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Better Understanding

 

THREE AGREEMENTS AND FIVE PRINCIPLES BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

Swaran Singh

56

As suggested by Prof. Tan Chung, I have composed the following as a separate article to be the reference point to my ensuing piece on India-China confidence building measures. The word “Panchsheel” (also spelled as “pancasila”) denoted “Five Taboos” in the ancient Buddhist scriptures governing the personal behaviour of Indian (later Chinese and other foreign) monks. This was taken from the holy books by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to be applicable to international behaviours of the modern states. When Nehru proposed to make panchsheel enshrine the first India-China agreement in 1954 as the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Chinese Premier, Zhou Enlai, readily agreed. Thus, these five principles have become the joint India-China invention.

All inter-state interactions, especially their written agreements, surely make their contribution towards evolving an environment of mutual security and mutual confidence yet some remain more directed towards this motive than others. In that context, this essay consists of, only the three most important agreements which have laid the foundations and defined the perimeters of confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) between India and China. These include the Panchsheel Agreement signed in Beijing on April ‘29, 1954, Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control which was signed in Beijing on September 7, 1993 and the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control signed in New Delhi on November 29, 1996. All three agreements have been duty ratified by both sides. Below, I present to our readers the three documents each with an introductory note explaining the context and historical significance of them.

 

1. The Panchsheel Agreement

Popularly known as the Panchsheel Agreement, this was basically a trade pact between China and India streamlining their bilateral trade operations in Tibet and, therefore, at the time of signing it was not visualised as a CSBM agreement, though without saying it in so many words, it intended to serve the same objectives as the latter two CSBM agreements of 1993 and 1999. The negotiations for this agreement were held in Beijing between December 31, 1953 and April 29, 1954 at the end of which this agreement was finally signed in Beijing.

The lasting significance of this agreement lies in the fact that this was the first document where both India and China enunciated the famous ‘Five Principles” (Panchsheel) of peaceful coexistence which today form the centrepiece of their current CSBMs. And being the basis in defining the code of inter-state relations, even after 43 years Panchsheel remains an extremely valid framework. In practical terms, however, China was the immediate beneficiary of this agreement. India, on the other hand had felt satisfied with its intangible gains. At least that was how Jawahalal Nehru repeatedly explained it to his people. In terms of its concessions, it meant that for the first time, India recognised China’s complete control over Tibet. In this agreement India voluntarily gave up its military, communication and postal and other rights which New Delhi had inherited from the British in accordance with the Anglo-Tibetan Treaty of 1904. It is strange why India did not demand any reciprocal concession? In retrospect, this presented a rare opportunity to resolve the rest of the border dispute which is the only basic problem between these two countries today.

India’s non-insistence on reciprocal concessions while recognising China’s suzerainty over Tibet by India has, of course, to be understood in the context of the ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” spirit of 1950s where China’s leaders swore of “eternal peace and friendship” and Indian leadership felt satisfied having got a written guarantee of good behaviour from China in terms of Pachsheel being a part of this Agreement’s Preamble. Also, such an Indian response has to be understood in view of Nehru’s personality and beliefs, He had been India’s sole spokesperson on foreign relations and following the death of Gandhiji (1948) and Sardar Pate1 (1950) Jawaharlal Nehru had clearly emerged as the single most important leader of the monolith Indian National Congress.

Defending this Agreement in Indian Parliament, he said: “It was the recognition of existing situation there. Historical and practical considerations necessitated the step.” In April 1954, Nehru was still a man who sought security in peace and trusted China’s friendly gestures.

Going by the tenor of Nehru’s arguments, this agreement was clearly seen as geared towards generating mutual trust and confidence between two newly liberated and strongly nationalistic republics. Thus, in retrospect, this can be safely described as the first Sino-India CSBM Agreement. Whatever may have been its reasons, had Dalai Lama not left Tibet and sought asylum in India, this Agreement would have stood the test and been maintained as a momentum towards greater understanding. And here, Dalai Lama’s arrival in India in 1959 was perhaps the one most important factor that changed the entire spirit of Sino-lndian relations. Prime Minister Zhou En-lai who during his earlier visit to New Delhi had assured Nehru of his support in China’s recognising the MacMahon Line as the Sine-Indian border. He, however, wrote in his famous letter to Nehru later, saying that China had never recognised the McMahon Line. This portended for a downward trend, gradually resulting in deteriorating their relations and later leading to the 1962 war. This completely changed the context in which this Agreement had been signed and their relations remained frozen for the next two decades or so. Below is the text of this agreement as also of the notes exchanged between the two delegations:

