Monday, July 28, 2008

Hindusthana surrounded by China

Hindusthana surrounded by China

Look East by Bill Sharp (Star Bulletin, Vol. 13, Issue 195, July 13, 2008

See also maps posted at Conflict afflicted districts China-India disputed border Chinese string of pearls strategy map
Delicate dance of the emerging giants for China and India
In 2005, Chinese diplomacy promised great flexibility and suggestions of compromise in resolving longstanding border issues with India. During his 2005 trip to New Delhi, Premier Wen Jiabao talked of sponsoring a permanent seat for India on the U.N. Security Council. Fast forwarding to 2008, China's position on the border issues shows no flexibility, and there is no meaningful discussion of supporting an Indian seat on the council.
The border issues revolve around Arunchal Pradesh, an Indian state the size of Portugal in Northeast India, bordering China's Tibet Autonomous Region, and Aksai Chin, a 16,000-square-mile region bordered by India's northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir and both China's Tibet and Xinjiang Autonomous Regions. Arunchal Pradesh is controlled by India but claimed by China; Aksai Chin is controlled by China and claimed by India.
China's view is that India's claim to Arunchal Pradesh is invalid. The claim is based on the Simla Convention, a treaty between Great Britain and Tibet signed in 1914, that established the McMahon Line, a demarcation line separating Tibet from India. China holds that Tibet did not have sovereignty over the region and no power to negotiate a treaty. Moreover, no Chinese government or any sovereign government recognized Tibet's 1913 declaration of independence. In 1915, the British stated that neither China nor Russia accepted the Simla Convention and it was therefore invalid.
Chinese People's Liberation Army incursions across the border into Arunchal Pradesh are more and more frequently reported. Consequently, it has become clear to New Delhi that this remote part of India is ill defended and is further vulnerable due to poor roads and no rail or air service connecting it to the rest of India. The lack of infrastructure and connectivity is a major barrier in deploying Indian troops to the area in event of an emergency. On the Chinese side, the roads, availability of electricity and other facilities are much better.
Achieving no progress on border issues during a state visit to Beijing in January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set about upgrading infrastructure in Arunchal Pradesh and creating educational and health care facilities.
Aksai Chin adjoins the Ladakh District of Jammu and Kashmir State. It is part of the Tibetan Plateau, largely uninhabited, with no permanent settlements and little rainfall. In the early 1950s, China encroached on Aksai Chin to build a strategically important road connecting Tibet and Xinjiang. India has recently reopened an old air force base in Ladakh.
Although China recognized Sikkim as an integral part of India in 2003 and changed its maps to reflect such, Chinese troops have made recent incursions into the mountainous Indian state.
Such incursions and stiffening of territorial demands during the last two years are seen as an attempt to put pressure on India to bolster Beijing's claim to the disputed areas, according to the Times of India.
The purely territorial motivation has validity. However, other factors help explain China's actions.
India is a rising regional and global economic and political competitor. India's "Look East" policy of cultivating economic and security relations with Southeast Asian nations strikes at what China normally sees as its strategic underbelly and a region where it has traditionally had great influence. China has actively courted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and opposed the inclusion of India in ASEAN Plus Three (China, Korea and Japan). The Chinese showed no interest in Indian ideas about creating a regional security apparatus as outlined by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a June speech at Beijing University.
India recognizes China's claim to Tibet; however, it hosts the Dalai Lama-led Tibetan government in exile and 100,000 Tibetan refuges. Given the harsh measures employed by Chinese security personnel in quelling the recent Tibetan riots, China is clearly worried about the possibility of Tibet spinning out of its control. Tibet, on one hand acts as buffer zone between China proper and India, while on the other hand the Chinese are worried about a chain reaction. A Tibet that slipped out of China's grasp could well cause the Xinjiang Autonomous Region to declare independence.
China also is concerned about India's chumming up with the United States. Of particular concern is growing security and economical cooperation, plus possible transfer of U.S. civilian nuclear energy technology. It is clear that the U.S. is joined by Japan and Australia in seeing India as a potential security and economic counterweight to China. China is perpetually worried about being surrounded by unfriendly nations and alliances, especially if the U.S. is involved. As a result, it sees cooperation such as the 2007 Malabar naval exercises joined by the U.S., Japan and Australia as an attempt to encircle it.
If Chinese fears have substance, then the Indians have an equal right to be concerned about being surrounded by China. After all, Tibet borders India. China has naval advisers in mainland Myanmar (Burma), intelligence-gathering facilities on Great Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal and is planning to build an army base on Little Coco Island. China also built ports in Bangladesh and in Sri Lanka. There is fear that the Chinese navy might use the ports, just as there is worry that China might use the Pakistani naval facilities at the port of Gawdar, Pakistan, that it is helping to build. The Chinese claim that the ports are for strictly commercial purposes, yet it is clear that China wants to have the means to protect the sea lanes to ensure unimpeded transport of crude oil from the Middle East to China.
To the Indians, China's posture in South Asia and on the Indian Ocean represents an intrusion into an area where Indian influence has gone unchallenged. India's naval buildup hopes to add one carrier this year and another in 2011, plus build its submarine fleet to control the Indian Ocean from East Africa to Australia.
The one positive aspect to Sino-Indian relations is the steady growth of trade, which could top $40 billion this year and could grow to $60 billion by 2010. China might become India's largest market, replacing the United States.

