Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

An Obscure Flashpoint

May 20th, 2009 · No Comments

arunachalpradeshdisputedToday’s NtHWS Extras installment will have some modern flavor, as we look at one of the planet’s most obscure—and potentially most lethal—territorial disputes: The Sino-Indian tussle over Arunachal Pradesh, where a fair chunk of Now the Hell Will Start is set.

The enormous Arunachal is arguably India’s most remote province, populated largely by tribal groups with historical roots in Tibet and Western China. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, China occupied the province before unilaterally pulling back to its current borders. But the Communist titan has never relinquished its claim to Arunachal, and occasionally reminds India of its stubborness in the bluntest fashion possible. As a show of its displeasure over the situation, for example, China recently vetoed a key development loan destined for Arunachal.

Given China’s unofficial habit of referring to Arunachal as “South Tibet,” it seems clear that its claim is part of the grand strategy to hold on to the Dalai Lama’s domain. It’s a classic diplomatic ploy, really—changing the subject as a way of making a current controversy seem like a settled matter. We very much doubt that China has any genuine intentions of going Defcon One over Arunachal. But then again, the whole ballgame can change with the discovery of a key resource. If it turns out there’s a whole bunch of lithium in those mountains, watch out.

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