Thursday, May 28, 2015
Ajit Doval reminds China of History on border issue
Here is the link...
‘The views of the two Governments remain as far apart as before’, wrote Subimal Dutt, the Indian Foreign Secretary in April 1960.
He was addressing ‘all the Indian Missions abroad’ to inform them about the visit of the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, who had come to Delhi to discuss the Sino-Indian border issue.
Tens of hours of talks between Nehru and his Chinese counterpart led nowhere. The transcript of the discussions has recently been declassified in The Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, (Series II, Volume 60). These documents make fascinating reading, particularly in the context of Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to China and the seemingly stuck border negotiations.
Let us return to the present. During the annual K.F. Rustamji lecture, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval (who also officiates as Special Representative for the border talks with China), affirmed that while India's relations with China ‘were looking up’, India needs to remain on a ‘very very high alert’.
Speaking on 'Challenges of Securing India’s Borders: Strategising the Response’, Doval noted: “We have got a very long border, a very difficult and mountainous terrain snow-clad... for the bilateral relations with China, border is the critical and vital issue.”
Considering that Ajit Doval admitted that ‘advancement made in the relationship with China are centred around the settlement of the border’, it makes the ‘partnership’ all the more unstable.
Doval touched upon Arunachal Pradesh: “We are particularly concerned about the Eastern sector where [Chinese] claims have been made on Tawang (in Arunachal Pradesh) which is totally in contravention of accepted principles.”
Obviously, the NSA refers to ‘Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question’ signed on April 11, 2005 between India and China.
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.”
Ten years after the signature of the agreement, Doval reminds the Chinese that: “there is [a] settled population in these areas particularly in Tawang and other areas which have been participating in the national mainstream all through.”
But Beijing has forgotten about the 2005 Guidelines!
It is not even mentioned in the Joint Statement signed during Mr. Modi’s visit to China! It is a serious issue: if an agreement is reached after a lot of effort and time and soon after Beijing become affected by Alzheimer disease, it creates a huge problem for the co-signatory.
Doval mentioned another point: he was surprised that while China has agreed to the McMahon line being the Sino-Burmese border in 1960, the same principle was not accepted in the case of India. He added: “So, these are the ticklish issues. But these ticklish issues have to be talked about, deliberated and worked out.”
Doval also readily admitted that the Special Representative talks between India and China on the boundary issue had not made any headway so far: “Special Representative level talks …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."
Beijing was quick to react to the NSA’s statements.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying declared: “The Chinese side holds a consistent and clear position on the eastern section of the China-India boundary: Arunachal Pradesh is a part of Southern Tibet.”
Madam Hua 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."
Hua did not say anything on the McMahon Line and Burma, she just noted: “it is not easy to resolve the China-India boundary question, as it is an issue left over from history."
Minus the 2005 Guidelines!!!
Incidentally, about the ‘left over from history’ theory, Morarji Desai, the then Finance Minister told Zhou Enlai during the 1960 talks, that it was wrong. China has created ‘history’ by invading Tibet: “Our attitude to Tibet has been condemned not only by our people but also by our friends abroad. They say that instead of being neutral in this dispute between Tibet and China, we should not have allowed you [Chinese] to dominate the Tibetans.”
The future Prime Minister added that India “surrendered all the privileges that we had inherited from the British. This was not entirely to the liking of our people but the Government of India and its leaders are convinced that what we did was the right thing.”
As mentioned earlier, Subimal Dutt told the Indian Missions that the Chinese and Indian views ‘remain as far apart as before’.
That was in April 1960. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since then.
After Zhou left Delhi on April 26, 1960, Dutt wrote to the Indian Ambassadors: “The Premier had seven long talks with the Prime Minister.”
Can you imagine today Modi and Xi together for a week and having 7 rounds of talks (of several hours each) on the disputed border?
What was Beijing’s position vis-à-vis China’s border with India in 1960?
It is summarized by Dutt: “The Sino-Indian boundary is not delimited and has to be settled by discussion between the two Governments.”
Delhi has always said the Eastern sector (then NEFA, today Arunachal) was settled in 1914 during the Simla Convention (i.e. the McMahon Line).
Dutt continues to quote Beijing’s views: “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.” Madam Hua says the same thing now!
China was (and still is) unwilling to acknowledge that in 1914, Tibet, an independent nation, was entitled to sign treaties or agreements with other countries.
According to Dutt, the next Chinese argument was: “The Ladakh area has been historically and traditionally part of Sinkiang [Xinjiang] in China and western Tibet, and has never been disputed until India tried to extend her control during the last one or two years.”
Here again, Beijing rewrites the history, and the Chinese position is as inflexible 55 years later.
Finally, Beijing equates the situation on the East (where the Chinese claim Tawang) to the West (India’s claims over the Aksai Chin) and says: “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.”
Dutt’s conclusion was: “We have disagreed with the Chinese stand on every single point,” however he told the Ambassadors, that it was “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.”
In another words, a swap.
Today, Beijing is not even ready for a swap as it has added Tawang and the ‘populated’ area around, to its claims, in total contradiction of the 2005 Guidelines.
An Alzheimerish China is dangerous for India and Delhi ‘needs to remain on a very high alert’.