border review | 31 January 2012

Agreement or disagreement?

Two weeks ago, India and China have signed an agreement to prevent flare-ups along their disputed Himalayan border. Now, Saubarah Shukla (Daily Mail) reports that the talks actually ended in a deadlock.

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.

India claims Chinese controlled territory in Western Tibet and Xinjiang (Aksai Chin, including the Karakoram tract linking China and Pakistan) while China claims the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh. What seems to have happened is that the Chinese side has insisted on discussing Arunachal Pradesh first before turning to the question of the Aksai Chin area. This – if it is true — would render things much more complicated and rule out any settlement of the dispute for quite some time.