26 September, 2020

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India-China Border Issue And The Modi-Xi Talks

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Here are the answers to two questions raised by an overseas newspaper on the future progress of India-China border issue after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping had formal talks for the first time on September 18, 2014.

1.  How is the momentum for the border talks going after the statements by the two leaders?

It is unreasonable to expect sudden  momentum in the border talks after PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping had their first ever formal talks. The border issue is a complex one with variables on the basis on which both India and China have been putting forth their arguments .for the last half a century That is why even after 17 rounds of talks so far ‘substantive progress’ has not been made except for evolving some control mechanism  acceptable to both sides which seems to work in fits and starts.

If we go through the statements of Modi and Xi, it is evident both are very clear in what they want and how to go about handling the issue. But there is a qualitative difference between their basic approach to the border issue. Modi considers it fundamental to building enduring win-win relations with China. Xi would like to strengthen the bonds betwen the two countries on many other issues where their goals converge. Probably he expects the border issue to be resolved when the climate of confidence in each other is strengthened through bonding. This has apparently influenced the talks salient points of which are as follows.

Modi:
The Indian PM was apparently irked by the PLA posing a confrontation with Indian troops in the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even while he was extending a red carpet welcome to the Chinese President.  Apparently this made him not to mince words while bringing attention to the contentious issues faced by India in the strong statement he made at the end of his talks with Xi.  Essential points he made indicate his thought process:

a. Border issue: There is no doubt that both India and China desire building close bonds with each other and benefit from it. However, resolution of border issue is fundamental to fostering closer relationship. So the issue needs to be resolved speedily. 

b. On trade relations: India expects China to provide a level playing ground for Indian trade and investment. China has to remove existing restrictions on Indian business to facilitate closer trade relations with China. India would extend similar facilities to Chinese investment and trade. India welcomes Chinese investment and involvement in infrastructure building including railways and power (understanding nuclear issue probably relates to this).

c. Other issues: India was prepared to liberalise issue of visa to Chinese tourists and businessmen. However it would be help if China refrains from  irksome actions like issuing stapled visas to Indian nationals hailing from disputed territory.

Xi Jinping: Prior to visiting India, Xi  was probably irked by Modi’s trip to Japan and showing the close personal rapport he had with PM Shinzo Abe. So Xi was probably trying to gauge Modi’s style by allowing Chinese border troops to bring the border issue to a head even as he was meeting with Modi. China had been accustomed to doing this in the past. He probably expected Modi to soft pedal confrontational issue on the border during the talks and in the public as earlier Indian prime ministers, notably Dr Manmohan Singh, had done. But he realised Modi was clear headed  on his approach to China and its leader. Modi’s assertive style did not allow him to mince his words on his strong feelings on the border question. This was probably acknowledged by Xi when he said that Indians were ‘more confident now.’ As Xi is equally assertive, he countered every point made by Modi giving his own perception. These are:

a. Border issue: Both China and India are keen to develop closer and cordial relations and except for ‘small problems’ along the ‘undemarcated’ border (what India refers as LAC in Ladakh region and China does not recognise the LAC) usually resolved by talking. There had been no military confrontation in the border between the two nations. He expects the issue to resolved through continued the talks on border issue (which had made substantive progress) paving the way for better understanding between the two countries.

b. On trade relations: Xi probably expected India to woo China all the way offering special concessions (as other smaller South Asian powers have done) to attract China’s investment. But this did not happen as in addition to border issue, Modi focused on  issues like  reducing India’s trade deficit as a key to the process and raised a number of problems India faced in trading with  China. Probably in a bid to achieve greater clarity till Modi introduces some improvements, Xi scaled down the much publicised expectation of China investing $ 100 billion in next five years (as against Japan’s promised investment of $ 34 billion as stated by the Chinese Consul General in Mumbai) till China is convinced India would make it profitable for China to  invest and trade in India. On the other hand, Xi seems to recognise problems of Indian trade in China. So he said China would ease restrictions on Indian pharma imports and investment soon; on other trade issues he expected progress in the next five years.

c. On other issues: As relations progress Xi expected reciprocal improvement on issues like visa for each others nationals. Both nations desire for closer relations would help this process and find solutions to problems

2.  Do you see the two governments are more determined to solve the border disputes, or that we should not expect anything substantial coming out soon?

