ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Overcoming Nationalist Myopia

The Sino-Indian Border Dispute

The nationalist elite has projected India's defeat in the Sino-Indian war of 1962 as the country being a victim of Chinese aggression. Nationalist hysteria that preceded and followed the war did not allow a dispassionate refl ection on India's stand on the border dispute. It is only recently that people have started listening to the other side of the story. Stressing the need to continue a dialogue, this essay argues that only a give-and-take policy will put an end to the vexed dispute between India and China.

Introduction

Most border disputes that post-colonial states experienced have their roots in the omissions and commissions of colonial rule.1 The urge to expand and protect the frontiers of their empire forced the colonial rulers to draw and redraw the boundaries of their colonies and at times the fear of expansion by enemy forces forced them to create buffer zones. Taking advantage of the weakness of native rulers/peoples, the colonial powers often compelled neighbouring countries to accept border proposals that are not in their interest. The linear demarcation of the borders by the colonisers ignored the traditional boundaries of native communities and kingdoms. Since the concerns of the people inhabiting border areas were never deemed important by officials, the natives were never consulted when decisions were taken to determine the borders.

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