Tibetan activists being arrested for protesting outside the venue of the Sino-India border talks in New Delhi on January 17, 2012. (Photo/AP/Saurabh Das)
DHARAMSHALA, October 1: Indian Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters today that negotiations over long-standing disputes along the Indo-Tibetan border with China are in the “final stages.”
"Everybody knows that border dispute is still unresolved, inspite of the fact that many rounds of negotiations have taken place. Of course, it (the negotiations) is in the final stage," he was quoted as saying on sidelines of a function on the annual day of Defence Accounts Department in New Delhi.
However, he refrained from discussing in detail the progress of the 15 rounds of talks held between specially appointed representatives.
"The pending resolution of the border dispute (is important) to avoid major tensions in the border. It should be done through governmental set up and mechanism for border management involving Services, MEA and other stake holders," Antony further said.
Earlier this year, a hard-hitting report by an independent group of Indian analysts had warned that China may resort to territorial grabs on India, including through a "major military offensive."
"Our frontiers with China have been mostly stable for some years now. However, China could assert its territorial claims (especially in the Arunachal sector or Ladakh) by the use of force," the report titled "Non-Alignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for the 21st century" said.
The report argued that India can't "entirely dismiss the possibility of a major military offensive in Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh" and suggest a response with "a strategy of quid pro quo.”
Recently, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh "assured" that his forces are prepared to deal with any eventuality similar to what happened in 1962.
"I am assuring the nation that 1962 will not be repeated. That's the assurance I am giving. We will not let any enemy enter our territory. Plans are afoot on all borders," Gen Singh had said.
At the latest round of border talks held earlier this year in New Delhi the two Asia giants had decided to set up a “new mechanism” to maintain peace on the border called the "working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs.”
However, exile Tibetan groups have called the border talks “illegal and insensitive,” noting that until China’s invasion of Tibet in 1949, India shared its northern border with Tibet, not China.
Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, has maintained that territorial talks between India and China are “inextricably linked to the issue of Tibet” and that China has “no right to re-write Tibet’s history.”
India and China occupied Tibet share a 3488 km long disputed border which was the cause of a short but bloody war in 1962. Since then, the two Asian giants have shared uneasy military ties.