India-China: McMahon Line stands test of time

India-China: McMahon Line stands test of time

While drawing up the Line, rigidity was not shown as a result of which places which were contiguous to either India or China became part of their territory.

EditorialUpdated: Friday, March 17, 2023, 12:21 AM IST
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Representational Image | Twitter/@LtGenGurmit

The bipartisan resolution brought forward in the US Senate by two members, one belonging to the Democratic Party and the other to the Republican Party, is a welcome measure. It seeks to underline the American position that the McMahon Line that demarcates the India-China border is the only lasting solution to whatever border dispute exists between the two nations. If the resolution is passed, it means the US supports the Line as the official boundary. Though the McMahon Line, drawn hastily by a British cartographer, is not all that perfect, it has withstood the test of time.

While drawing up the Line, rigidity was not shown as a result of which places which were contiguous to either India or China became part of their territory. The 1962 war, launched by the Chinese at a time when the leadership in India was shouting “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai” slogans, was as unexpected as it was treacherous. The Chinese have been eyeing Arunachal Pradesh as their territory and the war was an attempt to redraw the map but because of international pressure and other factors, the Chinese withdrew to their pre-war positions though they did not part with Aksai Chin. Now that the Chinese have become the world’s second largest economy, they have become more inimical as denoted by the periodic incursions reported from the borders. There are well-established systems in place to tackle disputes but the Chinese no longer want to rely on them.

The situation in India is not the same as in 1962 when after Independence, the government was busy improving the agricultural and industrial sectors through Five Year Plans. Certainly, defence did not get the importance it needed. Today, India is in a position to defend its territory and it has the infrastructure to deal with any unexpected situations. The Chinese know that any incursion would evoke a swift and deterrent reaction. The US recognition of India’s position, as underscored by the bipartisan resolution, will go a long way in opening the eyes of the world to what can be described as Chinese hegemonism.

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