From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- India-China relations
The article discusses the issue of dealing with China in the aftermath of clashes on the border.
Understanding the importance of Tibet
- Tibet is the roof of the world, with vast mineral and natural resources.
- The mighty rivers that emanate from its expansive glaciers — such as the Brahmaputra, the Yangtse, the Yellow river, the Mekong, the Salween and the Indus — together with thousands of their tributaries have nurtured civilisations in peripheral countries for centuries.
- The Kailash Mansarovar is centered in this region.
- In an act of naked aggression, China occupied Tibet in 1959.
- A buffer was eliminated, and the de facto boundary of China became contiguous to that of India.
- That boundary was deliberately left undemarcated to enable further expansion.
Understanding China’s stand
- China has land borders with 14 neighbours covering an estimated 22,100 kilometres.
- Post-independence, and as its economic status increased, so did its military muscle.
- China embarked on claims based on perceived imbalances of treaties forced on countries when they were weak.
- Some of these have since been resolved after bloody clashes such as with Russia and Vietnam, while others have been resolved using a combination of lucrative offers.
- Russia accepted half of China’s claim, Kazakhstan was given lucrative economic deals, Kyrgyzstan retained 70% of the land, ceding just 30%, and so on.
- The road ahead will have to be evolved and based on a study of the manner in which China has negotiated its boundary disputes with 12 of its neighbours.
- Under the prevailing circumstances, it has become imperative to form a group of experts.
- This group will plan and prepare, short-, medium- and long-term goals to achieve them within a suggested time frame.
Let us play down the rhetoric and adopt a pragmatic approach. It can no longer be a part-time issue to be addressed only when a crisis occurs. The crisis is upon us now.