating a US
supply of weapons through its territory. But as
soon as 1954, it willingly backed the new status
quo by signing the enthusiastic Sino-Indian
treaty of 1954, known as the Panchsheel
Agreement, which was meant to be a milestone in
the post-Imperialism era, and that
unconditionally acknowledged Tibet as a part of
China. The move was probably intended to
accommodate China and facilitate constructive
trans-Himalayan relationships to deal with its
now well-perceived and ardent desire to redefine
the Tibet-Himalayan settlement. But China's
intransigent drive to rectify the legacy of
history rather than accommodate it proved an
insurmountable obstacle. Developments like the
growing Tibetan resistance against the PRC, the
take-over of the Minsar enclave(5) and the secret
construction of a road by the PLA in the Aksai
Chin, and simply ignoring India's claim over it, led to confrontation.

The only concession advanced by Beijing was the
retention of the McMahon Line, but only if the
1914 accord, perceived by China as an ‘unequal
treaty' and unilaterally imposed, was revoked and
some territorial adjustments agreed that would
delineate it as a new line. Beijing's position
was meant to be a quid pro quo for the Aksai
Chin. For Beijing it was an easy compromise; the
territory south of the McMahon Line, then known
as the North Eastern Frontier Area (NEFA),
today's Arunachal Pradesh, is of hardly any
strategic or economic interest to China and due
to its position south of the mountain ridge,
difficult to access and defend militarily. In
addition, the population was understood to be
hostile to China, at least since its take-over of Tibet.

Finally, in 1962, small-scale border encounters
escalated into a full-fledged military conflict
that swept away the ill-prepared Indian troops
and ended in total disaster for India. China
asserted its claim over the Aksai Chin in full
and overran Indian troops in the Tawang district
of NEFA/Arunachal. However, after the conflict,
China unilaterally withdrew its troops from most
of Tawang, probably because it had realised in
full its objective of exchanging the
strategically important Aksai Chin(6) for a territory valueless to China.

Overnight, Indian attitudes towards China were
reversed following the defeat of 1962. Many
Indians, not the less Prime Minister Nehru
himself, had felt a sense of solidarity with
China in a community that had rid Asia of Western
Imperialism and was now ready to steer towards a
better future, which as the biggest nations in
the world they would commonly shape. This is at
the origin of the ‘smart China vs. gullible
India' concept that is nowadays a common place in
the inner-Indian political discourse and often
used by the opposition to castigate the incumbent
government. The enthusiastic slogan of
Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai that characterised the
friendship between the two Asian giants had now
been replaced with a bitter rivalry; a rivalry
perhaps encouraged by the long-standing Western
tradition of comparing the two nations, generally
to the detriment of India. From 1962 onwards, the
border remained a place of regular tensions with
some heavy clashes occurring in September and
October 1967 at the Sikkim border, at Nathu La
and at Cho La. The resumption of full diplomatic
relations in 1976 did not prevent a further,
relatively minor clash in Sumdorong Chu valley, Arunachal, as late as 1984.

Only Rajiv Gandhi's groundbreaking visit to China
in December 1988 breathed new life into
Sino-Indian relations and a working committee was
set up to discuss the border issue. But the
Treaty of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of
Actual Control (LAC) signed in 1993, and some
more confidence building measures that followed
in 1996, all fell short of settling the frontier
once for all. Despite several attempts, it proved
impossible even to map the LAC, because of
China's fears that it might well end up with that
being understood as the final border. At the core
of the dispute is the PRC's insistence that the
issue can only be resolved on the basis of a
‘package solution' i.e. one that would involve
both, the eastern sector, Arunachal Pradesh, and
the western sector, the Aksai Chin, bordering
Ladakh. India, on the other hand, seeks to deal
with both sectors as separate problems, as they
have historically been seen. In other words,
whereas India sees the conflict primarily as a
territorial dispute, it remains for China an
issue of principles. Indeed, should India get its
way, the PRC's decade-long strategy would appear
unsuccessful, for, as an overview of the last
decades reveals, Beijing appears to have never
seriously envisaged a revision of the McMahon
Line to the extent that it would re-incorporate today's Arunachal Pradesh.

Even before the clash of 1962, China's then
foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, consistently
argued, in writing as well as through public
statements, that the PRC claimed the whole Aksai
Chin as its own and that this position was not
negotiable, whereas he gave strong hints that
Beijing in return could well imagine accepting
the McMahon Line and thus leave NEFA/Arunachal
with India. This would be provided India would
agree to some individual adjustments of a
cosmetic nature so that China would not be seen
as accepting what it consistently calls the
"illegal McMahon Line" drawn by the colonialists.
It would instead accept a new "legal" one, albeit
one that would be more or less the same. Mao
Zedong himself clarified this position with
Khrushchev when the USSR tried to mediate between
the two countries in 1959. The same position was
in principle upheld by Deng Xiaoping in 1980. In
other words, the PRC intended from beginning to
come to a compromise, but only one it had itself
crafted in advance, ignoring the obvious fact
that a unilateral compromise is a contradiction
in terms. From this perspective, Arunachal is and
likely remains for China nothing but a pawn.