 

AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA

AND

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

ON TRADE AND INTER-COURSE BETWEEN TIBET REGION

OF CHINA AND INDIA

The Government of the Republic of India and the Central people’s Government of the People’s Republic of China:

Being desirous of promoting trade and cultural intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India and of facilitating pilgrimage and travel by the people of China and India;

Have resolved to enter into the present agreement based on the following principles:

(1) Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty;

(2) Mutual non-aggression;

(3) Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;

(4) Equality and mutual benefit: and

(5) Peaceful coexistence

and for this purpose have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries:

The Government of the Republic of India:

H.E. Nedyam Raghavan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India accredited to the

People’s Republic of China,

The Central People’s Government of the

The People’s Republic of China:

H.E. Chang Han-Fu, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central People’s Government,

Who, having examined each other’s credentials and finding them in good and due form, have agreed upon the following:

 

ARTICLE I

The High Contracting Parties mutually agree to establish trade agencies:

(I) The Government of India agree that the Government of China may establish trade agencies at New Delhi, Calcutta and Kalimpong.

(II) The Government of China agree that the Government of India may establish bade agencies at Yatung, Gyantse and Gartok.

The Trade Agencies of both parties shall be accorded the same status and same treatment. The Trade Agents of both parties shall enjoy freedom from arrest while exercising their functions, and shall enjoy in respect of themselves, their wives and children who are dependent on them for their livelihood freedom from search.

The Trade Agencies of both parties shall enjoy the privileges and immunities for couriers, mail bags and communications in code.

 

ARTICLE II

The High Contracting Parties agree that traders of both countries known to be customarily and specifically engaged in trade between the Tibet region of China and India may trade at the following places:

(1) The Government of China agree to specify (1) Yatung, (2) Gyantse and (3) Phari as markets for trade: the Government of India agree that trade may be carried on in India including places like (1) Kalimpong, (2) Siliguri and (3) Calcutta, according to customary practice.

(2) The Government of China agree to specify (1) Gartok. (2) Pulanchung (Taklakot), (3) Gyalima-Khargo, (4) Gyanima-Chakra, (5) Ranura. (6) Dongbra, (7) Pulling-Sumdo (3) Nabra, (9) Shangtse and (10) Tashigong as markets for trade; the Government of India agree that in future when in accordance with the development and need of trade between the Art district of the Tibet region of China and India, it has become necessary to specify markets for trade in the corresponding districts in India adjacent to the Art district of the Tibet region of China, it will be prepared to consider on the basis of equality and reciprocity to do so.

 

ARTICLE III

The High Contracting Parties agree that pilgrimages by religious believers of the two countries shall be carried on in accordance with the following provisions:

(1) Pilgrims from India of Lamaist, Hindu and Buddhist faith may visit Kang Rimpoche (Kailash) and Mavam Tse (Mansarowar) in the Tibet region of China in accordance with custom.

(2) Pilgrims from the Tibet region of China of Lamaist and Buddhist faiths may visit Banaras, Sarnath, Gaya and Sanchi in India in accordance with custom.

(3) Pilgrims customarily visiting Lhasa may continue to do so in accordance with custom.

 

ARTICLE IV

Traders and pilgrims of both countries may travel by the following passes and routes:

(1) Shipki La Pass

(2) Mana Pass

(3) Niti Pass

(4) Kungri Bingri Pass

(5) Dana Pass, and

(6) Lipu Lekh Pass.

Also the customary route leading to Tashigong along the valley of Elek Gatasangpu (Indus river) continue to be traversed in accordance with custom.

 

ARTICLE V

For traveling across borers, the High Contracting Parties agree that diplomatic personnel, officials and nations of the two countries shall hold passports issued by their own respective countries and visas by the other party except as provided in paragraphs 1, 2. 3, and 4 of this article.

(1) Traders of both countries known to be customarily and specifically engaged in trade between the Tibet region of China and India, their wives and children, who are dependent on them for livelihood and their attendants will be allowed entry for purposes of trade into India or the Tibet region of China, as the case may be, in accordance with custom on the production of certificates duly issued by the local Government of their own country by its duly authorised agents and examined by the border check posts of the other party.

