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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

India warns China over campaign to claim disputed territory

October 15, 2009

By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Tensions rose on India's border with China after
Beijing was accused of escalating its campaign to
seize control of territory disputed by the two Asian powers.
The Telegraph (UK)
October 14, 2009

India's foreign ministry said the long-term
relationship between New Delhi and Beijing could
be damaged if China did not stop funding major
infrastructure projects in parts of
Pakistan-controlled Kashmir also claimed by India.

"We hope that the Chinese side will take a
long-term view of the India-China relations, and
cease such activities in areas illegally occupied
by Pakistan," said a spokesman in New Delhi.

The row between India and China over their
disputed eastern and northern borders has been
simmering for decades. But it was reignited
earlier this week when senior Chinese officials
publicly attacked a visit by Manmohan Singh, the
Indian prime minister, to Arunachal Pradesh to campaign in its state election.

China's foreign ministry accused Mr Singh of
triggering "a disturbance" in the disputed region
where the border had "never [been] officially settled."

"China is strongly dissatisfied with the visit to
the disputed region by the Indian leader
disregarding China's serious concerns," said Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesman in Beijing.

His comments were followed by an editorial in the
state-owned Global Times newspaper, which
described Mr Singh's visit as a "provocative and
dangerous" move aimed at putting a disputed
territory under "de facto administration of India".

India had encouraged immigration into the area
and is increasing its military presence in the
area, it claimed, and warned: "India will make a
fatal error if it mistakes China's approach for
weakness. The Chinese government and public
regard territorial integrity as a core national
interest, one that must be defended with every means."

The dispute dates back to the British Raj, when
colonial officials drew the McMahon Line as the
boundary between India and China, and the
partition of India at independence which led to the division of Kashmir.

China has never accepted the McMahon Line, which
was bilaterally agreed between Britain and Tibet
at the Shimla Convention in 1913 and regards the
town of Tawang in Indian Arunachal Pradesh as
part of its Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Indian ministers are braced for increasing
tension with Beijing in the run up to a visit to
Tawang next month by the Dalai Lama, which China
has described as a "provocation". China claims
more than 50,000 sq miles of Arunachal Pradesh as
its territory, as well as 1,250 sq miles of
India's Himalayan states Himachal Pradesh and
Uttarakhand, and more than 3,000 sq miles of
Ladakh in the eastern part of India's Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian officials say they are baffled by China's
decision to escalate their border dispute, but do
not believe Beijing is serious enough for the row
to lead to military tensions or a significant
deterioration in diplomatic relations. One said
he believed it was prompted by anger at the Dalai
Lama's planned visit next month to Tawang.

Mohan Guruswamy, chairman of the Centre for
Policy Alternatives and a leading analyst of
Sino-India relations, said he believed Beijing
was motivated by regional rivalry and fear that
India's growth will overtake China's by 2035.
"China is rattled by the emergence of India as a
global economic player and a regional military
power. So it is trying to raise the ante by
saying 'we can cause problems for you'," he said.
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