An exchange of land, with the politically and strategically sensitive Tawang tract in Arunachal Pradesh being ceded by India, could pave the way for a settlement of the India-China boundary dispute, China’s former pointsman for India Dai Bingguo has said.
The suggestion came in an interview given by the former Chinese diplomat and high-ranking communist cadre to a Beijing-based publication. Dai Bingguo headed the special representative dialogue with India for over a decade until his retirement in 2013.
Though the exchange of Tawang is far from being a simple affair given the presence of the Tawang monastery, which commands a special place in Tibetan Buddhism and is highly regarded by Buddhists in India as well, Dai’s remarks are significant as they may not be completely without official sanction.
Dai is still regarded close to Chinese rulers, and his voice is taken seriously in the diplomatic community. He is unlikely to make sensitive comments in an interview unless it has been cleared by top leaders of the Communist Party, sources said.
READ THIS ALSO : US Senator pushes for sale of guardian drones to India
“The major reason the boundary question persists is that China’s reasonable requests have not been met,” Dai said in the interview, adding, “If the Indian side takes care of China’s concerns on the eastern section of the border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere.”
Dai Bingguo has written on similar lines in his book which came out last year. China analyst Shrikant Kondapalli said the Chinese interest in the eastern sector had been elevated since 2005, when both countries signed the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles. China has eyed the Tawang tract, describing it as Southern Tibet, because the 15th century Dalai Lama was born there. Interestingly, China withdrew from that area after the 1962 war with India. Control of Tawang will consolidate China’s hold over the centres of Tibetan Buddhism.
SOURCE : TNN