Comments on bordering issues between China and India
||2011-04-22 17:46:23, 조회 : 8,415, 추천 : 1698
If two civilizations failed to manage the bordering issue in a civilized way, what does permanent seat in the UN Security Council mean? We have to ponder over the role of permanent seat in the UN Security Council at this moment. Is it advantages of powers and dividing some power’s national interests each other? If then, it might be not the idea of Nehru or Gandhi’s. It is not the Indian way. I hope India will keep its color.
The states which are not civilized to be ready for solving even their own bordering issues are not qualified to vote the global decisions. Why is India begging the seat of old regime which is not actually effecting the global decisions as now?
What can S.M. Krishna and Yang Jiechi meet and talk about the bordering issues at this time. Definitely it should be the interests and welfare of the people in the region and the development of uninhabited area. It is not the matter of the states but the matter of the people of the region. It is not the matter of staking on but the development of uninhabited area for both people.
Watershed - External Affairs Minister of India, S.M. Krishna has just concluded his visit to China. This visit is seen as building confidence and cementing the relationship further when both countries suspect each other intentions. How do you see his visit to China? Will it boost the ongoing relation or will be just a visit?
Srikanth Kondapalli - As was stated by the Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, the foreign minister’s current visit to China had twin-tasks, viz., building “mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual confidence” and enhance “all-round” relations. Although Mr. Krishna had met his counterpart Mr. Yang before at multilateral fora, this visit provided for a more structured bilateral interaction between the two. The visit is a reciprocal visit to Mr. Yang’s visit to India in September 2008. It had provided Mr. Krishna with an opportunity to interact with several leaders, with whom he mooted several ideas to improve relations. Hence we can say that this visit is useful in improving on the current state of bilateral relations.
WS - He held the talk with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao. Both parties agreed to establish a hotline between India and China on PM level and even Beijing supported the India’s bid for permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Will these developments enhance the confidence and build a strategic partnership?
SK - During the visit, Mr. Krishna met with the Chinese Premier for about 45 minutes, and a whole morning session with foreign minister Yang Jiechi. You can say that the hotline idea was formalised during this visit, although this was first mooted by the Indian side at the Yekaterinburg meeting with President Hu Jintao in June 2009 and further discussed during Special Representative MK Narayanan’s meeting with visiting Dai Bingguo in August 2009, when the latter visited New Delhi for the 13th Special Representative Meeting on the border issue. Although the bilateral joint statements between India and China mentioned about the Chinese support to Indian candidature in the international arena, the India-Russia-China trilateral meetings have for the first time mentioned about “aspirations” of India to play greater role in the United Nations. However, so far there has been no explicit Chinese support to the Indian candidature for the permanent seat with veto power at the United Nations Security Council. This is in contrast to Nehru’s policy, despite the offer to India, of accommodating China in this position at the UNSC. Overall, while bilateral relations are improving and in April 2005 both had ushered into “Strategic and Cooperative Partnership”, there is a lot of scope for expanding such relations. Both had suggested in November 2006 that they will play a greater role in Asia, but this is yet to fructify. In general, we can argue that, given the last couple of years of public statements by the respective media in these countries, confidence building is still at a low level – not to mention about trust building. While both countries appeared to have prevented conflict, they are yet to graduate to higher levels of trust.
WS - India and China in April 1st, celebrated the 60th year of establishment of diplomatic relations. In these years both countries have walked a long distance both in international and domestic domains. What are the challenges ahead for both in the 21st century?
SK - The 21st Century still remains an uncharted course for any country. For India and China as well, as they are still in the preliminary stages of socio-economic development, there are several prospects and challenges in the future. The global shift from trans-Atlantic focus to Asian region in terms of investments, technological flows, joint ventures, etc had contributed to the relative prosperity of these two countries, as with the other Asian countries. This is reflected in the near-double digit economic growth figures posted by India and China, despite the global financial crisis. However, adopting such economic models have also contributed to the widening of the incomes between rural and urban areas, social unrest, over-utilisation of natural resources like water and minerals, consequent environmental degradation and the like in both these countries. This is a major challenge, despite economic progress. Overall, we can argue that in addition to the traditional security challenges (such as the unresolved border dispute and the consequent emphasis on military build-up or even the thought about alliances), both are also charting into non-traditional security pitfalls, such as energy problems (with China becoming the 2nd and India becoming the 4th largest consumers of energy resources in the world), environmental challenges, migration, food and water security, terrorism and others.
WS - In the past couple of months, we have seen growing suspicion between both countries. Chinese academicians and media both carried inflammatory articles provoking India and vice versa. What should be the role of media and academicians to enhance the confidence among people of both countries?
