SINO-INDIAN TENSIONS - India Over the Dalai Lama's Visit

  0 comments   |     by Waqar K Kauravi and Umar Waqar

As reported by Economic Times , China has for the first time announced "standardised" official names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh, days after it lodged strong protests with India over the Dalai Lama's visit to the frontier state. The move was aimed at reaffirming China's claim over the state. China claims the state as 'South Tibet'.

India has dismissed the renaming and ; Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said “every inch” of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India and China has “no business” to name any Indian place.

The current spate of hard shouting between India and China appears to be a reaction of Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh; however it must be appreciated and remembered that Sino-Indian tensions are a product of years of uneasy relations and an un-demarcated 4000 kms border between both countries and the fact that Indo-China war of 1962 resulted in total humiliation of India, when her forces were smashed and retreated like jackals.

Indian media regularly sounds loud anti-China rhetoric from the Indian establishment, opposition and mainstream media, blaming the Chinese forces of infiltrating the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh/Aksai Chin region. Beijing on the other hand has remained cool and calm and has advised the Indian establishment to clear its position on the issue. The Chinese media has shown patience, however deliberate attempts by India to frequently showcase Dalai Lama in the disputed areas like Chinese South Tibet is now testing the resolve of Chinese leadership

Indian military preparations to deal with Chinese military might across the Himalayas in no secret. As reported by Shashank Joshi in the Interpreter in 2014, Indian response to Chinese military preparations has been the raising of the new 17 Corps, Indian cabinet gave the go-ahead for the raising of the 90,000 strong China-facing Corps in 2014. Its underlying purpose is to provide conventional deterrence against China, strengthening India’s hand in crises. The new corps will have two high-altitude divisions (59 Div at Panagarh and 72 Div at Pathankot) with their integral units.

Indian jingoistic attitude can be also be gleaned from analysts like Jaideep Mazumdar,while writing on Aug 18, 2016 in Swaraja with the title of Indo-China Border’s Defences Ramped Up as India Displays New Confidence he states, all this marks a new and vastly confident attitude in India regarding China; the ghost of 1962, it can be said, has been buried by the Narendra Modi government and the diffidence that marked the conduct of Congress regimes in their dealings with, or regarding, China has been justly shed.

Indian frustration with CPEC is also one major factor affecting Sino-Indian ties, Indian establishment is mulling to include seats of Pakistani part of Kashmir into Indian legislature, basically a move to taunt China and make CPEC controversial.

Chinese media has been sensitive to the issue of CPEC as well as Sino-Indian border. Chinese Global Times, commented on Dalai Lama’s visit in following words, “The Indian media have continuously created trouble for the Sino-Indian relationship. India seems to be in the driving seat of the bilateral relationship. The Indian policy toward China can be fickle, while China's levers for balancing the relationship are much simpler and scarcer. Therefore, the Indian media and opposition should be balanced, so as to prevent them from enjoying privileges outside intergovernmental communications and negotiations”.

Unfortunately, India has maintained a very strange relationship with all of its neighbors. Most of the time, this relationship has had been tailored to address the Indian anxiety derived from the past history of 2,000 years and, more recently, for building a false clout of its greatness. Indian establishment and media have blamed India’s neighbors for most of the ills related to security and poor governance in the Union. However, the track record shows something reverse. Some analysts have even blamed India for fomenting tensions in the Chinese state of Sinkiang and Tibet. One must remember that the Indian establishment played a dirty game during the Beijing Olympics by involving the Tibetan dissidents when the Olympic torch passed through India.

On a historical note, the Indo-China conflict across the Himalayas dates back to British times when they arbitrarily demarcated the international border with China and vast swaths of bordering territory remained in dispute. As reported by Global Times, the controversy regarding South Tibet started from 1914, when British India and local Tibetan representatives unilaterally signed the illegal "Simla Accord" and created the "McMahon Line," a line the Chinese government has never accepted. The illegal deal ceded some 90,000 square kilometers of Chinese territory in South Tibet to British India.

China has been making efforts to solve the territorial disputes with India, but over the past decades, India has not only increased migration to the disputed area and boosted its military construction there, but it also named "Arunachal Pradesh," China's South Tibet, as a formal state of India in 1987.

Following the independence of both countries, the issue of border dispute has been surfacing regularly and resulted into a major war in 1962. Pundit Nehru’s forward policy in the Himalayas was effectively checked and rolled back by the PLA when the Chinese forces not only destroyed the Indian military capability in Aksai Chin and NEFA (current Arunachal Pradesh), but also set the tone of future political discourse in this dispute.

Global Times states that putting the Dalai Lama into its toolbox against China is another trick played by New Delhi lately. New Delhi would be too ingenuous to believe that the region belongs to India simply because the Dalai Lama says so. It is time for India to do some serious thinking over why China announced the standardized names in South Tibet at this time. Playing the Dalai Lama card is never a wise choice for New Delhi. If India wants to continue this petty game, it will only end up in paying dearly for it.

Our sincere advise to Indian establishment and head honchos of South block will be to stop interfering with their neighbors and solve their border disputes with China, Pakistan, Sikkim, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Bhutan through peaceful diplomacy, a geographically Indo centric South Asia does not mean that India should be the source of headache for all of her neighbors.

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