India-China Border

On the India-China border the Indian Government sanctioned construction of 27 strategic roads along Indo-China border involving a length of 804 Km in December 2008. Construction work of 16 roads has already started after obtaining necessary statutory clearances including forest and wildlife clearances. Since 1986 the Sino-Indian border has not suffered any major disruptions, compared to the incessant incidents and infiltration on the Indo-Pakistan borders. This makes the Sino-Indian border almost an ideal example of good neighborly relations.

China disputes the International Boundary between India and China. As there is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, there are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of the LAC including territory in Arunachal Pradesh (which China calls Southern Tibet). Both sides patrols upto their respective perceptions of the LAC due to perceived differences in alignment of LAC. The areas along the LAC are kept under constant surveillance by regular patrolling by troops and other means. Specific incidents of transgressions due to differences in the perception of LAC are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanism such as Hot Lines, Flag Meetings, Border personnel Meetings and normal diplomatic channels.

Prior to modern times, neither China nor India had ever been in full knowledge or control of the territories of snow capped mountains and dense tropical forests that lay between them. The British Raj undertook a policy of annexation of various border territories, and the government of independent India inherited these disputed borders. The history of the growth of political process in Arunachal Pradesh dates back to 1875 when the British-India Government started to define the administrative jurisdiction by drawing an Inner Line in relation to the frontier tribes inhabiting the North Frontier Tract, the area was kept outside the purview of regular laws of the country. Thereafter, the British followed the policy of gradual penetration to bring more areas under normal administration.

India-China Border History The Western Sector pertains to the boundary between the Indian stateof Jammu and Kashmir and the Chinese province of Sinkiang (Xinjiang) and Tibet (Xizang). Here, China occupies Aksai Chin, which is claimed by India. The Eastern Sector is the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is occupied by India but claimed by China. The Sino-Indian boundary alignment in the Eastern Sector was formalized at the tripartite (British-Tibet-Chinese) Simla Conference held in 1913-14 under the aegis of Sir Henry McMahon [the British foreign secretary], and the boundary in this sector is frequently referred to as simply the McMahon Line. Even though the Simla Conference incorporated the territory subsequently known as Arunachal Pradesh into India, this claim is not reflected on pre-Independence maps.

In the Chinese view, the Western Sector is strategically important primarily because it provides a land link between Sinkiang and Tibet. Considerations of national prestige also enter into the calculations of the Chinese leaders. In occupying the area, they probably believed that just as Indian forces moved up into the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in the early 1950s and established a military presence in the Chinese-claimed eastern sector, so they could with equal justification move gradually into the Aksai Plain in the mid-1950s to establish a military presence in the West. i The Chinese claim to NEFA appeared only as a line on Chinese maps dipping at points about 100 miles south of the McMahon line.

In July 1958, issue No. 95 of China Pictorial, carried a mapshowing large portions of Indian territory as Chinese. This was strongly objected to by the Indian government, to which the initial Chinese response was that the boundary had been drawn as per old maps and that the new Chinese government was yet to undertake new surveys. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government acquiesced in the de facto loss of territory, and offered diplomatic de jure legalisation of the boundary India claimed in its North-East. By 1959, the Indian boundary claim in the western sector had become as firm as the McMohan line but this time after Parliament’s approval. Now it was a matter of officially and overtly filling out the boundary with Indian armed presence. It looked to the Chinese that the British imperial “Great Game" had been resumed. Persistent Indian attempts to implement its territorial claims by armed force led to the 1962 border war.

During the first decade of their rule, the communists were very uncertain as to what to do about pre-revolutionary historical claims, precisely because they claimed to be a revolutionary govemment. Foreign conquerors of China had carried on expansionist policies beyond Chinese territory. Under the foreign Mongol and Manchu dynasties China had the largest territory of all times. After their rules collapsed, succeeding Chinese governments inherited the expanded territories. Chinese troops had never gone to conquer the homeland of the Mongols, but Mongolia became a part of China after China was conquered by the Mongols.

In any event, after World War II Outer Mongolia, Korea and Vietnam were already independent states, and the disputed areas of the Sino-Soviet border controlled by their Soviet ally. The adoption of an explicitly legal stand by India in 1959 forced China to make legal counter-claims. China’s insistence on the ‘return’ to China of the territory constituting Arunachal Pradesh, and even China’s insistence on Indian cession of a salient of territory in the Tawang area of that region, constitutes a form of Chinese deterrence of what Beijing takes to be ‘anti-China’ behavior by India's support for Tibetan resistance to Chinese Communist rule. An unresolved territorial dispute serves as a standing threat to ‘teach India a lesson’.

The Chumbi Valley constitutes a deep indentation strategically located between Sikkim and Bhutan. Along with Bangladeshto to South, it constricts Indian territory into a narrow land corridor linking the seven North-Eastern Indian states to the rest of the country. A quick strike by the Chinese through the Chumbi Valley could block this corridor, cutting off Indian forces in the East. Over the years the Chinese have developed an extensive network of roads and railways in the Chumbi Valley. These lines of communications are in excess of the requirements to sustain their peacetime deployment along the borders.

The Indo-China border of Arunachal Pradesh has high mountain ranges. Arunachal Pradesh has aptly been described as a region of bare, craggy hills, huge tropical and alpine forests, steep, rugged valleys and great cascading rivers as well as lofty ranges and towering peaks covered with snow. The necessity of developing the border areas is urgent and time bound in view of large scale of exodus from these areas and keeping in view frequent territorial claims of China on Arunachal Pradesh. There is a growing apprehension among the people of Arunachal Pradesh that the backward and sparsely populated area of the State bordering China is an open invitation to their expansionism. Therefore, matching development of infrastructure and services in international standards along the international borders is the need of the hour from the strategic and defense point of view.

The traditional or informal trade relation in between the local people of India and Tibet province of China has been carried on since time immoral which was discontinued after the Sino-India conflict in 1962. However, the Union Govt. of India with its all out efforts, has actively been pursued for re-establishment of the past trade points under Indo-China sector. The once flourishing trade in between the local people of Arunachal Pradesh state and the people of erstwhile Tibet now province of china was discontinued abruptly after 1962 Sino-India conflict due to certain bilateral compulsion with the neighbouring county. Once, it is cleared and re-activated, it will resume as was done in the past. Moreover, the geographical condition of Tibet province of China is Arid Zone, and the province is very far away from their mainland, therefore, the export of Agriculture and Horticulture products is immensely potential to meet up their demands and needs.

In June 1980 China made its first move in twenty years to settle the border disputes with India, proposing that India cede the Aksai Chin area in Jammu and Kashmir to China in return for China's recognition of the McMahon Line; India did not accept the offer, however, preferring a sector-by-sector approach to the problem. In July 1986 China and India held their seventh round of border talks, but they made little headway toward resolving the dispute. Each side, but primarily India, continued to make allegations of incursions into its territory by the other.

On January 17, 2012 the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People's Republic of China signed an agreement on the establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, based on abiding by the Line of Actual Control [LAC] pending a resolution of the Boundary Question between the two countries. The Working Mechanism will study ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas. The Working Mechanism will explore the possibility of cooperation in the border areas that are agreed upon by the two sides. The Working Mechanism will undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism.

This agreement followed on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas signed on 7th September 1993, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas signed on 29th November 1996 and the Protocol between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas signed on 11th April 2005.

India-China Border Map India-China Border Map - Western Sector India-China Border Map - Eastern Sector

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