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Reminisces of cultural ties to revive Sino-Indian relations


Sino-Indian relations, more often than not, are seen as a relentless tussle of border issues between the Himalayan neighbours, even when they have more in common than their shared borders. India and China share an old bond of cultural knowledge which the present Chinese authorities wish to revive.

The two Himalayan nations have a long history of bilateral exchanges in the areas of culture, economics, trade, education and literature. Xuanzang, or Hiuen Tsang, renowned for his 16-year journey to India and his career as a translator of Buddhist scriptures, is one of the most illustrious figures in the history of scholastic Chinese Buddhism. His contributions helped broaden the awareness about Indian history in the world.

The two Asian giants – India and China, in their respective contemporary paths, are taking on every opportunity of innovative technological and economic development, and an overall amelioration of their nations. These countries have similar agendas on the global platform pertaining to the empowerment of their population.

However, these populations often forget the support lent by these countries to each other while fighting against the imperialist aggression. Indian leaders such as Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, and patriotic poet Rabindranath Tagore had all along cherished deep sympathy and maximum support for China’s struggles towards an anti-imperialist national and democratic revolution.

“China and India are very old and beloved brothers,” said Tagore.

The biggest offshoot of similarity in their history is ‘oriental culture’.

Lin Yutang (1895-1976), author of ‘The Wisdom of China and India’, also gratified India’s cultural inclination towards China.

“India was China’s teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world’s teacher in trigonometry, quadratic equations, grammar, phonetics, Arabian Nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy. India has inspired Boccaccio, Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and, probably also, old Aesop.”

With a history so appreciative of each other and colliding on several lines, these Asian countries fighting global polarization can come together and drive their cultural connotations to develop a game which could change their relationship for the better. In an attempt to achieve the same for Sino-Indian relations, Chinese vice-president Li Yuanchao is on a visit to India.

He is expected to preside over the renewal of the 2013 MoU regarding joint water management (share hydrological data on several Himalayan rivers, assistance in emergency management– mainly flood data) with India, as it is the lower riparian state. This would impact the north-eastern states of India the most as the Brahmaputra River helps them sustain.

He will also sign an agreement on a cultural exhibition on the Gupta Dynasty era to be held in China in 2016. Li also visited the Ajanta Caves- an architectural and cultural creation of the Gupta dynasty.

This is said to be a Chinese government strategy as they look at the Gupta Empire with particular interest as it was during this period that the Nalanda University prospered which later on hosted Xuanzang during his visit to India.

Both India and China should take every step to revive this epoch’s association as it would strengthen peaceful and progressive relations between them. China favouring Pakistan, and several disputes between India and China on the border issue are naturally major concerns; but in the age of militarization and nuclear availability, war or combat is not the solution.

This alternative route of bonding over ancient cultural ties is the best solution for both countries to arrive at a position of peaceful and mutual admiration. This will help the Sino-Indian relations in the development of the two nations simultaneously without becoming a threat to each other.


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India has only border disputes with China and Pakistan: VK Singh


New Delhi: While there are no border disputes with Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, such disputes exist with China and Pakistan, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh  stated in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

In the eastern sector, China claims approximately 90,000 square meters of Indian territory in the state of Arunachal Pradesh,

The minister said the fact that Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were integral and inalienable parts of India, has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level.

Indian territory under the occupation of China in Jammu and Kashmir is approximately 38,000 square meters. In addition, under the so-called China-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ signed between China and Pakistan on March 2, 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 square km of Indian territory in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to China,

Besides this, he also expressed the terms of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) agreement between India and China.

He said: “India and China, under the agreement on confidence building measures in the military field along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas, signed in November 1996 and subsequent protocol on modalities for the implementation of confidence building measures in the military field along the LAC in the India-China border areas, signed in April 2005 and Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, signed in October 2013, are committed to the clarification and confirmation of the LAC to reach a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC.”

According to him, the two sides have agreed to each appoint a special representative to explore the framework for a boundary settlement from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship.

“The 18th round of special representatives’ talks on the India-China boundary question was held in New Delhi from March 22 to 24, 2015. India and China have established a Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on the India-China border affairs to deal with important border affairs related to maintaining peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas,” he said.

“A meeting of WMCC was held in Beijing on October 8, 2015. India and China are committed to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue and peaceful negotiations and in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner,” he added.

As for Pakistan, Singh said India was willing to address all outstanding bilateral issues through peaceful means.

However, continued support of Pakistan to terrorism directed at us from the territory under Pakistan’s control has prevented the creation of the necessary environment. (Indian) The government has urged Pakistan on several occasions to fulfill its assurances, given and reiterated at the highest level, to put an end to anti-India activities on its soil and territories under its control,

Regarding Nepal, the minister said strip maps covering 98 percent of the India-Nepal boundary has been authenticated and initialed in 2007 at the Surveyor-General level, “though they are yet to be signed at the plenipotentiary level”.

“Issues relating to the maintenance and management of the India-Nepal boundary are discussed in existing bilateral mechanisms at both senior official and working levels,” he stated.

“Our unique, centuries-old civilizational ties with Nepal, based on shared geography, history, culture, language, and religion and characterized by close political relations, wide-ranging economic cooperation and deep-rooted people-to-people friendship, have been rejuvenated since May 2014 with sustained interaction at the highest political level, including the prime minister’s two visits to Nepal in 2014.”

Singh also informed the house that the India-Nepal Joint Commission was revived at the level of external affairs minister in July 2014.

India continues to maintain close engagement and bilateral exchanges with Nepal, as well as extend all assistance in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal, for peace, stability, and socioeconomic development of the country,

On Bangladesh, the minister said India and Bangladesh shared a 4096.7-km border, which was the largest land border that India shared with any of its neighboring countries.

“Both countries concluded a Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) in 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh, to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation,” he said.

The agreement was implemented in its entirety with the exception of three issues pertaining to (1) undemarcated land boundary of approximately 6.1 km in three sectors, viz. Daikhata-56 (West Bengal), Muhuri river-Belonia (Tripura) and Lathitila-Dumabari (Assam); (2) exchange of 111 enclaves in Bangladesh with 51 Bangladesh enclaves in India; and (3) adverse possessions.

“During the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September 2011, a protocol to the 1974 LBA was signed which settled these three outstanding issues,” Singh said.

“Subsequently, instruments of ratification of the agreement were exchanged on June 6, 2015, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh,” he added.

(Inputs from IANS)