China-India Border Dispute conference

Held at the University of Westminster on 2-3 June 2010. Details here – summary below


2-3 June 2010, University of Westminster, London. and 

 Organiser: Dr Dibyesh Anand (, Reader (Associate Professor), Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Westminster, London, UK. Email:

Sponsors: DPIR (University of Westminster), Nirman Foundation and the Universities’ China Committee in London. 

Attendance is free and open to all but requires pre-registration. Attendees should send the following information to <>:

Full name, Email, Affiliation (if relevant), Days attending: 2 June, 3 June, Both 2 and 3 June.

Media enquiries should be directed to Dr Anand by email and/or phone 44-7940806894. 


A disputed Himalayan border is a primary obstacle in closer cooperation between India and China. The conference will revisit various facets of this dispute, including the boundary disagreement, border conflict, tense geopolitics of the region, the legacy of British imperialist re-ordering of the Himalayas, Great Power politics, strategic triangles (China-India-USA or China-India-Pakistan), the disappearance of traditional Tibetan state, the future of the Dalai Lama, and the impact of these tensions on the people living in the borderlands. This two-day event, held in the heart of central London, will bring together relevant international experts and provide an invaluable opportunity to scholars, students, diplomats, media persons, and interested members of the public, to further their understanding of the relationship between China and India. 

 China and India are rapidly emerging as key global players in the twenty-first century. Leaders around the world including President Obama, military strategists, security thinkers, businesspersons, media commentators, academics, and human rights activists have turned their attention to the challenges and opportunities offered by the rise of two Asian countries that share between them more than 37% of world’s population, 20% of world energy use, 10-17% of world economy (depending on the measure), 8-10% of military spending, 9% of world’s land, and are projected to significantly increase their stamp on the global politico-economic landscape. This fluid scenario demands greater understanding of the politics and international relations of both China and India, especially of Sino-Indian relations.

 China-India relations have witnessed major swings since the heyday of close cooperation in the early 1950s and the nadir of the 1962 border war. Though both countries profess a desire to work closely to resolve disagreements, have rapidly expanding economic relations, and often strike strategic cooperation in several arenas (such as at the Copenhagen Climate Conference), their bilateral relationship is, by most accounts, fragile. Some of the factors that contribute to the testy China-India relations are: mutual suspicion of each others’ intentions, the bitter memories of 1962 war (especially in India), the presence in India of Tibetan exiles led by the Dalai Lama, Indian discomfort at China’s close relations with Pakistan, China’s increasing clout in other South Asian states, Chinese mistrust of warmer Indo-US relations. The key issue that prevents the two countries from establishing a stable relationship is the border dispute. 

 China and India have a territorial disagreement and accuse each other of illegal occupation. The border dispute, emerging from a boundary disagreement and centering on Aksai Chin/South Xinjiang area in the Western Himalayas (under Chinese control) and Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet (under Indian control) in the Eastern Himalayas, has already led to a war in 1962, several military clashes, political posturing, and more recently, military buildup, media wars, diplomatic squabbles, and blame-games.

 This conference brings together world’s leading experts to discuss and debate various facets of the Sino-Indian border dispute. The aim is to identify and assess various perceptions of Sino-Indian rivalry as exemplified in the border dispute. 

 An edited collection based on the papers presented at the conference along with a few additional chapters is planned for 2010-2011. The conference website will also act as a research archive for sources on the border dispute.

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