March 26, 2010

A Brief History of the Sino-Indian Border Dispute and the role of Tibet

On the 3rd of July, 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him.  He had done something which would have far-reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways - He had just left the Simla conference.
After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed  one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.

For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China have baffled scholars. The plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond is a textbook example of diplomacy and back-handed politics at work, and plays just like a thriller book or movie. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.

March 16, 2010

Is the Politiburo smoking weed?

Surprised? No sir, this is not some comment that a random user made at an online forum. This is the question that The Telegraph poses to its readers, in a recently published article entitled – ‘Is China’s Politburo spoiling for a showdown with America?’.

Now, we are all aware of the severe Cold-waresque bias against China in large parts of the Western media, amounting to literally a childlike obsession, but this article really takes the cake.  The author, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is in fact the international business editor of the newspaper!
But coming to think of it, in a way it also serves to be a bit of a laugh actually. Nothing beats a taste of good old British comedy. Who knows, we might be witnessing another Mr. Bean or David Brent in the making!

March 6, 2010

The Sino-Indian Border dispute: You Scratch my Back, But I Won’t Scratch yours

In the longest running border dispute in modern history - the two Asian giants still can't decide where one ends and the other begins

About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map - a line that has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and that has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India. 

Consequently, on the 3rd of July, 1914, was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man - The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled. 

It was signed at a conference in the Indian mountain town of Simla that was attended by representatives of the British Empire, the newly founded Republic of China, and the Tibetan government at Lhasa. It is on this extremely controversial treaty that the entire negotiating stance of the Indian government is based. It recognizes the McMahon line as the legal international boundary. 

The legality of the Simla accord is disputed. If it is legal, then it serves India's cause; if it is illegal, China's.