Sino-India war & India-China Border Issues

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    • 60 years were recently completed to the Sino-India war of 1962.

    More about the Sino-India war

    • About:
      • Relations with China, whether on the borders or in the political sphere, had long been a cause for concern.
    • Aksai Chin:
      • Location & significance:
        • The conflict between India and China, centered primarily on the disputed Aksai Chin region along those countries’ borders.
        • Geographically, Aksai Chin is a southwestward extension of the Plateau of Tibet. 
        • Aksai Chin in particular had been a long-ignored corner of the subcontinent because of its remoteness and isolation. 
      • Issue:
        • This changed when the Chinese tried to connect Tibet with Xinjiang by building a military road through the region. 
        • India objected to the Chinese presence in the sector, which it claimed as part of the Ladakh region under the Indian administration.
    • The war:
      • After a number of border skirmishes between 1959 and 1962, which began initially as a by-product of the uprising in Tibet, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China forcefully attacked across the disputed boundaries on October 20, 1962. 
      • Indian forces were soundly defeated in the war.
    • Ceasefire:
      • China announced a unilateral ceasefire on November 20 and soon afterward withdrew from most of the invaded area. 
      • It retained control of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 square km) of territory in Aksai Chin.
      • The area remained a point of contention between the two countries.
    • No settlement:
      • The several agreements between the countries since then — on ‘Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity’ (1993), military CBMs (1996), ‘Political Parameters and Guiding Principles’ for the settlement of boundary question (2005), and border defence cooperation (2012) — have failed to lead to a settlement of the border question.

    Current Areas of dispute between India & China

    • There are infirmities in India’s boundary with China, both in the east and the west.
    • In the Western sector: 
      • Here India shares a 2152 km long border with China, and territorial disputes over Aksai Chin region of Jammu and Kashmir, with both countries claiming the region as their own.
      • The recent dispute is around the region of the northern bank of Pangong Tso lake, Demchok and the Galwan Valley. 
    • In the middle sector: 
      • Here India roughly shares about a 625 km long boundary with China with a few minor disputes regarding Tibet. 
    • In the Eastern Sector: 
      • Here India shares a 1,140 km long boundary with China and this boundary line is called McMahon Line. 
      • The major dispute here is around the region of Tawang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, Chumbi Valley (Dokalam Tri-Junction) which India shares with Bhutan.

    Steps Taken by India

    • Developing Infrastructure: 
      • India has been improving its infrastructure in the border areas.
      • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) completed more than 100 projects in border areas, the majority of which were close to the border with China.
      • India is speeding up work on the Nimu-Padam-Darcha axis which is going to help troops move to Ladakh from other parts of the country.
    • Improved Surveillance: 
      • India is also improving its surveillance along the entire 3488-km boundary, and has been building new airstrips and landing areas.
    • Occupied key heights on the Kailash range: 
      • Towards the end of 2020, India outmaneuvered China to capture the previously unoccupied heights of the Kailash Range on the south bank of the lake.

    Way ahead

    • The best lesson that we can learn from our 1962 debacle is that India must never lower its guard and must deploy sufficient military and logistics capabilities to respond to any surprise from the Chinese side.
    • To ensure that the nation’s security interests are fully protected, the government should step up the development of border infrastructure, including the construction of roads, bridges, etc.
      • The objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas should not only be to meet India’s strategic and security requirements but also facilitate the economic development of these areas.

    Line Of Actual Control (LAC)

    • The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
    • For India, the LAC is 3,488 km long, while China considers it to be only around 2,000 km.
    • It is divided into three sectors: 
      • the eastern sector which includes Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, 
      • the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and 
      • the western sector in Ladakh.
    • LAC in the eastern sector consisting of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim is called the McMahon Line which is 1,140 km long. 
    • Difference between LoC with Pakistan and LAC with China:
      • The Line of Control (LoC) is delineated on a map signed by DGMOs of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement. 
      • In contrast, The LAC is only a concept, it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map or demarcated on the ground.
    • Image: India Today

    McMahon Line

    • The McMohan line is named after Lieutenant Colonel Sir Arthur Henry McMahon. 
      • McMahon was foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the chief negotiator of the Simla Accord of 1914.
    • McMahon proposed the line in the Simla Accord to separate Tibet from India in the eastern sector. 
    • China rejected the Simla Accord because it did not consider Tibet a sovereign government which could sign treaties. China also did not accept the boundaries between Inner and Outer Tibet.

    Image: India Today

    Source: TH