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China dominating India on disputed borders

In 1949 India became the second country to recognize China and in 1954 Nehru and Zhou Enlai signed the treaty of Panchsheel or the five principles of peaceful co-existence. According to the agreement both countries had to respect for each others traditional integrity and non interference. The relation between the two countries were at its peak during 1950 to 1959 and they had promoted slogan “Hindi Chinni Bhai Bhai”. When People’s Liberation Army(PLA) was busy in crushing a revolt in Tibet,the spiritual leader Dalai Lama fled to India and formed a Tibetan government in exile with the Indian support. The same year clashes took place between China and Indian forces and tension increased when Mao Zedong stated that the Lhasa rebellion in Tibet was caused by Indians. In 1959 a border conflict emerged in Himalaya and Ladakh (Indian Occupied Kashmir). The McMahon Line was drawn between Tibet (China) and British India in 1914 at Simla signed between British and Tibetan representatives. India recognize McMahon line which according to them defines their border with Tibet which was drawn in 1914 at Simla convention. However, China objects to validity of line and believes that it was not party to the convention. India demands return of the sacred Mount Kailash Manasarovar in Tibet, as it is sacred place for Hindus. China claimed these disputed areas as part of its territory and deployed its army on the borders. The pretext of the 1962 war besides Dalai Lama was dispute over the sovereignty of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin (Indian Occupied Kashmir). Skirmishes turned out to be a war in 1962 when India launched an attack from Ladakh and across McMahon line in Arunachal Pradesh(NEFA). The Indian army was too weak to fight Chinese as China counter attacked in Ladakh (western sector) Arunachal Pradesh (eastern sector) and crushed the Indian army. Indian army after heavy loses in the eastern sector escaped to Bhutan. Chinese army came down till Tezpur in Assam. During 1962 war the Chinese army occupied a large chunk of Arunachal Pradesh but returned after ceasefire. According India Today 3250 India soldiers were killed and India lost 43000 square kilometers of land to China in Aksai Chin. According to Chinese official the war achieved China’s policy objective of securing border in the western sector by acquiring control in the Aksai Chin. In the eastern sector their troops went back to the north of McMahon line after China unilaterally declared a ceasefire on 19 November 1962. China was successful in a month long war on both the front as India suffered heavy setbacks and badly defeated. Let us have a brief look at the India-China border disputes. The India China border is divided into three sectors. The western sectors in known as Askai Chin sector. It is a high altitude desert of 37000 square kilometers and second largest Indo China border area. The line drawn here is known as Johnson line by British in 1860 that extended upto Kunlun mountains. However, Chinese never recognized this line. China recognizes the Macartney -Macdonald line as the actual boundary which puts Aksai Chin in Xinjiang region of China. In 1893 boundary was revisited by British government and presented to China in 1899.Aksai Chin lies between India Occupied Kashmir (Ladakh) and China’s Xinjiang province. It is now under Chinese administration after 1962 war. China also claims over Daulat Beg Oldi, a tehsil in Leh, south of Aksai Chin as its area. China also claim that the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh where Chinese and India troops had a standoff is entirely located in its territory. According to India that two third of the lake in the eastern Ladakh is controlled by China. The recent standoff between China and Indian troops is the first such incident after India revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir. China has objected to the formation of Ladakh as Indian union territory saying that it undermined its territorial sovereignty. Second sector is central which include areas of Sikkim and Doklam. Doklam is a narrow plateau in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. China claims that Doklam is a disputed territory between Bhutan and China. This region is close to India’s Chicken’s Neck a 20 kilometers wide stretch of land which connect the seven sister states in the north east India. Bhutan has not established diplomatic ties with China because of Indian pressure. According to Chinese daily Global Times India has severely Jeopardized Bhutan’s diplomatic sovereignty and control its national defence. India has signed a treaty with Bhutan to protect its border. China’s view point is that India has no right to make territorial demands on Bhutan’s behalf. According to them India not only violated China’s sovereignty but also challenged Bhutan’s independence. The recent standoff started after China’s plan to construct a road close to India’s strategic Chicken’s Neck. India is worried if this road is completed will put China at a strategic advantage and will give access to China to Siliguri Corridor (Chicken’s Neck) that links the seven north eastern states to the rest of India. Sikkim is another issue. India deposed the king of Sikkim in 1975 and manipulated the country’s parliament into a referendum to make Sikkim a state of India. The Nathu la and Cho la clashes were series of military clashes in 1967 between China and India along side of Sikkim. China has threatened India that they may support pro independence movement in Sikkim if India does not stop pursuing a regional hegemony through the border faceoff. China has conveyed that they may review their stance on Sikkim. Sikkim is important because of its strategic location and China’s refusal to recognize it as part of India. In Sikkim, Nepalis constitute two thirds of population and hold political power. The eastern sector comprises the state of Arunachal Pradesh, the largest disputed area covering around 90000 square kilometers. China claims it as its territory and refers to it as “South Tibet”. Arunachal Pradesh has 63 percent of its population belonging to faiths other than Hinduism. The state contains one of the highest proportions of Buddhist in India. It was also known as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). During 1962 war, entire Arunachal Pradesh was occupied by Chinese army but later they withdrew. However, China still claims it as its integral part. China objected to the visit of Dalai Lama to one of the monastery in Arunachal Pradesh. China has also recently condemned India prime minister Modi’s visit to the disputed state of Arunachal Pradesh. During the summit of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Beijing, China removed a map from the website that depicted entire Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. China recently also destroyed thousands of maps which showed Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. Another major issue of concern between China and India is water issue. There are four rivers which flow from China to India as they all flow from Tibet to India. There exist no agreement with India over the water resources. China is planning to build a number of water projects in Tibet including a dam on Brahmaputra. According many think tanks dispute relating to water will be major source of conflict between the two countries in the future. India is also opposing CPEC that passes through Gilgit Baltistan. The Pakistan interior ministry has already warned government of Gilgit Baltistan that India has made up plans to attack the CPEC installations to sabotage the mega project. Chairman Joint Chief Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat confirmed in a speech that India has established a special cell at a cost of 500 million dollars to sabotage CPEC. There have been so many rounds of talks between India and China to resolve the differences over the borders. The last round was held between Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi after Doklam stand off. However, tension still persist along the western, central and eastern sectors of the disputed border. China’s position remains that Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh (Southern Tibet) are Chinese territories and also Jammu and Kashmir which is disputed territory to be settled between Pakistan and India. Pakistan supports China’s stand on its border disputes with India. Friendship between Pakistan and China is very strong based on mutual trust and friendship. Pakistan’s close relation with China is very important to Islamabad. Thus it is rightfully sung that Pak Cheen Dosti Wang Woye (Long Live Pak-China Friendship).

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Source: Daily Times 

Dated on: 27/9/2019

Author: Masud Ahmed Khan

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