Posts tagged ‘Ladakh’


After border row, India, China plan counter-terror drills to build trust | Reuters

India, which under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck an assertive national security posture, also agreed to China’s request to move next month’s exercises away from the border with Pakistan with which China shares a close relationship.

The manoeuvres will come just weeks after thousands of Indian and Chinese soldiers confronted each other on their de facto border in the western Himalayas, accusing each other of building roads and observations posts in disputed territory.

“The exercises are a confidence-building measure, it is in everyone’s interest,” Jayadeva Ranade, the China specialist on India’s National Security Advisory Board, told Reuters.

“It doesn’t mean anyone is conceding anything.”

The row in the Chumar sector of the Ladakh region erupted just as China’s President Xi Jinping was visiting New Delhi for his first summit with Modi since the Indian leader’s election in May. The leaders of the Asian giants aim to ramp up commercial ties.

India sees the anti-terrorism collaboration with China as a way to highlight the threat they both face from Islamist militants in Pakistan.

It had arranged for the Chinese to practise mock assaults in Bhatinda, about 110 km (70 miles) from the Pakistan border.

via After border row, India, China plan counter-terror drills to build trust | Reuters.


Stand-off continues, Chinese army refuses to withdraw from Chumar


The standoff between the Indian Army and their Chinese counterparts continued on Monday at the Chumar sector in eastern Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control. At one of the eight spots in the Chumar sector, the Indian Army made a tactical retreat in the face of a heavy Chinese presence. Despite diplomatic interventions on Monday, both sides continue to hold their tactical positions against each other. The standoff has continued primarily because of China’s unwillingness to stop its road-building exercise to the Line of Actual Control and India’s refusal to demolish structures built in the area to shelter troops.

via – News. Politics. Culture..


Is China’s promised $100 billion India investment more dangerous than its border policy?

Experts believe that China deliberately uses trade as part of its geo-strategic arsenal.

The script is almost predictable. Right before meetings of Indian and Chinese heads of state, something happens on the border to remind everyone that sentiment between the two countries is not exactly neighbourly. Last year it was a standoff in Daulat Beg Oldi about infiltration by the Chinese army. This year, with everyone excited at China’s promise to pump $100 billion into India, there’s another incursion by the Chinese into Demchok in Ladhak.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in India today and will visit Ahmedabad on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday. But Chinese troops have also been reported to have moved 500 meters into Indian territory.

Beijing’s approach seems to be sweet-talking – this time taking the form of foreign direct investment – coupled with regular pinpricks that remind India that they have the stronger position on the border.

But could the proposed investment be as much of a threat to India as the border dispute?

Trading places

India’s total trade with China was around $65 billion in 2013-’14. Of that, only $14 billion were Indian exports heading into China, leaving India with a trade deficit of $36 billion. If oil imports are included, Chinese imports are responsible for nearly half of India’s overall trade deficit. This is a great many Indian eggs in one Chinese basket.

For many economists, this isn’t a problem. It’s simply the way efficient markets ought to function, with India buying the goods it needs from the most competitive seller. “The more competitive the trading partner, the more India should buy from it, and the bigger should be the bilateral trade deficit,” wrote commentator Swaminathan Aiyar last year. “China is the most competitive exporter of all, so India should run its biggest trade deficit with this country.”

Yet India does feel the need to reduce the trade deficit with China. Answering a question in the Lok Sabha earlier this year, minister of state for commerce Nirmala Sitharaman admitted that the balance of trade was heavily in China’s favour and that India was taking steps to address this.

“With a view to reducing the trade deficit with China, efforts are being made to diversify the export basket,” Sitharaman said.

via – News. Politics. Culture..


India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit | Reuters

More than 200 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army crossed into what India considers its territory in Ladakh in the western Himalayas last week, and used cranes, bulldozers and a Hummer vehicle to build a 2-km (1.2-mile) road within it, the Hindustan Times said.

A dog rests on the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Indian soldiers challenged the Chinese troops and asked them to withdraw, the newspaper said. Then, on the night of September 10, soldiers demolished a temporary track built by Chinese forces.

There was no immediate comment by India’s defense ministry.

Both China and India are trying to put a positive spin on Xi’s first summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the Indian leader took office in May. He arrives on Wednesday after touring the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The two countries are expected to ramp up commercial ties and open the way for Chinese investment in Indian infrastructure, including railways, but the contested border remains a stumbling block to better political ties.

via India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit | Reuters.


Modi govt to promote civilian settlements along India-China border – The Times of India

The Narendra Modi government may not only strengthen ITBP deployment and infrastructure along the India-China border, but also promote civilian settlements in border areas.

China-India Map

Unlike the UPA regime that was reluctant to undertake aggressive deployment of troops in stretches close to the India-China border, the Union home ministry may now go for a formal survey of the border gaps and come up with a fresh deployment plan to ensure that ITBP troops are in good strength to discourage incursions on part of the Chinese troops into Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

In addition to that, road connectivity will also be strengthened along the border areas. The strengthening of infrastructure will also cover construction of bridges and better mobile connectivity through setting up of BSNL towers.