Of course they are determine to solve the border dispute. But it is a complex one impinging upon strong national sentiments. Modi and his ruling BJP have strong nationalistic views on the border question. Xi has been emphasising territorial integrity and harmony in the border regions as China’s “core principles” to realise the Chinese Dream.

Summary: The resolution of the border issue is going to be a long drawn process for the following reasons: 

a. China claims Indian territories in  Ladakh region (China has already occupied Aksai Chin area) and the whole of Arunachal Pradesh state (Southern Tibet as China calls it). The issues in the two claim areas are totally different and a blanket solution will not be acceptable to Indian people whose national identity would be affected. China does not have this problem.

b. China has not helped to speed up the process. For instance, years back both sides agreed to carry out a survey of approximate course of the Mc Mahon Line on which Indian border in Northeast is at present based. Though both countries carried out the survey, China has not handed over its maps as India had done. This has stalled the process because it has nothing to lose by stalling the process of resolving border issue while India is likely to be the loser in any compromise solution.

c. So it requires a lot of political will and convergence between the two countries and the two assertive leaders to sell any solution to their people before they can implement it. There appears to be little chance of such a solution in the medium term in both the countries.

*Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: haridirect@gmail.com   Blog: http://col.hariharan.info 

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  • 0
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    There’s a complete different game plan that has emerged out of nowhere. The Zionist have crashed on the huge concrete barrier on their march of Zionist Master plan in containing the Russians and destroying it completely.

    Because, the Islamic and Christian eschatology has prophesies that in the end times the Orthodox Christianity and the truthful Islamic community will form an alliance and smack the Zionist plan.

    Therefore, its natural for the entire Zionist West to launch maximum attacks on Islam and Russia.

    Putin knows all of these that’s why he had not kept a single Zionist Jew in his govt.

    But, Rajapakse regime is sleeping with a rabid dog (Zionism) infested with fleas and dead cells falling off from its skin.
    No wonder that the Rajapakse/JHU/BBS all comes under the foreign mercenaries members of the ZION.

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  • 0
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    I think, the real situation is far different from what Retd. col. thinks. He thinks in his own mindset.

    but, India needs to think more, mostly about it’s global positioning.

    Read these;

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article185074.html

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article185257.html

  • 1
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    R Hariharan –
    Great Expectations!!
    No Kochi Pearl No Chinese 100 but reserved for German brand investment.
    What border issue and the `unfair trading partners` $100billon expectation?? Is NaMo waiting for another 9/11 style to overcome the nuclear treaty signing??- High hopes.
    Hindia was supplier and `part and parcel` of the `Opium War` and loss of Hong Kong over a hundred years ago.
    Subramanian Swami should be tied to a coconut tree because it was the Parses who ferried the Opium for the Brits- All that Oxbridge/Cambridge South Block crap of today about `Nehru’s fighting Borders` to keep dynasties thriving.
    Border is age old Hindian virus bestowed on the stupid southerners. By themselves the southerners from Kochi to Bodhidharma have the goodwill of the Chinese of the mainland- they run Chinese software development even today.
    Hindia from its corner shop tradition wants to just buy and sell as if there is no copy right and testing of Chinese manufactured chips by the Taiwanese, Japanese, Koreans etc.(who hold the patent rights).
    Anyway, so Modi took it to Baniya ka dugan sort of Ahmedabad and Pune. Pune for TATA thinking Cherry Rover deal (UK deal) can hoodwink the Chinese MG maker and the Hong Kong affair. Nehru war was just a monkey fart- Indo Chino Bhai Bye.
    Hindia like Lanka is bogged down to the west so the folk song singing Peng (Xi’s social wife) told the kids at Delhi International with a kiss `please study for your country`.

    Anyway Japan was interested as much as India in the arms contracts that the Indian budget provides and of course with the caution no civil nuclear until India signs nuclear treaty and Xi hinting lets collaborate on civil nuclear (now that Hindia are hiding the Kochi pearl by this stupid river abode of the naked fakir whom Modi himself has no respect as much as Patel.)

    Indian pharma first needs to explore Fiji exports.West is cautious of Chinese Pharma. Copy Right Patent Right.

