I stumbled across this report today on Times of India on Chinese refusal to give visas to IAS officers from Arunachal Pradesh because of their claim to the state.

Now I have been reading on the historical premise of the Chinese claiming Arunachal Pradesh as their own territory – and it seems to me that China’s claim is again premised on their “claim” on Tibet. Essentially, the British drew up the McMohan line as a border between British India and Tibet. In  1913 the Tibetians and the Brits agreed upon it – the  Chinese did not and hence the claim ever since.

Anyways, the point is that in the War of 1962 between India and China – the chinese pretty much overrun the whole area and then withdrew to the McMohan Line.

So today in 2007, the Chinese are refusing to give a visa to the a Arunachal Pradesh born IAS officer (the highest ranking civilian officer) in the Indian administrative services and consequently the Prime Minister level government to government contact had to be cancelled.

And the tone in the TOI article is read to be believed. Without commenting either way on the validity of the chinese claim ( though, given their historical adherence to claiming all kinds of lands as their own, I tend to form my own opinions on the intent of the Chinese state), I think the incident sheds light on two fundamental problems – one Chinese attitude to India isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy – they seem to be inordinately intransigent on issues -and that is only a glimpse of larger strategic imperatives.

And secondly, it displays the pusillanimously of Indian media and political attitudes to China.

I am the last person to be hawkish on relatively un-important incidents like these – but I think it illustrates fundamental problems in the Indo-Chinese relationship.

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