Looking for common ground on the borderline

After several months of the standoff on the LAC, China asserted on September 29 that Beijing would abide by a Line of Actual Control based on the boundary proposal made by Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai to India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on November 7, 1959.

But as the LAC is only half the boundary — that separates Aksai Chin from Ladakh — China had also proposed in 1959 that troops from both sides should withdraw 20 km from the McMahon Line — the boundary line in India’s North East — from where the armies could exercise control. As in the past, Beijing has hinted that it could recognise the McMahon Line and settle for a swap with India, by keeping Aksai Chin for Arunachal Pradesh.

India had rejected this idea during Nehru’s time, and then — according to informed insiders — in Indira Gandhi’s era, when Nehru loyalists felt they shouldn’t betray his legacy! And even when the LAC was finally adopted in 1993, India had insisted that it mustn’t be defined as per China’s 1959 claim line.

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