Solving India-China border disputes

China and India have put their border dispute on the back burner for over a decade; choosing to focus instead on mutual trade and economic development. But the disputes are real and have existed for over 50 years; Claude Arpi suggests a way forward to solve them once and for all.

A condominium for Aksai Chin would not face many of the challenges that other condominiums had to confront. First and foremost, nobody lives permanently on the high plateau. Therefore, there is no question of stakeholders other than the two States: India and China. Secondly, no natural resources such oil, minerals have been discovered so far, therefore there is no need for a complicated sharing mechanism.

The trickiest issue to solve would be the right to transit across the region. China would continue to have the same facilities that she is presently enjoying. In the future, it is essential for India to reopen the trade route to Kashgar through the Karakoram Pass. Though technically this route is not cutting through the occupied area, this provision would have to be included in a general settlement. [Rediff]

The danger is that such a model would set a precedent – its all very well to set up a condominium in unpopulated Aksai Chin, but quite another to cite this as a precedent to solve the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.