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Subcontinent unfortunate!
By S Mukhtar

“Yes dear.”

“Aksai Chin in news again.”

“Yes dear.”

“But how about it?”

“Aksai Chin, about 20 per cent of entire Kashmir, a slice of Tibetan plateau, reaching heights up to 5000 metres, is a vast desert of salt, and hence also called Soda Plain. It is almost uninhabited.”

“And whence is it in news?”

“Since 1962 particularly. That year China attacked India, claimed and fought a brief war over Aksai Chin and also Arunachal Pradesh, and since Aksai Chin is under China.”

“And then?”

“In 1993, and then again in 1996, China and India, so as to maintain peace and tranquillity, signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control. Just recently, Prime Ministers Dr Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Cambodia; they discussed ways to move forward on the boundary problems.”

“OK and what then?”

“But days only after the two Prime Ministers met, new developments came to light. In watermarks in their new e-passports, the Chinese government showed the entire Aksai Chin, Arunachal Pradesh too, as parts of its territory. Earlier, China, terming Jammu and Kashmir as ‘disputed territory,’ issued stapled visas to the residents thereof; also, denied visas to Indians hailing from Arunachal Pradesh.”

“And India was silent?”

“No. The Indian embassy in Beijing began issuing visas to Chinese nationals with a map of India showing Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territories. Also, India lodged a strong protest over China issuing stapled visas to Jammu & Kashmir residents, China reverted to issuing normal visas to them, however, without officially admitting so.”

“Uncle, these subcontinent’s poor-yet-nuclear giants sparring bitterly once again over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh: Unfortunate!”

“Hope best, dear. Shortly, there will be the next round of boundary talks, in Beijing. India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo – Special Representatives – will meet there. Hope problems will be solved.”

“Uncle, is this a simple boundary problem…or more?”

“Much more, dear. Reports go of China having built roads in Aksai Chin, connecting strategic heights, Chinese troops around, and something going on.”

“And Uncle that is it. From 1962, or perhaps from quite much earlier, no progress was made towards real Peace, and what do you expect now when the issues and problems have grown terribly complex? I recollect some military general say we are standing on a volcano. Ours is the Subcontinent Unfortunate!”

“Dear, hope hopes.”

“Not against hope.”
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News Updated at : Monday, November 26, 2012
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