China adds new twist it knocks off 1,600 km from its definition of China’s border with India
As questions of territorial sovereignty return to the centrestage in Sino-Indian relations, Beijing has added a new twist to the long-running boundary dispute between the two countries by knocking off nearly 1,600 km from its definition of China's border with India.
A Xinhua report from Beijing earlier this week on the eve of premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India described the Sino-Indian border as nearly 2,000-km long. The Indian count of the operational border is a lot longer at nearly 3,500 km (not taking into account the line separating Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and China). The discrepancy is too large to be treated as an inadvertent error in Beijing.
So, where did the hundreds of kilometers disappear? China apparently no longer treats the line of nearly 1,600 km separating Jammu and Kashmir on the one hand and Xinjiang and Tibet on the other as a border with India.
China's recasting of the length of the border with India appears to be part of the Kashmir puzzle that Beijing has unveiled in recent years. The other pieces include the recent policy of issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from J&K, the reluctance to host a visit by the Northern Commander of the Indian Army Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, the dramatic expansion of the Chinese activity in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir that includes the modernisation of the Karakoram Highway and the plans to construct a new rail line and oil pipeline between Kashgar in Xinjiang and the Gwadar port on Pakistan's Makran coast.
Xinhua's reference to 2,000 km of Sino-Indian border was based on an official briefing by the Assistant Foreign Minister of China, Hu Zhengyue to the Beijing press corps on Monday.
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