Indo-China Relationships : Indo-China Relationships INDEX : INDEX Geographical Overview
Middle Ages ( Sino-Sikh War)
(1960s to 2000s)
Alleged 2009 naval-stand off Goegraphical Overview : Goegraphical Overview Slide 4: China and India are separated by the formidable geographical obstacles of the Himalayan mountain chain. China and India today share a border along the Himalayas and Nepal and Bhutan, two states lying along the Himalaya range, and acting as buffer states. In addition, the disputed Kashmir province (jointly claimed by India and Pakistan) borders both the PRC and India. As Pakistan has tense relations with India, Kashmir's state of unrest serves as a natural ally to the PRC.
Two territories are currently disputed between the People's Republic of China and India: Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh is located near the far east of India, while Aksai Chin is located near the northwest corner of India, at the junction of India, Pakistan, and the PRC. However, all sides in the dispute have agreed to respect the Line of Actual Control and this border dispute is not widely seen as a major flashpoint. Early HistoryAntiquity : Early HistoryAntiquity India and China had relatively little political contact before the 1950s. Despite this, both countries have had extensive cultural contact since the first century, especially with the transmission of Buddhism from India to China. Trade relations via the Silk Road acted as economic contact between the two regions.
China and India have also had some contact before the transmission of Buddhism. References to a people called the Chinas, now believed to be the Chinese, are found in ancient Indian literature. The Indian epic Mahabharata (c. 5th century BC) contains references to "China", which may have been referring to the Qin state which later became the Qin Dynasty. Chanakya (c. 350-283 BC), the prime minister of the Maurya Empire and a professor at Takshashila University, refers to Chinese silk as "cinamsuka" (Chinese silk dress) and "cinapatta" (Chinese silk bundle) in his Arthashastra. Middle Ages : Middle Ages After the transmission of Buddhism from India to China from the first century onwards, many Indian scholars and monks travelled to China, such as Batuo (fl. 464-495 AD)—founder of the Shaolin Monastery—and Bodhidharma—founder of Chan/Zen Buddhism—while many Chinese scholars and monks also travelled to India, such as Xuanzang (b. 604) and I Ching (635-713), both of whom were students at Nalanda University in Bihar. Xuanzang wrote the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, an account of his journey to India, which later inspired Wu Cheng'en's Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Sino-Sikh War : Sino-Sikh War In the 18th to 19th centuries, the Sikh Confederacy of the Punjab region in India was expanding into neighbouring lands. It had annexed Ladakh into the state of Jammu in 1834. In 1841, they invaded Tibet with an army and overran parts of western Tibet. Chinese forces defeated the Sikh army in December 1841, forcing the Sikh army to withdraw from Tibet, and in turn entered Ladakh and besieged Leh, where they were in turn defeated by the Sikh Army. At this point, neither side wished to continue the conflict, as the Sikhs were embroiled in tensions with the British that would lead up to the First Anglo-Sikh War, while the Chinese was in the midst of the First Opium War with the British East India Company. The Chinese and the Sikhs signed a treaty in September 1842, which stipulated no transgressions or interference in the other country's frontiers After Independence : After Independence Jawaharlal Nehru based his vision of "resurgent Asia" on friendship between the two largest states of Asia; his vision of an internationalist foreign policy governed by the ethics of the Panchsheel, which he initially believed was shared by China, came to grief when it became clear that the two countries had a conflict of interest in Tibet, which had traditionally served as a geographical and political buffer zone, and where India believed it had inherited special privileges from the British Raj.
However, the initial focus of the leaders of both the nations was not the foreign policy, but the internal development of their respective states. When they did concentrate on the foreign policies, their concern wasn’t one another, but rather the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the alliance systems which dominated by the two superpowers. 1960sSino-Indian War : 1960sSino-Indian War Border disputes resulted in a short border war between the People's Republic of China and India in 20 October 1962. The PRC pushed the unprepared and inadequately led Indian forces to within forty-eight kilometres of the Assam plains in the northeast and occupied strategic points in Ladakh, until the PRC declared a unilateral cease-fire on 21 November and withdrew twenty kilometers behind its contended line of control.
At the time of Sino-Indian border conflict, a severe political split was taking place in the Communist Party of India. One section was accused by the Indian government as being pro-PRC, and a large number of political leaders were jailed. Subsequently, CPI split with the leftist section forming the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964. CPI(M) held some contacts with the Communist Party of China in the initial period after the split, but did not fully embrace the political line of Mao Zedong. Slide 10: Relations between the PRC and India deteriorated during the rest of the 1960s and the early 1970s as Sino-Pakistani relations improved and Sino-Soviet relations worsened. The PRC backed Pakistan in its 1965 war with India. Between 1967 and 1971, an all-weather road was built across territory claimed by India, linking PRC's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan; India could do no more than protest. The PRC continued an active propaganda campaign against India and supplied ideological, financial, and other assistance to dissident groups, especially to tribes in northeastern India. The PRC accused India of assisting the Khampa rebels in Tibet. Diplomatic contact between the two governments was minimal although not formally severed. The flow of cultural and other exchanges that had marked the 1950s ceased entirely. The flourishing wool, fur and spice trade between Lhasa and India through the Nathula Pass, an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road in the then Indian protectorate of Sikkim was also severed. However, the biweekly postal network through this pass was kept alive, which exists till today. 1970s : 1970s In August 1971, India signed its Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation with the Soviet Union, and the United States and the PRC sided with Pakistan in its December 1971 war with India. By this time, the PRC had just replaced the Republic of China in the UN where its representatives denounced India as being a "tool of Soviet expansionism."
