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India and China fundamentally misunderstand each other on the LAC

18 1 6
08.07.2020

The post-Galwan joint statement resolves that LAC and status quo shall be abided by. In the past similar statements have been made as well by India and China.

For instance, India’s external-affairs spokesman Anurag Srivastava said at a press conference on June 25 ‘Respecting and strictly observing the Line of Actual Control is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas and explicitly recognized so in the 1993 and subsequent agreements. Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas and abide scrupulously by it’.

China and India have divergent perceptions of the LAC. Flanked by Pakistan’s prime minister, before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China’s President Xi Jinping said they opposed India’s “unilateral actions” in Kashmir and called for a dialogue.

Understanding the dynamics of the LAC between China and India

India-China border is divided into three sectors, where the LAC in the western sector falls in the union territory of Ladakh and is 1597 km long, the middle sector of 545 km length falls in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and 1346 km long eastern sector falls in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The middle sector is the least disputed sector, while the western sector witnesses the highest transgressions between the two sides.

One could peek into Indian mind through books such as Shivshankar Menon’s Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy, Shyam Saran’s How India Sees the World, and A G Noorani’s India-China Boundary Problem 1846-1947.

Read more: India China tensions over Ladakh could explode at any time

It is a common misperception that LAC is more sacrosanct than the LoC. For instance, India’s prestigious Indian Express explained `The LoC emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the UN after the Kashmir War. It was designated as the LoC in 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries. It is delineated on a map signed by DGMOs of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement. The LAC, in contrast, is only a concept – it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map nor demarcated on the ground.

The newspaper poses the question `what was India’s response to China’s designation of the LAC?’. It then explains India rejected the concept of LAC in both 1959 and 1962.

Even during the war, Nehru was unequivocal: “There is no sense or meaning in the Chinese offer to withdraw twenty kilometers from what they call ‘line of........

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