A disputed Himalayan border is a primary obstacle in closer cooperation between India and China. The conference will revisit various facets of this dispute, including the boundary disagreement, border conflict, tense geopolitics of the region, the legacy of British imperialist re-ordering of the Himalayas, Great Power politics, strategic triangles (China- India-USA or China-India-Pakistan), the disappearance of traditional Tibetan state, the future of the Dalai Lama, and the impact of these tensions on the people living in the borderlands. This two-day event, held in the heart of central London, will bring together relevant international experts and provide an invaluable opportunity to scholars, students, diplomats, media persons, and interested members of the public, to further their understanding of the relationship between China and India.
China and India are rapidly emerging as key global players in the twenty-first century. Leaders around the world including President Obama, military strategists, security thinkers, businesspersons, media commentators, academics, and human rights activists have turned their attention to the challenges and opportunities offered by the rise of two Asian countries that share between them more than 37% of worldʼs population, 20% of world energy use, 10-17% of world economy (depending on the measure), 8-10% of military spending, 9% of worldʼs land, and are projected to significantly increase their stamp on the global politico-economic landscape. This fluid scenario demands greater understanding of the politics and international relations of both China and India, especially of Sino-Indian relations.
China-India relations have witnessed major swings since the heyday of close cooperation in the early 1950s and the nadir of the 1962 border war. Though both countries profess a desire to work closely to resolve disagreements, have rapidly expanding economic relations, and often strike strategic cooperation in several arenas (such as at the Copenhagen Climate Conference), their bilateral relationship is, by most accounts, fragile.
Some of the factors that contribute to the testy China-India relations are: mutual suspicion of each othersʼ intentions, the bitter memories of 1962 war (especially in India), the presence in India of Tibetan exiles led by the Dalai Lama, Indian discomfort at Chinaʼs close relations with Pakistan, Chinaʼs increasing clout in other South Asian states, Chinese mistrust of warmer Indo-US relations. The key issue that prevents the two countries from establishing a stable relationship is the border dispute.
China and India have a territorial disagreement and accuse each other of illegal occupation. The border dispute, emerging from a boundary disagreement and centering on Aksai Chin/South Xinjiang area in the Western Himalayas (under Chinese control) and Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet (under Indian control) in the Eastern Himalayas, has already led to a war in 1962, several military clashes, political posturing, and more recently, military buildup, media wars, diplomatic squabbles, and blame-games.
This conference brings together worldʼs leading experts to discuss and debate various facets of the Sino-Indian border dispute. The aim is to identify and assess various perceptions of Sino-Indian rivalry as exemplified in the border dispute.
An edited collection based on the papers presented at the conference along with a few additional chapters is planned for 2010-2011. The conference website http:// chinaindiaborderdispute.wordpress.com/ will also act as a research archive for sources on the border dispute.
Wednesday 2 June
1400-1430 Introductory Address by Dibyesh Anand
1430-1530 Keynote One: Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia), ʻWhy the Sino-Indian border dispute is still unresolved after 50 yearsʼ
Discussant: Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
1600-1730 Panel One: China-India Relations and the Tibet Question
Jabin Jacob (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, India/ Sciences Po, France), ʻFor a new kind of “Forward Policy”: Tibet and Sino-Indian relationsʼ
Tsering Topgyal (London School of Economics, UK), ʻCharting the Tibet issue in the China-India border disputeʼ
Discussant: James Clad (National Defense University, USA)
1730-1800 Break and Wine Reception
1800-1930 Roundtable One: China-India Border Dispute: Revisiting the Past Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China)
Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia)
Thursday 3 June
1000-1100 Keynote Two: John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), ʻThe unresolved Sino-Indian territorial dispute: Narratives of national identity, territoriality, and securityʼ
Discussant: Jabin Jacob (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, India/ Sciences Po, France)
1130-1300 Panel Two: Negotiating a Settlement - Priorities and Strategies Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China), ʻLooking beyond the border disputeʼ
Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), ʻCourse correction: An analysis of the origins and implications of the agreements of 2003 and 2005ʼ
Discussant: Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia) 1300-1400 Lunch
1400-1530 Panel Three: The Emerging Global Order in Asia
James Clad (National Defense University, USA), ʻSino-Indian territorial issues and China's periphery policyʼ
Zorawar Daulet Singh (Centre for Policy Alternatives, India), ʻDiscord and collaboration: India China relations in the evolving orderʼ
Discussant: Tsering Topgyal (London School of Economics)
1600-1730 Roundtable Two: China-India Relations and the Border Issue: Possible Futures
Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
James Clad (National Defense University, USA)
John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA) Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China) Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia)
1730-1800 Closing Address by Dibyesh Anand