Maintaining pressure at any price
For many years however, China's claim over
Arunachal was out of the spotlight, remaining in
the shadow of another, apparently more promising
pawn, Sikkim, which had formally become part of
India in 1974-57. China never claimed Sikkim as
its own, but it refused to accept India's
incorporation of it, and still fairly recently
listed the region as a separate independent state
on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, with the description: "The Chinese
Government does not recognize India's illegal
annexation of Sikkim". Beijing's change of mind
on Sikkim came with the recognition that
reopening Nathu La for border trade, the pass
that links Sikkim to Tibet, was in its own best
interest, and so it was agreed during Indian PM
Vajpayee's visit to China in 2003(8). Officially,
the move was not a formal recognition by China of
Sikkim as a part of India, but within a few
months, China quietly gave up all claims of Sikkimese independence.

Since then, the focus of contention has returned
to the eastern border sector, and hence Arunachal
Pradesh. This is particularly apparent through
Indian press reports about border incidents, not
just in Arunachal Pradesh, that are described in
loaded terms at various emotional levels. Words
like "transgressions"; "incursions";
"intrusions"; and "violations" are common. Indian
media most frequently report 400 as the number of
border incidents that took place over the period
2005-8, in Arunachal and other places. However,
that there were 140 of these reported in 2007, a
relatively quiet year in political terms, as
opposed to 2006 and 2008, indicates that an often
assumed link between political turbulence in
Tibet and border incidents is a mere sophistry.
In the tumultuous Olympic year 2008, for no clear
reasons, between 65 and 70 cases were reported up
to June 2008 in the co-called ‘Finger Area' of
Sikkim(9). According to The Indian Express,
Chinese troops destroyed a makeshift bunker at
Doka La near the Sino-Sikkim-Bhutan frontier in
May 2008. The same newspaper recapitulated in
August 2008 the major recent incidents. More
recently, in late summer 2009, rocks were
allegedly spray painted with red characters
marking the place as Chinese territory close to
Gya on the Ladakh sector, i.e. well inside the
Indian controlled area and clearly outside any contentious territory.

Although much is being written about such
incidents, most of them escape the scope of any
serious fact-based assessment. Just about all of
them are off limits to non-military personnel,
and the Indian authorities deny independent
witnesses access to the sites of presumed border
incidents. Certain details also raise serious
concerns about accuracy. For instance, in the
majority of reports about incidents the distance
from the line of control is specified. But these
measurements are questionable as in most places
the line of actual control is not clarified. Nor
does the practice amongst Indian journalists of
reporting border incidents more often during and
around the times of regular Sino-Indian border
talks contribute to their credibility. Neither
does the fact that they are used effusively by
opposition politicians and their sympathisers to
expose the alleged incompetence of the government
in protecting Indian territory and national
pride. Although being built on the back of Indian
perceptions of an on-going enmity with China,
they reflect more the domestic Indian political
climate rather than bi-national relations.
Finally, with additional alleged details emerging
and bouncing between different sources, the few
seemingly available facts, where available at
all, become difficult to assess, casting doubts
about the veracity of many reports, and beyond
that whether they are wholly bogus in the first
place, pseudo-incidents staged by some agent
provocateur. For instance, reports about the
incident in Ladakh of summer 2009 claimed that
inscriptions in red paint on the rocks marked the
place: "Part of Red China". This vocabulary
however hardly corresponds to any current Chinese
self-depiction. The outdated expression of the
Cold War era is however still in use in India,
particularly among the Tibetan exile community(10).

There is little doubt that Chinese border troops
at times intentionally venture beyond the line
they know the Indian side are regarding as their
border, and considering the wide reporting of it
by the Indian media, Chinese authorities will
also be well-informed about it. It is therefore
highly unlikely that these incidents happen
without the tacit agreement of higher
authorities. However, rather than elusive and
passionately discussed "intrusions" and
"transgressions", it is official and
semi-official statements with clear sources and
wording, along with well-documented moves by the
PRC at international forums, that are used to
express China's position that the current state
of the border is temporary and waiting definition.