However, a significant move on part of the Centre would be to promote human settlements towards Indian side of the India-China border. This, sources pointed out, would help reinforce India’s claim to the area in any subsequent border settlement negotiations. A senior government functionary recalled former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s insistence on leaving human settlements untouched while working out the border demarcation.

Meanwhile, with reports indicating that Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit India later this year, there is renewed hope among the people of Arunachal Pradesh that the stapled visa issue would finally be settled. “The two leaders wield all the power to have the final word on betterment of India-China ties,” a senior government functionary pointed out.

via Modi govt to promote civilian settlements along India-China border – The Times of India.

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* China Premier Li Keqiang in India for first foreign trip

BBC: “China‘s Premier Li Keqiang is travelling to India in the first stop of his maiden foreign trip since taking office.

Chinese and Indian flags flie in New Delhi on 18 May 2013

Upon his arrival in Delhi, Premier Li will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, followed by dinner at the Indian leader’s residence.

Border tensions and trade ties are expected to be among the issues discussed by the two men.

The neighbours are the world’s two most populous countries.

Beijing hopes the visit will help build trust and a new strategic partnership to the benefit of both countries, China’s official news agency Xinhua said.

Delhi thought “very highly” of Mr Li’s decision to make India his first foreign stop and the aim of the talks was to “enhance trust”, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

A decades-long border dispute flared up last month after India accused Chinese troops of crossing the countries’ de facto border in the Himalayas.

The dispute over the territory in the Ladakh region has dogged the two countries since the 1950s.

Boosting trade ties is also expected to dominate the talks. China is already one of India’s top trading partners and both countries have already agreed a new $100bn (£65bn) bilateral trade target for 2015.

Premier Li will spend three days in India before travelling on to Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany.”

via BBC News – China Premier Li Keqiang in India for first foreign trip.


* India, China working on Border Cooperation Agreement: Khurshid

The Hindu: “Mr. Khurshid visited China in the backdrop of the Chinese incursion in Daulat Beg Oldi.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid speaking to the reporters after after meeting former Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

Against the backdrop of China’s recent incursion in Ladakh, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said the two countries are working on a new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement.

Mr. Khurshid, just back from his visit to Beijing, said the two sides had underlined that the incidents like the recent incursion in Daulat Beg Oldi should not happen and agreed that this issue should not come in way of improving ties.

Mr. Khurshid told reporters here that special representatives of India and China will meet in a couple of months to discuss in detail the issues related to boundary. “China has proposed sometime back a proposal for Border Defence Cooperation Agreement… We have also given our suggestions,” he said.

On the recent incursion of 19 km into India’s territory by Chinese troops, he said, “we did not do any post-mortem or aportion blame.” He expressed satisfaction that the mechanisms in place worked well to resolve the stand off.

On the contentious issues which could be raised during the visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Mr. Khurshid said, “there are no prickly issues, issues of major differences which can be seen as obstacles.” He said MoUs would be signed during the Chinese premier’s visit and some during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s subsequent visit to Beijing later this year.

“This is for the first time since 1954 that a two way visit by the two Prime Ministers of the two countries in the same year,” he said.”

via India, China working on Border Cooperation Agreement: Khurshid – The Hindu.


* Thunder out of China

It is most confusing for this state of affairs when the country continues to declare at every opportunioy that it has peaceful intentions and wants to co-exist peacefully with everyone, especially its neighbours.

The Economist: “FOR an emerging power that makes much of the peacefulness of its rise, China is engaged in what looks suspiciously like aggression on an alarming number of fronts. India says Chinese soldiers have set up camp 19km (12 miles) on its side of the “line of actual control” (LAC) that separates Ladakh in its state of Jammu & Kashmir from China, in the absence of an agreed border. Japan reports that Chinese maritime surveillance vessels are every day circling the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. And on April 26th China demanded that the Philippines “withdraw all its nationals and facilities” from a number of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, where they have been, in some cases, for decades. In all these cases China can with some justification claim it is responding to provocation. That, however, is scant comfort to its increasingly anxious neighbours.

Of the three territorial disputes it is the rekindling of the one with India that comes most as a surprise. Two long sectors of the border are contested. In the east, China briefly occupied part of what is now the state of Arunachal Pradesh, south of Tibet, in a bloody punitive war in 1962. In the west, the Aksai Chin, a high plateau the size of Switzerland, is occupied by China but claimed by India as part of Ladakh. In both sectors, patrols from each side often stray into what the other sees as its territory. They do not, however, pitch tents, as China’s soldiers have in this incursion. It is the most serious confrontation on either end of the border since 1986. After that stand-off, the two countries agreed to set the quarrel to one side, in an endless negotiation on the demarcation of the LAC, as they concentrated on building trade and other ties. A drive a decade ago to reach a political settlement soon ran into the sand. But neither side has an interest in forcing the issue.

