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India and China: A timeline of how ties have unfolded over the years

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-07-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: India’s relations with China remain tense due to the ongoing stand-off in the Doklam area near the Sikkim sector where Indian troops along with Bhutanese Army foiled Chinese People’s Liberation’s Army’s attempts to encroach on a disputed enclave. The Chinese have responded by suspending the Kailash-Mansoravar yatra through the Nathu La pass and even warning India to not forget “historical lessons” from the 1962 war.

Here’s a timeline of events since India and China relations were established and highlight the conflict and cooperation between once “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai” neighbours:

■ 8-9 June 2017: India admitted to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as full-member along with Pakistan. Modi meets Chinese president Xi Jinping and thanks for his country’s support for India’s full membership in SCO.

■ May 2017: India declines Chinese invitation to attend the Belt and Road Initiative summit in Beijing and issues a detailed statement listing its objections.

■ October 2016: Modi meets Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Goa BRICS Summit.

■ May 2015: Modi leaves for China. His first stop is Xian, Xi’s home town, after which he’ll head to Beijing.

■ March 2015: India starts the 18th round of talks with China over the land boundary issue. National security advisor Doval and China’s special representative Yang Jiechi meet in Delhi.

■ February 2015: Less than a week after Obama’s departure visit, foreign minister Swaraj leaves for Beijing and meets president Xi.

■ January 2015: During US president Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit, Obama and Modi reportedly spend some 45 minutes talking about China, and both express concern about Beijing’s expansionist stance, especially in the South China Sea.

■ November 2014: Xi invites modi to attend the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Beijing. Modi declines the offer, but travels to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji. India also appoints its national security advisor, Ajit Doval, as the country’s special representative for Sino-India boundary negotiations.

■ September 2014: Xi visits India, and Modi, breaking protocol, receives him in Ahmedabad. They spend an evening strolling on the banks of the Sabarmati river. China promises $20 billion worth of investments in India over five years.

Both countries, however, remain engaged in a face-off at the border in Ladakh, after Chinese troops allegedly crossed over to the Indian side, through the entire visit.

■ August 2014: Modi visits Japan for five days. Modi makes his speech that the world is divided into two camps.

■ July 2014: India’s army chief Bikram Singh travels to Beijing for a three-day trip. Later that month, Modi meets Xi for the first time during the BRICS summit in Brazil. The two meet for almost 80 minutes.

■ June 2014: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi visits New Delhi to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Modi. Later in June, India’s vice president, Hamid Ansari, travels to Beijing on a five-day visit.

■ May 2014: China congratulates Modi’s election victory. Later in the month, Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China considers disputed territory, invites remarks from the Chinese foreign ministry.

■ April 2013: The Chinese troops intruded into Depsang Bulge in East Ladakh, approximately 19 km inside our perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) claimed it to be a part of its Xinjiang province. They were, however, pushed back.

■ November 2010: China started the practice of issuing stapled visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir.

■ 27 August 2010: India cancels defense exchanges with China after Beijing refuses to permit Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, head of the northern command, a visa because he “controlled” the disputed area of Jammu and Kashmir. India subsequently refuses to allow two Chinese defense officials to visit New Delhi..

■ 13 January 2009: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits China. Bilateral trade surpasses $50 billion and China becomes India’s largest trading partner in goods.

■ 13 October 2009: China objects to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

■ 25 May 2007: China denies a visa to Arunachal Pradesh chief minister, arguing that since the state is in fact a part of China he would not require a visa to visit his own country.

■ 9 April 2005: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits India, also visits Bangalore to push for an increase in Sino-Indian cooperation in high-tech industries.

■ 6 July 2006: China and India re-open Nathu La Pass, which was closed since the Sino-Indian war in 1962.

■ 23 June 2003: Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee makes a landmark visit to China.

■ 29 March 2002: India and China agree in Beijing to quicken the pace of LAC delineation in order to resolve the vexatious border dispute within a reasonable time-frame.

■ 13 January 2002: Chinese premier Zhu Rongji visits India.

■ 1 April 2000: India and China commemorate 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

■ 22 February 2000: India and China sign a bilateral trade agreement in Beijing to facilitate China’s early entry into the WTO and an MOU for setting up a Joint Working Group in the field of steel.

■ 31 January 2000: The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army build a permanent road network and sets up bunkers 5km in the Indian side of the LAC in Ladakh’s Aksai Chin area.

■ 22 January 2000: The Dalai Lama writes to the Prime Minister urging him to accord protection to the 17th Karmapa.

■ 14 January 2000: India officially declares to China that the 17th Karmapa has arrived in Dharamshala, but has not been granted refugee status.

■ 11 January 2000: Beijing warns that giving political asylum to the Karmapa would violate the five principles of peaceful coexistence.

■ 7 January 2000: Karmapa Lama flees China, reaches Dharamshala and joins the Dalai Lama.

■ 24 November 1999: India and China hold detailed discussions in New Delhi on ways to settle their border row.

■ 28 September 1999: China asks New Delhi to stop the ‘splitting activities’ of Dalai Lama from Indian soil to improve bilateral relations.

■ June 1999: China displays neutrality on the Kargil conflict and agrees to establish a security mechanism with India.

