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Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Arunachal: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward?

In July 2011, China issued stapled visas to Arunachali members of an Indian karate team to China, who were later duly stopped from proceeding by Indian immigration authorities. This Chinese action is the latest in a long list of moves designed to highlight their claim over Arunachal Pradesh.

Yet, it would be a mistake to call this a provocation. There is a difference between stapled visas being issued for Kashmiris and those for Arunachalis.

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Borders Comparative Politics Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Learning Chinese, Understanding China

This is a presentation, I made at the Department of Chinese Language, Foreign Languages Wing, Army Education Corps Training College and Centre in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh in early July 2011.

The officers and other ranks learn in Chinese in a 96-week course starting at the beginner’s level. I basically, shared with them my own experiences of studying Chinese in Taiwan and given that most of the students will be frequently posted in Sino-Indian border also gave them a broad overview of the Chinese political and administrative system and of Sino-Indian border relations.

Download the full presentation here: JabinJacob-2011Jul8-ArmyEdnCorps-Learning Chinese, Studying China

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Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Charting India’s China Policy for the Next Decade

Original Article: Jabin T. Jacob, “Alternative Strategies towards China: Charting India’s Course for the Next Decade,” IPCS Issue Brief, No. 162, February 2011.

Summary: Sino-Indian bilateral ties at the start of the 21st century saw the two sides putting behind them the contretemps that followed India’s 1998 nuclear tests and rapid growth of their economic interactions. It soon began to be claimed that economic imperatives would be the new driver in their relationship, one that many held also would be the defining relationship of the new century. However, neither the sentiment nor the expression that it engendered, namely, ‘Chindia,’ retains much salience now at the beginning of a new decade.

What should India’s China policy for the next decade look like? How can India maximize its strengths in diplomatic and other arenas vis-à-vis China in a manner that can push forward the positive aspects of the bilateral relationship while at the same time reduce chances for actual physical conflict of even a limited nature?

Read more

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Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Political Economy of Arunachal Pradesh in a Rising India

Presentation: “Political Economy of Arunachal Pradesh in a Rising India,” Center for China’s Borderland History and Geography Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, 14 December 2010.

 

Summary:  Arunachal Pradesh’s disputed status, unique socio-cultural makeup and difficult geographic location have elicited multifaceted responses from Indian policymakers. First, its disputed status and the shock of the 1962 border conflict have given it some features in common with other disputed territories bordering China, namely, a legacy of poor physical and communications infrastructure. Second, Arunachal’s demographic composition of minority ethnic groups has meant that it has like other states in Northeast India been protected from a demographic influx from the rest of India and its citizens enjoy special economic rights. Finally, the difficult geographic location of the Arunachal Pradesh has meant that it largely remains exoticized in the mainstream Indian imagination and hence little studied, and even lesser understood both by those in government and those outside.

 

However, in the post-liberalization era, and particularly in the new millennium with the dispute with China persisting, each of these three factors have also begun to shape Arunachal in slightly different ways from the rest of its Northeast Indian neighbours and indeed from the rest of the country. For one, the Indian government has abandoned its old policy of keeping border areas underdeveloped and is engaged in a massive infrastructure build-up in Arunachal. This naturally has a huge impact on previously important cultural and environmental concerns in the state. For another, Arunachal’s location is now sought to be used as an advantage in India’s economic outreach to Southeast Asia and southwest China. The presentation examines in detail how all these factors affect and mould the political economy of Arunachal Pradesh and the implications thereof for Sino-Indian relations.

Download presentation: JabinJacob-2010Dec14-CASS-PolEcon-Arunachal

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy War and Conflict

Manmohan Singh’s Visit to China

Originally published: January-March 2008

Extract: Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to China from 13-15 January 2008 was the first of the year by a foreign dignitary to the country, and in a land where symbolism counts for a great deal, it may be seen as notable for just this reason. Earlier, the Indian ruling coalition chairperson, Sonia Gandhi’s trip to China in November 2007 was also considered significant for being the first visit by a foreign political leader, following the conclusion of the important 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Singh visit saw the additional highlight of the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao hosting his Indian counterpart to a private dinner testifying to both the significance of bilateral ties as well as to the excellent rapport between the two leaders.

However, symbolism apart, and despite the booming trade that continues to exceed all targets, Sino-Indian relations have seen some major political incidents beginning around the time of Chinese President, Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006. These include then Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi’s statement on the eve of Hu Jintao’s visit reiterating China’s claim over Arunachal, the denial of a Chinese visa to an Indian civil servant of Arunachali origin and the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi’s statement that the “mere” fact of populated areas was insufficient reason for China to give up its territorial claims. While the first two incidents are not surprising, given that they reflect the official Chinese position – Arunachalis have been denied Chinese visas in the past as well – it was the last one that provided the real jolt as it was in apparent contradiction of the Article VII of the 2005 Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, which statedsthat “the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.”

Taken together, the Hu Jintao visit to India and the Manmohan Singh visit to China mark perhaps the beginning of a new stage in Sino-Indian ties. For one, both sides seem to have reconciled themselves to the fact that every visit will not produce a “great leap forward” in ties but that progress can only be incremental. Two, it appears now that the economic relationship is also beginning to witness increasing problems and given that the actors involved are more than governmental ones, these are likely to crop more often and more visibly in the future. While the boundary talks continue with no end in sight, the relationship is likely to be tested further by these and other newer issues.

Original Article: “Manmohan Singh’s Visit to China: New Challenges Ahead,” China Report, Vol. 44, No. 1, January-March 2008, pp. 63-70.