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China’s position

A shifting stance

Indrani Bagchi, Tawang to Taiwan: India stands up to pressure from Beijing, Apr 3, 2017, The Times of India


The Dalai Lama is on 10-day visit to northeast.

China's has opposed Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

China is more concerned with Dalai Lama's stay in Tawang monastery.

However, India has ignored China's protests over Dalai visit.

As China ramps up its rhetoric against the Dalai Lama's upcoming trip to Arunachal Pradesh, an unfazed India said China has been shifting its position on Tawang, making its current position less credible.

“We have never conceded locus standi to China on Arunachal Pradesh,“ said Ashok Kantha, former ambassador to China and head of the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS).Countering the Beijing narrative, officials said China has shifted its positions on Tawang over the years to the extent that its current line lacks credibility . China withdrew beyond the MacMahon Line after defeating India in the 1962 conflict, leaving Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang in Indian possession. Neither Chou En Lai in his discussions with Nehru in 1960 nor Deng Xiaoping in 1985 referred to Tawang at all.

Jayadeva Ranade, China analyst, said the first time Tawang entered the official discussion was in 2005, by Dai Bingguo who was the special representative for boundary discussions until 2013. “In 2007, the Chinese identified Monyul (Tawang, Kameng and Dirangzon), lower Zoyul (Lohit valley) and Loyul (territory up to Walong) as central areas of interest to them,“ he said.

In 2006, former Chinese envoy to India Sun Yuxi went back on the 2005 agreement on guiding principles, by denying an important component of the deal to leave populated and settled areas undisturbed. Interestingly , it was Dai Bingguo who rekindled the old debate of a vaguely worded land swap in recent weeks.

Kantha said the Chinese stridency on Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh is a move away from the 1993 agreement between the two sides, “which made the LAC (line of actual control) the basis for negotiations. This was reiterated in five subsequent agreements.The Chinese are now moving away from this“. In addition, China's “objections“ to rail link to Tawang was specious, Indian officials said. In recent years, India has regularly rejected Chinese demarches on this issue. Meanwhile, the Chinese have continued to harden their positions. They have refused to allow pilgrimages via Demchok in Ladakh citing “disputes“, on territory again occupied by India.While China participates in border trade at Nathu La, it refuses to do so at Shipki La, again citing `dispute'.

With China intensifying its pressure on India across a broad spectrum of issues ­ from blocking India in the NSG to colluding with Pakistan on tactical nuclear weapons --India is quietly , but surely pushing back. India has effectively junked reiteration of the one-China policy for over six years now, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj sharply connecting it to China's acceptance of a “one-India“ policy. New Delhi has increased its interactions with Taiwan, making it more visible. The Dalai Lama, whose very existence is anathema to the Chinese official system, is more visible in official circles, including in a recent advertisement of the MP government, in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in Karnataka and now in the sensitive Arunachal Pradesh.

See also

Tawang monastery

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