On a diplomatic level and to all international
bodies, Beijing has always taken great care to
reiterate its claim over Arunachal, which it
ponderously calls the "East Section of the
China-India Boundary, which India calls Arunachal
Pradesh", or simply "Southern Tibet", or more
bluntly the "so-called Arunachal". Chinese
officials also regularly mention, as official PRC
maps do, that China claims Arunachal in its
entirety. On the eve of Chinese President Hu
Jintao's visit to New Delhi in November 2006,
Beijing's ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi, told an
Indian television channel: "The whole of the
state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory.
And Tawang is only one of the places in it". In
May 2007, India cancelled a delegation to China
after one of its members was denied a visa
because he was from Arunachal, and "hence
Chinese". In summer 2008, Beijing managed to
delay projects to be funded by the Asian
Development Bank (ADB), on the grounds that some
of the funds would have been allocated for the
"disputed region" of Arunachal. Although India
could eventually gather enough support to push
through the projects in question, it later
emerged that China had succeeded in having the
ADB agreement reworded in a way that recognised that the region is disputed.

As well official organs, Beijing also uses its
proxies to push its claims. Professor Ma Jiali of
the China Institute of Contemporary International
Relations told the Press Trust of India in an
interview in March 2007 "the Chinese Central
Government could face problems from local Tibetan
people [if Tawang was not dealt with as part of
Tibet]". This view was echoed by Wang Yiwei,
associate professor at Fudan University, in July
2007 who said: "We want to win the hearts of
Tibetans. By giving up claims on Tawang, we don't
want to be seen not to be protecting Tibetan
interests". Interestingly, a report from August
2009 by the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao claimed
China was "prepared to give up" its claim on
Arunachal provided India would allow it to hold
on to the Aksai Chin and cede "just 2,000 sq km"
of territory. The Times of India reported that
the Chinese foreign ministry rejected the report
as "groundless" and the China Institute of
Contemporary International Relations even was
complicit in the pretence that it actually
reflects India's position on the border dispute.
This assertion appears to have been devised to
confuse both countries positions on the past,
while hinting at an apparently reasonable
solution to the mess; the one China has been aiming at for six decades now.

Indian authorities demonstrate serenity and determination
With bilateral trade valued at $18.7 billion in
2005 - 2006, up from $260 million in 1990, and
despite the differences between the two Asian
giants, until the global crisis of 2008, China's
GDP and its annual growth were roughly three
times that of India, while its foreign reserves
exceeded India's by six times, India is China's
third most important trade partner. The reality
is that China and India's economies have grown to
be so heavily interdependent, that a serious
conflict over their respective versions of
Himalayan history is probably the last thing
either nation could ever envisage. Seen in this
context, both sides seem to have tacitly agreed
to put their differences over Tibet and the
Himalayan border on hold while moving on in
other, currently more vital aspects of their relationship.

It is the PRC, however, which still remains keen
to remind India and the international community
that this apparent agreement to disagree still
does not equal a final acceptance of the status
quo as long as no treaty has been signed. It does
this chiefly by regularly playing the Arunachal
card. One could not think of a better opportunity
for that than the visit of the Dalai Lama to
Tawang, knowing that this will inevitably
generate a response from the Indian side while
exciting the fervour of Chinese nationalists.
Recent alleged border incidents, as well as the
Dalai Lama's visit, have indeed unleashed a
frenzy of activity from Indian and Chinese
bloggers and contributors to various Indian,
Chinese and international websites. As might have
been expected, prior to the visit, furious
reports about Chinese incursions proliferated in
the Indian press, flanked by many editorials by
prominent leaders of the Indian opposition. As
late as the 04 November, just a few days before
the visit, the Indian Express came out with new
reports on presumed remote sensing "confirming"
the construction of dams on the Brahmaputra, thus
reigniting the controversy about a possible
diversion of the river, which, if ever realized,
could deprive India of one of its most vital
sources of fresh water. (See footnote 11. Whether
these reports are based on Indian research or
Chinese attempts to pressure Indian opinion will probably never be known.

What is certain is that the Indian government,
which has tended to react to Chinese pressure in
a rather defensive way in the past is now
switching to a more relaxed attitude, a sign of
its increasing exasperation, as well as its will
and capacity to react in a dignified way, clarify
and uphold its positions on both Tibet and the
border. Referring to border tensions in the run
up to the Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang, and
reinforcing a previous statement by Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao on 19 September 2009 played down
Indian press reports. "Contrary to popular
perception, the situation along the border has
remained peaceful for decades", she said. She
stressed that there was "no significant increase"
in incursions across all sections of the 4,000 km
border between the two countries. "This is not a
new phenomenon. It has been going on for years",
she said. National Security Adviser M.K.
Narayanan, who is also India's special
representative for border talks with China told
the news channel CNN-IBN: "In terms of numbers of
incursions, there has been hardly any increase.
Occasionally inroads are a little deeper than
what might have been in the past. I don't think
there is anything alarming about it". Speaking to
reporters in Chennai, Chief of Army Staff of the
Indian Army, General Deepak Kapoor said: "As
compared to last year, they [the reported border
incursions] are almost at the same level. So
there is no cause for worry or concern. I request
the media to restrain and not overplay". With
that, the three most relevant Indian officials
were candid in confirming that the Indian
authorities are fully aware of such incursions,
but will not be provoked. Meanwhile India is
slowly upgrading its military capacities close to
the relevant border sectors. This has involved
conducting military exercises in the north-east
and reopening the Nyoma air strip in Ladakh in
September 2009, amongst other moves, while
denying that these measures are connected to any current tensions.

