60-year-old conflict shadows India-China border dispute

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By Creative Media News

Sixty years ago, the conflict began early on a sunny autumn morning.

On October 23, 1962, Chinese soldiers stormed the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), a remote Himalayan territory in northeastern India bordering China and Bhutan, and engaged in intensive artillery fire.

China continues to claim as its territory the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, home to more than a million people, and the site of the most recent conflict between the two sides in more than a year.

60-year-old conflict shadows india-china border dispute
60-year-old conflict shadows india-china border dispute

Indian army forces informed Swedish journalist Bertil Lintner, author of China’s India War: Collision Course on the Roof of the World, that explosions lit up the sky and reverberated between the mountains.

Chinese troops overran an Indian outpost, killing 17 and capturing 13 Indian soldiers. They advanced with minimal opposition from the astonished and poorly-equipped Indian army. The following day, they captured Tawang, a Buddhist monastery town in an adjacent valley.

The Chinese advanced southwards. By mid-November, they had reached Bomdila, a monastery town near a hill that was less than 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Assam, the location of India’s thriving tea gardens, oil fields, and jute plantations.

India china dispute
60-year-old conflict shadows india-china border dispute

Then, on November 21, the Chinese called a ceasefire and quickly withdrew to 20 kilometers north of the hazy, de-facto border between the two countries, known as the Line of Actual Control and marked by maps created in British-ruled India.

“The war had ended. A few weeks later, PLA soldiers returned to the Chinese-controlled portion of the highlands “Mr. Linter observed. Indians recorded the deaths of 1,383 soldiers and the disappearance of approximately 1,700 others. According to Chinese records, roughly 4,900 Indians were killed and another 3,968 were captured alive.

According to Manoj Joshi, an Indian defense analyst and author of the new book Understanding the India-China Border, it is unclear why the Chinese retreated.

“Was it because they extended their supply lines? Did they fear American intervention? Or was it because they did not take their eastern (boundary) claims very seriously? “he said.

The disputed Sino-Indian border is separated into three areas: the western sector around Ladakh, the middle sector between India’s Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand states and Tibet, and the eastern sector at Arunachal Pradesh.

According to experts, it is merely a “notional line”; the Indians estimate its length to be 3,488 kilometers, while the Chinese estimate it to be around 2,000 kilometers.

China occupies the western portion of the Aksai Chin plateau, a territory the size of Switzerland that India claims as its own. China asserts ownership of Arunachal Pradesh.

The McMahon Line forms 1,126-kilometer-long (according to India) and never-recognized by China’s eastern boundary at Arunachal Pradesh. It is named after Henry McMahon, the Indian foreign secretary in 1914 from the United Kingdom.

Asia’s two largest nations, which are also nuclear-armed neighbors, have negotiated deals to end one of the world’s longest-running border disputes. The two sides have maintained peace for the most part, but constantly accuse each other of violations and invasions.

China, however, has not renounced its claims to Arunachal Pradesh and continues to refer to the majority of the province as “South Tibet.” The Chinese ministry of civil affairs renamed several locations in the contested region last year, and state media reported that China’s territorial claims had “historical and administrative justifications.”

According to some analysts, Beijing views Arunachal Pradesh as playing a role in a potential border deal with India, in which Delhi would accept Chinese sovereignty over Aksai Chin, a mineral-rich ice desert that has been occupied by China since the 1950s, in exchange for Beijing accepting Indian sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh.

However, according to Dr. Tsering Topgyal of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, this is no longer true.

“There may be a relationship between the assurance of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and the desirability of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin in exchange for Beijing. Now, I believe China considers the border conflict not only in terms of territorial gain or loss at the local level but also with broader national and foreign policy considerations in mind “Dr. Topgyal advised me.

Arunachal Pradesh became a state in 1987, much to China’s disgust, after previously being administered directly from Delhi. Over the years, India has also bolstered its border defenses and infrastructure and is constructing villages nearby.

Beijing has been irritated by the visits of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh. When former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the state in 2008 and planned a slew of roadbuilding projects, China complained formally. Beijing has also rejected ADB financing to the state and denied visas to Indian military officials and officers stationed in the region.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a plan to construct 2,000 kilometers of new roads and develop the rural and underdeveloped regions of Arunachal Pradesh.

We are not attempting to disrupt relationships. It’s not about challenging or competing with China, but about protecting our land “Then, a federal minister from the state, Kiren Rijiju, told Bloomberg.

According to Dr. Tsering, it may make strategic sense for China to maintain the border conflict with India, including the claim over Arunachal Pradesh, to curb India’s ambitions and govern its behavior, such as its expanding ties with the United States.

“Why, of all the boundary disputes China has had with its neighbors, is just the India-China dispute still ongoing?” he asks.

According to experts, Yangtse, where the most recent combat occurred, is a thinly populated area less than 5 kilometers from a village on the Chinese side. It is one of the dozen or so contested places along the contentious border where claims from both sides overlap.

According to Mr. Joshi, the eastern border appears to be heating up once more. “This comes as little surprise.”

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