    RPT-Big Pharma beware: GSK China case may be just the beginning

    TN has done well to finally get Japanese Auto and electronic investment and now from the Chinese food and textile technology investment.

  • 1
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    Indians are very selfish. they pawn their country if they get some money. Indian provinces/states govts are bigger than the central govt. Those are the major problems Indian is facing.

    At one point, west may use those weaknesses to break india and get what ever India has or be useful.

    Time to get India into the SCO

    The significance of Indian membership of the grouping is not limited to “macro-political” aspects. It will also help solve many bilateral and regional issues.

    The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan, which begins today, has the potential to become a game-changer. The international environment is just right for the SCO’s expansion by including India and Pakistan as full members, which, in turn, would mean that the SCO itself could move from being a “China-dominated discussion club” to a real power centre opposing the forces seeking to preserve the post-Cold War unipolar global order.
    One of the main questions asked by political thinkers on the eve of the summit is whether India and Pakistan will be given clear assurance of full membership.
    It is an open secret that the main obstacle for India’s membership is Beijing’s ambivalence. While it is obvious for everybody that the two countries’ membership may be granted only simultaneously, China has no objections against Pakistan and has demonstrated its support for Pakistan’s membership overtly on many occasions.
    пустым не оставлять!!
    SCO looks for stability in Afghanistan
    While abstaining from open opposition to India’s membership, China has been all too careful to kick the issue into the long grass by posing endless conditions on minor issues. China’s reservations are quite understandable. However, the full membership of Asia’s third largest economy, India, would definitely change the balance within the organization, giving space for manoeuver to other member states.
    The Ukrainian crisis has demonstrated that the West, and primarily the US, has launched an open offensive on all those who are not ready to toe its line. Under such circumstances, India’s role in global affairs becomes virtually decisive. It is too important an ally for any major power to risk losing its support. China seems to have realised this plain fact. At least, some recent statements by Chinese officials tend to point in that direction. “Relevant countries have shown their willingness to join SCO. We believe that it demonstrates the vitality of SCO. It needs further development,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
    If these words of goodwill are implemented into a concrete decision in Dushanbe, and if India and Pakistan are given a clear roadmap for full membership, this would mean a real turning point in the SCO’s history, which, in turn, would reframe the whole system of international relations.
    Along with BRICS, which has all prerequisites to become a second global financial and economic alternative to the remainders of the Bretton Woods system like IMF and World Bank, the SCO, without even turning into a military bloc like the NATO or super-state like EU, will form a real power centre in Eastern Eurasia effectively ruining the unipolar order.
    пустым не оставлять!!
    SCO membership could help bring India and Pakistan closer
    The significance of India’s access to SCO is not limited to “macro-political” aspects. It will also help solve many bilateral and regional issues.
    One of the main restrictions for India in building fruitful relations with the outside world is the lack of connectivity with countries lying to the North, including Russia and Central Asian republics. If India becomes a member of an international body enjoying equal rights with all its members, this would mean a real impetus for widening cooperation with a wide region encompassing Central Asia, Russia up to its Far East, as well as Eastern and Northern Europe.
    Therefore, India’s and Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO will help regional powers to work out a coordinated and non-confrontational approach to post-2014 Afghanistan.
    There can’t be any zero-sum game in Afghanistan. The only solution for Afghanistan lies in a coordinated effort of all regional power seeking to reach a “win-win” situation. The SCO, with full membership of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and others, and the observer status of Iran and Afghanistan, is the natural platform for such coordinated effort.
    Whether all this may be implemented will be demonstrated by the decisions taken in Dushanbe. There is not much time to wait and see.

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    The leaders of India and China meeting each other in person and having a frank exchange of views is the best way of improving the relationship between the countries and resolving the border dispute. The Americans have something to learn from this approach, rather than declaring enemies of certain world leaders and refusing to meet them.

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    It is futile contemplating on the resolution of the borders between India and China especially in the Tibet and the Himalayas even in the distant future. Predominantly Chinese villages like the Mana village overflow into the Himalayan Hindu villages and vice versa. Further the Tibetans and the Nepalese settlements overflow into each other’s territory. In fact, the Chinese regard Lord Buddha to be a Nepalese. Bensen

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