Finally, after over two months, the Sino-Indian Crisis at Dong Lang (Doklam) that began with Indian troops crossing into Chinese territory to stop a road construction is over. On August 28, the Chinese government confirmed that the Indian troops have withdrawn from the Chinese side of Doklam. The Indian government gave the following statement:
- In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam.
- During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests. On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going.
I don’t need to go over all the details of the crisis here, as those are readily available elsewhere. But those who want a primer, do an internet search for stories between June 18 and August 29, 2017 on “India” and “China” or “Doklam” or “Donglang” and you will get a good sample…
What I want to share here are some of my thoughts about this whole standoff… Continue reading End of the Sino-Indian Impasse at Dong Lang (Doklam) is Over – but Which Side Won?
On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him. He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.
After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.
For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.
The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.
About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.
Consequently, on 3rd July 1914 was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man – The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled.
Continue reading You Scratch My Back, but I Won’t Scratch Yours