Arunachal Pradesh: Cultural and Strategic Flashpoint For Sino-Indian Relations

January 20, 2017 By Sudha Ramachandran, The Jamestown Foundation

Sino-Indian relations are likely to become strained in early 2017. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Tawang in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in March. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, by granting the Dalai Lama permission to visit Tawang, India is providing “a stage for anti-China separatist forces,” further warning that it would “only damage peace and stability of the border areas and bilateral relations” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, [PRC], October 29, 2016). China views the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang, an area of cultural and political significance to Tibetans, as potentially destabilizing. His previous visit to Tawang in 2009, which came close on the heels of violent unrest in Tibet, was similarly criticized by Beijing (Economic Times, November 4, 2009). In the run-up to that visit, tension between India and China escalated. The Indian media reported build-up of troops on both sides of the disputed Sino-Indian border (Greater Kashmir, September 23, 2009 and, November 4, 2009).[Source]

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