India and the PRC renewed efforts to improve relations after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. The PRC modified its pro-Pakistan stand on Kashmir and appeared willing to remain silent on India's absorption of Sikkim and its special advisory relationship with Bhutan. The PRC's leaders agreed to discuss the boundary issue, India's priority, as the first step to a broadening of relations. The two countries hosted each others' news agencies, and Mount Kailash and Mansarowar Lake in Tibet, the mythological home of the Hindu pantheon, were opened to annual pilgrimages from India. 1980s : 1980s In 1981 PRC minister of foreign affairs Huang Hua was invited to India, where he made complimentary remarks about India's role in South Asia. PRC premier Zhao Ziyang concurrently toured Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
In 1980, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi approved a plan to upgrade the deployment of forces around the Line of Actual Control to avoid unilateral redefinitions of the line. India also increased funds for infrastructural development in these areas Slide 13: In 1984, squads of Indian soldiers began actively patrolling the Sumdorong Chu Valley in Arunachal Pradesh (formerly NEFA), which is north of the McMahon Line as drawn on the Simla Treaty map but south of the ridge which Indian claims is meant to delineate the McMahon Line. The Sumdorong Chu valley "seemed to lie to the north of the McMahon line; but is south of the highest ridge in the area, and the McMahon line is meant to follow the highest points" according to the Indian claims, while the Chinese did not recognize the McMahon Line as legitimate and were not prepared to accept an Indian claim line even further north than that. The Indian team left the area before the winter. In the winter of 1986, the Chinese deployed their troops to the Sumdorong Chu before the Indian team could arrive in the summer and built a Helipad at Wandung.Surprised by the Chinese occupation, India's then Chief of Army Staff, General K.Sundarji, airlifted a brigade to the region. 1990s : 1990s As the mid-1990s approached, slow but steady improvement in relations with China was visible. Top-level dialogue continued with the December 1991 visit of PRC premier Li Peng to India and the May 1992 visit to China of Indian president R. Venkataraman. Six rounds of talks of the Indian-Chinese Joint Working Group on the Border Issue were held between December 1988 and June 1993. Progress was also made in reducing tensions on the border via confidence-building measures, including mutual troop reductions, regular meetings of local military commanders, and advance notification of military exercises. Border trade resumed in July 1992 after a hiatus of more than thirty years, consulates reopened in Bombay (Mumbai) and Shanghai in December 1992, and, in June 1993, the two sides agreed to open an additional border trading post. During Sharad Pawar's July 1992 visit to Beijing, the first ever by an Indian minister of defence, the two defense establishments agreed to develop academic, military, scientific, and technological exchanges and to schedule an Indian port call by a Chinese naval vessel. Slide 15: Possibly indicative of the further relaxation of India-China relations, at least there was little notice taken in Beijing, was the April 1995 announcement, after a year of consultation, of the opening of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi. The center serves as the representative office of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is the counterpart of the India-Taipei Association in Taiwan; both institutions have the goal of improving relations between the two sides, which have been strained since New Delhi's recognition of Beijing in 1950.
Sino-Indian relations hit a low point in 1998 following India's nuclear tests in May. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes declared that "China is India's number one threat", hinting that India developed nuclear weapons in defense against China's nuclear arsenal. In 1998, China was one of the strongest international critics of India's nuclear tests and entry into the nuclear club. Relations between India and China stayed strained until the end of the decade. 2000s : 2000s With Indian President K. R. Narayanan's visit to China, 2000 marked a gradual re-engagement of Indian and Chinese diplomacy. In a major embarrassment for China, the 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who was proclaimed by China, made a dramatic escape from Tibet to the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this issue as any protest to India on the issue would mean an explicit endorsement on India's governance of Sikkim, which the Chinese still hadn't recognised. In 2002, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji reciprocated by visiting India, with a focus on economic issues. 2003 ushered in a marked improvement in Sino-Indian relations following Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's landmark June 2003 visit to China. China officially recognized Indian sovereignty over Sikkim as the two nations moved toward resolving their border disputes. Slide 17: Until 2008 the British Government's position remained the same as had been since the Simla Accord of 1913: that China held suzerainty over Tibet but not sovereignty. Britain revised this view on 29 October 2008, when it recognised Chinese sovereignty over Tibet by issuing a statement on its website. The Economist stated that although the British Foreign Office's website does not use the word sovereignty, officials at the Foreign Office said "it means that, as far as Britain is concerned, 'Tibet is part of China. Full stop.'" This change in Britain's position affects India's claim to its North Eastern territories which rely on the same Simla agreement that Britain's prior position on Tibet's sovereignty was based upon. Alleged 2009 naval stand-off : Alleged 2009 naval stand-off On February 3, 0739h, ifeng.com, a Chinese-language portal, published an alleged reprint detailing two Chinese destroyers and an anti-submarine helicopter engaged in a half an hour naval stand off against an unidentified submarine. Within two days, the same story was reprinted by many other Chinese-language sites and eventually caught on by major news outlets abroad which reported that the unidentified submarine had belonged to India.
By February 5, the story was rejected by both governments. The story was a fabrication based on an actual anti-submarine exercise the PLAN conducted in 2008. However, until this day, many Chinese-language sites still carry this fake story. China wins vote on Arunachal Pradesh : China wins vote on Arunachal Pradesh In August, China won a vote on a “disclosure agreement,” which prevents Asian Development Bank from formally acknowledging Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. All ADB activities in Arunachal Pradesh effectively ceased. Future : Future Support and Co-operation
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