Bill Sharp teaches classes about the domestic and international politics of East Asia at Hawaii Pacific University. He writes a monthly commentary for the Star-Bulletin. Reach him at

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

IAEA agreement full text

Read this document on Scribd: IAEA Agreement text (Thanks to )

See Sheela Bhatt’s review at
Points in India nuke text raise red flag at IAEA
Posted online: Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 0744 hrs IST

The draft nuclear safeguards pact India submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Wednesday contains ambiguities that must be clarified before the UN watchdog approves the deal, a leading expert said.
The IAEA said the safeguards text, which India hammered out with IAEA inspectors early this year and is a key element in a landmark 2005 US-Indian nuclear cooperation deal, had been sent to the agency's 35-nation board in Vienna after the New Delhi government gave the green light.
The draft, which was circulated by Washington-based think tanks, contained several points that "raise questions that board members need to get clarity on" because they would restrict international monitoring of India's atomic programs, said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association.
He said a key red flag is raised by a clause in the draft that says India "may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies."
Disruption of fuel supplies would happen only if India were to resume testing of nuclear weapons and that loophole would blunt any IAEA effort to keep that country's civil nuclear power program from being used to augment its atomic arsenal.
"Does that mean that India intends to withdraw from what are supposed to be permanent safeguards if it tests and other states decide to terminate fuel supplies?" asked Kimball.
"If so, that is a big problem and the Indian government has not clarified what that means," he said.
India - one of just three nations outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - developed atomic bombs in secret and conducted a nuclear test in 1974, prompting the United States to ban sales of US nuclear fuel and reactor technology.
The draft, which in many respects resembles IAEA agreements with other countries, also omits a list of nuclear facilities that India has voluntarily agreed to place under IAEA safeguards, said Kimball, calling that "abnormal".
India's motives were not clear, he said, but added that it appeared "they're trying to preserve their options to put some reactors in or take some out" from IAEA scrutiny, depending on future bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements.
In addition to getting IAEA governors' approval, India must also obtain a waiver for the nuclear deal from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, where some members may resist the deal because NSG regulations ban trade with non-NPT states.
Proponents of the US-India accord say it will move the Asian giant's trade and diplomatic relations closer to the West and more broadly promote an alternative to high-polluting and expensive oil and gas energy in developing nations.
Critics say it will encourage nuclear proliferators and weaken the Western case against the nuclear ambitions of Iran or North Korea.
Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a former Bush administration official and proponent of the deal, said fears of another Indian nuclear weapons test were theoretical and India had too much to risk by testing.
"With the investments that they have made in this deal, the incentives not to test actually grow," he said.
"If India tests in the future, it will not be the first to test. It will test most likely in response to somebody else testing," added Tellis.
The Arms Control Association published the draft at: