Saturday, September 13, 2014
India-China relations can't be normal till Tibet issue is resolved
'Tibet remains a prickly issue between the giant Asian nations. China still claims more than 80,000 sq kilometres of Indian territory in the Northeast. Why?'
'Just because Beijing refuses to acknowledge the McMahon line which separates India and Tibet, and this, simply because the 1914 Agreement delineating the border was signed by the then government of independent Tibet with India's then foreign secretary (Sir Henry McMahon),' says Claude Arpi.
President Xi Jinping of China will be in New Delhi next week; both India and China take the visit seriously. The Modi Sarkar did its homework by sending National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to Beijing.
For the occasion, Doval was designated 'Special Envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi'; this allowed the NSA to briefly meet the Chinese president.
According to Xinhua, Doval told Xi that India believes Xi's State visit will 'deepen the two countries' understanding, friendship and trust, and inject new vitality to bilateral cooperation.'
The Chinese news agency affirmed that Xi told Doval that the latter's visit showed the importance that Modi and the Indian government attached to the Chinese president's trip which could send a positive signal to the world: 'Our cooperation not only helps each other's development, but also benefits Asia and the world at large,' Xi said.
However, there is a (geographically and strategically) larger issue which remains unsolved between China and India: that is Tibet and the Dalai Lama. This seems logical as Tibet represents nearly 25 per cent of the land mass of the People's Republic of China and for centuries, the Roof of the World has been a physical and political buffer between India and China.
It changed when Tibet was invaded ('liberated,' according to Mao Zedong) in the Fall of 1950. India lost a good peaceful neighbour and thereafter has had to deal with an aggressive and 'expansionist' one, Communist China.
Over the years, Marxist dogmatism has slowly disappeared from the Middle Kingdom, though Beijing continues to be allergic to what it terms 'Western values', such as democracy or rule of law.
But even in the new situation, Tibet remains a tangible prickly issue between the giant Asian nations.
It is visible when one looks at a map of the Himalayas: China still claims more than 80,000 sq kilometres of Indian territory in the Northeast. Why this claim? Just because Beijing refuses to acknowledge the McMahon line which separates India and Tibet, and this, simply because the 1914 Agreement delineating the border was signed by the then government of independent Tibet with India's then foreign secretary (Sir Henry McMahon).
Beijing is not ready to recognise the basic historical fact that Tibet was independent before its so-called liberation.
Click here to continue reading...