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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid