|The Dalai Lama in Tawang after crossing the McMahon Line to take refuge in India |
China did not claim Tawang at that time
To help better understand the historical background, I have posted on my website, the transcript of the talks between Zhou Enlai with different Indian leaders. The Chinese Premier visited India in April 1960; during his stay, Zhou had 17 hours of discussions just with Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister.
Note that it has never been question, even in 1960 to 'cede' Tawang to China.
Unfortunately, the transcript of the talks between Zhou and V.K. Krishna Menon, India’s Defence Minister is not available.
Why? It is classified.
Why? Nobody knows.
The Times of India’s story was planted by Dai Bingguo, one of the foremost Chinese officials dealing with foreign policy under the Hu Jintao's administration.
Dai was instrumental in drafting the 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.
The agreement was signed on April 11, 2005 in New Delhi.
Dai was then the Special Representative for the border negotiations with India, as well as the powerful Secretary-General of the Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group.
Article VII of the Agreement says: “In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.”
It clearly means that Tawang area, which is heavily populated, would not be ceded to China.
Mr Dai (and Beijing) seem to have changed his/their mind on Tawang.
Why is Dai raking up the issue now?
For different reasons, it followed the not-so-successful Sino-Indian Strategic Dialogue recently held in Beijing, but perhaps more importantly, it is linked with the Dalai Lama's forthcoming visit to Tawang.
Further, the Two Sessions (the meetings of the National People’s Congress and the the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) are around the corner, with a lot at stake, at least for the Chinese leadership.
The publication of this type of article by The Times of India (without any historical background and a scoopy title) raises two serious questions: first, why should Indian journalists propagate stories obviously planted by Beijing and second, can the Chinese be trusted even after they have signed an agreement?
Regarding the first question, the time has come for the Ministries of External Affairs, Defence and Home Affairs, etc. to conduct classes/courses for senior editors and journalists on the historical background of the border ‘dispute’ with China as well as other similar contentious issues.
At the end of the 1950s and beginning 1960s, 14 White Papers on China were published. It had a tremendous pedagogical effect; the MEA should start again publishing White Papers on intricate issues and distribute widely the information to the Indian public.
Can a sense of ‘national interests’ be inculcated into the Indian media?
It is a tall order? Money and ‘historical shortcuts' are far easier.
As for the second question, it is difficult to trust China as long as it behaves in this manner.
Lastly, I wish the politicians of Arunachal Pradesh would have started twitting and defended their State.
Incidentally, in 2003, the Central Military Commission (CMC) approved the guiding conceptual umbrella for information operations for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – it is called the 'Three Warfares'.
The concept is based on three mutually reinforcing strategies:
(1) the coordinated use of strategic psychological operations;
(2) overt and covert media manipulation; and
(3) legal warfare designed to manipulate strategies, defense policies, and perceptions of target audiences abroad.
China already won the second against India.