Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1960: The views of the two Governments remain as far apart as before

Nehru, Zhou Enlai, Chen Yi, Swaran Singh (April 1960)
During the annual K.F. Rustamji lecture, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, (who is also Special Representative for the border talks with China), affirmed that while India's relations with China ‘were looking up’, but there was a need to remain at a ‘very very high alert’.
Speaking on 'Challenges of Securing India’s Borders: Strategising the Response’, Doval admitted: "We might have to see China border in a different way once the boundary is settled.”
According to PTI, he explained: “We have got a very long border, we have got 3,488-km [?] long border, a very difficult and mountainous terrain snow-clad... now for the bilateral relations with China, border is the critical and vital issue.”
After he affirmed that ‘advancement made in the relationship with China are centred around the settlement of the border’, he touched upon Arunachal Pradesh: “We are particularly concerned about the Eastern sector where the claims have been made on Tawang (in Arunachal Pradesh) which is totally in contravention of accepted principles."
Doval refers here to ‘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’ signed on April 11, 2005.
Article VI says: “The boundary should be along well-defined and easily identifiable natural geographical features to be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.”
And even more importantly, Article VII speaks of the ‘settled population’: “In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.”
Doval rightly said: “The fact is there is settled population in these areas particularly in Tawang and other areas which have been participating in the national mainstream all through.”
Apparently, Beijing has forgotten about the 2005 Guidelines!
It is a serious issue, because if an agreement is reached after a lot of efforts and time and soon after, Beijing become affected by Alzheimer disease, it is a problem.
Doval mentioned another point: he was surprised that while McMahon line was agreed till Burma by China (in 1960), the same principle was not accepted in the case of India.
He concluded: “So, these are the ticklish issues. But these ticklish issues have to be talked about, deliberated and worked out …there was a need for working out a larger plan for tackling China.”
He also admitted that the Special Representative talks between India and China on the boundary issue had not made any headway so far: “There have been a series of Special Representative level talks, about 17 rounds and they haven't reached anywhere. But it is also true that for last 30 years we have not exchanged a single bullet. But, it is also true that the number of intrusions have gone up and down. Fortunately, in the last one year the intrusions have become much less and some of the intrusions which have been made were controlled."
Beijing was quick to react.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying declared:  “The Chinese side holds a consistent and clear position on the eastern section of the China-India boundary: Aunachal Pradesh is a part of Southern Tibet.”
She explained: “The Chinese government does not recognise the McMahon Line, which is illegal,” adding: “The Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to resolve the boundary question through friendly consultation at an early date and create more favourable conditions for the development of the bilateral relations."
Hua did not mentioned directly the McMahon Line and Burma, she just said: “it is not easy to resolve the China-India boundary question, as it is an issue left over from history. …During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to China, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question by pressing ahead with the process of the special representatives' meeting."
Minus the 2005 Guidelines!!!
It is interesting to look at China’s position 55 years ago, when Premier Zhou Enlai came to India with a large delegation to try to resolve the dispute.
As Subimal Dutt, the then Foreign Secretary wrote to the Indian Missions abroad: “The views of the two Governments remain as far apart as before.”
That was in April 1960.
The Foreign Secretary’s note makes interesting reading.
Nothing has changed 55 years later.
Will it change one day?
Subimal Dutt to Heads of Missions
Premier Chou En-lai and his party left Delhi 26th morning. The Premier had seven long talks with the Prime Minister. He and Foreign Minister Chen Yi had also separate talks with Vice-President and several senior Ministers. The views of the two Governments remain as far apart as before.

The Chinese took the following stand.

(1) The Sino-Indian boundary is not delimited and has to be settled by discussion between the two Governments.

(2) The Chinese will never accept the McMahon Line as a valid boundary. The NEFA area was traditionally part of Tibet and in many parts the Tibetans had been exercising jurisdiction. Indian control has extended there during the last 20 or 30 years. The Chinese however recognise that the area is now under full Indian control. This area has always been disputed between China and India.

(3) The Ladakh area has been historically and traditionally part of Sinkiang in China and western Tibet, and has never been disputed until India tried to extend her control during the last one or two years. The dispute in this area has therefore arisen because of attempted penetration by India. Chinese have always been in control of this area which has been shown as part of China in Chinese maps.

(4) Neither side should make a territorial claim as a precondition. China is not making any such claim to the NEFA and undertakes not to cross the line upto which Indian control has extended. Similarly, India should recognise that Chinese control extends upto the line shown in the Chinese maps and should not try to cross that line. The position in Ladakh and NEFA is exactly similar in that there is a line upto which Indian control extends in NEFA and there is a line upto which Chinese control extends in Ladakh. The Indian claim to Ladakh must be treated in exactly the same basis as the Chinese claim to the NEFA.

(5) A joint committee of officials should meet, examine the material in the possession of both sides and make recommendations for border adjustments.

2. We have disagreed with the Chinese stand on every single point. In regard to point (2) we have reiterated that the NEFA area south of the McMahon Line has always been part of India by custom, tradition and exercise of jurisdiction and there is no similarity between the Indian stand in respect of NEFA and the supposed Chinese stand in respect of Ladakh. We have also made it quite clear that officials cannot be entrusted with the task of making proposals involving the sovereignty of a country.
Top Secret
3. It is quite obvious that the Chinese aim is to make us accept their claim in Ladakh as a price for their recognition of our position in NEFA. Throughout the discussions they have invariably connected Ladakh with NEFA and stressed that the same principles of settling the boundary must govern both these areas. It was also obvious that if we accepted the line claimed by China in Ladakh they would accept the McMahon Line. There might be need for minor frontier rectifications, but that would not create much practical difficulty.

4. The only substantive agreement in the joint communique is that officers of both sides should examine the maps, documents etc. in each other's possession and send a joint report to the two Governments listing the points on which they agree and the points on which they either disagree or which, in their view, need further clarification. It is not known whether the Chinese will implement this agreement sincerely. Whatever be it, it leaves the way open for further consideration of the border problem by the two Prime Ministers. It would however be entirely incorrect to give the impression, that each side appreciates the other's point of view better or that prospect of reasonable settlement is even remotely in sight. The Chinese might try to give that impression to the world.

5. You should use the information contained in this telegram discreetly for rebutting any misleading Chinese propaganda and to give a correct appraisal of the Delhi talks. 

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