The recently concluded 15th round of talks between India and China ended in a deadlock after Beijing’s insistence on settling for nothing less than ‘its share’ of Arunachal Pradesh, reported Daily Mail. 15th round of the Special Representatives meeting with the Chinese delegation was held on January 16-17 this month.
The Chinese Special Representative state councellor Dai Bingguo told his Indian counterpart National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon that how much territory New Delhi would part with. Later the Chinese insisted that India should first discuss the eastern boundary in Arunachal Pradesh. Things went off track following some hard bargaining by China, the newspaper said.
Menon argued that under article 3 of the guiding principles of the Sino-Indian boundary discussions, all sectors (eastern, western and middle) needed to be discussed and a package solution required to be thrashed out. The western sector in Jammu and Kashmir includes the Aksai Chin area, the territory China took under its control during the 1962 war between the two neighbours. In an agreement in 2005, the two sides had agreed that settled population would not be disturbed.
Asserting its claim over Arunachal, China has made it a point to deny visa to Indian citizens from the state. Even this January China denied visa to Group Captain Mohonto Panging, a senior Indian Air force officer hailing from Arunachal Pradesh. Panging’s trip was part of the Confidence Building Exercise before Dai-Menon talks in New Delhi.
IDSA reported earlier that China’s assertiveness is taking place in the background of its extensive transport infrastructure build up and militarization all along the Indian border in Tibet. It is planning all weather railway tracks up to Kathmandu in Nepal and upgrading its missile arsenal along the Line of Actual Control. New airfields have also also been established at Hoping, Pangta and Kong Ka in addition to the existing six airfields in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
China is reported to have deployed 13 Border Defence Regiments totalling around 300,000 troops. India has also initiated a five year expansion plan to induct 90,000 more troops and deploy four more divisions in the eastern sector. Currently, there are 120,000 Indian troops stationed in the eastern sector. India has also decided to deploy the 290 km-range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile and already has two Sukhoi 30 MKI squadrons in Tezpur, Assam to support the army.
While a future conflict between India and China is not completely out of question, China and India are both nuclear weapon states with 340 nuclear weapons between them (China with 240 and India with 100). Conventional land warfare between India and China would not be easy due to the high mountainous landscape.
In the meantime, a special Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was held at the historic Maitri Sthal at Bum La pass in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh on India’s Republic Day, January 26. The special BPM, organised for the first time between military leaders of the two countries was to strengthen the goodwill between the border guarding forces of India and China and resolve perceived local differences. The 50-member Chinese delegation included select soldiers, 11 women, eight children and a cultural programme troupe. The Indian delegation of six army officers was led by Brig Sudhakar Jee.