(2) Inhabitants of the border districts of the two countries, who cross borders to carry on petty trade or to visit friends and relatives, may proceed to the border districts of the other party as they have customarily done heretofore and need not be restricted to the passes and route specified in Article IV above and shall not be required to hold passports, visas or permits.

(3) Porters and mule-team drivers of the two countries who cross the border to perform necessary transportation services need not hold passports issued by their own country, but shall only hold certificates for a definite period of time (good for three months, half year or one year) duly issued by the local agents and produce them for registration at the border checkpost of the other party.

(4) Pilgrims of both countries need not carry documents of certification but shall register at the border checkpost of the other party and receive a permit for pilgrimage.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing paragraph of this article, either Government may refuse entry to any particular person.

(6) Persons who enter the territory of the other party in accordance with the foregoing paragraphs of this article may stay within its territory only after complying with the procedures specified by the other party.

 

ARTICLE VI

The present agreement shall come into effect upon ratification by both Governments and shall remain in force for eight years. Extension of the present agreement may be negotiated by the two parties if either party requests for it six months prior to the expiry of the agreement and the request is agreed to by the other party.

Done in duplicate in Peking on April 29, 1954, in Hindi, Chinese and English languages, all text being equally valid.

Plenipotentiary of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China - CHANG HAN-FU

Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Republic of India - N RAGHAVAN

 

TEXT OF NOTES EXCHANGED

BETWEEN THE DELEGATIONS OF INDIA AND CHINA

 

Peking, April 29, 1954

Your Excellency, Mr. Vice-Foreign Minister,

In the course of our discussion regarding the agreement on trade and intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India, which has happily concluded on Thursday (April 29) the delegation of the Government of the Republic of India and the delegation of the Government of the People’s Republic of China agreed that certain matters be regulated by an exchange of notes. In pursuance of this understanding, it is hereby agreed between the two Governments as follows:

(1) The Government of India will be pleased to withdraw completely within six months from date of exchange of the present notes the military escort now stationed at Yatung and Gyantse in the Tibet region of China. The Government of China will render facilities and assistance in such withdrawal.

(2) The Government of India will be pleased to hand over to the Government of China at a reasonable price the post, telegraph and public telephone services together with their equipment operated by the Government of India in the Tibet region of China. The concrete measures in this regard will be decided upon through further negotiations between the Indian Embassy in China and the Foreign Ministry of China, which shall start immediately after the exchange of the present notes.

(3) The Government of India will be pleased to hand over to the Government of China at a reasonable price the twelve rest-houses of the Government of India in the Tibet region of China. The concrete measures in this regard will be decided upon through further negotiations between the Indian Embassy in China and the Foreign Ministry of China which will start immediately after the exchange of the present notes. The Government of China agree that they shall continue as rest-houses.

(4) The Government of China agree that all buildings within the compound wall of the Trade Agencies of the Government of India at Yatung and Gyantse in the Tibet region of China may be retained by the Government of India; and the Government of India may continue to lease the land within its agency compound wall from the Chinese side. And the Government of India agree that the Trade Agencies of the Government of China at Kalimpong and Calcutta may lease lands from the Indian side for the use of the Agencies and construct buildings thereon. The Government of China will render every possible assistance for housing the Indian Trade Agency at Gartok. The Government of India will also render every possible assistance for housing the Chinese Trade Agency at New Delhi.

(5) The Government of India will be pleased to return to the Government of China all land used or occupied by the Government of India other than the lands within its Trade Agency compound wall at Yatung.

If there are godowns and buildings of the Government of India on the above-mentioned land used or occupied and to be returned by the Government of India and if Indian traders have stores or godowns or buildings on the above-mentioned land so that there is a need to continue leasing land, the Government of China agree to sign a contract with the Government of India or Indian traders, as the case may be, for leasing to them those parts of the land occupied by the said godowns, buildings or stores and pertaining thereto.

(6) The Trade Agents of both parties may, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the local government, have access to their nationals involved in civil or criminal cases.

(7) The Trade Agents and traders of both countries may hire employees in the locality.

(8) The hospitals of the Indian Trade Agencies at Gyantse and Yatung will continue to serve personnel of the Indian Trade Agencies.

(9) Each Government shall protect the person and property of the traders and pilgrims of the other country.