Now above all, when China is embroiled in the other disputes, and the region is tense because of North Korea’s erratic bellicosity, it seems incomprehensible that China should want to resurrect yet another squabble. China of course denies it has done anything of the kind, insisting its soldiers are on its side of the LAC. It may, however, feel provoked. Ajai Shukla, an Indian defence analyst, has pointed out that the Indian army has been undertaking what he calls its “third surge towards the Sino-Indian border”. The previous two were in the late 1950s—leading to the 1962 war—and in 1986, leading to the present stalemate. Now, once again, says Mr Shukla, India has been “thickening” its presence in Arunachal Pradesh and in Aksai Chin, with more soldiers, weaponry and infrastructure.

So China may feel India is exploiting both the inexperience of its new leaders who took over last November, and the pressure China is under on other fronts. It may harbour similar suspicions about Japan and its “provocations” over what China calls the Diaoyu islands. Its patrols near the islands were prompted by Japan’s ignoring its warnings not to “nationalise” three of the islands by buying them from their private owner last September.

More recently—in late April—ten Japanese boats carrying about 80 right-wing activists sailed towards the islands. And members of the cabinet of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, angered China by visiting the Yasukuni shrine—where high-ranking war criminals are among the enshrined war-dead. Part of China’s response was to reiterate that the Diaoyus are one of its “core interests”—the issues, like Taiwan and Tibet, over which it might go to war. In a joint communiqué signed by Barack Obama in 2009, America and China promised to respect each other’s core interests.

The demand directed at the Philippines, that it withdraw from disputed islands, was also a reaction—to the Philippines’ taking its dispute with China to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. China rightly points out that, although the law of the sea sets rules about the waters and exclusive economic zones around islands, it says nothing about sovereignty over them.

On that question, China seems intent on imposing its own view. In addition to verbal attacks on the Philippines, it this week started tourist cruises around the Paracel archipelago (Xisha in Chinese). This is still claimed by Vietnam, which was evicted by China from the islands in 1974. China’s rows with the Philippines and Vietnam have been the most active of its many disputes in the sea. But in late March it also antagonised Brunei and Malaysia, by sending a naval flotilla where those two nations have claims, at the southern tip of China’s expansive “nine-dashed line”, a vague cartographic claim dating from the 1930s.

Individually, China’s actions can be seen as pragmatic reactions to different pressures. But, taken together, they bring two dangers. First, they make China seem embarked on a concerted campaign to establish new “facts on the ground” (or water) to strengthen its position in future negotiations or conflicts. More likely, they show almost the opposite: that China’s foreign-policy chiefs lack the clout to impose a co-ordinated, calibrated response to coincidental provocations. Rather than picking off its adversaries one by one, China is taking them all on at once. The impression of an aggressive rising power is hard to shake off.”

via Banyan: Thunder out of China | The Economist.


* India and China ‘pull back troops’ in disputed border area

At last, common-sense prevails.

BBC: “India and China have started pulling back troops from disputed territory near the two countries’ de facto border, India’s foreign ministry says.

Map of Kashmir

Soldiers were said to have set up camps facing each other on the ill-defined frontier in Ladakh region last month.

The two sides held a series of talks to resolve the row and on Sunday, agreed to withdraw the troops.

The two countries dispute several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Tensions flare up from time to time. They have held numerous rounds of border talks, but all have been unsuccessful so far.

A spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, Syed Akbaruddin, told the BBC that India and China had agreed to pull their troops back to positions they held prior to the current stand-off, which began last month.

Meetings between border commanders were being held to confirm the arrangement, he added.

Indian officials had accused Chinese troops of straying 10km (six miles) into Indian territory on 15 April and putting up tents in the Depsang valley in Ladakh, in eastern Kashmir.

China had denied reports of an incursion.

The pull-out comes days ahead of Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid‘s visit to China, ahead of a scheduled visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India.

Mr Khurshid is visiting China on 9 May, ahead of Mr Li’s visit on 20 May for his first overseas trip.”

via BBC News – India and China ‘pull back troops’ in disputed border area.


* Seven key messages from India to China

Let us hope some of these seven messages are heard by Indian policy-makers.

China Daily Mail

The most charitable thing that can be said about Indian UPA government’s incoherent response to the Chinese incursion into Ladakh’s Debsang Valley is this: maybe, the government has a brilliant plan that we as yet don’t know anything about.

On past performance, I wouldn’t bet on this. And surely, the statements of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid don’t inspire confidence. He chose to characterise this blatant Chinese bid to extend its claims in Ladakh as mere “acne” on the face of a beautiful relationship that can be removed with ointment.

In the face of Chinese aggression, we needed to send them a message beyond pimples and ointment even without descending into an unwinnable war (see the options listed below).

But Khurshid merely compounded the confusion when he said:

“Doomsday predictions are absolutely absurd. It’s absurd not so much for China as it’s absurd for us. We shouldn’t…

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