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1954 Panchsheel pact to Galwan Valley ‘violence’ — India-China relations in last 7 decades

Monday night's fatalities due to India-China border tension was the first in four decades, but the two countries have had diplomatic stand-offs for over 70 years.

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New Delhi: Three Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, were killed in action following a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley Monday night.

The Indian Army has also said that casualties have taken place on both sides.

India and China have been involved in a stand-off for over a month, after China advanced its troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and transgressed it at multiple locations. Monday night’s incident comes amid diplomatic efforts from both nations to de-escalate tensions along the LAC.

These may be the first fatalities in India-China border tension in four decades but the two countries have had diplomatic stand-offs due to border disputes for several more years.

ThePrint brings you a timeline of key events in India-China relations:

15 June 2020: India and China hold diplomatic talks to resolve the military stand-off at LAC in Ladakh.

28 May 2020: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) says it will resolve the border stand-off “peacefully through dialogue”.

27 May 2020: US President Donald Trump offers to mediate between India and China.

18 May 2020: India backs the 62-nation coalition’s push for a World Health Organisation probe into Covid-19’s origin, speculated to have begun in China’s Wuhan.

Late April 2020: India and China engage in a major border stand-off at the LAC in Ladakh, in a Doklam-like situation.

October 2019: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

April 2018: PM Modi visits China for his first informal summit with President Jinping at Wuhan, following the Doklam standoff and India’s refusal to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

June 2017: India along with Pakistan becomes a full-member of the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO).

May 2017: India rejects China’s invitation to attend the BRI summit in Beijing.

June 2017: India-China engage in a major 73-day border standoff over China’s construction of a road in Doklam. Both sides withdraw forces in August.

October 2016: PM Modi meets President Jinping on the sidelines of the Goa BRICS Summit.

January 2015: US president Barack Obama visits India on Republic Day. Following a long meeting with PM Modi, a joint statement is released in which both premiers mention their mutual concerns about Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.

November 2014: Ajit Doval is appointed national security advisor and a special representative for India-China boundary negotiations. Earlier in the month, Jinping had invited Modi to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, but the PM declined the offer and travelled to Fiji, Australia, and Myanmar instead.

September 2014: Chinese troops reportedly enter 2 kilometres inside the LAC in Chumar sector, leading to heightened tensions between India and China.

July 2014: Modi meets Jinping for the first time along the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil.

April 2013: Indian and Chinese forces have a three-week-long standoff at Depsang Plain in Eastern Ladakh. Chinese forces had crossed into Indian territory and pitched tents to assert their control over the area.

October 2009: China objects PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

May 2007: China denies visa to Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu, arguing that the state is in part of Chinese territory.

July 2006: The Nathu La pass between Sikkim and Tibet is reopened for trade after 44 years.

2005: Visiting Chinese premier Wen Jiabao supports India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

2004: Chinese foreign ministry’s annual yearbook no longer figures Sikkim as an “independent nation”.

2003: Tensions between both the nations over status of Tibet and Sikkim de-escalate after a landmark visit by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China.

March 2002: The Indian and Chinese governments agree in Beijing to accelerate the pace of LAC delineation, with the intention of resolving their border disputes within a “reasonable” time-frame.

January 2002: Chinese premier Zhu Rongji visits India.

April 2000: India and China commemorate 50 years of their diplomatic relations.

22 February 2000: India and China sign a bilateral trade agreement to make way for the latter’s early entry into the World Trade Organisation.

31 January 2000: Chinese Army builds a permanent road network and sets up bunkers 5 km in the Indian side of the LAC in Aksai Chin area of Ladakh.

14 January 2000: India officially declares to China that the 17th Karmapa has arrived in Dharamshala but has not been granted refugee status.

11 January 2000: Beijing warns New Delhi that giving political asylum to Karmapa would violate the “five principles of peaceful co-existence” between India and China.

7 January 2000: 17th Karmapa flees China and arrives in Dharamshala to join the Dalai Lama.

November 1999: India and China hold detailed discussions on ways to settle border disputes.

June 1999: China talks about being neutral in the Kargil conflict and agrees to establish a security mechanism with India.

14 May 1998: China strongly condemns India’s second nuclear test in Pokhran.

1996: Chinese president Jiang Zemin visits India and both nations agree to reduce troops on their disputed border areas.

August 1995: The Indian and Chinese authorities agree to pull back their troops on the Sumdorong Chu Valley in Eastern Sector, which was the site of 1987 border clash between the two sides.

September 1993: Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao visits China and the two sides sign an agreement on “Border Peace and Tranquility”.

1991: Chinese premier Li Peng leaves India after a milestone visit, the first by a Chinese diplomat in over three decades.

1988: PM Rajiv Gandhi visits China. Both countries sign an agreement to establish a Joint Working Group on Boundary Settlement and a Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology.

1986: Beijing strongly objects to India’s decision to make Arunachal Pradesh a state.

1984: India and China sign the Most Favoured Nation trade agreement.

February 1979: Vajpayee, then foreign minister, visits China.

April 1976: India and China restore full diplomatic ties after a 15-year hiatus.

October 1975: Chinese forces cross over into Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tulung La and ambush a patrol of Assam Rifles jawans, killing four of them.

April 1975: China condemns the merger of Sikkim with India.

May 1974: China criticises India’s first nuclear test in Pokhran.

April 1970: Indian and Chinese diplomats establish informal contacts.

1967: Indian and Chinese forces have border clashes at Nathu La, leading to the death of estimated 80 Indian and 400 Chinese soldiers.

2 March 1963: China and Pakistan sign a boundary settlement in which Pakistan cedes 5,080 sq kilometres of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to China.

21 November 1962: China declares a unilateral ceasefire and withdraws its forces to position them 20 kilometres behind the LAC.

October-November 1962: India and China engage in a border war with several small clashes over the disputed Aksai Chin and border areas in Arunachal Pradesh after Beijing stages a massive attack. The war led to 722 Indian and 1,383 Chinese casualties.

19 April 1960: Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and PM Jawaharlal Nehru hold a meeting to address boundary questions but it ends in a deadlock.

8 September 1959: China refuses to accept the McMahon Line, with Zhou Enlai claiming that Beijing was not a signatory to the 1842 British India and China peace treaty.

January 1959: Zhou Enlai spells out China’s claim over 40,000 sq miles of Indian territory in Ladakh and the North-East Frontier Agency.

15 May 1954: Zhou Enlai visits India. He and Nehru sign the “panchsheel” pact, the five principles of peaceful co-existence.

7 October 1950: Chinese troops cross the Sino-Tibetan boundary, and move towards Lhasa to occupy Tibet.

December 1949: India becomes the second non-Communist regime to recognise People’s Republic of China.

(Sources referred to in this article:, Livemint, Reuters, CGTN)

Also read: After Galwan deaths, China tells India not to ‘complicate situation by crossing border’


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