(10) The Government of China agree, so far as possible, to construct rest-houses for use of pilgrims along the route from Pulanchung (Taklakot) to Kang Rimpoche (Kailash) and Mavam Tse (Manasarowar), and the Government of India agree to place all possible facilities in India at the disposal of pilgrims.

(11) Traders and pilgrims of both countries shall have the facilities of hiring means of transportation at normal and reasonable rates.

(12) The three Trade Agencies of each party may function throughout the year.

(13) Traders of each country may rent buildings and godowns in accordance with local regulations in places under the jurisdiction of the other party.

(14) Traders of both countries may carry on normal trade in accordance with local regulations at places as provided in Article II of the agreement.

(15) Disputes between traders of both countries over debts and claims shall be handled in accordance with local laws and regulations.

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of India, I hereby agree that the present note, along with your reply, shall become an agreement between our two Governments which shall come into force upon the exchange of the present notes.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you the assurances of my highest consideration.

N. Raghavan

Ambassador Extraordinary

and Plenipotentiary of the

Republic of India
29 April 1954

Peking, April 29, 1954

Your Excellency Mr Ambassador

I have the honour to receive your note dated April 29, 1954 which reads:

(text omitted - Editor)

On behalf of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, I hereby agree to Your Excellency’s note, and your note along with the present note in reply shall become an agreement between our two Governments, which shall come into force upon the exchange of the present notes. I avail myself of this opportunity to express to Your Excellency, Mr Ambassador, the assurances of my highest consideration.

 

Chang Han-Fu

Vice Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

People’s Republic of China

29 April, 1954

 

2. The CSBM Agreement of 1993

This was the first document which was so clearly focussed on evolving a framework of CSBMs between India and China. In the context of the post-Cold War era of disarmament, this also became Asia’s first major agreement on conventional military disengagement which has resulted in effecting actual disarmament (not just arms control) between two former adversaries and that too without any role played by third countries.

This new spirit towards expanding mutual understanding and cooperation had resulted following the historic visit in December 1988 to Beijing by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi which was followed by a spate of other high-level visits from both sides including visit by Chinese Premier, Li Peng, to India in December 1991 and by Indian President, R. Venkataraman, to China in May 1992. This was followed by the visit of Prime Minister PV. Narasimha Rao to Beijing in September 1993 during which this agreement was initialed by both sides along with various other agreements. This agreement has since resulted in generating new enthusiasm in the working of Sine-India Joint Working Group on Boundary Question which during its Eighth Round in New Delhi (August 1995) agreed to dismantle four closest military posts on the border and setting up four border trade ports as also

four meeting points between their military personnel on the border. Expansion in their interactions in the border region can be cited as another positive result of mutual confidence that this agreement has generated during these last few years, In fact, the second CSBM agreement signed in November 1996 has been described as continuation of this positive process initiated by this first CSBM agreement of September 1993. Below is the text of this agreement:

 

AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA

AND

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

ON THE MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND TRANQUILUTY

ALONG THE UNE OF ACTUAL CONTROL IN THE INDIA CHINA BORDER AREAS

The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, (hereinafter referred to as the two sides), have entered into the present agreement in accordance with the five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non interference into each others internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence and with a view to maintaining peace and tranquillity along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, Have agreed as follows:

 

ARTlCLE I

The two sides are of the view that the India-China boundary question shall be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations. Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means. Pending an ultimate solution to the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control between the two sides. No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control. In case personnel of one side cross the line of actual control, upon being cautioned by the other side, they shall immediately pull back to their own side of the line of actual control. When necessary, the two sides shall jointly check and determine the segments of the line of actual control where they have different views as to its alignment.

 

ARTICLE II

Each side will keep its military forces in the areas along the line of actual control to a minimum level compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries. The two sides agree to reduce their military forces along the line of actual control in conformity with the requirements of the principle of mutual and equal security to ceilings to be mutually agreed. The extent, depth, timing and ‘nature of reduction of military forces along the line of actual control shall be determined through mutual consultation between the two countries. The reduction of military forces shall be carried out by stages in mutually agreed geographical locations sector wise within the areas along the line of actual control.

 

ARTICLE Ill

Both sides shall work out through consultations effective confidence building measures in the areas along the line of actual control. Neither side will undertake specified levels of military exercises in mutually identified zones. Each side shall give the other prior notification of military exercises of specified levels near the line of actual control permitted under this Agreement.

