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Indo-China Relationship – An Underrated Dispute

India and China are the two most populous countries in the world. Both the countries are prosperous in economic, political and social platforms and have shared a friendly relation whenever it came to its culture and traditions. Many religious practices like Buddhism have been propagated to China from India. Despite all this, there exists dispute between both countries.

India, after independence, ended its ties with the Republic of China and considered PRC (People’s Republic of China) as the legal government, and signed the Panchsheel treaty.

WHAT IS PANCHSHEEL TREATY?

These are the principles that were made to maintain peace between the two nations.

  1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  2. Mutual agreement on non-aggression
  3. Mutual understanding of non-interference
  4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit
  5. Peaceful coexistence.

However, many disputes took place after this treaty. Moreover, most of the conflicts were due to border issues; some of them were:

  • Sino-Indian war
  • Nathu La and Cho La clashes
  • Sino-Indian skirmish
  • Doklam dispute

Areas of Dispute

The commonly disputed area between India and China are; one is Aksai Chin, a mostly isolated area of a high-altitude of about 37,000 square kilometres. The other notable region is currently part of the Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh. A hilly region with a diversely-populated area having around 1.4 million people spread out over 84,000 square kilometres, much of which China claims as Lower Tibet.

Aksai Chin falls between the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and China’s Xinjiang province. Both regions that are also split by separatist conflicts as well as India’s long-running dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.

Arunachal Pradesh borders Tibet, which has its separatist movement. India alleges that these borders were agreed between British India and the independent or semi-independent authorities in Xinjiang and Tibet during the last century, though China does not agree with this argument.

Both the countries agree that there are historical legacies behind and clashes won’t get resolved in a short period.

However, what causes friction between the two is that they do not have agreed a Line of Actual Control (LAC) to separate the jurisdictions under the control of their armies. The thoughts on LAC differ in many places, wherein it stretches from few metres to tens of kilometres.

A Border Defence Cooperation Agreement sets out the norms of behaviour for both sides of armies should follow while conducting patrols in this area. In the agreement, it is also stated that no permanent structure can be built here. Moreover, the local commander has to frequently met and exchange views and sort out their regional differences.

Is It A Diplomatic Relation?

There is some diplomacy which exists when it comes to India – China relationship.

  1. Despite being the members and supporters of many international organisations, both the government have failed in settling their border issues.
  2. India is negatively affected in some sectors of trade due to heavy competition from China.
  3. Chinese military invasions in Indian territory have been reported many times up to now.
  4. It is also said that China has a hidden supporting hand towards Pakistan when it comes to India – Pakistan disputes.

India and China share the longest disputed boundary. It is said that China is invading disputed border slowly and gradually with many tactics which will only provide it strategic support and empowers it for future disputes.

Not only that China is supporting Pakistan in their infrastructural development. It has also invested in the installation of various ports in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to strengthen itself on the military as well as commercial grounds.

If we notice the pattern, eventually we’ll realise that it is trying to form a chain around India. Is this a strategic move with a purpose?

Disputes between two civilised nations are not getting settled, and it is more than the matter of interpretation and perception as claimed by the government of both the countries.

Proper actions and initiatives are needed to be taken not only to settle the disputes but also to stop this process of invasion. Hope this NDA government can bring some changes regarding the difference and resolve it with minimal bloodshed.

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