Free Essay about Power Transition: China vs. India

Published: 2022-05-25
Free Essay about Power Transition: China vs. India
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Politics International relations
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1780 words
15 min read

India and China have had diplomatic relations since 1947, first with the government of the Republic of China and after the triumph of the communist revolution in mainland China, with the government of the People's Republic of China - after Indian recognition in 1949. However, the emergence of India as a state brought to the center of the scene the problem of determining its new limits, taking into consideration whether they had been fixed by custom or through treaties. In this regard, the Republic of China expressed its non-recognition of the McMahon line (border between northeastern India and Tibet, proposed by Henry McMahon, British negotiator, in the Treaty of Simla, 1914), but did not address the issue of particular mode at that time, due to the complexity of their own internal situation (Ahmad & Ahmad, 22). For its part, the People's Republic of China, upon assuming power, renounced all previous foreign agreements as unequal treaties, imposed during the "century of humiliation", demanding the renegotiation of all borders.

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It would be the question of Tibet that would grab the attention of the bilateral relationship (India based its relationship with Tibet on the Simla Treaty and its complementary trade agreements), under which the expulsion of the Chinese from Tibet in 1949 would precipitate the situation. In 1950, troops of the People's Liberation Army made their way to Tibet and in 1951; the Agreement of the Seventeen Clauses for the "peaceful liberation" of Tibet was signed between the parties. Although the notes exchanged on the subject by both governments show the tensions that emerged, India would recognize Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, through the agreement of 1954. Thus, that same year, the first Chinese constitution created the Tibet Autonomous Region and in 1959, insurgents (Andersen 33). They proclaimed the independence of Tibet, without getting recognition from the United States and the United Kingdom, although they counted on a resolution of the United Nations, which demanded respect for the human rights of its people. The consequent repression of the uprising and the escape of the Dalai Lama to India led to the deterioration of the relationship between India and China, activating the border dispute between them, until the war in 1962 (coincidentally with the missile crisis in Cuba), that implied a momentary Chinese occupation of the territory in Arunachal Pradesh - that would become an Indian state in 1987 -, quickly retreating the Chinese forces to the McMahon Line and returning Indian prisoners, in 1963 (Brown 54). To this instance of war came precisely a different one interpretation of the formation of the border: while India maintains that international treaties have defined a large part of it, China argues that there is a traditional border delimited by custom.

From the Chinese perspective, the border with India has an approximate area of 2,000 kilometers and is divided into three zones: the western one (which marks the border between China, India, and Pakistan and the dispute refers to the Aksai Chin area), the average (which extends from the extreme southeast of the western sector to the place where the boundaries between India, China, and Nepal meet, with the area of Juwa, Qure, San, Congsha, Bolinsanduo, Wure, Xiangzha, and Labudi, in dispute) and the eastern (which ranges from the concurrence of the boundaries of India, China and Bhutan to the area where the boundaries between India, China, and Burma meet) (Deepak 12). For its part, India notes that the dispute also includes the border between Tibet and Sikkim (which would be incorporated as an Indian state in 1975, after a referendum among its population about such incorporation and on which, some argue that China would have recognized the Indian sovereignty, following the publication of a Chinese map, which includes it in Indian territory, in the World Affairs Year Book 2003-2004 and its non-classification of Sikkim as an independent state) and between the Kashmir area controlled by Pakistan and Xinjiang .

Resolved in 1948 the dispute over Junagadh (which became part of the Indian state of Saurashtra until 1956, when Saurashtra became part of the state of Bombay, which in turn would be divided in 1960 into two other states, Gujarat and Maharashtra, is today one of the districts of Saurashtra in Gujarat), India and Pakistan maintained the dispute for the Kashmir region, which each occupies in a partial way (Mastny 8). The Pakistani occupation zone borders the Xinjiang region (in northwest China, with an ethnic Uighur and Islamic religious majority - due to the presence of Uighur and the Chinese minority Hui) and because of this, in 1961, the government of Pakistan proposed China negotiated a final limit agreement, but the Chinese authorities opted for the signing of an interim agreement, taking into account the situation in Kashmir. For its part, the government of India maintains that such a treaty is illegal.