 

ARTICLE IV

In case of contingencies or other problems arising in the areas along the line of actual control, the two sides shall deal with them through meetings and friendly consultations between border personnel of the two countries. The form of such meetings and channels of communications between the border personnel shall be mutually agreed upon by the two sides.

 

ARTlCLE V

The two sides agree to take adequate measures to ensure that air intrusions across the line of actual control do not take place and shall undertake mutual consultations should intrusions occur. Both sides shall also consult on possible restrictions on lair exercises in areas to be mutually agreed near the line of actual control.

 

ARTICLE VI

The two sides agreed that references to the line of actual control in this agreement do not prejudice their respective positions on the boundary question.

 

ARTICLE VII

The two sides shall agree through consultations on the form, method, Scale and content of effective verification measures and supervision required for the reduction of military forces and the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the areas along the line of actual control under this agreement.

 

ARTICLE VIII

Each side of the India-China Joint Working Group on the Boundary Question shall appoint diplomatic and military experts to formulate, through mutual consultations, implementation measures for the present Agreement. The experts shall advise the Joint Working Group on the resolution of differences between the two sides on the alignment of the line of actual control and address issues relating to the redeployment with a view to reduction of military forces in the areas along the line of actual control. The experts shall also assist the Joint Working Group in supervision of the implementation of the Agreement, and settlement of differences that may arise in that process, based on the principle of good faith and mutual confidence.

 

ARTICLE IX

The present Agreement shall come into effect as of the date of signature and is subject to amendment and addition by agreement of the two sides.

Signed in duplicates at Beijing on the 7th September, 1993 in the Hindi. Chinese and English languages, all three texts having equal validity.

 

For the Government of                                          For the Government of                           

the Republic of India                                                 People’s Republic of China

 

3. Extending CSBMs to ,Military Field

Signed on November 29, 1996, during the historic visit by President Jiang Zemin to New Delhi, this agreement has been generally described as one that marks the completion of the positive process of evolving Sino-Indian CSBMs. Commentators from both sides have described this document as the first “No War” Pact between China and India. The strength of this agreement lies in its being very specific in pointing out their areas of agreement, something which is generally not possible amongst former adversaries who continue to have major disagreements on their boundary question. Also, the fact that this agreement was signed in the context of the historic visit by China’s President, Jiang Zemin to India which was the first visit by a Chinese head of State in the history of these two ancient civilisations of over 5,000 years has revived the spirit of cooperation that was initiated by their earlier agreement in 1993 and it is this spirit of cooperation that today appears to be the salient feature of their multifaceted interactions. The agreement has since been ratified by bath sides and the Instruments of Ratification were exchanged by both sides during the Tenth meeting of Sino-Indian Joint Working Group in New Delhi in August 1997. Apart from signalling the completion of basic framework of CSBMs, this agreement also marks the beginning of major initiatives in actually resolving the border dispute and initial steps towards this have been incorporated in the document. The agreement reads:

 

AGREEMENTBETWEEN

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA

AND

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

ON CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN THE MILITARY FIELD ALONG

THE LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL IN THE INDIA-CHINA BORDER AREAS

 

The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the two sides),

Believing that it serves the fundamental interests of the peoples of India and China to foster a long-term good neighbourly relationship in accordance with the five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each others internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence,

Convinced that the maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas accords with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and will also contribute to the ultimate resolution of the boundary question,

Reaffirming that neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means to seek unilateral military superiority,

Pursuant to the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas, signed on 7 September 1993,

Recognising the need for effective confidence building measures in the military field along the line of actual control in the border areas between the two sides,

Noting the utility of confidence building measures already in place along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas,

Committed to enhancing mutual confidence and transparency in the military field,

Have agreed as follows:

 

ARTICLE I

Neither side shall use its military capability against the other side. No armed forces deployed by either side in the border areas along the line of actual control as part of their respective military strength shall be used to attack the other side, or engage in military activities that threaten the other side or undermine peace, tranquillity and stability in the India-China border areas.

 

ARTICLE II

The two sides reiterate their determination to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question. Pending an ultimate solution to the boundary question, the two sides reaffirm their commitment to strictly respect and observe the line of actual control in, the India-China border areas, No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control.

 

ARTICLE Ill

The two sides agree to take the following measures to reduce or limit their, respective military forces within mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas:

(1) The two sides reaffirm that they shall reduce or limit their respective military forces within mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas to minimum levels compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries and consistent with the principle of mutual and equal security.

