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For centuries there was no direct contiguous contact between India and China and effectively therefore no border between the two giant world powers. The invasion of the Chinese ‘People’s Liberation Army’ in 1949-50 shattered the peace and India now shares a contested border which has become the scene of deadly conflict. 

The PRC presents the most complex foreign policy challenge for India. Tibet, at the heart of Asia, is the world’s highest and largest plateau and a global climate change epicenter. China’s policies in Tibet have direct geopolitical implications for India and present a unique challenge to the Indian government. Key and urgent issues include: the militarisation of the plateau, construction of infrastructure at a breakneck pace, engagement on the borders and transboundary river water. 

The current posture from Beijing underlined by Xi Jinping’s leadership conveys intent to exercise regional dominance and counter any perceived opposition and threat. This is backed by an escalation of military presence in the border areas, the relocation of increasing numbers of people into ‘defence’ villages close to Arunachal Pradesh and encroachment into India’s territory. There is increasing awareness in India that Tibet has been overlooked and little understood although it is integral to resolution and discussion of these issues. 


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