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China announces names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh

China has unilaterally announced ‘standardised’ names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh. It is felt that Chinese move comes as a retaliation against Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Experts feel that China’s announcement is aimed at reaffirming its territorial sovereignty over the region.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, change of names was a legitimate action carried out in line with Chinese law.

China has named the six places in Arunachal Pradesh with Roman alphabet as Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri. The name Wo’gyainling is likely to be given to the Ugyen Ling monastery (birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama), Qoidêngarbo Ri is likely to be the name given to Choten Karpo Ri, Mainquka is likely to be Mechuka in West Siang district and Bümo La is likely to be Bumla.

During the visit of Dalai Lama, Union minister of state for home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, had categorically asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable and integral part of India.

Background

During the recent visit of Dalai Lama China issued warnings and repeated calls to cancel his visit. But India turned down his request saying that Dalai Lama is free to travel across the country.

According to China, Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet and has close Buddhist links to the Tibet Autonomous Region. Official Chinese maps show Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet. The Indo-China border dispute ensues the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). So far both the have held 19 rounds of talks to resolve the boundary dispute.

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Pakistan Leases Gwadar port to a State-run Chinese firm for 40 years

Pakistan has leased the operations of its strategic Gwadar port to a State-run Chinese firm, the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a period of 40 years. COPHC is slated to carry out all the developmental work on the port situated in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. COPHC took over the operations of the port in 2013. Previously, the control of the Gwadar port was with Singapore’s PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) International.

As per the contract, 91% share of revenue collection from gross revenue of terminal and marine operations as well as 85% share from gross revenue of free zone operation will go to the COPHC. The provinces will not be given any share in the revenue collection.

Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf just outside the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. It features as the southern Pakistan hub of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan. It is considered as a vital link between the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative and the Maritime Silk Road project.

Advantages for China

Gwadar offers China a shortest route to oil-rich West Asia and Africa. China can use the port to transport fuel into north-western China, by transporting oil and gas from the port through pipelines to China’s Xinjiang province. Having Gwadar under its command would change the security dynamics for China. As China’s oil imports increase, it would prefer to insulate its energy transports from the troubled waters of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.

Implications for India

Gwadar port offers serious strategic implications for India. Gwadar provides China a key listening post to observe the Indian naval activities around the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden. The Gwadar port, if fully operationalised, will wean Pakistan away from near-total dependence on Karachi, which is much closer to India and hence within the Indian military’s strike range. Lease of Gwadar port also helps China to encircle India (String of Pearls) and gain strategic advantage in the region. India has apprehensions that these ports could be used for military purpose as well.

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India-China first Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing

The first Strategic Dialogue between India and China was held in Beijing, capital of China to shore up bilateral ties.

The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s Executive Vice Foreign minister Zhang Yesui.

Key Facts
  • The Strategic Dialogue mechanism between both countries was agreed to during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India in August 2016.
  • In the first meeting, both countries discussed all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain. They also discussed issues of mutual concern and interest including friction points.
  • The dialogue strived to take a holistic view of the relations between the two countries. It also tried to an extent to accommodate each other’s concerns and interests.
  • On the issue of 1267 Committee’s sanctions on Masood Azhar: India once again explained the rationale for its application to committee and pointed out that the issue was also pursued by other countries too.
  • India held that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) itself is proscribed as terrorist organisation under 1267. So it is strong proof for declaring Azhar, founder of JeM a global terrorist.
  • On the NSG issue: China underlined that they were open to India’s application for membership. But it has own view of the procedures and processes which are different from most of the group’s members.
Background

In recent times, India-China ties have witnessed strain following China’s rigid stand on issues crucial to India such as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and designation of JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN under 1267 Sanctions list. In 2016, China had scuttled India’s membership bid at the meeting of NSG and also opposed banning of Azhar by the UN, apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

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