Saturday, August 15, 2009

NEFA in the news again

On Indian Independence Day, this news from The Age: Tensions mount on Chinese-Indian border:
"Feathers were ruffled in Delhi last weekend when Google satellite maps showed the names of several towns in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in Mandarin and not English or Hindi, making it appear as if the region was part of China.

Hackles were also raised two months ago when Beijing objected to a $US60 million Asian Development Bank loan to India for a project in the territory which China claims.

The disputed border follows the ''McMahon Line'' drawn up in 1914 when the British ruled India. Beijing does not recognise this demarcation and claims a large portion of territory on the Indian side, including the town of Tawang, the birthplace of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

In June, the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, J. J. Singh, said up to 30,000 new troops would be deployed in the region. Also in June, a state-run newspaper in China accused India of ''unwise military moves'' along the border. The article said India's response was ''dangerous if it is based on a false anticipation that China will cave in''.

Professor Chellaney says the tensions are ominous. ''Any doubts that the Indian foreign policy establishment might have had about the threat posed by China have evaporated in recent months, that's for sure,'' he says."

This 1984 report by a US navy commander The China-India Border War gives the background and suggests that at one stage Chinese were agreeable to a settlement on the eastern front.

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