Clash between Indian and Chinese army in Tawang, now what is the way forward?

Why is China so much in love with Arunachal Pradesh that it wants to establish its sovereignty over this state of India every time. The recent case is of infiltration by the Chinese army in the Tawang sector. However, both India and China are accusing each other of interfering in the Tawang sector. What is it that brings these two countries to a crossroad every time regarding this region.

To know this, we have to peep into the history of 108 years ago. Actually in the year 1914 there was no boundary line between Tibet and India. This was the period of British rule in India. Just this issue arose from there when the British government made a map of the border line of India and Tibet in 1906 and on the basis of this the McMahon line came into existence from the year 1914. 

Since then till now, this issue between the countries of India and China has been creating situations of war time and again. This clash between the two countries in the Tawang sector can also take a serious form, because both countries want to establish their dominance over South Asia. In such a situation, we will try to take a look at how far the Tawang situation can go. 

Government of India’s stand on Tawang 

On December 12 itself, the news of China’s incursion in Tawang sector was common in the country’s media. After this, India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament on Tuesday, December 13, that some Indian soldiers were injured in the skirmish with the Chinese Army (PLA) in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on Friday, December 9 last week, but no one was injured. The soldier has not been killed. He also told that this attempt of PLA was foiled by Indian soldiers.  According to The Telegraph newspaper, quoting Defense Ministry sources, it has been written that more Chinese soldiers were injured in this skirmish than Indian soldiers. 

Since then this matter has become a matter of debate all over the world. The world also feels that this old enmity between these two powerful countries of South Asia can create a situation of war anytime. This was the case as the Chinese Army attempted to encroach on the Line of Actual Control in the Yangtse, the highest plateau in the Tawang sector. 

This is China’s answer 

A few hours after India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement thwarting PLA’s attempt to cross the LAC in Tawang’s Yangtse, a statement came from China on this matter as well. China’s army ‘People’s Liberation Army’ (PLA)  Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson of the Western Theater Command, claimed that when the  Dongzhang on its side of the  Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the early hours of December 9"  Chinese troops were on regular patrolling in the area, so they were stopped by Indian troops who illegally crossed the LAC and came towards them. They say that only after this there was a clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers.

According to PTI, Senior Colonel Long Shaohua said in his statement, “The response of our troops is professional, strong and ideal, which has helped stabilize the situation.  We ask the Indian side to strictly control and restrain their military forces deployed along the border. and calls for working with the Chinese side to maintain  peace and tranquility.” 

According to PTI, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wen Bin has said that the current situation on the borders between India and China is generally stable and smooth talks on this issue are going on through political and military officials on both sides. However, Wang did not say anything about the December 9 clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Yangtse area. Significantly, the Tawang clash took place two and a half years after the deadly encounter between the two sides in Ladakh’s Galvan Valley in June 2020. 

Last week, this clash took place in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, India, in the area which China has been giving the name of Southern Tibet. He considers this area as his part. There is no consensus on the border between India and China in Arunachal Pradesh. For this, both the countries have been making their separate claims, China stakes its claim on 90 thousand square kilometers of this state. China also ignores the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh.

On the other hand, India does not accept the claim of 38 thousand square kilometer area of ​​Aksai Chin in the west as belonging to China. India believes that this area was forcibly occupied by China during the 1962 war. India considers this area as its own. Significantly, China is planning the G-695 highway in this area. This highway will connect China’s Xinjiang with Tibet passing through the border of India. China has been denying Aksai Chin to be a part of India. To understand this enmity between the two countries, it is necessary to understand the connection between Aksai Chin, Arunachal Pradesh and McMahon Line. 

 McMahon which China denies

When India was ruled by the British, at that time there was no boundary line between India and Tibet. In fact, in 1906, the British government made a map regarding the border of India and Tibet. Based on this, a boundary line was drawn and in this period, 1914 also came as a year when the Shimla agreement regarding the boundary line between India and Tibet was implemented. On 3 July 1914, a meeting was held between officials of China, the British government and Tibet at the US Club in Shimla to end the border dispute.

Discussion was held in the meeting on proper distribution of Arunachal’s borders. China refused to sign the agreement.  However, the agreement was signed by  the then Foreign Secretary of the British Government  Sir Henry McMahon and the representatives of the then Tibetan Government. The boundary line is also named after Henry McMahon, who played a key role in the agreement.

China flatly refused to accept this agreement, because China considered Tibet as its state. The uproar started from here itself and the British government was the mastermind behind it. In the year 1929, the British government made this agreement valid by putting a note on the agreement. In the year 1935,  British administrative officer Olaf Kerro requested the then British government to implement it officially.

After this, the British government officially released a map showing the  McMahon line in 1937. Along with this, in 1938, China was asked to implement the Shimla Agreement. However, in 1950, China clearly told India that it does not recognize the Simla Agreement of 1914. He argued behind this that Tibet is under China and not an independent country.

India got independence in 1947 and made its official claim on Tawang area (1950-51) by declaring  McMahon Line as its border. In 1947, the Tibetan government wrote a note submitted to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs claiming Tibetan districts south of the McMahon Line.

Despite this  The Communist Party, which came to power in Beijing in 1949, "free" announced his intention to do so. In the 1950s, when Sino-Indian relations were good, the Government of India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave the slogan Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai, but with this a condition was also placed that the next China border dispute would not be encouraged. If he gives, then any kind of conversation with him will not be approved. This was the reason that India changed the name of the disputed area to North East Frontier Agency in 1954. This meant that the boundary between India’s Northeast Frontier Region including Tawang and Outer Tibet was recognised.

The McMahon Line marks the boundary between the Chinese and Indian occupied areas of the Eastern-Himalayan region. This is a hilly area of ​​very high altitude. It extends 890 kms from Bhutan in the west and 260 kms till Brahmaputra in the east through the  Himalayas. This border line was the focus and cause of the Indo-China war of 1962.

According to China, Tibet was not an autonomous state and it had no right to make any kind of agreement.  In the official maps of China, an area of ​​56,000 square miles south of the McMahon Line is considered part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. This is what China calls Southern Tibet. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962–63, Chinese forces briefly occupied more than half of this area.

After this, China had declared a unilateral ceasefire and took its army behind the McMahon Line. It is still a puzzle that why did China back down from here in the 1962 war despite its claim on  Arunachal Pradesh. This is the reason why there is still a dispute over the McMahon Line. Since then, there is tension between India and China regarding this line. China also tells Arunachal Pradesh as its share. Although it is valid as a geographical boundary line between India and China.  

Tawang reason for Indo-China tussle

The tension in the relations between India and China started in 1951 only after China occupied Tibet. China used to talk about the independence of Tibet and India officially considered it as an independent country. Till then Arunachal Pradesh was not formed. Till the year 1972, this  It was known as the North East Frontier Agency. India made it a Union Territory on 20 January 1972 and named it Arunachal Pradesh.

15 years later, in the year 1987, this state was given the status of a full state. The issue is that Tawang of this state is the birth place of the 6th Dalai Lama. He was born here in the year 1683.  Because of this it is an important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. After coming to India from Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Tawang and spent a few days at the monastery before moving on.

China has been opposing this too. Even when he went to Tibet in 2009, China strongly protested. There is also a 400 year old Buddhist monastery here. It is believed that it was because of this monastery that the issue of demarcation came to the fore. It is said that China wants to control the Buddhist religion by taking possession of this monastery. This is the reason why  China claims almost entire Arunachal including Tawang as its own. This is a very serious issue between India and China in the entire border dispute.

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