M A I N   N E W S

On eve of President Hu’s visit
Envoy’s talk continues to rankle India
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 18
The comments of Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi on Arunachal Pradesh have taken the Indian establishment by surprise. It feels that the Indo-China agreement on "Political parameters and guiding principles" (PPGP) on the settlement of the border issue has apparently been put on ice.

China's non-negotiable position on Tawang contradicts Article-VII of the border settlement framework agreement signed with fanfare during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in April 2005.

Guiding parameters, principles on ice

The Indo-China agreement on "Political parameters and guiding principles" (PPGP) on the settlement of the border issue has apparently been put on ice.

* * *

Elsewhere, ahead of President Hu Jintao’s visit, the third border point for meetings between the Indian and Chinese armies was opened today at Kibithu, a hamlet in the frontier district of Anjaw in Arunchal Pradesh.

The Chinese claim that Tawang is an emotional and historical issue since two of the Dalai Lamas were born in Tawang is hogwash. The Chinese are hard bargainers. Emotion and sentiments have little or no place in such negotiations.

Tawang is closely connected with China’s forward defence strategy from where it can make an offensive thrust to cut off India's North-East from the rest of the country if such a need arises.

No one can see such an eventuality at the moment, but any master strategist would go beyond the normal vision. In this connection, China's boundary claims on Bhutan can reveal more on its military strategy.

Tibet or the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has always been a difficult region to garrison. But with the railway coming to Lhasa, it is poised to extend to the eastern sector of the disputed Indo-China border.

New military airfields in TAR and permanent road construction along the border is putting the “Chinese shadow over the border more firmly, from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh.”

The reversal of the Chinese position on the border resolution talks arise out of concerns. These concerns, however, arise not out of an Indian threat to China's security, but how strongly India can emerge as an Asian power in a short-time framework.

Historically, China tried to absorb neighbours like eastern Turkistan, Tibet and Mongolia. The others were expected to pay obeisance. But Russia and Japan periodically tore apart the Han strategy.

The Chinese traditionally viewed India as a Hindu pacifist country. The May 1998 Indian nuclear tests, however, shook China out of its complacency.

Since 1962, Beijing took it as the emperor's divine right to put the undisciplined vassal state of India into a strait jacket.

That, apparently, is not happening any more. Hence, the Hu Jintao cold wind is about to descend.



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