News / Asia

India, China Near Pact to Keep Lid on Border Tension

FILE - A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
FILE - A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Reuters
India and China are close to an agreement to prevent tension on their contested border touching off confrontation while they try to figure out a way to break a decades-old stalemate regarding overlapping claims to long stretches of the Himalayas.
 
The border defense cooperation pact that diplomats are racing to finalize ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China next week is a small step forward in a complicated relationship, one that is marked by booming economic ties but also growing distrust.
 
In May, the two armies ended a three-week standoff in the western Himalayas after Chinese troops set up a camp at least six miles into territory claimed by India, triggering a public outcry and calls that India should stand up to its powerful neighbor.
 
China denied that troops had crossed into Indian territory.
 
Under the new agreement, the two nuclear-armed sides will give notice of patrols along the ill-defined border and ensure that patrols do not “tail” each other to reduce the chances of a confrontation.
 
The two armies, strung out along the 2,500-mile border from the high-altitude Ladakh plateau in the west to the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh in the east, have also agreed to set up a hotline between top ranking officers in addition to existing brigade-level contacts.
 
“The key issue is maintaining peace and tranquility on the border,” said an Indian government official.
 
The border defense cooperation agreement is built on existing confidence-building measures and is designed to ensure that patrolling along the Line of Actual Control, as the unsettled border is called, does not escalate into an unintended skirmish, he said.
 
“Barring last minute problems, there should be an agreement. It's a question of crossing the Ts and dotting the Is,” the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
 
India and China fought a brief border war in 1962; ever since, ties have been mired in distrust. China lays claims to more than 35,000 square miles of land in the eastern sector. India disputes that and instead says China occupies 14,600 square miles of territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.
 
A Chinese airline last week blocked two Indian archers from disputed Arunachal Pradesh from travelling to China, souring the mood in India just days before Singh travels to Beijing.
 
“The fundamental problem they are not tackling is defining the Line of Actual Control and then a settlement of the border,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, a China expert at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.
 
Beefing Up Defenses
 
One reason tension has risen is that both countries are upgrading civil and military infrastructure on either side of the frontier.
 
China has vastly improved its roads and is building or extending airfields on its side of the border in Tibet. It has placed nuclear-capable intermediate missiles in the area and deployed about 300,000 troops across the Tibetan plateau, according to a 2010 Pentagon report.
 
India has also woken up and is in the midst of a 10-year plan to scale up its side of the border with a network of roads and airfields. In July, the cabinet cleared the raising of a new mountain corps comprising about 50,000 troops to be deployed on the Chinese border.
 
“China has developed the border infrastructure so intricately that its roads and tracks, even in high mountainous regions, look like fingers running down your spine,” said retired Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch, who formerly commanded the Indian army's Special Forces wing.
 
Chinese nuclear and missile assistance to Pakistan and a widening trade deficit in China's favor have added to Indian fears about encirclement. China, on the other hand, is concerned about Tibetan activists using India as a base to further their separatist aims.
 
“It strikes me that many of the usual grievances have grown in prominence over the past several months: Chinese incursions on the border, the issuance of irregular visas, continued Chinese support for Pakistan's nuclear program, and so on,” said Shashank Joshi, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “It also seems that India is eager to keep these grievances in check.”

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More