A Conference on ‘Revisiting the China-India Border Dispute’ (with podcast)


2-3 June 2010, University of Westminster, London.

https://chinaindiaborderdispute.wordpress.com and http://www.westminster.ac.uk/schools/humanities/politics-and-international-relations


Organiser: Dr Dibyesh Anand (www.dibyesh.com), Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Westminster, London, UK. Email: D.Anand@wmin.ac.uk

Sponsors: DPIR (University of Westminster), Nirman Foundation and the Universities’ China Committee in London.


A disputed Himalayan border is a primary obstacle in closer cooperation between India and China. The conference will revisit various facets of this dispute, including the boundary disagreement, border conflict, tense geopolitics of the region, the legacy of British imperialist re-ordering of the Himalayas, Great Power politics, strategic triangles (China-India-USA or China-India-Pakistan), the disappearance of traditional Tibetan state, the future of the Dalai Lama, and the impact of these tensions on the people living in the borderlands. This two-day event, held in the heart of central London, will bring together relevant international experts and provide an invaluable opportunity to scholars, students, diplomats, media persons, and interested members of the public, to further their understanding of the relationship between China and India.

China and India are rapidly emerging as key global players in the twenty-first century. Leaders around the world including President Obama, military strategists, security thinkers, businesspersons, media commentators, academics, and human rights activists have turned their attention to the challenges and opportunities offered by the rise of two Asian countries that share between them more than 37% of world’s population, 20% of world energy use, 10-17% of world economy (depending on the measure), 8-10% of military spending, 9% of world’s land, and are projected to significantly increase their stamp on the global politico-economic landscape. This fluid scenario demands greater understanding of the politics and international relations of both China and India, especially of Sino-Indian relations.

China-India relations have witnessed major swings since the heyday of close cooperation in the early 1950s and the nadir of the 1962 border war. Though both countries profess a desire to work closely to resolve disagreements, have rapidly expanding economic relations, and often strike strategic cooperation in several arenas (such as at the Copenhagen Climate Conference), their bilateral relationship is, by most accounts, fragile. Some of the factors that contribute to the testy China-India relations are: mutual suspicion of each others’ intentions, the bitter memories of 1962 war (especially in India), the presence in India of Tibetan exiles led by the Dalai Lama, Indian discomfort at China’s close relations with Pakistan, China’s increasing clout in other South Asian states, Chinese mistrust of warmer Indo-US relations. The key issue that prevents the two countries from establishing a stable relationship is the border dispute.

China and India have a territorial disagreement and accuse each other of illegal occupation. The border dispute, emerging from a boundary disagreement and centering on Aksai Chin/South Xinjiang area in the Western Himalayas (under Chinese control) and Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet (under Indian control) in the Eastern Himalayas, has already led to a war in 1962, several military clashes, political posturing, and more recently, military buildup, media wars, diplomatic squabbles, and blame-games.

This conference brings together world’s leading experts to discuss and debate various facets of the Sino-Indian border dispute. The aim is to identify and assess various perceptions of Sino-Indian rivalry as exemplified in the border dispute.

A special issue in the journal China Report is planned for 2011 to be followed up by en edited collection in 2012. The conference website https://chinaindiaborderdispute.wordpress.com/ will also act as a research archive for sources on the border dispute.



Venue: Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster, London, W1B 2UW

1330-1400 Registration

1400-1430 Welcome Address by Roland Dannreuther (University of Westminster)

Introductory Address by Dibyesh Anand

1430-1530 Keynote One: Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia), ‘Why the Sino-Indian border dispute is still unresolved after 50 years’

Podcast of Welcome, Introduction and Keynote One – Introduction and Neville Maxwell’s Keynote

Discussant: Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

1530-1600 Tea

1600-1730 Panel One: China-India Relations and the Tibet Question (Session on Tibet and the China-India Border dispute)

Jabin Jacob (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, India/ Sciences Po, France), ‘For a new kind of “Forward Policy”: Tibet and Sino-Indian relations’

Tsering Topgyal (London School of Economics, UK), ‘Charting the Tibet issue in the China-India border dispute’

Discussant: James Clad (National Defense University, USA)

1730-1800 Break and Wine Reception

1800-1930 Roundtable One: China-India Border Dispute: Revisiting the Past (RoundtableOnePart1 and RoundtableOnePart2)

Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)

Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China)

Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia)


Venue: Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster, London, W1B 2UW

0930-1000 Registration

1000-1100 Keynote Two: John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), ‘The unresolved Sino-Indian territorial dispute: Narratives of national identity, territoriality, and security’ KeynoteTwoJohnGarver

Discussant: Jabin Jacob (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, India/ Sciences Po, France)

1100-1130 Tea

1130-1300 Panel Two: Negotiating a Settlement – Priorities and Strategies – Sessionwith Xuecheng Liu and Alka Acharya

Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China), ‘Looking beyond the border dispute’

Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), ‘Course correction: An analysis of the origins and implications of the agreements of 2003 and 2005’

Discussant: Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia)

1300-1400 Lunch

1400-1530 Panel Three: The Emerging Global Order in Asia – Changing Geopolitics

James Clad (National Defense University, USA), ‘Sino-Indian territorial issues and China’s periphery policy’

Zorawar Daulet Singh (Centre for Policy Alternatives, India), ‘Discord and collaboration: India China relations in the evolving order’

Discussant: Tsering Topgyal (London School of Economics)

1530-1600 Tea

1600-1730 Roundtable Two: China-India Relations and the Border Issue: Possible Futures – Roundtable2

Alka Acharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

James Clad (National Defense University, USA)

John Garver (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)

Xuecheng Liu (China Institute of International Studies, China)

Neville Maxwell (Australian National University, Australia)

1730-1800 Session8 by Dibyesh Anand

[Detailed programme including information on the speakers available from https://chinaindiaborderdispute.wordpress.com)


2 Responses to “A Conference on ‘Revisiting the China-India Border Dispute’ (with podcast)”

  1. China prepares for war 'in all directions' - Page 6 Says:

    […] Originally Posted by Bombensturm I believe there also another factor when it comes to claiming territory which is the consent of the inhabitant population You've made this argument before, but do you really know they are with you? Here is the funny bit, the people around the McMahon side with India not out of any fondness, but rather a fear of losing religious freedom. Given the casual racism of mainstream Indian media against them and their cultural identity apart. China has been actively courting these people and trying to assure them of their religious rights if they were to come under Chinese governance. These people already see that their future would literally be brighter with China. The thing that strikes most people visiting the border is how the Chinese side is lit and the roads excellent while the Indian side is dark and the roads crumbling. Now before people start claiming BS, this is the assessment given by a Tibetan Tibetologist living in India giving a lecture in England. See: Tsering Topgyal (London School of Economics) Full lecture here A Conference on ?Revisiting the China-India Border Dispute? (with podcast) China-India Border Disput… […]

  2. bead store Says:

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