Various circumstances were modifying the conflict between India and Pakistan, such as the progressive deterioration of China's link with India and its rapprochement with Pakistan; changes in Pakistani foreign policy. The support of the USSR to India (remember the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between the two, in 1971, which alluded to mutual strategic cooperation and implied a deviation from India's non-alignment trajectory and was seen by China as a step more in the policy of enclosure of the Soviet Union towards China), etc. (Penjore 120). Signed the treaty of limits, in 1963, China granted economic aid to Pakistan and announced its support to that country in the Second Indo-Pakistani War (1965), although its position was mostly rhetorical. That armed confrontation lasted five weeks, caused thousands of casualties in both contenders and resulted in a UN ceasefire mandate and the Tashkent Declaration, which restored the status quo. The aftermath of that 1965 war produced a dramatic change in Pakistan's security focus, in what has been called the "triangular tightrope", a complex attempt to maintain good ties with the United States (which had declared its neutrality in the war), while cultivating ties with China and the Soviet Union.

Another point of friction in relations between New Delhi and Beijing is the Dalai Lama, whom China accuses of seeking independence from the Himalayan region, something that it denies. The Tibetan spiritual leader has lived in India since he fled Tibet after the failed popular uprising in 1959. The close ties between China and Pakistan - India's historic rival - are also a concern for New Delhi (Ranjan 110). The ninth summit of the BRICS, held in Xiamen, China, at the beginning of September 2017, was the scene of the first substantive bilateral meeting between representatives of China and India (both nuclear powers), after the Doklam incident. In this context, the Indian Secretary of Foreign Affairs, S. Jaishankar, said that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping, reaffirmed the idea that having good relations is part of mutual interest, being necessary to have greater communication between the defense and security personnel of both countries (Pardesi 23). Such communication during the same summit, was part of a set of signals and expressions on the part of both governments, in order to lower the tone of the tension between both, preceded by the agreement about an "early disconnection" of the military forces of both countries in the disputed area in the Himalayas, towards the end of August (Miglani and Blanchard, 2017).

Regarding this incident, India argues that the problem began with its opposition to the Chinese building a road through the mountainous area - disputed by China and Bhutan - (near a particularly vulnerable point of India) and that their shipment of troops to the area was due to the fact that Chinese military activity there constituted a threat to the security of its northeast region (and to the sovereignty of Bhutan). The episode dates back to an 1890 convention between the Qing Empire and then British India, and subsequent agreements, which include a 2012 public agreement, in which India states that China would agree to settle pending disputes in consultation with interested third parties (in this case, Bhutan, a country with which China is in negotiations to resolve its border issues, since the 1980s) (The Economic Times, 2017, Penjore, 2004). It is recalled that in 1950, India became the first non-socialist country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, giving the first official visit of Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1954, although the border differences were always present (Ahmad Dar and Ahmad, 2014 Ranjan, 2016).

After the First Indo-Pakistani War in 1947, the border between China and India was modified by China becoming a territory in Kashmir, claimed by India, extending their common border in six hundred kilometers, a total of approximately two thousand kilometers divided into three sectors. The first is east (covering six hundred and fifty kilometers and encompassing China, India, Bhutan and Myanmar, together with south-east Tibet and the province of Arunachal Pradesh in India), center (covers four hundred and fifty kilometers and the western area of Tibet and Kimachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, in India) and west (refers to six hundred kilometers in the Xinjiang region and LadakhRange in Kashmir) (Ganguly 55). In 1962, the so-called Sino-Indian War took place, following incidents by Nathu La Pass, on the border between the Indian state of Sikkim and Tibet under Chinese control, which would imply a Chinese victory, before the rapid action of its forces. In this regard, Pardesi (2012) argues that the three factors that led to China's decision to attack India at that time (the status of Tibet, the militarization of its unresolved border and the fears of containment) are still present today, although slightly modified. While since 1981, both countries have held regular talks on border issues, in 1993, signed the Agreement for the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Effective Control and in 1996 signed the Agreement of Confidence in the Military Field, stabilizing the situation in the common border.

The Cultural Revolution in China deepened tensions in its relationship with India and in 1967 there were further clashes on the Tibet-Sikkim border (when the latter was still a Protectorate of India) - preceded by numerous incidents and accusations - with clashes in the zones of Nathu La and Cho La. While the ambassadors' retired and military success accompanied India, the parties maintained diplomatic relations (Bhutani 33). The third Indo - Pakistani war (1971) represented a concrete threat to China, while the independence of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh, which had achieved such independence with support from India), involved the dismemberment of its strategic partner in the containment of India, Pakistan In that framework, China rejected such independence and vetoed the proposals for the entry of Bangladesh to the United Nations (Brown 54). Finally, in 1975, China recognized the popular government of Bangladesh and established diplomatic relations with that country, this being the prelude to the normalization of its links with India, again producing the accreditation of Chinese and Indian ambassadors respectively, in 1976 and restarting the commercial exchange, in 1977.

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