India-China Boundary Issues

The Special Representatives of India and China, on a separate track, are engaged in a lengthy process of negotiations to define the final frontiers between their countries. Critically examine what factors are holding back both countries to come to a final solution on this issue. (200 Words)

India and China have a 4058 km long disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is proving to be a barrier to stronger relation between the two neighbours. While mutual distrust led to outright hostility and even a war in 1962, the issue has not been satisfactorily resolved. The following reasons impede resolution of the problem:
  1. Nationalistic Reasons – Negotiations over disputed boundaries require some manner of give and take. However, jingoistic sentiments on both sides make compromises difficult.
  2. Political Reasons – Negotiations are held hostage to political climate in both the countries. As a result they are sometimes not given due priority which slows the process.
  3. Strategic Reasons – While India claims the Aksai Chin plateau, China does not wish to give it up because a strategic road connecting Xinjiang and Tibet passes through Aksai Chin. On the other hand, while China claims Arunachal Pradesh, India cannot give that up due to the people living there.
  4. Realpolitik – An unsettled border with India gives China a strategic advantage as it creates uncertainty in the mind of India.
  5. Economic Reasons – As India seeks greater economic integration with China, China is delaying the boundary settlement so that it can then leverage its economic control over India to dictate a more favourable boundary settlement.
For closer relations and to give credence to the dream on the ‘Asian Century’ it is necessary that India and China resolve their differences over the boundary issue. It demands a pragmatic approach from both the countries and a push from the political leaders. A fair settlement of the boundary question could become the defining moment of the 21st century and lay the groundwork of the ‘Asian Century’
Write a brief note on the history and importance of McMahon Line for India. Critically examine why this Line has become bone of contention between India and China. (200 Words)
Shimla Accord was signed between British India and Tibet in 1914 through British and Tibetan Govt representative. But it is disputed by Chinese Govt on the basis that Tibetan Govt has no authority to do so because it was under Chinese suzerainty as per the Anglo Russian Accord and Chinese representatives have not accepted or signed it.
In 1948 Communist Govt of Beijing brought Tibet under its direct control and Nehru declared McMahon Line to be final boundary line between India and China in return of India giving up its extra territorial right over Tibet. But since 1959 failure of Tibet uprising and Dalai Lama arrival in India things changed and China refused to recognise McMahon Line as boundary
Today, China does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh or McMahon line. It shows Arunachal as South Tibet. This boundary was never demarcated and continues to be on paper only with both sides reinforcing military and witnessing skirmishes.
McMahon line is important for us because we believe Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India more than what Tibet is of China. The region is endowed with natural beauty lie evergreen forests, many endemic species of flora and fauna. Eco tourism can be a great business and so can be medicinal value of these.
Also, Arunachal Pradesh has Brahmaputra which had immense potential of hydroelectric power which can sustain the Seven Sister states. Recently, oil had been discovered and many minerals might also be found in young Himalayas. Most importantly, the region is vital for India’s security concerns due to proximity to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
China does recognise McMahon line as boundary with Myanmar but not with India. This issue gets compounded due to other factors like Aksai Chin, Pakistan China ties,  emerging economies and India viewed as West’s paradise by China.
Lately, the two nations have sought diplomatic means to resolve the boundary issue and it should be prioritised as it is the only issue over which a future war may be fought. We cannot also give up our claims in return for Aksai Chin. India should reach out to local population with more fervour and opportunities for growth, employment, etc.



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