Future of India–China Boundary: Leadership Holds the Key?

Dr Jagannath P. Panda was Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • May 2015

    Will India and China resolve their boundary dispute during the tenure of Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping? The strategic communities in both countries are optimistic, particularly after the high tension prevailing along the border during President Xi Jinping’s tour of India in September 2014. Both Prime Minister Modi and President Xi are seen as decisive leaders.1 Both are expected to hold power in their respective countries for a few years to come. Personalities and personas matter greatly for scoring political brownie points. The boundary dispute, quintessentially, is political in nature. The 2005 Agreement on the ‘Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India–China Boundary Question’ acknowledged as much: the ‘two sides are seeking a political settlement of the boundary question’.2 In future India–China boundary negotiations, will the two leaders go for territorial exchange or will they remain content with the status quo, and simply define the Line of Actual Control (LAC)?