(2) The two sides shall reduce or limit the number of field army, border defence forces, para-military forces and any other mutually agreed category of armed forces deployed in mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of actual control to ceilings to be mutually agreed upon. The major categories of armaments to be reduced or limited are as follows: combat tanks, infantry combat vehicles, guns (including howitzers) with 75 mm or bigger calibre, mortars with 120 mm or bigger calibre, surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and any other weapon system mutually agreed upon.

(3) The two sides shall exchange data on the military forces and armaments to be reduced or limited and decide on ceilings on military forces and armaments to be kept by each side within mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas. The ceilings shall be determined in conformity with the requirement of the principle of mutual and equal security, with due consideration being given to parameters such as the nature of terrain, road communications and other infrastructure and time taken to induct/deincfuct troops and armaments.

 

ARTICLE IV

In order to maintain peace and tranquillity along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas and to prevent any tension in the border areas due to misreading by either side of the other side’s intentions:

(1) Both sides shall avoid holding large scale military exercises involving more than one Division (approximately 15,000 troops) in close proximity of the line of actual control in the India-China border areas. However, if such exercises are

to be conducted, the strategic direction of the main force involved shall not be towards the other side.

(2) If either side conducts a major military exercise involving more than one Brigade (approximately 5,000 troops) in close proximity of the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, it shall give the other side prior notification with regard to type, level, planned duration and formations participating in the exercise.

(3) The date of completion of the exercise and deinduction of troops from the areas of exercise shall be intimated to the other side within five days of completion or deinduction.

(4) Each side shall be entitled to obtain timely clarification from the side undertaking the exercise in respect of data specified in Paragraph 2 of the present Article.

 

ARTICLE V

With a view to preventing air intrusions across the line of actual control in the India-China border areas and facilitating overflights and landings by military aircraft:

(1) Both sides shall take adequate measures to ensure that air intrusions across the line of actual control do not take place. However, if an intrusion does take place, it should cease as soon as detected and the incident shall be promptly investigated by the side operating the aircraft. The results of the investigation shall be immediately communicated, through diplomatic channels or at border personnel meetings, to the other side.

(2) Subject to Paragraphs 3 and 5 of this Article, combat aircraft (to include fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, military trainer, armed helicopter and other armed aircraft) shall not fly within ten kilometers of the line of actual control.

(3) If either side is required to undertake flights of combat aircraft within ten kilometers from the line of actual control, it shall give the following information in advance to the other side, through diplomatic channels:

(a) Type and number of combat aircraft;

(b) Height of the proposed flight (in meters);

(c) Proposed duration of flights (normally not to exceed ten days);

(d) Proposed timing of flights: and

(e) Area of operations defined in latitude and longitude.

(4) Unarmed transport aircraft, survey aircraft and helicopters shall be permitted to fly up to the line of actual control.

(5) No military aircraft of either side shall fly across the line of actual control, except by prior permission. Military aircraft of either side may fly across the line of actual control or overfly the other side’s airspace or land on the other side only after obtaining the latter’s prior permission after providing the latter with detailed information on the flight in accordance with the international practice in this regard.

Notwithstanding the above stipulation, each side has the sovereign right to specify additional conditions, including at short notice, for flights or lands of military aircraft of the other side on its side of the line of actual control or through its airspace.

(6) In order to ensure flight safety in emergency situations, the authorities designated by the two sides may contact each other by the quickest means of communications available.

 

ARTICLE VI

With a view to preventing dangerous military activities along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, the two sides agree as follows:

(1) Neither side shall open fire, cause biodegradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges.

(2) If there is a need to conduct blast operations within two kilometers of the line of actual control as part of developmental activities, the other side shall be informed through diplomatic channels or by convening a border personnel meeting, preferably five days in advance.

(3) While conducting exercises with live ammunition in areas close to the line of actual control, precaution shall be taken to ensure that a bullet or a missile does not accidentally fall on the other side across the line of actual control and causes harm to the personnel or property of the other side.

(4) If the border personnel of the two sides come in a face-to-face situation due to differences on the alignment of the line of actual control or any other reason, they shall exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid an escalation of the situation. Both sides shall also enter into immediate consultations through diplomatic and/or other available channels to review the situation and prevent any escalation of tension.

