Monday, January 30, 2012

Tawang is not part of China!

The Dalai Lama took refuge in India on March 31, 1959. 
He crossed the Indian border at Khenzimane at the bottom of the famous Thagla ridge in West Kameng Frontier Division of the North-East Frontier Agency (today, Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh).
Jawaharlal Nehru sent a senior officer of the Ministry of External Affairs, (PN Menon, father of the present National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon) to receive him. 
Menon delivered to the Tibetan leader a message from the Prime Minister: "My colleagues and I welcome you and send greetings on your safe arrival in India. We shall be happy to afford the necessary facilities to you, your family and entourage to reside in India. The people of India, who hold you in great veneration, will no doubt accord their traditional respect to your personage. Kind regards to you." 
Since then, the Dalai Lama has been a 'honoured guest' in India.
In his autobiography
Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama remembered: 
“…After bidding these people [his Khampa bodyguards] a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzomo [hybrid of a yak and domestic cattle], for I was still too ill to ride a horse. And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.
…We must have been a pitiful sight to the handful of Indian guards that met us at the border - eighty travellers, physically exhausted and mentally wretched from our ordeal. I was delighted, however, that an official I knew from my visit two years earlier was there to rendezvous with us. He explained that his orders were to escort me to Bomdila, a large town that lay a further week's travel away, for rest.”
It is interesting to note that, at that time (1959), the Chinese never said that the Dalai Lama and his entourage were in 'Southern Tibet' (the term used today by Beijing to define Tawang). They knew perfectly well that the Tibetan leader had taken refuge on Indian territory

Strangely, Beijing is now insisting that Tawang district is part of the People's Republic of China. It is clearly an after-thought. 
Special Representative and State Councillor  Dai Bingguo told his Indian counterpart, Shivshankar Menon during the 15th Meeting of the Special Representatives that India should first discuss the Eastern Sector of the boundary. Dai further asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would be ready to part with.
Apart from the fact that historically this does not make sense  (and I will come back to this issue in future postings), why did the Chinese not follow the Dalai Lama and his entourage  into this area in 1959, if they really believed that it was a part of  Chinese territory?
The answer is clear, it was not Chinese territory and Mao knew it. 
So, why claim the area 53 years later?
Further, under the 2005 Guidelines (Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question), it was agreed that "In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas." 
The demand of Dai Bingguo is all the more ironic as it comes at a time when China is using ferocious repressive policies against the Tibetans on the other side of the McMahon Line.
It was reported that China "has effectively sealed off a vast Tibetan area of Sichuan province, sending in troops and cutting off communications to towns where protesters have been killed by security forces in the past week."
Presuming that the
new Chinese stand on the border had a historical justification (and it does not), would the local Mompa population desire to become Chinese nationals and lose their democratic rights and freedom?
The answer is 'NEVER!'
Read my previous posting on the subject.

China plays the bully on Arunachal: Beijing tells Delhi to work out Eastern sector formula
By Saurabh Shukla
Daily Mail
28th January 2012
There were speeches, smiles and the usual chants of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai after the 15th round of Sino- Indian special representative talks in the Capital in mid-January.
What actually transpired amid this show of bonhomie was that the boundary dialogue ended in a deadlock after Beijing declared it would settle for nothing less than 'its share' of Arunachal Pradesh.
Highly placed sources privy to discussions between the two special interlocutors - National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart, state councillor  Dai Bingguoa - said things went off track following some hard bargaining by China.
Beijing had insisted during the meeting that India should first discuss the eastern boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.
The hosts were surprised when Dai, couching his query in diplomatic niceties, asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would part with.
The intransigent stand adopted by the Chinese was a response to India's proposals for a framework for boundary negotiations that the two countries shared during the border talks.
Menon, a former envoy to Beijing and an old China hand in India's national security set-up, argued that under article 3 of the guiding principles of the Sino-Indian boundary discussions, all sectors (eastern, western and middle) needed to be discussed and a package solution required to be thrashed out. India argued that the western sector in Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the Aksai Chin area, should be discussed along with the eastern portion of the boundary.
Under a previously agreed principle, the two sides had concurred in 2005 that settled population would not be disturbed. New Delhi articulated this, too, at the meeting.
But Beijing simply stuck to its guns and told India to first put on the table its proposal for the division of Arunachal Pradesh, specifying the proportion of territory swap.
The hotspot
'The meeting was held in a productive, fruitful and friendly manner,' Menon had said after the two-day session that began on January 16.

Speaking at a banquet subsequent to the talks, Dai also struck an optimistic note, saying Sino-Indian ties had made 'substantial progress' and they (the two countries) could 'work miracles' together.


The differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to
affect the overall development
of bilateral relations... Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means.

The two sides should, in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question through consultations on an equal footing.

Both sides should, in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual understanding, make meaningful
and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question, so as to arrive at a package settlement to the boundary question.

The two sides will give due
consideration to each other’s strategic and reasonable interests, and the principle of mutual and
equal security.

The two sides will take into account, inter alia, historical evidence,
national sentiments, practical difficulties and reasonable concerns and sensitivities of both sides, and the actual state of
border areas.

The boundary should be along well-defined and easily identifiable natural geographical features to
be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.

Pending an ultimate settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and work together to maintain
peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

The special interlocutor added that he hoped the two nations would never go to war again.
'In the China-India boundary negotiations, although we have not yet arrived at the summit - that is, we have not reached full agreement on the framework of settlement of the border question - yet we have scaled substantial heights and made much progress,' he declared.
The Indian delegation also included foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, the country's envoy to China, S. Jaishankar as well as the representatives of the ministries of external affairs and defence.
The only forward movement during the interaction was that Dai and Menon agreed to put in place a mechanism for border management to discuss intrusions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The mechanism was mooted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to India in 2010.
The present arrangements under the peace and tranquillity agreement between the two countries include communication channels between local-level commanders along the LAC.
The joint border mechanism will focus specifically on how it will function on a routine basis, particularly for taking spot decisions. It would, however, not replace existing border interactions.
This mechanism may create a plan beyond just the maintenance of peace along the LAC that was enunciated by the 1993 and 1996 agreements.
In 1993, India and China signed an accord to reduce tension along their border and respect the LAC. The boundary settlement process was originally envisaged as a three-step process.
The first was to establish guiding principles, the second included evolving a consensus on a framework for the boundary and the last step comprised carrying out its delineation and demarcation.
The SR-level dialogue was initially scheduled for November 28-29 last year. It had to be postponed after India and China disagreed over the Dalai Lama's participation in the Global Buddhist Congregation in Delhi on those very dates.
This was the 15th round of boundary negotiations which commenced in 2003 and have remained inconclusive. It came just ahead of a report accessed by Headlines Today that said that over 500 Chinese intrusions had taken place in the last two years on all the three sectors of the boundary.
In fact, allegations of contravention by Chinese troops were common in 2009 and 2010.
In 2005, the two sides agreed on political parameters and guiding principles for a boundary settlement, which would form the basis of the final settlement. Insiders say the Chinese gameplan was to put pressure on India to reassert claims over territory.
At the centre of the Sino- Indian boundary dispute is the McMahon Line which the Chinese refuse to recognise. While China claims over 90,000 sq km of territory, the Indian claim extends over 3,68,846 sq km.
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