From People Forum
China and India, never quite besties, are now at odds with each other over a whole host of issues. It seems that as the world’s two most populated countries continue to gain economic and political influence, their relationship with each other has become increasingly strained. But who’d have expected the conflict to actually hit the Expo in Shanghai?
The problem: maps at the India Pavilion were allegedly showing certain parts of Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh as belonging to India – claims that China contests.
Arunachal Pradesh is an area that’s located in the far northeast of India and contains parts China considers as sections of its Tibetan Autonomous Region. A 1914 treaty between Great Britain and the de facto independent government of Tibet established the McMahon line, which India now considers its northern border. But since the Republic of China (back then) wasn’t a party to the treaty, China now disputes its legitimacy.
There was a brief war over Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, but China ended it after conquering most of the area, declaring victory and then voluntarily moving back behind the McMahon line. It has more or less quietly sat there until recently.
Unfortunately for India, China has chosen now to become especially prickly about its territorial disputes. On Friday, it denied a visa to Indian General B.S. Jaswal, apparently on grounds that he had worked in Kashmir, another area that’s somehow politically iffy.
According to Times of India, Chinese officials came into the Indian Pavilion in July and removed India tourism brochures with the offending map after “terrible pressure from its experts on Indian affairs as well as a postings in Internet blogs and discussion forums (like club.china.com) complaining about [them].” As it notes, “the Chinese government closely watches Internet postings to gauze public opinion and often acts on them to calm signs of dissent.”
India’s Ministry of Defense has denied that the Chinese government was responsible for anything that happened at the Expo, saying there was no “factual basis” for the Times of India report, but ToI responded that several Indian pavilion officials, speaking on conditions of anonymity, had confirmed that their maps had been taken away.