ARTICLE VII

In order to strengthen the cooperation between their military personnel and establishments in the border areas along the line of actual control, the two sides agree:

(1) To maintain and expand the regime of scheduled and flag meetings between their border representatives at designated places along the line of actual control;

(2) To maintain and expand telecommunication links between their border meeting points at designated places along the line of actual control:

(3) To establish step-by-step medium and high-level contacts between the border authorities of the two sides.

 

ARTICLE VIII

(1) Should the personnel of one side cross the line of actual control and enter the other side because of unavoidable circumstances like natural disasters, the other side shall extend all possible assistance to them and inform their side, as soon as possible, regarding the forced or inadvertent entry across the line of actual control. The modalities of return of the concerned personnel to their own side shall be settled through mutual consultations.

(2) The two sides shall provide each other, at the earliest possible, with information pertaining to natural disasters and epidemic disasters in contiguous border areas which might affect the other side. The exchange of information shall take place either through diplomatic channels or at border personnel meetings,

 

ARTICLE IX

In case a doubtful situation develops in the border region, or in case one of the sides has some questions or doubts regarding the manner in which the other side is observing this Agreement, either side has the right to seek a clarification from the other side. The clarifications sought and replies to them shall be conveyed through diplomatic channels.

 

ARTICLE X

(1) Recognising that the full implementation of some of the provisions of the present Agreement will depend on the two sides arriving at a common understanding of the alignment of the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, the two sides agree to speed up, the process of clarification and confirmation of the line of actual control. As an initial step in this process, they are clarifying the alignment of the line of actual control in those segments where they have different perceptions. They also agree to exchange maps indicating their respective perceptions of the entire alignment of the line of actual control as soon as possible.

(2) Pending the completion of the process of clarification and confirmation of the line of actual control, the two sides shall work out modalities for implementing confidence building measures envisaged under this Agreement on an interim basis, without prejudice to their respective positions on the alignment of the line of actual control as well as the boundary question.

 

ARTICLE XI

Detailed implementation measures required under Article I to X of this Agreement shall be decided through mutual consultations in the India-China Join! Working Group on the Boundary Question. The India-China Diplomatic and Military experts Group shall assist the India-China Joint Working Group in devising implementation measures under the Agreement.

 

ARTICLE XII

This Agreement is subject to ratification and shall enter into force on the date of exchange of instruments of ratification.

It shall remain in effect until either side decides to terminate it after giving six months’ notice in writing. It shall become invalid six months after the notification.

This agreement is subject to amendment and addition by mutual agreement in writing between the two sides.

Signed in duplicates in New Delhi on 29 November, 1996 in the Hindi, Chinese and English languages, all three texts, being equally authentic. In case of divergence, the English text shall prevail.

 
For the Government of                                                  For the Government of the

the Republic of India                                                         People’s Republic of China

 

Having presented these three historic Sino-lndian CSBM agreements, the single most important element that comes to the fore lies in the sustained mutual commitment from both these countries towards the sanctity of what is known as the Panchsheel. These Five Principles of peaceful co-existence not only represent the very soul of Sino-Indian friendship and understanding but also form the common thread that provides continuity and joins these three agreements together, Panchsheel, therefore, can be safely described as the very core and the very essence of these three agreements that represent the successful termination of two different phases of flux and friction in Sine-Indian relations. These Five Principles have since been adopted not only in various other Sino-Indian agreements and other bilateral documents but have also been presented to the world as an ideal framework for peaceful and stable inter-state relations. During the historic visit by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing in December 1968, China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping had, in fact, proposed that both China and India should work together and present Panchsheel as the basic framework for defining the new world order of post-Cold War world.

Seen individually, the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement formed the cradle of these historic Five Principles of Panchsheel. To start with, the Agreement had sought to put behind some of historical entanglements of the Sino-lndian ties, albeit incomprehensibly, By invoking the spirit of Panchsheel -which also have cultural connotations for being the integral core of Buddhist preaching - this agreement had once emerged as the strongest force in combining the people of these two civilizational-states of China and India. However, despite the fact that there was nothing wrong in the formulation of this agreement’s letter and spirit, the attack on it came, as I have alluded to earlier, from a deteriating atmosphere not generated from this agreement itself. For one thing, both the young republics were intoxicated in copious patristic nationalist alcohol. For another, there was the cold war developing from strength to strength, and India and China were unwittingly sucked into its whirlpool.