■ August 1998: India officially announces talks with China on the reopening of the Ladakh-Kailash-Mansarovar route.

■ July 1998: China urges India and Pakistan to give up their nuclear ambitions and sign the NPT.

■ 14 May 1998: China strongly condemns India’s second peaceful nuclear tests.

■ May 1998: Defence minister George Fernandes reported claim that China was India’s threat number one offends China.

■ August 1997: The India-China Joint Working Group meets in New Delhi. Instruments of ratification in respect to Confidence Building Measures agreement exchanged.

■ November 1996: Chinese President Jiang Zemin visits India, signs Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the military field along the LAC in the India-China Border Areas.

■ August 1995: India and China agree to pull back their troops on the Sumdorong Chu Valley in the eastern sector.

■ 1994: Vice-President K R Narayanan visits China.

■ September 1993: Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao visits China, signs agreement on Border Peace and Tranquility and the setting up of the India-China Expert Group of Diplomatic and Military Officers to assist the work in Joint Working Group.

■ December 1991: Chinese premier Li Peng visits India after a gap of 31 years, pledges to resolve the boundary question through friendly consultations.

■ December1988: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visits China. Agreement to set up a Joint Working Group on Boundary question and a Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology signed.

■ 8 December 1986: Beijing express strong condemnation over the establishment of Arunachal Pradesh as a full fledged State of the Indian Union.

■ 1986: Differences surface over the precise limits of the Mc Mohan Line in theSumdorung Chu area of Arunachal Pradesh.

■ February 1979: Indian foreign minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visits China.

■ 20 September 1976: Chen Chao Yuan is appointed as the Chinese Ambassador to India.

■ 7 July 1976: K. R. Narayanan is appointed as the India’s Ambassador to PRC.

■ April 1976: India and China decide to restore the level of diplomatic representation in both countries to the ambassadorial status after a 15year diplomatic hiatus.

■ April 1975: China expresses strong condemnation and utmost indignation at merger of Sikkim with the Indian Union.

■ May 1974: China criticizes India’s first peaceful nuclear explosion.

■ April 1973: China accuses India of committing aggression on Sikkim on the pretext of disturbances.

■ 1970: Informal contacts between the Indian and Chinese diplomats established.

■ 1 January 1969: India indicates its desire to conduct its relation with China on the principle of mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

■ 30 November 1965: Chinese troops intrude into north Sikkim and NEFA once again.

■ 27 August 1965: China accuses India of crossing the Sikkim-China boundary.

■ 2 March 1963: China and Pakistan sign a boundary settlement in Beijing between Kashmir and Xinjiang where Pakistan ceded 5080 sq. km of Pakistan occupied Kashmir territory.

■ 8 December 1962: China sends a note signed by Zhou Enlai to India reiterating the three-point ceasefire formula. India accepts and later on 10 December endorses Colombo proposals.

■ 21 November 1962: China declares a unilateral ceasefire along the entire border and announces withdrawal of its troops to position 20km behind the LAC.

■ 15-18 November 1962: A massive Chinese attack on the eastern front, Tawang, Walong in the western sector over run, Rezang La and the Chushul airport shelled. Chinese troops capture Bomdila in the NEFA region

■ February 1961: China refuses to discuss the Sino-Bhutanese and Sino-Sikkimese boundary disputes and further occupies 12,000 square miles in the western sector of the Sino-Indian border.

■ 19 April 1960: A meeting in New Delhi between Zhou Enlai and Nehru to address the boundary question ends in deadlock.

■ 8 September 1959: China refuses to accept the Mc Mohan Line with Zhou Enlai stating that China was not a signatory to the 1842 Peace Treaty between British India and England. Further, Beijing laid claims to almost 50,000 square miles of Indian territory in Sikkim and Bhutan.

■ 3 April 1959: Dalai Lama escapes from Lhasa and crosses into Indian territory. India’s decision to grant asylum to him sours relations with Beijing.

■ 23 January 1959: Zhou Enlai spells out for the first time China’s claims to over 40,000 square miles of Indian territory both in Ladakh and NEFA.

■ 4 September 1958: India officially objects to the inclusion of a big chunk of Northern Assam and NEFA in the China Pictorial - an official organ of the Chinese Peoples’ Republic.

■ September 1957: Indian Vice-President S. Radhakrishnan’s visits China.

■ 18 December 1956: Chinese nationals who entered Ladakh were illegally detained and later sent back to China.

■ November 1956: Zhou Enlai visits India for the second time on a goodwill mission.

■ 1 April 1955: India signs a Protocol at Lhasa handing over to China the control of all communication services in Tibet.

■ 2 March 1955: India objects to the inclusion of a portion of India’s northern frontier on the official map of China, saying it was a clear infringement of Panchsheel.

■ 15 May 1954: China and India sign the Panchsheel document.

■ May 1951: China forces the Tibetan Governor of Chamdo to concede full suzerainty over Tibet.

■ 7 October 1950: Chinese troops cross the Sino-Tibetan boundary, and move towards Lhasa.

■ 1 April 1950: K M Panikker appointed first Indian Ambassador to China.

■ 30 December 1949: India becomes the second non-communist nation to recognize the Peoples’ Republic of China after its proclamation on 1 October.

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