Tuesday, August 11, 2009

India-China 13th Round of Talks

The practical conclusion drawn from the joint statement issued after a China-India dialogue on the border issue is that it did not make much headway. It only expressed satisfaction with the talks. This has no meaning, whatsoever. There is nothing new in the resolution on peace and stability either.

Dai Bingguo's Visit to India
State Counselor Dai Bingguo represented China in the talks. Although he said that the border problem should be solved to the satisfaction of both sides, he did not deem it fit to suggest an outline. After his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bingguo was confident that an opportunity to reach a solution would come as relations between the countries strengthened in the next few years.

The direct implication of his statement could be that no immediate solution of the border problem is being expected. As a matter of fact, this was the 13th round of talks over a span of 28 years.

Yet, the border problem remains where it stood. If any progress has been made, it is only on the decision to work out guidelines for further talks.

Joint Development
In a message sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, both his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and Chinese President Hu Jintao have emphasized the need for peaceful coexistence and joint development in the interest of both countries. In the ultimate analysis, it will benefit Asia and the entire world, they added.

These are cordial statements that have nothing to do with the border problem. In reply to this message, our prime minister also pointed out that India was keen to encourage peace, prosperity, and stability throughout the world jointly with China.

Almost a similar joint statement was made during his China visit in 2008, but the country would like to know the outcome of the last dialogue.

Resolving Bilateral Issues
It is quite clear that India is not a factor in the border dispute. A large chunk of our territory has been occupied by China. It is staking its claim on entire Arunachal Pradesh on the ground that it is part of Tibet. It is not at all prepared to soften its stand on this issue. China also vehemently objected to the $60 million loan granted to Arunachal Pradesh by the Asian Development Bank for its development.

The body language of the Chinese army on the Arunachal Pradesh border makes its intention quite clear. In retaliation, when India increased the strength of its border force, started improving roads and deployed Sikhoi-30 squadrons there, China raised strong objections.

How can the border problem be solved if such an attitude persists? Its solution depends entirely on the stand taken by China. Yet, the 13th round of talks did not indicate any change in it.

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