A former Chinese diplomat believes that the India-China dispute over Arunachal Pradesh can be resolved if Delhi agrees to hand Tawang over to Beijing. The idea mooted by Dai Bingguo, who served as China’s boundary negotiator with India from 2003 to 2013, was immediately shot down by Indian officials, PTI reported on Friday. India called it the suggestion “impractical and impossible”.
“If the Indian side takes care of China’s concerns in the eastern sector of their border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere,” Dai Bingguo told the China-India Dialogue magazine. According to him, Tawang is part of China’s Tibet, and even the colonial British government had acknowledged Beijing’s claim over the region. “The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction,” he said.
Beijing does not acknowledge the “McMahon Line” drawn by the British government, which places Tawang on the Indian side. However, China had settled its border dispute with Myanmar with reference to the same “McMahon Line”. The senior Chinese diplomat said the focus of settling the India-China border dispute should be the “need to correct wrongs” made by colonialists and to restore fairness and justice. “For historical reasons, India now controls the majority of the disputed territory,” he sad. “The boundary question was not created by China or India, so we shouldn’t be inheriting it and letting the ghosts of colonialism continue to haunt our bilateral relations.”
On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang warned India against allowing Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh. Bejing said such a step would cause “serious damage” to bilateral ties, reported PTI. “China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai to visit Arunachal Pradesh,” the spokesperson said.
The India-China border has been a matter of dispute as China lays claim to parts of Arunachal Pradesh, and both countries have varying versions of the Line of Actual Control separating them. The bilateral ties between the two countries have hit several lows in the recent past. While India wants Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar banned by the United Nations, China has repeatedly blocked the proposal demanding “solid evidence” against the 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind. Moreover, China was one of the Nuclear Suppliers Group member nations that opposed Indian’s application to it.