China shares its international border with fourteen other countries listed in descending order of their share of border area; Mongolia (4,677 km), Russia (3,645 km), India (3,380 km), Myanmar (2,185 km), Kazakhstan (1,533 km), North Korean (1,416 km), Vietnam (1,281 km), Nepal (1,236 km), Kyrgyzstan (858 km), Pakistan (523 km), Bhutan (470 km), Laos (423 km), Tajikistan (414 km), Afghanistan (76 km).
China being the largest demographic country in Asia had been keen to spread its military and economic supremacy in the region; resulting into continuous tension along its periphery. Only Russia and India comes in comparable stature to it and both share the 2nd and the 3rd largest border respectively. Currently China is left with only two disputes outstanding along its border, one is that with India and the other in South China Sea.
China’s border Game Plan
China is very keen in following imperialism and expansionist theory. It is advertently fighting all its neighbors for the land based on historical claims whether it be Russia, India, Nepal, South Korea, North Korea, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Laos, and Japan. While for some other nations like India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan, it has unilaterally expanded its borders despite agreements or treaties in place.
Almost of the disputes ended on a positive note towards China due to its supremacy in the region and the neighboring states being small developing countries. The super-giant had the top hand as other nations were dependent on it for major project investments or it shared largest chunk of their total trade.
Why China grudging on India?
Increasing tension between India and China post 1962 and China’s increasing interest in Indian Territory raises questions about its intention.
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China had only two large competitors in the area Russia and India. The dispute with Russia came to an end during the fall of Soviet Union in 1991, with Russian power getting weaker Beijing saw the part of Zhenbao islands and some islands on Amur and Argun rivers added in its governance leaving only India as the only possible threat. With the recent Indian economic growth showing comparable signs with China which is facing a slowdown from its double digit growth rate has led to its increased fear. To retain its strategic control in the region, China plays the game of border issues and allegedly partners with Pakistan inducing and supporting it during the 1965 and 1971 wars.
Current Indo-China border Scenario
China in its postal map of 1917 accepts the Indian boundary as per the traditional area claimed by India covering whole of Aksai Chin and the northern part of Kashmir honoring Johnson-Ardagh line. Still it went on to illegally construct a road connecting Xinjiang and Tibet passing through Aksai Chin that led to the Indo-China war of 1962. Now this road is of strategic importance to China for keeping a hold on Tibet. China denies to honor Shimla Treaty and thus the McMahon line separating Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet. Beijing has reverently planned to blow the dispute over Arunachal Pradesh as a mere negotiation point for Aksai Chin with Delhi. This has stemmed up from the acceptance of Tibet as province under PRC by former Prime Minister Mr. Vajpai in 2003, which induced China to claim Arunachal Pradesh as south Tibet.
Figure showing border lines Figure: Red showing disputed areas
The area of Aksai Chin though barren and mountainous with high altitude it poses a severe security threat to India in advent of any war. India has to consider its ongoing border issues with Pakistan in the same area and the increasing alliances between China and Pakistan. With the increasing insecurity in Beijing related to trade and world dominance it would be unwise to trust such neighbor. Also the behavior and dominance that Chinese government has shown in the Asian region, it is impossible to keep faith in such an arduous neighbor stance in the future and much infiltration of Indian borders.