The Hindu – Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit irks China

Warns of ‘serious damage’ to relations with India.

Atul Aneja

Beijing, 4 March 2017. The China-India border dispute came into sharp focus on Friday after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector.

China’s sharp response against the visit by the Tibetan leader in exile followed a call by a former Chinese boundary negotiator, who stressed that if the two sides managed to overcome their differences in the eastern sector, the final settlement of the boundary dispute would be well within grasp.

“China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a briefing.

He warned that an invitation to him to visit Arunachal Pradesh will cause “serious damage” to Sino-Indian ties. “India is fully aware of the seriousness of the Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of the China-India border question.

Under such a background if India invites the Dalai Lama to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations,” he said.

‘Stick to commitments’

“We have expressed concerns to the Indian side, urged India to stick to its political commitments and abide by important consensus the two sides have reached on the boundary question, refrain from actions that might complicate the issue, not provide a platform to the Dalai clique and protect the sound and stable development of the Sino-India relations,” he said.

The remarks followed the conclusion of the China-India strategic dialogue, led by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar last month.

Mr Geng’s stand came in the wake of the “carrot” offered by Dai Bingguo, a former State Councillor and China’s Special Representative for the boundary talks, that both countries stood at the “gate” of the final settlement, provided they could overcome their differences on the eastern alignment.

The former official signalled that China was likely to reciprocate in the western sector, which includes the disputed Aksai Chin, if India demonstrated flexibility along the eastern boundary.

“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,” he observed.

The “eastern sector” dispute is over territory south of the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh, which includes Tawang. The McMahon Line was the result of the 1914 Simla Convention, between British India and Tibet, and was rejected by China.

Referring specifically to Tawang, Mr Dai underscored that 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.”

“From the perspective of international law, the Simla Accord, as well as the ‘McMahon Line’ which it created, are not only unfair and illegitimate, but also illegal and invalid,” he observed.

Mr Dai highlighted that an Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, that was signed in 2005 has been “fundamental” in advancing the boundary talks.

He said that this agreement pinpointed that the two countries should make “meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question in order to reach a package settlement.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/dalai-lamas-visit-to-arunachal-irks-china/article17404585.ece?homepage=true

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