As the G20 Summit 2023 approaches in India, a fresh wave of tension has erupted between India and China due to China’s unveiling of a new map. This map asserts China’s ownership of the Aksai Chin Region and Arunachal Pradesh, two territories that have long been disputed between the two nations. The timing of this release has only exacerbated the already strained relations.
The new map from China has ignited outrage within India, particularly due to the historical context. The Aksai Chin Region and Arunachal Pradesh were occupied by Chinese forces during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Although China declared a ceasefire and promised to retreat 20 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the boundary dispute continues to remain unresolved, fueling persistent tensions.
Beyond the border issue, India and China have been embroiled in multiple disagreements. Notably, China refuses to acknowledge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, and earlier this year, Beijing declined to send a delegation to the G20 Meet in Srinagar, further deepening diplomatic strains.
In a recent incident, China added to the friction by issuing “stapled visas” to Wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh in July 2023. This move, which involved stapling visas onto their passports instead of traditional stamps, led to India expressing its strong dissatisfaction.
With the release of this new map, diplomatic tensions are expected to escalate between the two nations. This development occurred shortly after a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa. Despite a brief conversation addressing disengagement and de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control, the new map sends a clear signal that China continues to view India as an adversarial force.
The Ministry of External Affairs swiftly rejected the map’s claims, issuing a firm protest through diplomatic channels. The official statement from the ministry conveyed that these assertions have no foundation and only complicate the ongoing boundary negotiations.
As the G20 Summit approaches, the question of whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend remains open. While there is an anticipation of his presence in the national capital from September 8 to 10, amidst the backdrop of the map controversy, an official confirmation is awaited. If Jinping does attend, it’s likely that the map issue will find its way onto the summit’s agenda.
China’s new map, unveiled on August 28, 2023, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and disseminated by the state-controlled Global Times, outlines expansive claims not only over the Aksai Chin Region and Arunachal Pradesh but also Taiwan and disputed regions in the South China Sea. This move has stirred significant upheaval, prompting New Delhi to raise its official protest against the contested cartography.