Modi’s visit to disputed region imperils thaw in ties

Recently, China and India were engaged in a jagged excha

nge of words over Modi’s visit to South Tibet, a mountainous region under substantial dispute b

etween the two Asian giants. Although China’s stance on the boundary issue is cons

istent and crystal-clear that it has never recognized the so-called “A

runachal Pradesh” and is firmly opposed to any Indian leaders’ presence there, it was Modi who has repeatedly touched the raw nerve.

Such exchange – though it has happened in the past during China’s Spring Festivals in February 2015 and February 2018 – is p

articularly noteworthy: Modi’s latest visit followed the in

formal leadership summit in Wuhan in April 2018 which was widely seen as the key effort

from both sides to improve diplomatic ties and rebuild trust since the 73-day-long armed standoff in Doklam.

Such actions by Modi would inevitably affect the progress

ade by both sides, further complicating the boundary issue and exacerbating mutual suspicion.

Modi’s recent presence in South Tibet was largely driven b

y electoral considerations, aimed at mobilizing support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahe

ad of the general elections, which are due in India in April and May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

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