Although the Agreement lapsed, in 1962, it has stood as a shining document with an immortal guiding principle in international affairs.

The 1993 and 1996 agreements have closed a chapter which had been the most unpleasant in tine history between the two countries. They have ended the eyeball to eyeball confrontation over the Himalayan peaks, have stopped making the holy range a hot spot in international conflict. Here, too, the spirit of Panchsheel was brought to play.

Apart from various other factors like historical legacies, evolved conventions, and mutual perceptions, treaties remain the most widely accepted and most legitimate legal instrument that defines and determines the code of conduct for inter-state interactions. These three agreements assume special significance when signed by two nation-states which may be either widely different in terms of their histories, languages, cultures, political systems or levels of development or which may have fallen prey to unfavourable atmospherics generated by their not-so-friendly or conflictual relations. In fact, treaties have always had a special place in terminating inter-state wars or in resolving other inter-state disputes. Though, such a tradition of treaty-making can be traced back to the ancient times yet, the two World Wars and the consequent emergence of the League of Nations and United Nations have particularly clauses and principles, it soon fell prey to the difficult ground realities and unfavourable circumstances. The 1954 Agreement was allowed to lapse at the end of its E-year life because the bilateral atmosphere in 1962 was too unfriendly to extend its existence. It was precisely because of this change in the ambiance in which this agreement was conceived that it could not bear fruition. Nevertheless, in looking back, it has stood as one most shining document in the historical times and its Five Principles of Panchsheel have found their place of pride in various other international treaties and other inter-state documents. This agreement has also continued to be the guiding force for all the latter Sino-Indian initiatives towards renewing their friendship and building confidence.

The other two CSBM agreements of 1993 and 1996 mark the continuation of the first Sine-Indian Panchsheel Agreement, both in letter and spirit. In the same manner, they also mark the success of Sino-Indian rapprochement that has been so assiduously evolved since the mid-1970s. These two agreements finally have closed the sad chapter in Sine-Indian ties which had witnessed the longest freeze in post-independence diplomatic relations as also an actual shooting war followed by incidents of eyeball-to-eyeball antagonism making the Himalayan gap not only insurmountable but also one of the dangerous international boundaries on the earth. But more than that, these two CSBM agreements underline important steps agreed mutually to guide Sino-Indian relationship towards the goal of greater friendship, more transparency and a future pattern of mutual trust, peace and friendship between the two Asian giants. However, sceptics have continued to describe them as only pious and good intentions and complain that these have not been followed by action. This argument does remain valid to a certain extent. But considering the magnitudes of complications that engulf Sine-Indian ties, even good intentions obtain special significance once put on paper in black and white. In the end, therefore, despite their limited and slow pace of success, these agreements definitely have much greater historical significance than what meets the eyes at a first glance. They also initiated a spirit of looking at each other in the bilateral relations setting up rules and regulations that govern the operations for the ground activities. Lately, with rapid developments in the fields of science and technology, rising interstate awareness, synergy and interdependence have tremendously increased the significance of what have come to be known as the confidence building treaties. These treaties, as a first step, seek to contain (not eliminate), the possible chances of inter-state conflict, especially those that may be completely unpredictable in their nature, timings and magnitude. And here, though, all inter-state agreements, in a way, make contribution towards evolving an environment of mutual security and mutual confidence yet some of these remain more clearly directed towards this motive than others.

Considering that Sine-Indian ties present one of the most complicated examples of inter-state relations, treaties signed by these two countries have been repeatedly subjected to varied debates and interpretations. By presenting my introductory piece to the volume which is dedicated to an overall improvement of atmosphere between the two contries, my humble submission is to draw attention from the ruling elites and the wider circles of India and China to the flowering and function of mutual trust and good will that have been achieved against the background of enormous misunderstanding and inexperienced handling of the bilateral problems bequeathed by history.

It is significant to note that both the 1993 and 1996 India-China agreements quoted the five principles of the 1954 Agreement verbatim without invoking the name “Panchsheel”. This is tantamount to the partial resurrection of the historic 1954 Agreement. This is further proved form the attempts of the two agreements of the 1990s to revive border trade, which was one of the central cencerns of the 1994 agreement. The two 1990s agreements, thus, like their 1954 predecessor, served to put behind a portion of irritants and misgivings between the two countries in the interim period of four decades.

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© 1998 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi

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Published in 1998 by 

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