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Millennium Post

Secure borders in mutual interest

The much awaited joint statement on the Indo-China border disputes finally came out of the closet on Friday. Both the countries have recognised peace and tranquillity on the borders as an important guarantor for development and continued growth of ties. The deftness with which PM Narendra Modi has handled the situation is a case in point, especially given his limited experience in handling matters of international significance.

In what can be called a stern view of the impasse, Modi made it clear to the visiting Chinese president, that pre-10 September status quo be restored at Ladakh, the site for the recent incursion by the People’s Liberation Army of China. It is most unfortunate that even after 52 years of the Indo-China war, the Chinese still seem festered at the border disputes and these unnecessary skirmishes keep happening.  Neither of the sides dissuade and rounds and rounds of flag meetings are called but the situation takes days to diffuse.  This doesn’t speak well of India and China’s bilateral ties, as no matter what keeps happening in New Delhi or Beijing, the PLA keeps making its belligerence seen and heard on the other side of the border.

Why is it, that the visits of Chinese leaders to India are preceded by uncalled-for border provocations? Before Chinese President Hu Jintao came to India in 2006, China most famously asserted its claim to Arunachal Pradesh. Then prior to Premier Wen Jiabao’s India trip China again indulged in some dubious exercise of issuing stapled visas to Kashmiri residents applying to enter China and also most distinctively shortening its border with India separating Indian Kashmir from Chinese held Kashmir. Next came Li Keqiang in May 2013 but before he could step foot on Indian soil, a deep PLA incursion into Ladakh was waiting to be resolved. Even this much touted visit of President Xi Jinping was heralded by the arrival of more than a thousand Chinese troops inside the Indian border at Ladakh.

Until and unless the Chinese answer these questions, India will definitely not have any clarity about the intent of its neighbour. China should understand that neither Ladakh and nor Arunachal Pradesh are its territories and that constantly staking claim to them, doesn’t speak too well of its intentions. India in all good faith keeps underplaying the Chinese offensive at the Line of Actual Control and the Mc Mahon line, but shouldn’t China also make initiative to give up claims of territories which are Indian in body and soul? It cannot be denied that both Xi and Modi have a very optimistic vision to secure the futures of both these countries but if a permanent solution to the border disputes is not found, all efforts at diplomacy and confidence building may be completely lost. None of the sides would want that.    
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