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Indian Diplomats to Boycott Beijing Games

Context:

Terming China’s decision to field a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier involved in the June 2020 Galwan clashes as the torchbearer for the Winter Olympics Games in Beijing as “regrettable”, India announced a diplomatic boycott of the games just ahead of the opening ceremony.

Relevance:

GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the article:
  1. India-China Border disputes
  2. Causes of border disputes between India and China
  3. What is the Winter Olympics?

India-China Border disputes

  • The border between India and China is not clearly demarcated throughout and there is no mutually agreed Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
  • The LAC is divided into three sectors, viz. Western, Middle and Eastern.
  • The boundary dispute in the Western Sector (Ladakh) pertains to the Johnson Line proposed by the British in the 1860s that extended up to the Kunlun Mountains and put Aksai Chin in the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • India used the Johnson Line and claimed Aksai Chin as its own. China, however, do not recognise it and instead accepts McDonald Line which puts Aksai Chin under its control.
  • In the Middle Sector (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), the dispute is a minor one. Here LAC is the least controversial except for the precise alignment to be followed in the Barahoti plains. India and China have exchanged maps on which they broadly agree.
  • The disputed boundary in the Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim) is over the McMahon Line (in Arunachal Pradesh) decided in 1914 in a meeting of Representatives of China, India, and Tibet in Shimla.
  • Though the Chinese representatives at the meeting initiated the agreement, they subsequently refused to accept it.

Causes of border disputes between India and China

  • Infrastructure Development along the LAC: In the past decade, India has worked hard to strengthen its position on the border and its presence along the LAC. E.g., Dalut Beg Oldie (DS-DBO road) in the northern tip of the western sector greatly facilitates the lateral movement of Indian forces along the western sector, reducing travel time by 40%.
  • Shadow of Doklam Episode: In a broader context, current confrontation is also attributed to the 2017 China-India standoff at Doklam.
  • Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir: China had earlier also protested against the formation of new Union Territory of Ladakh and accused India of trying to transform the LAC unilaterally.
  • Global backlash against China for mishandling of COVID-19: India also supported a Resolution at the World Health Assembly demanding a fair probe into the origin of Coronavirus. Also, India has recently took over as the chair of the WHO executive Board.
  • Signs of new Chinese aggressiveness: along the Sino-Indian border is one of the elements of China’s new adventures including o the new security law Beijing has enacted to control Hong Kong.
  • India’s steps in Indo-Pacific: India’s participation in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), with strong maritime component, proposals like Supply Chain Resilient initiative are seen by China as potential anti-Chinese alliance of democracies aimed at containing it and checking its maritime rise in the Indo-Pacific.

What is the Winter Olympics?

  • Winter Olympics is the premier competition for sports that are played on ice or snow.
  • It is held every four years and features participants from across the world.
  • Ice skating, ice hockey, skiing and figure skating are some of the popular sports that are played at the Winter Games.
  • The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
  • Winter sports were initially played at the Summer Olympics, with the 1908 London Olympics hosting four figure skating events and Antwerp 1920 having figure skating as well as ice hockey.
  • However, in 1924, a separate event was created for winter sports, called the International Winter Sports Week.
  • It was held in Chamonix, France – the host country for the 1924 Summer Olympics.
  • Two years later, the International Winter Sports Week in Chamonix was officially recognised as the first Winter Olympic Games.
  • This years’ edition of the Winter Olympic Games will be held in Beijing, China from 4th February to 20th February 2022.
  • India has been participating in the Winter Olympics since 1964.

-Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

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