As far as the visit itself is concerned, the
Indian government has been keen to clarify the
routine nature of it -- it is in fact the fifth
visit by the Dalai lama to Arunachal; the current
one was postponed from October 2008 to March 2009
and then to November - that India exerts full
authority over the province and the Dalai Lama is
free to travel throughout India. The Prime
Minister even took the unprecedented move of
telling the Chinese leadership during
international meetings in Bangalore and Bangkok
that the Dalai Lama is an "honoured guest" in
India, thus confirming New Delhi's position
towards the Tibetan leader and the difference in
India's attitude to China's towards him. The
Prime Minister can be relaxed at having the vast
majority of India's public behind him, as a poll
by the magazine Outlook revealed 73% of
respondents stating that the Dalai Lama is a
spiritual leader, not a political one, while 71%
agreed that his presence in India has an adverse
impact on India-China relations, an apparent
contradiction with which most Indians seem willing to live.

1:The first clearly defined modern borders that
were established in the region were imposed by
the treaty of Segauli in 1815, through which the
British set a limit to Nepal's expansion along
the Himalayas. These were however borders on the
well mapped east-west axis. Delineating borders
on the north-south axis was far more arduous
because they involved China, the terrain was
hardly known nor were the complex relationships
between regions within the mountains.
2:This decision of the British Government, though
controversial, just reworded its long practiced
de facto stance on Tibet, i.e. the acceptance of
the Himalayan region as being a part of China,
while it maintained the, at least stated,
position that Tibet should enjoy autonomy. In
fact, the new formula seems to apply to the whole
Tibetan area, while, strictly seen, the obsolete
sovereignty vs. suzerainty concept only applied
to the former 'Outer Tibet' which more or less
corresponds to what is today the Tibet Autonomous Region.
3:The Simla Accord was the culmination of 75
years of effort by the British to 'pacify' the
'tribes' that lived in the thick forests of the
south Himalayan slopes and time and again
launched attacks on Indian peasants in Assam.
This, rather than territorial gain, appears to
have motivated British ambitions to control the region.
4:That the British had tolerated a Tibetan
administrator sent by Lhasa in Tawang for about
four decades underlines that they were happy not
to interfere with local affairs, as long as the
borders of their empire, and consequently its security, were not endangered.
5:Minsar was an extraterritorial enclave in the
Kailash region in west Tibet under the
administration of the former kingdom of Ladakh.
Ladakh lost independence to the Kingdom of Jammu
in the mid 19th century. Jammu and Kashmir became
part of India following independence, thus
placing Minsar legally under India's sovereignty.
6: The corridor is strategically vital for China,
because it links Tibet with Xinjiang.
7:Though at the margins of the framework defined
by international law, the accession of Sikkim to
the Indian Union ended a civil-war-like situation
and was later endorsed by the democratically elected Sikkimese parliament.
8:The agreement was criticised for expressly
recognising Tibet as a part of China. However,
this declaration was of purely diplomatic value,
since it only reiterated the terms of the Sino-Indian treaty of 1954.
9: The 'Finger Area' is aberrant because, for
some reasons, it does not appear to follow any geographical pattern.
10:Reports about Chinese incursions across the
border tend to be highly speculative and reflect
little knowledge of realities on the ground. An
article in the Asia Times in June 2008 for
example alleges: "Unlike the icy Tibetan plateau,
Tawang is fertile and rich in minerals. It has
the potential of sustaining Tibet's economy". The
speculation most frequently associated with the
perceived Chinese threat to India concerns the
diversion of the Brahmaputra, a project shelved
by the Chinese authorities, without ever even
having reached any serious planning stage, and
for which there are no visible preparations on
the ground, except for dam projects related to
electricity production, as on many other rivers
all over Tibet. Even former Indian Defence
Minister George Fernandez, a leading China
sceptic within the Indian establishment and a
declared Tibet supporter, in an interview with
the magazine Force in 2003, deplored the fact
that the media unnecessarily overplayed border transgression incidents.
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