SK - Confidence building among any two countries is dependent on the ground reality of relations between these two countries. And the ground reality is also influenced by the presence or lack of bilateral problems. In the case of India and China, as both have not been able to resolve border dispute and other bilateral problems, naturally these are reflected in the media and academic writings. Media coverage is a reflection of the current political reality in any country. In the case of China it is Party/State controlled, while in India, the media acts as a “watchdog” but with more and more reflection of corporate interests. In this context, it is true that media in both countries have highlighted the problems inherent in the bilateral relations - although sometimes to the jingoist levels. However, it should be noted that confidence cannot be built in thin air without resolving outstanding issues between any two countries.
WS - India has objected China’s move to give staple visa to Indian citizens, supporting development projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), dam on Brahmaputra River. It indeed, increases the suspicion in Indian establishment about China’s intention to build a viable and strategic relationship. Both countries are expected to behave rationally. How do you see these tactics of China serve her interests?
SK - In the joint statements between India and China it is interesting to note that these two countries have suggested that the “security concerns” of each other should be respected. If we translate this for India, these words imply Indian position on Kashmir or Arunachal Pradesh, while for China these include Tibet issue. On Tibet, the Indian government had made substantial announcements in 1954, 1988 and in 2003 stating that Tibet is a part of China. Nevertheless, the Chinese government and its people have concerns on “harbouring” of the Dalai Lama and nearly 120,000 refugees. The Indian government had, under the Chinese pressure, proscribed the Tibetans living in India to participate in any anti-China political activities. Despite these, China is still a concerned party. On the Kashmir issue, China’s position underwent a sea-change – from Mao Zedong’s observation in the mid-1950s that the partition of India and Pakistan as “unnatural” to that of building an “all-weather” relationship with Pakistan. One consequence of the shift towards the latter policy is to take a lenient view of Pakistan’s position on Kashmir subsequently. In this context, to answer your pointed question, by issuing stapled visas to the Kashmir students (while denying granting any visas to Arunachal Pradesh residents), China appears to be reviving bilateral problems, which India may have thought to have been resolved between the two. This is bound to open a new can of worms in their bilateral relations.
WS - On the one hand, trade volume between both countries is increasing but on the other hand boundary disputes remain the core problem and from time to time occupy fore front and have capacity to shake the very foundation of the relationship. What is the option before both countries to settle the disputes?
SK - It was decided by the visiting Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 that to give a fresh start to the bilateral relations after the 1962 border clashes, both countries should expand relations to include enhancing trade relations – as the border dispute
proved to be intractable. Currently, China became the largest trading partner for India, displacing the United States and the European Union. Nevertheless, political relations continued to be tense as you mentioned before. This situation is roughly coinciding with similar relations between China and Japan or China-United States or China-European Union countries. That is, while trade is booming, political tensions continue to grow. In this context, border disputes continue to fuel uncertainties between the two despite the decision to resolve the issue peacefully. Both have suggested several options to resolve the dispute, but there has been a lot of intransigence on the part of Beijing to resolve the dispute. Watershed principle was suggested by the Indian side, but is not acceptable to the Chinese side. Compounded to this is the rising nationalist rhetoric in China which is not favourable for resolving the dispute amicably in the near future.
WS - There are speculations in Chinese establishment that US is trying, along with India to encircle China and further destabilise the Chinese state. In these circumstances how China will formulate its India policy?
SK - It is surprising that China should harbour such views about India and the United States encircling China. If we go back to the recent past, after Henry Kissinger-Nixon visits to Beijing in 1971-72, China-United States and Pakistan coordinated their activities which were perceived by India as encirclement. Bangladesh liberation war further fuelled such views as China attempted to put pressure on India in favour of Pakistan at the United Nations Security Council. During the Cold War as a whole, it was perceived that China was attempting to encircle India through Pakistan and other South Asian countries. In 1998 as well, after the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, the Chinese leadership supported the US-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172 demanding “cap, roll-back and eliminate” South Asian nuclear capability. In the context of the 123 Agreement between the US and India, there has been some speculation in the Chinese media that India and the US are attempting to encircle China. However, firstly, it is impossible to encircle or contain any other country in these times of globalisation. Trade between these three countries is increasing and hence do not provide any scope for containment. Secondly, Indian PM Singh had stated that India has neither the interest nor the capability to encircle China. On the part of China, it had been following several policies towards India which are part and parcel of the Cold War baggage. As economic indicators of India had indicated, it is no longer confined to the South Asia box but interacts at the global levels. China should understand this ground reality and move away from its Cold War policies.
WS - In spite of many bilateral problems both countries managed to cooperate on many international issues, like at WTO, climate change, etc. Do you think that these co-operations will build an alliance to counter the developed nations?
SK - As growing economies, both India and China have coordinated at the international levels in the 1950s and once again recently at the WTO, Bali/Copenhagen meetings and in the energy fields. Both perceive that they tend to gain more by cooperating and coordinating at these fora. Such cooperation, however, is case and context specific and do not point to a concerted or long term alliance against the developed countries. It needs to be pointed out that both are currently jockeying for influence among the developed countries.