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Panchsheel agreement harmed India�s interest: Ex-IB official

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 6 � India has no reason to celebrate completion of 60 years of signing of the Panchsheel agreement, as it harmed India�s causes over the years and opened up the McMahon Line to dispute. This was the observation made by security analyst and former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), RN Ravi.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Ravi said that the Panchsheel agreement, signed in 1954, is a dead agreement for India and the country should work towards formulating new strategies on relations with China. He pointed out that by signing the Panchsheel agreement, for the first time India conceded the border with China and the agreement was a dead one after the 1962 war.

Ravi pointed out that the agreement harmed India�s interests and opened up the entire border to dispute and Chinese manipulation. Even before the 1962 war with China, there were clashes in Longju and Konka pass in 1958 and 1959, and then came the war. He said that the McMahon Line was agreed boundary between India and Tibet, which was finalised in the 1914 Shimla Convention. Though Chinese representatives were present in Shimla, they did not sign the agreement. But the signing of the Panchsheel agreement opened up the McMahon Line to dispute and the country had to suffer a lot because of the agreement.

The Panchsheel agreement said that both India and China would respect the territorial integrity of both countries and there would be no aggression from either side. But China never accepted the McMahon Line and there have been numerous incidents of transgressions into Indian territory by China over the years. The most vulnerable point in this respect is the Dichu area in Arunachal Pradesh where the Lohit river enters India. There have also been instances of such transgressions in different parts along the border with China and it is apparent that India wants to keep the border vulnerable. For the reasons best known to it, the Government of India always try to play down such transgressions, said Ravi.

The former IB officer further said that China has also been trying to keep the North East region disturbed by extending direct or indirect help to the militant groups, who are mostly using weapons made by the Chinese ordnance factories. He said that leaders of the militant groups were provided with safe houses in Kunming and Ruilie in Yunan province, while, there was definite intelligence input that in 2009 -10, China asked the militant groups of the region to form a common platform.

The Panchsheel agreement also dwelt with trade and commerce, but Ravi said that at one point of time, India has barter trade with Tibet and the trade with China discontinued after the 1962 war. The border trade in selected places started in 1993 mainly as a confidence building measure and in 2004, a few more border trade points were opened up.

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