Saturday, October 17, 2009

Indian Prime Minister's Provocative visit

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made another provocative and dangerous move by visiting the East Section of the China-India Boundary, which India calls Arunachal Pradesh, on October 3 ahead of a local legislative election.

The visit is designed to put the area, a disputed border region between China and India, under the de facto administration of India.

China has completed land border demarcation with all of its neighboring countries but India.

Territorial disputes stand as a seemingly intractable issue between the two largest emerging economies in the world.

Though in similar developmental circumstances, China and India seem to have more confrontations than common ground.

In the past decades, more than 10 rounds of negotiations held at various levels and through different mechanisms between the two countries have failed to produce any real progress.

The 120,000 square kilometers of the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, around the size of South China's Fujian Province, is at the center of the controversy. India currently occupies 90,000 square kilometers of the area.

Over the years, India has intensified its effective control over the area by encouraging the immigration of more than 1 million Indians to the region, and applying for loans from international bodies for public facilities projects in the region.

India is also increasing military deployment, along with sophisticated equipment, in the area. India's hawks are dangerously fanning public sentiment fearing a "China threat."

China favors peaceful resolution of territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation with its neighbors.

In the past the Chinese government has sought to build consensus in border negotiations through making concessions in exchange for reciprocal action.

China has maintained that same approach with India. India, however, will make a fatal error if it mistakes China's approach for weakness.

The Chinese government and public regard territorial integrity as a core national interest, one that must be defended with every means.

A stable border is crucial to the economic development of both China and India.

The disputed border area is of strategic importance, and hence, India's recent moves – including Singh's trip and approving past visits to the region by the Dalai Lama – send the wrong signal. That could have dangerous consequences.

Furthermore, India's actions add to the difficulties that have stalled negotiations on the region in the past.

It looks as if a breakthrough in talks is unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

(Source: Global Times)

October 14 2009

(The Global Times, an English-language newspaper which often reflects the Communist party's views on foreign policy and is directed towards an international audience)

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