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Colonial British rulers created confusion over Aksai Chin, says a Chinese daily

Press Trust of India
May 17, 2013 at 08:34am IST

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Beijing: Confusion over Aksai Chin, the area occupied by China during 1962 war with India, was created by colonial British rulers who have never presented it to Chinese governments in the past, an article in an official daily in Beijing said on Thursday.

"India's claim to Aksai Chin is mainly based on the Johnson Line proposed in 1865. Aksai Chin was put inside Kashmir in the proposal. However, the line was never presented to the Chinese government and was severely criticised for its gross inaccuracies by the British government, which had dominant colonial power in India at that time," an article in the Global Times said.

From the 1950s, India started establishing outposts in the area, having set up 43 in its heyday in the border regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, it said. The site of the latest standoff, referred to as the Depsang Valley, is called Tiannan River Valley by the Chinese. It is located in the western sector of Aksai Chin, which is largely a vast high-altitude desert covering an area of about 37,000 square km, the article, a compilation of views of Indian and Chinese analysts on the recent stand off, said.

British rulers created confusion over Aksai Chin: Chinese daily

The report also dismissed arguments that India would tie up with other countries to challenge China.

Aksai Chin is also one of the two main disputed border areas over which China and India fought the 1962 war. The area is administered by China as part of Hotan county in the Hotan prefecture of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. India regards Aksai Chin as a part of the Ladakh district, it said.

Although China dismantled the Indian outposts after the 1962 war and has since reinforced its actual control of the area, Indian troops continue to patrol the area, it said. A Chinese analyst Hu Shisheng, an expert on South Asia research at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations refuted the perception that India is getting closer to Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Myanmar apprehending aggressive moves by China.

India is unlikely to become an ally with countries involved in territorial disputes with China, Hu said. "Only if India maintains its strategic independence can it maximize gains from its relations with other countries," he said.

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